Sunday, December 11, 2011

Academic Bullying

Dr. James McGrath's blog post against young-earth creationists provides a perfect example of academic bullying. It's tough to discern his fundamental argument against AIG in the midst of his angry tirade. But Dr. McGrath tips his hand halfway through the post when he derides AIG for claiming "to take Genesis 1 literally in a manner that is not selective."
According to his arguments in the third from last paragraph, the Bible cannot be trusted. And in a more recent post, McGrath implores us not to believe the Bible alone but the evidence of it. In spite of Dr. McGrath's position at Butler University, he doesn't believe everything in the Bible can be taken literally! As I understand him, Dr. McGrath would rather have us believe the scientific evidence instead of sola scriptura.
Forget parallel days or domes, Dr. McGrath is really arguing against a literal interpretation of scripture. I wonder how many students would have recognized the real debate within the bravado? I also find it interesting that he links to an article that references an AIG post rather than the original source. Aren't students expected to cite primary sources? But then again, if we destroy the credibility of Scripture, we erode the foundation of all Truth. That opens the door to a selective belief system where each person determines the primacy of their sources, but I digress.
Hidden behind the high tech blogging , hyperlinks and comments, it all seems like schoolyard bullying: "oh yeah, well PROVE it!" Why do we have to prove the Bible? Just believe it. If we don't agree let's discuss it, but why attack my belief in a young-earth creation? Bullying is uncalled for and unnecessary, at every academic level. As teachers, we are examples to our students. I fear that Dr. McGrath's comments provide the evidence students need to justify a no-holds-barred bullying attitude instead of an academic pursuit of Truth. It is easier to agree with someone who throws taunts and ridicule rather than searching out answers through academic inquiry.