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Tilting at Windmills

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June 14, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

SECULAR HUMANISM....As we all know, our universities were long ago taken over by an elite cadre of latte-quaffing, postmodern, anti-American ultra-liberals. That's what National Review says, anyway. But I've always wondered just what actual effect this has on America's youth. Do kids become more liberal than they otherwise would when they attend these dens of radicalism? Or are our academic fifth columnists so incompetent that they have no influence at all?

Well, I'm still wondering. But Inside Higher Ed reports today on a related question: do university faculties shot through with secular humanists make college kids less religious? The answer appears to be no. A study that tracked 10,000 subjects for seven years between adolescence and young adulthood found that among those who didn't attend college, 76% reported a decline in church attendance. Conversely, college grads reported only a 59% drop. The study found similar results on two other measures of religious activity.

Needless to say, I'm bitterly disappointed. The shock troops of atheism are apparently falling down on the job. Better get cracking, folks.

Via Chad Orzel, who offers up some possible explanations for the results. I didn't find any of them very persuasive, but your mileage may vary.

Kevin Drum 6:20 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (65)

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Many possibilities including that those who go to college might just have rejected the magic show of their parents' choice already because they are smart enough to go to college.
By the way, it has been my personal anecdotal experience that there have been at least a couple of athiests (agnostics would be a better description) in foxholes.

Posted by: xpara on June 14, 2007 at 6:27 PM | PERMALINK

The takeover of the halls of academe by leftists is a cartoon, as Kevin notes with his sarcasm. But there is a good deal of truth to the observation that the professoriate is overwhelming liberal/independent. So wherein lies the cartoon? In the word 'takeover'. For what really led to the current situation is not a liberal invasion but a conservative abandonment; starting in the seventies, conservatives smart enough to be professors chose to make money instead. So, yes, conservatives are correct that liberals dominate the academy; but what right do they have to complain, when they're all too selfish to 'stoop' to public service?

Posted by: lampwick on June 14, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

there's a pretty simple hypothesis but it makes sense...it's the same reason that conservative students often become more conservative in college...feeling that you're under attack tends to shore beliefs up more. (I'm not talking about being under attack by faculty...its drugs, sex and booze.)

Posted by: Nathan on June 14, 2007 at 6:36 PM | PERMALINK

From my polemical point of view, the more atheistic the professors, the more entrenched the befuddled students become with their indoctrinated mythology.

Instead of lecturing about the virtues of secularism, a better way to change the religiously susceptible is to agree that their god(s) really do the horrible things their mythology claims.

Instead of: YWH, no way! Say: YWH, a vengeful, killing god, hoo yah!

Posted by: Brojo on June 14, 2007 at 6:51 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, without information about relative churchgoingness at the outset, it's hard to tell anything from this.

Posted by: L on June 14, 2007 at 6:55 PM | PERMALINK

Another blog I frequent has a pretty good post today - complete with graphs! that breaks down evolution, partisanship and church attendance.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on June 14, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

"... an elite cadre of latte-quaffing, postmodern, anti-American ultra-liberals." I resent that. I quaff chai.

Posted by: Prof on June 14, 2007 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

Colleges and Universities are large places with student bodies of all types who come from all sorts of backgrounds. They're like mini-cities, where people live near each other and socialize with each other every day. If you're religious-- even a member of a small denomination -- you can much more easily find a group of like-minded coreligionists than you could if you didn't go to college and just assimilated into America's mass culture where you're more likely to be cut off from the ability to find a like-minded group of people.

That's my take on the results, anyway, as well as my personal experience.

Posted by: Constantine on June 14, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's all too much. The right wing is always overstating their case. University faculty isn't any more tight or left. The reich wingers are mad because Universities aren't wholesale wing nuts like themselves.

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on June 14, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

Regent University and Liberty University.

Posted by: Steve W. on June 14, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

Pepperdine

Posted by: Brojo on June 14, 2007 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

I don't quite get this old canard that lampwick brought up above, namely that there are plenty of conservative literary theorists out there, they just decided to go off and make money....doing what? Is there some institution or outfit I'm not aware of that employs numerous Republican scholars at high salaries to lecture on Joyce or study anthropology from a right-wing perspective? I suppose you could put your literary or social scientific research talents to work in business or something, but then that's what you would have studied in college to begin with. If you're drawn to academia, it's like art, or acting, or other creative vocation: you're deeply inspired by the practices of the field and want to contribute yourself. If you're wondering where the Allan Blooms and Jeffrey Harts have gone, there are still a lot of them around: they're just not recognized as conservatives by today's standards and tend to be quite skeptical of the modern evangelical Right and the GOP. Conservatives didn't abandon academia -- conservative politics outside the university just moved so far to the right that they register as centrist Democrats by today's political metrics.

Posted by: jte on June 14, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

Here's my shot at it: College provides people with a much more sophisticated framework for looking at the world. Overly simple outlooks on the world in this day and age have a tendency to be eroded by the sophisticated sensibilities of our culture. Additionally, many colleges offer course on religion, especially Christianity, that presents the religion in a more consistent, conceptually advanced fashion that lets many who attend college work past some of the theological troubles that afflict people at that age.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty on June 14, 2007 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

Lampwick,

I would like to say that I completely agree with your post. I have always told people who complain about "too many liberals in academia," that nothing is stopping them from spending the next 6-10 years to get their Ph.D. and then they can teach at one of our fine universities.

Actually, conservatives don't really have a problem with academia. They are more than willing to cite academic studies that they agree with. Also, a lot of conservative academics now go into conservative think tanks (Hoover, Heritage, CATO).

Nathan,

You state that conservatives feel threatened and under attack by "drugs, sex, and booze." Actually, from my experience. Many self described conservatives, even religious ones, engaged in a lot of underage drinking, recreational drug use, and pre-marital sex. I guess that it might have been their "libertarian" stage, but they were definately not angels.

But I actually kind of agree with your first point, about feeling under siege. I remember some conservative students had this chip on their shoulders where they just thought other students and faculty were more liberal than they actually were. They always seemed to have this siege mentality in lectures and discussions.

Finally, regarding whether students become less religious. I attended a large public university. When you have a large student body, I think it is natural to form into cliques or groups with other like minded individuals. At my university, there were a lot of religious clubs (for all different races) that students can join. I guess that the students joined these religious clubs as freshmen, and this became their core social group throughout their university stay (kind of like a fraternity or sorority). I don't really have evidence to back this up, but this seems to be my own personal observation.

Posted by: adlsad on June 14, 2007 at 7:32 PM | PERMALINK

My church attendance dropped off (to zero) when I went to college, and then picked back up when I realized I wanted my kids to get a religious education. (I'm a Unitarian, so that may not count as church attendance.....)

We find that a lot of our members go through that cycle, when we realize that religion can help teach our children ethics and morality.

Posted by: Peter VE on June 14, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder if there're better correlations to be made on strictly socio-economic bases. People who's parents (and community generally) were relatively well off—and thanked heaven for it—then proceed to be blessed with a quality education, and decent prospects, will be less likely to give a deity short shrift than otherwise. In other words, those with a proclivity to attribute the good things in their lives to irrational forces, have less incentive to change as long as the good things persist. Those who feel disappointment (they didnt get to go to college, for example) might feel differently.

We can still account for some who started out with fewer advantages by theorizing that they have an incentive to hope for better. Not having actually gotten worse (or much worse) would face no such crises with blind obeisance.

Admittedly this fails to account for whatever number turn to phantasms n the face of adversity. Perhaps this tendency is more anecdotal than we realize—or more professed than practiced.

[OT]: Kevin, something is not more honored in the breach, when those who do the breaching are dishonored. Otherwise we (or the Prince, at any rate) would honor Claudius for his drinking.

Posted by: jhm on June 14, 2007 at 7:39 PM | PERMALINK

adlsad:

I wasn't saying that conservatives felt under siege from drugs, sex, and booze...rather religious kids are. although certainly some religious kids act out in college, this study was specifically aimed at weekly church attendance (in sociology this has been the longtime stand-in for measuring the truly devout)...I think you'll find that most of those kids stay on the "straight and narrow" to a large extent.
your last point is well-taken.

Posted by: Nathan on June 14, 2007 at 7:40 PM | PERMALINK

The question is backwards and misleading. This survey should be more of a warning to religious types that they aren't doing a good job of creating a mature and encompassing belief system that survives the transformation from teenager to young adult, regardless of their post-high school plans. Too many of my classmates who actively professed their faith in high school are uninvolved religiously today and it had nothing to do with their professors, but more to the misrepresentation of the world by their parents, ministers, and Sunday school classes.

Posted by: yocoolz on June 14, 2007 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK
This survey should be more of a warning to religious types that they aren't doing a good job of creating a mature and encompassing belief system that survives the transformation from teenager to young adult, regardless of their post-high school plans.

Or, maybe it should be a sign that humans tend to go through a period of rebellion between the onset of adolescence and extending into young adulthood.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 14, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Did anybody mention how the two groups started in terms of religious activity? The obvious statistical glitch would be if the university-bound group started out much less religious on the average than the other group. Then we would simply be looking at a smaller but harder-core group of religious college students. It makes sense to imagine that college-bound adolescents are different in several ways from their non-college peers.

As to the sex, drugs, and rock n' roll aspect, I would view that as a marker for the more rebellious personalities, whereas abstaining would represent the more authoritarian (ie: respecting authority) type of personality. It's not a lot different than Lakoff's division of people into father-centered vs mother-centered.

Posted by: Bob G on June 14, 2007 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan,

Thank you for clearing that up. I thought that you initially meant conservatives in general. Which struck me as odd because some of the biggest potheads I knew were Republicans.

Having said that, I see your point, and I somewhat agree with it. Again, in my experience, there were a LOT of different Christian clubs, Bible Study groups, etc. on campus. And some were very "straight and narrow," and others boozed it up.

Posted by: adlsad on June 14, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan:

Are you arguing that the right-wing critics of academia are not targeting academics, but simply pointing out that there's too much of the whole sex/drugs/rock'n'roll thing going on -- that's it the culture of college that's the main problem? If so, then I think you're inhabiting the wrong decade!

BTW, which conservatives are actively "under attack" by "drugs, sex and booze" and how does that attack work? Does someone sneak into the rooms of conservative students and force them to drink, smoke pot, and have lots of sex?

there's a pretty simple hypothesis but it makes sense...it's the same reason that conservative students often become more conservative in college...feeling that you're under attack tends to shore beliefs up more. (I'm not talking about being under attack by faculty...its drugs, sex and booze.)
Posted by: Nathan on June 14, 2007 at 6:36 PM |

Posted by: keith on June 14, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

There is simply no way to determine the validity of this result without knowing how "decline in attending services" is measured or the original population sampled.

Put this result in a shoebox with sighting of Yeti and crystals that heal.

Posted by: Adam on June 14, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

We're assuming people attend church because the lose some of their faith, but it might work the other way around.

It's worth thinking about who isn't going to college these days. There aren't a whole lot of job opportunities if you don't have a degree, thanks to our total devaluation of labor in this country. That means it's pretty foolish not to try to go to college.

And college isn't that hard to get into these days. A lot of colleges are very easy to get into. High schoolers who don't are often going to have serious self-discipline problems.

Those people are going to find it harder to maintain the habit of going to church on Sundays when sleeping in is an option. They stop attending church, stop hearing biblical stories, etc, and stop identifying as strongly with the religion.

Posted by: DBake on June 14, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

not sure what you guys are talking about, but i attend business school, and the most liberal professor i've come across only "slightly" disagrees with milton friedman's assessment of the economy.

at most major universities, business majors are the largest group. and business schools across the country are without a doubt staunchly conservative. these kids may take electives in more left leaning departments, but they are getting their bread and butter from professors that think that unions are evil, out-sourcing is always good, wal-mart is a positive development for the US, etc.

Posted by: tockeyhockey on June 14, 2007 at 8:34 PM | PERMALINK

I can remember a Professor who was a big Rush Limbaugh fan, one who was obviously gay, and others whose politics weren't clear one way or the other. I don't recall any dominance of one set of values or worldview over another, although I do recall some people getting defensive and even hostile very quickly when one a philosophy professor didn't show the proper deference to Christianity (in comparison to the other major religions), at which point he quickly changed the subject.
The "universities are bastions of liberal elitism" schtick is so much rightwing nonsense.

Posted by: Del Capslock on June 14, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

As Bob G mentions above, it would be very useful to know whether the two groups, those who attended college and those who didn't, started out more or less religious than the other.

I mean, if I come from a family that never or rarely attends services, and I go to college, and afterward never or rarely attend services, there's been no decline in my religiousity. I've got to believe that's not a small number of people, but I'd like to see the statistics.

Posted by: frankly0 on June 14, 2007 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Then there are the athiests who go to church just to be part of the community, or to satisfy their parents' hopes.

Posted by: Maldoror on June 14, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

The obvious good news is that all groups show a decline in all areas of religious participation.
I'll take that result gladly without any analysis
at all. Just one comment: I wouldn't be surprised if college students or grads are more
apt to continue going to church services out of social conformity. The last two measurements of a decline in importance of religion and disaffiliation from religion are more similar across all groups and are the most relevant.

Posted by: nepeta on June 14, 2007 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

The first cracks in my liberal world view started when I was subjected to the harangues of professors bellowing the left party line at the University of Houston. Who but an unhinged zealot would get a liberal arts doctorate in order to teach for $16,000 a year, inflation adjusted. The acedemic nests conservatives have created for the ultraleft are the most cost effective neutering of their opposition ever created. If your figures are accurate for church attendance, I'm sure they would be surpassed by the effects on political affiliation.

Posted by: minion on June 14, 2007 at 9:14 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, Nathan's hypothesis is tested in a Campbell 2006 article in Journal of Politics here:
http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2508.2006.00373.x
in the context of voting attitudes in the 1996 and 2000 elections. Briefly, evangelicals who lived close to many secularists (i.e. enough secularists to be perceived as a "threat") tended to harden in their conservative views, in the same way that racist attitudes harden when whites live in close proximity to many non-whites.

The abstract:
Recent presidential elections have drawn attention to the role religion plays in shaping how Americans vote and highlighted the political relevance of white evangelical Christians, an important group within the Republicans' base of supporters. Evangelicals see themselves as in tension with a secular society, which affects their political behavior. Drawing on the venerable racial threat literature, I show evidence that evangelicals respond to "religious threat." The more secularists in their community, the more likely white evangelical Christians were to vote for Republican presidential candidates in 2000 and 1996. These results hold for two distinct ways of identifying white evangelicals, using community data at different levels of aggregation. However, secularists do not appear to respond to the presence of evangelicals in their environment.

It's to the way immigrants often retain quite "Old World" values long after people in their native countries have shed them. I don't think it's too much of a stretch to extrapolate from this study to attitudes in colleges, although someone would have to do the research.

Note that this study looked only at the 1996 to 2004 elections, and no similar calcification of voting was detected in secularists who lived among religious folk (presumably because they're more tolerant). However, with the Bush administration being so overtly religious, it would be very interesting to update this research to include the 2004 election.

Posted by: Tony on June 14, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Oops. Edit: "It's similar to the way immigrants..."

Edit: "Note that this study looked only at the 1996 and 2000 elections..."

Posted by: Tony on June 14, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, in large parts of the country the most prevalent atheists are pissed off failures at life. They don't make atheism look cool.

Posted by: stefan on June 14, 2007 at 10:32 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Name some atheists who are pissed off failures at life.

I can name any number of religious folk who are pissed off failures at life. I can start with the old fart who lives three doors north of me. Then there's the young fellow who mows grass at the local cemetery. Then there's a Pentacostal Church on the highway that is full every Sunday of pissed off failures at life. Fact is, pissed off failure at life seems requisite to a religious fundamentalist in America -- and their preachers know it only too well and know how to profit from it.

Nope. It's the other side that attracts and embraces the pissed off failures at life. Atheists offer no such resting place.

Posted by: answerback on June 14, 2007 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

It's very simple. The secular humanist professoriat has transformed the American culture so much that even those not going to college are exposed to the anti-God messages everywhere.

Those who go to college actually see these Gode hating professors from the inside, and recognize the sham that their idealogy is.

Posted by: gregor on June 15, 2007 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

I think Constantine is on the mark.

Posted by: mz on June 15, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

This thread reminds me of Matt Groening's "School is Hell" book. Specifically: "Lesson 13: The 9 Types of High School Teachers". I remember snickering with other students in class, reading this in a composition class because the teacher fit the description of "The Hipster" so well. The comic shows a balloon and description: "Can't you little sheep think for yourselves!"
Also known as: The Weirdo, the Poet. Basic Moods: Agitated, Nostalgic. Warning: Will make you feel bad about The Prom.

The part about "The Prom" really sent us snickering. I liked the teacher anyhow, and agreed with a lot of his opinions, but found Groening's characterization so spot-on we couldn't keep from giggling. The teacher was the one who liked Groening and brought the book to our attention (this was 1987) and distributed it which really intensified the irony and the subsequent giggling. Hey Dr. Jones, just thought I would give a shout out at ya!

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 15, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

gregor: "It's very simple. The secular humanist professoriat has transformed the American culture so much that even those not going to college are exposed to the anti-God messages everywhere."

All I know is that had it not been for all those gay & lesbian secular humanists I met at the university, my wife and I might not have ever experienced the pure carnal joy that came with each New Moon, as together we drank the blood of live kid goats slaughtered as offerings of submission upon the sacred stone altar of Be'alkazar, Dark Prince of the Netherworld.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 15, 2007 at 1:49 AM | PERMALINK

answerback: "Name some atheists who are pissed off failures at life."

Christopher Hitchens?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on June 15, 2007 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

A lot of college students come from very casual Catholic or mainline Protestant backgrounds--church twice a year, etc--and are effectively agnostic when they set foot on campus. (Even a lot of self-described evangelicals are decidedly lackadaisical about church attendance, both for themselves and their children.) College being a part of life when everything's up in the air, many college students go on spiritual quests, and an awful lot of them end up being ardently religious. Proselyting sects of every stripe--evangelicals, Catholics, Mormons, Muslims, neo-Orthodox Jews--have some of their biggest success at traditional four-year colleges. (I'm not sure about Scientologists, given the cost of "auditing.") The portion of the population that doesn't go to a traditional four-year college doesn't really get exposed to this.

Also, as shown by many of the commenters here, the fact that so many proselyting atheists are smug assholes like Richard Dawkins is a big turnoff to philosophical seekers of any stripe. (Christopher Hitchens is at least a noted raconteur and bon vivant; I'm sure I'd love to party with him, and perhaps even talk geopolitics.) This has to apply in the collegiate context. At least at research universities, a lot of liberal arts and social sciences professors are at least borderline Asperger's cases--and in the physical sciences and engineering, the social cripples are definitely in the majority. (I know of what I speak, being a PhD student in urban studies who spent half of undergrad as an engineering student and who eventually got bachelor's and master's degrees in economics.) Who wants to hear about the joys of "freethought" from a guy who's been wearing the same pants since 1982?

Posted by: Pete on June 15, 2007 at 2:35 AM | PERMALINK

The thing that galls a lot of Right Wingers about academe is that a liberal can be a liberal, right in the open. In suit-and-tie jobs downtown, career-minded liberals are compelled to keep that fact to themselves.

Posted by: Stuart Eugene Thiel on June 15, 2007 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

>"... misrepresentation of the world by their parents, ministers, and Sunday school classes"

"Misrepresentation of the World"

Wow! That is the core of perhaps the best(and certainly the most concise) definition of 'religion' I've ever seen.

Religon: (def) "A system providing an organized misrepresentation of the world to humans unable to deal with reality."

The source of 90% of the world's problems nailed down in one sentence.

Posted by: Buford on June 15, 2007 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK
Did anybody mention how the two groups started in terms of religious activity?

A casual perusal of the chart will reveal that there were four, not two, groups identified.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 15, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

The most aggressively atheistic and secular-humanist professor I knew in undergrad was a total asshole about it. That might have had to do with the class (a reasoning course) but that approach is not going to change any minds.

Which is fine, I doubt that was his point but you're looking for why the brain-washers aren't doing their job.

Posted by: MNPundit on June 15, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

That really is an interesting study and it makes one really think about the issue differently.

My Debate forum

Posted by: kerfuffle on June 15, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Political magazines on campus are one barometer I've always used to see how accurate this claim is. And if my campus is any indication, it's very, very hollow. The heavily right-wing publication, the Binghamton Review, usually had some sort of comment about the awful left-wing biases of the professors, yet I can't remember more than one time when specific people were mentioned. And even then, the comments didn't seem to amount to much related to the main charge. I've sure that there are some problems with certain professors around the country, but by and large, this seems to be overblown to the point of absurdity. I can understand the fear of reprisal, but if your claims can actually stand, then why is it so important for people to leave out names? Could it be because no problem exists? I'd say yes. Hell, if someone feels so strongly, they just need to write an anonymous article, or use another name.

Posted by: Brian on June 15, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

The most obvious explanation for the differences in attendance is one of opportunity: college students live on compact campuses which contain accessible churches and worship halls. Add to this the usually numerous college religious groups that are also easily accessible (Campus Crusade for Christ-->next dorm down, meeting tonight!), and it's simply very easy for college-goers to attend religious services. For non-college goers, they have to make special intensive efforts to attend services that are usually miles away and at fewer convenient times.

Declines in religious importance and increases in religious disaffiliation are another matter, but I suspect that the reasons so far offered are likely true (exploration, open-mindedness of college students vis-a-vis the work-to-pay-the-bills non-college-goers).

Posted by: polthereal on June 15, 2007 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

One thing, unbelievable to many of the materialist/humanists, is that once you appreciate the anthropic fine-tuning issues, the implications of modal realism, etc. then it is actually rather credible (not a proof, of course) to believe in a Ground of Being behind this (and maybe other universe/s. (You'll have to read Paul Davies' The Mind of God or Mortimer Adler to get a good scoop on the high-end argument.) Also, educated people like to connect to "spirituality" in some sense, like my Unitarian Universalist buddies. We can imagine spirituality in various ways, regardless of whether we reify it in familiar ways or not.

Posted by: Neil B. on June 15, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Being 42 and going to college after retiring from the military I would agree with the basis of the argument presented here. While I'm certainly learning new things, my basic philosophical/religous outlook on life hasn't changed one iota. In fact what college has done for me, (Math major) in the few humanities classes I've been required to take, is hone my debating skills with liberals. I really felt sorry for my Regional Geography teacher who consistency tried to put forth her liberal agenda and apparently never had a student who, 1 had been to most of the countries in question, 2 never let her present a biased (liberal) argument without also presenting the other sides, 3 was well informed on the statistics presented by her on the subjects in question. Unfortunately she continuously found it impossible to present legitimate criticisms to her presentations. She would only put forth the liberal side of any subject. I could see that that this would be a long semester. After the second week in class I made an appointment with her as I could sense her building frustration with my presence in her class and my refusal to not stop puting forth counter arguments to her "facts." I stated quite clearly that I was paying for my education and I was going to get my money's worth. As long as she elicited responses from the students ( her main teaching style) I would give my opinions, respectfully. Since all but two or three other students in the class EVER gave their opinions I didn't feel I was interrupting ( I always let others reply first before I raised my hand) or dominating the conversations. If my arguments were wrong, it was up to her to correct them. I also said I didn't care if she flunked me. There was no way I was going to sit in a biased class without comment. If she didn't want my opinions then she shouldn't ask for responses. I told her she was academically dishonest in her one-sided presentations but that it was her right to be unfair. If she told me I couldn't participate in the discussions I would also respect that decision. In the end, she cried and didn't have any comment. I left the office expecting to fail the class as the class was only 50% objectively graded. This was a freshman level course and the standards were incredibly low, the standard know the country, capital a few geographic features, then the ubiquitous essay question "explain in detail how America is ruining the ..... in country X." The objective questions were a waste of my time and effort as any 40 year old who watches/reads the news and Jeopardy could pass the tests on day 1 and the essay questions I always gave a conservative answer. I got an A in the class. At least there was one liberal professor at the University of Colorado who will give a Conservative a fair shake. Hopefully I changed her mind and her approach to teaching, but I doubt it. At least I called her out on her academic dishonesty. Now to take a Ward Churchill class (I fully expect him to be reinstated, this is Boulder) muhahahahahah.

Posted by: 1SG on June 15, 2007 at 3:16 PM | PERMALINK

I'd say that my religious faith was one of the few things that enabled me to get through the loneliness of commuting to college for four years. That and Lord of the Rings.

Posted by: Fred S. on June 15, 2007 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, another possibility is the shallowness and nihilism of life outside of college. I didn't experience true sex/drugs/r&r until I got out of college and joined a workforce that represented the full spectrum of post-high school experience. In college professors (some) challenge you to think. The work force does not offer the full range of philosophic or spiritual opportunity.

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