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#1 Dave

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 04:03 PM

OK, so my daughter is taking a general ed biology course at home during the summer to get it out of the way. She goes to a Christian university, and she says the teacher is a Christian, but the biology book is strictly secular. So far, she's gotten an A in the course.

 

[rant]Aack! The stinking 3-unit course cost over $1,100 to take, and the stinking biology book, which she bought used on Amazon, was a stinking $108. Aack![/rant]

 

She shared with me this morning a conundrum that she is facing as they just finished the section on evolution and the course is winding down. The teacher is basically teaching it straight, ie. evolution as fact, because that's what the biology book does. (Obviously, there are different levels of Christian commitment to the word of God.)

 

The problem is that part of her grade is her participation in an online group discussion where she must post at least one comment and reply to at least one other person's comment.

 

Naturally, being as she is a believer, and who her Dad is, she is well-versed in the fallacy of evolution and is committed to the truth of God's word. But she's worried about the test and the online discussion. Should she outright lie and answer in the affirmative to millions and billions of years, mud-to-man and all that, and get a good grade? Or should she answer truthfully and risk getting a poor grade?

 

My advice to her was to use as many qualifiers as she could, like "alleged," "evolutionists believe," "supposed," etc. in her online discussion. But, the test is a harder nut to crack. If it's multiple choice or true/false and she's only given evolution-type answers to choose from what choice does she have?

 

Personally, being the argumentative, hard-nosed, rebel son of a biscuit that I am, I probably would have been arguing with the prof long before it even got to the evolution section, but my daughter is a sweety and absolutely does not like confrontation.

 

Any thoughts?



#2 piasan

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 08:00 PM

Any thoughts?

Since you ask....

 

OK, so my daughter is taking a general ed biology course at home during the summer to get it out of the way. She goes to a Christian university, and she says the teacher is a Christian, but the biology book is strictly secular. So far, she's gotten an A in the course.

First, congratulations to your daughter on her grade.

 

One thing I recommend to those who attend religious universities it that they check the accreditation of the school.  There are many absolutely outstanding universities that are run by religious organizations.  There are (too many) others who are little more than diploma mills.  One of my mothers students attended a non-accredited religious "university."  When she tried to transfer to a state run school, her credits (and degree) wouldn't transfer.  Four years of work had to be repeated.

 

Your comment that a "secular" book is being used indicates the school probably has standard university accreditation, but it only takes a couple minutes to check.  Beware of accreditation by organizations focused on religious affiliation.

 

[rant]Aack! The stinking 3-unit course cost over $1,100 to take, and the stinking biology book, which she bought used on Amazon, was a stinking $108. Aack![/rant]

Yeah... it's really expensive.

 

Suggestion .... always buy used text books.

1)  They are much cheaper than new.

2)  Most likely they'll never be used again after the course is completed.

3)  Best of all .... you get a book that someone else who probably took the same class has already "marked up" with highlighter.  (Watch this... some people highlight almost everything, some accent almost nothing.  You want one that is "just right."

 

 

She shared with me this morning a conundrum that she is facing as they just finished the section on evolution and the course is winding down. The teacher is basically teaching it straight, ie. evolution as fact, because that's what the biology book does. (Obviously, there are different levels of Christian commitment to the word of God.)

 

The problem is that part of her grade is her participation in an online group discussion where she must post at least one comment and reply to at least one other person's comment.

 

Naturally, being as she is a believer, and who her Dad is, she is well-versed in the fallacy of evolution and is committed to the truth of God's word. But she's worried about the test and the online discussion. Should she outright lie and answer in the affirmative to millions and billions of years, mud-to-man and all that, and get a good grade? Or should she answer truthfully and risk getting a poor grade?

 

My advice to her was to use as many qualifiers as she could, like "alleged," "evolutionists believe," "supposed," etc. in her online discussion. But, the test is a harder nut to crack. If it's multiple choice or true/false and she's only given evolution-type answers to choose from what choice does she have?

My suggestion is you remember the class is an undergraduate introductory(?) level course.... not a debate on science.

 

The teacher is teaching it straight and from the text book.  This implies your daughter's grade will depend on how well she demonstrates her knowledge and understanding of the textbook and lectures.

 

When I taught biology there was a little speech I would give at the beginning of the section on evolution.  It went like: 

The material we are about to cover may be in conflict with some of your religious beliefs.  You are free to hold those beliefs without it having any impact on your grade. You are completely free once you exit the classroom door to say evolution is a bunch of ****.  However, this is a science class and IN CLASS you are expected to know what science says and why science says it.

 

The important part is..... IN CLASS.  My recommendation is that she respond with that in mind.  (Oh yeah, forget the qualifiers too.)

 

 

Personally, being the argumentative, hard-nosed, rebel son of a biscuit that I am, I probably would have been arguing with the prof long before it even got to the evolution section, but my daughter is a sweety and absolutely does not like confrontation.

I'd be really careful about confronting the teacher.

 

In grad school, I took a class in SQL.  The professor made a comment that core memory was temporary memory because its contents went away when power does.  In my 25 years of technical experience I had worked on core memories.  I pointed out to the professor that at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA uses core memory to store what computers are doing during a power failure.... something you can't do with a temporary memory.  He was adamant and began to get upset, so I let it drop.

 

Later, I ran across a tech manual that listed core as permanent memory.  To avoid confronting him in front of the class, I waited until after class was over and showed him the tech manual.  He got extremely angry and forcefully asserted again that core is temporary.  At that point, I left it alone......

 

Fast forward to the midterm exam.  I've always been able to tell within 5 points my grade on a test.  I figured my midterm was in the high 80's.  When I got the paper, it was a 28 ! ! ! !  There was a 20 point question asking we list and explain three points.  The person next to me had the same three points in a different order and with essentially identical statement concerning our explanations.  He lost 2 points, I lost 16.

 

The next day I dropped the class.



#3 Dave

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 09:41 PM

One thing I recommend to those who attend religious universities it that they check the accreditation of the school.  There are many absolutely outstanding universities that are run by religious organizations.  There are (too many) others who are little more than diploma mills.  One of my mothers students attended a non-accredited religious "university."  When she tried to transfer to a state run school, her credits (and degree) wouldn't transfer.  Four years of work had to be repeated.
 
I'd be really careful about confronting the teacher.

 

She's attending Huntington University, Indiana, at their Peoria, AZ, campus. That campus is just getting started, which was purely a God thing because she would have liked to have attended the Indiana campus, but didn't want to travel that far, live in a dorm, etc. Then, just as she was getting ready to choose a second-choice school near here Huntington announced they were opening a campus a mere 20 minutes from our home. She was one of the first 18 students to enroll.

 

This campus is HU's West Coast campus for digital media arts. It's all they do. My daughter is a digital animation major between her first and second year right now, and she's already getting paid gigs through the school animating commercials for local businesses.

 

It was fascinating watching them preparing to open the school. They had a $1.5 million budget for cameras, studio video and audio equipment, lighting, etc. They've got one room the size of a basketball court that is wall to wall green screens and infinity walls. It's a real jaw-dropping experience to see all that top-of-the-line, professional-quality equipment knowing that my daughter has full use of it.

 

I suspect you are right about just lying low and answering the questions, and not riling up the teacher. She's got excellent grades, and her scholarships depend on her keeping her grades up.

 

Thanks for your comments.



#4 Goku

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Posted 08 August 2017 - 10:49 PM

[rant]Aack! The stinking 3-unit course cost over $1,100 to take, and the stinking biology book, which she bought used on Amazon, was a stinking $108. Aack![/rant]

 

Welcome to modern university! For giggles I looked up my old university tuition rates for fall 2017; 3 credit course is almost $1,500.

 

As for your dilemma, I agree with Piasan that as an intro undergrad course it is not a debate class. In my experience most professors do not respond well when students think they know better than the professor and are vocal about it.

 

When I took history 101 (or whatever it was called) the teacher was an adamant Christian and we had mini-papers we had to write every week which amounted to a large portion of the grade, and most of those assignments were Christian centered. This was also a time when I was a newly found Christian apostate. While not the same as your daughter's situation, I could have taken a very cynical approach to the writing assignments and risked my grade. What I ended up doing was using my Christian background to my advantage and wrote papers with the teacher's inclinations in mind. I consistently got A's on those assignments and the teacher wrote favorable comments in the margins. In retrospect I made the right choice for me. For one intro course it was simply not worth it to get into a debate with the teacher or to write confrontational papers risking my grade and possibly having to retake the course.

 

Given that she has an A so far, apparently doesn't like confrontation, and that this is a summer course so it should be almost done, I would advise her to participate in the discussion and take the test under the pretense that evolution is true. I would tell her that she doesn't have to personally believe in evolution, but the course is testing her knowledge and ability on the material as it is presented in the course - not her personal belief or any other external material. When taking the test she is not affirming that her answers are what she necessarily believes, rather she is demonstrating that she understands the other side. At the end of it, if all goes well, she can say she got an A in biology, and no evolutionist can take that away.

 

One thought I have about the online discussion, depending on how the discussion is set up, she could bring attention to a problem with evolution disguised as a question while demonstrating that she understands the material she is responsible for. For example, since most mutations are neutral, and most of the mutations that have a net effect on fitness are deleterious, combined with genetic drift which can eliminate the extremely rare beneficial mutations irrespective of their fitness value, how is it that evolution is able to maintain the genetic health of populations let alone increase overall population fitness?


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#5 mike the wiz

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 03:09 AM

Yeah mostly I personally agree with Goku, Dave, I feel the need to break my silence to say that sometimes it can be a bit cliche, and a bit embarrassing when Christians inappropriately declare God in some way. An athlete done this on TV, I think my face went a bit red on his behalf because it was such a random interjection, and out-of-context comment and it was so cliche, you could see on everyone's face that they knew that he thought he had to say this out of loyalty to God and the other presenters quickly changed the subject back to athletics. Lol. 

 

But the problem is it's a conscience issue. I myself know that in that situation, if I was studying biology initially with the motive of passing biology, for me, if I were to start proclaiming Creationist-Christianity close to getting the grade, that would be like sticking my balls in a rat trap for no reason as far as I'm concerned.

 

I'm just giving you it from my own personal perspective, sometimes it seems it is right to throw ourselves on our petard if it is a real moment that cuts the mustard, but if the motive wasn't to proclaim Christianity to begin with, but was just to pass biology, I think it's okay to give the answers that pass. As long as she doesn't imply she believes the answers. One real easy way is to say something like this; "well, according to evolution theory", or, "evolution says".

 

I think if I remember rightly, CMI's advice (creation scientists) was that it's pointless to question it in class, and inappropriate to disturb a lesson like that. They seemed to advise getting a string of passes, then proclaiming evolution false once you have all the grades.

 

But it's a personal issue so I would feel uncomfortable saying, "you should take my advice", because it's a matter of conscience. 


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#6 what if

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Posted 09 August 2017 - 09:22 AM

Naturally, being as she is a believer, and who her Dad is, she is well-versed in the fallacy of evolution and is committed to the truth of God's word. But she's worried about the test and the online discussion. Should she outright lie and answer in the affirmative to millions and billions of years, mud-to-man and all that, and get a good grade? Or should she answer truthfully and risk getting a poor grade?

tell her to answer truthfully.
the truth is:
science has been unable to prove a natural origin for life.
science has been unable to prove animal phyla descended from one another.
furthermore, it might not be possible to demonstrate common descent in principle.

all of the above is available online in koonins works

#7 piasan

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 04:14 PM

 

One thing I recommend to those who attend religious universities it that they check the accreditation of the school.....

She's attending Huntington University, Indiana, at their Peoria, AZ, campus.

Huntington checks out .... as I expected they probably would.

 

That campus is just getting started, which was purely a God thing because she would have liked to have attended the Indiana campus, but didn't want to travel that far, live in a dorm, etc. Then, just as she was getting ready to choose a second-choice school near here Huntington announced they were opening a campus a mere 20 minutes from our home. She was one of the first 18 students to enroll.

 

This campus is HU's West Coast campus for digital media arts. It's all they do. My daughter is a digital animation major between her first and second year right now, and she's already getting paid gigs through the school animating commercials for local businesses.

 

It was fascinating watching them preparing to open the school. They had a $1.5 million budget for cameras, studio video and audio equipment, lighting, etc. They've got one room the size of a basketball court that is wall to wall green screens and infinity walls. It's a real jaw-dropping experience to see all that top-of-the-line, professional-quality equipment knowing that my daughter has full use of it.

Sounds like she has a great opportunity.

 

Might I ask how old she is?  At your indicated age (66), I'd expect your granddaughter to be starting college.   I should talk, my father was 45 years older than me.

 

 

I'd be really careful about confronting the teacher.

I suspect you are right about just lying low and answering the questions, and not riling up the teacher. She's got excellent grades, and her scholarships depend on her keeping her grades up.

As several of us have pointed out, she's demonstrating knowledge of the material .... not agreement with it.

 

Edit:

I just visited the website of my first university.  Tuition is now over $1,000 per semester hour (credit).  Grad school is $1330 per credit.



#8 piasan

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 04:55 PM

 

Naturally, being as she is a believer, and who her Dad is, she is well-versed in the fallacy of evolution and is committed to the truth of God's word. But she's worried about the test and the online discussion. Should she outright lie and answer in the affirmative to millions and billions of years, mud-to-man and all that, and get a good grade? Or should she answer truthfully and risk getting a poor grade?

tell her to answer truthfully.
the truth is:
science has been unable to prove a natural origin for life.
science has been unable to prove animal phyla descended from one another.
furthermore, it might not be possible to demonstrate common descent in principle.

all of the above is available online in koonins works

I'd be real careful about confronting the instructor in an introductory class.  That's pretty much regurgiquote time.



#9 what if

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Posted 15 August 2017 - 04:12 PM

In grad school, I took a class in SQL.  The professor made a comment that core memory was temporary memory because its contents went away when power does.  In my 25 years of technical experience I had worked on core memories.  I pointed out to the professor that at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA uses core memory to store what computers are doing during a power failure.... something you can't do with a temporary memory.  He was adamant and began to get upset, so I let it drop.
 
Later, I ran across a tech manual that listed core as permanent memory.  To avoid confronting him in front of the class, I waited until after class was over and showed him the tech manual.  He got extremely angry and forcefully asserted again that core is temporary.  At that point, I left it alone......
 
Fast forward to the midterm exam.  I've always been able to tell within 5 points my grade on a test.  I figured my midterm was in the high 80's.  When I got the paper, it was a 28 ! ! ! !  There was a 20 point question asking we list and explain three points.  The person next to me had the same three points in a different order and with essentially identical statement concerning our explanations.  He lost 2 points, I lost 16.
 
The next day I dropped the class.

all the way up until 1980 or so, core memory meant memory that uses magnetic doughnut shaped devices,
these retained their data.

instructors such as yours do nothing but squash creativity and innovation.

i took a college course or 2, and i remember one of my instructors quite well.
it was an electronics communications course, and i remember one circuit he drew on the board, and i asked him about one certain item on it, why he included it.
his answer floored me.
he said "i knew you would ask me why i would include it"
even some of the students remarked that i would ask questions he couldn't answer.
for example:
one of the students asked the instructor "how can you tell when a transistor is forward biased?"
my hand immediately went up.
the instructor pointed at me and said "proceed".
i said "when the control element draws current".
he paced back and forth shaking his finger, and he really didn't know what to say.
he finally said "i don't think that's what he means".

the instructor may or may not have been right.
a transistor is definitely forward biased when its control element draws current, but it also draws current and be out of its operating range too.

my answer was correct, it was the person that asked the question that's at fault.
he failed to state the operation of the device, audio, RF, or right before it fails.
in all 3 of the above cases, the control element is drawing current.

it was essentially an ill phrased question.

#10 piasan

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Posted 16 August 2017 - 09:06 PM

 

In grad school, I took a class in SQL.  The professor made a comment that core memory was temporary memory because its contents went away when power does.  In my 25 years of technical experience I had worked on core memories.  I pointed out to the professor that at the Kennedy Space Center, NASA uses core memory to store what computers are doing during a power failure.... something you can't do with a temporary memory.  He was adamant and began to get upset, so I let it drop.
 
Later, I ran across a tech manual that listed core as permanent memory.  To avoid confronting him in front of the class, I waited until after class was over and showed him the tech manual.  He got extremely angry and forcefully asserted again that core is temporary.  At that point, I left it alone......

all the way up until 1980 or so, core memory meant memory that uses magnetic doughnut shaped devices,
these retained their data.

It still does.  It was also the primary random access memory used in computers.

 

The advantage of core memory is that it is permanent memory.

The disadvantage is that to read core memory, you must destroy the contents.  This means every time you access the contents of core memory it must be re-written.  As a result core is slow, power hungry, and generates a lot of heat.

 

By the early 80's, core memory was largely replaced by RAM chips.

 

 

instructors such as yours do nothing but squash creativity and innovation.

You may be right about that.  In this particular circumstance, it wasn't about creativity or innovation.  It was all about the professor's ego and refusal to accept correction from a student who was speaking in his own capacity as an experienced professional in the field under discussion.... even when that student provided written documentation of the error.






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