Toleration of YECs

We do judge people by their ability to comprehend the basic fundamentals of their field of study. If someone is applying for a position teaching astronomy and is an advocate for Flat Eartherism they probably won’t get the job. If we add in the complication that the applicant thinks Flat Eartherism is based on the Bible, does that really change the situation? I don’t think it does.

Does that mean scientists are prejudiced against Flat Earthers or people who believe in the Bible, or are they just prejudiced against scientists who are flat out wrong and incapable of accepting it? I think it is very fair to judge a scientist by the science they present, so if they say the Earth is 10,000 years old that disqualifies them in the geologic sciences, regardless of the religious context.


Yes, exactly. It really does not change the situation. It tickles the part of one’s brain that’s about “religious discrimination” but here is a case where it’s not just “I hate evangelicals and want to deny them employment,” or even just “I suspect all evangelicals of being YECs,” but a bona fide problem bearing directly upon employment. If a man comes in and says that he’s sure the earth is 6,000 years old because the Mole People from under his septic tank emerged one night and told him so, this is not a “religious” belief but it surely bears on his suitability as a candidate.

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If he says he followed the evidence and concluded the Earth is 6,000 years old it would disqualify him from a position in a geology department . . . unless it’s Liberty University or some other ultra-conservative religious school.


I’m sorry, but while in saying “have no place”, I exaggerated to make a point (change it to “have an increasingly diminishing place”), the exaggeration is not far off the truth. And who are the people here who, according to you, “know” what I say to be false? It seems that not a single person regularly posting here – virtually everyone here is science-trained or makes his living in science – knows very much about what goes on in the Arts part of the modern secular university. That’s clear to me from two or three years of extensive discussions here. I, on the other hand, have been intimately involved on the Arts side of campus for 40 years, teaching in several different departments in several different institutions. I know what I’ve seen, and I know what scores of other well-positioned academic observers have reported across the continent.

But if you think I’m wrong, show me some religion departments in secular universities where conservative religious thinkers have any serious faculty representation, and where the curriculum tries to balance the claims of pre-modern and modern thought. Show me that for every course on, say, “Feminist Theory in Religion”, or “Religion and Social Justice”, there is a course on something like “Christian Platonism” or “The Teleological Argument.” Show me some departments of religion or ancient Near Eastern studies where any significant number of the faculty believe (still the belief of Orthodox Judaism) that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, or where someone could write a doctoral thesis or even an undergrad thesis based on that belief. Show me some English departments where the Leavisites hold a majority of faculty positions, or even a significant number of them, and where the deconstructionists and feminists don’t dominate. And show me some philosophy departments where deconstructionists and feminists and Marxists don’t vastly outnumber traditional Platonists or Aristotelians. Explain to me how the rise of campus or departmental or individual professor’s speech codes that say that “Himself” in reference to God must in all essays be replaced by “Godself” (allegedly to avoid “sexism”) don’t inhibit the honest expression of religious belief of conservative students.

At Iowa State, outspoken atheist religion professors like Hector Avalos can attack religious belief (even to the point of trying to sabotage faculty appointments in science departments) with impunity; does anyone in the religion department at Iowa State use the classroom to teach that, say, Calvinist Christianity is true and that atheism is wrong? If anyone there used his faculty position to promote Calvinism, would Iowa State tolerate it? But when someone uses his faculty position to promote atheism, Iowa State is apparently just fine with it.

Remember, I’m talking about secular universities, so your experience at Calvin College doesn’t count. Nor do any church-controlled colleges or universities count. I’m talking about secular universities. Show me that in secular universities there isn’t a decisive, overwhelming bias toward modern philosophies and value-systems, and that those with traditional, pre-Enlightenment religious and philosophical beliefs feel every bit as comfortable and safe in expressing those beliefs as do feminists, atheists, deconstructionists, and extremely liberal Christians and Jews.

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It was grotesque.

Is that really the challenge you want?

This move is also appallingly misleading. “The Arts” is something you just added and was no part of the conversation. This really erodes your credibility. You are not writing in good faith. And the rest of your treatise does not deserve a response.

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You do know there has to be interest in these courses for them to be offered right?

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Also curious where you taught. Have you ever stepped foot on the campus of a southern university? I’ve been told I’m going to burn in hell and called a fa**ot more times than I’d like to count by members of campus Christian groups.

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You’re right, I didn’t specify the Arts. My oversight. I made the mistake of thinking that you would have followed the long exchange I had recently with Herman Mays on this subject, and would have known that I had the Arts in mind. So I rephrase:

In the Arts departments, conservative religious views are not treated with anywhere near the respect that more liberal religious views, and non-religious views, are treated.

In subjects such as Business, Engineering, Economics, and many of the natural sciences, students can hold to conservative religious views, but those views are essentially private, as far as the course material is concerned. The professor neither knows nor cares what religious views the student has, and the material taught does not either affirm or negate those views. The religious views aren’t persecuted; they fly under the radar, so to speak.

In some of the natural sciences, such as Biology and Geology, in some cases there can be a clash between the views of conservative religious students and the views taught by the professor.

So in sum, in the modern secular university, conservative religious students frequently in the Arts, and sometimes in the sciences, experience a hostile atmosphere to their religious views. In other subjects, whatever hostile reactions they might get from profs for their personal views do not arise, because those views are part of their private and personal lives which the professor never sees. The message to conservative religious students is: If your religious views are conservative, keep your personal religious views out of the classroom, out of your essays, etc., as far as you possibly can. The religious liberal and the religious unbeliever do not feel this restriction.

Confirming my own independent observation, Nancy Pearcey has pointed out that conservative Christian students often choose to major in Business, Economics, Engineering, Phys Ed, Music Performance, etc., because in those subjects they are learning objective techniques, not discussing values or ultimate questions about God, the soul, ethics, the origin of the world, etc. They are much less comfortable in the natural sciences that touch on origins and in the Arts subjects, where their religious commitments are far more likely to surface, and so there is a tendency of them not to major in those subjects, unless they absolutely have to, e.g., if they need some biology to get into medical school. 100 years ago, even 60 years ago, such avoidance tactics were much less necessary, at least in the Arts classes, since the atmosphere in those classes was much more friendly, or rather, much less hostile, to traditional religious belief.

No. Are you talking about universities where there is control by a religious denomination, or 100% state-owned and state-run universities?

Were you told that by professors in your classes? Did the English, Philosophy, Sociology, and World Religions professors say that you were going to burn in hell? I’m not speaking here of the attitudes of other students, but of faculty, and the attitudes embedded in the curriculum, the textbooks, the campus speech codes, etc. I’m speaking of institutional bias.

Have you ever taken an Arts course at any of those southern universities? If so, which courses? Did the teachers in those courses use those courses in order to promote conservative philosophy or conservative religion? Did you ever take a course in Biblical studies? Did the teacher use the course to promote the conservative view that Moses wrote the Pentateuch, or did he/she teach that the Pentateuch is a compilation of sources, none of which were written by Moses, and among which there are contradictions and inconsistencies? Did you ever take a course in philosophy? If so, did the teacher advocate the views of a particular, traditional philosopher of a conservative bent, such as Plato or Thomas More? Or did the teacher advocate “deconstructionism” – the view that all “truth” is merely a disguise for the social power some human beings exercise over others, so that all truth claims should be deconstructed, and debunked?


Comments about my sexuality? No. Inappropriate political comments? Yes.

You also seem to miss my point. You are making it sound like it’s all, “aw poor evangelicals. They are uncomfortable and have no voice and are afraid to speak up”. When in actuality they run these campuses. They most certainly have a voice.

Multiple. Covered many arguments for God. We even got to do debates. I participated in a devil’s advocate debate where I defended theism. Covered Thomism as well.

Why should these courses you speak of be offered at universities where there doesn’t seem to be any interest in them? There have been beer brewing courses offered before. Surely if an university allowed that they would allow a class on Christian Platonism if the interest is there. It’s all about money. They care wayyyyyyy more about money than giving some particular view priority.


We can make it the same course, if you like. Let’s call the course “Religion and Social Justice.” Now that has a catchy, “relevant” flavor to it, and might by its name attract a large number of students, both majors and elective students. Now let’s imagine the department is advertising for a teacher to teach this course. Imagine that they get two applicants with sufficient qualifications. Here are the descriptions of how each of the two applicants propose to teach the course:

  1. Applicant A. I will go over the various accounts of social justice offered by different religious writers, covering both Christian and non-Christian cultures. I will try to articulate the reasoning behind each view of social justice, and examine the strengths and weaknesses of each view. I will argue that, when all views have been considered, the view best capable of establishing and maintaining social justice is the view set forth in Plato’s Republic, as modified by the teachings of the Gospels.

  2. Applicant B. I will go over the various accounts of social justice offered by different religious writers, covering both Christian and non-Christian cultures. I will use the approach of deconstructionism to show that all of these accounts of justice are political-social fabrications, constructs created in order to justify the social power or influence of particular groups or individuals. I will try to liberate the mind of students by showing them that lofty conceptions of justice have not a heavenly or cosmic basis, but very carnal and worldly motivations, in the desire of some people to dominate or control other people.

Now, given those applications, and knowing the typical views of religion professors, guess who will get the job, in most religion departments on this continent?

If they ran the campuses, they would make sure there was equal time in the biology curriculum for creationism. Can you name me a southern state-run university where this has happened?

If they ran the campuses, they would make sure that in every department at least as many religious believers as unbelievers had teaching posts. Have you observed that this is the case in the philosophy, religion, biology, geology, sociology, women’s studies, etc. departments?

If they ran the campuses, they would make sure that at least as many professors were Republicans as Democrats. Have you observed this 50/50 balance among faculty?

If they ran the campuses, there would be no campus speech codes enforcing politically correct language. Have you observed the successful abolition of speech codes, led by evangelical students?

And by the way, note that my remarks are not limited to YECs. I have been talking about students with conservative philosophical and religious views generally. A student does not have to be a YEC to admire Plato, Aristotle, Thomas More, Jonathan Swift, C. S. Lewis, etc. And I’m not a YEC myself, and I’m not at all concerned that a religious studies department doesn’t give “equal time” to YEC, but I am concerned when its professors display a regular distaste and disapproval of notions such as God, absolute moral standards, the possibility of revelation, etc., and where very few professors who believe in such things in a traditional way can find academic positions – which is what has happened, on most of this continent anyway, even if not in Mississippi or whatever southern states you are talking about.

The same ones who call me a faggot?

Me personally, I’ve had a pretty good mix of liberal/conservative, atheist/theist professors. One of my favorites actually, was super conservative who also went to seminary, he went off on weird abortion rants sometimes, but he made history fun and I enjoyed learning from him.

Why should it? Go to a university where you want to learn what you want to learn. If you want to learn creationism why would you to go the university of Alabama? You think everyone is a special little snowflake who deserves to be catered to?

You also have no faith in your fellow professors. I’ve had some great ones who were more than willing to talk about opposing views. I even got my old advisor to watch some AIG videos (in a non mocking way). The world isn’t against you. Grow up.


Good. Did you find any leanings or prejudices in the philosophy faculty overall? In most places, philosophy professors who believe in God are in the decided minority, and even those who believe in a God of some sort often don’t believe in the God of any traditional religion. If that’s not true where you studied, if at least half the professors in philosophy accept some form of traditional religion, then I can see why you would disagree with me. But I don’t think you would find that situation in universities in most of the Blue States, or even in most public universities in the Red States. You also won’t find it in most of the universities in advanced countries outside of the USA. There is a very high overlap between “philosophy professor” and “religious unbeliever” in most places.

Cut and paste a comprehensive exam that is a bit dated (6 years old) but from a PROMINENT secular institution. Sorry this is so long, but I rather suspect @Eddie hasn’t as much experience apart from hanging out with the DI cohort as he lets on:

DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY, UNIVERSITY OF ******** (Ultra High-Level Advanced Athletics)
Note: the exam will consist of three questions from each of the following sections, of which the examinee must answer one from each section. (Three answers total.)

  1. Describe the major points of contention between the ethics of the Stoics and Epicureans, and the strengths and weaknesses of each. Which do you think has the better position, and why?
  2. Does Plato present a cogent argument against Gyges using his ring?
  3. Aristotle wavers between two different conceptions of eudaimonia. Explain their differences, the arguments in favor of each, and the extent to which they can be reconciled.
  4. Are human beings by nature political animals? Discuss the meaning of this concept in Aristotle, the role it plays in shaping his political thought, and whether you find it true and insightful.
  5. Critically compare the views of Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas on the purpose and value of the state.
  6. It is sometimes said that the psychological systems of Plato and Aristotle have no place for the deliberate choice of evil recognized as such. Is this true? And do the respective approaches of Plato and Aristotle to this issue represent a strength or a weakness in their philosophies?
  7. Taking one emotion of your choosing (fear, anger, love, etc.), explain its importance for Aristotle’s account of the life of virtue. Explain the sense in which this emotion and emotion generally are necessary to virtue, in contrast to the Stoic refusal of emotions. Which view do you find more persuasive, and why?
  8. Explain the tripartite division of the soul. In what sense is this division of the soul able to answer the guiding question of the nature of justice? In what sense is this division of the soul challenged or undermined by one of either: (a) the “longer way” announced in Book VI, (b) the discussion of regimes in Books VII-IX, or (c) the Myth of Er?
  9. What is law, according to Aquinas? What are its main aspects, from where does its authority derive, and how does it relate to human nature? What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of Aquinas’s account?
  10. Explain and differentiate the Epicurean and Stoic conceptions of freedom. What do you take to be some of the strengths and weaknesses of each view, and which view do you favor?
  11. Discuss in detail the three versions of Kant’s Categorical Imperative as it applies to either the case of suicide or the case of making a false promise. Do you find his account of the moral status of this act persuasive?
  12. Hobbes believes that we can defeat the moral skeptic by showing that acting morally is always in one’s self-interest. How does he show this? Evaluate his answer.
  13. Why should I obey laws with which I do not agree? Explain and evaluate the answers to this question offered by Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau.
  14. Kant and Hume have widely different views on the role of reason and of sentiment/emotion/feelings in moral action. Do you think they are talking past each other? Explain. Do you find one view more plausible than the other?
  15. Compare the accounts of freedom in Rousseau and Marx, explain the implications of these accounts for their understanding of political community, and assess the adequacy of their notions of freedom and community.
  16. Explain and assess Nietzsche’s ambiguous interpretation of the slave revolt in morality.
  17. Mill believes that he can save act utilitarianism from the problem that it does not respect rights, or that it makes rights subservient to utility. Exactly what is the problem for Bentham’s version of act utilitarianism? Discuss in detail Mill’s attempt to solve it. Evaluate his success or failure.
  18. Notoriously, Mill’s On Liberty appears inconsistent with his Utilitarianism. Describe the major points of inconsistency and to what extent, if at all, they can be overcome.
  19. Critically compare the views on the origin and justification of private property, and the resulting social inequalities, held by Locke, Rousseau, and Marx.
  20. Why is the moral motive so special for Kant? What role does it play in the moral status of actions? Refer in your discussion to some of the cases Kant discusses in connection with the three propositions of morality. Do you think his account is right? Explain why or why not.
  21. Compare Kant and Hume on the question of whether reason by itself can motivate action. What bearing does this have in determining whom we can consider responsible for moral action? Which view do you consider more nearly correct, and why?
  22. Should liberation be an important goal of political philosophy? If so, liberation from what, and how is it to be achieved? Explain and defend your own view in dialogue with those of at least three of the following: Plato, Augustine, Rousseau, and Marx.
  23. Discuss the role of autonomy in the moral theories of Aristotle and Kant. Which provides a more adequate approach to this aspect of the moral life?
  24. What does it take for an action to be virtuous or (in the fullest sense) morally right? Discuss with reference to Aristotle and either Kant or Hume. Which of the two authors do you consider more nearly correct, and why?
  25. Both Marx and Nietzsche reach back to recover important insights from ancient philosophy that they feel have gone unrecognized to the detriment of philosophy. Choosing one figure or the other, explain how this thinker incorporates ancient insights into his philosophical system, and evaluate his success.
  26. The idea of history bursts onto the scene in a significant way in the 19th century. Explain the importance of this idea for either Nietzsche or Marx, and explain what might be importantly lacking in an account that does not acknowledge the importance of history.
  27. What might be some advantages and disadvantages of a character-based moral theory (e.g., Aristotle, Plato) as opposed to a rule-oriented one (e.g., Hobbes, Kant, Mill)? Which view do you favor, and why?
  28. Compare Aristotle’s account of eudaimonia to Bentham’s account of pleasure and Mill’s account of happiness. Do you think that one is better than the others in terms of the role it plays in grounding a moral theory? Explain your answer.
  29. “All humans are created equal” – true or false? More precisely, in what ways is this assertion true and in what ways is it false, and what significance do any various forms of (in)equality have for political philosophy? Explain and defend your own view in dialogue with those of at least three of the following: Aristotle, Augustine, Locke, and Nietzsche.
  30. Critically compare Aquinas’s conception of natural law and Kant’s idea of universal moral law. Which do you find more tenable, and why?
  31. Do we choose to be moral? Discuss with reference to one philosopher from each of the above periods.

Yeah, clearly @Eddie doesn’t really know what he is talking about. In other news, dog bites man. Film at 11!


And god does he love to type.


No good turning the question back on me. You made the claim that evangelicals ran southern campuses. And it’s clear from my example that one part of the campus that they don’t run is biology departments. Why not just admit that you made an exaggerated overclaim, and retract it?

No, not at all. I was just rebutting your false claim that evangelicals control southern campuses. They don’t. But as it is, left-liberal students are the ones who are catered to, on most campuses. In many Arts departments, the undergrad curriculum is built around catering to them, and to producing more of them.

I never denied the existence of open-minded professors. I was speaking about the preponderant bias. And my statements are correct, at least for the Blue States. Maybe they aren’t correct for Alabama. But it’s not professors from Alabama that are culture leaders in the USA. It’s professors from New York, Boston, Chicago, California, etc. They set the cultural tone.

Watching @Eddie use his Post Hole Digger to dig and dig and dig is getting tedious, but I thought I’d point out one way the goalposts are oscillating wildly. As the keystrokes pile up, it’s easy to miss the constant switching between people being treated poorly (verbally attacked, disrespected, forced to take a crappy job, denied tenure, denied access to good jokes, etc) and ideas being treated poorly. We should always challenge any apologist who does this, and @Eddie is doing it repeatedly in this silly thread.

It can be difficult to critique a ludicrous idea, and especially difficult to expose a lie, while sparing the person from feeling attacked. But it’s a worthy goal. What is not a worthy goal, or even a respectable suggestion, is to treat ideas as things worthy of respect.

Because I didn’t. Your biggest mistake in all of this is assuming all these students care about all of this as much as you. And they just don’t. The demand for these things isn’t there. If enough people wanted to take a course on creationism it would be offered. Money drives everything. Which is Why we pay 500 dollars for a parking pass. Has nothing to do with biases. It’s supply and demand. One frat boy shouting “evolution is bullshit!” In an intro to biology class (This happened and it was handled gracefully by the professor) isn’t enough to warrant a course on freaking creationism.

I have no objection to the kind of philosophy questions you have provided. I think they’re good. It does not surprise me at all that a good graduate program in philosophy would have a set of comps questions like that. I’m not saying there are no good graduate programs in philosophy anywhere. But since we are discussing religious belief, and in particular conservative religious belief, how is this relevant to what I’m talking about? Are you denying or accepting my claim that a preponderance of philosophy professors do not accept traditional religious beliefs? Are you denying my claim that faculty are sometimes hostile to students who do have such traditional beliefs? Not just in philosophy, but in many other departments? Are you denying my claim that the religious ideas of most faculty in arts departments are liberal, agnostic, atheist, and maybe in a few cases “New Age”, but very rarely traditional and conservative? Are you denying my claim that this affects what they teach, how they teach it, how they respond to students with traditional beliefs, who they vote for when they hire new faculty, etc.? Are you denying that many students with traditional beliefs have experienced hostility, mockery, condescension, etc. from profs who don’t share those beliefs?

I disagree. The idea of God is worthy of respect. The idea of a soul is worthy of respect. The possibility of special revelation is worthy of respect. The possible existence of absolute moral standards is worthy of respect. The possibility that pre-Enlightenment thought may be superior to post-Enlightenment thought is worthy of respect. The possibility that liberal theology was a wrong turning is worthy of respect. All these ideas should be discussed in religion, philosophy, and other departments, without a massive tilt or slant of faculty prejudice. But anyone who has studied in such departments lately (which includes almost nobody here) is aware of the massive tilt or slant. And why the people here, who spend their lives producing technical articles on genomes that read to a layman as if they are written in Sanskrit consider themselves to be knowledgeable about the current faculty composition and biases of Arts departments, is beyond me.