Higher Education, “speaking the truth to power”, “unpleasant truths”, etc.

This walkout by a few dozen students at the University of Notre Dame graduation ceremony got me to thinking about higher education. The students complained about VP Pence’s stance on immigrants (which goes against the mainstream of what current Catholic teaching is) and on homosexuality (where he is mostly consistent with Catholic doctrine, though some parishes are indeed gay couple friendly).

And I wonder: why go to school whose Church goes against your values?

Yes, these days, at least in certain fields, it appears to be chic to attack “false narratives”. But, lost in this is that the professors *should* be teaching their students actual facts and knowledge! How can one “speak the truth to power” if one doesn’t really know “the truth” to begin with?

On the flip side, while I agree with this sentiment, in theory:

Often, “unpleasant truths” turn out to be “widely held, but factually incorrect opinions” deemed as “common sense”. Again, to speak the truth means to know the truth.

Example: yes, in the US, different “races” have different mean IQ scores. That is indisputable but many do not acknowledge that or even know it.

And yes, intellectual ability is inherited genetically (example: nothing I could do could turn me into Steve Hawking). So, those might be “the unpleasant facts”.

But to learn the truth, one should also realize that the genes merely put an upper bound on intelligence; how close one comes to attaining that upper bound depends on many things (e. g. not consuming lead as a kid, mother not taking drugs while carrying the kid, early childhood education, etc.). And group mean IQ is far from unchangeable; note the case of East/West Germany where the IQs between the two countries diverged under communist rule and started to converge again after reunification! THAT is also part of the truth. To deny environmental factors is to be intellectually dishonest.


May 22, 2017 - Posted by | social/political

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: