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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics

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 [...]
Categories: Academic Topics