Defenders of liberal arts education, or of higher education in general, claim that obtaining a college degree tends to develop a wide range of soft skills. But that’s an empirical claim, and it turns out that educational psychologists and others have attempted to test this thesis. In general, as Caplan reviews in the book, they tend to come up with null results.
Here’s a thought experiment: Suppose it turned out that Pfizer has been selling a drug, since 1850, which A) costs $240,000, B) requires four years of treatment, and C) which they claim makes patients more open-minded, smarter, better and deeper thinkers, wiser, more creative, better at expressing themselves, better at understanding others, etc..... Now suppose Pfizer not only had no proper evidence that the drug had this effect, but in fact other medical scientists had studied the drug, and over and over again found a null effect. We’d probably think Pfizer had committing fraud or engaged in negligent advertising. We’d probably demand the government shut Pfizer down or fine them. Pfizer might face a class-action lawsuit.