How You Can Be Deceived

The instruments of the Academy have been designed to promote discovery of a factual and authoritative view of the world, and we should recognize that many of its members are working hard to do just that, recognizing the limitations of human knowledge. Unfortunately the traditional ideas of academic discourse and freedom have come under some attack of late, while a growing minority who believe that their cause warrants them breaking the rules, will actually intentionally mislead you. Most are simply Read more [...]

Beware the False Dichotomies

One strategy of the enemy in academic argumentation is the false dichotomy: two choices exist, at either end of the spectrum, and you are forced to choose one. But what if neither one is right? Or what if both are right? Consider these examples: 1. Philosophy - empiricist or rationalist? 2. Economics - capitalist or socialist? 3. Psychology - nature or nurture? "I'd like Both, Please."   Most academic disciplines have false dichotomies throughout the discipline. Certain topics have existed Read more [...]

Debunking Modern Philosophy

The canon of Western Philosophy is interesting because it forms a pretty clear story. The early Western philosophers, the ancient Greeks, were rationalistic and deductive. The medieval/renaissance philosophers were basically Catholic theologians. The modern philosophers were empirical, skeptical, and secular. The late modern philosophers were atheist and starting to toy with relativism. The most recent philosophers are postmodern, which means they are hard to categorize but are generally relativist, Read more [...]

The Nature of Academic Discourse

College students are often frustrated by professors and textbooks that seem to be speaking in a foreign language. This "foreign language" has both positive and negative aspects. First, it is important to recognize that it is necessary. Each academic discipline has its own vocabulary because it is trying to discuss a different part of the intellectual world. Terms are developed as ways of encapsulating ideas. In this way, such terms are useful because once understood, they simplify the debate because Read more [...]

Humanism

In psychological circles, "humanism" refers to man's innate goodness. In contrast to Christian theology, which posits man as a naturally depraved, sinful creature, secular psychology prefers to assume that man is essentially good. Data interpretation, then, is carefully gerrymandered to protect this claim. Why secular psychology has taken this route is interesting, since historically psychologists did not generally believe this way. From the foundation of Freud, psychologists believed man was inherently Read more [...]

Methodological Naturalism

Psychology, as a science, is built upon methodological naturalism. Challenge the naturalism, and you can't be a psychologist. At least, not in the Academy. Methodological naturalism means that only empirical data is admissible to support a scientific hypothesis, and that only naturalistic (sensory, visible, testable) conclusions are viable science. No supernatural allowed. And no untestable hypotheses, unfalsifiable ideas. In practice, this sounds good. Nobody wants the study of human beings, individuals, Read more [...]

Cultural Anthropology

Cultural Anthropology is getting more popular these days, especially as globalism prompts the Western world to open up more to the Non-West. We are getting to be smarter world citizens, and seeing that very important histories parallel our own. And not only are there good stories, but there are tragic ones too… stories of people who have been exploited, enslaved, or just forgotten by the industrialized world. Cultural Anthropology aims to insert some justice into this situation, and bring world Read more [...]

Physics

The universe is an astounding thing. The more insight we get into it, the more we all marvel. Physics is responsible for our glimpse into the universe, and for our knowledge about natural laws and forces. It is considered the ground of "hard sciences" because the laws and forces uncovered influence systems involved in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, and ecology. The intrigue of physics, then, is its connectedness to data and mathematics.... highly provable and certain discoveries. The sad part, Read more [...]

Reasonable Christian Belief

When you go to college, you are separated not only from your parents, but also from your community and your church. You essentially enter a free form existence defined by peers in your same situation and professors. During this time you will make the decisions which ultimately set the course for the rest of your life. What part of society will you align yourself with? In the midst of making these decisions, you will be confronted with a great deal of information and ideas that you have never heard Read more [...]

Sociology

Sociology is study of society or human grouping. In the social sciences, it is at the "top" of the spectrum with economics because it examines the largest scale trends of human behavior... the results of 4 billion people interacting together. At the "bottom" of the social sciences is psychology, which studies the individual actor. Cultural anthropology is in the "middle" because it looks at tribes or cultures -- small groups identified by geography, history or race. Sociology, being at the top of Read more [...]

A Model for Christian Academic Engagement

One path to winning respect from the Academy is to research, promote and parrot the ideas which dominate the scholarship of the moment. This method, along with hard work, of course, is the quick way to become respected and important in the academy. As Christians, however, we are not seeking respect and importance as an ends, our goal is to be a prophetic and transformational voice. At minimum, we should seek to be "salt and light" which slows the slide of the world toward nihilistic and Godless thought. If Read more [...]

Psychology

Psychology is a diverse field where the main subject is the human being, the individual. Biological psychology studies the biological basis of behavior (including neuroscience), cognitive psychology examines the role of thinking/believing, social psychology studies the customs and principles of human interaction, and developmental psychology examines the growth of the individual (child, teen, and adult) over time. There are other tangential or specialized fields in psychology such as historical, Read more [...]

Political Science

The field of Political Science is comprised of several sub-disciplines. The two main branches, however, are government and international relations. That is the branch that studies the internal operations of a nation states, and the branch that studies their interactions across boundaries. They are related because they both study power, it's use and attainment. In government you study the structures that facilitate or limit people's behavior, and how people actually behave within those structures. Read more [...]

Economics

Economics is perhaps one of the most important and most debated subjects. It is a subject that everyone has a viewpoint on whether or not it is well-developed or explicitly stated. The discipline of economics used to be more about philosophy than math, but around World War II, Paul Samuelson reinvented the discipline by adding lots of mathematical modeling. This has caused the average person to see economics and economic debates as primarily about numbers and formulas, when in reality, underneath Read more [...]