April 5, 2005

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

Republican Theocracy the Cause of Liberal Bias in Academia?

The Times is running an editorial today claiming that Republicans are under-represented in academia because "today's Republican Party - increasingly dominated by people who believe truth should be determined by revelation, not research - doesn't respect science, or scholarship in general." I blogged earlier on this sort of problem (not that trust in revelation is a problem, but disrespect for science, research, and learning in general is) leading to the low number of Evangelicals in academia. Which is the more fundamental cause? Are there few Evangelicals in academia because most are Republicans and Republicans have this problem? Or are there few Republicans because most Republicans are Evangelicals? The article also discusses a bill being introduced in the Florida legislature by Dennis Baxley to allow students to sue professors who don't respect their conservative views. Ironically these are being referred to as "academic freedom" laws.

Conservatives need to start looking more seriously at the principles they claim to espouse and hold onto them consistently. Conservatives are supposed to believe in the free market. Here's how the free market works: a service is being provided, and it is not of the quality you want? A service is not being provided at all? DO IT YOURSELF. Don't think that if you don't, someone else will. If Evangelicals and Republicans begin to really value academic pursuits and see higher education as a worthy vocation, then their views will be expressed in the classroom. If they don't, liberals will continue to dominate. (Allow me a momentary digression: the same principle applies to the Calvinist domination of academic theology. It's not because people who study the Bible become Calvinists, it's because the Presbyterian Church places a higher value on academic theology than other denominations, and so, for the past few centuries, has been producing all the greatest theologians. Want seminaries to teach Arminianism? Start studying, and go teach them yourself.) It's time for people to stop whining, and stop legislating, and take action where they can. It's time for conservatives to wake up and see that screaming about liberal bias and making laws to put an end to it is not the answer. It's time for Evangelicals to begin to see the value of the work of Christian academics, the way so many early Christians did during the Renaissance and Enlightenment (Descartes, Galileo, Newton, Locke, the list is endless). It's also time for conservatives to realize that, sometimes, the "liberal mainstream media" gets it right.

Posted by Kenny at April 5, 2005 11:15 AM
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I was not aware that the conservatives had laws in the making to enforce coservative views in our colleges and universities. You must use your influence to resist this intrusion of political ideas into our system of higher education. Please give us all the available information about these proposed laws and about the incorrigible scoundrels who are trying to promote them. There can be no excuse for political bias in any school--don't you think?

Posted by: A. Whitmer at February 8, 2007 9:36 AM

Well, it is impossible to be completely neutral and without bias, and in higher education in particular there are cases where it is perfectly acceptable for a professor to teach his or her own views (and also cases when it isn't). What we really need is simply diversity of opinion among professors.

Posted by: Kenny at February 8, 2007 11:00 AM

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