Friday, August 28, 2009

Dinesh D'Souza on Christianity and School

"Children spend the majority of their waking hours in school. Parents invest a good portion of their life savings in college education and entrust their offspring to people who are supposed to educate them. Isn’t it wonderful that educators have figured out a way to make parents the instruments of their own undoing? Isn’t it brilliant that they have persuaded Christian moms and dads to finance the destruction of their own beliefs and values? Who said atheists aren’t clever?"

Dinesh D'Souza

What's So Great About Christianity

Gosh, aren't atheists clever? Now they want children to go to school. How diabolical!


Blogger pcraig said...

Hi Steven, you are again reading something entirely out of context. It took me about a minute on Google to find the longer text from which this paragraph is extracted. You can find it here:

His argument is that some people are abusing the education system to foist ideological concerns on pupils. I am sure you will disagree, but your summary of his views is wrong.

8:07 AM  
Blogger Steve Borthwick said...

pcraig said "His argument is that some people are abusing the education system to foist ideological concerns on pupils"

So D'Souza is arguing that Christians should continue to have the exclusive right to abuse our educational system?

D'Souza's argument is disingenuous, if teaching alternatives is so important to Christians why don't they teach Islam or Evolution in Sunday school?

2:38 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

I'm no spokesman for D'Souza. But I think his point is that the educational system should be ideologically neutral.

Your point about Sunday school doesn't work, because of the purpose of a Sunday school - like when a medical school has a stated interest in practising clinical/empirically based medicine, meaning it will not teach mystical healing methods (except to analyse them from the point of view of clinical medicine).

4:11 AM  
Blogger Steve Borthwick said...

No he doesn't, he thinks the educational system should reflect the values and wishes of the parents of the children who attend it.

To say that evolution is an "ideology" shows a stupendous ignorance of both the scientific method and evolution.

The whole thing is a straw man argument, paint evolution as an ideology then complain that ideology is being taught in school with no alternative, it's pathetic in it's simplicity, "teach the controversy"; what controversy?

The Sunday school analogy does work, precisely because of the point you make; i.e. Sunday school is NOT supposed to be for teaching science, just as science classes are not supposed to be for teaching Christian mythology!

6:34 AM  
Blogger pcraig said...

"To say that evolution is an "ideology" shows a stupendous ignorance of both the scientific method and evolution."

I agree with that, but I'm not sure that you're being fair to the article's overall argument. After the first couple of paragraphs the teaching of evolution is hardly mentioned (I suggest people read the article, linked to in my comment above, to judge for themselves). It's unfair to paint it as a "pro-intelligent design in schools" article.

For example, D'Souza's quotes from Hitchens/Lewontin/Dennett/Harris/Humphrey/Rorty aren't talking about evolution at all. His point seems to be that some professors/teachers are not talking about helping students to be open-minded and critical thinkers, but about training them to be metaphysical (as opposed to merely methodological) naturalists.

I'm not exactly sure what he is advocating in its place. You might be right that he thinks parents' views should be supported. But his case that the people he quotes are driven by ideological concerns seems pretty clearly stated.

1:51 AM  

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