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College Credits For Trolling the Web?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the sounds-like-xkcd dept.

The Internet 1164

Jafafa Hots writes "Some undergraduate and masters level courses at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary require trolling as part of their requirements. In William Dembski's classes on Intelligent Design and Christian Apologetics, 20% of the final grades come from having made 10 posts defending Intelligent Design Creationism on 'hostile' websites. There seems to be no requirement that the posts contain original writing; apparently cut-and-paste jobs are sufficient. Is this the first case of trolling the net being part of course requirements?"

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One wonders (5, Funny)

TitusC3v5 (608284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009613)

Do you get extra credit if it's a first post?

It's unclear why this is a bad thing (3, Informative)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009933)

If you take the act of posting on a message board, especially one as hostile to religion as Slashdot, and consider it less an act of trolling but one of encouraging discussion, then encouraging thoughtful posts creates an opportunity for the student to have his beliefs challenged and subsequently shaped. Only through adversity do people really learn who they are.

Besides, we're talking about Science here, not "Biblical Creationism" as such. The idea that the Earth was created in 6 literal days replete with "faith-challenging" dino fossils and other fairy tales is the story that Evolutionists spread as Intelligent Design dogma. It shows a very big gap in their knowledge of the ID field which is quite a bit less dogmatic about the 6 day theory and much more in tune with mainstream scientific method.

What ID brings to the table is a new reexamination of facts. Why are clam fossils at the top of very young mountains? What is the evolutionary progression of DNA? Why are there still discrepancies in the geologic and biologic record where we would expect certain types of data but find none? ID brushes away the dogma of science and brings the scientific method back to it.

But that's not to say that it isn't also flawed. Many of the scientists involved with ID hold very religious views which may cause them to insert God into areas they do not yet understand. The "God in the Gaps" folks. Luckily, most ID scientists are able to put their personal biases away for the sake of good science.

The other problem with ID is also prevalent in fields such as homeopathy and supernatural research. The attempt to address the issues at hand with a completely open mind leads to bad conclusions. Sometimes the established scientific theory is just fine and doesn't need reevaluation. So when ID scientists start questioning things that don't need questioning, they come off looking like crackpots. However, their search for science is no less deeply held and their methods are no less scientific than mainstream scientists.

Re:It's unclear why this is a bad thing (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29010009)

I hope you get a good grade.

Re:It's unclear why this is a bad thing (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010017)

> Besides, we're talking about Science here

No we're not. We're talking about pure fundementalist Christianity trying to
pose as something that it's not in order to gain "legitimacy" and to allow it
better able to be disruptive and invasive.

They don't require trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009615)

They just don't exclude trolling from the permitted ways of achieving the course requirements.

Re:They don't require trolling (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009773)

They just don't exclude trolling from the permitted ways of achieving the course requirements.

But they are Christians. They should troll the ancient Yule tide carol.

Re:They don't require trolling (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009943)

While wearing their gay apparel

Re:They don't require trolling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009951)

Exactly. That the author of this article suggests that trolling is required makes the article poster a troll. How ironic.

Re:They don't require trolling (4, Informative)

axl917 (1542205) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010019)

Exactly. That the author of this article suggests that trolling is required makes the article poster a troll. How ironic.

The directive is to make ID arguments in, quote, hostile websites. They are to look for forums where they know ID is not going to be kindly received and they must defend it in the face of the likely shitstorm of responses. What do we call someone who posts something in a bbs/forum/website that is certain to generate controversy? Oh yea, we call it "trolling". The author of this article was 100% spot-on.

Wait, wait, wait... (4, Insightful)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009625)

Wait, wait, wait... You're telling me that a Christian, theological seminary actually has a class that involves defending the tenets of the school's beliefs? This is an outrage!

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (0, Troll)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009679)

Defending? What?

ID can not be defended, it's not a theory, it's just a religion. Moreover, it contradicts reality. Thus all defenders of ID are invariably stupid morons. I've not yet seen a good argument in favor of ID.

PS: I do not include guided evolution (which is nicely unfalsifiable, but at least somewhat saner) in "ID".

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009867)

I would argue that "guided evolution" per the literal definition of the term is exactly what is going on, and is something we're causing. Think about it: People take sick animals in and nurse them back to health. We even research diseases and find solutions to allow those who would normally have died out in nature to continue to live in spite of it. I'm not saying this is a good or bad thing, but merely an observation of how 'progress' is guided by the urge for as complete of preservation as possible. If science progresses further, Intelligent Design could in fact become a reality, but it would be we that perform the intelligent designing. Kind of makes us our own gods, if you ask me. This kind of thinking bugs Christian Zealots, which is why I like it.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010013)

Yes, we dabble in guided evolution. Genetic engineering really upsets fundies :)

But it's still wrong to think that we can guide evolution of every species in the foreseeable future.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009877)

I know I should never respond to flamebait but I just couldn't resist. I promise to get help as soon as I finish posting.
Intelligent design can be defended just like any other belief that has no evidence to prove it wrong. I know you want to claim that we have fossil records and other evidence showing it is wrong but you can't because there is nothing out there showing that ID is false. I don't say that because ID is right (I find it to be totally BS and silly) but merely because what I know of ID shows it makes no testable predictions and therefore can never be proven wrong just like guided evolution. (As a side note, evolution isn't much better with 'predictions' that are so vague as to be practically useless but it is the best we currently have.)
Personally, I think it is a good thing they are making these posts, it is possible they may get a reply that goes along the lines of "I'm sorry, your belief makes no testable prediction so I can't hold it as anything more then a fairy tale. Plus considering how flawed humans are both mentally and physicall, if we were designed by a higher power he did a piss poor job and should be replaced."

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (4, Funny)

GargamelSpaceman (992546) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009961)

Maybe the fact that it can't be defended is meant to be the object lesson here. Go ahead, and TRY to defend it, and see how your ass is kicked around the block.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (5, Insightful)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009721)

By the way, notice that defending their position does not include a knowledge of evolution theory. So it's really a pure trolling.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (4, Insightful)

mea37 (1201159) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009957)

Both you and the submitter assume that because the course summary doesn't specify the standards by which the posts will be graded, that means there are no standards. Unless you've taken the course, neither of us is in a position to know if that's true - which suggests to me that you are assuming what you want to believe about those who disagree with you.

Considering that this assignment is 20% of the grade, and (in at least one of the courses) is one of only three assignments for the semester (including the final exam), the instructor could impose very rigerous standards when he grades the posts. Whatever standards may or may not exist, detailed assignment instructions would likely be given in the lecture rather than the course summary; so again I can only think of one reason people rush to assume there are none.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010041)

Care to bet that the course includes real education on evolution theory?

From what I've seen, their 'education' consists of repeating old lies again and again.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (5, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009723)

Last I checked there were no secular biology classes that require students to go find ID websites and defend evolution on them... Unless of course you mean making an ass of yourself spreading pseudoscientific bullshit as one of the tenets of the school's beliefs.

Here is another fun requirement for the class.

Trace the connections between Darwinian evolution, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Why are materialists so ready to embrace these as a package deal? What view of humanity and reality is required to resist them?

In fact...my outrage is that the school is actively encouraging these shit for brains to go forth and share their idiocy. Writing a paper about this crap is one thing, but actively going out and finding 'hostile' websites to post on is just being a douchebag. You might also carefully consider the fact they use the word 'hostile' to describe those who disagree with them. Now, if you are ok living under fundamentalist religion rule like the Taliban, by all means, just let them continue their push and growth. Palin 2012!

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (3, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009797)


What the fuck is that shit? Saying that if you believe in evolution you are for eugenics, abortion and infanticide? Talk about demonizing people to defend your position. What scum write something like that?

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009913)

What scum write something like that?

Religious people.

What do you expect? They can not come up with facts to defend their position, so they have to do what all major religions are about: make shit up.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (4, Insightful)

Creepy (93888) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009875)

Force feeding ID and Creationism seems a bit extremist to me. Christians like my brother and parents are deeply religious weekly churchgoers and believe in evolution, not ID. My brother is even a Rush Limbaugh/Ann Coultier/Sean Hannity loving hard right Republican (and married to a left leaning liberal wife, which is pretty amusing). I'd have to assume there are many other Christians that share that belief.

The issue at hand is the guy is forcing the students to troll, and to troll with philosophy that isn't shared by all Christians, possibly not even by the students themselves. Even if they do believe it, it is kinda like sending a guy in a blue uniform and police badge and a pistol into a gang house full of people with automatic weapons alone and asking them to surrender without a fight (except without the possibility of literally getting killed... I think).

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29010057)

meh... lawyers do it all the time.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009887)

I know.. what's the big deal?

This is like having a traditionally black college give college credits for being dumb, talking like a retard, and sagging your pants below your ass.

It's a great way to teach niggers who they are and keep them in their place.

Separate but equal was overrated. We need nigger lifestyle classes to show this race of spear chucking apes where they belong.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009901)

This is just perverse and disgusting and wrong on so many levels.

College courses where you are graded on defending a belief system founded entirely in unprovable "faith". What exactly is the "college" portion here? Why not have a college focused entirely on the absolute certainty that dragons and warlocks exist? The entire point of this college course seems to contradict the entire point of education. Do you really need a "degree" to say "it's true cuz it's in duh bible and jebus says so"?

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (1)

andrewd18 (989408) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010021)

College courses where you are graded on defending a belief system founded entirely in unprovable "faith". What exactly is the "college" portion here? ... Do you really need a "degree" to say "it's true cuz it's in duh bible and jebus says so"?

There is no traditional liberal arts college portion here, because it's a seminary [wikipedia.org]. The whole point of a seminary to provide a religious education. I'll quote the relevant part of Wikipedia:

A seminary, theological college, or divinity school is a specialized and often live-in higher education institution for the purpose of instructing students (seminarians) in philosophy, theology, spirituality and the religious life, usually in order to prepare them to become members of the clergy.

Why not have a college focused entirely on the absolute certainty that dragons and warlocks exist?

If a D&D college existed, I'd be amongst the first to sign up.

Re:Wait, wait, wait... (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009989)

This is an outrage!

Actually, it sort of is an outrage. If that school is taking federal money or students are getting government backed student loans to go out and preach religious dogma as some kind of pop science, I do find that a bit outrageous and a little offensive.

If it's all private money and students are paying their own way, that's a little less offensive. Still, it borders on a fusion of religion and politics. They're not spreading their faith, they're spreading some militant concoction of politics and religious science, including a straw man opposition that they portray as wanting to kill people.

Looking at it from the perspective of a believer, this isn't faith, it's apostate Protestantism trying to justify a political jihad. Probably no surprise their rhetoric sounds eerily similar to some of what's being taught by militant Muslim scholars.

That shows a serious lack of initiative (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009639)

In my independent study class, I search out intelligent design posts and make fun of them.

Sheesh, some people have to be told everything.

Re:That shows a serious lack of initiative (5, Funny)

asaul (98023) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009677)

What do you expect from creationists? Rational thought based on your own judgment of presented evidence?

Re:That shows a serious lack of initiative (4, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009747)

What do you expect from creationists? Rational thought based on your own judgment of presented evidence?

Perhaps not, but you'd be fool (and a hypocrite) to not prepare for the possibility.

Re:That shows a serious lack of initiative (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009909)

By that logic, I should prepare for zombie attacks too, because it's about as likely.

Re:That shows a serious lack of initiative (1)

johnlcallaway (165670) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009981)

I was thinking the posters were like delusional people thinking that they can get their point across just by acting even more delusional.

Full disclosure (4, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009667)

As long as the students fully disclose that they are doing this for a class requirement, this could be a good thing, for the students, for the school, and for anyone participating in the resulting discussion.

It can be a good thing for students, to expose them to real-world reactions - both civil and less than civil - to their posts. It can train them to make their posts in non-trollish manner. It may also expose them to ideas they would not have otherwise considered.

It can be good for the school and professor when the school gets feedback from others involved in the discussions and from websites.

It can be good for those participating and reading the discussions because THEY may be exposed to ideas they would not otherwise consider.

It's one thing to have an idea, study opposing ideas, then confirm your belief in your original idea. It's another to blindly accept an idea and refuse to think about or even expose yourself to other ideas. Such willful blindness is bad for individuals and, on a larger scale, bad for society.

Re:Full disclosure (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009789)

Why should they disclose that?

This is the internet. If you take internets too seriously, worse things will happen sooner or later than you getting trolled by a college student posting pro-ID for a class assignment.

Some of the most entertaining trolls ever didn't disclose anything. Adequacy pushed pretty hard yet there were still people who weren't quite sure whether or not it was a troll site. As an author, that is what motivated me to keep participating there.

Re:Full disclosure (4, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009799)

As long as the students fully disclose that they are doing this for a class requirement, this could be a good thing, for the students, for the school, and for anyone participating in the resulting discussion.

I, personally, don't see why the students should have to disclose anything. Their opinions are valid (even if their evidence is... er... patchy), and I don't see how knowing who inspired their comments would do anything but open them up for cheap ad hominem shots.

If they're really so wrong, we should be able to demonstrate it without such disclosures.

Re:Full disclosure (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29010005)

(even if their evidence is... er... patchy)

Yo holmes, your evidence is so patchy, a cubic metre of air has more substance!

Re:Full disclosure (3, Insightful)

KillerBob (217953) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010035)

Somebody moderate the parent insightful... he's absolutely correct. It doesn't really matter if they're posting on the 'net because they have to for class requirements, and all it really does is open them up to attacks on the fact that they're still students, or attacks on their school.

It's up to the person themselves whether they're going to listen to opposing viewpoints. To a large extent that's dependant on their upbringing and their education. If the school isn't teaching them to listen to what their opponents are saying so that they can understand where they're coming from, then no amount of disclosure is going to improve things for anybody. The problem really comes when people decide that listening to what the opposition says is lending credence to their argument, when the reality is simple: I don't have to agree with what you're saying, but you have a right to say it, and I will show you the same courtesy that I'd expect when I'm expressing my opinions.

It doesn't really matter if you don't convince the ID people that they're wrong. Strictly speaking, we can't actually know whether they're wrong or not, that's why it's a non-theory. But it could still be correct. I don't have to believe it to recognize that as a possibility. But there's far too many people, on both sides of the argument, who refuse to accept even the remotest possiblity that the other side might be right, and that their beliefs might be wrong. When that happens, it stops being about expanding our knowledge, and starts being about dogma and fanatical devotion. And quite frankly, the atheists are just as guilty as the ID people.

Going off on a rant, but I think the problem lies in the education system. No, I don't think you should be teaching religion in schools. Actually, I don't think you should be teaching "knowledge" at all in schools, for the first bit. Teach basic maths and literacy, because you need them to function in contemporary society, but leave history, geography, and such out of it at first. Teach the kids how to think critically, and how to examine every viewpoint they're presented with so that they're capable of producing the truth on their own. Then, and only then, should you present them with the facts and historical details, as such materials are *always* written with a bias.

Re:Full disclosure (0, Troll)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009907)

As long as the students fully disclose that they are doing this for a class requirement, this could be a good thing

As long as creationist trolls are honest? Man, that's a looooooooong "as long"!

Re:Full disclosure (1)

darhand (724765) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009931)

As long as the students fully disclose that they are doing this for a class requirement, this could be a good thing, for the students, for the school, and for anyone participating in the resulting discussion.

I would agree if the students were required to enter a discussion about the subject on a single page. However, this is just trolling, the students won't look back and just write 10 200-word posts and post them on various websites. I'd expect the college to have a reasoning like yours, however, it only works in their is an actual involved discussion.

Re:Full disclosure (3, Insightful)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009939)

Wishful thinking.

Those of us who have experienced a liberal education know that while professors may have their own preconceived notions, in general, they'll give favorable marks to a well argued contrary position. In fact, these professors are better often positioned to recognize (and reward) a well reasoned critique than even those who hold the contrary positions.

Contrast that to some of the final exam questions for this "teacher's" course:

No amputees are recorded as having been healed in the New Testament (i.e., no one with a missing
limb is said to have grown back the limb in response to a prayer by Jesus or one of the Apostles).
Indeed, throughout Church history it appears that no such miracle has occurred (if you know of a wellconfirmed
case, please cite it). Atheists therefore argue that if miracles really happened and gave
evidence of God, God would have performed a healing like growing back the limb of an amputee. Do
atheists have a point here? How do you maintain that miracles are real in the face of such criticism?

Shorter: "Please pander to me by knocking down the straw man I've just set up."

This is not education. This is indoctrination. Critical thought, self examination, and probing questions are not welcome. The goal of the trolling requirement is akin to hammering an online poll so that it seems like your view point is more prevalent than it really is.

For the record, I am not of the opinion that a scientific mindset is incompatible with a belief in god.

Re:Full disclosure (2, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009991)

>>It can be a good thing for students, to expose them to real-world reactions - both civil and less than civil - to their posts. It can train them to make their posts in non-trollish manner. It may also expose them to ideas they would not have otherwise considered.

If they get civil responses, I'd be shocked.

Even when I posted a way of reformulating ID so that it is a scientificly formulated and testable hypothesis, people still flamed the shit out of me, even though at some point in the near future we WILL need a test for intelligently design. (Namely, when we have to investigate bacteria, virii, etc., to guess if they were naturally evolved or engineered by Saddam & Co.)

I think the entire freaks list here on Slashdot is from this. Note that I wasn't even defending ID, per se, merely reformulating it so that it would be "scientific". This is the objection you always hear to ID, right? (Right?)

So you'd think that people would be happy to see it formulated this way, since it would give them an opportunity to prove it false. But they're not. Instead, they rather act like rabid wombats.

Finally a respectable title (5, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009671)

I'm not trolling, I'm _evangilizing_ . Time to wreck my karma with a mess of '-1 Evangilist' mods.

No your wrong see... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009691)

The Giraffe has to be intelligently designed because how could you pump that much blood up to it's head when it's 13 feet high and when it bends down to drink....

I don't know it's trolling per se. What I envision is a Fark comments thread of religion or even a slashdot thread just like this one. If you are of a college level and hopefully if you are masters level you should be able to write eloquently enough to defend your point without resorting to WHARRGARBL to get your credit for the class. I would certainly hope that the professor grades on the validity and completeness of your defense of the position.

No (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009693)

No accredited university should be requiring students to make public statements defending specific ideas under ANY situation, trolling or not. If this seminary is not receiving public funding, them I'm perfectly fine with them requiring any crazy shit they want to, but I don't think the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [wikipedia.org] (SACS) should be accrediting them as an academic institution (this isn't the first time SACS's rather lax standards have been called into question--over a variety of issues). Students should retain their rights to their own opinions in any respectable academic setting, be they a liberal in a accredited seminary or a conservative at Berkley. If a professors wants to get up in class and rant about their beliefs, that's fine--but they WAY cross the line when they require (or even attempt to coerce) students to affirm those ideas themselves.

Seminaries are different (3, Interesting)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009755)

Many if not most seminaries won't grant you don't actually believe what they are teaching. After all, most seminary graduate go off to become preachers and other religious teachers.

Undergraduate school is ideally designed to teach you to think.

Many/most/maybe all seminaries are designed to filter in those who think like the school wants them to and give them the education necessary to propagate their beliefs to others.

Re:No (4, Interesting)

Guse (1283076) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009757)

I don't know, man... this is a *seminary* that we're talking about. The people graduating from this program need to be able to defend their beliefs and preach to the "unpreachable". Maybe it's an odd way to go about it, but I can honestly see some benefits in doing this. You have to make a stand and really be able to defend your beliefs, and defend them well because there are some really well versed atheists out there, both in terms of science and theology. This will force you to be equally well-versed in both. As for students "retaining their rights to their own opinions"... these are seminary students. Shouldn't they all desire to convert the fallen, so to speak? My father-in-law is a preacher, and I don't think he's particularly like doing this, but I think he would and not feel as if he were being forced or coerced into it (believe me, this is minor compared to most of the crap that you have to go through to be a full-time preacher... their hiring practices would be illegal anywhere but in a church).

Re:No (1)

Secret Agent X23 (760764) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009999)

You have to make a stand and really be able to defend your beliefs, and defend them well because there are some really well versed atheists out there, both in terms of science and theology.

Maybe so, for some (but not all) of them. I see a problem, though, if copying and pasting text to an internet message board is sufficient. That has no educational value.

Not many... (1)

Fished (574624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010063)

Speaking for myself, I don't find many atheists to be theologically "well-versed." I find a lot of atheists to be well-indoctrinated in some particular variant of Christianity (generally either fundamentalism or catholicism), which they've rejected. But to be theologically well-versed requires more than knowing one variant. It requires knowing the broad range of Christian theology, why the different approaches are different, and the history of the church. I can only think of one atheist I've ever met that I would have considered well-versed theologically, and his atheism had an awful lot to do with his parents.

Re:No (1)

martas (1439879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009785)

I disagree. This isn't about forcing students to change their beliefs. The professors could justify this requirement by saying that they want their students to demonstrate that they have gained enough understanding of the issue to be able to beat some idiot on the Internet in an idiotic Internet debate. I think this is in fact a pretty good way to see how deep an understanding a student has of the material. I don't see why that's a big deal. We could all benefit from arguing from the opponent's perspective once in a while anyway - it helps widen one's views.

No. (0, Troll)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009695)

Do not mistake the unaccredited bible school "Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary" for a "College" please.

Re:No. (5, Informative)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009791)

You know, when you make assumptions like that without actually checking the facts, you're not helping.

From their site: [swbts.edu]

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033, Telephone: 404-679-4500) to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools [wikipedia.org] is a regional accreditation agency recognized by the DOE.

We might not like the fact that they are accredited (and they're aren't lying either, I looked it up), but that doesn't make it not true.

Re:No. (2, Interesting)

yttrstein (891553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009895)

Ever try to matriculate from a SACS bible school? Their accreditation through SACS is absolutely worth nothing at all. I should have made my original comment longer.

Re:No. (2, Funny)

Snarfangel (203258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009827)

Do not mistake the unaccredited bible school "Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary" for a "College" please.

Look, they were right next to each other. Anyone could make that mistake.

undergraduate and masters level courses ? (5, Insightful)

Davemania (580154) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009705)

Only if you consider clown college and hamburger school to be real educational institutions

Re:undergraduate and masters level courses ? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009839)

That's it! You people have stood in my way long enough -- I'm going to clown college!

Nut jobs are nut jobs, troll should be no surprise (3, Insightful)

terjeber (856226) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009713)

I mean, if you go to a nut job school, trying to learn how to be a real nut job, the fact that they have to turn you into a troll first should come as no surprise.

Superstitious idiots are going to be around as long as there are cockroaches. Those of us with brains will just have to learn how to live with it.

RAID doesn't even work all that well.

Re:Nut jobs are nut jobs, troll should be no surpr (2, Funny)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009995)

RAID doesn't even work all that well.

Works for me ;) Every time a disk fails I replace it and all is good. Haven't needed to load my backup tapes yet.

Superstitious idiots are going to be around as long as there are cockroaches.

Um, no. Cockroaches will become extinct at some point (possibly evolving into a new more intelligent species) and superstitious idiots will still be around. Hopefully our new cockroach-based friends are more interesting to talk to.

Intelligent Design Creationism? (2)

petaflop (682818) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009727)

The term "Intelligent Design Creationism" seems to me a little unhelpful.

Intelligent design and (young earth) creationism are in general rather distinct, although the rather large differences are sometimes blurred both by proponents trying to gather support and by opponents who want to simply ridicule both groups instead of trying to reason with them. In order to argue effectively against either of them, you must first identify which of the viewpoints the other party is proposing. Otherwise you just end up talking past one another, which is OK for scoring points with the peanut gallery but does nothing to advance the debate.

(I guess someone will argue that there is no point reasoning with either group. However, in any public forum there will often be someone who is prepared to listen to a carefully constructed argument. On the other hand, this is the internet.)

Re:Intelligent Design Creationism? (4, Insightful)

flitty (981864) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009973)

Intelligent design and (young earth) creationism are in general rather distinct,

Ah, no.

Creationism = "god did it."
Intelligent Design = "Something Big (possibly called God) did it."
I have a really, really tough time understanding how these are rather distinct. Even those who first promoted intelligent design see them as the same thing, only removing God from Intelligent design, since that was the major reason why creationism couldn't be taught in schools.


Anyways, Neither creationism or ID have anything to do with young earthers (or at least are only tangentially related). Young Earthers took all the dates/ages in the bible, added them up, and came to 6,000 years, so therefore, the earth must only be 6,000 years old.

Wolf in sheeps' clothing (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009997)

The term "Intelligent Design Creationism" seems to me a little unhelpful.

Intelligent design and (young earth) creationism are in general rather distinct, although the rather large differences are sometimes blurred both by proponents trying to gather support and by opponents who want to simply ridicule both groups instead of trying to reason with them.

No. Creationists who disguise themselves as scientists call themselves "intelligent design proponents", IDers are just dishonest creationists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People#Pandas_and_.22cdesign_proponentsists.22 [wikipedia.org]

The term "creationists" was changed to "design proponents", but in one case the beginning and end of the original word "creationists" were accidentally retained, so that "creationists" became "cdesign proponentsists".

        The basic metabolic pathways (reaction chains) of nearly all organisms are the same. Is this because of descent from a common ancestor, or because only these pathways (and their variations) can sustain life? Evolutionists think the former is correct, cdesign proponentsists accept the latter view.

not news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009731)

So it turns out that religion routinely exercises evangelism. Who'd have thunk?!

Fair Trade (1)

muyla (1429487) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009743)

So the teacher is basically trading slashdot karma for grades... Or does posting as Anonymous coward count?

Please mod me +1 Baptist Theological Seminary

Science lessons must tackle Easter Bunny (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009749)

The Easter Bunny should be discussed in school science lessons rather than dismissed, says the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

"If pupils have strongly-held family beliefs about the Easter Bunny, such ideas should be explored," said Prof William Dembski (D.D, Ph. D. [P.T. Barnum University mail-order]). "Easterbunnyism, Santaclausism or the contemporary militant Tooth Fairy jihadist movement are best seen by science teachers not as a misconception but as a world view. This is more valuable than simply banging on about 'reality.' Reality-based thinking is vastly overrated and certainly won't prepare children for a career in Wall Street or in government."

Simon Underdown of Oxford Brookes University disagreed. "With so much to be crammed into science lessons, it is not a worthwhile use of time to include lessons on Easterbunnyism. We have monthly standardised testing to coach pupils on."

Professor Richard Dawkins [today.com] is working on a childrenâ(TM)s text on useful ways to quickly construct street-corner gallows and burning stakes for rehabilitation of the religious.

Copy-and-paste is okay... scary. (4, Interesting)

FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009795)

That underlines the basic problem with fundamentalism in religion- it is anti-creativity and anti-intellectual and very proud of it. Of course copying and pasting the 'argument' is just fine because unlike most institutions of learning, theirs teaches students not to think for themselves.

waiting for trolls (1)

forestbrooke (1171427) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009801)

got mod points and waiting for 'em trolls! (btw, if one troll with mod points mod up a brother preacher troll, do that mod troll get into heaven?)

editors, (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009803)

yeah, yeah, i get it. it's about trolling on the net so the internet icon is justified. but do how do you justify not putting politics icon on this one?

Seminarys are strange animals (4, Informative)

Fished (574624) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009817)

Disclaimer: I'm an ordained minister with a Masters of Divinity (Seminary) and a Ph.D. in New Testament (Public University).

You need to remember that seminarys are strange animals academically. The degree of academic freedom runs the gamete from little (fundamentalist schools) to a great deal (liberal seminaries). However, in almost all there is at least a set of shared convictions that are held by all, or almost all, students and faculty. Even at the most liberal, it's sort of assumed that you at least believe in God, or why are you there? Seminaries are professional schools for training pastors, not academic institutions.

SBTS is part of the "new" SBC, and so is basically fundamentalist in outlook, and virtually all students and faculty will be fundamentalist in outlook. If they weren't, they would have gone somewhere else. It's not unreasonable to assume that most students are going to hold to an ID or Creationist point of view.

Moreover, this course is almost certainly an elective, so no student is required to take it. Even then, speaking as someone who is basically Anabaptist theologically who went to a school where none of the professors were Anabaptist, all my professors were quite flexible. They had no problem with me writing from what one called my "peculiar viewpoint" so long as I did so respectfully and rigorously. I imagine a student that really had a problem for this requirement would be able to get out of it.

Last, Bill Dembski is a smart guy (I've met him), although I don't always agree with him. I rather doubt he would give full credit for "CREATI0N1SM R0X, SUX0RZ!"

Re:Seminarys are strange animals (1)

toQDuj (806112) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010031)

mod parent +1: knows what the fuck he's talking about.
Also: since when does it need to be explicitly explained that plagiarism is not allowed for a course, as TFS suggests?

B.

Whoa, that site reads like a Scientology manual (5, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009833)

I was ready to give it the benefit of the doubt - after all, religion without ministry is just jerking off your soul - until I read this gem:

EXTRA CREDIT: For those who think they need mercy on missed or poorly answered quizzes, please get Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals and write a 750 to 1000 word reflection on lessons to be drawn from that book for Christian apologetics. You need to have spent at least 6 hours carefully reading the book and sign your name to that effect (i.e., your paper must include something like "I have spent at least six uninterrupted hours reading Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals. -Jane Doe"). [...] Just what I do to improve your grade as a consequence of this exercise is at my discretion.

Jeepers, you might as well just write "I spent a full 24 hours giving myself paper cuts with the book while chanting the Lord's Prayer, so I felt I'd leveled up and skipped actually writing the 'reflection.'"

And they keep saying the word "critical review". I do not think that means what they think it means. I think they'd find any actual "critical" writing to be... Suppressive [xenu-directory.net].

Troll, n. - Someone who disagrees with me (0)

dwm (151474) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009849)

Look, ID isn't scientific but that doesn't mean that anyone who speaks in support of it is a troll. Taking ideas you've learned in class and defending them in a public forum is a good thing. A troll (IMHO) is someone who's in a discussion primarily for the conflict. These students obviously aren't -- they're there at best to learn, and at worst to get through a class (who hasn't been there?). I suspect that anyone who thinks this is a bad thing is more closed-minded than any ID/Creationism/Insert-Your-Hobby-Horse-Here partisan.

Re:Troll, n. - Someone who disagrees with me (4, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010015)

They are being told to go to websites that are "hostile" to intelligent design, and post material that in support of it -- not necessarily original material. They are not required to take part in an actual discussion. If posting material that everyone on a forum can be expected to disagree with, and then not bothering to stay around to defend your views any further than that, does not quality as "trolling," then I do not know what does.

The final exam question is good for a dissertation (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009883)

I don't think that the following is such a good final exam question:

Trace the connections between Darwinian evolution, eugenics, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. Why are materialists so ready to embrace these as a package deal? What view of humanity and reality is required to resist them?

Because giving a suitable answer would be way way way too long for a final. But really, worded a little less provocatively, it's a great topic for a doctoral dissertation in philosophy.

Better than it used to be (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009911)

Back in the day, you could get a knighthood for attempting to sack Jerusalem in the name of Christianity -- presumably including killing people. If we're down to online trolling, that's a good thing.

Question... (1)

hazah (807503) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009953)

I really am not trolling or flaming.

Is there anybody out there of reasonable intelligence that actually thinks that there's a debate going on at all? From what my feeble mind has observed, I find that those who jump to their conclusions are rather small minded creatures who lack any sort of real imagination... constantly regurgitating the same unverifiable babble and staking their life on it too. The other end of the spectrum... where I dwell, I guess, is admitting to yourself that we just don't know everything, and REFUSE to assume ANYTHING, and simply observe.

It's rather funny that if one does observe, one tends to see evolution in action almost everywhere. This "debate" too is evolving. New intellectual weaponry invented decade after decade all designed to curb the other side.

Perhaps the real issue is that the people "debating" have no business being in a debate to begin with. Again, an observation, but those involved seem like nothing more than hyper emotional twits who simply can't figure out why 2(x+y) is 2x+2y. Just to be clear, the math is purely illustrative of the problem as I see it.

free speech? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009965)

Of all places, you'd think Slashdot would be respecting free speech... even if it gets modded troll or flamebait. Oh wait...

Minor issue comparatively speaking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009969)

I would think fake academic papers in "prestigious peer reviewed journals" that are just astroturfing PR pieces, and Department of Defense deliberate fake news stories "embedded" in newspapers and magazines, and also the same DoD cadre inserting various spin doctoring posts around the web* trying to influence public opinion this way or that are way more important. All of them suck, but some just suck a lot more than others.

*they are very fond of using "tin foil hat" to try and deflect attention from some rather important topics where they have been clearly lying and trying to cover up illegal actions or very unethical behavior. Shame on those "oath takers" who engage in such practices.

What's the change? (2, Interesting)

stokessd (89903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009971)

Happy shiny people come by my house to troll in person from time to time. I find that WAY more annoying than trolling on websites such as this where we all can have a good laugh at them. When they ring my doorbell (despite a no soliciting sign in the neighborhood), I now have to deal with my dogs and stopping what I'm doing. Trolling on one of these boards doesn't interrupt my morning breakfast or a good wank etc. So to me, if this replaces the door to door brainwashing service it's a good thing (TM).

Sheldon

Re:What's the change? (3, Funny)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010011)

Trolling on one of these boards doesn't interrupt my morning breakfast or a good wank etc.

Next time you should just keep on doing what you're doing and invite them in. I guess the breakfast might not scare them off, but I bet the wanking would.

Apologetics (4, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#29009975)

This is not Apologetics, even when using original material. The tipping point is the "hostile websites" requirement. If a town doesn't want to listen, kick the dust off your sandals and move on.

Evangelizing = solicitation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29009979)

They call it evangelizing, and they feel they are helping people. How do you teach these people to live and let live if they feel it is their job? It's like Jehova's witnesses knocking at your door, many people feel this is solicitation.

Flameproof suit on! (3, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29010029)

I may be the first (and only) poster to defend the professor in the article, but here goes.

It is a course at a Baptist Seminary in Intelligent Design and Christian Apologetics. From Wikipedia:

"Apologetics is the whole of the consensus of the views of those who defend a position in an argument of long standing. The term comes from the Greek word apologia (), meaning a speaking in defense.

Early Christian writers (c 120-220) who defended their faith against critics and recommended their faith to outsiders were called apologists[1]

In modern times, apologists refers to authors, writers, editors of scientific logs or academic journals, and leaders known for defending the points in arguments, conflicts or positions that receive great popular scrutinies and/or are minority views.

These people are studying to be ministers in a religion. One of their roles is to defend their faith and its tenets. Given the position of the Internet in the world today, how could anyone say they are qualified to do that without having done work on the internet? And, since the focus is on defense of those tenets, the best place to practice that is on hostile websites. So I believe the assignment is appropriate to the course aims.

Note that I am not a Baptist (RC here), I think ID (except as a philosophical experiment) is creationism in disguise, and trolls irritate me too. But lets face it - who here hasn't trolled in order to tweak someone or start a flamewar? Hell, the folks on Slashdot practically invented some forms of trolling (Goatse, anyone?).

So, instead of excoriating the professor, we should invite his students onto here and "help" them with their studies.

Color me surprised... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29010061)

Religion is a powerful tool to control people because it always worked as a mean to make people do what they don't want to do (work harder, get poor, offer money, don't hang the corrupt politician because $DIVINITY will do instead, etc.). Now, are we surprised that they're resorting to every deceptive trick to keep people flocking into churches, being poor, offering money, letting corrupt rulers in their seat etc?
The day religion will disappear will mark the biggest advancement in human intelligence since prehistory.

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