Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I Think I'm Finally Getting Scared

For years I've been hearing people say how the religious right scares the hell out of them, and I'd sort of pooh-pooh it. From what I could see, for all the noise they were making, they weren't really getting anywhere on the issues they pushed. Yeah, some of them could get elected to local office on a conservative platform, but when they tried to do anything specifically Christian, like introduce creation science, the voters booted them out. It seemed they were just beating their heads on a wall. Even some conservative Christians were saying things like "Why should we fight for prayer in the schools when under the Constitution it will never be a Christian prayer anyway?"

But these attacks on academia are scaring me.

I'll tell a story that Grandma is very fond of telling: When I was in sixth grade, we had to study evolution in science. Now, it may surprise you to know that up until the age of 13, I was a Biblical literalist. Shocking, I know, but true. At age 11, I believed that the creation story in Genesis was factual. And so did my sixth grade teacher. In fact, although she was required to teach evolution, she tore it down at every single point. Now, did little Karen nod with approval at this tactic? No, she absolutely did not. I came home fuming to Grandma about how unfair it was, and how this teacher wasn't teaching right. I could see it for what it was -- an attempt to indoctrinate me rather than teach me the theory I was supposed to learn. It would be like sitting in a Sunday school with a teacher that poked fun at the Bible.

Don't screw with me when I'm trying to learn. Or trying to teach, for that matter. And don't give me this "equal time" nonsense. Should I get upset at the blatantly pro-capistalist sentiments that prevail in the business department? Maybe we should lobby to get some Marxists in there. And medical schools have a proven bias against natural forms of healing; somebody ought to do something about that, too. One could go on and on with such absurdities.

Yeah, there is such a thing as lefty ideologues who try to indoctinate rather than teach, but creating conditions that would make teachers afraid to open their mouths is not the answer. Most teachers are just trying to teach. Remember, in my previous post the philosophy professor was talking about Plato -- it was the right-wing students who screamed "indoctination" when they didn't like what they were hearing. You want to give kids like this the power to sue? They weren't even capable of seeing what the point of the lesson was.

If a professor is a rotten teacher, then address that, rather than make all his colleagues live in fear of lawsuits. Nobody can teach under those conditions.

Besides, when you force somebody to teach something they don't believe is true, you get a presentation like I did in sixth grade -- a teacher who clearly gives the message, "I'm forced to teach this, but it's really stupid and wrong." Maybe somebody should have sued old Mrs. Creationism.

No comments: