Keep your damn religion to your self!

Yesterday I had quite a disturbing experience. Not only was the professors lecture on the solar system quite boring and much too simple  – it was full of strange creationist/design rethoric (wich, since it annoyed me, probably was the only thing preventing me from falling asleep).

Americans are probably used to this happening in class rooms/lectures. But as a Swede im not. And I therefore feel the need to complain about it some as the godless communistic suicidal atheist I am.😉

When the professor talked about solar system in our masters course on igneous geology the language he used was full of creationistic phrases. He talked about “how smart it was thought out ‘by something’ that Jupiter was located where it was located” in regards to its comet capturing capabilities. And this type of phrases was uses all through the lecture as soon as something was “smart” according to him. Just a little bit too often to just be harmless rethorics.

What bothers me about this is that teaching like this prevents students from getting a sound scientific naturalistic view on the universe. It could perhaps rob students of a basic “feel” and “understanding” on the principles of how things occur in a scientific viewpoint. That instead of an understanding of natural laws, principles leading to events and solutions or even randomness they could get the impression that anything “smart” must have a mind behind it as soon as its complicated or clever according to our little monkey brains.

Thats just plain wrong to teach in any type of science classroom. Perhaps its ok in Texas (no offence! ;P ) but here in Sweden state and religion is separated and should so of course always be. No schools, especially not universities should teach religious viewpoints instead of existing naturalistic viewpoints.

If the teacher/professor believes that there is a god or creator behind the universe instead of natural causes – its his damn responibility to keep that to him self – or apply for a job at a theological seminar/church instead where those kinds of unscientifical thoughts are of interest.

Im going to have this (actually quite famous) professor at more lectures in the future. He can be assured that I will listen to what he says (or preaches) and take some form of action if it continues with the same design rethorics.

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5 Responses to Keep your damn religion to your self!

  1. Thomas M. says:

    Reporting in from Texas here:

    If that kind of thing happened in a university here the professor would be fired unless he kept his views hidden until after receiving tenure. It certainly strikes me as bizarre that a Swedish ‘scientist’, a very famous professor at that, would get away with it.

    For that matter, the only way a high school teacher would get away with it was if they were in a small town where people didn’t know about (or were scared to call) the ACLU. (Speaking from experience here.)

    (Yes, I realize that was intended at least partially as a joke, but I think that an informational response can be valuable.)

    Out of curiosity, how much of the lecture actually involved material related to igneous rocks?

  2. Dr M says:

    Obviously, I wasn’t there, so anything I say here necessarily involves some assumptions and guesswork. I agree that an overuse of that kind of phrases is careless at best. However, I would be very surprised to find an honest-to-God (pun intended) creationist in a science faculty in Sweden, especially at a geoscience department. Possibly the man is religious — what do I know? — but it would still surprise me if he is intentionally trying to impress religious beliefs on his students. More likely, he hasn’t, for whatever reason, thought much about the language he uses, regardless of whether he gets it from religious belief or simply uses it as any old way of saying things. He may just be unconsciously overusing certain expressions. Most of us do that with some words or expressions, but this time it happens to have wider consequences than just being generally annoying. Either way, he needs to change the way he presents these things, quite possibly this needs to be gently pointed out to him.

  3. Daniel says:

    Thomas: He had two full day lectures on this 2 month long course – so its not much, but I will have more on him later on in the fall in another course.

    Two lectures on the formation of the solarsystem and its planets this time. Very little time was devoted to actually talk about geology, very much time devoted to describing more general or astronomical features like orbitals, atmopspheres and so on. He did show us some meteorites, but no – not much igneous talk at all as I would have expected.

    And yes, I guess you are correct on Texas. I stand corrected.🙂

    Dr M: Yes, of course it could very well just be the case of a scientist using a terminology that is unsuitable rather than actually trying to promote his religious ideas – in general I would agree with that. But in this case theres just a little bit too much inuendo about how smart “everything was planned”. I mean, the first 3 or 4 times asumed that it was just his way of talking, but then it just seemed a little bit to much.

    A classical creationist he probably isnt, but he could very well be a believer in a creator behind it all. Wich of course is his right to believe, but not to teach.

  4. Thomas M. says:

    Ah, I see. It does seem odd that he wouldn’t go into more detailed work unless he assumed that most of you would not have much knowledge of astronomy (here Geo 101 courses deal with some astronomical basics, but most people forget Geo 101 stuff by the time they’re into advanced work anyway). As long as the igneous stuff doesn’t head into ‘the surprising geomorphology post Mount Saint Helens eruption’ direction, it should probably alright. If it does go there (common creationist ‘catastrophist’ argument) get very, very suspicious.😉

    If he is a deist or a theistic evolutionist you are, of course, right. It’s his job to teach the facts, not to give his interpretation of the facts (obvious exceptions if we’re dealing with his area of research, discussing specific papers, etc.).

  5. Jessica says:

    I know this post is old but I just wanted to put my 2 cents in and say that I completely agree with you. Leave your religion at the door please. My geology teacher is able to. She has her moments, gets flustered and tries to explain that she isn’t trying to reject or agree with anyone’s beliefs. She’s just giving out the facts.

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