Twenty Dogmas That Keep College Students From Learning How to Think

By George Yancey Published on January 15, 2017

Donald Trump isn’t very popular on college campuses these days. Many students, staff and faculty felt hurt, confused and even angry after Trump’s victory. I’m sure you’ve seen the news reports showing students now protesting against Trump, even though they have no chance of overturning the election. Worse than that, there is evidence of protestors mistreating students who voted for Trump.

Dogma on Campus

What motivates students to act in such an uncivil manner? Part of the answer is that their professors have encouraged them in it. In fact the whole academic environment has generally encouraged them. They’re not just protesting; they’re promoting dogma they’ve been fed.

Colleges and universities are so busy pushing dogma, they’ve lost the ability to teach students how to think critically for themselves.

When the election issue came up in one of my classes, I spent about 20 to30 minutes leading a discussion on it. I had not supported Trump for president, but I was careful not to share my own feelings about him. We talked about how he won and what that victory might mean. We discussed why people might be attracted to him, and I made sure to talk about those voters as fully realized people, not as caricatures. I ended the conversation by reminding the students that Trump will be the next president of the United States, and they would be healthier accepting that reality despite their disappointment.

Unfortunately, rather than guiding students to think critically about the election, many of my fellow professors have led their students down a preconceived pathway. There is a set of beliefs in academia that I call “education dogma,” and I fear that colleges and universities are so busy pushing those beliefs, they’ve lost the ability to teach students how to think critically for themselves. In the process they’ve given students implicit license to punish those who fail to accept the approved dogma.

Twenty Non-Questions on Campus

Merriam-Webster defines dogma as “a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.” On too many college campuses, certain beliefs are promoted just that dogmatically. Students are not allowed to challenge them. I’ve blogged on this previously, listing twenty dogmatic beliefs, mostly progressive, that dominate our college campuses. Those beliefs are:

  • There is a campus rape culture that encourages the sexual assault of women.
  • A woman accusing a man of rape has vastly more credibility than a man who claims his innocence.
  • The earth is getting dramatically warmer due to human activity, and altering that activity can stop or slow this trend.
  • Israeli settlers and the Israeli government are as bad as or worse than Palestinian terrorists.

You might agree with some of these beliefs; you might reject them all; you might accept them all. One way or another, they’re all open to debate — except on campus. You can’t question these beliefs there. You can’t debate them. You’re not allowed to.

  • Fundamentalist Christians are morally the same as Muslim terrorists.
  • Any military action in the Middle East creates more problems than it solves.
  • Criticizing Islam as a religion of terrorism is an example of Islamophobia.
  • Religious freedom is less important than acceptance of sexual minorities.
  • Society would generally be better off if traditional religion disappeared.
  • Marriage between those of the same sex should be seen as the same as marriage between those of different sexes.
  • Trans women (men who identify as women)  should be allowed to use the same facilities as biological women.
  • The physical differences between men and women play no role in economic disparities between them.
  • A woman has a right to an abortion for whatever reason she chooses.
  • Black men are targeted by the police.
  • Anti-Hispanic racism is an important part of what motivates those who oppose immigration reform.
  • President Obama has been criticized more than previous presidents because of his race.
  • Raising taxes on the wealthy will improve our economy.
  • Political conservatives are either greedy manipulators exploiting the marginalized, or sincere dupes voting against their own economic interests.
  • There is little if any correlation between hard work and economic success.
  • The United States is more damaging to the world than other western industrialized nations.

Don’t Even Ask

You might agree with some of these beliefs; you might reject them all; you might accept them all. One way or another, they’re all open to debate — except on campus. You can’t question them there. You can’t debate them. You’re not allowed to — at least not without fighting your way through extremely powerful social pressures against raising doubts over any of this ruling dogma. In some cases students, staff and faculty have even been subjected to official sanctions for questioning these beliefs.

When I originally wrote this list I was open to the fact that there could be other dogmatic assertions I had yet to consider. Now I can add this one:

  • Donald Trump is unfit to be president of the United States.

I agree with this statement. I was a NeverTrumper because I don’t think Donald Trump displays the character we want and need in a president. Nevertheless, even as a NeverTrumper I am disturbed that we have created an academic climate where so many individuals have turned their misgivings about Trump into emotional dogma, it is just about impossible to have anything approaching a fair discussion on his fitness to serve.

Critical Thinking and Rational Discourse

I am determined to fight against education dogma even when that dogma matches my own agenda.

Whatever the political effect of such dogma might be, it’s certainly harmful to education. It’s impossible to teach critical thinking in an atmosphere where dogmatic tenets like these must be accepted without critique. That’s why I encouraged my students to think beyond their box, rather than feed their preconceived notions — and my own as well — about Trump’s fitness as president.

I am determined to fight against education dogma even when that dogma matches my own agenda. It’s the only way institutions of higher education can fulfill their stated purpose of encouraging critical thinking and rational discourse.

Where education dogma rules, progressive professors and students are asking the rest us to accept their beliefs on faith — blind, unquestioning faith, of a sort that thinking Christians would frown on even in the sphere of religion.

But the dogmatists had better wake up — for their own good, even. They may think they have a lock on their positions of academic power. But education dogma is keeping our institutions of higher learning from achieving their purpose, and the longer it continues, the more likely it becomes that people will wonder why they should support those institutions at all.

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  • Gary

    It is usually true that college harms more students than it helps. It is also true that the philosophy taught by colleges, as discussed in this article, is harmful to society. Which means that colleges are a liability rather than an asset to society. If we continue to allow liberalism and paganism to be the theme of colleges, it will eventually lead to the destruction of American society.

    • Dyllin Barnett-Lozano

      Paganism? Yes! Colleges and universities have worked hard to diminish Judaism and Christianity, and in the process have sought to eliminate Judeo/Christian societal values and morals, replacing them with nothing.

  • 6Proverbs16

    Fortunately we live and work with a university with a history of both intense rationalism – with the clear light of God-given reason! – and the various social ‘dogmas’ of this and that period of history. It is always a great struggle to exercise the clear light of God-given reason and to live in the particularities of a time, society and history, isn’t it?

    For example you cite a bit long list of ‘dogmas’. Ok, many may be ‘dogmas’ without sound data-driven evidence. But many DO indeed have significant data-driven evidence. So, you have actually FAILED in applying your God-given reason by not elucidating that. Please do in your next writing or in adjunct here. Thanks.

    We wish for you to consider our point: that there’ll be different ‘dogmas’ that are lived are ‘real’ without sound data-driven evidence but rather out of unexamined biases, prejudices, and a priori assumptions.

    For example, at this university with a history of intense rationalism there were once these ‘dogmas’:

    People of color (historically, colloquially called n-words) can’t learn and don’t belong here (except when faculty and students brought them here as their personal slaves).

    Women ( colloquially called b-words) don’t belong here unless we bring them to the frats for drunken sex (called ‘rolls’).

    Jews can teach here because they are so smart but they can’t join our golf clubs or social clubs.

    etc

    So, we are delighted to see you challenging us to see ‘dogmas’ as dogmas and not as solid science. We do always want to use the clear light of God-given reason to discern the true and the false. Thank you.

  • Charles Burge

    When did this happen? I graduated from a state-run university in Pennsylvania in 1992, and I don’t remember anything like this going on. In fact, I’d say the majority of the student body even leaned to the right.

  • grazorblade

    I think the one about the credibility about someone accusing another of rape isn’t quite accurate. The dogma is actually that the accuser should be treated as innocent until proven guilty and that tends to not be the case – especially if the accused is in a position of authority. Typically I see that the accuser is guilty until proven innocent (trying to grab attention, trying to bring down someone important, has psychological issues, wanted it, was asking for it). Its true that sometimes in implementing this dogma the other side of the dogma – that the accused is also innocent until proven guilty – gets compromised. But thats people not understanding the dogma. Surely innocent until proven guilty is a western dogma rather than a liberal one? This particular point is a sore one for many people including myself who have had people they are close to get raped and watched in horror as many friends and family accused them of lying or said it was their fault.

    • LudicrousSextus

      I got a *tremendous* kick out of the Obama interview where he waxed ‘stern’ on the topic of ‘fake news’. That ‘interview’ having been with Rolling Stone…the ‘paper of record’ for bogus rape marketing…

  • SNAKESRULE

    7 of 10 college students couldn’t name either candidate from the election past.

  • wolfman jack

    Cultural marxism, the religion of the left.

  • opjyhwk

    If all academicians were as tolerant as the author, there would be no need for a discussion of dogma in higher education.
    Thank you, Mr. Yancey.
    BTW, I voted for Trump because I reject just about every one of the dogmas he lists.

  • Dyllin Barnett-Lozano

    I attended a Midwest A&M college in the early 60s. I was taught skills to land a good job and that teaching involved critical thinking. In my 40 years with a private multi-national, I never hired an American graduate – be cause their level of critical thinking and their skill set were not high relative to U.K. Graduates, and in later years from Indian and Chinese universities. This is one outcome of a politicized American academia operating in a tenure-based institutional bureaucracy.

    • LudicrousSextus

      Indeed – and we’re also at the point in US education where literally all colleges now require ‘remedial studies’ of incoming freshmen to prepare them to a level once achieved somewhere in the 9th grade in the 1950’s. And amusingly, since the creation of a ‘Federal Dept of Education’ – US public K-12 schools went from some of the finest in the world – to just trailing Kazakhstan at this point.

      Years ago, Jay Leno did a ‘Jaywalking’ episode where he supposedly found a handful of college students dense enough not to be able to answer his query, “How many dimes in a dollar?” (and apparently sign a release for that footage…). I was convinced it was a put-on, but more than one college professor I know – assures me it wasn’t.

      When the Feds threaten cuts to education funding for any institution which adheres to actual biology rather than ‘gender identity’ – it’s time to just start locking kids in libraries instead of paying for institutionalized stupidity.

      • Dyllin Barnett-Lozano

        Waters World on FoxNews twice a week!

      • Dean Bruckner

        A high school education now requires 16 years.

  • Chiral

    Casually writing ‘because I don’t think Donald Trump displays the character we want and need in a president.’ Speech habits are best way to sort the believers from the thinkers.

    • LudicrousSextus

      I’ve often wondered what it was about Obama’s ‘character’ – a *close* associate of two actual bomb-throwing leftist domestic terrorists who targeted police and government buildings…that apparently garnered the admiration of the college crowd…

      And then as a real knee-slapper – those terrorists now associated with American ‘higher education’.

      The irony/hypocrisy thing is pretty amusing…

      • ConradCA

        Then there is how Tyrant Obama the Liar has embraced evil Muslims. How he helped Iran build nuclear weapons, ICBMs and dominate the Middle East. How he helped the Palestinian terrorist Muslims wage war against Israel.

        • David

          See? More things that people who hate facts made up because they prefer it.

      • David

        I like how (a) in trying to discuss character, you talked about made up right wing Bs about his background and not, you know, his character, and (b) tried to claim that it’s undeniable the candidate had to drop all charges against twice is more unethical than the candidate we have a tape of admitting to sexually assaulting women.

        • Sonnys_Mom

          What does “tried to claim that it’s undeniable the candidate had to drop all charges against twice” actuslly mean?

          PS. Sorry, but Obama actually does have a documented history of preferring the company of Marxists and former domestic terrorists.

          • David

            Sorry, the candidate the FBI had to drop all charges against twice.

            And no, the right wing media has a habit of saying anyone who Obama ever associated with was a Marxist (a word that Republicans have used so much to describe so many of their boogeyman it means nothing).

            As for former domestic terrorists, what you mean to say is that one lived in his neighbourhood, taught English in Chicago, and whom Obama barely even spoke to. I assume you think Ronald Reagan should be despised since he lived in California at the same time the Zodiac Killer was active, therefore he must have been very close friends with him.

        • berserker

          For all your remarks about consent, you seem to forget about the “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything” part of Trump’s comment. What do you think “they let you do it” means. And anyone who knows anything about groupies knows what Trump is talking about.

          • David

            I think Trump cannot tell the difference between shock and being too scared to fight back, and consent. Which is exactly what a sexual predator thinks.

            I also think that a groupie doesn’t let you do it, since they are willing, they do it to the people they admire.

      • Sonnys_Mom

        But notice: unlike most college faculty today, Prof Yancey does not force his viewpoint on his own students, then grade the students based on how well they mirror the instructor’s opinions. That’s really the point of this article.

    • Sonnys_Mom

      Speech habits won’t stop ISIS.

  • RushLimbooh

    Bill Clinton was a sexual predator as President. Was he unfit, too?

    • Dean Bruckner

      Yes, yes he was unfit.

    • David

      See, once again, conservatives cannot comprehend the Concept of consent.

      • Bill

        And YOU do not understand the concept of “responsible behavior”.

        • David

          No-one claimed having a consensual affair was responsible. But that you think a consensual affair makes him a “sexual predator”, especially after you happily voted for an actual confessed sexual predator p—y grabber, again raises doubts that any conservative understands consent.

  • Still Out of Service

    we need a word other than student for many people attending college/university in the USofA.
    Attendee, Space-holder?

    • Choey

      How about “useful idiot”?

      • Still Out of Service

        I believe mr sanders has copywitten that for personal use……..

  • ConradCA

    You forgot the dogma:

    Obama has been a good president.

    Hillary was a good honest candidate.

  • David

    Here’s the conservative Dogma

    * a conservative is always right because he says he is right.

    You are free to debate any one of these things. The word here is “debate”. I.e. bring up evidence and reasoning to support your crazy claim that doesn’t just devolve into “a conservative is right, therefore I am right”. The problem is that all of these positions are counter to all factual evidence, and conservatives hate having to deal with facts.

    Which is why they whine and complain about any organisation that deals in facts and accuses them of bias. Scientists, teachers, college, the news, anybody who actually deals in facts gets conservatives screaming bias, followed by turning to someone who tells them what they want to hear.

    • Bill

      I CAN say the exact same thing about liberals. Because in my experience, the liberal mind is not open to facts … only their opinion of what the facts are.

      • David

        Right, you think that is what happens, because you are a conservative. You see how this works?

        What pray tell are the facts liberals don’t accept?

        • Bill

          Hillary was a poor excuse for a candidate for president.
          Liberals use the race card more than conservatives.
          The liberal media is biased.
          Shall I go on?

          • David

            See? Conservative Dogma that invariably goes down to “I am right because I am a conservative!”

            You THINK that Hillary, a senator and Secretary of state with decades of international policy, relations, and norms, was a poor excuse for a candidate, because for over 25 years conservative media has been actively attacking her nonstop (find one day in its entire history that Fox news didn’t at one point attack Hillary Clinton. One day. Bet you cant). All of our allies agreed fully on her being the best – only Russia, meaning only Putin, did not think she would make a great president.

            Republicans use the race card nonstop through dogwhistles. Just because you refuse to come out and say that you do these things because you hate African Americans, Latinos and Muslims, doesn’t mean we don’t understand what your southern strategy coded racism stuff is.

            No, the media used to be biased towards facts. It’s just that liberals actually look at facts and base their policy and ideas around them. Conservatives have their policies and idea that they want to do, and then scream at the facts in incoherent rage if they disagree.

            Well, they used to. Now the media is so toothless and conservative friendly that barely any facts make it in.

          • Bill

            I’m actually an independent and a Christian … I don’t hate anyone and I don’t tell lies.
            YOU … on the other hand are an intolerant liberal who makes unsupported assertions against people you don’t agree with … (your assertion that I hate AA’s, Latinos and Muslims is a classic example as you don’t have one shred of evidence against me but feel compelled to accuse me of nonsense).
            The only “incoherent rage” that I have seen is on every national news program that shows the liberals in this country going batty and being totally intolerant of the FACT that Trump won the election according to the rules of Our Constitution.
            Our number one ally … Israel … did not agree that Hillary was the best candidate.
            WHY??? BECAUSE … #1 – she is a proven liar, #2 she’s a career politician who is disconnected from the common people in this country, #3 she believes in killing children if they are inconvenient, #4 she thinks she and her husband are above the law and should not be held to the same laws the rest of us are forced to adhere to, #5 she’s corrupt and those of us who look at the evidence on both sides of this issue can see beyond the bias you so aptly display.

          • David

            Where’s this persecution complex coming from? I did not say you, I said they. As in, those Republican politicians who defend police gunning down innocent black men, attempt to take away African American voters ability to vote, us hardworking Latinos as a boogeyman, and try to paint all Muslims as violent extremists. If that does not apply to you, I fail to see why you would be offended, but I apologise if I accidentally did.

            You even just claimed you’re an independent so you can’t even claim to be that offended by me pointing out the fact that Republicans do this.

            And here we go with making up your own facts because reality disagrees. October 21, a little under two weeks out from the election, poll of Israeli citizens showed that they supported Hillary almost two to one over Trump. This is a fact. This is real data – you making up what Israelis totally think by just screaming what you think as if it’s anything other than Bs to anyone outside of the right wind media bubble, doesn’t get to be a substitute for facts.

        • Gary

          Some of the facts liberals don’t accept:
          1. There is a God who made the universe.
          2. The same God who made the universe made life. Life did not just happen and then living things evolved from other living things.
          3. God made males and females. And God defined marriage as the union of a male with a female.
          4. An unborn child of a human is a human. It does not become a human when it is born, it is a human when it is conceived.
          5. People have different abilities and different motivations. Trying to make everyone equal in all things is foolish and will never work.

          • David

            Facts need to be able to be proved. The first three things are literally you quoting religious Dogma. It’s just once again you saying “Because I said so!”

            Same with the fourth thing. No, it is your dogma that this is true. It’s not even something anyone outside of you thinks – ever notice that our birthday is on our birthday, not the day we were conceived? Wonder why that is?

            No-one is disputing this, and outside of conservative fever dreams, no-one calls for full equality. However, the part that conservatives fail to ever acknowledge is that being born rich should not be the sole determiner of your station in life, wherein, say, some imbecilic, racist, talentless, narcissistic, hideous fat waste of life can’t just be handed everything because his daddy was rich.

            Liberals want equality of opportunity. Conservatives want to just pretend the system is fair when it clearly isn’t and then attack anyone who tries to bring up the truth.

          • Gary

            Some religious dogma is true. I understand that you can’t afford to acknowledge the truth of what I said because it would destroy your worldview. Well, I don’t care about that one way or the other. You can face reality and grieve about it, or you can continue in your fantasy. A lot of people agree with you, and that is why America has the problems it has. Your beliefs cause problems, they don’t solve them.

            No one calls for full equality? Are you kidding? That is about all liberals call for. That is why you don’t like it when people make economic decisions for themselves. Its why you insist on making discrimination illegal. Its why you wanted to change marriage. Its why you want open borders. Its why you want people who have more money to pay a larger percentage of their income in taxes. It is one of the major believes that drives liberals.

          • David

            “Some religious dogma is true.”

            No it is not. If it were in any way provably true, it wouldn’t need to be held up as religious Dogma. It would be scientific fact. This is the reason there is religious Dogma that is not allowed to be questioned in any way, because there is no way to prove it. It is not religious Dogma that we need to eat or that gravity exists, these are provable facts. You understand this?

            You are defending it as a fact because if you acknowledge that it is not probably true just something you believe on faith, you worldview would crumble to ash.

            “Well, I don’t care about that one way or the other. You can face reality and grieve about it, or you can continue in your fantasy. A lot of people agree with you, and that is why America has the problems it has. Your beliefs cause problems, they don’t solve them.”

            Did you just type out a message you were supposed to send to yourself but post it in a reply to me by accident.

            “No one calls for full equality? Are you kidding? That is about all liberals call for. ”

            So you, a conservative, are telling me, a Liberal, what Liberals totally say. Hey, we’re right back to you screaming ‘I’M RIGHT CAUSE I SAY I’M RIGHT!’

            Wait, so your claim is that some Americans deserve more rights than others? What the…are you seriously arguing this?

            As for higher taxes, ever notice that those taxes aren’t 100%? Rich who have benefitted more heavily from society should pay more for the upkeep of society, but even after that they will still be rich, just not monstrously, obscenely rich to the point that they have more money than they could ever spend. And you think just being rich, but not obscenely rich, is somehow oppression?

          • Gary

            I’m satisfied that everything I believe to be true really is true. If it weren’t then I would find out what is true and believe that. I have read and heard all the arguments people like you can make, and they are not convincing.

            You don’t get to decide who is “rich” and who is “monstrously, obscenely rich”. You are free to have those opinions for yourself alone, but you are not free to decide that for others. Your possessions are yours, and the possessions of others are theirs. You are free to do what you want with your possessions, and others are free to do what they want with what is theirs. Or they should be.

          • David

            Right, you uncritically, unquestioningly believe what your authority figures told you with no proof or evidence. That’s what I said before.

            I believe in Christ, but I know enough to know that there is no proof to belief, since that is the whole purpose of faith.

            Hmm, I’m sure you’ll tell Christ when he calls you before him to answer why you did not give to the poor, that it was YOUR money and you didn’t want to give it away.

          • Gary

            You misunderstand faith. It isn’t believing things “with no proof or evidence”.

            You don’t know what I do with my money, so stop pretending you do. And, its none of your business anyway. Oh, and paying taxes is NOT the same as giving money to “the poor”. That’s another thing you liberals are confused about.

          • David

            Faith. Noun. strong belief in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual conviction rather than proof.

            Like I said, stop just making things up when they disagree with you.

            Given you keep defending the idea of being miserly and greedy, I have every reason to think this of you.

            And paying taxes is not just for the poor. It’s also for the sick, the endangered, the defenseless, the homeless and the hungry, as well as upkeep on keeping a functioning society that the obscene rich benefited from heavily and other people should be allowed to benefit from.

          • Gary

            That is not how faith is defined in the Bible.

            How much of their property would someone have to give away before you would not consider them to be miserly or greedy? And why do you get to decide that?

          • David

            How about, to start with, more money than they could ever hope or plan to actually spend on anything in their life? Seems like that’s a pretty good starting point for the argument, just making it so they literally do not have more money than they could ever need.

          • Gary

            Its none of your business what other people have. Its not your job to decide what people need. Forcibly taking the possessions of others is stealing, even if you give those possessions to someone you think is in need.

          • David

            No, being made to pay for the things that you use, like the roads, Internet, countless amount of research, clean water, clean food, breathable air, stable and fair justice system, and health and education of your workers, that is most definitely not stealing. In fact, refusing to do that, that is what stealing is.

            Taxes, are what Jesus directly commanded us to pay. Mark 12:17. Render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasars. At no point does he say “but don’t if you are rich”.

          • Gary

            There are lots of different kinds of taxes, and everyone pays one kind or another. People who have money usually pay more taxes than those who don’t.

          • David

            There are many different type of taxes, and Jesus said you have to pay all of them. It’s not a part of the things that are Caesars, is it?

            Yes, due to having an obscene amount more than others, the rich pat more, but clearly not as much as they should given the horrific wealth inequality in America, and how underfunded our basic services are.

      • CLynch451

        I would agree with you if you had said “progressives” instead of liberals. A true liberal is open-minded.
        That being said, closed-mindedness is a disease that conservatives are not immune to.

  • CLynch451

    There is a a healthy antidote to dealing with statements like the “dogmas”, above: try to steer the conversation to specific cases, or at least specific categories of situations. Break things down. Define terms. Try to get them to say how they came to believe what they do.

    In other words, “play Socrates” with the person. Who knows what might happen–somebody may actually learn something!

    The other thing that occurs to me is that too many of us see statements like the above and in response, our IQ and DQ (intelligence- and decency-quotients, respectively) drop dramatically, because we see ourselves as being on a mission to cure the “ignorance” of other people.

    I suggest casually dropping the following statement into the conversation/debate: “Well, I’m sure everybody has something to learn about this–even me!” Then smile and wink. If the other person refuses this invitation, you know that person is a true believer rather than an inquirer, and he or she may recognize it, as well.

  • BBould

    I would suggest the term cognitive blindness (coined by Dilbert author Scott Adams, because it plays well with this dogma approach and may offer some insights on how to deal with it.

  • chaos123

    I’d like to know why you emphasise Trump’s character rather than considering what he might actually do in office.

    It’s obvious that he cares about people in the ‘rust-belt’. He’s been a very sucessful businessman and says he’ll employ the people to get things done i.e. his emphasis is on achieving change for people’s lives – change for the better.

    Does he have an ideology? Or just want to improve things?

  • Francesco Serraino

    I would add “The only clean way to produce energy is by using renewable sources” as a dogma (or something sounding like this, I’m sorry for my english, I’m Italian), but there are many more, related to energy, ecology and technology.

  • Noel Castleman

    Professor Yancey…as a 1960’s Cal graduate, Right ON!! As so many others (many of us from Cal), I have found it disturbing that colleges and universities have drifted from their roles as educators, hired and charged with teaching students how to critically think. It seems that management of these institutions has spent more time thinking about how to raise money and selling themselves to students, than to insuring that their students become enlightened, intelligent, responsible members of society (American or foreign). Dogma has been the basis of societies major political human disasters throughout history. Teachers and professors, I believe, should be in the forefront of teaching students to examine the world and its humanity in great, critical detail. It’s the only way we can advance ourselves and perhaps avoid the many disasters we have had in the past. Thanks for your efforts, and God bless you on your journey. Noel Castleman, Winter Park, CO. B.S./MBA, University of California, Berkeley.

  • A great article, professor. I would like to add my responses as follows:

    1- “Donald Trump is unfit to be POTUS.”
    I agree with this. However, he has been democratically elected, and the subsequent protests were laughably puzzling, given that they would not overturn the result of the vote. I dislike Trump, and I do not believe he has the calibre for leadership. However, he will NOT induce the Armaggedon that liberal media outlets scream about, simply because as President, he is limited in what he can or cannot do. So much of Trump is talk, rather than concrete action. For example, he SAID he would move the American embassy to Jerusalem, and has thus far not done so, claiming that it is being discussed.

    2- “There is a campus rape culture that encourages the sexual assault of women.”
    As a woman, I am certainly disturbed by sexual assault and rape ANYWHERE, campus or otherwise. However, when measures have been proposed to protect women from rape, it is these same women that protest, claiming that their rights should not be curtailed on account of rapists. But wild partying and drunkenness are not “rights”. And as the Proverbs say, a wise man sees evil afar off and changes his path.

    3- “A woman accusing a man of rape has vastly more credibility than a man who claims his innocence.”
    Our legal system is not perfect, but we have a proviso to ensure, to the very best of our ability, that both parties are fairly heard whenever an allegation is made. Innocent until proven guilty. An accusation is not a verdict. All allegations must be proven, to prevent dramatic miscarriages of justice. It is ironic that those claiming that rape should not have to be proven still expect the rapist to be instantly found guilty by a court. I certainly don’t believe that every alleged victim is a liar; many rapes are not reported. But we must now default from our legal principles if we are to seek justice.

    4- “The earth is getting dramatically warmer due to human activity, and altering that activity can stop or slow this trend.”
    Humans are engaging in a series of activities that are damaging the atmosphere: pollution, overuse of natural resources, release of chemicals and greenhouse gases. However, the more important question is ARE we able to reverse these trends in time? And is it possible to reverse them? For example, switching to renewable energy worldwide would still involve the use of non-renewable energy sources in order to make these alternatives viable.

    5-“Israeli settlers and the Israeli government are as bad as or worse than Palestinian terrorists.”
    This is false. Jews have lived in Judaea and Samaria for over 3 000 years, long before there was any such potential nationality as a Palestinian. The Palestinians complain about alleged colonialism, yet happily embrace the colonial name of Palestine that the Romans invented in order to minimize Jewish identity with Israel, which they invaded in 135 BCE. The Palestinians are fighting an ideological war against the Jewish people, not merely protesting about their grievances against the Israeli government. Were these simply grievances, they would be eager to negotiate, not insistent upon provoking the Israeli government and killing Jewish citizens.

    7- “Fundamentalist Christians are morally the same as Muslim terrorists.”
    Moral relativism at its very worst. How many fundamentalist Christians applaud terrorist attacks that massacre innocent people? Name one.

    8- “Any military action in the Middle East creates more problems than it solves.”
    I am a critic of American foreign policy in the Middle East. As such, I largely agree with this statement, given the volatility of this area and the religious/political upheaval that has only worsened after American intervention.

    9- “Criticizing Islam as a religion of terrorism is an example of Islamophobia.”
    There is no doctrine in any religion that cannot be challenged/critiqued or attacked.

    10- “Religious freedom is less important than acceptance of sexual minorities.”
    One has the right to believe what they choose. However, I also believe that sexual minorities should have equal access to work opportunities and legal rights.

    11- “Society would generally be better off if traditional religion disappeared.”
    And conversely, a religious person might claim that society would be better off WITHOUT non-belief or disbelief. The fact of the matter is that whether religious or not, people have a propensity to control/dominate others, discriminate against and hate others, and commit moral perversions.

    12- “Marriage between those of the same sex should be seen as the same as marriage between those of different sexes.”
    Personally, I don’t think that two people of the same sex have the same kind of complementary bond as people of a different sex, but I honestly have more pressing issues to worry about than same-sex marriage. If a secular state provides for it, then that is the business of that state.

    13- “Trans women (men who identify as women) should be allowed to use the same facilities as biological women.”
    Whilst I don’t have an issue with trans women who are recognizable as women, I would be very concerned about a masculine person in the women’s bathrooms. Gender separation in bathrooms protects women and that needs to be taken into account.

    14- “The physical differences between men and women play no role in economic disparities between them.”
    Economists who have studied economic disparities would beg to differ. Furthermore, women have more potential than every to out-earn men, at least up to the age of 30. But even those scholars who believe in the gender gap have acknowledged the role of child-bearing and a desire for part-time work being favoured by women over men.

    15- “A woman has a right to an abortion for whatever reason she chooses.”
    Personally, I disagree except in extreme circumstances.

    16- “Black men are targeted by the police.”
    Ooh, a nice controversial one! I do believe that some police forces and individual officers have exercised racial prejudice in their behaviours, and certainly there is a very challenging history between the police and the African-American community. I would not dismiss this comment as completely false. But neither do I accept the generalization.

    17- “Anti-Hispanic racism is an important part of what motivates those who oppose immigration reform.”
    Nope. Unsustainable levels of immigration harm the economy, deplete resources and drive down wages.

    18- “President Obama has been criticized more than previous presidents because of his race.”
    I have seen many comments made about Obama that I, even as a critic of his in certain regards, consider racist. I won’t deny that. There are people in this country who did not like having a black President. However, to say that ALL his critics fit this paradigm is foolish, particularly as some of his biggest critics were black and came from his own party.

    19- “Raising taxes on the wealthy will improve our economy.”
    Lower taxation stimulates economic growth. Even Democrats like JFK knew that.

    20-“Political conservatives are either greedy manipulators exploiting the marginalized, or sincere dupes voting against their own economic interests.”
    Nope. I’m black, working-class, female and single who has recently left the godless Church of liberalism to become a conservative, because I don’t feel like liberals are really for the working man.

    21- “There is little if any correlation between hard work and economic success.”
    It depends upon your definition of success. If you think that everyone who has not become a millionaire is not successful, then of course you will believe that hard work will not lead to YOUR definition of success. But success is your oyster, and if you achieve your idea of success through hard work, then you will know first-hand that hard work leads to success. My idea of success is not being a million/billionaire. It’s earning a decent income, having enough to care for family/friends and contributing something to society. If I achieve this, I am successful.

    22- “The United States is more damaging to the world than other western industrialized nations.”
    Not true.

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