Things they’d have difficulty believing in Salt Lake City X

13 03 2008

The week in fundie . . .

  1. The stupid!! It burns!!! Upon hearing tell of visions of the Virgin Mary appearing in the sky, 50 Indians have burnt their retinas staring into the sun. (via Pharyngula)
  2. Britain is deporting two Iranian homosexuals on the grounds that “provided Iranians are discreet about their homosexuality, they will not be persecuted.” (via Dispatches from the Culture Wars)
  3. Gandalf teh Gay wants to destroy Baby Jesus!!!!!!!!! (Scotsman)
  4. A Catholic bishop in the UK likens criticism of Catholicism to Holocaust-denial, and demands that school libraries ban “anti-Catholic” books. (Independent)
  5. The same bishop furthers the case for putting a stop to funding sectarian schools with tax dollars (or pounds in this instance) by decreeing that crucifixes be hung in every classroom, and reality-based sex education be banned from every classroom. I say: let the Vatican fund his madrassahs. (Daily Mail)

UPDATE: Bruce has a compelling post on disturbing connections between the In God We Trust foundation (remember those “Why Do Atheists Hate America?” billboards?), dominionism and the modern incarnation of the Knights Templar. These aren’t your daddy’s neo-medievalist lunatics!

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7 responses

13 03 2008
Sammy Jankis

You just shake your head at the suggestion that gays are taking advantage of events remembering the holocaust. I mean, it’s not as if homosexuals suffered at the hands of the Nazis…

Oh, BTW – Tagged.

13 03 2008
SB

AV: I say: let the Vatican fund his madrassahs.

No. This totally wrong. Schools should be for the purpose of education. Proselytisers of every stripe should be banned from all schools. Schools set up for the specific purpose of indoctrination need to be closed down. I respected most the teachers who kept their personal views out of it, who as a matter of professional pride presented all sides so well that the students couldn’t tell which side the teacher was on.

14 03 2008
AV

No. This totally wrong. Schools should be for the purpose of education. Proselytisers of every stripe should be banned from all schools. Schools set up for the specific purpose of indoctrination need to be closed down.

I’m with you on that one, SB, but I think its highly unlikely that we’ll see the closing down of faith schools. And in fairness, many of them keep the indoctrination to a bare minimum, and at least try to compartmentalise the religious and educational wings of their operation. The next best thing is to ensure that schools which do want to engage in religious indoctrination not be permitted to do so at the largesse of the taxpayer, and to ensure that all schools meet minimum educational standards.

14 03 2008
ozatheist

The only funding to be stopped should be public funding of private schools!

14 03 2008
Bruce

I respected most the teachers who kept their personal views out of it, who as a matter of professional pride presented all sides so well that the students couldn’t tell which side the teacher was on.

I can’t say that I agree with this.

While I intend to give a balanced range of information where possible (limits have to be observed because you can’t possibly teach all views and value judgements and bias are inherent in all curriculum decisions – we chose not to teach larceny, and not to teach 1+1=3) but I’m not going to keep my position secret from my students.

I’d encourage my students to vet my representations; I may have used a straw man characture in presenting views I don’t agree with, or I may have been inadvertently been uncritical of my own position; or I may have been utterly balanced but they still would get marks for critical thinking if they demosntrated that they double checked. This can’t be done nearly as well if I kept my position concealed.

Oddly enough, one of my tutors was accused of being intellectually intimidating (he was critical of every idea a student put forward and he graded poor work accordingly), which is understandable because he was rather intelligent. I had several energetic debates with him, and while we agreed on the conclusion (in that moral relativism was rubbish, that egoism was rubbish, that absolutism was rubbish, that various models of utilitarianism had their own problems, etc) we were poles appart in our justifications and even our use of some terms. Indeed, all in all we probably disagreed more than he did with most students, including most of the ones who disagreed with his conclusions.

Regardless of our multiple disagreements, I easily got better than average grades. And neither of us hid our own views (indeed our debating was excellent for my education at least).

The other student’s claim to be intellecutally intimidated was only true in as far as they found him intimidating. He didn’t actually engage in intimidation.

15 03 2008
SB

Bruce I was talking about high school. There I had more respect for the teachers that did make an effort to put all sides and not to take sides.

At uni I found the smart teachers enjoyed the contest but the others were more insecure. With the latter it is better to feed their egos and take the marks. After a while you learn to avoid their classes. Arguing is a great way to learn, and I think students get more out of it if they push their teachers. This means reading hard and taking risks, realising that as a student you are often going to be wrong, but if you come a cropper in class you usually remember it well and learn from that.

15 03 2008
Bruce

Bruce I was talking about high school.

Yep. I know. Principle is the same and high school students can handle arguing their corner provided the challenge is make explicit to them (discussing the criteria of an assessment rubric at the start of a unit works wonders in this regard).

With the latter it is better to feed their egos and take the marks. After a while you learn to avoid their classes.

I think you’ll find an analogous scenario to this in most workplaces. More workplace politics than political ideology.

There’s also the “the student is more familiar with the authors cited in the readings than we are! Let’s give them an average mark and no feedback, and then maybe it won’t look like we don’t know what they are on about.” Unfortunately, it gets a little obvious when they avoid having you answer questions put to the class because you can give more in depth answers than they can (and they go blank when you do).

I’m glad the latter wasn’t the norm! Only one class.

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