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View Diary: Teacher's Lounge: Raising the Level? (130 comments)

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  •  Part of why this entry of Teacher's Lounge (5+ / 0-)

    so moved me is that it points to a symptom of the anti-intellectualism that we all run into, whether it's on the left or the right.  To quote rserven (I don't know you well enough to use your first name):

    The level is indeed low.  There is a drought of respect and trust.  There is a lack of critical thinking, even here.  Asking people to think about what they are writing is seen as an attack.  Pointing out an error in logic, hoping to raise the bar the tiniest bit, is called ad hominem.  Insisting that words not be distorted solely as means of attack is seen as classist.  The educated amongst us are often told we should behave as if we are not educated.  Anti-intellectualism is rampant.

    I almost left immediately after I first came here because I was accused of playing the teacher, and of logging on right after the November election to rain on the parade of inflated rhetoric.

    But what is anti-intellectualism really?  It's a phrase I throw around with ease, and yet I am always at disease when I encounter it, or when I use it.  For me, I sense anti-intellectualism in almost any form of certainty, ideology, single-issue-ness, or ad hominem rhetoric.  I am not an absolute relativist, though.  Murder is wrong, as is rape, discrimination, and so on.

    But anti-intellectualism is about righteousness--it's about the comfort of knowing you are correct, and that your position is rightfully firm.  

    Anti-intellectualism is the suppression of well-founded questions.  It is the pointless attack of another point of view.  Intellectualism is paradox, but not a paradox of despair.  For in paradox I find mystery, and in mystery I find hope.  I find no hope in certitudes beyond "You should do no harm."

    Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man. -- Bertrand Russell

    by Statius on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 10:59:06 AM PST

    •  I insist my students call me Robyn... (4+ / 0-)

      ...so that we can be on the same side of learning and to put them at ease about what pronouns to use.

      Yesterday I tried patiently to explain to someone what nepotism was, in a endless circle kind of way.  I was berated, chastized, demeaned and called names.  In the end, I did not probably succeed.  I keep trying to remind myself that the diarist was not the only person reading what I was writing.  Sometimes that helps.  

      Teacher's Lounge opens every Saturday between 11 am and noon. It's not just for teachers.

      by rserven on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 11:09:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  rserven (0+ / 0-)

        Yesterday I tried patiently to explain to someone what nepotism was, in a endless circle kind of way.  I was berated, chastized, demeaned and called names.  In the end, I did not probably succeed.  

        I believe that you are refering to me here, so let me take a quick moment to deffend myself, FWIW.

        Let me start off by saying that I certainly am sorry if I've contributed to your desire to leave this site; I certainly didn't intend nor desire you to do so.  I've never exchanged comments with you before until you commented in my diary.

        You found me combative in our dialogure because your first comment insuated I was sexist.  

        I'd ask you to note the difference... (2+ / 0-)
        ...between the Bushes and the Clintons.  One was father son.  That's about heredity.  One is husband/wife.  That's not about heredity.  What message is to be drawn from the point of view that says that if a man becomes a president, his wife automatically is disqualified.  That sounds sexist to me.

        Suppose, for example, that two presidentially-qualified politicians meet, fall in love, and get married.  Is one of them no longer presidentially qualified?

        Please think critically about this point of view that is being expressed.

        Teacher's Lounge opens every Saturday between 11 am and noon. It's not just for teachers.

        by rserven on Fri Feb 23, 2007 at 11:31:33 AM PST

        I hope you can appreciate where I'm coming from when your first comment accuses me of having a sexist POV.  I found it to be insulting and confrontational; maybe you truly didn't mean it that way, but that is what I perceived.  Disliking the political dynasties doesn't make me sexist.  

        I don't want to hijack your diary or get back into yesterday's discussion; I don't want you to leave on my account.  You obviously have a tight knit group here and it would be a shame for you to throw that away.

        If a doctor can advocate for universal health care, why then can a general not advocate for peace?

        by areucrazy on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 11:58:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a difference between... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cookiebear, drchelo

          ..."That sounds sexist" and "You are sexist".  I choose my words carefully.  I assume everyone does and react accordingly.  You chose to take offense.  Why not rather examine why what I said might be so?

          William Graham Sumner (1906):

          [Critical thinking is]...the examination and test of propositions of any kind which are offered for acceptance, in order to find out whether they correspond to reality or not. The critical faculty is a product of education and training. It is a mental habit and power. It is a prime condition of human welfare that men and women should be trained in it. It is our only guarantee against delusion, deception, superstition, and misapprehension of ourselves and our earthly circumstances.

          Education is good just so far as it produces well-developed critical faculty....A teacher of any subject who insists on accuracy and a rational control of all processes and methods, and who holds everything open to unlimited verification and revision is cultivating that method as a habit in the pupils. Men educated in it cannot be stampeded...They are slow to believe. They can hold things as possible or probable in all degrees, without certainty and without pain. They can wait for evidence and weigh evidence...They can resist appeals to their dearest prejudices. Education in the critical faculty is the only education of which it can be truly said that it makes good citizens.

          Teacher's Lounge opens every Saturday between 11 am and noon. It's not just for teachers.

          by rserven on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 12:45:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You'll also note... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cookiebear, drchelo

          ...that I did not name you or link to your diary or mention it in my diary.  I only mentioned it in a comment to aid in making a different point.

          Teacher's Lounge opens every Saturday between 11 am and noon. It's not just for teachers.

          by rserven on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 12:48:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I also have my students do the same (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rserven

        but I don't presume such things in an online community.

        I'm sorry to hear about your recent exchange.  

        Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man. -- Bertrand Russell

        by Statius on Sat Feb 24, 2007 at 04:53:07 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

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