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Author Topic:   Oppression in College Classrooms
Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


(1)
Message 16 of 44 (550438)
03-15-2010 3:28 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by nwr
03-15-2010 10:40 AM


nwr writes:

As best I can tell, it is an example of the big lie.

A few years ago I would have scoffed at this statement. Now I suspect you're right. As a Christian I'm appalled by what seems to be going on behind the curtains of evangelical ministry. At least in this country, evangelical Christianity seems (from my point of view) so tied up with anti-intellectualism and a fear of secularism that no lie seems too big to further the cause. In my opinion, no matter how good the ends or how pure the intentions, they never justify the means. Especially if that means duping millions of people to close their eyes to facts and stubbornly cling to a piece of doctrine that they apparently believe Christianity could not survive without.
Maybe I should start calling myself a "Jesusian" to dis-associate myself from the mainstream evangelicals who seem more concerned about maintaining status quo than truth. But I digress.

nwr writes:

Would biology teachers get into religion? I doubt that they would want to, but if a student raised a question about creationism, they would respond. Most would probably just comment about the scientific method, and about why creationism is not science.

Even that might be too much time wasted on creationism in a science class. Were I a biology teacher (and I'm not, with precious little experience of teaching at all) I would simply tell the student that he/she could ask me after class and any other students who would be interested in why Creationism is not taught as science. Then I would patiently outline the definition of "science" and have them figure out for themselves whether creationism/ID fits into that definition.

nwr writes:

If a student challenged a teacher over creationism, would the teacher belittle the student's religion - some probably would.

I'm sure some would. But it is not a science teacher's place to remark upon religion during class. Between classes, perhaps, but a science class should stay off the topic of religion, neither promoting it, nor denigrating it, just like science does not deal with the existence of the "supernatural". Any remark about religion in a science class will foster misconceptions about what science can and can not talk about. (Unless the class happens to be neuropsychology, or anything else that could potentially be linked to "religious experiences")

nwr writes:

I do see a hidden message in that video. The hidden message is that evangelical Christians are feeble minded idiots who are unable to think for themselves and unable to defend their beliefs, and who thus need to be protected by pre-indoctrination before they go to college.

That is indeed what the video implies. I don't believe that this holds true for Christians in general, but to some extent the video promotes these exact traits. Basically what it's saying is: "The professors are out to get you, don't listen to anything that goes against your beliefs, colleges are festering cess-pools of atheism".

Anyway, that's just my two cents, for what it's worth.

Respectfully,

-Meldinoor


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 Message 4 by nwr, posted 03-15-2010 10:40 AM nwr has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by nwr, posted 03-15-2010 4:12 PM Meldinoor has responded
 Message 21 by Rahvin, posted 03-15-2010 4:40 PM Meldinoor has responded
 Message 26 by Flyer75, posted 03-15-2010 5:42 PM Meldinoor has not yet responded

    
Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 17 of 44 (550439)
03-15-2010 3:32 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by slevesque
03-15-2010 3:11 PM


Re: The url for the video
You don't need to see the video to get a general idea of what it talks about.

And it'd be interesting to see how this applies to your college experience irregardless of in what country you're a student. I'm sure this problem (if indeed there is one) is not necessarily restricted to the US.

Respectfully,

-Meldinoor


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 18 of 44 (550443)
03-15-2010 4:12 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Meldinoor
03-15-2010 3:28 PM


Meldinoor writes:
But it is not a science teacher's place to remark upon religion during class.

I agree. But some would, if sufficiently provoked. That's human nature.

It actually seems to be true that biologists are more likely to be atheists than are scientists in most other disciplines. But that does not seem to be because of any attempt to indoctrinate them into atheism (if that is even possible). Rather, it is because biologists see first hand, the cruelty of nature. And they find that cruelty hard to square with what they had been taught about a loving God.


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 19 of 44 (550445)
03-15-2010 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by nwr
03-15-2010 4:12 PM


nwr writes:

Rather, it is because biologists see first hand, the cruelty of nature. And they find that cruelty hard to square with what they had been taught about a loving God.

Which again is another example of Creationist foot-shooting. Who indoctrinates these biology undergrads to think that death and suffering are incompatible with God's creation, thereby undermining their faith? The very same Creationists who claim the intellectuals are promoting atheism! It's ironic really that creationism becomes the cause of its own undoing, and foments the same evil that they accuse others of committing.
Is it too much to hope for that Focus' leadership might receive divine revelation and jump off the ID train before it crashes taking much of the evangelical faith with it into the rubble?

Respectfully,

-Meldinoor


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by nwr, posted 03-15-2010 4:12 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 20 of 44 (550446)
03-15-2010 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Meldinoor
03-14-2010 3:56 PM


These are my experiences so far. But I'm curious, all of you who are attending college or have at one time or another, what were your experiences? Did you notice any discrimination or oppression of religious students? Is there any basis to the claims I mentioned that the video makes?

In the class I took on human evolution, on the first day the teacher said that doubts about the subject matter and/or creationism should not be brought up. The class is going to teach what science says about evolution and you will be tested on what science says, regardless of if you believe any of it or not.

And that video is totally ghey.


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1267 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 21 of 44 (550447)
03-15-2010 4:40 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Meldinoor
03-15-2010 3:28 PM


I'm sure some would. But it is not a science teacher's place to remark upon religion during class. Between classes, perhaps, but a science class should stay off the topic of religion, neither promoting it, nor denigrating it, just like science does not deal with the existence of the "supernatural". Any remark about religion in a science class will foster misconceptions about what science can and can not talk about. (Unless the class happens to be neuropsychology, or anything else that could potentially be linked to "religious experiences")

Thisis the ideal. But the reality is that the world isn;t that simple.

Some scientific principles will inevitably conflict with some religious beliefs. At that point, even while the teacher "ignores" religion, he/she is in effect discrediting a set of beliefs in a way that members of that religion will find offensive.

Geology will of necessity discredit the idea of a young Earth or a global Flood. Biology will discredit special Creation. So on and so forth, and that's just the Judeo-Christian beliefs.

It's unavoidable. We can't dictate acceptable scientific theories by setting boundaries from various and sundry religions - that violates the entire purpose of science.

I'm not sure there's a good answer. But students need to understand that, regardless of whether they agree with the subjects being taught, they still need to understand the concepts. Science doesn't eschew disagreement, it simply follows evidence and accuracy - and teaching the concepts currently held as accurate in science is not itself a violation of anyone's faith.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by Meldinoor, posted 03-15-2010 3:28 PM Meldinoor has responded

Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5954
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 22 of 44 (550453)
03-15-2010 4:58 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by slevesque
03-15-2010 1:52 PM


Re: The url for the video
I think that was on purpose though

To what purpose?

I rather think it is an attempt to make the video sound more impressive to their ignorant audience.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by slevesque, posted 03-15-2010 1:52 PM slevesque has responded

Replies to this message:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2720 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 23 of 44 (550456)
03-15-2010 5:01 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by Theodoric
03-15-2010 4:58 PM


Re: The url for the video
I saw it as attempted humor.

But hey you can see in it whatever you want to


This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by Theodoric, posted 03-15-2010 4:58 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 24 of 44 (550457)
03-15-2010 5:02 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by Rahvin
03-15-2010 4:40 PM


I agree. Ideals rarely mesh perfectly with how the real world works. But teachers should be held up to standards restricting what is permissible to talk about in a science class. Just like Creationism certainly can not be taught, or any religious belief promoted within the context of a science lesson, ridicule or denigration of specific faiths (or faith in general) should be avoided. Of course the science should be correctly taught whether it offends students or not. But if a student challenges evolution on a religious basis the teacher must remain non-commital.
Something like: "You're entitled to your personal belief, but in this class we must restrict ourself to the treatment of science. I can't speak about faith and Creationism during class time. Sorry."

Of course, I hardly think this approach will appease Creationists who, after all, want religion in the science classroom, but it will be the most honest and correct approach. Still, there's always gonna be opinionated teachers who enjoy going off on a tangent to discuss their own personal opinions rather than the science. So when a student complains that his beliefs are being unduly ridiculed in a science class, the university should look into it. If the teacher is indeed found to be expressing opinion at the cost of proffesionality, the school can say, "yes, we're sorry, Mr So-and-so truly did not meet up to our standards".

I still think the problem is vastly inflated in the video, but there's always room for improvement.

Respectfully,

-Meldinoor


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 5954
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 25 of 44 (550459)
03-15-2010 5:03 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by slevesque
03-15-2010 5:01 PM


Context, context, context
In the context of the video, there is no way this was an attempt at humour.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts
This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by slevesque, posted 03-15-2010 5:01 PM slevesque has responded

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Flyer75
Member (Idle past 503 days)
Posts: 242
From: Dayton, OH
Joined: 02-15-2010


(1)
Message 26 of 44 (550466)
03-15-2010 5:42 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by Meldinoor
03-15-2010 3:28 PM


Although I have a four year degree from a Christian liberal university, it was in Criminal Justice so I had very little dealings with biology, chemistry, ect. Even if I had it would have been from a Christian perspective anyhow, but not sure if it would have been old earth or young earth.

Melindoor writes:

A few years ago I would have scoffed at this statement. Now I suspect you're right. As a Christian I'm appalled by what seems to be going on behind the curtains of evangelical ministry. At least in this country, evangelical Christianity seems (from my point of view) so tied up with anti-intellectualism and a fear of secularism that no lie seems too big to further the cause. In my opinion, no matter how good the ends or how pure the intentions, they never justify the means. Especially if that means duping millions of people to close their eyes to facts and stubbornly cling to a piece of doctrine that they apparently believe Christianity could not survive without.

Interesting points but I see them from the other side of the argument. I think Christians who believe in YEC are woefully ill prepared for a classroom encounter with a professor who might hate Christianity or just might be playing devil's advocate even. I know most of the guys I grew up with, myself included, who attended church, had zero clue why they believed what they believed. The Church has done an abomination to apologetics and about the only time one starts learning and study this stuff, it's on their own time, such as myself now, finally in my early 30's I started caring about why I believed what I do and they may lead to some small changes in my beliefs. But overall, Christian youths, just swim along merrily on their way believing everything they've been taught with no foundation on how to defend it.

I'll now cue the response: "it's hard to defend something that can't be defended". There, I saved everyone allot of time....ha!


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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2720 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 27 of 44 (550467)
03-15-2010 5:56 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by Theodoric
03-15-2010 5:03 PM


Re: Context, context, context
Depends on the point of view I guess, but I smiled when I heard it the first time. But then again I found the intro ''this is Jay ... He's on his way to college'' with a dude walking in the middle of nowhere to be humorous as well.

Besides, your alternative explanation that they did it on purpose because they are aiming a stupid public is not only unsupported (unless you think christian = dumb) but also very conspirationist.


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Rahvin
Member (Idle past 1267 days)
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 28 of 44 (550468)
03-15-2010 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Meldinoor
03-15-2010 5:02 PM


The other problem is that contrasting scientific models with viewpoints that are not scientific has significant value. Students should know, for example, why Genesis is not in any way scientific, and why the Theory of Evolution is.

The trick is to do so in a noncommittal way:

"Science can only deal with that which is testable and verifiable. Religion is different. When Genesis says that God created the world in six days, we have no way to test or verify that. Oh, sure, evidence tells us that the Earth is old and that the processes that resulted in the world we see today took a lot longer than six days...but what if God created the world with the appearance of age? What if we all live in the Matrix right now, and there is no God? What if we're all just figments of God's imagination?

Those are questions for your religious leader or your philosophy classes. Here, we will talk about what we can test, what we can verify, and what observable evidence shows us. Whether you think there is a great Truth that supersedes our human ability to investigate the natural world through our senses is a personal matter left to each of you; in this class you will be required to understand the concepts and principles we will learn about whether you agree with their implications and conclusions or not. Your English professors don't require you to like Pride and Prejudice, but they do expect you to read and understand it.

The reason you need to understand these subjects is because they work. Even though we have some details wrong (and religious Truth or otherwise, we don't ever claim to know everything about anything; if we did, there would be no point to research), the principles you will learn here make predictions that have shown to be accurate in the real world. Whether you agree that evolution is the cause of human origins or not, the process is observable today and is the driving force behind understanding drug resistance, breeding, and a host of other real-world applications."

Demonstrate the difference between scientific and religious methodology; show the difference between a scientific hypothesis and speculation; make it clear that nothing in class can really disprove that which is untestable, anyway; affirm that the intent is not to challenge religious belief, but to ensure competence in the scientific subject matter; show why the subject is important to understand.


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Granny Magda
Member
Posts: 2380
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(1)
Message 29 of 44 (550471)
03-15-2010 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Flyer75
03-15-2010 5:42 PM


Hi Flyer,

But overall, Christian youths, just swim along merrily on their way believing everything they've been taught with no foundation on how to defend it.

I think you may well be right and I also think that this problem stems from the way some religious parents behave with their kids. A recent criticism of religion has been that it is wrong to label a child as a "Christian child" or a "Hindu child". Parents tell their child "You are a Christian." without necessarily explaining what that entails. Such a child is going to be poorly prepared to have their vague Christian ideas challenged when they don't even really understand those ideas in the first place.

Of course, I can't guarantee that closer examination of Christianity will make it any more robust or palatable...

At the other extreme there are those parents who insist upon teaching their kids a lot of things that are going to come under fire in a mainstream educational environment. If you teach your kid nothing but creationism, they're going to get a shock when they hit biology class. If you teach your kid that the Bible is a perfect historical record, they're going to get a shock when they enter a history class, etc. This is simply inevitable. The bottom line is that if you teach your kids stuff that flies in the face of mainstream scholarship, you're setting them up for a fall.

Whatever one's beliefs, I think that it has to be a positive thing to focus less on applying religious labels to one another and more on examining individual ideas on their own merit. That is what education is supposed to be about. As for those of... shall we say, unconventional beliefs, they should have the courage in their convictions to tolerate seeing those beliefs challenged.

Mutate and Survive


"A curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it." - Jacques Monod
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 2888 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


(1)
Message 30 of 44 (550478)
03-15-2010 6:53 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by Granny Magda
03-15-2010 6:20 PM


Granny Magda writes:

If you teach your kid that the Bible is a perfect historical record, they're going to get a shock when they enter a history class, etc. This is simply inevitable. The bottom line is that if you teach your kids stuff that flies in the face of mainstream scholarship, you're setting them up for a fall.

I can attest to this. Since I've already sort of betrayed my youth by admitting that I'm a college freshman anyway, I might as well point out that not too many years ago, I was a creationist as well. This because I was raised to believe evolution was just another "belief" about origins, one that conflicted with my faith. Then, roughly two years ago, I picked up "The Ancestor's Tale" by the esteemed Richard Dawkins and was blown away by what I learned. I'm still reeling from that discovery today, studying anything I can get my hands on and (obviously) participating in this forum with the intent of learning more on the topic.

The resulting backlash sent me on a spiral that's circled through skepticism, into agnosticism, and then back to being a highly skeptical Christian. The result being that I'm wary of statements by church figures or organizations like Focus (Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me), and it has lead me to a more independent and personal search for truth than I might have otherwise embarked on. While in the end I think the outcome's been quite positive, I could have avoided the whole suckerpunch of reality by being more prepared during my upbringing.

I can see how this "culture shock" might weaken and destroy the faith of other young Christians during their formative years. It is truly a shame when this is a result of a more protective "Christian upbringing".

Respectfully,

-Meldinoor


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by Granny Magda, posted 03-15-2010 6:20 PM Granny Magda has responded

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