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Author Topic: Academia and Evangelicals  (Read 11885 times)
prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #165 on: December 20, 2012, 5:54:58 PM »


4) It does not really make any difference whether an evangelical, fundamentalist, etc., student or professor believes the earth is 6000 years old, unless he is in a position to be teaching a class dealing in some respect with the age of the earth.  Really, it doesn't.  Most people have many beliefs, many of which will at some point be proved or likely proved to be false.  Having these beliefs does not impact their lives, for the most part. 

(bolding mine)

So, at  minimum: physics, chemistry, biology, geosciences, history, anthropology....

And there are many that don't: English, math, accounting, art, music, finance, computer science, psychology, sociology, all things business, philosophy, and the main focus of history is not when the world began. Most history starts with Mesopotamia, which is around 300 BC or maybe the Egyptians, but the study of Natufians is pretty niche-y-fied.
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spork
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« Reply #166 on: December 20, 2012, 6:13:42 PM »


[. . .]

Egyptians

[. . . ]

The teaching of art, literature, and any other cultural product would also have to be excluded. Recorded history for the Egyptians goes back at least 5,000 years, with Paleolithic to Neolithic artifacts from cultures all over the world going back several tens of thousands of years. Manufactured stone tools -- if one considers their existence to be indicative of culture -- go back 1.5 to 2.5 million years.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 6:16:37 PM by spork » Logged

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"There are no bad ideas, only great ideas that go horribly wrong."

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mountainguy
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« Reply #167 on: December 20, 2012, 6:21:34 PM »

My $.02: students are free to believe what they want. However, they are not free to disrupt instruction by vocally objecting to ideas that are taken for granted as facts in academic disciplines, nor are they free to claim that they should be exempt from having to understand* such ideas for the purposes of academic assessment. Beyond that, it's really none of my business what students believe. I've taught religiously conservative students in the past, and I'm sure I'll have such students again in the future. Some perform well in my classes (I just wrote a recommendation for one) and some don't. Their religiosity had nothing to do with their performance.

But that and $0.48 more won't get you a cup of coffee.



*I wish to stress here that by "understand," I mean the ability to explain and to recognize the constituent parts and assumptions of an idea.
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #168 on: December 20, 2012, 6:40:33 PM »


[. . .]

Egyptians

[. . . ]

The teaching of art, literature, and any other cultural product would also have to be excluded. Recorded history for the Egyptians goes back at least 5,000 years, with Paleolithic to Neolithic artifacts from cultures all over the world going back several tens of thousands of years. Manufactured stone tools -- if one considers their existence to be indicative of culture -- go back 1.5 to 2.5 million years.

Yeah, but you begin to cross the line over into anthropology.
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nezahualcoyotl
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« Reply #169 on: December 20, 2012, 6:46:59 PM »

In response to

Funny how few avowed atheists have actually ever investigated the roots, culture, sociology and theology of this group or groups.  

and

Yes, there are many Christians who know a lot about atheism.  Maybe that's because they're less close-minded than you are.  Maybe it's because they're less likely to dismiss any group of people as unsalvageable and without value.

then why do atheists perform better than any religious group on the Pew Religious Knowledge survey?

+1. But of course, it's much easier to pull a convenient "fact" (atheists know nothing about religion) out of thin air.

Random points:

1) Thank you to all who pointed out that I had misquoted bcochlan1.  He did not say 'threatened the existence of a college professor'... he did say 'directly impacted the existence of a college professor'.  He said this clearly, and at least one other poster subsequent to my remarks quoted the section again directly, where he did this. We will leave it to the collective judgment of the fora to decide what exactly the difference is, and I continue to challenge bcochlan to tell me what these impacts are...


Believe it or not, there's a difference between "directly impacted the existence of a college professor" and "directly impacted the day-to-day existence of a college professor".  Your inability to see that difference and to understand why it would matter in the discussion you were participating in would be worrying if you were actually a professor yourself.  

Plus, there's a difference between "impact" and "threaten the existence of."
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #170 on: December 20, 2012, 6:48:38 PM »

Impact the existence of...

Impact the day-to-day existence of...

The same questions applies: How?
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systeme_d_
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No T, no shade. Usually.


« Reply #171 on: December 20, 2012, 6:51:01 PM »


[. . .]

Egyptians

[. . . ]

The teaching of art, literature, and any other cultural product would also have to be excluded. Recorded history for the Egyptians goes back at least 5,000 years, with Paleolithic to Neolithic artifacts from cultures all over the world going back several tens of thousands of years. Manufactured stone tools -- if one considers their existence to be indicative of culture -- go back 1.5 to 2.5 million years.

Yeah, but you begin to cross the line over into anthropology.

And Religion.  
Human activities usually considered to be "religious" are dated to at least the Middle Paleolithic.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 6:51:17 PM by systeme_d_ » Logged

bcohlan1
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« Reply #172 on: December 20, 2012, 7:40:44 PM »

Spork and others have pointed out that they have not had the same sorts of experiences with disruptive fundamentalist students that I and others (larryc and yellowtractor, and I'm sure some others whose posts I won't go back to search for) have had. This is not surprising, as regions, institutions, and their cultures differ. But such students do exist, and I still think my point that their behavior influences the numbers in this poll is valid (of course you may disagree). Note that that was my point all along: that this behavior probably contributes to these numbers. Attacks on me seemingly unrelated to anything I've said are just...confusing. Disturbing? Off-putting? Revealing? Choose your adjective, folks.

Kay, my point about such behavior affecting the day-to-day existence of professors was pretty clear, I thought, but I'll reiterate. Actually I'll just requote yellowtractor quoting me so as to save you the trouble of going back to look:

I think it's just because professors in the USA actually have to deal with fundamentalist Christians constantly: they interrupt class to talk about their own beliefs, start grade disputes asserting that their beliefs should allow them to ignore facts, and in many regions have the force of local culture behind them so that the professor is painted as some sort of diabolical villain in these scenarios. Muslims generally don't do this, at least not in the USA, even if some of them also hold extreme beliefs, because they generally cannot expect the same kind of groundswell of support from other students in the class, local people, random people in admin, etc.

In other words, I don't think it is people's beliefs themselves that these professors have negative feelings toward, but rather the widespread expectation of this particular subgroup of people who call themselves evangelicals that their beliefs entitle them to special rights and privileges. It's when their beliefs lead them to (ridiculous) actions that directly impact a professor's day-to-day existence that such feelings are created. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.

I want to reiterate these two posts--with the addition I've made in boldface--which sum up my own observations over my past ten years in higher education, both of students and of colleagues.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 7:42:19 PM by bcohlan1 » Logged

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spork
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« Reply #173 on: December 20, 2012, 8:55:57 PM »

I find it interesting that the people who wrote up the survey separated out one group of Christians from the rest; yet all Jews and all Muslims are lumped together in their respective groups.

Yes, this is silly.
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a.k.a. gum-chewing monkey in a Tufts University jacket

"There are no bad ideas, only great ideas that go horribly wrong."

"Please do not force people who are exhausted to take medication for hallucinations." -- Memo from the Chair, Department of White Privilege Studies, Fiork University
fizmath
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« Reply #174 on: December 20, 2012, 9:50:47 PM »

I find it interesting that the people who wrote up the survey separated out one group of Christians from the rest; yet all Jews and all Muslims are lumped together in their respective groups.

Yes, this is silly.

I think that those are the categories that draw the most attacks and discussion in contemporary America.  Jews are lumped together because no one says "I despise Sephardics but Falashas are OK".   The same goes for Muslims.  In this and many threads Evangelicals in the classroom are a concern but no one really ever worries about Bulgarian Orthodox, Ethiopian Copts or Nestorians. I do agree that class should not be interrupted to dispute well established theories.  I myself have never had a problem with them and I am on the fringes of the Bible belt.

My observation that an Evangelical professor can get just as intellectual as anyone else but you would not know it from the typical Evangelical bookstore.  Those are some of the worst bookstores I have visited.  You will find next to nothing on history.  There are few books written before the 20th century.  The artwork they sell is of the Kinkade variety and worse.  I prefer the melodies of a jackhammer over the inspirational music being sold.
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flyingbison
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« Reply #175 on: December 20, 2012, 11:05:26 PM »



I'm not sure what you mean by supernatural, then. Most of the atheists I know use the term to mean a worldview that includes a belief that the non-material is real, though some admittedly simply use it as shorthand for "Christian."

I was 3/4 of the way through a long, theological response to this, but even I was bored by it ... so screw it.

I wasn't drawing a distinction between material and non-material.  What I meant by supernatural, is that evangelicals (as well as some other types of christians, and some other types of theists) believe in a god who purposefully intervenes in the natural realm through supernatural acts (i.e., miracles), the most important of which is the bodily resurrection of Jesus after being dead for at least 36 hours.

There are other forms of faith and spirituality, that do not require a belief in supernatural interventions.
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flyingbison
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« Reply #176 on: December 20, 2012, 11:12:11 PM »


5) Like it or not, people like bcochlan, the erstwhile wannabe fundamentalist megachurch pastor, who have converted to a different stream of spiritual thinking, oftentimes remain highly hostile to the views (and holders of the views) of those who continue to hold the beliefs they have themselves renounced.  This does color greatly the way they approach life and deal with these people, and it would simply not be intellectually honest of us to deny this.


Speaking only for myself, I would say there is some truth to this point.  As the old adage says, "familiarity breeds contempt."  Or at least, familiarity breed confidence in one's position.  I have strong opinions about christianity, based on personal experience, formal education, and professional experience.
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mouseman
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WWW
« Reply #177 on: December 20, 2012, 11:26:35 PM »

Jews are lumped together because no one says "I despise Sephardics but Falashas are OK".  .

That is a derogatory term, so please do not use it.
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fizmath
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« Reply #178 on: December 21, 2012, 12:25:44 AM »

Jews are lumped together because no one says "I despise Sephardics but Falashas are OK".  .

That is a derogatory term, so please do not use it.

Huh?  That is the only word I have ever seen used to describe them.  It's used in the following article and no mention is made of it being derogatory. 
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/ejhist.html
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egilson
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« Reply #179 on: December 21, 2012, 12:28:28 AM »

I'm not sure what you mean by supernatural, then. Most of the atheists I know use the term to mean a worldview that includes a belief that the non-material is real, though some admittedly simply use it as shorthand for "Christian."

I was 3/4 of the way through a long, theological response to this, but even I was bored by it ... so screw it.

I wasn't drawing a distinction between material and non-material.  What I meant by supernatural, is that evangelicals (as well as some other types of christians, and some other types of theists) believe in a god who purposefully intervenes in the natural realm through supernatural acts (i.e., miracles), the most important of which is the bodily resurrection of Jesus after being dead for at least 36 hours.

There are other forms of faith and spirituality, that do not require a belief in supernatural interventions.

I think it's probably best to stick with standard rather than personal definitions in any sort of discussion. Even so, by your definition (which seems to be that belief in the supernatural means belief in the intervention of Deity in the material world in ways that include those that appear to be contrary to nature) I still believe in the supernatural. I also think that it would be an interesting challenge to try to identify religious beliefs and practices that do not recognize the manifestation of the supernatural within the natural, but that's really something to talk about at a different time and place.
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