Texas to stop all the inconvient talking in colllege
- Resolution affronts academic freedom
Most of you are probably familiar with David Horowitz's op-ed in the Texan last month. Unfortunately, the Horowitz lobby has been able to take their ultra-conservative propaganda into our state Legislature.
Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, has introduced SCR 3, which will be heard today at the Senate committee on Higher Education, and is part of Horowitz's politically motivated attack on universities.
Horowitz is trying to convince the public that there is a crisis of political bias in college classrooms - one that needs to be solved by stifling the free exchange of ideas, which is so critical to higher education. His campaign is premised on the idea that students need to be protected from professors and the ideas they share in the classroom.
You are only truly free when you follow the dictates of the state. Sounds familiar...
son of parnas
March 28th, 2007 11:58am
I did find it odd that every professor I heard express any political leaning tended to the liberal/independent side.
March 28th, 2007 12:02pm
Reality has a liberal bias.
March 28th, 2007 12:06pm
Good for a bumper sticker.
March 28th, 2007 12:09pm
Reading between the lines is what's troubling.
This is Texas. Does any of us believe that this is altruistic? This is the "Intelligent Design/Creation as Science" scheme but with a broader scope.
"RESOLVED, That the 80th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby encourage the state's colleges and universities to implement policies to safeguard the academic freedom of faculty and students alike and ensure the diversity of opinion not only in the classroom and campus but beyond;"
So they want the college to police diversity outside of their doors? Eh?
In other words: We don't like that you're programmin' our yutes to disagree with our traditional val-yoos. We want you to help us enforce the status quo.
March 28th, 2007 12:24pm
I imagine professors have above average intelligence, how dare you expose vulnerable students to their clearly biassed diatribes.
March 28th, 2007 1:54pm
Ah yes, so there is nothing you can actually point to in that bill, but 'reading between the lines', it is a law mandating the execution of women, gays, blacks, puppies and kittens extending in its scope to all of america.
March 28th, 2007 2:00pm
Fuck man, if we 'encourage' universities to support 'diversity of opinion', we are all going to be fucked man, it is the fucking apocalypse and it is all George Bushes fault! The bastards!
March 28th, 2007 2:02pm
The law has no teeth, it's unimplementable. It's like passing a law that says we should all love each other.
Does anyone think that a professor who advocates casting nubile co-ed virgins into volcanoes (or under his desk, on her knees) should be considered a 'diverse' opinion deserving of protection?
March 28th, 2007 2:08pm
" if we 'encourage' universities to support 'diversity of opinion'"
heh. as always with the republicans these days they say words I like but I dont doubt for a second that they mean something I hate.
Diversity of opinion can mean supporting everything from creationism to passing students for explaining that marx was a gibbering idiot with no intellectual curiosity.
on the whole, these days I am doubtful of people who say things like 'one opinion is as good as another' because more often than not they are insane creationist radicals hellbent on teaching my girls that god wants them to wear a chastity belt and stop eating chocolate.
Overall though, I dont see wha tthe hell business it is of the state what the universities teach or how they teach it. call me old fashioned, but except in extreme cases the state shouldn't be getting involved...if the universities are hotbeds of blinkered thinking people will stop going to them.
Zucchini said what I would have said if I could have been fucking bothered to participate in this thread to a greater extent.
When Texas Republicans start talking about "diversity of opinion", what they mean is that they want their own opinions, regardless of fact, veracity, or relevance, to be represented in curriculum. They want to tie the hands of educators and force them to teach the dogma they think ought to be taught.
Reality really does have a liberal bias, and it pisses them off.
March 28th, 2007 2:16pm
"I'm for diversity of opinion, as long as it agrees with mine" is the usual liberal mantra.
Of course, conservatives do the same thing ... they're just more overt about it.
March 28th, 2007 2:26pm
I think most liberals would be happy if facts were taught in schools. Even if those facts were unflattering to [Liberal agenda here]. Creationism is philosophy. It's fine to be taught as philosophy, IMHO. Intelligent Design is a theory that maybe SHOULD get a little play in schools, but not to the exclusion of Evolution. The thing is, there's not much to talk about from the Intelligent Design standpoint other than "some people think that the world is so crazy complex that it couldn't have happened by accident." That's what, one day out of the entire school year? I'm fine with that.
March 28th, 2007 2:29pm
" Intelligent Design is a theory that maybe SHOULD get a little play in schools"
it shouldn't. anymore than my personal theory about the invisible vampire women causing my wet dreams should.
scientifically speaking, it is total crap.
The basic problem with ID is that no part of it is testable. Therefore you can't use the scientific method on it, and therefore it's not science. Feel free to teach it, just not in a science classroom, and not as an alternative to evolution.
the great purple
March 28th, 2007 2:39pm
It's a valid blurb in a science textbook if handled appropriately, I think. I don't think it could support it's own text, though.
March 28th, 2007 2:40pm
"I'm for diversity of opinion, as long as it agrees with mine"
how about diversity of opinion so long as it agrees with the facts? in most areas of learning personal opinion is fine so long as it is _right_. engineering, IT...every scientific discipline out there is strengthened by a lack of acceptance of crap like 'god created the world'.
the thing is that ID/creationist proponents have not shown a single area where the 'theory' is actually useful. it explains everything and helps with nothing.
if they want it to be accepted by universities/the scientific community then they have to go through the same steps every other scientist goes through..they have to prove it is in some way useful to explain something.
hell, most of einsteins theories were laughed at until he finally managed to point out how they mattered and were useful.
in the other direction, disciplines like psychology and philosophy are based on careful thought. it might be argued that the standards are necessarily lower..proof is harder to come by...but they still have standards and ID still hasn't been shown how it has something more to offer than my invisible vampire theory.
there _is_ an accepted process for getting theories accepted by the academic and scientific community, if idiot theories are having a hard time getting accepted that is maybe the fault of the theory..
"It's a valid blurb in a science textbook if handled appropriately, I think."
no its not. its religion. its place is the bible and bible studies, not science class.
In fairness, it's clearly obvious to everyone that you will never prove God. God is outside of our context, and you can't prove a thing that is free of any context. There's nowhere to start.
That doesn't mean he doesn't exist, and there's no harm in acknowleging that he might.
March 28th, 2007 2:42pm
Granted there's a slippery slope where you can start saying "Invisible vampires *might* exist. Werewolves *might* exist. Pink unicorns wearing thongs *might* exist." which would make for a very long index in your science book.
But... I dunno but there's a but.
March 28th, 2007 2:43pm
"how about diversity of opinion so long as it agrees with the facts?"
That's fine. I will be the one to determine what the facts are. You didn't think it would be you, did you?
Oh wait, you are saying that your opinions are the true facts? No, I don't think so.
March 28th, 2007 2:46pm
no, there is not. science is the study of things we can measure and either can prove scientifically or expect to be able to prove/disprove in the future.
ID is the random imaginings of people too stupid to understand science.
hell, who knows, it may even be right..but it will never, ever be either provable or unprovable and therefore it will never, ever be useful in scientific terms for proving or disproving other ideas.
one of those is science and hence suitable for mention in science class; one of those is total crappy intellectual masturbation and is therefore suitable for mention either in total crappy intellectual masturbation classes, or bible studies.
Yup. zZ has it right. Why does the Legislature feel it is necessary to RESOLVE that the university must "impelment policies to safeguard the academic freedom"? Surely that's what the University was already doing?
Sure, a course on "Women's studies" or whatever could get a feminist slant. That's not the only course, surely? That's not the only conclusions supported in that course?
And a course taught by two Marxists must of course be designed to brain-wash any student so innocent as to attend it.
But this is SO important, that the Legislature must step in to re-vamp those courses to insure each and every one is 'fair' and 'balanced' -- by the Legislature's definition, which I agree hasn't been given. I don't think this is the Legislature's role.
Any time the Republicans step in and start proposing legislation that will "ensure the diversity" and "safeguard academic freedom", I get the worried feeling that the "diversity" they're preserving is their own, and the "academic freedom" they're concerned about is the "freedom" to ignore facts.
Reality doesn't really have a liberal bias -- except to somebody trying to view it from a conservative mindset poisened by too much wishful thinking.
Like gosh, it would be nice if Iraq WAS France after WW-II, and all people really COULD pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and workers really DID accept whatever wages industrialists were willing to pay them, and safety conditions weren't necessary, and the free market would pay good retirements, and Depressions never happened, and taxes were never more than 10% on anybody, and the Military was free, and the budget was balanced.
All those things WOULD be good. Sadly, they are not true. So adjustements must be made, Unions created, taxes collected, social programs supported, some regulation put in place to make it a requirement for companies to support their workers and safety conditions.
March 28th, 2007 2:50pm
"Oh wait, you are saying that your opinions are the true facts? No, I don't think so."
nope, and thats the point. my opinions are neither facts nor sufficiently well thought out to be at home in philosophy or psychology courses and I dont believe for a second they should be taught either in science class or in universities.
> Why does the Legislature feel it is necessary to RESOLVE that the university must "impelment policies to safeguard the academic freedom"?
Since that is not what the bill says, yours is a strawman argument.
March 28th, 2007 2:55pm
Sorry, I thought that when you said "there _is_ an accepted process for getting theories accepted by the academic and scientific community" you meant publication in peer reviewed journals, replication of experimental results, that sort of thing.
March 28th, 2007 2:56pm
"you meant publication in peer reviewed journals, replication of experimental results, that sort of thing"
yep, I did.
still not getting it?
sorry, did you think I meant that because something has been accepted that makes it true?
Gosh, that's funny, I thought I quoted that directly from the bill. What problem do you have with it?
March 28th, 2007 3:01pm
"It's like passing a law that says we should all love each other. "
Ok, you want the bill criticized directly?
"and policies that protect one's freedom need not and should not infringe upon or diminish the freedom of another"
Classic. Orwellian doublespeak at its finest.
What these asshats are trying to say is that the expression of opinions/beliefs infringe and/or diminish the freedom of individuals with conflicting opinions/beliefs.
How utterly moronic.
It would never fly as law for longer than it took the ACLU to apply for an injunction. If universities actually followed the spirit of the resolution, they would be in violation of the law.
Any public official involved in the perpetration of this bill has participated in the theft of taxpayer's money through incompetant, ignorant embezzlement through a waste of their time.
March 28th, 2007 3:25pm
++JoC. Good analysis. Succinct and focussed.
March 28th, 2007 3:44pm