Over the last few months I have seen a number of articles on the Friends of Science lobbying universities about them issuing degrees in areas of alternative health. There arguments sound reasonable. Only areas that have a proven and tested basis should be able to award degrees.
When you dig down though this argument has lots of problems. Immediately it raises questions such as: When did universities become the mouthpiece for science and Western rationalism? How will anything ever be tested outside of this scientific model? How about degrees in areas that are not testable?
If this were to go ahead pretty much every degree would have to be dropped including many reputable science degrees. I know they are not asking for universities to stop degrees across other areas of study but their argument extends further than science. I’ve got two degrees one in Commerce and one in Theology. Both of these are two theoretical degrees with no way to firmly test what you study. Accounting (which is my major) is just an accepted system that has been imposed on Western civilizations. If you try to understand a Japanese or a Chinese balance sheet coming from what I learnt then you would think that these accountants were from another planet (although most people think that we are any way).
Universities should be a place where different theories and ideas can be explored. Even if they are wrong and dangerous. Instead of trying to stop research and thought the scientific community should welcome it. If their model is right then this would strengthen their theories rather than detract. I feel that science has become what it hates. They bemoan the Church of the Middle Ages and its so-called suppression of the sciences. Now science has become that church. Will people look back in a few hundred years and be appalled at what they see in our day? That science has tried to close down all arguments by their ultra-rationalistic approach leaving no room for discussion.
I work with universities students and the thing that characterizes universities at the moment is their lack critical thought. Research is only funded by companies who can get a benefit out of it, students can only afford to study a degree that will get them a job. What have we ended up with? Commercially motivated universities and students. We need to break out of this and invest well in universities and allow them to be the places that they should be. Places of learning and ideas. Dangerous places where the norms get challenged and the world shaped by these new ideas.
Theodore M. Hesburgh
The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
I really like this quote. Although I did steal it from Elder Dave.
I saw a show a few weeks ago called “Find My Family” it’s reasonably cheesy but they reunite people that have been estranged from members of their family (in true Channel 9 style). Anyway this guy was looking for his Dad who had left when he was very little. They found the Dad who was willing to meet him. Just before they met the Dad said something that was quite profound. He said that breaking up families, especially when children are involved, is the worst thing that could happen to anyone and should be avoided at all cost. Something that I have been challenged about over the last year is that God’s intention and purpose for how we are to live is good. The way that he sets out for us to live will lead to a happy and content life and when people stray from that problems emerge. The comment that this guy made hits at that truth. God made families to love and support each other but when they split up everyone is hurt. There may be some good reasons that families don’t stay together but lines like “it will be better for the kids” don’t always stack up.
We all hate that decisions governments and companies make are usually based on ‘economic rationalism’. That is that decisions are made on the basis of how much it is going to cost rather than if it is a good decision. We usually stand up and say it is not about cost but about the right or the good of something. So for instance we might think that a company whose mining operation allows toxic chemicals to flow into a waterway to be abhorrent instead of treating those chemicals because they want to save a few dollars.
But I want to ask the question: Are we any different? When you go to the shop do you make your decisions on what products you purchase along the lines of what is cheapest? Do you dive for the cheaper of two comparable products? Or do you stop and think about what you are buying?
Here is our opportunity to start putting our money into action. If we believe that something is important like the environment or your health or the ethical decisions that companies make then we need to make expensive and costly decisions. That may mean looking at the back of the packets and comparing what they put in one of the products over the other. Or looking up a company and finding out what their attitude is towards the environment and their employees. (I reckon that this one is very difficult because there is so much spin out there). There are no hard and fast rules here but we want to avoid ever saying, ‘I should really buy that brand but they cost a fortune!’ (There’s usually a reason why it costs a fortune. They are doing it the right way as opposed to their dodgy competitors.)
This may seem hard to do but to live as a Christian is hard and that means making decisions that are costly because we believe that they are the right decision and that God cares about what we do. Happy shopping!
I read an article on the ABC News website talking about Muslims in Australia who are calling for polygamy to be legalised. You may be outraged and think it is the most sexist thing ever, and I tend to agree, but why? If hypothetically three people agreed to a polygamous relationship and it was all done legitimately (this is hypothetically) then isn’t the Government denying the rights of those people, and isn’t the Government denying the rights of religious expression if Islam allows for polygamy? What is the Government’s case? Why do they think that polygamy is so wrong?
From a Christian perspective it is clearly wrong. In Genesis 2 we are told something amazing happens in marriage. That is two people become one flesh. The Bible tells us about God’s order of creation and not only that he also explains why. But the big question is: do I have the right to then go and say to everyone else in the world, “Hey don’t live in polygamy and you will have a better life”? and how about the Government do they have that right as well?
A few months ago Erin and I were siting at a cafe, actually Erin was getting some food and I was sitting down ‘minding the tables’. But it suddenly dawned on me that we might be doing this in heaven. Sitting around and chatting and enjoying ourselves. In heaven things will be changed in some ways but what we do here on earth is a reflection of what we do in heaven so who is to say that we won’t be enjoying ourselves in this way. The difference will be that everything that is done will be done for the glory of God. This perspective (that earth is a reflection of heaven) has huge implications for how we live now. It effects our thinking on the environment, how we think about and treat our bodies, how we do evangelism and think about social justice. I read three briefing articles by Michael Jensen talking about the body and that we think it is something that needs to be escaped. He argued that it in light of the resurrection it is something that needs to be transformed. He then linked that to what I was talking about.
The next step for me is to ask more questions. I’m off to find Michael Jensen’s email address.