Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A student asserts his right to stay ignorant.

What happens when a student asserts his beliefs in science class? (For the 2 of you who don't have a TV, Stephen Colbert is a satirist).

Or as Stephen Colbert says: "College students should be unformed lumps of clay fired in the kiln of unchallenged thoughts."

Video summary: Stephen Colbert lambastes a student (Barry Lucier) for saying that he was upset that his science professor was trying to get him to watch a movie he "didn't believe in". (That movie is Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth). I'm not going to get into the merits and weaknesses of Al Gore's movie, but I would like to briefly comment on this idea of belief. One's beliefs aren't relevant in science class. Science deals with data and interpretation of said data. The interpretation can either explain the data or it can't. One's beliefs don't belong in the science classroom.

Is this just one conservative activist child? Or the start of a wave of anti-intellectuals who want scientists to accommodate their beliefs in Xenu and the Galactic Confederacy into descriptions of cosmology?

If you have the stomach, you can watch the original interview here. All kinds of stupid:

Quote of the night, "My grade was well." Ouch.

Update: Apparently Comedy Central yanks the videos after a period of time, so here's the transcript for those of you who didn't get to watch it. The parentheses refer to words appearing on the screen next to Stephen. Thanks to College Freedom:

Stephen: This savage attack on young minds brings us to tonight’s Word: Heated Debate. Folks, you know it, I know it, the left has a stranglehold on our universities. Professors are forcing our kids to submit to their pro-glacier agenda. But heroes like Barry aren’t taking it lying down.

[Video: Barry Lucier: This was forced upon me to watch something that I didn’t believe it.]

Stephen: Folks, at a “college” Barry was forced to think about something he didn’t already think. When you confront young people with information that doesn’t jibe with what they already believe they can get confused, or even worse, bitter.

{Video: Neil Cavuto: Are you bitter?
Barry Lucier: Uh, a little.]

Stephen: Of course he’s bitter! He’s enrolled in a class where the professor thinks he knows more about the subject than the students! (Boss Tweed) Last time I checked that is the definition of elitism. (Stephen has never checked) Hey, I’m no scientist but I thought there were supposed to be two sides to every story. (Mine & wrong) Sure there’s a vast consensus on global warming science, but doesn’t the opposing five percent deserve 50% of the time. (Fair & balanced) In this core science class he probably got a syllabus full of “convention wisdom.” For instance they probably also told him the Earth revolves around the sun. (Actually revolves around Stephen) This is a relatively new and untested theory that’s only been around for 500 years. (Barely longer than Law & Order) But of course the Copernicus crowd doesn’t even mention Ptolemy’s view that the Earth is the center of the universe even though that theory has been around for 1900 years. (Ptake that!) It is 1400 years truer! But these days college is all about silencing the dissenters, it’s no longer a place to raise your hand, offer your minority viewpoint and have healthy and informed debate. (That’s Hannity and Colmes) The Barry Luciers of the world are entering a minefield of knowledge. Who knows what destructive information they’ll be confronted with next. (Student loan bill) That’s why all colleges should be forced to advertise every element of their curriculum so students are guaranteed that when the leave college they’ll be exactly the same as when they went in. (Give or take $160,000) That folks, is what I believe college is for. You take these unformed lumps of clay, leave them unformed lumps, then fire them in the kiln of unchallenged thought so they become rigid and never move again. That’s how you get well educated like Barry.

[Video: Neil Cavuto: What was your grade?
Barry Lucier: My grade was well.]

Stephen: See? His grade was well. Now he make double plus think despite unwell school. Let’s just hope our future generations can do the same.

And that’s the Word.


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