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4/29/2007                                                                                       View Comments

Interview with a Christian school superintendent

Brian Flemming, a former fundamentalist Christian, goes back to interview Dr. Sipus, the superintendent of Fleming's Christian grade school, Village Christian in California. The interview grows heated when Flemming questions the wisdom of teaching children religious belief as fact. The scene is from the documentary, "The God Who Wasn’t There."

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MothandRust said...
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MothandRust said...

So the non-christian students who go into the school have to write a statement proving why their belief is so, but the other students don't have to prove that their's? the non christians would have to use empirical data I suppose.

Grouper put the most insane video of someone pulling faces after that one. I never honestly thought that pulling faces could be that funny (Jim Carrey aside).

Joe said...

Only by stripping honest philosophy from education can this kind of BS be perpetuated. Lots of people believe it so it must be true. Johnny personally experienced it so it must be true. You can't disprove it (using the evidence we permit), so it must be true. People in authority believe it, so it must be true. You can either believe or be damned. The people who present contrary evidence have personal motives.

So, appeals to authority and popularity, the proof from lack of proof of the negative, poisoning the well, false dilemma. Where is philosophy 101 when you need it?

Like math, I think our public education system has somehow come to believe that philosophy is too hard for most kids to get. Unlike math, people generally seem to think that philosophy is not of practical value, so it is even less worth the effort.

During my time as an intelligence officer, I found it useful to appoint one of my team members to be the assumption terminator in our analytical meetings. Armed with a long list of commonly recognized logical fallacies, his role was to raise his hand, call out the fallacy and conclude with "...assumption terminated pending restatement."

Can we have a few more of these people please?

As for the funny faces guy that followed the interview, I thought he was a fitting continuation of the argument, but speaking in tongues. He was as effective as the superintendent in swaying my belief; perhaps even more so, since his unintelligible utterances did less to offend reason.

Jim Arvo said...

Joe, I could not agree with you more. In my opinion, the most seriously lacking capacity among the general public is that of critical thinking. Fallacies run rampant in political and religious discourse in particular, and are unflinchingly accepted and propagated by the vast majority of the public. Perhaps the most pervasive and poisonous is the straw man argument; paint all opposing views as ridiculous and you are sure to never grasp them, and you will never need to challenge or refine your own position. It builds walls and creates enemies. Of course, religion has taken this to an extreme; it employs and exploits every fallacy that has ever been given a name, and then some. By its very nature it is insular and therefore incapable of self-correction.

I absolutely love your idea of the "assumption terminator". What a brilliant idea. Just imagine where we might be today if out current administration had adopted such a policy.

Great post, Joe. You nailed it.

stronger now said...

Christain response to honest critique of indoctrination...RUN AWAY!RUNNN AWAAYYYY!!

What sheep. Say baaa then run away. Coward, stand and fight like a man.