Unprofessional teacher reaction

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Bobber
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Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Bobber » Wed Apr 01, 2009 3:40 pm UTC

Hey, I wanted to relay the story of this episode to you which happened at my school yesterday.

Our school is doing this cross-class theme week on Religion vs. Science, and have therefore been showing us some movies and documentaries on the subject. One of them was "The Root of All Evil" by a guy named Dawkings.

Well, yesterday we had a philosopher/physicist (yes, apparently those exist) at our school to give a speech on the subject. He talked about the scientific method, argued against some "facts" from The Bible, and at one point started to talk about how the story of the heavenly ascension of the Virgin Mary upon her death was a story which was officially agreed upon on a meeting in the year 390 or something (my date may be off).

At this point one of my teachers started to interrupt the speaker almost every time he said something, and just in general refuse that what he said was true and tried to rebuke every one of his points (with little success: my teacher is an English immigrant and his Danish is not so well, while the speaker is a 60-something professor with like ten titles who has written 10-20 books on different subjects and is head of a department on a university or something similar).

The speaker eventually got my teacher to shut up, and he continued with his lecture, but that didn't last for long. After another ten minutes of the lecturer talking about fallacies in Christianity and The Bible, my teacher stood up, called the lecturer offensive, impudent and rude, and promptly left the room in rage.

What the hell is up with that? When my school arranges a theme week with the point of either side listening to the arguments of the other side to promote peace and understanding between the two "factions", what the hell gives my teacher the right to reach as he did?

If you didn't know, Denmark used to be a very Christian (protestant) country, but in recent years the interest in religion has faded, and more and more people are becoming atheists (especially the youth). I would say that 95% of my school is agnostic or atheistic (teachers and pupils alike).

Have any of you experienced similar episodes where a religious teacher cannot accept science as fact?
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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby achan1058 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 5:54 pm UTC

Somebody should have captured it with his cellphone, and then we can have another "bus uncle".

Yes, that is very unprofessional indeed, not only as a teacher, but also as a person with faith. In fact, someone should tell him he is representing the religion very negatively by doing such a thing. Honestly, if he want to refute the prof, come up with some intelligent and difficult to counter argument. A talk is usually 1 hour, and one can probably come up with something if he thinks carefully. Either that, or simply leave the room without making too much of a scene (but in a somewhat noticeable way). It's more effective that way, since shouting simply makes his side less convincing.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby DWarrior » Wed Apr 01, 2009 8:51 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:When my school arranges a theme week with the point of either side listening to the arguments of the other side to promote peace and understanding between the two "factions", what the hell gives my teacher the right to reach as he did?


Trying to destroy someone's belief system will prompt that reaction. I'm not sure how your school didn't realize this would happen.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby achan1058 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:39 pm UTC

DWarrior wrote:
Bobber wrote:When my school arranges a theme week with the point of either side listening to the arguments of the other side to promote peace and understanding between the two "factions", what the hell gives my teacher the right to reach as he did?


Trying to destroy someone's belief system will prompt that reaction. I'm not sure how your school didn't realize this would happen.
Well, if he didn't like the topic, he didn't need to show up, did he?

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby popprocks » Wed Apr 01, 2009 9:58 pm UTC

Hah.

First thing is first, I love Richard Dawkins for what he does. I wish I could watch that movie in class.

Anyways, the 'unprofessional' reaction is, basically, your teacher got upset that his faith was questioned. Many people consider religion closer to them than they consider anything like music, clothing, acquaintances, or personal things, except unlike physical things or relationships, which simply exist, religion *can* be "wrong." It is completely possible that every single (or every single excluding the one "accurate") religion is fictional, and that gets a person riled up, especially since they turn to a God for all of their dilemmas, needs, questions, emotional reassuring, and most of the meaningful things in their lives.

Trying to destroy someone's belief system will prompt that reaction. I'm not sure how your school didn't realize this would happen.


Yes, it does, but it shouldn't.

That exact idea is covered in a 2 hour series on youtube called The Four Horsemen, fearturing Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. I don't know what segment of the video it is covered in, however they analyze the EXACT thing you made this thread about; People who feel like challenging religion is the ultimate personal attack. Essentially, your teacher can believe in teachings if he wants to, however there is no reason for the teacher to act so much more offended than he would if his favorite theory of 'Life outside of Earth' was challenged. Feel free to find it in the video series if you want four exceptionally more intelligent people than I to explain it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyUz2XL ... playnext=1

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby achan1058 » Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:54 pm UTC

popprocks wrote:Anyways, the 'unprofessional' reaction is, basically, your teacher got upset that his faith was questioned. Many people consider religion closer to them than they consider anything like music, clothing, acquaintances, or personal things, except unlike physical things or relationships, which simply exist, religion *can* be "wrong." It is completely possible that every single (or every single excluding the one "accurate") religion is fictional, and that gets a person riled up, especially since they turn to a God for all of their dilemmas, needs, questions, emotional reassuring, and most of the meaningful things in their lives.

Trying to destroy someone's belief system will prompt that reaction. I'm not sure how your school didn't realize this would happen.


Yes, it does, but it shouldn't.

That exact idea is covered in a 2 hour series on youtube called The Four Horsemen, fearturing Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. I don't know what segment of the video it is covered in, however they analyze the EXACT thing you made this thread about; People who feel like challenging religion is the ultimate personal attack. Essentially, your teacher can believe in teachings if he wants to, however there is no reason for the teacher to act so much more offended than he would if his favorite theory of 'Life outside of Earth' was challenged. Feel free to find it in the video series if you want four exceptionally more intelligent people than I to explain it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyUz2XL ... playnext=1
Well, if you really think about it, it's like people are questioning about your sanity, among with everything else you already mentioned (music, clothing, acquaintances, personal things, etc.). From that point of view, they have very good reasons to react. That's why I think arguing aboutagainst faith is pointless. If you really want to make someone atheist, or convert them to your religion of choice for that matter, you need to somehow bring them despair and make them realize that there can be no hope. Just like how sorrow and despair can make one turn towards religion, they can, in theory make one turn away.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Bluggo » Thu Apr 02, 2009 6:53 am UTC

No, that's not it.

What the teacher should have done, and what most religious people (even fairly conservative ones) I know would have done, is listen politely to the lecture, then make a couple of well-argued objections to the speaker's arguments during the discussion time.

"Having one's faith questioned" is no reason for acting like that, even if you are emotionally attached to your beliefs: the teacher had excellent reasons to react, but no reason to react in such an unprofessional, self-defeating way.

Also, arguing against one's religion (or absence thereof) is not questioning one's sanity, and most certainly should not be perceived as a personal attack.
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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Perpy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:16 am UTC

Well, but this is how we see many religious people act, isn't it? In an ideal world, everybody would sit and listen politely to the lecture, and then make arguments afterwards, instead of blurting out opinions and personal feelings whenever it came to mind. It seems that religion is something that is so close to some people, even otherwise respected and intelligent, that they cannot stand it being questioned in any way. Even stranger than that, these people would have no problem with discussions about politics or culture.
So, highly unprofessional of your teacher to show up at that kind of lecture without restraining himself from doing something like that.

I haven't personally had any teachers denying scientific facts - guess I'm quite lucky there. On the other hand, several teachers in the past have tried to convert me, which is quite wrong of them if you think about it.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Quenouille » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:18 am UTC

Perpy wrote:Well, but this is how we see many religious people act, isn't it?


I'm not sure this has to do with just religion. If a religious speech was given in which logic was so convoluted and twisted as to make their point (i.e. ID), it wouldn't be unusual for someone to blurp out and attack as the teacher did, however improper that was.

Isn't anger a sin anyway? Then that teacher wasn't being very religious.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Rachel! » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:38 am UTC

Bluggo wrote:Also, arguing against one's religion... should not be perceived as a personal attack.

Should not but is by all the staunch southern Baptists in my family (anecdotal but roll with it).

You should check out the movie Jesus Camp sometime. For evangelicals, it may be a sin not to respond in the manner the OP's teacher did.

I'm an agnostic American, but even so I can't believe they'd bring a religious vs science debate into a school and allow students and teachers to listen and react to it simultaneously.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Vieto » Thu Apr 02, 2009 11:55 am UTC

Quenouille wrote:Isn't anger a sin anyway? Then that teacher wasn't being very religious.


No, anger is not a sin, though many reactions that can come from anger are.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Chrysaor » Thu Apr 02, 2009 12:06 pm UTC

Bashing people for their religious persuasion is still, here in Denmark at least, somewhat of a taboo.

As Bobber mentioned, Denmark has evolved national atheistic tendencies with people forfeiting their "membership" with the Danish church ("people's church") in droves, but it's still not considered "okay conduct" to actively question other people's beliefs. This is blatantly displayed in the way that we handle religious matters regarding muslims (everyone on planet Earth should be familiar with the Muhammed drawings by now).

Apparently religion shouldn't be questioned as it's a considered a personal attack on someone. End of statement.

---

I'm a big fan of Dawkins as well, and will gladly recommend getting a hold of his book "The God Delusion", which is absolutely excellent.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Perpy » Thu Apr 02, 2009 8:36 pm UTC

Quenouille wrote:
Perpy wrote:Well, but this is how we see many religious people act, isn't it?


I'm not sure this has to do with just religion. If a religious speech was given in which logic was so convoluted and twisted as to make their point (i.e. ID), it wouldn't be unusual for someone to blurp out and attack as the teacher did, however improper that was.


Yes, but this was a speech about religion and science which (hopefully) wasn't either convoluted or twisted. Frankly, I would say that you could make a good stand about science against religion without twisting anything, as opposed to the other side.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby sikyon » Thu Apr 02, 2009 9:54 pm UTC

Protip: People arn't fully rational. If we were, then either nobody would believe in religion or everyone would not use technology, a priori.

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Cadvin » Fri Apr 03, 2009 12:15 am UTC

Well, my Civics teacher, to get someone to shut up, he gave them a piece of tape and said, "I'm not allowed to put this on you, but I can ask you to do it."
And then, a little later, he tackled that same person to the floor because he was being disruptive.

Of course, this is because he's awesome, but still unprofessional. Not that I don't like it, though.

------------------------
Anyway, yeah, that is pretty stupid of him to do that. Makes me wonder what BHG would do in this occasion...

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Fri Apr 03, 2009 1:36 am UTC

sikyon wrote:Protip: People arn't fully rational. If we were, then either nobody would believe in religion or everyone would not use technology, a priori.

...Or we might realize that the existence of God has no influence on whether or not this capacitor will work, so please go ahead and build that circuit anyway. (In other words, "believe in religion" and "use technology" are by no means at all hostile to each other.)
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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Vieto » Fri Apr 03, 2009 2:07 am UTC

sikyon wrote:Pro-tip: People aren't fully rational. If we were, then either nobody would believe in religion or everyone would not use technology, a priori.


I disagree. Like what Sir_Elderberry was saying, there is no reason why religion and technology can't co-exist. Likewise, there is no reason why physics/science and religion can't co-exist. Sure, you may need to get a bit creative when it comes to touchy topics like creationism vs. evolution, but that can be worked out with a bit of creativity and metaphorical interpretation, and if (and the if is for those who don't necessary believe in God) God exists, why wouldn't he be able to bend or write physics with-out consequences?

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Bobber » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:01 am UTC

Thank you for all of your responses.

DWarrior wrote:
Bobber wrote:When my school arranges a theme week with the point of either side listening to the arguments of the other side to promote peace and understanding between the two "factions", what the hell gives my teacher the right to reach as he did?
Trying to destroy someone's belief system will prompt that reaction. I'm not sure how your school didn't realize this would happen.
As I said, probably 95% of the scool (if not more) is atheistic, and I am sure that the couple of people that are not would be excused if they requested permission to not attend the talk. I won't claim that this completely excuses the school, but it at least explains why the administration felt that it was all right.

achan1058 wrote:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuyUz2XLp1E&feature=PlayList&p=A490902178E6854D&index=0&playnext=1
Thanks for the link - I'll watch the series when I have time.

Bluggo wrote:No, that's not it.

What the teacher should have done, and what most religious people (even fairly conservative ones) I know would have done, is listen politely to the lecture, then make a couple of well-argued objections to the speaker's arguments during the discussion time.

"Having one's faith questioned" is no reason for acting like that, even if you are emotionally attached to your beliefs: the teacher had excellent reasons to react, but no reason to react in such an unprofessional, self-defeating way.

Also, arguing against one's religion (or absence thereof) is not questioning one's sanity, and most certainly should not be perceived as a personal attack.
Exactly my thoughts. But at the same time, I try to turn the situation around and imagine if I were attending an ID lecture, and how I would react. But then I reassure myself by remembering which "side" uses false claims and flawed logic, and I suddenly feel much better.

Rachel! wrote:I'm an agnostic American, but even so I can't believe they'd bring a religious vs science debate into a school and allow students and teachers to listen and react to it simultaneously.
Again, remember how different our countries are. In the US you have schools which refuse to teach the theory of evolution and people with power that actually believe in ID, while such things are unheard of here.

Chrysaor wrote:I'm a big fan of Dawkins as well, and will gladly recommend getting a hold of his book "The God Delusion", which is absolutely excellent.
It's always nice to get a book recommended - I'll write down the name, thanks!
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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Sir_Elderberry » Mon Apr 06, 2009 2:07 am UTC

Again, remember how different our countries are. In the US you have schools which refuse to teach the theory of evolution and people with power that actually believe in ID, while such things are unheard of here.

Just a note, it's not quite that bad. Nearly all schools teach the theory of evolution, however, many in the more conservative states will merely skim over it, in no small part because teachers don't want to stir controversy. To my knowledge, ID is not directly taught anywhere in America, especially since the Dover trial ruled it a violation of separation of church and state.
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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Bobber » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:12 am UTC

Sir_Elderberry wrote:
Again, remember how different our countries are. In the US you have schools which refuse to teach the theory of evolution and people with power that actually believe in ID, while such things are unheard of here.

Just a note, it's not quite that bad. Nearly all schools teach the theory of evolution, however, many in the more conservative states will merely skim over it, in no small part because teachers don't want to stir controversy. To my knowledge, ID is not directly taught anywhere in America, especially since the Dover trial ruled it a violation of separation of church and state.
Ah, thank you for the clarification. I had a hunch that Dawkings was exaggerating a bit.
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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Perpy » Wed Apr 08, 2009 6:08 pm UTC

Bobber wrote: ... Dawkings...


Just have to clarify... His name is Dawkins. Nothing important.

Moving on...

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Daniel0 » Wed Apr 08, 2009 9:18 pm UTC

The prof should have played some stuff by George Carlin:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkRYaMiP4K8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNy6ziOyxoA

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Re: Unprofessional teacher reaction

Postby Bobber » Wed Apr 08, 2009 11:04 pm UTC

Perpy wrote:
Bobber wrote: ... Dawkings...
His name is Dawkins.
Thanks :)
I don't twist the truth, I just make it complex.
mrbaggins wrote:There are two tools in life, duct tape and WD40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape. If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.


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