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Sep 11 2011

An inappropriate god

The Technology Student Association sounds like a good deal: it’s a nationwide organization dedicated to encouraging students to pursue careers in technology, engineering, and science.

But…they have a creed, which is a little weird. Reading it, it mainly seems to espouse respectable values, until you hit the last sentence and screech to a stop so fast your eyeballs will rattle.

I believe that Technology Education holds an important place in my life in the technical world. I believe there is a need for the development of good attitudes concerning work, tools, materials, experimentation, and processes of industry.

Guided by my teachers, artisans from industry, and my own initiative, I will strive to do my best in making my school, community, state, and nation better places in which to live.

I will accept the responsibilities that are mine. I will accept the theories that are supported by proper evidence. I will explore on my own for safer, more effective methods of working and living.

I will strive to develop a cooperative attitude and will exercise tact and respect for other individuals. Through the work of my hands and mind, I will express my ideas to the best of my ability.

I will make it my goal to do better each day the task before me, and to be steadfast in my belief in my God, and my fellow Americans.

What do gods and nationalism have to do with scientific values? Where is the proper evidence that supports that bizarre theory? It’s also odd because this is the only place in the entire website for the TSA that even mentions this god thingie. It shouldn’t be in their creed as a matter of principle, but also, if it’s important enough to make it part of a kind of oath for every member, isn’t it odd that everything else about the organization operates without a single religious reference?

43 comments

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  1. 1
    elronxenu

    All the little electrons are attracted to Jesus.

  2. 2
    Carlie

    Did anyone else hear that big record-scratching sound when they got to that last sentence?

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    God isn’t a theory. That does matter when we’re discussing IDiocy. At least they’re not contradictory.

    The bit about belief in God and Americans has a benedictory role, clearly, and I’d guess that it goes back to a time when anti-Communism seemed important. As such, well, an individual can safely ignore it, while collectively it’s anachronistic and obnoxious.

    I assume that it’s really up to the TSA to put in whatever they wish. OTOH, it would be nice if they’d open it up to anyone and everyone–you know, believing in their fellow Americans with their rights–without them having to sign such tripe.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 4
    MikeG

    It in the Nightengale pledge that nurses take, too. Seems just as inappropriate there, too.

  5. 5
    MikeG

    I forgot to mention that is’s a Victorian-age pledge, though. I guess it’s a little less jarring in the nurses’ pledge.

  6. 6
    Shinobi

    The ad that pops up on this post in my rss feeder is for “Christian Mingle.” Targeted advertisement fail.

  7. 7
    Erp

    But the roots of this organization only go back to 1958 which probably explains their creed which excludes both non-theists and non-Americans.

    BTW the Nightingale pledge is American and is named after Florence Nightingale but not created by her. Nightingale was a Christian of a rather idiosyncratic type (in another age she would have been executed as a heretic).

  8. 8
    rictusgate

    WTF does religion and nationalism have to do with science – absolutely nothing, but it doesn’t matter – the mantra of god and nation must occur as often as possible. I wonder if North Korea has a similar org with the following line – “I will endeavor to honor and uphold our dear leader’s, Kim Jong-il, teachings and the pride of North Korea.”

    Theists just shut the fuck up, pls – you all sound so stupid.

  9. 9
    Andrew T

    “I will make it my goal to do better each day the task before me, and to be steadfast in my belief in my God, and my fellow Americans humans.”

    Fixed.

  10. 10
    Ibis3, Let's burn some bridges

    Notice too that making better places to live stops at the borders of the country. No making the world a better place to live. That would be too…what? Liberal? Un-American?

  11. 11
    Dr. I. Needtob Athe

    Actually, the whole thing reeks of Boy Scouts of America.

  12. 12
    Tabby Lavalamp

    I will accept the theories that are supported by proper evidence.

    Maybe I’m reading too many blogs, because when I got to this I immediately thought it was put there by a creationist and/or climate change denialist, even though on the surface it’s perfectly reasonable.

  13. 13
    Moggie

    Erp:

    But the roots of this organization only go back to 1958 which probably explains their creed which excludes both non-theists and non-Americans.

    Yes, given the era, they may have had godless commies in mind. Trouble is, once you’ve inserted God into a document, it’s very hard to remove him again. One can imagine the creed being revised to make it more international in scope, but eliminating the mention of God? Can you imagine the shit-storm if they tried that? God sticks to a document like shit to a blanket.

    BTW the Nightingale pledge is American and is named after Florence Nightingale but not created by her. Nightingale was a Christian of a rather idiosyncratic type (in another age she would have been executed as a heretic).

    But she was such a terribly, terribly good nurse!

  14. 14
    AlanMac

    …I will accept the theories that are supported by proper evidence.

    urp Red Flag!!

  15. 15
    Allen L.

    The creed seems a bit anti-technology at the end. Perhaps adding “in Newton we trust to protects us from the ravages of Murphy’s Law” would be a bit more fitting.

  16. 16
    uncle frogy

    exactly the first thing I thought was the boy scouts.
    I think that when they wrote that “pledge” the idea was to be as mild and noncontroversial they could. their purpose is to attract young students to pursue science and technology.
    when the army puts out adds to recruit new people they don’t talk about PTSD nor traumatic head injury. We know that the more you learn about the natural world the less you are able to see “the hand of god” everywhere so they are not going to talk about it. Besides the god as referenced sounds more like the deist god of the “founding fathers” then it does the god of the christian right. they have to make it “safe” for those who do not know much about the world through science to allow their children to join?

    I think it is kind of a “tone” thing the exposure to science is the important part its just a bit of historical patriotic boiler plate

    uncle frogy

  17. 17
    madtom1999

    I’m steadfast in my belief in god – its been 0% belief for 40 years now. Cant get much more steadfast than that.

  18. 18
    contentedreader

    I’ll bet you a million dollars that the rest of the statement was written first, and then the last sentence was added under pressure from religious people. I’ll bet another million that those religious people were conservative Christians.

    So if I’m right, you each owe me two million dollars, and I don’t have to go to work on Monday and have a conversation with a parent about the degree to which “Dracula” is an anti-Christian novel.

  19. 19
    Foolish-Rain

    Why do I suspect these guys have a position that evolution is one of many theories about the origins if life on Earth? I’d love to see a list of who cites these guys in their literature…

  20. 20
    Isaac

    I will accept the theories that are supported by proper evidence.

    and to be steadfast in my belief in my God

    LOL.

  21. 21
    'Tis Himself

    I found the first sentence interesting:

    I believe that Technology Education holds an important place in my life in the technical world.

    Why are there capitals in “Technology Education”?

    For someone using, manufacturing, improving or inventing technology, an education in the subject is a definite requirement. “How do these nut and bolt thingies work? Can I use them to put a metal box together?”

  22. 22
    robro

    There are several echoes of belief-based ideology in this creed that run counter to science and technology. In fact, the notion of a “creed” itself seems more religion-based than science-based.

    And, what oh! Wikipedia says TSA has an “Official Attire” that includes a blue blazer with the TSA logo patch with the state’s name, an official tie, white shirt/blouse (changing to blue in 2013/14), light gray pants/skirt, black shoes, black socks…my god, they’re like little uniformed technology fascists.

    By the way…no one dressed that way could get a job in any of the more interesting technology companies including Apple, Google, and the zillions of start-ups full of 30-something’s around SF.

  23. 23
    Pollux

    My son has been to TSA conferences and it’s been a positive experience for him. The organization is a little odd with the dress code and the rules for some of its competitions, but my son never had to recite this oath.

    It seems to me that one of the primary purposes of TSA is to keep kids enrolling in “technology education”, which was called “shop class” when my father took it and “industrial arts” when I did. These days it’s much more high tech – kids learn how to do CAD/CAM and program robots instead of building birdhouses. If tech ed enrollments are healthy, it makes tougher to lay off tech ed teachers when budgets are squeezed.

    My question is about TSA in public schools. My son’s public school has a TSA chapter, and some Googling suggests that many other public schools do as well. Could an organization with similar religious leanings like the Boy Scouts have chapters administered by a public school, with students able to sign up for TSA competition as an elective that is run by teachers who are paid by the school?

  24. 24
    Nyarlathotep

    Five bucks says that this creed was written in the ’50s/’60s when it was just short off mandatory for people to fall over themselves to prove they weren’t commies, so they had to be conspicuously non-atheist.

  25. 25
    Lynn Wilhelm

    I’m not surprised by this because of what I’ve seen in vocational education. However the following did surprise me after learning it was God was mentioned in the TSA creed: There is no mention of God in the FFA creed.

    I was an Ag-Ed teacher for one year but didn’t get too much into FFA, which is also a good leadership organization.

    I just can’t believe that the TSA, which is much younger than FFA, would have it in their creed and FFA would not. There were plenty of god references among FFA activities and meetings. The Ag industry is generally quite conservative, expecially here in the southern US. I really didn’t fit in that Ag-Ed world and am now heading into science education.

  26. 26
    Lynn Wilhelm

    Sorry about the bad editing. Should preview.

    One more thing about the clothes. I’m quite sure that TSA’s (originally AIASA) structure was influenced by those of the FFA which was well established by the time the AIASA formed in 1958. The awful clothing rules are only really different in color. During my AG Ed education I met students who claimed they “bled blue and gold” (the FFA colors). FFA is very influential with the kids.

  27. 27
    peterh

    I’m with #18; the creed smacks of accommodationism.

  28. 28
    McCthulhu

    I’m wondering if it was tossed on to the end like that throwaway line from the Pledge of my wooden furniture, er, I mean Allegiance. They didn’t realize that completionists would actually reach the end of the thing and catch them in their syrup-tish-us bible-thumping.

  29. 29
    theophontes, feu d'artifice du cosmopolitisme

    Such an incongruent goddist clause seems very much like a case of culture jamming to me. The caustic meme is tacked onto the end of the screed by some accomodationist/goddist and so gets a free pass to getting circulated amongst scientists en puissance.

    I have often pondered ways this trick could be used against the religious ilk. Changing a few words or turns of phrase in the babble or co-ran could cause some serious jamming of their agenda. Sadly,even if executed only as a practical joke, such an initiative would likely lead to all manner of violence and murder somewhere down the line.

  30. 30
    theophontes, feu d'artifice du cosmopolitisme

    @ contentedreader

    the degree to which “Dracula” is an anti-Christian novel.

    All of non-fiction and all good fiction is anti-Christian.

    (I am sure you will have fun. ;)

  31. 31
    Samantha Vimes, Chalkboard Monitor

    Dracula anti-Christian?

    Holy wafers aren’t just crackers in that novel. They can be used to identify the vampiric taint in a still living human, and to keep the vampires themselves from close approach. The soul lives on after death, redemption is possible even for those who appear to be beyond salvation (the vampires, freed by true death, have a look of peace on release from the curse).

    In what way is a story where Christianity actually *works*– prayers, magic crackers, and crucifixes are useful– anti-Christian?

    I know. The complainers are Protestant, and Catholicism isn’t real Christianity.

  32. 32
    sparrow

    I’m an active volunteer in an alternate organization promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in K-12 schools. It’s called FIRST (www.usfirst.org). As far as I know, they have nothing even remotely similar.

    I have seen TSA up close and did not like what I saw. I know of one student whose project was disqualified at the state competition because he was seen without socks at the convention competition. I found too many of their rules to have nothing to do with technology education. To be fair though, I had no inkling this was in their creed, nor did I ever hear anything religious come out of the few of their meetings or events I witnessed.

  33. 33
    Robert Locke

    I was a member of this when I was in Jr High. I come in second place building a bridge out of balsa wood. Don’t think I, or anybody in the group, ever read the creed. I just knew it got me out of class for 2 days. Oh and my group did completely sing “99 bottles of beer on the wall” in-between events.

  34. 34
    drbunsen, le savant fous

    I believe in Americans. I’ve even met some.

  35. 35
    JJ

    By the way…no one dressed that way could get a job in any of the more interesting technology companies including Apple, Google, and the zillions of start-ups full of 30-something’s around SF.

    Bingo! I’ve held multiple IT jobs, in the greater bay area. First day/interview I always show up with my tie on, and get hassled. The only times I wasn’t was when I worked for a contractor, which required a tie when working in an office during business hours.

    My current job, if you aren’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt, you are way out of place. Granted we aren’t a tech firm (we’re manufacturing)

  36. 36
    JJ

    blockquote fail

  37. 37
    Erülóra Maikalambe

    I declined an opportunity to join the Order of the Engineer because I could not in good conscience take an oath that says “in humility and with the need for Divine guidance”. Now, apparently that part of the oath is optional, but they never mentioned that to me when I told them why I was not participating. Oh well. Not like I lost much there.

  38. 38
    contentedreader

    In what way is a story where Christianity actually *works*– prayers, magic crackers, and crucifixes are useful– anti-Christian?

    I know, right? I think she only read a few pages of chapter two, and went straight to vampires = Satan. Since the parent didn’t contact me today, I made sure, in our discussion of the book today, to discuss the religious underpinnings of the book as a significant theme. Also modernism vs traditionalism.

    One of the kids said, “Well, Christianity is a religion of fear, so it makes sense that a scary book like this would have Christianity as an important theme,” and then supported her answer with specific details. Bless her little heart.

  39. 39
    drbunsen, le savant fous

    Awwww. May she be eaten first :)

  40. 40
    Imani

    I was a chapter president in a public school back in high school, attended 2 state conferences (in Kansas!), and a national conference (Orlando). It’s safe to say I was pretty active in the organization. I didn’t even know they had a creed and nobody took any oaths. The whole thing was about doing fun, interesting stuff with technology. The uniform was a little weird, but the school chapter provided the jackets and we just recycled students through them, so all we had to do was wear grey pants and a white shirt. (I wasn’t about to wear a skirt and no one made me.) I don’t know what the circumstances were when that bit was written, but it’s safe to say that at least in my time (10 years ago), it was very safely ignored.

  41. 41
    natefoo

    x2 everything said by Imani @40. I was also a chapter president, competed nationally, etc. There was not a single bit of religion in TSA at any level at which I was involved. I also had no idea there was even a creed. TSA doesn’t so much deal with science as it does with vocational programs in technology (drafting, CADD, automated control design, video production, etc.) but I certainly never experienced anything that approached anti-science.

    To the guy asking about “Technology Education”, that’s the school system terminology for curriculum on the above topics (CADD, 3D modeling, etc.)

  42. 42
    monika

    The Australian Institute of engineers code of ethics includes the requirement that no engineer will ever offer professional advice in a field outside their qualification.

    I think all science and technology oaths should include this demand.

    Maybe they can replace the last bit with it…

  43. 43
    Pollux

    With the commas placed the way they are, is someone taking this oath pledging to “do” his fellow Americans each day?

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