Monday, March 30, 2009

Academic stupidity

I try to be understanding of students. I know that society at large tends to downplay intelligence and science. I have little respect for people like Houston Friend(I'm going to assume that the person is male and, in fact, named Houston). I don't know Houston, but as he posts on the Arizona State University college paper website, I have gotten to know a little bit about him since he posted this interesting article complaining about a poor grade on a paper. Why did he get his poor mark? What excuse did his dastardly instructor use to tear down this poor person's paper?
I soon perused the plethora of red marks throughout the paper and began to notice generally why I did poorly. The principle reason I got a C was because I didn’t have enough “evidence,” as this particular paper required a certain amount of references to sources read throughout the semester.
That sounds perfectly reasonable. If the paper was supposed to be researched, arguing adequately in the realms of reason and philosophy relative to the subject instead of actually presenting evidence will not cut it. I wonder what the subject of the class was. I'm inclined to say biology, and I'll present my evidence soon.
Houston has some odd beliefs. Among them:
I think we have been accustomed to perceive intelligence as a product of one’s ability to present concrete evidence, especially scientifically. Not to say this is completely wrong or ineffective, but I think we must consider the possibility of metaphysical realities. And maybe, just maybe, we live in world that can’t always be explained rationally.
Well, Houston, the first problem is that we can, in fact, explain the world we live in rationally. The reason James Randi has never paid out his million dollar prize is because NO ONE has yet demonstrated a supernatural reality. No one has plausibly recorded an event which cannot be explained through science. This is the reason atheists exist. It is the reason I am an atheist. Pony up the proof, or walk away. I have no time in my life to entertain the delusions of people who can't or won't think rationally.
This seems like an odd thing to be arguing about. I mean, what class could he be railing about? I doubt an English class would require multiple sources throughout a semester(unless it was a scientific writing class, in which case Houston has even less of my sympathy). He leaves a clue, though:
So when the Intelligent Design theory is inevitably banned from discussion in all public schools, let us remember that science has led us to believe at one time that the earth was flat or that eugenics was a necessary study.
Ah, I see. It was likely a biology class. Why? Because Houston has complained about ID before, in this lovely article:
Ben Stein’s documentary “Expelled,” which opened in theaters this time last year, exposed the slow but effective disintegration of ID (Intelligent Design) in education, especially secondary education. The documentary clearly illuminates the fact that ID and evolution are essentially only theories, and that if professors have been fired for even identifying ID as on the same plane as evolution, that’s a concerning injustice.
Perhaps Houston ought to look into the facts about Ben's little "documentary."

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