OT: language origin and creationism

Darla Wells lethe9 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 1 13:14:43 UTC 2010

I've been running into the same problems with my 102 classes this last
couple of semesters in an assignment that requires that they find a
controversy in their career field they are majoring in, research it, write
about it, and be able to discuss it intelligently. The ones that are giving
me fits are the kids going into medicine, biology, and teaching
(occasionally) for some reason. They are the ones wanting to discuss
Intelligent Design, abortion, and some of the other topics that seem to be
nothing but fundamental dogma and will try to twist and maneuver the
assignment so that they can say whatever they want on that topic. I had
someone who is going to be a neonatal nurse who claimed that she should
write on abortion because it affected her future profession. I asked how,
since for all intents and purposes she is not going to be working in an
abortion clinic here in Louisiana (it is not easy to find one--it is not
illegal but for all practical purposes it might as well be). She said that
it was just wrong and by God, she was going to make sure all her patients
knew it was wrong too.

I sometimes wonder if we even are speaking the same English with some of
them. They are in class learning about peer reviewed sources, what makes a
source a good one, then when I see the annotated bibs, they will have crap
from theology.com or some preacher no one's ever heard of from 1978 as the
main sources. I ask them if these are sources they are seeing in their texts
or in JSTOR or any of the databases in the library. They say, no my priest
turned me on to these sources...I have been informed that I am anti-religion
in not so subtle terms. Logic doesn't work with these kids, so I just act
like the devil, and quote scripture back to the really far gone
kids...Lessee, what's that verse about letting Caesar have what belongs to
Caesar (referring to science)...They aren't logical enough to find the flaw
in that one, so I am okay for the minute. I finally hit on the idea of
making them bring a list to class before we start the annotated bibs of 5
peer reviewed journals that are considered mainstream in their field and 5
professional organizations for that field. Then we talk about them as a
class and I assign the bibs.

2010/3/31 Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at gmail.com>

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> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       Herb Stahlke <hfwstahlke at GMAIL.COM>
> Subject:      Re: OT: language origin and creationism
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Much of the discussion in this thread assumes that a fundamentalist
> shares with us basic assumptions about evidence and truth.  The claims
> in the article and the claims the student would like to make are based
> on faith.  In this frame of reference (I slipped and typed <v> for
> <f>), the details of Genesis 1 are fact.  Anything that disagrees with
> them is folly.  Any methodology that leads anywhere but to the
> historical and scientific truth of Genesis 1 is not based on faith and
> therefore is misguided.  At this stage there generally isn't much
> common ground to build on.  Some students do end up rejecting the
> fundamentalism they've grown up with, but it usually comes as a result
> of questions raised by a lot of courses and a lot of bull sessions.
> I've told such students that I don't require that they believe what
> they learn and read in my class, but I hold them responsible for it on
> tests.
> Herb

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