Wednesday, April 29, 2015

"A Lively Exchange of One Idea"

From the Onion:

BOSTON—Saying that such a dialogue was essential to the college’s academic mission, Trescott University president Kevin Abrams confirmed Monday that the school encourages a lively exchange of one idea. “As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion,” said Abrams, adding that no matter the subject, anyone on campus is always welcome to add their support to the accepted consensus. “Whether it’s a discussion of a national political issue or a concern here on campus, an open forum in which one argument is uniformly reinforced is crucial for maintaining the exceptional learning environment we have cultivated here.” Abrams told reporters that counseling resources were available for any student made uncomfortable by the viewpoint.


Sam L. said...

Dissent Sind Verboten!

Anonymous said...

The Mexican side of my family was slaughtered by Comanches. One little girl survived by hiding in a creek bed. But for her, I wouldn't exist.

My uncle Eduardo nearly died on Iwo Jima. I escaped the same fate in Cambodia.

Put that in your pot pipes, ya pampered dweebs. -- Rich Lara

Ares Olympus said...

While we love the Onion for making fun of close-minded universities, I'm reminded of Asimov's essay "The Relativity of Wrong"
I RECEIVED a letter the other day. It was handwritten in crabbed penmanship so that it was very difficult to read. Nevertheless, I tried to make it out just in case it might prove to be important. In the first sentence, the writer told me he was majoring in English literature, but felt he needed to teach me science. (I sighed a bit, for I knew very few English Lit majors who are equipped to teach me science, but I am very aware of the vast state of my ignorance and I am prepared to learn as much as I can from anyone, so I read on.)

The young specialist in English Lit, having quoted me, went on to lecture me severely on the fact that in every century people have thought they understood the universe at last, and in every century they were proved to be wrong. It follows that the one thing we can say about our modern "knowledge" is that it is wrong. The young man then quoted with approval what Socrates had said on learning that the Delphic oracle had proclaimed him the wisest man in Greece. "If I am the wisest man," said Socrates, "it is because I alone know that I know nothing." the implication was that I was very foolish because I was under the impression I knew a great deal.

My answer to him was, "John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together."

The basic trouble, you see, is that people think that "right" and "wrong" are absolute; that everything that isn't perfectly and completely right is totally and equally wrong.

Or here's C0nc0rdance's reading if you like:

So the flat-earthers can be proud to not only being wrong, but wronger than those Platonic perfection spherical earthers.

And in some universities we might be able to have a consensus on this without making sure all the political pundits agree without putting their wet fingers to the wind.

Dennis said...

Rich Lara,

This should be familiar:

The name calling and the allegations never stop. I suspect both of us cannot relate to academe and its students fear of dialogue, pejoratives and ideas that may challenge their preconceived notions. If we took the time to list the names we have been called we could fill a few pages all while defending their right to call us names.
I occasionally wear a ball cap that indicates my service and retirement thereof. I am happy that many people "Thank me for my service." They are truly nice people, but I am under no allusion that it will stay that way.
I can remember coming back from SEA duty and being surprised at how people treated those of us in the military, most of which either got drafted or join to avoid the draft. One of my neighbors who was an Army recruiter stationed in Oakland was stabbed to death by one of those nonviolent protester. We had rocks thrown at us, were called "baby killers," which was interesting coming from women, and were the convenient heavy in almost every movie that Hollywood made.
What strikes me as interesting is the current desire to do the same thing to the police without taking the time to find out what actually happened. How many cases have turned out not to be what the rioters, et al believed? Most of them.
Instead of trying to solve problems we are subjected to race hustling, anarchy and the blame game. The facts do not matter.
Sadly, the people who pay the most are the one's least likely to afford it. One of the reasons this will become a continuing problem is that we cannot address the real problems for fear of alienating people with words and ideas. And here it is academe and the education system that is creating people who are incapable of dealing with reality.
I actually feel some pity for many of these people because they are NOT being prepare to meet the challenges of life. I would posit that they will be the first to die if we have a real catastrophe that does damage to their enablers.
There are times when I wonder if this country has the ability to survive in a dynamic world since it education system is destroying it capacity and capability to cope.

Dennis said...

I have come to believe that the education system, especially academe, is the problem and will never be the solution because of the people who populate it. Academe has become a place where bad and illogical ideas go to live in the only place that will perpetuate them.
I think there is a growing understanding that something is really wrong with the education system, but removing an entrenched dogma bound bureaucracy is going to take a long time.
These students will never no the joy of being challenged by ideas that were foreign to their experiences and better yet to debate them, play "devil's advocate," and ideate on the ramification of those ideas on human beings. taking umbrage on twitter is not a form of intellectual dialogue!