The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #134693   Message #3077261
Posted By: Bill D
18-Jan-11 - 01:41 PM
Thread Name: BS: Young Earth Creationism
Subject: RE: BS: Young Earth Creationism
Many years ago when I was a graduate teaching fellow in Philosophy, I was responsible for one lecture/discussion section out of a 400 person 101 class.
The professor wanted each student to write a short paper to balance the pure memorization and guesswork of the usual exams. The first topic he picked, to 'stimulate interest' was "The Existence of God"....big mistake! The point was to get the students to show they understood the arguments for & against and thus to better understand what Philosophical inquiry was all about....and we graduate students explained several times....s-l-o-w-l-y... that the goal was NOT to simply state your belief and defend it, but to show what was usually done in various systems.

   Well, when paper grading time came, I'll bet 75% of the papers..(this was in Kansas!)... did exactly what we told them not to do!...and 95% of those were simply variations of "I believe in the Bible and the word of God as printed, and all those other theories are deluded".
    I had to grade some pretty good students at C or below because they simply could NOT get the point that understanding was the goal, not just asserting and defending.
   There was however, in another section an exception...the other grad student brought me a paper written by a young Black student that was exceptional...he had explained that although he was a serious Christian and held his beliefs strongly, he saw the value of understanding what others thought...and why.... and he went on to go a clear, concise paper doing exactly what was requested.

What we learned was that the process of getting folks who were brought up in a tradition to just learn 'thinking' was really hard when all they were concerned with was resisting anything which even looked like a threat to their positions.
In future papers, we tried to choose less knee-jerk topics.