[Vision2020] Error Corrected: Re: Health Education: A Conspiracy? A bit off the subject now though

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Sun Nov 28 15:30:56 PST 2010

I stand corrected that U of I Professor Emeritus Nick Gier did not
supervise Pastor of Moscow's Christ Church Wilson's thesis in
Philosophy at the U of I.

I should have checked on this issue before making this implication...

I'm relieved that Gier did not appear angry at my false suggestion...


I try to fact check what I post publicly, but I seriously erred in this case.

On 11/26/10, Gier, Nicholas <NGIER at uidaho.edu> wrote:
> Hi Ted,
> Thanks for your post and all the others who posted on this thread. Let me
> correct, once again (I've done this on the Vision previously), that I did
> not direct Doug Wilson's MA thesis.  We wisely agreed that someone else
> should be chair and that I would not even be a member of his committee.
> In light of your comments about freedom of the will, it is significant to
> note that was Wilson's topic.  In the early days he defended free-will but
> now that he is a "crawling-across-cut glass" Calvinist he no longer believes
> in it.
> By the way, check out the New St. Andrews website and the first item about
> "I'll meet you in the alley."  This is muscular Christianity in the extreme.
>  Did they expect this to appeal to young women recruits?  I guess that the
> message for them is that at NSA they will meet "real" Christian men.
> Ken: I'm happy to inform you that the UI philosophy department has saved
> itself by turning to applied philosophy.  We had one of the few hires this
> year and we are now searching for a person in environmental philosophy.
> Sadly, both positions are not tenure-track but renewable appointments.
> Tenure is slowly disappearing at the nation's universities and our dominant
> position in cutting edge research will be lost. Recent literature has
> emphasized that fact that one of the reasons for U.S. dominance in the 20th
> Century was publicly funded research at land-grant universities by tenured
> or tenure-track professors.
> Nick
> Nicholas F. Gier, Professor Emeritus
> Department of Philosophy, University of Idaho
> -----Original Message-----
> From: vision2020-bounces at moscow.com on behalf of Ted Moffett
> Sent: Fri 11/26/2010 2:25 PM
> To: Kenneth Marcy
> Cc: vision2020 at moscow.com
> Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Health Education: A Conspiracy? A bit off the
> subject now though
> Consider the students at New Saint Andrews college in Moscow, many of whom I
> am sure would score high on the SAT, and have IQs well above 100, yet also
> consider that their views are in many respects consistent with the Tea Party
> on important issues, one of which is anthropogenic climate warming, which I
> think is the most critical problem facing humanity.
> Tea Party darling Sarah Palin is well known for making scientifically
> laughable statements on global warming; and her pro-fossil fuel industry,
> opposition to government regulation of CO2 emissions stance I think is
> common among so called "Tea Party" followers: global warming is a hoax or a
> fraud.
> Speaking of teaching Philosophy as a means to increase the educational and
> critical thinking skills of the public, consider that Pastor Douglas Wilson
> of Christ Church, involved with the religious ideology behind New Saint
> Andrews, has a degree in Philosophy from the University of Idaho.  U of I
> Professor Emeritus Nick Gier, if I recall correctly, supervised Wilson's
> thesis...
> I suspect that if tested on their academic logical capabilities, Wilson, as
> well as many New Saint Andrews students, would do reasonably well.
> My point in simple: many people who should have developed critical thinking
> skills, who are intelligent, who are reasonably educated about the world on
> many levels, still assert an anti-science and anti-progressive agenda,
> refusing to accept as probable that humans evolved from simpler organisms,
> or that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is substantial, both
> very hotly debated.in the public sphere, regardless of the scientific
> evidence that the debate is warranted.  Many also oppose gay or women's
> rights on specific points, gay marriage or abortion.
> Ed Iverson from New Saint Andrews College (librarian with some science
> education credentials) has written several op-eds in the Moscow/Pullman
> Daily News attacking the integrity of climate science, as does the well
> known blog right-mind.us, hosted by a well known member of Christ Church,
> who appears to be an intelligent person, while he in my opinion applies a
> rather extreme confirmation bias filter to climate science findings, devoted
> to undermining the science supporting human impacts on climate.
> Belief in "free will" can distort an objective analysis of the evidence
> regarding why human beings believe what they believe on many important
> issues in life.  Why are most people born in Iran Islamic, and most in the
> US Christian?  "Free will?"  No, they are conditioned by their culture into
> the dominant ideology, with biologically based needs for conformism at
> work.  They may appear to be making free choices about their religious
> beliefs to their own minds, but this is often illusion.
> We are emotional socialized animals who for the most part make decisions
> based on peer pressure and emotions, with powerful intellectual filters
> unconsciously suppressing evidence contrary to beliefs in which their is
> substantial emotional investment.  Life after death (soul?), for example.
> The intellect, regardless of how capable or well educated, is often utilized
> to argue confirmation bias filtered positions; and sometimes the more
> capable and educated the person, the more convincingly they can construct
> intelligent appearing logical arguments for positions that are in fact
> anti-science and in opposition to human rights.
> The person who objectively surveys all the evidence on a given issue and
> dispassionately applies logic to arrive at a conclusion is rare.
> -------------------------------------------
> Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett
> On Fri, Nov 26, 2010 at 12:28 PM, Kenneth Marcy <kmmos1 at frontier.com> wrote:
>> On Friday 26 November 2010 07:31:18 Joe Campbell wrote:
>> > <[snip]> ... but likely in the near future the MA program will be cut
>> > and
>> > I'll have undergraduate "readers" instead. <[snip]>
>> Even if the MA in Philosophy is shelved until better economic times
>> return,
>> I
>> wonder whether there may be opportunity for applied philosophy efforts to
>> keep
>> the Philosophy Department reasonably intact. For example, undergraduate
>> and
>> graduate courses in business ethics for the business curricula, economic
>> philosophy for the economics programs, and political philosophy for the
>> political science and public administration programs. These traditional
>> areas
>> could (continue to) be augmented with environmental philosophy, and a
>> newer
>> look at educational philosophy.
>> On the latter topic I wonder whether we ought not examine the plebeian
>> assumption that personal educational responsibility to society ends when
>> one
>> is able to drop out of high school, and that personal efforts beyond that
>> are
>> optional. Perhaps a better notion is that there exists some basic minimum
>> of
>> expected educational achievement and ongoing competence that should be
>> expected of all adult citizens throughout their lives. As the decades roll
>> by,
>> the contents of that minimum may change, and with those changes, citizens
>> are
>> then obligated to meet those new standards, preferably, perhaps, with at
>> least
>> some minimal assistance to do so. For discussion purposes, I take the
>> minimum
>> standard to be the current requirements for public high school graduation.
>> > Also, I think it is a mistake to think that a lack of logic or critical
>> > thinking skills is at fault. My own view is that the fault lies with the
>> > increase in private education and isolationism
>> While it may be the case that pedagogical pandering to bygone ages of
>> frontier
>> foraging and farming may attempt to evoke rugged individualism and
>> libertarian
>> license, observation of contemporary circumstances suggests explanations
>> that
>> require less conscious and coordinated effort to attain the status quo.
>> Simple
>> inertia against continuing personal educational work, lethargy and
>> laziness,
>> combined with  mindsets disinclined toward ideas and theory, and wanting
>> to
>> get on with the practical realities of life, keep the majority away from
>> not
>> only post-secondary education but from revisiting or reviewing what they
>> should have learned, and should still remember, from their high school
>> years.
>> > but my guess is that most
>> > private schools teach as much or more logic and critical thinking as
>> > they
>> > do in public schools. Logic is analogous to computer hardware; even the
>> > best is only as good as the input. As they say, "garbage in, garbage
>> > out"
>> > but also quality in, quality out. What counts as garbage and what counts
>> > as quality? That's where things get tricky.
>> Well, sure. Must we require a two-value, forced-choice, true-false logic,
>> or
>> may we consider other logics without their middles excluded? Some sets of
>> circumstances suggest that maybe or neither or don't know to be more
>> appropriate answers than true or false.
>> And, heretical as it may be to the core of Western logic, I wonder whether
>> logic and its interactions through various linguistic pathways within the
>> brains resident in various cultures may not have variations that are
>> functions
>> of the cultures within which it resides. Different logics in different
>> cultures,
>> however slight may be the differences, may result in different conclusions
>> that,
>> unexamined, lurk near the cores of some of our more intractable
>> international
>> discussions.
>> > What counts as evidence? What
>> > counts as sound reasoning? Some answers are easy: empirical findings,
>> > classical logic, and mathematics. But that alone won't get you far.
>> > Unfortunately, after that point we start doing philosophy, where
>> > reasonable disagreement is par for the course. If the answers were easy,
>> > we'd all agree. But we don't, so they're not.
>> Not only are unresolved philosophical questions problematical, but so are
>> the
>> continually troubled communications, or lack thereof, between C.P. Snow's
>> two
>> cultures, the scientists and the aesthetes, the left and the right
>> brained.
>> Newton demonstrated that effort is necessary to overcome inertia, and that
>> effort is what is required to get some of us out of the bag of chips, off
>> the
>> couch, and into more active, energetic, and educationally accomplishing
>> lives.
>> Ken
>> >

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