Attack on Jargon

Jargon is what people use to make themselves seem intelligent. The definition, according to the Oxford Online Dictionary, is “special words or phrases used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand.” However, as is often wont to happen, the word is evolving and will hopefully soon be redefined.

I believe that, once, jargon did refer to words used by particular professions. To take on from my own field, you wouldn’t hear many non-statisticians talking about “variance” and “multiple comparison tests,” however, while these words are in my notes for some lectures, far more frequent is the meaningless babble that comes lecturers.

I want to copy and paste a definition of what Pi-Theory is from my course notes and then I am going to tell you what it is from my own research. From the textbook:

Pi-Theorem: a mathematical relationship between some dimensional physical quantities or governing parameters of the problem can be written as a relationship between a group of non-dimensional parameters from the group of dimensional governing parameters; the number of non-dimensional products is equal to the total number of dimensional parameters subtracting the number of governing parameters with independent dimensions.


Now my own:

Pi- Theorem: If you have a number of variables that are linked, for example a number of measurements of time, mass and/or length, then you can rewrite them into a set. No answers will change as long as you change each physical variable, for example, mass, by the same amount.


Now, my answer begs a bit of understanding of the maths we are currently working on to be implemented, but I’m willing to bet quite a large amount of money that you understood my answer much more clearly than that of the textbook. This wouldn’t irritate me if the reason for it wasn’t so asinine:

Professionals are insecure about their intelligence.

There is no reason to make your texts complicated to understand. I am already dealing with university-level maths, it’s difficult enough without my professor having to parade his IQ around like he’s trying to attract a mate. If you look back at the textbook example then you will find that it is all one sentence. You will also find that the same words, and the antonyms of said words, are used an obscene amount of times, leading to a great deal of confusion and misunderstanding. I don’t think it makes him seem smart. I think it makes him look like a bad professor.

I remember reading a number of excerpts from historians in my A-level maths coursework. These were people famed for their work on certain topics of history and well-known as masters of their respective fields, but it doesn’t matter one jot to me because their work is nigh-on incomprehensible. You have to read a page at least four times to understand it and what has taken the author 300 words could have taken 100. It’s bad writing and simply makes knowledge feel unobtainable.

I feel this is why Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson are so revered by a number of people. They don’t patronise you when teaching you and they don’t show off even though you know that an awful lot of knowledge is stored betwixt their ears. I’m perfectly aware that people are better at different things and that not everyone is as smart as everyone else, but I know I’m capable of understanding Pi-Theory, and a number of other things, but I have been rebuffed by obtuse professionals adding words where they aren’t needed and then some longer words to make sure you know they’re smart.

As a side note, I deliberately tried to make the article a bit difficult to read. I’m flexing my verbal muscles and showing my verbosity, in part, to show off, but, mostly, to give an example of how people can exclude others from their work even if their message is good.


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