Obviously, we are largely in agreement. There's just one area where we are inevitably going to differ;
It is truly a shame when this is a result of a more protective "Christian upbringing".
Maybe it's not a shame eh? Maybe it's a blessing in disguise. If parents want to bring up their kids with really shoddy theology, it makes it easier for atheist scum like me to tempt them over to the Dark Side.
Whenever I hear creationists say "If evolution is true, the Bible is falsified.", I am half-tempted to reply "Yep. Yep. I agree, if evolution is real, all religion everywhere has been proved false. Yep. Definitely.". All I have to do then is convince them about evolution, which is after all, real, so the facts are going to be pretty much on my side. It may be lousy theology, but forgive me if I don't complain to loudly as Christianity shoots itself in the foot.
Don't get me wrong, I recognise that this can be traumatic for the people going through it, but if a person's religious beliefs are so flimsy, are they really such a big loss?
I had no such experiences at my college, UC Santa Cruz (well known for it's liberal immorality). However, I can't remember a single instance in which a professor railed against Christians. Students did, all the time, but there were also 3 thriving Christian groups on campus as well (that I knew of). In fact, the only time any of my science professors brought religion up was in my evolution class, and the professor acknowledged people might have issues with the concept, that he would be sensitive to their beliefs, but that he was going to present the theory as it has been developed and corroborated by modern science. The only time religion came up in other classes it was in context (cultural anthropology). We have many intuitions in our life and the point is that many of these intuitions are wrong. The question is, are we going to test those intuitions? -Dan Ariely
But teachers should be held up to standards restricting what is permissible to talk about in a science class.
This past Friday (3/12) I attended an Answers in Genesis presentation, held at a local church. Despite the mass of dubious material being presented, it didn't seem proper for me to intrude with my perspective.
I have a new topic in the works, to discuss my AIG encounter.
Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith
"Yesterday on Fox News, commentator Glenn Beck said that he believes President Obama is a racist. To be fair, every time you watch Glenn Beck, it does get a little easier to hate white people." - Conan O'Brien
"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose
There are something like 40,000 sects, denominations, or branches of Christianity!
What empirical evidence can you use to evaluate the (often) conflicting claims?
I know where you're coming from and I agree. The point I'm making here though is that it's a bit rich for parents to complain about their ideas being challenged by educators when they either;
a) view religion as merely a rubber stamp to imprint onto their kids, with no serious examination of those claims in the first place, or b) insist on attaching those religious claims to real-world claims that are known to be false.
Parents like that have absolutely no right to complain if their kids find their faith being challenged at college. They only have themselves to blame.
Perhaps, as Heinlein said, theology is like looking in a coal cellar at midnight for a black cat that isn't there?
Well quite. How exactly does one base an entire field of academic study upon something that can't be observed? I would suggest though that there is such a thing as really shoddy, flimsy theology, poorly thought out theology that collapses like a house of cards as soon as it is pushed. There is also more sophisticated theology. Where we can probably agree is that sophisticated theology does not equate to "good" theology. If anything, the more sophisticated theological arguments are worse, as they weave ever more complex webs for believers to ensnare themselves in.
Minnemooseus writes: Side-note: What's "on-topic" in a class
Generally speaking, that is up to the faculty (the teacher of that particular class).
If the campus administration comes up with rules about what is on-topic, you will see protests about academic freedom.
On the other hand, if a teacher abuses that academic freedom (and gratuitous discussion of religion or politics in class would be such an abuse), he will quick learn that academic freedom does not amount to academic license.
In practice, most faculty are pretty responsible, and do want to discuss the topics of their own discipline without being distracted into religion and politics.
"Science can only deal with that which is testable and verifiable. . . ." clipped for brevity
I don't think you really need to delve into religion v. science. My biology teacher in high school gave a similar speech but left out any reference to religion. She just said that you are required to know what the theory of evolution says, but you don't have to agree with it. She even gave pointers on how to answer essay questions. All you need to do is start the answer with "The theory of evolution states . . ." and go from there.
If students keep pushing you could go on to say that if you go on to have a career in the biological sciences you will need to know how to apply the theory to your work. Go on to say that no current researcher is using anything other than evolution in their work when it deals with how biodiversity is produced in the natural world. Evolution is taught to prepare students for further education at the university level and for careers as scientists.
But should students insist that this theology be a part of science class? Even more, should students insist that their professors address these theological concepts as a part of science class?
No, since it has absolutely nothing to do with science.
However, at some point there should be some kind of discussion or presentation concerning what science is, what it tries to do, and how it works. And concerning the relationship between science and religion and why the supernatural has no role in science. This would properly belong in a philosophy of science class, but since most students will not take such a class (or that class would not be offered or it would only be an upper-division or graduate class), that discussion/presentation could be in the course's introductory lecture. There are a lot of popular misconceptions about science vis-à-vis religion that need to be corrected and, since no church (besides the Unitarians) is about to do that job, the science classroom would be the most likely candidate. Take a few minutes at the start to clear up those misunderstandings, then go about the business of teaching science.
ha ha, I got about ten minutes into the video before my brain started to bleed and I had to turn it off. I love how about 45 seconds in or so it says that it has "ACTUAL FOOTAGE (spoken all dramatic-like) of a reenactment..." lol.
Not surprisingly, the video was filled with clearly blatant bullsh*t. Or at least, its like no college I've ever heard of. I can only surmise that the purpose of the video is to discourage christian kids from going to college so that they remain ignorant and easier to control. Its so sad to see the Christian majority try to convince each other that they are victims of some supposed prejudice, meanwhile as they are preaching this hate toward those who believe differently they are committing the same crime that they are pretending to be victims of.
I've never encountered Christian-bashing in school. I have ran across Christian teachers though whose religious beliefs influenced the curriculum. One english elective I took had a fat woman teacher who gave us stories to read for homework that were almost all Christian-based. One of the stories was called "Young Goodman Brown" which was about the Salem Witch Trials and when the teacher talked about the Salem Witch Trials she enthusiastically lectured as about how the Puritans were Catholics. I see now that this was a witch hunt of her own, designed to trash Catholics. But I screwed up her plans. I corrected her by pointing out that they were Protestants. Little did I know that my teacher was Protestant and my marks dropped by about two letter grades on every assignment following that day.
Another class we had a naturopath come in as a guest speaker. He talked about health and how the body is designed to live far longer than a mere 80yrs - "look in the bible, some of them lived over 900 years." Most of us laughed at that until we realized he was being serious. After that it was just...awkward.
In High School we had a religious studies teacher who's favourite saying was that the Bible was "99% fiction and 1% fact" and set homework like explaining how the twelve plagues of Egypt happened without any divine intervention. Which I still think was quite out of order; however, in terms of systematic bias you have to set that against a background of Christian speakers invited to speak at school assemblies and all the other religious studies teachers.
Our Biology teacher was rude about Creationism - fair enough, really.
When doing a residential school for my OU course one of our tutor's was openly rude about religion - IIRC, he referred to God as being an "imaginary friend". I thought that was out of order.
So, I would say that there are teachers, tutors and lecturers out there who will inappropriately inject their atheist views into their teaching but it's hardly systematic and must be balanced against a wide spread of religious teachers, tutors and lecturers who inject religion into theirs.
In high school, my daughter had an English teacher who was teaching a class in mythology (that she knew nothing about). Half of the class time was spent on the Bible, comparing it to the standard myths to show how it was easy to see the others were myths because they disagreed with the bible.
My daughter was a practicing Wiccan and one of her friends and classmates was openly Jewish. The teacher STILL made comments like "we're all Christians here..." I gave her permission to walk out of the class if it continued.
The teacher ended up having to taking an extended sick leave for the rest of the semester for surgery. The temp that ended up teaching the class admitted not knowing much about the subject and my daughter ended up helping teach the class.