Going to college? Watch out for political correctness and impractical degrees

Here’s a fine book I enjoyed reading written by my friend Ari Mendelson, which talks about the dangers of political correctness on the university campus, and especially in the humaninities. It’s a work of fiction, but it’s based on actual cases from a variety of college campuses.

Here’s a snippet from Ari’s web page about the book:

Lured by brochures promising limitless intellectual freedom, Jeff Jackson arrives at picturesque Tinsley College, eager to experience college life to the fullest. He does not know that the freedom he has been promised is in short supply at Tinsley, a college so dedicated to leftist ideals that the administration changed the name of the anthropology department to “anthrogynology” in order to make the name more “gender inclusive.”

 

Jeff makes the mistake of believing that the renowned Professor Bancroft Tarlton would be willing to debate the left wing politics that the professor advocates in his classes. Not realizing that there are just some questions one does not ask on a college campus, Jeff submits an essay outlining his provocative theories about happiness and human sexuality.

Professor Tarlton is not the only one furious at Jeff for his lack of devotion to left wing norms. Calling himself a “pomosexual” and believing Jeff to be not only a homophobe, but a “pomophobe” as well, Carl Fitzgerald, Jeff’s classmate, begins a feud with Jeff. The battle escalates from insults, to vandalism, to shattered love affairs and a dorm room inhabited by a fainting goat. In a college obsessed with political correctness, a clash between the writer of a “homophobic” essay and the “pomosexual” victim of a college prank can only end one way: with a showdown in a campus courtroom.

You can click the link to learn more about the book. It’s a nice little introduction to parents and college-bound students about what really goes on in the liberal arts departments of most universities. I resonated with the hero of the story who chose to study liberal arts, even though I studied computer science for my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I knew that political correctness dominated in the liberal arts. My first choice of career was actually to be a lawyer and then an English teacher. I sat in on a criminal law course at one local university and then an English course at another while I was a senior in high school. That’s when I changed my major to computer science based on my experiences. Now that the economy is the way it is, I think it was the right thing to do.

University is a fine thing as long as you go there to learn math, science, technology or engineering. If you go there to study anything else, all you will learn is how to parrot the opinions of your professor. Any dissent will be met with bad grades, and possibly expulsion. There is no focus on producing value outside of the STEM departments. Not only is it a waste of money to be indoctrinated, but it destroys your ability to think critically and independently. You want to learn valuable skills in your time at university – all the better to pay back those enormous student loans. In case you would like to read a good book on the importance of choosing a major in STEM fields, here is a book authored by Captain Capitalism which makes the case for that, with all the facts and figures you would expect from an economist.

Here’s a blurb from his blog:

The amount of money they (or you) are going to spend on tuition, not to mention the sheer volume of their youth they will spend pursuing a degree, can NOT be wasted simply because nobody had the courage to tell the kids the truth about economics and the realities of the labor market.

But you don’t have to.  The book will do it for it you.

 

“Worthless” explains first and foremost to the reader that the reason somebody got them this book is because that person really cares about them.  And while it may not be what they want to hear, they will end up appreciating it in the future.  “Worthless” also goes into detail and explains in clear, understandable language the economics behind the labor market, showing the reader how and why some degrees are worthwhile and others are literally worthless.

Sometimes, people just seem to go off to university and choose a major without really thinking about it. Both of these books will help a college-bound student to think a second time about why they are going to college and what they hope to achieve there. It might even be a good idea to just choose a trade school and learn some practical skills. In this economy, the first priority is to find a job. You can always study the really interesting fields like philosophy in your spare time once you are gainfully employed.

Will there be any reasoning at the American Atheists “Reason Rally”?

American Atheists are having a rally this Saturday in Washington D.C., so Christian apologist Tom Gilson sent them a message asking if they would be interested in hosting a debate at their “Reason Rally” between a theist and an atheist.

He wrote this:

Dear Mr. Silverman,

Greetings to you… [mention of mutual friend],

I’m writing to ask if you would be interested in sharing sponsorship with me in giving Richard Dawkins and William Lane Craig one more opportunity to share a stage together in debate, while Dr. Dawkins is here in the U.S. later this month. I’m leading the True Reason project, which, as you may or may not be aware, is bringing Christians to the Reason Rally for respectful dialogue with attendees there. Additionally, this morning we released an ebook that has already climbed to best-seller status in the atheism category at Amazon.com, and has attracted enough notice that I’ve been asked to write an op-ed on it for the Washington Post.

I mention these things simply to give you some confidence that I’m representing a legitimate potential debate sponsorship partner to work on this with you and American Atheists. Dr. Craig is again wiling to meet Dr. Dawkins in debate. I have a contact at Georgetown University that would work with us to provide a venue for debate. Would you be open to joining me in inviting Richard Dawkins?

I’ll look forward to hearing you.

Regards,

Tom Gilson
www.thinkingchristian.net

And the American Atheists President David Silverman replied with this:

Mr. Gilson,

The Reason Rally is an event by and for the nonreligious population and their supporters. It is not an opportunity for Christians to push themselves into other people’s lives (yet again). I would never support infiltrating a Christian event with atheists on some kind of recruitment mission – that would be horribly rude.

Make no mistake – you are not welcomed guests at the rally. We are not going to DC for ‘dialogue’ with people who believe ridiculous things – we are going to have fun with other like-minded people. Those who proselytize or interfere with our legal and well-deserved enjoyment will be escorted to the 1st Amendment pen by security, which will be plentiful, where you can… shout yourselves hoarse.

Spreading out among the crowd is not a substitute for a permit. Indeed, I will be meeting with the Parks Commission on Thursday to discuss how to handle your infiltrative permitless counter-protest.

Dr. Dawkins has made it clear that he doesn’t want to debate Mr. Craig. I am not sure how much clearer he (or I) could be.

Sincerely,
David Silverman
President
American Atheists, Inc.

American Atheists doesn’t seem to be in favor of having conversations and debates with those who disagree with them, do they? In fact, it doesn’t sound like they are interested in hearing any reasons for other people’s views, or giving any reasons for their own views.

Consider this post on the American Atheists web site. (The PDF is saved here because they’ve withdrawn the post, but you can still see it with Google Cache)

Excerpt:

It should come as no surprise that the individuals who abide by fundamentalist Christian… doctrines would be the first to cry out that they are being persecuted when their dangerous, damaging and disingenuous beliefs come under attack. Most of these people lack the maturity and intelligence to act in a socially acceptable manner.  Many of them are sociopaths and quite a good number of them are psychopaths.  All of them are clearly delusional.

The fact is that fundamentalist Christians… are not interested in coexisting or getting along.  They have no desire for peace. They do not want to sit down with us in diplomatic efforts to iron out our differences and come to an agreement on developing an integrated society.

They want us to die.

Their interpretation of the Bible… are such that there is no other course of action but to kill the infidel, and if anyone believes otherwise they are only fooling themselves.  It is not just in the best interests of atheists to be intolerant of fundamental Christianity and radical Islam, but it is also in the best interest of mainstream believers within these faiths, as well.  Moderates and even Progressives who stand in support of extremists just because there is a claim to the same deity are not doing themselves any favors.  Fundamental Christians make all Christians look bad…

…the underbelly of fundamentalist Christianity… does not operate in the legal system. They don’t respond to lawsuits, letters, amicus briefs or other grass-roots campaigns and they must, must, must be eradicated.

That doesn’t sound very tolerant or open-minded.  It was written by “Al Stefanelli – Georgia State Director, American Atheists, Inc.”. Now, this isn’t the view of most atheists that I know, but it is the view of some organized atheists like those in the American Atheists group.

What do they mean by eradicating Christianity?

From the correspondence with Tom Gilson, we now know that they don’t want a conversation and they refuse to hear both sides in a debate. So they aren’t trying to eradicate Christian ideas by winning conversations or winning debates. What does that leave as a meaning of the phrase “eradicating Christianity”? Can we infer what they mean by “eradicating Christianity” from the e-mail sent by David Silverman? Could it be that eradicating Christianity means using coercion to suppress beliefs that atheists disagree with, so that they won’t be offended while they are busy having a good time? That seems to be consistent with what Al Stefanelli and David Silverman said, but it’s just my guess.

Now consider this post from the UK Daily Mail which discusses a recent interview with Richard Dawkins.

Excerpt:

But the centrepiece of this Christmas edition is the main coup for the New Statesman – an interview by Prof. Dawkins with Christopher Hitchens, the great polymath who today lost his fight against cancer. It’s a fascinating read over three double-page spreads. Not least because Prof. Dawkins reveals a charming humility, allowing Hitchens to show his intellectual superiority at his own expense. Hitchens is thoughtful about CS Lewis and Christianity and rather leaves Prof. Dawkins floundering in his wake, occasionally interjecting little assents to show that he’s still there, as he struggles to keep up.

But one of these interjections is most revealing. About half-way through, the Prof gets this in edgeways: ‘Do you ever worry that if we win and, so to speak, destroy Christianity, that vacuum would be filled by Islam?’

So, ‘if we win…and destroy Christianity’. True, there’s a ‘so to speak’ in there, but it doesn’t do much. Try ‘If we win and, so to speak, kill all the Jews’ as an alternative. Doesn’t really work, does it? And Prof Dawkins can hardly claim that he was misquoted or taken out of context. He was editing the magazine, after all – there’s even a picture of him doing so, pen poised masterfully over page proofs.

Again, that seems to me to be echoing the language of the the American Atheist person who wanted to eradicate Christianity. Indeed, Dawkins is not a very timid fellow. In this video, he expresses his support for infanticide, which most people view as equivalent to murder. I don’t think he means “destroy Christianity” intellectually, since he refused his chance to do that when he refused to debate William Lane Craig, as documented in the liberal UK Guardian. I think he means something else by “destroy Christianity”, but I’m not exactly clear what. Let’s hope it’s something different than what other atheists have meant by it in history.