A Few Arguments About Our Mis-Educational System

Every time I begin arguing with a liberal over the efficacy of our current system of mis-education, it almost always gets around to a few retorts from them. They say I am anti-intellectual or they say that because I’m conservative, then religion must form the bedrock basis of all my ideas and, therefore, my ideas are invalid. Then they say I don’t know “the truth” because of all this. Sometimes all come up at once working together like a regular tag-team of ideas to invalidate conservative views.

But a few arguments always befuddle them and I love to see the confusion descend over their eyes as they try to figure out a way to reply.

Before I get too far into this, though, one thing they do is tout definitions of the terms of debate written by those ensconced in the education fields under discussion. They then say these definitions are “fact.” I ask them if they understand that they are taking the word of interested parties on the definition of terms and ask them if such biased sources should be automatically accepted? If they say yes — and they usually do — I then ask them why they won’t accept the biased definitions of religious authorities, then? Why should university folks be so automatically right, even though they are biased in favor of defining their terms in a self-serving manner but the same self-serving definitions have to be wrong when the religious are in dictionary mode?

At this they usually just cock their eyebrows and move on as if I never said anything.

So, as their argument goes, they tell me that religion is utter superstition and that the received wisdom of religion is necessarily anti-intellectual. They say that just believing what a priest or minister tells me is relinquishing my ability to think for myself.

Firstly, the Christian religion has, since the reformation, been grounded in a personal journey through the belief system of Jesus and the words of the Bible. Since Gutenberg started up his first printing press and began churning out copies of the Holy Bible, Christians individually and necessarily became students of religion, not just rote receivers. Christians are supposed to read, consider, inculcate, and come to understand the Bible intellectually, not just be indoctrinated into it. So, right off the bat the liberals are ignorant of Christianity when they claim it is anti-intellectual.

Further, a strong argument can be made that Christians invented the very scientific method that the left thinks is exclusively their domain.

But, even if that were not the case, think about what the liberals are saying, here. They are saying that just being told what to believe by a priest is anti-intellectual.

Alright, let’s go with that. Here is the proper reply: “Aren’t you just being anti-intellectual, then, because all you are doing is taking the received wisdom of a University professor, assuming it is all ‘fact,’ and moving on as if you have ‘learned’ something?”

When they reply in return that, no, the professor is helping them understand and then allowing them to think for themselves and Christianity doesn’t do that, then refer them to point one above. Christianity operates on exactly the same model as the universities where it concerns the passing on of knowledge: You listen, you read, you consider, and then you decide what to accept. And certainly there are universities that discourage intellectual exercise just as there are churches that do the same.

Friend to the blog, Jeff Reynolds, puts it well. “An un-skeptical faith in any orthodoxy is a dangerous self-delusion and an anti-intellectual way of viewing the world — whether that be based in science or faith. You present your case very well, Warner – your faith is an ongoing conversation, and a lifelong learning experience. The other side states with breathless fervor that the science is settled, completely ignorant (willfully or not) that that’s not how science works.”

Now, before I go on, I should say that my views on religion would be considered a bit heretical with many of my conservative brethren. In fact, I am rather like our religiously unorthodox founding generation. I am no Deist, mind you – and few of them were either, but that is the first question I get — but I don’t believe in the strict tenets of any organized religion.

Further, I fully understand the journey the Bible took before it got to my tiny little hands in 1962! The Bible I was made familiar with as a child was not the same Bible that the First Church used — or even the second church for that matter. Men did a lot of tinkering with that wonderful book from its earliest days to ours.

Still, this is part of the intellectual discovery of Christianity.

OK, that aside, let’s get to to the other thing. “Truth.”

They sternly tell me that Christianity cannot be “truth” because they feel truth is only something that can come from outside religion. They tell me that science is truth, for instance. They tell me that education brings truth.

I reply that the “truth” of science changes all the time. Man’s journey through science is shot through with the over turning of assumed truth. In fact, several times every decade some scientific “fact” is demolished and replaced with the new one.

So, what is “truth,” anyway? Can something be unchangeably true? Here they usually begin to fall into the regrettable penchant of the modern university set to talk of how the truth is relative. But once they start down this path they’ve completely undermined their own argument whether they understand that or not.

If truth is fungible, then they must have to agree that religious ideas — whether indoctrinated or intellectually discovered — must be as valid as anything else. After all, if there is no “truth,” then anything goes. And this whole argument that everything is relative then completely destroys the value of the education they think they are receiving. After all, if my “truth” isn’t your “truth,” then why is anything taught in their university of value?

Anyway, I love to see their eyes bounce around as these concepts start to boggle them. Usually the discussion just trails off with them still saying the same things they came into the argument with. They simply refuse to accept — or are unable to grasp — the fact that their basis for their entire belief system was undermined by their own beliefs.

But it’s still fun to argue.

For an interesting series on today’s education establishment, see John Feeny’s three-part series.

Shortlink:

Posted by on July 17, 2012.
Filed under Conservatives, corruption, Democrats, Education, Liberals.
Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago-based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment.com and BigJournalism.com, RightWingNews.com, CanadaFreePress.com, RightPundits.com, StoptheACLU.com, Human Events Magazine, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events.He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book "Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture" which can be purchased on amazon.com. He is also the owner and operator of PubliusForum.com. Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions, EMAIL Warner Todd Huston: igcolonel .at. hotmail.com"The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it." --Samuel Johnson

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  • Commander_Chico

    Interesting argument. So, if I understand you correctly, since postmodernism says that all knowledge is subjective and that knowing an objective truth is impossible, you might as well go with religion, because it’s no more bullshit than anything else.

    Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • jim_m

      If you truly believe in postmodernism and that all truth is relative then yes. However, most people do not really believe that. They all believe that THEIR truth is correct and everyone else’s is incorrect. Post modernists are at their roots hypocrites because they only want a way to deny uncomfortable facts.

      The classic Mythbusters quote, “I deny your reality and substitute my own!” encapsulates this nicely. At least Adam Savage said it in jest..

      • Meiji_man

        People who act like they can substitute reality tend to die painfully.
        Or they wind up shooting a canon though a ladies house.

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

          I think that was just a cannon ball and not the cannon itself… That’s one segment we’ll never got to see!

      • Commander_Chico

        “I deny your reality and substitute my own!”

        That pretty much sums up arguments based on religion.

        • jim_m

          It also sums up the bizarre rationalizations of Jay and grumpy, who deny that anything illegal happened in Fast and Furious (unless of course it was Bush’s fault) and that obama is a conservative, and that CNN is a conservative propaganda outlet…

          It also sums up global warmism, which also happens to be a religion.

    • retired.military

      “ecause it’s no more bullshit than anything else.
      Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

      Something you libs are very familiar with

      • Guest

        whatever..

        • retired.military

          Ahh That’[s nice Chico. Your bud Mr Lying Chickenshit Buillshitter is taking up for you. Maybe he is a pedophiliac teacher and he appreciates your sticking up for him in the other thread.

        • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

          DERP!

        • Vagabond661

          Whatever? Again? I am starting to believe that Grumpy is a 14 year old.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            You insult 14 year olds everywhere…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_IZ5BM5GNLA54OADSWGSXAMA7SY Jay


    Further, a strong argument can be made that Christians invented the very scientific method that the left thinks is exclusively their domain.

    Today I learned that Christians created the scientific method instead of it being based on the Socratic method of the philosopher Socrates…

    If truth is fungible, then they must have to agree that religious ideas — whether indoctrinated or intellectually discovered — must be as valid as anything else.

    Okay, so truth is fungible. And religious beliefs are valid. So Muslim beliefs are just as valid as any Christian beliefs. Right… So I’m to believe that the Muslim belief in 4 wives is just as valid as Mormonism, Utilitarianism, Protestantism, or Catholicism.

    No wonder Jefferson just focused on Christ’s teachings when he created his own Bible…

    After all, if my “truth” isn’t your “truth,” then why is anything taught in their university of value?

    Not all truths are created equal. Scientific theories can be tested. Facts can be proven or disproven. But how one believes in regarding their religious beliefs is subjective and open to interpretation.

    • Guest

      Kool-aid, then tin foil hat. It will all make sense….

      • retired.military

        Hey Mr Chickenshit bullshitter

        You just gave yourself away. now we know what is wrong with you.

        • Guest

          whatever, dweeb.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            DERP! DERP!! DERP!!!

          • retired.military

            I have been called worse by much better than you Mr Chickenshit Bullshitter.

            Hey Jay, you said Grumpy was a big boy but umm he aint too well at proving it.

          • Guest

            whatever….

          • retired.military

            Rodney

            I think I am wearing Mr Lying chickenshit Buillshitter down. I dont know how many more titles he will acquire while I do it though.

          • Jwb10001

            What’s that now 4 whatever’s I guess the troll (yes dumbass Grumpy you’re the troll here) can’t manage any sorta response at all.

          • retired.military

            Whats the matter Mr Chickenshit Bullshitter.

            You all pissed off when someone nails your ass to the wall with your lies. You poor baby. You know Grumpy all you have to do is provide one little link to someone on this board defending pedophile priests and you could put me in my place. Just one little link to disprove me. I mean it still wouldnt back up your statement … uimm what was it again?

            Oh yeah. Let me quote you to get it right.

            “t’s all over this blog, most recently through ad hominem attacks on anybody who dares point out the atrocities committed and hidden by higher ups in the Catholic church.
            And have you noticed how each criticism of a priest pedophile is answered by asshats defending the Catholic pedophile by pointing out abuse by school teachers?”

            Since it is all over this board mr Chickenshit Buillshitter why is it so hard to find someone defending Catholic pedophiles?
            I mean you wouldnt be talking out your ass would you? As usual.

          • Guest

            whatever… what you want doesn’t matter at all. You’re an inconsequential troll.

          • retired.military

            Hey Mr Lying chickenshit Buillshitter?

            I am a troll?? You are here on a conservative board spouting your liberal Buillshit, calling everyone a racist (because that is about the limit of your vocabulary) and I am a troll? You are troll. You just dont like getting called on it.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            DERP!
            Troll!
            DERP!
            Racist!
            DERP!
            Democrat in good standing!
            DERP!

          • Jwb10001

            Hey Grump I don’t think troll means what you think it does.

          • http://www.rustedsky.net JLawson

            #inigomontoya, lol.

      • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

        DERP! DERP!

    • jim_m

      THanks Jay. Today we learned that you think that the Koch Brother’s own FOX news and not Rupert Murdoch. (I suppose someone will inform the Murdoch family shortly) and we learned that CNN is losing viewers because they spew right wing propaganda (funny how they are losing those viewers to FOX. You’d think that if CNN were so conservative that those viewers wouldn’t have to go to FOX).

      You are incoherent and illogical. You have demonstrated that you have little or no connection to reality. Thanks for offering such amusement.

    • SCSIwuzzy

      The scientific method is NOT based on the Socratic method. Among the Greeks, Aristotle, Archimedes and Thales were the pioneers of empirical and experimental methods.
      The Socratic method is a tool in teaching and debate, not of research.

  • retired.military

    I thought we were going to talk about the rampant sexual abuse of children by teachers.

    Our education system would be much better if teachers stopped screwing the students and the union continue to cover it up.

    Want a link to prove it? Well expect Jay to say that you are doing an ad hominim attack by asking someone to prove that they just didnt pull a statement out of their ass and you arent advancing the discussion. I mean hell just because Grumpy pulls something out of his ass with zero proof that means that we shouldnt ask for proof now should it. We should just stand there and try to disprove it.

    I will gladly provide a link Just as soon as Grumpy provides a link to someone on this board defending the pepdphile priests. But hey, remember that Grumpy didnt provide an ad hominim attack and we should address his point and try to prove a negative.

    • Guest

      whatever…

      • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

        DERP! DERP!! DERP!!! DERP!!!!

      • retired.military

        Hey Mr Chickenshit Buillshitter.

        Still waiting on that proof of people defending pedophiles on this board. Oh umm Chico doesnt count since he wasnt talking about priests but about school teacher pedophiles.

        • Guest

          And what you want doesn’t matter to me at all

          • retired.military

            Hey Mr Chickenshit Buillshitter.

            That means that there isnt any. You are a liar and got called on it. So now I have to change your name. I hereby dub thee

            Mr Lying chickenshit Buillshitter.

          • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

            DERP!
            Racist!
            DERP!
            Troll!
            DERP!

  • CaptainNed

    Ask them how far we’d get into the scientific method without Aquinas.

    • jim_m

      Yep, and that Gregor Mendel was a religious ideologue who contributed nothing to science.

  • Brucehenry

    Thank you, Warner, for reporting to us how awesome you allegedly are when you beat silly liberals in the imaginary arguments you claim to have with them.

    • Guest

      lol… nailed it.

      • http://wizbangblog.com/author/rodney-graves/ Rodney G. Graves

        The DERP! brothers, together a second time!

  • ryan a

    “They say I am anti-intellectual or they say that because I’m conservative, then religion must form the bedrock basis of all my ideas and, therefore, my ideas are invalid.”

    There is no reason to dismiss anyone’s ideas because of their religion. That’s just stupid. This hypothetical liberal sure makes a lot of bad assumptions.

    “Why should university folks be so automatically right…”

    Stop right there. Anyone who claims that “university folks” are somehow always automatically right is completely foolish.

    “Christians are supposed to read, consider, inculcate, and come to understand the Bible intellectually, not just be indoctrinated into it.”

    Ideally, yes. But results may vary. Some study, read, and try to gain a deeper understanding, and some are indoctrinated. Like most everything in a complex social world, it depends.

    “Men did a lot of tinkering with that wonderful book from its earliest days to ours.”

    Agreed. That’s a good point to keep in mind. History, context, and editorial revisions matter.

    “They sternly tell me that Christianity cannot be “truth” because they
    feel truth is only something that can come from outside religion. They
    tell me that science is truth, for instance. They tell me that education
    brings truth.”

    Now that sounds like a case of two competing philosophies about truth that might be difficult to reconcile. That’s always going to be a tough, if not impossible argument. I guess you two could sit down and read Stephen Jay Gould’s “Rocks of Ages” together and see if you can come to some sort of accord. If you don’t like Gould, there are other books that try to address the science versus religion question about truth as well. An interesting subject.

    “If truth is fungible, then they must have to agree that religious ideas — whether indoctrinated or intellectually discovered — must be as valid as anything else. After all, if there is no “truth,” then anything goes.”

    There is a difference between saying there is NO TRUTH and considering the possibility that there might be different or competing ways of thinking about and understanding truth. If you ask people in various parts of the world who made the universe, you might get some very different stories and explanations about this particular truth. Each respondent will undoubtedly feel that his or her truth is the correct one. This does not mean that there is no truth, it just means that the truth of a 21st century Christian in the USA might look very different from someone who lives on the other side of the planet. But, it depends. The Pope has his version of truth, and Richard Dawkins has his. In the end we all have to figure out how to live side by side regardless, and maybe try to forge some basic agreements in order to hold society together. What else is there?

    “And this whole argument that everything is relative then completely
    destroys the value of the education they think they are receiving.”

    Please explain your thesis. Why does a relativist position destroy the value of education?

    “After all, if my ‘truth’ isn’t your ‘truth,’ then why is anything taught in their university of value?”

    Well, I’d say it’s of value to learn about different ways of life, different ways of thinking, and different ways of understanding the fascinating and complex world in which we live. Does there have to be only one way of defining and thinking about what is true? Well, that’s a tough question. If people around the world do not think about or understand the world in exactly the same terms, why should our educational system proceed as if there is only one worldview, one perspective, or one “truth” that exists? Education is about learning about things that you do not already know, at least in part. I think this has tremendous value. You don’t?

    “Anyway, I love to see their eyes bounce around as these concepts start to boggle them.”

    Ok, so you can win debates with fictionalized, hypothetical “liberals” who supposedly subscribe to these positions. Good for you. The next step will be debating with actual people with actual opinions. Good luck.