Re: The fall of civilization continues


He could not have been talking about science. He could not have been.

But with that said, there is plenty of room for debate and contention at the boundaries of scientific knowledge. Places where this is not yet a pre-established or certain point of view. This debate is carried on via the scientific method. I don't mean debate like a HS debate contest.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:13 AM
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But, you know, there are a lot of conflicting opinions about the electron band structure of germanium.

Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:22 AM
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heh heh. Come to me when then finally settle on what a 'second' is. I'm tired of adding one in every seven years or so!

Do you know if they ever figured out that photon-splitting half-silvered mirror thing? That thing has been bugging me for a long time.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:40 AM
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Well, Tripp, this guy has some stimulating thoughts on the subject.

Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:46 AM
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Posted by: [redacted] | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:48 AM
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Heh heh.

His conclusion is true. I went into CS. The cash thing was a bubble, but large enough for me to snag a babe.

For years my first question to God was going to be the photon-mirror question. Now I'm starting to think his answer will be "I could tell you but you don't have the math to understand it."


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:49 AM
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I wonder what he thinks of language instruction.

Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:51 AM
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Wasn't there once a time when conservatives were all about leading students to a particular viewpoint, and they castigated liberals for denying same?

Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 11:53 AM
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Don't many conservatives still hold that view about the teaching of, for instance, American History?

Also, shouldn't the titles of this post and the one above it be switched?

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 12:04 PM
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When they believed their viewpoint was being taught, I believe.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 12:05 PM
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Aaaand the committee will be called the David Horowitz Fan Club. The other night one NPR program let him speak for very nearly a half-hour, which my girlfriend and I thought was dispositive evidence that NPR has a liberal bias.

Posted by: Kriston | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 12:54 PM
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I teach at one of the institutions now under the microscope (the one whose union head is quoted in the article). It's a pretty dumb and depressing piece of legislation, but I can't imagine that it will affect anyone's life too strongly, other than leading to some professors being even more concerned with not offending their students than they already are. As it is, the school relies on temporary faculty for much of its teaching and makes rehiring decisions based largely on course evaluations, with predictable results.

If I was in the PA legislature, however, I'd be a bit more concerned about all the professors in the humanities and social sciences who do nothing but show movies in class and give mutiple choice finals. Also, I'd try to make sure the bathrooms are kept cleaner.

Posted by: pjs | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 1:41 PM
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Heisenberg said that if he went to Heaven he'd hope for an answer about quantum theory from God, but that an answer about turbulence in fluids would probably be too much to ask for.

Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 1:59 PM
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Note: this comment should not in any way be construed as supporting the PA legislation, or anything like it.

That said, as a science educator, I most certainly do try to "help the student come to his or her own conclusion rather than try to direct them to a pre-established point of view." What I often tell our physics majors is that what they are really learning at the undergraduate level is how to become an expert in a particular discipline, and the most important skill they can learn is how to check their own work---how to decide if their ideas are correct or bogus. I certainly don't want them to think that learning physics is about getting the answer that's printed in the back of the book. The whole point is to learn how to get the right answer (especially) when it's not printed in the back of the book, and that requires that a student learn how to draw a conclusion, and verify it.

That's a different issue than David Horowitz and the Academic Bill of Rights, which does make my head explode.

Posted by: A. Random Physicist | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 2:22 PM
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I guess I'm in good company.

ARP - I think you do good. Thanks.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 2:41 PM
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I was going to say what A. Random Physicist said, except for the "as a science educator" part.

Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 2:46 PM
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Wasn't there once a time when conservatives were all about leading students to a particular viewpoint, and they castigated liberals for denying same?

That occurred to me, too. Which tempers my lefty outrage at this bill, wondering as I am that it might be just a tad hypocritical. If we're honest about it, isn't it just that their "relevant perspectives" include some that are impossibly dumb? That's not a sufficiently bright line for this kind of thing. And here I thought postmodernism's bitterest legacy was going to be the Scream movies.

Posted by: tom | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 2:49 PM
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I am so out of it. I thought from the quote that Armstrong was going to be a lefty. Note that you can think that it is bad for professors to shove their views down students' throats and still oppose having the gummint set up a committee to provide a forum for whining about getting a D for not doing the assignment. (via Healy.)

Utah likes to pull this kind of shit every so often (unfortunately the links to the Salt Lake Tribune are probably all broken), though maybe it's preferred to

>take a meat axe to a University's funding

if it lets its students put on the Vagina Monologues.

Anyway, I bet Pennsylvania's Gov. Rendell will veto this if it gets to his desk, but it couldn't hurt to contact him.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 3:59 PM
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Speaking of broken links, "take a meat axe" should go here.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 4:00 PM
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Oh boy! I hope that PA passes Horowitz's "Academic Bill of Rights" too, because then I can sue the state to give equal time to my own religion's views on geography! See, my religion, Tuxology, holds that the earth is flat. As vs. that heretical "round earth theory" that geography professors brainwash their students into believing. We have lots of evidence that the world is flat. For example, if the world wasn't flat, everybody in the southern hemisphere would fall off of it! We demand equal time for our religion's theory of geography, dagnabit!

- Badtux the Tuxologist Penguin

Posted by: BadTux | Link to this comment | 07- 8-05 5:42 PM
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Rendell doesn't get to veto this. Its a legislative investigation. A lot of the background fighiing over this -- of which there has been a great deal -- was over whether evil liberal professors would be subpeonaed and dragged in to testify etc. Simply put, the Santorumistas have too large a block for the supposedly sensible leadership to rein them in on this. And the Santorumistas believe, because they were told so at the American Legislative Exchange Council, that this is good politics, weakens progressives by getting at the roots of the progressive fuehrer bunkers in universities and will liberate the opressed college Republicans.

Its my understanding that the hearings themselves will be quite a show. I'm not sure if Leaping Lanny Poffo (The Professor in the old WWF) or Shane Douglas (the Dean) will make a run in at the last minute with Richard Vedder to put a beating on Stanley Fish, but that captures the atmosphere.

But I believe the prospect is still quite small for legislation above and beyond the show, for example, passing something that would make it easier to launch nuisance law suits against faculty members that allegedly violate ABOR.

Posted by: benton | Link to this comment | 07- 9-05 9:55 PM
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You know, there's a reason they're the students at the university.

They don't know anything. Yet. It's not their fault. That's why they're in college.

Many kids who write poorly argued papers are convinced that it's because the prof isn't smart enough to understand their level of genius, or that they are trying something new and bold and creative, and I'm sure they think that they're being confined and inhibited.

But it's not that. They're just not that good at writing. Yet.

So, now a kid writes a crappy paper defending the fine tuning argument and if it gets a C for being a crappy paper, it'll be because he's an oppressed ID'er? You know this is going to happen.

Weiner, was Santorum always this nuts, or has he moved rightward lately?

Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07-10-05 10:41 PM
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Always this nuts. I don't know if he actually has anything to do with this, though--since he doesn't even live in the state, he may not have much contact with the State Lege. (Warning: Use of "beg the question" to mean "raise the question" in link.)

This doesn't really provide evidence for "always," but read the full man-on-dog transcript if you haven't lately. You can't fake that kind of crazy.

Posted by: Matt Weiner | Link to this comment | 07-10-05 10:58 PM
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