AC: What do YOU think?

| Ranger Staff | August 28, 2013 |

Vote on this week’s poll and discuss below! Do you think a class should be cancelled if arguments and tension are expected? Who should have a say in the cancellation? Is it fair to those that enrolled?

[poll id=”15″]

17 Comments

  1. Real simple. If you think it might be controversial, keep it off campus. Or, if you and someone else want to discuss something on campus, keep it quiet and away from others. The fastest way to start a divisive argument is to talk about something where others can stick their nose in.

  2. The class wasn't canceled because it in controversial, the class was canceled because it was going to teach Creationism as a valid scientific theory. The textbook chosen for this class is called Exploring Evolution. Here is a link to the National center for science education, more precisely, a link to the Critique of the "textbook" I would also like to post a quote from that critique here "Beneath all its distortions, all its misrepresentations of modern evolutionary science, Explore Evolution uses familiar and long-refuted creationist anti-evolution arguments." The key statement in that quote is long-refuted. There is no controversy in the science community at large about evolution. Had this class been allowed to continue, Amarillo College's credibility and academic integrity may have been called into question. Link to the NCSE website: http://ncse.com/explore-evolution

  3. I think adults should be allowed to pay money and participate in a class that covers contemporary and relevant views related to science and religion. If either side is successful in restricting such access to information and ideas it might be equated to zealous book burning with the goal being to protect the curious from information some deem unneeded and unnecessary. The highly evolved mind or divinely created has the mysterious ability to discern fact from fiction. Each student should be given the ability to decide what they will or will not believe. It is unfortunate that the policing of knowledge has reared it's overly enlarged cerebellum on a college campus. If you do not support the free exchange of ideas, put your money back in your pocket, step to the side and permit those that wish to engage in such and exchange to participate. Ideas are not to be feared. The actions of the uninformed should be feared.

  4. adults should be allowed to pay money and participate in a class that covers contemporary and relevant views related to science and religion. If either side is successful in restricting such access to information and ideas it might be equated to zealous book burning with the goal being to protect the curious from information some deem unneeded and unnecessary. The highly evolved mind or divinely created has the mysterious ability to discern fact from fiction. Each student should be given the ability to decide what they will or will not believe. It is unfortunate that the policing of knowledge has reared it's overly enlarged cerebellum on a college campus. If you do not support the free exchange of ideas, put your money back in your pocket, step to the side and permit those that wish to engage in such and exchange to participate. Ideas are not to be feared. The actions of the uninformed should be feared.

  5. I fear for our children in the public school system when people vote to teach creationism as science. One only has to have read the syllabus to know the class was an ill disguised attempt to proselytize. I can't believe a humanist would defend such drivel.

  6. Your poll is misleading. The classes were cancelled for exactly what Bradon Cohorn posted.
    I believe Rodney Hinds is absolutely correct in both his posts. My hats off to Bradon and Rodney.

  7. This is not about academic freedom. Academic freedom is defined as, "The right of college-level scholars to conduct, publish and discuss research." This is from the AAUP (American Association of University Professors). The AAUP goes further and has stated its overwhelming opposition to efforts to teach Intelligent Design in classrooms, saying "Such efforts run counter to the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding evolution and are inconsistent with a proper understanding of the meaning of academic freedom."

    Academic freedom is not the freedom to misinform students, and that is exactly what happens when ID arguments are taught.

    The NCSE states on it's website. "Teachers who present creationism (under any name) as science are misinforming their students. ID’s claims about the supernatural fall outside of science, and the arguments presented under the rubric of "critical analysis" or teaching "strengths and weaknesses" are not scientifically credible. For instance, ID promoters advocated that students should be taught about holes in the fossil record of whale evolution. When paleontologists uncovered numerous fossils demonstrating exactly the transitions which ID promoters insisted did not exist, whales disappeared from the ID list of "weaknesses." Nevertheless, opponents of evolution education still advocate teaching students that we do not have a perfect fossil record of, for instance, bat evolution. This is a strategy of teaching students what we don’t know, rather than what we do, and leaves students ill-prepared to learn new information as science progresses."

    No teacher has the freedom to misinform and mis-educate students, be it in a high school or college setting. It is scientifically inappropriate and educationally irresponsible to present ID under its own name or in any other guise as scientifically credible.

  8. This was not an academic course. It was a continuing Ed course where "a friendly exchange of ideas" was suppose to take place. For you the scientific method and facts that are found through that is more important. For others tradition and ceremony are more important. We will never really know what either side or the teacher would have said or how the text book would have been used since AC made the decision to cancel the class. Joseph Campbell held round table discussions on topics like god without this much resistance. They are ideas. We can all learn from ideas if nothing more than more support for your own strongly held beliefs. They are ideas! They aren't going to hurt you!!

  9. What is the colleges official position on why the class was cancelled? Was there a syllabus and if so what does it say? Was this course ever advertised as an academic course? What are the credentials of the instructor who was going to teach the course? Why did he select the textbook he did?

  10. Was Amarillo College ever contacted by a national science organization about the content of the course? Did anyone ever contact the college and threaten filling a law suite if the course was not shut down? I hope AC will give their official position and answer on these questions. I think there are several unknowns and he said she said comments floating around that is adding to the confusion about this topic.

  11. Have all the round table discussions you want but no creationism in a tax funded public school. Just the fact of having that class take place in a ‘college’ would give the topic an air of legitimacy and prestige IT DOES NOT DESERVE.

  12. There is clearly a portion of the conversation that I am not seeing here in the comments. I suspect this is due to my being blocked by someone.

    In any case, I was the initial investigator on this issue. I spoke with multiple members of AC administration (including the head of the Personal Enrichment Dept., the head of the Continuing Education Dept., the VP of Academic Affairs, the instructor for said course, and several other science professors on campus).

    I have the syllabus for this course, detailed notes of my conversations with AC officials on this and related topics and emails from AC administration on this topic. In other words, I have the evidence here.

    I have presented much of this evidence in lecture format at the SW Amarillo Public Library which included an extensive Q and A session. I would be happy to do so again at another place and time if that would help clear up some of the horrendous confusion being spread by some members of our community.

    I will accept a challenge from anyone to debate this or a related topic. If you have a different perspective on this issue, challenge me to a civil debate. Put your money where your mouth is.

    I'm waiting.

  13. The problem, Mr. Morin, is that this class was not based around reality. The textbook and syllabus clearly show the format to be one of misinformation about evolutionary biology and bias toward Creationism.

    There are a number of ways in which a class could legitimately be given dealing with religion, or philosophical arguments traditionally used to buttress a belief in a god, or the history of religious belief, etc.

    What an academic institution may not do, however, is allow someone to present false and/or seriously distorted information and claim it is science. In other words, the concept of "Academic Freedom" does not include the ability to misinform or lie to students.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.