the believer

Sarah Palin makes me genuinely nervous. While Bush pandered to the fundamentalist Christian fringe, and painted our battles as ones between the forces of good and the forces of evil, I never got the sense from him that he actually really believed any of it. He, I think most of us knew, was just reading from a script. When he talked of praying to God for the wisdom to deal with world problems, he didn’t mean it any more than Eddie Haskell meant it when he told Mrs. Cleaver that she looked lovely. But Palin is a completely different animal. She doesn’t seem to know that it’s an act, that it’s all about power and manipulation. She really believes.

History will show that Bush was just a somewhat likable frat boy who happened to have the right family connections and a strategist who knew how to appeal to the reptilian brain in our less questioning neighbors. He may have let us think that he was a true born-again “believer,” but he never really thought that we were going to war because it would hasten the return of Jesus Christ. No, he did it for the oil men and military contractors who had been in bed with his family since his father ran the CIA. He was, without doubt, a terrible President, who did irreparable harm to our nation, but I still got the sense that he had a mind capable of rational thought. Yes, he was an empty suit put forward to push the corporate agenda, but he wasn’t stupid. Dangerous, yes. Stupid, not so much. Palin, in contrast, really seems to believe this nonsense. She’s the next generation of Republican leader. She actually grew up in their dumbed-down schools believing their garbage about science being bunk and Democrats wanting to turn boys gay. She’s a creature of Karl Rove. And that’s terrifying. Where those before her may have paid cynical lip service to the far right, she’s really right there with them. She doesn’t just pretend that global warming isn’t real because it wouldn’t be good for business. She really believes. And I find that even more terrifying.

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70 Comments

  1. Mark H.
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 12:52 am | Permalink

    Mark —

    I think you should have stuck with your intent to say nothing more about Governor Palin. The photo with the mustache added and the comaprision to Hitler are out of place, not factually based, and historically and morally inappropriate. (One was a mass murderer, remember, and the other is not.) The only effect of this photoshop piece is likely to produce sympathy for your target. Palin’s supporters say she’s being ganged up on unfairly by liberals. This photoshop piece is the first bit of unfair criticism I’ve seen of her, and it is wildly unfair.

    I love this blog, but this photo is wrong in so many ways, Mark, I urge you to take it down. Let your comment stand on its own – it has ideas that can be debated. The photo calls for attention because it is so unfair.

    Plus, as a practical matter, why attack her now in such an unfair way? Doing so may just distract attention from her while her manifest weaknesses are being widely discussed.

  2. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    It’s late and my thoughts are all jumbled up. I hope this makes some sense… Good night.

  3. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    And, yeah, maybe the Hitler analogy is a bit over the top, but I do think, if she ever becomes President, that she has the potential to be as bad of a leader.

  4. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    OK, Mark, the photo goes…

  5. Adolf in Brazil
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    I thoughtenzee you were comparenzee das moose-frau mit “Charlie Chaplin”? Vas gives mein ypsituchi freund?

  6. Posted September 28, 2008 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Put the photo back. It is absolutely NOT unfair given that’s what she is. She is the most dangerous thing to this society that has ever come along.

    Don’t listen to cries of unfair. It’s true.

  7. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Before Mark even posted his note, I was having reservations about the image that I’d made. I knew that it didn’t really fit here on the site. Mark just confirmed that to me. So I pulled it… Anyway, I don’t think I’ll be putting it back on the front page, but how’s this for a compromise? What if I just link to it here?

  8. Brackache
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Dude grew up in nazi germany, so his wide sweeping exaggerated generalizations are totally valid.

  9. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    If you didn’t catch it last night, there was a new Tina Fey as Sarah Palin sketch on SNL last night.

  10. Posted September 28, 2008 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    She’s nowhere near as bright as Hitler, but she’s certainly just as fanatical, despite her efforts to downplay it. Hitler is just well known. I’d actually put her in the same category as Ceaucescu of Romania or Slobodan Milosovic or George Michael.

  11. Robert
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    My god! How incredibly inaccurate and offensive! This absolutely sickens me. It’s this kind of gross misrepresentation that everyone should stand against.

    …I mean the part about Bush not being stupid, of course.

  12. Posted September 28, 2008 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, that kind of pissed me off, too. I bet Mark voted for him.

  13. Oliva
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    This is almost tangential except for the fact that I too had to do a double-take when reading Mark’s relatively charitable comments about W., and it brought to mind something from today’s Obama-Biden rally.

    Denise Ilitch, who happens to be running for UM regent, introduced the Bidens and Obamas in Detroit today. According to various online watchdog sites, she (and her family members) each gave Bush $2,000 in 2004. Why wouldn’t/shouldn’t a person change, etc.? (A giant hope is that plenty of people make a vast change this election from the last.) Hope she’s being sincere in coming out in support of Obama, not just getting a ride in this quest for the regent post.

    Her magazine, Ambassador, has a nice spread showing Obama’s and McCain’s stands on a number of key issues, all culled from the candidate’s own campaign web sites. Check out their economic policy differences–striking. It is heartening to see in black and white how prescient Obama has been, strikingly so compared to McCain’s plans for the economy: http://www.ambassadormag.com/ambassador.html (then click on “Magazine” then “Feature”–site uses Adobe Flash, kind of annoying site but very worthwhile content in this case). (Why so difficult for the broadcast and print news to present this information as straightforwardedly as a hometown lifestyle mag?)

    BTW, today’s rally crowd, according to the Detroit News online, was estimated by the sheriff’s department at 28,000 with a few thousand more outside the cordoned-off area.

  14. mark
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t saying that Bush is brilliant. I was just saying that he’s smart enough to know when the shit he’s spouting isn’t true. There’s a big difference.

  15. Ol' E Cross
    Posted September 28, 2008 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    The attraction/repulsion tension between Mark and Palin is palpable. I haven’t seen a relationship this heated since the one between Sam and Diane on Cheers.

  16. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Gee Mark,

    In your analysis, a non-hypocritical politician is terrifying? You just marginalized the majority of Americans. I’m beginning to doubt you are capable of rational thought when it pertains to political strategy. Why do you fear Christians so much? Their “dumbed-down schools” continually produce graduates who outperform graduates of secular schools by a wide margin.

  17. Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    What politician is not a hypocrite? Palin is no exception. I have found that most humans are hypocrites, Christian or not.

    I don’t think anyone here fears Christians. I think many people here fear people that belong to fundamentalist Christian sects that expouse extreme and exclusionst ideas that will inevitably influence policy.

    The end of days will affirm everything about these people’s faith. It appears that they wait for the apocalypse with excitement and anticipation. I fear anyone in power that has their hands in foreign policy decisions. It is a mistake to believe that it will not influence them and lead to a belligerent policy toward the world.

    “Their “dumbed-down schools” continually produce graduates who outperform graduates of secular schools by a wide margin. “

    Where’s your data on this?

  18. Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Palin went to a dumbed-down public high school, by the way. Wasilla High School prides itself on having the lowest drop-out rate in the region.

  19. Oliva
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Dude, I second that reply to EoS re.

    Their “dumbed-down schools” continually produce graduates who outperform graduates of secular schools by a wide margin.

    but rereading the sentence I get that it was a joke.

  20. Posted September 29, 2008 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    I think she is trying to say that people who go to Christian schools do better in colleges. This may or may not be true, but I would think that this, if in fact it is the case (waiting for data), is a result of selectivity and small size and not because the schools are affiliated with one religious faith or another.

    It is the case, however, that genius Sarah Palin did not go to a religious school, nor have we seen any evidence that she did exceedingly well in college. She went to 5 of them, I believe. it would be interesting to see her transcript and try to figure out why, if she was such a stellar student, she couldn’t stick it out at one school.

    Maybe it was a product of not being “flat busted”.

  21. Eos
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Stanford Achievement Test Series, 10th Edition

    Spring 2005*

    Christian School Students Score Above the National Public School Average at Every Grade!

    http://www.discoverchristianschools.com/page.aspx?id=151179

    Christian Schools results for the Complete Battery in Grade Equivalent

    GRADE ABOVE NATIONAL AVERAGE

    K
    6 Months

    1
    7 Months

    2
    9 Months

    3
    1 Year, 9 Months

    4
    1 Year, 8 Months

    5
    2 Years, 2 Months

    6
    2 Years, 3 Months

    7
    2 Years, 3 Months

    8
    2 Years, 6 Months

    9**
    3 Years, 4 Months

    10**
    2 Years, 4 Months

    11**
    1 Year, 4 Months

    12**
    4 Months

    *information provided by the Association of Christian Schools International

    **Christian school students attain the maximum available score starting in 9th grade. The graph/chart give the illusion that public school students begin to catch up during the high school years (in reality this is not the case).

  22. Paw
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know what the fuck all of those numbers are supposed to mean?

    Christian schools are great.

    27**

    36

    14

    Do you see now?

  23. Posted September 29, 2008 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Again, this does not say that because they are Christian schools that they do better. Could we see data for all religious schools and see if Christian schools stand out? Could we see data for all private schools and see if Christian schools stand out?

    The groups they compare may not necessarily be comparable due to the self-selectivity of private schools and the small size and larger base of resources.

    I am all for private Christian schools in that they likely provide resources that cash strapped, over crowded public schools cannot. have gone to one, i can attest to this. However, I am extremely skeptical that their success has anything to do with the particular faith that they ascribe to.

    This being said, fundamentalist Christian schools which push an agenda that include the exclusion of sexual minorities, a teaching of ethno-centric fairy tales rather than science and which teach children a racist (I use that term in the broad sense) doctrine that all infidels will be destroyed by a “loving God” up the as yet unseen and and unscheduled return of the messiah, frighten me beyond belief.

    Your data from a half assed Google search says nothing.

  24. applejack
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    here’s one place i can honestly agree with EoS. most catholic schools give much better educations than their public counterparts (i don’t know as much about other religious schools). this has a lot to do with the fact that they cost a ton of money, so they naturally filter out poorer students who have fewer opportunities in general, and who tend to perform worse in school. also having rich alumni and parents leads to higher expectations from students and more connections to get them into better colleges.

    this is a long way of saying that private schools provide better educations, but not because of their religious affiliation. although the stricter discipline helps too. i think just requiring uniforms in public school would instantly improve their quality

  25. applejack
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    yeah dude’s comment is more on the mark here.

  26. js
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I wasn’t saying that Bush is brilliant. I was just saying that he’s smart enough to know when the shit he’s spouting isn’t true. There’s a big difference.

    I think that gives Bush too much credit for being reflective. I think the decider decided that this stuff was true (in order to fight substance addiction), and folks around him seem to think it’s true, so why not? It’s not like most Christians, especially fundamentalists, live by the creeds or traditions of their faith.

    As the the question of Christian versus secular schools, that’s a bullshit source, and indicative of “Christian” versus secular scientific literacy. The source there doesn’t cite any story, and it links only to the front page of another “Christian” advocacy organization. It doesn’t say what the sample was, it doesn’t say what kind of control variables were used, it doesn’t say what kind of metric was used to evaluate grade level and progress (and you should be immediately dubious of any claim that says Christian 12th graders perform as 12th graders plus four months—that’s just silliness).

    Given that the science isn’t at all clear on private versus public schools once controlled for demographic data, and that numerous Christian schools in Ann Arbor have been closed down due to inadequate facilities and staff, and that the single most predictive variable in study after study has been the ratio of students to instructors, it’s laughable to act like this thinly-sourced bullshit from the equivalent of a Christian Geocities site is a compelling argument in favor of Christian schooling.

  27. Posted September 29, 2008 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I tried EoS’s search and look what I found from the NYT:

    Published on Saturday, July 15, 2006 by the New York Times
    Little Separates Public, Private Schools — Report
    Study Finds Worst Performance in Conservative Christian Schools
    by Diana Jean Schemo

    WASHINGTON – The federal Education Department reported Friday that, in reading and math, children attending public schools generally do as well as or better than comparable children in private schools. The exception was in eighth-grade reading, where the private-school children did better.

    The report, which compared fourth- and eighth-grade reading and math scores from nearly 7,000 public schools and more than 530 private schools in 2003, also found that conservative Christian schools lagged significantly behind public schools when it came to eighth-grade math.

    The study, carrying the imprimatur of the National Center for Education Statistics, part of the Education Department, was contracted to the Educational Testing Service and delivered to the department last year.

    It went through a lengthy peer review and includes an extended section of caveats about its limitations, calling such a comparison of public and private schools “of modest utility.”

    Its release, on a summer Friday, was made without a news conference or comment from Education Secretary Margaret Spellings.

    Reg Weaver, president of the National Education Association, the union for millions of teachers, said the findings showed that public schools were “doing an outstanding job” and said that if the results had been favorable to private schools, “there would have been press conferences and glowing statements about private schools.”

    “The administration has been giving public schools a beating since the beginning” to advance President Bush’s political agenda, Weaver said, of promoting charter schools and taxpayer-financed vouchers for private schools as alternatives to failing traditional public schools. A spokesman for the Education Department, Chad Colby, said he did not expect the findings to influence policy. Colby emphasized repeatedly that “an overall comparison of the two types of schools is of modest utility.”

    “We’re not just for public schools or private schools,” he said. “We’re for good schools.”

    The study, along with one of charter schools, was commissioned by the former head of the National Center for Education Statistics, Robert Lerner, an appointee of Bush, at a time preliminary data suggested that charter schools, which are given public money but are run by private groups, were doing no better at educating children than traditional public schools.

    Proponents of charter schools had said the data did not take into account the predominance of children in their schools who had already had problems in their neighborhood schools.

    The two new studies put test scores in context by examining the backgrounds of children in the schools and taking into account factors like race, ethnicity, income and parents’ educational backgrounds to make the comparisons more meaningful. The extended study of charter schools has not been released.

    Findings favorable to private schools would likely have given a boost to administration efforts to offer children in ailing public schools the option of attending private schools. An Education Department official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the climate surrounding the report said researchers were “extra cautious” in reviewing the study and were aware of the “political sensitivity” of the issue. The official said the section warning against drawing unsupported conclusions from data was expanded somewhat as the report went through the review process.

    The report cautions, for example, against concluding that children do better because of the type of school they’re in, as opposed to some unknown factors that might influence performance. It also warned that there was great variation of performance among private schools, making a blanket comparison of public and private schools “of modest utility.”

    Friday’s report examined fourth- and eighth-grade math and reading scores for students attending public, private and religious schools. Students in private schools typically score higher than those in public schools, a finding confirmed in Friday’s study. The report then dug deeper to compare students of like racial, economic and social backgrounds. When it did that, the private-school advantage disappeared in all areas except eighth-grade reading.

    The report separated private schools by type, and found that among private-school students, those in Lutheran schools did best, while those in conservative Christian schools did worst. For example, in eighth-grade reading, children in conservative Christian schools did no better than comparable children in public schools.

    In eighth-grade math, children in Lutheran schools did significantly better than children in public schools, but those in conservative Christian schools fared worse.

    Two weeks ago, the American Federation of Teachers, on its Web log, predicted that the report would be released on a Friday, suggesting that the Bush administration saw it as “bad news to be buried at the bottom of the news cycle.”

  28. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    The Stanford Achievement test is the most widely used standardized test for K-12 students. It’s given to students across the country.

    The Stanford Achievement Test Series, usually referred to simply as the “SAT 9” or “SAT 10” (where the number reflects the series being used), is one of the leading standardized achievement tests utilized by school districts in the United States for assessing children from kindergarten through high school; it is used to measure academic knowledge of elementary and secondary school students. The test is available in 13 levels that roughly correspond to the year in school. Each level of the test is broken into subtests or strands covering various subjects such as reading comprehension, mathematical problem solving, and science.

    The tests include three types of questions: multiple choice, short answer, and extended response. Besides requiring a written answer of five or six sentences, the extended response may also require the student to graph, illustrate or show work. Such answers are usually included within the areas of science or mathematics.

    Test scores can be reported in several different formats that measure performance in different ways, including a developmental scale, norm-based scores that compare a student’s performance with that of a representative sample of students across the United States, and achievement-to-ability comparisons with scores from the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test. One type of report indicates the grade level of a student who, if answering those same questions, would have gotten the same percentage of questions correct as the real student. For example, if a 5th grade student scores a 6 in Science, it means that an average 6th grader would get about the same percentage of questions right as that particular 5th grade student.

    Dating from its origin in 1926, the test is now in its tenth incarnation, or “Series”. Although in many states it is being replaced by state-created tests (mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001), it is not equivalent to most of these tests, in that the Stanford series are more comprehensive in scope than the newer assessments.

  29. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    When you try to compare private schools to public schools, you have to go through a host of statistical adjustments to make a fair comparison. There is no doubt that private school students score better on standardized tests than public school students. This is a matter of undisputed fact. That said, you have to take into account:

    – family incomes
    – familiar participation in general schooling
    – dollars spent per student
    – student socio-economic background as it pertains to the development of fundamental skills early in life
    – self-selection of better students in private schools
    – pre-natal and maternal nutrition

    It’s a difficult comparison at best. That said, the jury is still out about the absolute best way to educate kids. It’s most likely a combination of a whole bunch of things that are the answer and not anything as simple as public vs. private.

    Never forget, this country rose to become the world’s sole super-power on the back of the vast majority of its citizens going to public education. There must be something to that result. A grand experiment was done here and good things happened. Why? How? How do we do it again?

  30. Posted September 29, 2008 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Regardless of the test, your data doesn’t show that children at Christian schools do better in college than children in non-Christian schools.

  31. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I went to Catholic schools for grades 1-4 during the sixties. Class size was 50 – 52. Tuition was less than what the public schools received per student at the time. My Mom ironed a white shirt for me and my six siblings each day. (There wasn’t yet anything like permanent press.) Dad was busy working 7 days, 12 hours each day at Ford’s whenever he wasn’t laid off or on strike.

    To graduate 3rd grade, each student had to have memorized the multiplication tables 1 – 12. In 7th grade, in the public school system, my math teacher tried to get all the students to learn the multiplication tables. Less than 25% of the class succeeded by the end of the year.

    I knew more English grammar in the 4th grade than most public schooled 9th graders. I maxed out on the Stanford tests in sixth grade. I didn’t learn anything in public schools I hadn’t already mastered in Catholic school until the tenth grade, and only then because I was self-motivated.

    The Catholics had a number of inner city schools in Detroit drawing from an at risk population. They have a long history of educating children regardless of SES. I agree that SES and parental involvement are the best indicators for school success, but Christian schools are the exception to the general trend. Christians were responsible for starting the major Universities in our country and continue to value educational achievement. I’m not arguing that all Christians have superior intellect; I’m just arguing against the consensus here that Christians are intellectually ignorant. As a matter of fact, home-schooled students are the highest achievers academically.

  32. Posted September 29, 2008 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    No one said that Christians were ignorant.

  33. Posted September 29, 2008 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    “I knew more English grammar in the 4th grade than most public schooled 9th graders. I maxed out on the Stanford tests in sixth grade. I didn’t learn anything in public schools I hadn’t already mastered in Catholic school until the tenth grade, and only then because I was self-motivated. “

    I consistently made the 99th percentile of the Stanford tests in the 70’s and I am a complete moron. Those tests say nothing.

  34. Dud
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I’m enjoying this tangent on Christian education, but I think it’s taking us a little off course. The more interesting question is whether it’s worse to have a leader that genuinely believes the Republican talking points on religion, or one that just uses them to whip up the masses. It’s just one example, but I have to think that it’s better to have a leader that doesn’t think that the best thing possible would be for the world to become engulfed in war, prompting Jesus to return. I would much much rather have a leader that didn’t believe that, but strung along those individuals that do, than one that does believe. I do not want someone who really thinks that she is getting the world ready for the return of Christ to have her finger on the red button. Evil is better than stupid.

  35. Posted September 29, 2008 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I doubt that most Republicans believe the crap that these fringe sects espouse. McCain doesn’t seem to give two shits about religion.

  36. Brackache
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I was dude’s teacher. In the south.

  37. Posted September 29, 2008 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for letting those test slide. That was cool of you.

  38. Brackache
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    My heart always goes out to complete morons.

  39. Posted September 29, 2008 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    That’s really liberal of you, Brackache.

  40. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    “The more interesting question is whether it’s worse to have a leader that genuinely believes the Republican talking points on religion, or one that just uses them to whip up the masses.”

    “Lord — Protect my family and me,” reads the note Obama inserted in the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. “Forgive me my sins, and help me guard against pride and despair. Give me the wisdom to do what is right and just. And make me an instrument of your will.”

    Do you think Obama has a real faith or is he just using words of prayer for political advantage? Do liberals believe he is mocking God and doesn’t really believe that God can make him an instrument to carry out his will? Can you see a President Obama, in a national TV address, stating his changed mind about homosexual marriage/domestic partnerships and claiming that God told him to support only traditional marriage? Could you imagine Obama repenting of his support for abortion? Is it because you are so sure that there is no God, or because you are sure that God couldn’t make Obama a “born again” believer with a transformed heart and lifestyle? What is it that makes you so sure that he isn’t a “real Christian” who talks to God and does what He says? Isn’t it terrifying for you to consider that God will use our next President to accomplish His will regardless of who we vote into office? And millions of Christians worldwide will be praying for God to do exactly that!

  41. Posted September 29, 2008 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    “Isn’t it terrifying for you to consider that God will use our next President to accomplish His will regardless of who we vote into office?”

    Yes, it is terrifying in that I, and billions of other people will be excluded from the equation merely for not sharing your bigoted faith.

  42. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

    But Dude – you’re not excluded. Episcopalian Catholics who don’t believe the Bible are still God’s children.

  43. Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Oh fuck. I was looking forward to some peace and quiet.

    Let me sodomize myself with a Bible for a while. Will that do it? Maybe I’ll become an abortion doctor and marry some men.

  44. js
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    The Stanford Achievement test is the most widely used standardized test for K-12 students. It’s given to students across the country.

    So? I mean, you just wasted several paragraphs of text reiterating what test these kids were supposedly taking, without linking to the actual study, which would have the data collected.

    You’re totally failing at social science right here.

    It’s a difficult comparison at best. That said, the jury is still out about the absolute best way to educate kids. It’s most likely a combination of a whole bunch of things that are the answer and not anything as simple as public vs. private.

    Yeah, but again, the best predictive metric for academic success is the number of kids per teacher. Seriously. Unfortunately, places like, say, Los Angeles (where I happen to be now) does things like fires teachers while moving other teachers into administrative jobs, which further decreases the ratio. They managed to grow the administration by 20% while increasing costs and cutting 11% of teachers SINCE 2005. And now, all they’re gonna do is take teachers that had been moved to administration and move ’em back.

    They have a long history of educating children regardless of SES. I agree that SES and parental involvement are the best indicators for school success, but Christian schools are the exception to the general trend. Christians were responsible for starting the major Universities in our country and continue to value educational achievement. I’m not arguing that all Christians have superior intellect; I’m just arguing against the consensus here that Christians are intellectually ignorant. As a matter of fact, home-schooled students are the highest achievers academically.

    You say stuff like that, but you’re not making a good case at all—first off, home-schooled folks aren’t the highest achievers compared to their cohort. Second, American Christianity has had a huge anti-intellectual movement that has boiled up through the 20th Century. Jesuits are intellectually curious; most Christians aren’t.

    You show the paucity of Christian education by your misinterpretation of data and academic studies, and by presenting your test results as indicative of both a larger trend of evidence and a lack of ignorance you’ve supported criticism of Christians!

  45. Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    EoS has officially made me hate Jesus. What an asshole.

  46. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    js-

    This is just a blog, yet my original post linked to the web page that has the comparison of National test scores versus Christian schools for the years 2005 – 2008, with a breakdown listing English, Math, and total battery including graphical comparison. Had you pursued the link you would have discovered the data to support my assertions.

    The second quote you cited is Curt’s, not mine. Not indicative of high level reading skills on your part.

    Third, if the best predictive metric for academic success is the number of kids per teacher, then you agree that home schooling is optimal.

    And lastly, where’s your data to support an anti-intellectual movement of 20th Century American Christianity?

    Hoisted on your own petard!

  47. Posted September 29, 2008 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    “And lastly, where’s your data to support an anti-intellectual movement of 20th Century American Christianity?”

    You yourself are part of that movement. You believe that the Bible is the supreme truth in all matters, be they spiritual, scientific or economic. That, in itself, is anti-intellectual since intellectualism is predicated on the idea that the world is to be understood through questioning and reason, rather than through blind faith and ancient superstition.

  48. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

    “You believe that the Bible is the supreme truth in all matters, be they spiritual, scientific or economic.”

    I’ve never said that. I believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God. It’s not a scientific or economic textbook.

  49. Posted September 29, 2008 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    As much as I hate citing Wikipedia, EoS should read through to the section on religious fundamentalism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-intellectualism#20th_and_21st_century_culture

  50. EoS
    Posted September 29, 2008 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Dude-
    The Wikipedia section on comments and disputes of POV on the article you linked to is longer than the original section. Not an unbiased discussion to say the least.

  51. Posted September 29, 2008 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    i like this photoshop:

    http://www.cafepress.com/pitbullies

    she is really scary

  52. Posted September 29, 2008 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Exactly why I don’t like sending people there.

    If anti-intellectualism doesn’t exist, then why would one of your own write a book on it?

    http://www.thinkchristian.net/index.php/2006/03/30/anti-intellectualism-in-the-church/

  53. Posted September 29, 2008 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    This is just a blog, yet my original post linked to the web page that has the comparison of National test scores versus Christian schools for the years 2005 – 2008, with a breakdown listing English, Math, and total battery including graphical comparison. Had you pursued the link you would have discovered the data to support my assertions.

    Man, I’m trying not to get Mark to kick me off for starting fights, but that’s retarded. I went to that stupid site, and the study didn’t have any citation except that it came from another stupid Christian organization, and that site had no studies listed on it. ACSI is where the information supposedly comes from, but there’s nothing here.

    Without seeing the actual study (which, if we’re going to pay attention to it, should come from a peer-reviewed journal), there’s no way to know what it’s actually saying, and just having graphs doesn’t prove that the underlying data is any good. In a survey of my household, 100% of us think you’re an idiot for trying to pass this off as science. Zero percent think it reflects well on your education (though we’re savvy enough not to extrapolate from that).

    This comes down to basic scientific literacy—you trust the Discover Christian Schools site without any support there. I don’t. And the “evidence” that is there is largely meaningless.

    As for the claim that the link you provided has a complete battery, well, you should post it again, because either I missed it or you’re lying like McCain.

    (And I know that I quoted another comment in there. I figured that people would be astute enough to follow that.)

    Third, if the best predictive metric for academic success is the number of kids per teacher, then you agree that home schooling is optimal.

    Students per teacher, not students per semi-literate bible thumper. Mean-spirited snark aside, the efficacy of home schooling is really incredibly varied, and there are limits to the gains that come from decreasing class size (if I recall correctly, the gains top out at around 10 students per teacher, though I could be wrong).

    And lastly, where’s your data to support an anti-intellectual movement of 20th Century American Christianity?

    Here’s an article. Here’s another.

    Add to that the folks who argue against evolution or global warming or any number of other issues. Hell, even Jack Chick tracts routinely impugn academia as godless and sybaritic.

    Finally, and allow me to play the sniffy intellectual here, it’s “Hoist by his own petard,” with petard being a bomb, and “hoist” meaning “blown up.”

    Some other time I’ll razz you over a belief in the Bible as the inerrant word of God, and give you a hosing on how little you understand it.

  54. EoS
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    js-

    The link is through the web page I sited. Here’s a page with 18 pdf’s containing data from annual Stanford Achievement Test:
    http://www.acsi.org/web2003/default.aspx?ID=1892
    It’s not a study in a peer reviewed journal, it’s the published test scores of the most widely used achievement test in the nation for K-12 schools. I’m not going to educate you further on the Stanford Achievement Test – do your own research. It’s not the best evidence to support Christian Education, just the result of a 30 second google search to provide the asked for data in a non-intellectual discussion on a local blog.

    You lecture me about peer reviewed journal articles and then post references to support your claims that are opinion articles from magazines directed to the general public. I’m not going to defend Jack Chick tracts or Pentecostal churches. I believe in the Bible and the ability of Christians to use reason and logic to defend its truths. While I’ll be the first to admit that you don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to be Christian, there’s also no reason that intelligent, educated persons can’t be born again believers with full intellectual honesty.

    Hoisted on your own petard, in general usage, means injured by the device that you intended to use to injure others. You can call me a retard and semi-literate, but I’m not going to engage in a likewise fashion. Spare me the hosing about the Bible and you’ll avoid further embarrassing yourself.

  55. Posted September 30, 2008 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Again, not to belabour the point, but the data you provide only applies to ACSI member schools and not all Christian schools nor to all religious schools.

    No one has said that Christians can’t be intellectuals. On the contrary, some of the world’s great intellectuals ahve been Christians.

    However, it cannot be ignored that making statements like “the dinosaurs were created on the 6th day” and “the earth is 6000 years old” make you seem less of a competent mind and make you, and other modern-day Christians, into an utter laughingstock.

    Finding “data” to support the anti-intellectual slant of present day evangelical Christians is going to be difficult since philosohpical movements are rarely quantifiable. However, there is a large anti-intellectual body of literature in the opinion pieces of small town newspapers, large well read Christian magazines and on TVs shows like the 700 Club. The problem is so bad that even Pentacostal ministers are writing books on why it’s a disturbing trend for Christians!

    I think that you are confusing “intellectualism”, which implies an answer seeking, critical curiosity with “intellect” which implies mental or academic aptitude (IQ). I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

  56. EoS
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Dude,

    Your point about member ACSI schools is valid and the weakness in my supporting data.

    Not everyone who claims to be Christian, is. Nobody acts as thought police and silences TV evangelists or every Pastor of every conceivable denomination church. Just as when a scientist is caught publishing fraudulent data it does not condemn all of science, neither does a Christian with an erroneous belief condemn an entire religion.

    Have you ever thought of applying your answer seeking, critical curiosity to a thorough study of the Bible? Jesus believed in the Old Testament and read it in the temple when he was on earth. He never mentioned any errors it might contain. He never explained to the disciples that Genesis was all allegory.

  57. Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Jesus’ great contribution as a reformer was to point out errors in the Old Testament! Do you still follow the old Jewish dietary laws that Christ abolished in Matthew 15? Do you still stone people to death when they wear clothes made of two types of thread (Leviticus)?

    Jesus was a critical thinker, I would assume. I’m still disappointed that he never spoke out on slavery nor against it’s abuses. Apparently, he though it was ok.

    “Just as when a scientist is caught publishing fraudulent data it does not condemn all of science, neither does a Christian with an erroneous belief condemn an entire religion”

    I certainly have not condemned the entire religion, only hard-headed support of fairy tales in light of a great body of evidence that says otherwise. Is God playing a joke on us? Is he just fucking with us? Please. Give God a bit more credit.

    Personally, I would have like to have seen it when Adam started ejaculating demons.

  58. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Man, I’m trying not to get Mark to kick me off for starting fights, but that’s retarded.

    js — Is it really impossible for you to respond respectfully to anybody? Why do you choose to be so childish? I admit that you trolled me into profanity, but I’m pretty much done with that now and apologized to everybody for my overreaction. But here you are, trolling away.

    Do you act like this when you’re not anonymous? Do you go up to people you talk to in your day-to-day life and call them names and throw around disgusting derogatory terms like “retarded”? Do they then punch you in the face? Do you get fired a lot?

    You’re an extremely unpleasant ANONYMOUS person. Did you know that? You need to know that because you act like you know everything and I didn’t want you to be a liar.

    And stop hating on people with differing emotional and developmental abilities. It’s really not cool. Check yourself.

  59. Eos
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    The ceremonial law and the sacrificial laws were no longer necessary after Christ, but the moral laws are all still applicable. The Old Testament was not full of errors; Christ opened a new way to salvation. The law served it’s purpose by pointing out the need for a Savior. No longer did we have to go through cleansing rituals, and sacrificial rituals, and ceremonial rituals. Christ died once for all, so that we could be declared righteous. Not by anything we could do, but because of what he has done for us.

    Did you notice that Jesus reaffirmed the sins of adultery and sexual immorality in Matt 15? Do you really think that God came to earth to admit His errors and to tell us that we should throw out any part of the Word of God that we don’t personally agree with? Aren’t you putting yourself on the level with God by suggesting you disregard anything that you don’t comprehend at first glance?

  60. MIike
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I like JS. He’s not even in the top 10 of the commenters here that I’d block. If anything, I want more of him.

  61. Posted September 30, 2008 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Well, that’s the crux of it. You can speak for God, yet I can’t. You know all of God’s intentions, yet no one else does. That is the great danger of people of your ilk. If you wield the right to interpret and speak for God, then everything you say is justified and right. This is what allowed travesties like the Spanish inquisition to happen, public lynchings in the South, slavery and the Holocaust. You say that my take on faith is dangerous. I have to ask, dangerous to whom?

    No matter what I say, no matter how much physical evidence anyone produces, no matter how much research, thought and analysis goes into understanding humanity and the world around it, it can’t hold up in the face of God, which only you have the right to interpret. Never mind that most persons in the world are not, and never will be Christian. Fuck them. Fuck the infidels.

    EoS, what you have just said reaffirms my belief that the Christian religion is, at it’s core, a bigoted and racist one. Thank God that you are here, with little resources, to interpret the word of God and to be able to speak it to all the world, as you, and you alone will be saved and are without fault.

    I, for one, through this discussion, have wandered to the side of complete rejection of the Christian faith as it is perhaps hopeless to think that it can be anything but what you proclaim it to be. Substanceless. Blind. Bigoted. Your people sicken me.

  62. Posted September 30, 2008 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    What does the Creation story have to do with morality?

  63. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t you putting yourself on the level with God by suggesting you disregard anything that you don’t comprehend at first glance?

    EoS, aren’t you putting yourself on the level with God by claiming that you have such absolute understanding of Him?

    Just askin’.

  64. Eos
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Your take on faith is dangerous to yourself and your eternal life and to those you might encourage to scoff at the Bible as well. The creation and the events in the garden of Eden, as they are described in Genesis, is overwhelming filled with morality. But, who am I to relate what is written to you so that you can accuse me of speaking for God. Read it yourself. Open your mind. Ask God to reveal his truth and give you understanding.

  65. Jesus
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Please shut the fuck up.

  66. Posted September 30, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    “Your take on faith is dangerous to yourself and your eternal life and to those you might encourage to scoff at the Bible as well.”

    Again, what gives YOU the right to speak for God?

  67. Brackache
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    dude sounds and acts like a middle schooler. I think he’s pretty full of shit, based on his claims about himself not jiving with his inane sweeping accusatory generalizations. On every subject, I mean, not just this one. I call shenanigans and advise ignoring him.

  68. Ed C
    Posted September 30, 2008 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Don’t kill off the dude! He’s my favorite new character this season.

  69. Posted September 30, 2008 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

    I do my best to make as many inane, sweeping, accusatory generalizations as possible.

  70. Robert
    Posted October 2, 2008 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Hey dude, why did you assume EoS is female? I’m curious. How did God reveal that to you?

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