Evidence is that:
(a) The time necessary to understand any field remains constant at about one to three years. The time to develop unparalleled expertise in a field remains constant at six to nine years. This is a function of the ability of human beings to develop research discipline and to assimilate and integrate information. The cost of six to nine years is often prohibitive. But that six to nine years can be performed by those capable autodidactic learning (on their own) just as easily. The value of institutional knowledge is time reduction and insulation from errors by continuous adversarial competition from peers.
(b) The cost of performing basic research in any field continues increasing such that institutional funding is often required to advance *basic* research. So the cost of understanding a field, and the cost of performing basic research in a field is substantially different
(c) The need to fund basic research, the need to publish to prove the institution is ‘funding worthy’, has led to siloing (specialization) of disciplines such that cross-disciplinary synthesis (cross-disciplinary research) is not possible to perform. (I know, I tried).
(d) The number of scientists producing meaningful increases in any of the fields is tiny. we can easily observe this from the citations. Meaning the vast number and percentage of PhD’s do not produce any meaningful innovation, nor contribution, but perform no other function than participating in educating the increase in the world population.
(e) *Synthesis* of the results of basic research is gated by the institutional narrative (faith) within the institutions,
(f) Ungated synthesis of research is performed outside the institutional setting because synthesis is gated in the institutional setting.
(g) Thus synthesis is performed by public intellectuals (writers) outside the institutions, who are not limited by specialization, and the gated institutional narrative. Whether those people simply work on blogs, speeches, articles, or papers, or books.
(h) That the institutions, under the gated institutional narrative, have produced little other than pseudoscience in the behavioral sciences (psychology, sociology, politics, law, and economics).
(i) And that the liberal arts departments that traditionally taught the ‘synthesis ‘of our research in our civilization have all but prohibited any semblance of science in their synthesis – because they are the producers of the gated institutional narrative (‘religion’).
That’s not an opinion. That’s what the evidence says.
It is still possible to keep abreast of all basic research in all fields even if keeping abreast of all technological research and development is increasingly challenging. But once you’ve mastered two or three fields the patterns across them are obvious.
As for Ph.D.’s I eat Ph.D.’s like pretzels and chips at a keg party. When my current project is a little more complete, I’m going to produce videos tearing apart individual public intellectuals who produce the volumes of popular pseudoscience in math, physics, genetics, cognitive science, economics, law, and geostrategy. That ought to keep me busy for the rest of my life. It could keep a dozen of us busy. Color me exasperated.