More Proof People Defend What They Prefer to Be True.
Case in Point: Jim West Rants Against College Accreditation

Jim (aka "Where's Waldo") West usually has the number one ranked Blog among SBL's Bibliobloggers every month. This is supposed to mean something I guess. In a post he submitted for The Bible and Interpretation West rants against the "exploitative" nature of college accreditation companies. But guess what? He has a degree from an unaccredited college and teaches for one too, oh my! Here we see a person who should know better arguing against that which he doesn't have simply because he doesn't have it. Why am I not surprised? I've never heard an educated person ranting against an education. Only the uneducated do so. And only an unaccredited person/teacher would do the same thing with regard to accreditation. I commented further there. Sheesh.

28 comments:

MKR said...

Now, now, John, it is misguided to disparage these unaccredited institutions. They make valuable contributions to the fields of Rubology, Yokelitics, and Bumpkin Studies.

By the way, have you seen Luke Muehlhauser's recent post about Kent Hovind at Common-Sense Atheism, "Top 15 Quotes from Kent Hovind’s Ph.D. Thesis"? At the top of the page is a photograph of the august institution that accorded "Dr." Hovind his degree, Patriot Bible "University" (!). It looks like something out of The Onion! Too funny.

Vinny said...

C'mon now John. How could you think that a post titled Whoring After Her Lovers: The Quest for Power, Control, Exploitative Domination, and The Industry of Accreditation- Or, How Academic Manipulators Have Become the New Magisterium is anything but detached and objective?

Steven Carr said...

'I’m talking about those who, by virtue of study, writing, and skillful demonstration of a mastery of the material have proven themselves as competent, if not more so, as anyone from Harvard or Princeton or Yale.'

Who can Jim West mean?

JIM WEST
Yet accreditation needs to be named for what it is: the perfect Ponzi scheme...

At the end of the day, accreditation is about retaining control and exercising power: for a price. If your institution is willing to pay the fee, it can be accredited.

QUARTZ HILL SCHOOL OF THEOLOGY
Of course, if you don't pay, then you won't get a grade, you won't get any credit...

CARR
It seems West demands money for credits, while slamming people who demand money for credits.

I have to admit that West does have a point.

Are people with doctorates from, say, Butler University, any more expert than people with degrees from a photocopying shop?

Parmenicleitus said...

I know, "women's studies," "Hispanic studies" and "African studies" all qualify as objective "education." No one in their "right mind" would ever complain about these being considered education, right?...except "bumpkins," "rednecks" and "racists." Everyone who's right is Left, yeah. Maybe we should examine our terms. Oh wait, that's 'reason' and only "educated" people can make judgments of veracity...

Yes, MKR, right is Left...

Rebel1 said...

@Parmenicleitus: Only INFORMED people are able to make judgements about veracity, because if you're not informed about a subject, you quite simply and self-evidently don't know what you're talking about. The current right-wing rejection of information and fact in favour of Colbert's truthiness is what makes the current crop of rightwingers unable to make any "judgements of veracity", not the fact that they are "rightwing".

You can't put your fingers in your ears and shout forever; eventually, reality does tend to catch up with you. And as Colbert also said: Reality has a Liberal bias.

Neo said...

That also depends on your defintion on informed though. Does being informed mean having a formal education? Can someone be informed if they never attended a university and studied it? Can you be informed if you have taken it upon yourself to learn the material and take from it what you think is right and not be biased by any outside viewpoints? I believe that someone can be an expert in a field even though they have no formal education in that field. I takes a lot of work and a even more dedication, but it is possible if you feel passionately enough about the subject. Now I have to be honest I have not read your book....yet. I will though because I like to be fair and unbalanced (no really, not like fox news). I am a Christian but not like those that you would see at church on Sundays. Church is useless to me because I know I would say something to the preacher about his service and about the fallacies that were in it. I have studied theology for 10 years now outside of a collegiate setting because I feel strongly about the subject. Will I take a class on it someday? Probably just for an easy A. I study theology because it fascinates me that after 1700 years a book is still the corner stone of an entire faith rather than the ideals of the people who follow it. I consider myself an expert on this. Would you consider me to be an expert on this, or do you think I need a formal education on the subject before I can consider myself an expert?

Parmenicleitus said...

@Rebel1-

No, reality has no bias at all, for as Nietzsche put it (and I tend to give the latter far more credibility in terms of education than an impish, though sometimes comical, entertainer) reality is "beyond good and evil."

Anyway, I think you missed my point. Most people who've attended an accredited college seem to hold, as an article of faith, that because they are informed (about some things), they are therefore intelligent and wise, even while they've never questioned the contents of a particular curriculum. Many of these accredited institutions are rife with ideological pedagogy, both in terms of programs and individual professors. As such, I was taking aim at sweeping generalizations made regarding the presupposed inherent "good" of what passes as "education" these days as opposed to snob appeals referencing "bumpkins."

EssEff said...

Accreditation requires a set of standards, which may or may not be met elsewhere without it. Just because someone *can* become knowledgeable through self-study or at a non-accredited institution doesn't mean that they *are* knowledgeable.

hmmmmm where have I heard the argument before that just because something might be possible that means that the person who believes it is right.... it's on the tip of my tongue...

Neo said...

ok ok ok thats a good shot at me. I will give you that one. Parmenicleitus had a good point though. I am not saying just becuase I believe in something makes me right. Anything but. In that sense if thought that we were all evolved jelly beans than that means that I am right.
I think you can be educated on a subject without going to an accredited institution. I myself believe that I am an example of that. I am highly intelligent and have spent an enormous amount of time and energy researching what i feel is an important subject. I feel that in some cases I am more enlightened than those who go to these universities (in some cases;no generalizing) because I choose to learn about these topics and I am not forced to because I want the grades. History is written by the victors and Christianity is based upon the ideals that won in the ancient debates. To have someone tell you what to think is just another form of religious process without the deity.

Parmenicleitus said...

Neo-

It is far from clear to me that Christianity won out in the ancient world simply due to its ideas in debate. The victory of Christianity had much more to do with power relations within, and even *as,* the State, than the clarity of its ideals and solid argumentation, I'm afraid.

Far from rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's, Christianity has shown itself to be a very inconsistent lover to the State; sometimes whoring itself out, sometimes a finger-waggling moralist, but neither consistently, and consistency is purportedly the foundation of absolutist ideologies like Christianity.

(Note: I don't believe Christianity, or Islam for that matter, is a "religion" but an ideology, with Judaism as a semi-religion. Your reference to "ideas" is one case in point.)

Wesley said...

"I think BMWs are a complete whore of a car, overrated, and built by engineers who have an agenda. Even though I could easily afford a BMW, I think a Ford Pinto is a better car for me, and everyone should drive one, since they are obviously superior in every way . . . "

Parmenicleitus said...

Wesley-

If your "comment" was directed toward me, I think an equation of BMW = accreditation / Pinto= non-accreditation is a bit overly-simplified. Education ain't machinery.

And it may very well be that the mechanic who fixes that BMW is an uneducated "bumpkin" who really knows his stuff regarding cars, rather than a collegiate snob whose un-calloused hands have never held a wrench yet holds the "correct" and "informed" political views...

Hendy said...

@Neo: "I consider myself an expert on this. Would you consider me to be an expert on this, or do you think I need a formal education on the subject before I can consider myself an expert?"

I dunno... write a book about your thoughts and original developments and see if it gets published, read, and highly reviewed. See if it gets used as material in accredited college courses!

I have a friend who's got a Masters in Creative Writing and is working on publishing a book. He wants to teach. Technically you need a PhD to teach... but if his book gets published its considered the equivalent in the industry.

Those are my thoughts at least. I think the missing link is why these universities don't want accreditation. Is it just the money, plain and simple? Or is it that they wish to hold onto a curriculum so modified from a traditional college degree that it might not make the cut?

I do think that society places far too much importance on mere degreed status. There's absolute value to it, but it has become a sort of 'hoop to jump through' in many instances as you won't even be considered for a basic job without one.

It would be fantastic to stage a study in which they looked either at:
1) Interviewers reactions to different candidates with respect to their degreed status, not based on actual skills to see if there is an immediate judgment that takes place.

2) Invite in some kind of 'evaluator' to monitor someone doing their job for a week and tell them either a) they are degreed or b) not degreed both in alignment and nonalignment with reality in order to study the affects of perceived ability vs. actual ability.

Those are just sketches but it would be great to see how much perception or a priori judgment based on degree obtained matches actual displays of competency...
- Find companies looking to hire for job X
- Tell them you're a head hunting company and will provide candidates
- Put forth candidates who do and do not have degrees
- Find out if the interv

Wesley said...

@Parmenicleitus: ??????

My comment was just a smart-ass metaphor directed at no one! (or should it be an analogy?)

I'm not a philospher, and my IQ is probably just to the right of the peak of the bell curve, so please don't expect finely nuanced, well-thought out arguments from me . . .

EssEff said...

Why some universities don't want accreditation:

1) they are diploma mills and don't want to hold their faculty & students to any kind of standard

2) it costs too much to provide a quality education

3) they want to indoctrinate rather than educate, and can't be bothered teaching "facts"

Parmenicleitus said...

Wesley-

I apologize. I'd used the term 'whore' in a previous post (in reference to Christianity) and had forgotten that the same term had been used by the author of the post this whole thread is based upon, and to which it seems you were responding. Again, I apologize for seemingly jumping the gun.

Neo said...

i have worte a book detailing my thoughts and the research that I have done over this past decade. However, it is increasingly difficult to publish with a major publication because of those people like Baegent who jump to conclusions with no principles to stand on. You have to self-publish and while I am an educated person I am not wealthy person. It is very expensive. I can only hope that when I do publish it, it does become reading material for those who look to further their education. Money is the thing which binds all things. Religion, politics, and education. History is written by the victors and when I was referring to the ancient debates I was referring to those of the councils of Nicaea where the Catholic Church was formed. It is there that the doctrines were formed and it is there that I believe that Christianity went wrong. It became a political tool and not a spiritual decision. You are right about Christianity though. It is a denomination of Judaism and should be seen as such in the form that it is today and has been for the past 1700 years or so.
Expertise is like all things in that it is relative to that person. You referred to a BMW as an inferior car, but to someone else they are superior to any other. It is all subjective. Instead of generalizing your views on something look at both sides and come to the understanding that is only your opinion and not necessarily the truth.

Parmenicleitus said...

EssEff-

You wrote: '3) they want to indoctrinate rather than educate, and can't be bothered teaching "facts"'

Reading Arundhati Roy and Amy Goodman in an basic English course at an *accredited* college as an assignment by a tenured prof. within the same semester isn't indoctrination? Or should I take it on faith that leftist politics are, well, objectively correct? I a man of little faith...

Accreditation doesn't preclude indoctrination. It's usually only a difference in kind. While I have nothing against standards per se, I do seek to question those standards, particularly in today's social/political environment dominated by simplistic binary thinking.

Papalinton said...

A turkey with a PhD is still a turkey. It is the manner in which you qualitatively use that package of experience, knowledge and skills that distinguishes the genuine practitioner.

Cheers

EssEff said...

Neo said "i have worte a book detailing my thoughts and the research that I have done over this past decade."

I think I know why you're having trouble getting published

EssEff said...

The purpose of a basic English class is to get students reading, writing and thinking. These courses are often taught by the lowest-ranking professors and sometimes by adjuncts or grad students. The faculty generally have the freedom to pick the texts themselves, and it's common for each section to be different. They also sometimes have a common book amongst all sections that will change from year to year.

The purpose of a true university is to train people to think, research, write, communicate, and make a contribution in their field. True, the humanities have fads, but indoctrination isn't the goal of the university. The purpose of a place like Liberty "University" is to send out fundies to infiltrate as many professions as possible, and to change the nature of scholarship from investigation to rationalization/apologetics to promote Chrisianity. Totally different goals there.

Neo said...

Esseff-why do you think I am having problems getting published? To be honest I have not even sent it out to anyone yet. I am still at the test reader stage of editing. I am a new author and I know of the difficulties facing me and that is what I was addressing. You have no idea what it is that I wrote nor do you have any clue about me thought.
I agree with Paplinton. Just because you have a title beside your name does not make you inheritly more knowledgeable about a certain subject. If you are an idiot than you will always be an idiot no matter how long you go to an accredited institution.

ismellarat said...

[email followups]

ismellarat said...

Neo, I'm mostly on your side on this issue, but when you say things like, "i have worte a book..." and bemoan not being able to get it published, do you see why you're not exactly making the best case for it? ;-)

EssEff said...

Neo, an editor will never see a manuscript that has errors like "i have worte a book..." The first reader will toss it into the circular file.

Neo said...

I can see your point. Maybe I should have worded betterr. I have not been published YET. Honestly I have only contacted one self publishing agency and have not tried any others because it is something that I am still working on. It is my baby and I want to be a complete piece before I release it to anyone. I am also afraid to because whenever you submit a piece to a major publication they can take over the rights to it and I do not want that to happen.
Back to the subject at hand. If I had a PHD in theology would it make anything that I say any more right? What would that prove other than I spent a lot of money to get the same information that I have found on my own?

Neo said...

yeah I should do some spell checking before I post responses. I have already went through it and corrected those errors and I am going to have someone that I know edit it.

EssEff said...

"I have went?" You need a grammar checker too.