Re: RE: Shapes of a Wedge

From: John W Burgeson <>
Date: Thu May 20 2004 - 16:09:06 EDT

>>I believe you are giving too much credit to successes that are not due
to “liberal” actions. Certainly, Martin Luther King was not a liberal
and his efforts were totally based on Christian principles.>>

I understand you think MLK was not a liberal. If he was not, then I am
not either. We can agree, however, that MLK was a significant force for
change in this country, changing laws, practices and policies that were
put in place and fervently supported by (gasp) conservatives.

>>It is a fact that the administrative and academic departments, mainly
in the non hard science departments, are in the hands of people who see
the wrongs done by some Americans as reflecting bad towards the whole of
the US. >>

And you do not?

I do. When one of my countrymen acts as the infamous "ugly American," it
reflects badly upon both my country, which I love, and on me personally.

I understand that you don't share that view. I assume then that the
recent IRAQ pictures, in your opinion, do not reflect badly upon the US?
I really cannot understand that position.

>>Such people are undermining our nation and have learned nothing from
the failed experiment that was the Soviet Union.>>

So since I see the pictures as reflecting badly upon the US, I am
therefore "undermining our nation" and I have learned nothing from the
collapse of the USSR? Do you really mean to say this?

Later, you wrote: "The humanities and social sciences are radical
leftists. BTW I see nothing scientific in “social sciences,” which
ought to be called, at best, social studies or maybe social ruminations."

I assume you meant "people in those fields, and not the fields
themselves. "Radical leftists?" All people in those fields of study? How
much have you personally studied this issue? Do you personally know
(well) people in the field?

I will grant you the point that "social science" is a bit of a stretch
when one compares that area of study to physics. But I have read Berger,
and he really tries to use as much of the scientific method as will

Later, you wrote: " We have a conservative gadfly in our campus and so
you can keep abreast of what happens here by reading his weekly columns
at the Heritage Foundation website,

Thanks for the web site reference. I will look at it. Of course, everyone
knows that the Heritage Foundation is a paragon of unbiased thinking.

(Above was sarcasm, BTW).

You then wrote: "I am not sure how much critical thinking goes on in some
of the humanities and arts departments."

Maybe you should find out. even get to know some of these guys. You might
find out that (1) they don't wear horns and (2) some of them might be
passing intelligent.

" In almost all cases the courses are geared in the philosophical
tendencies of the professor."

I thought you were "not sure." How do you make such a pejorative

"Let us not even talk about class discussions and how some students are
even afraid to say they are theists."

I suspect you've been reading too much propaganda from the RR.

I audited a class last spring from a very liberal professor at Iliff. The
class, which was titled "Theological Imagination and Construction," was a
required on for graduation.

On the opening day, Professor Bill Dean (you can look him up -- he is
somewhat famous) told the 45 students that essentially ALL of their class
grade would be on a single paper. It was to be 15 pages long, and on page
one they were to tell, as clearly as they could, what it was they
believed. On pages 2-15, they were to argue their grounds for this set of

Dean is sometimes called a "religious naturalist," although he does not
accept that label. In the class were Unitarians, Methodists, Baptists,
and one or two Jewish students. There were at least two students who were
self-labeled "fundamentalists," one of whom was the pastor of an
African-American church in Denver.

As the class proceeded, the required reading/discussion material included
theologians from many positions, Cone, Tillich, Migliori (sp?), others,
and, of course, each student was expected to engage these theologians in
his or her paper.

On two occasions a student tried to elicit from Dean what HE believed. He
was quite good at deflecting these questions. I reviewed his most recent
book in PERSPECTIVES last year; after reviewing it I was not all sure of
his position myself.
Dean made it very clear that if page 1 said what Dean believed, and pages
2-15 were not a good defense of that, the student would fail. He also
said that if page 1 said what Dean VEHEMENTLY did NOT believe, and pages
2-15 were a good defense of that, the student would get an "A."

At one time one student, Eastern Orthodox, made a particularly good
observation. Dean immediately asked him to prepare and give a 15 minute
exposition on that theological point. Dean made no effort to rebut his

Even more interesting, at one time the African-American preacher had some
very critical comments on Tillich. Dean, once an associate of Tillich,
gave him 15 minutes of class time to argue his case. Rebuttals, if any,
to come from the class, not from Dean.

The above is, of course, anecdotal. But I audited other classes at Iliff
-- from Dana Wilbanks, for example, another fairly famous "liberal," and
found the same attitude. Iliff's motto is "Look deeper," and that is the
attitude I found in 3 years of residence there, as friend wife was
pursuing her MDiv degree.


Ubi Caritas

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Received on Thu May 20 16:12:30 2004

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