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Author Topic: Trouble brewin': Fundamentalists & Universities
Boarsbreath
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posted 16 December 2005 07:35 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I reckon this is Culture, though it imperils Science & Humanities and is occurring in USA.

quote:
A new front in the culture wars
The Lord's word

Dec 14th 2005 | LOS ANGELES From The Economist print edition

Are secular universities discriminating against religious schools? Or are they just setting high standards?

IN ITS opening pages, “Biology for Christian Schools” (Bob Jones University Press) comes straight to the point:
“The people who have prepared this book have tried consistently to put the Word of God first and science second. To the best of the author's knowledge, the conclusions drawn from observable facts that are presented in this book agree with the Scriptures. If a mistake has been made (which is probable since this book was prepared by humans) and at any point God's Word is not put first, the author apologises.”

And that is precisely why a high-school science course using the 693-page book as a primary text does not meet the admission standards of the University of California (UC). It does not, argues the university, reflect “knowledge generally accepted in the scientific and educational communities and with which a student at the university level should be conversant.”

The same, says the university, is true of some other courses—in history, literature and government—offered by Calvary Chapel Christian Schools of Murrieta, a small town south-east of Los Angeles. These courses also rely on books from the Bob Jones University Press and from another Christian publisher, A Beka Books.

Welcome to the latest front in America's culture wars. The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI), the Calvary Chapel Schools and six Calvary Chapel students are suing the university, whose campuses include that traditional bastion of liberal thought, Berkeley, as well as the huge UCLA campus, for what they call “viewpoint discrimination”. The Christian schools add that the university is violating the students' constitutional right to freedom of speech and religion.

The university naturally denies the charges, and this week a federal judge in Los Angeles began considering the preliminary arguments of a contest which could eventually reach the Supreme Court.


http://economist.com/world/na/displaystory.cfm?story_id=5300912


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
arborman
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posted 16 December 2005 07:59 PM      Profile for arborman     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cultures, and particularly dominant cultures like the US, are notoriously good at becoming the architects of their own destruction.

That seems like the plan here - undermine science, make it subservient to the ruling religion. That'll keep the US out in front for sure.

I suppose the rest of us should be glad the US is flirting with this form of self-hobbling approach. It will allow the rest of us an edge.

Who'd have thought a connection with reality would be an edge.


From: I'm a solipsist - isn't everyone? | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged
Boarsbreath
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posted 17 December 2005 09:20 PM      Profile for Boarsbreath   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Edge -- another brilliant American intellectual movement

That's the problem. They happen to produce the most interesting science, AND culture...including criticism of their own trends. It's a continent not a country, the US. We really lose when their cellar-dwellers creep up the stairs and start grabbing things (as has already happened with a lot of the media).


From: South Seas, ex Montreal | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 24 December 2005 06:37 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What I don't understand is why students from these schools actually want to go to Berkeley. While it's unquestionably a great school they're going to get flunked out of the first course (biology/philosophy/whatever) where they come up with a biblical answer and have no other support than "it's God's word".
From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
fast_twitch_neurons
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posted 24 December 2005 10:10 PM      Profile for fast_twitch_neurons     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
abnormal,

I think I disagree with you completely. From what I've seen of universities both at my own (McGill), and by comparing the material to other schools online, most introductory level university courses teach everything from the ground up, and as such coming in with some inadequate preparation should only make it slightly more complicated. Someone who aced biblical biology is not that much worse off than someone who squaked through scientific biology.


From: Montreal | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
maestro
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posted 25 December 2005 07:54 PM      Profile for maestro     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
How, pray tell, would you 'ace' biblical biology?
From: Vancouver | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 25 December 2005 08:03 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
fast_twitch,

I don't think the question is whether or not the school teaches things from the ground up but rather a question of what they teach. How's your basic bible thumper going to survive in a real comparative religions course? I only see three options: (i) they actually listen with an open mind and maybe learn something [doesn't mean change their mind, it only means learn something], (ii) they try to refute the prof by saying "It's God's word and therefore we can't question it" which is a direct route to failure, or (iii) they try to sue the school for refusing to accept alternative points of view. While the individual student may not do well out of this it's guaranteed to provide some entertaining times in front of the Supremes ten years down the road.


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Reality. Bites.
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posted 25 December 2005 08:30 PM      Profile for Reality. Bites.        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by abnormal:
What I don't understand is why students from these schools actually want to go to Berkeley.

Well it's not Berkeley necessarily. It's all the schools of the University of California. I imagine tuition is much lower than at private schools.

A friend of mine used to teach intro level sociology at Indiana U. and a school in Cincinati. He would occasionally receive papers or test answers using "God" or the bible as a reference.

These students got Fs.


From: Gone for good | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
abnormal
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posted 25 December 2005 09:44 PM      Profile for abnormal   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
RB,

I know that as a state school Berkeley's tuition is lower than a lot of the private universities around. However, in at least some disciplines it's home to an academic elite, and by reputation it's not exactly the ultimate bastion of right wing thought in the world.

Translation, it's a tough place to walk into with a weak educational background, especially when that background has required you to accept certain texts as fact with no questions allowed whatsoever. [As an aside I have no problems with students using the bible as a reference in a history/philosphy/religion course provided they actually use it to support their arguments as opposed to arguing that the simple fact that the bible says something is supposed to end the discussion - of course if you use it as a real reference in a biology course and you're going to fail instantly, but that's a little different.]

I can't understand why a highschool guidance counselor would ever tell a student to apply to a school where they were almost certain to fail.

Of course, never forget the mantra:

Those that can, do;
Those that can't, teach;
Those that can't teach, teach teachers;
Those that can't teach teachers become guidance counsellors.


From: far, far away | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
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posted 25 December 2005 09:59 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
abnormal, I'm assuming that they want to go to the U of California because it's nearby, or perhaps because they think they can influence universities to accept biblical science.

Wow. "Viewpoint discrimination." That's a good one!


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged

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