That anti-intellectual Santorum


Rick Santorum really hates universities.

On the president’s efforts to boost college attendance, Santorum said, "I understand why Barack Obama wants to send every kid to college, because of their indoctrination mills, absolutely … The indoctrination that is going on at the university level is a harm to our country."

He claimed that "62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it," but declined to cite a source for the figure. And he floated the idea of requiring universities that receive public funds have "intellectual diversity" on campus.

Universities are places where one goes to experience diversity and learn about reality, so we already have opportunities to experience "intellectual diversity" — the problem is that they are places where diverse views are questioned and criticized. What he wants is not diversity, but that his fundamentalist/evangelical Christian views can be presented in a protected environment on campus, where they won’t wither under the scathing light of reality-based scrutiny.

Oh, and I don’t know where his 62% figure came from specifically, but it’s in the ballpark of numbers often thrown around by conservative Christians. It’s total nonsense. 62% of our students don’t graduate as atheists (I wish!); what it means is that large numbers of students come to the university and change their minds. They arrive with a very narrow, very specific version of evangelical Christianity which the antique purists insist they must hang on to, or go to hell…and they leave, usually still entirely Christian and even mostly church-going Christian, but they tend to soften and have more inclusive, liberal views. That constitutes apostasy to these culture warriors like Santorum.

Ken Ham is big on beating his breast over all the defections from literalist Christianity that go on in the colleges. He’s even got a book on it called Already Gone in which he blames it all on “millions of years” and the abandonment of a strict interpretation of Genesis.

(By the way, you can tell an evangelical Christian has a book when they plug it by telling you you can order them in “cartons of 48″.)

Comments

  1. says

    Can’t we have universities without the learning? Kids have been carefully propagandized and taught distortions, and then they have to, for instance, learn what science really is at university?

    The tree of knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    Glen Davidson

  2. Matt Penfold says

    We don’t have a problem with people complaining universities are turning people in atheists here in the UK, but we do have a problem with some in the Conservative party wanting to ensure that they can buy their kids a place at a top university.

    The Government recently appointed Les Ebdon (who I knew years ago) to oversee university access, and one of the policies he is keen to implement to have the economic and social backgrounds of students taken into account when making offers of places. For example, a student who is from a poor family and attending a school that does not have a great record of academic achievement will be offered a place contingent on lower grades than a student from a rich background who went to a top fee-paying school.

    Some Tory MPs are outraged about this, since it mean they have been wasting their money providing their spawn with an expensive education.

  3. raven says

    Rick Santorum has a long and ever growing list of hates:

    Anti-woman

    Anti-birth control

    Anti-nonprocreative sex

    Anti-science, creationist, global warming denier

    Anti-amniocentesis

    Anti-poor people

    Anti-abortion

    Anti-education

    Anti-universities

    Anti-gambling

    Anti-Democrat

    Anti-Mainline Protestant

    Anti-nonXian

    Anti-Right to privacy

    Anti-something else. I’m sure I’m leaving some out. So many things to hate and fear, it’s hard to remember them all.

    If you add them up, it comes to most of the American people. Now why is anyone who isn’t a rich, old, white male fundie Catholic or Protestant going to vote for him?

    The guy is a broken human and warped mind straight out of the Dark Ages.

  4. says

    He claimed that “62 percent of kids who go into college with a faith commitment leave without it,” but declined to cite a source for the figure. And he floated the idea of requiring universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

    Yes we should be diverse and let people who are wrong teach.

  5. frankb says

    A high school student is living at home, going to church every Sunday with his/her parents. Then he/she moves out to attend college. Being away from the parents and the church and surrounded by new people, her/his habits and priorities change. No indoctrinations, no conspiracies. It is called “growing up”.

  6. raven says

    Oh, and I don’t know where his 62% figure came from specifically, but it’s in the ballpark of numbers often thrown around by conservative Christians.

    Nonsense. It is perfectly clear where that 62% came from.

    87.5% of all statistics are just made up. LOL.

    Fundies always lie, count on it.

  7. devnll says

    …which is such a strange attitude for a man who:

    1) Spent all but one year of his high school education in public schools.
    2) Got his BA from a public university (Penn State).
    3) Got his MBA from a public university (U of Pittsburgh).
    4) Got his law degree from a public univeristy (Penn State).

    Smacks a bit of “I got mine; why should I help anyone else catch up”…

  8. raven says

    Studies show, summary of 46 studies or so, that nonreligion is correlated with education and intelligence.

    So Santorum might have a point. Correlation doesn’t prove causation but education might well be the enemy of religion.

    So does intelligence. Not sure what he wants to do about that. Give everyone with an IQ over 100 a lobotomy or some other form of brain damage. There are a lot of neurotoxins known, I’m sure they could work up a drug based procedure.

    I don’t want to live in Rick Santorums wacky Dark Age world. I don’t think he wants me to either. Now why is anyone voting for this guy?

  9. davidct says

    Where did Santorum go to school? Where ever it was he missed out on any appreciation for learning. What a waste.

  10. says

    Glen, we do have “universities” without learning. Well, maybe. This is entirely anecdotal. When I went to college, above all else the key point taught was critical thinking. Whether you were a science major or liberal arts, you were taught how to evaluate and analyze ideas and arguments. I went to several junior colleges around the country (I was in the military, and I kept moving around) and one university, and it was fairly universal: critical thinking is taught everywhere.

    I have two friends who both earned their degrees from accredited online universities. Their degrees are legitimate. Neither one of them had critical thinking skills taught as part of the coursework. They just learned the material directly related to their major, took the exams, and got their B.A. And when I get into debates/arguments with them, they both seem to be very adept at ignoring evidence that’s counter to their beliefs. I often forget that both of these individuals have bachelor degrees, because they don’t display the level of insight I’m used to seeing from educated individuals.

  11. Brownian says

    And he floated the idea of requiring universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

    You mean that you want to take the places that are already full of international students with customs and ideas from all over the world, and impose your bullshit cracker honky Evangelical Christianity, you dog-whistling piece of garbage.

  12. raven says

    Glen, we do have “universities” without learning.

    The bible colleges.

    They seem to exist to:

    1. Carefully make sure the students don’t learn anything contrary to the religion or gain cognitive skills.

    2. Enforce endogamy, making sure the kids meet and marry someone from their tribe.

    To be sure, the better religious based universities aren’t all like Liberty U. or the countless bible colleges scattered around the USA.

  13. John Kruger says

    He’s even got a book on it called Already Gone in which he blames it all on “millions of years” and the abandonment of a strict interpretation of Genesis.

    Umm, isn’t Ken Ham a young earth creationist? Or do I have my cranks confused?

  14. raven says

    And he floated the idea of requiring universities that receive public funds have “intellectual diversity” on campus.

    Well, Santorum is correct here. Universities do discriminate against the ignorant and dumb. They are in fact, considered the antidote and fix for such.

    Maybe they could set up a young adult day care center for the fundie Catholics and Protestants. They could do simple puzzles, read their bibles, and watch Fox news all day for 4 years. Leading to a degree in moron studies or some such.

  15. John Kruger says

    Oh, the supposedly bad idea of “millions of years”. I get it now. Hence the scare quotes.

  16. says

    You know most Catholic professors who are devout would disagree with Santorum on many many issues of both reality and theology.

    Santorum is the guy who shows up on Superbowl game with a jersey he bought on the way over

  17. sapphire says

    According to Aussie Ken and Already Gone, the kids lose their fundamentalism through Sunday school because they see Noah’s Ark and all the cartoon animals.
    The title refers to the fact that they’re in church in body but not in mind – before they finish high school.
    Ken’s answer? Teach ‘em six day creationism and a real worldwide flood in a universe 6000ish years old.

  18. amstrad says

    Santorum is serving the Republican Party just fine. What he is doing is making Romney looks reasonable and liberal on the lead up to Romney’s nomination and the general election.

    This is of course a better outcome for the Republican part candidates electability in the general election than if it is the crazy super right-winger has the popular support of the party leading up to the RNC.

  19. says

    When asked about the ever increasing percentage of women in the higher education, Santorum replied, “I’m not sure if we need all those home economics majors. Does it really take four years to learn how to make a sandwich?” (This statement was not meant to be factual.)

    The Elasmotherium of Conquest

  20. wbenson says

    Remember:
    1.”Santorum worked with the Discovery Institute’s program director Phillip E. Johnson in 2000 and 2001 drafting the pro-intelligent design Santorum Amendment and in March 2006 wrote the foreword for the book, Darwin’s Nemesis: Phillip Johnson And the Intelligent Design Movement a collection of essays largely by Discovery Institute fellows honoring Johnson as “father” of the intelligent design movement.” [Wikipedia — “Sternberg peer review controversy”]
    2. At a 2008 talk to students at Ave Maria University [posted at Rightwing Watch], Santorum declares that Satan “attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions. The place where he was, in my mind, the most successful and first successful was in academia. He understood pride of smart people. He attacked them at their weakest, that they were, in fact, smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different. Pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart. And so academia, a long time ago, fell. And you say “what could be the impact of academia falling?” Well, I would have the argument that the other structures that I’m going to talk about here had root of their destruction because of academia. Because what academia does is educate the elites in our society, educates the leaders in our society, particularly at the college level. And they were the first to fall. And so what we saw this domino effect, once the colleges fell and those who were being education in our institutions, the next was the [mainline Protectant] church[s].”
    There you have it folks. The Universities and moderate Chruches are in the hands of Satan. Sounds serious.

  21. Moggie says

    In the same interview, he frothed:

    A champion of home-schooling, Santorum also expanded on his vision of dramatically reduced involvement in public education by both the states and the federal government, although he was more exact about eliminating the present system than his plan for replacing it. He said, “Education should be the parental responsibility and the local community should be the one to be working with the parents to make sure that children get the best educational in environment for each child in America. The federal government needs to get out of education. The state government by and large needs to get out of education, other than making sure there are sufficient resources, particularly in poorer neighborhoods, to be able to help (have) some sort of equality of education in America … to have the resources to have the best customized education.”

    So, the government should get out of education… except where it should meddle more. At the level at which education is widely seen to be failing, it should be helped to fail more, by giving more control to uneducated ideologues, while at the level at which it’s working better, it needs to be damaged by imposing some sort of wingnut welfare scheme.

  22. gravityisjustatheory says

    raven says:
    24 February 2012 at 10:04 am

    Rick Santorum has a long and ever growing list of hates:

    Anti-woman

    Anti-birth control

    Anti-nonprocreative sex

    Anti-science, creationist, global warming denier

    Anti-amniocentesis

    Anti-poor people

    Anti-abortion

    Anti-education

    Anti-universities

    Anti-gambling

    Anti-Democrat

    Anti-Mainline Protestant

    Anti-nonXian

    Anti-Right to privacy

    Anti-something else. I’m sure I’m leaving some out. So many things to hate and fear, it’s hard to remember them all.

    Anti-the environment / the Earth.

    If you add them up, it comes to most of the American people. Now why is anyone who isn’t a rich, old, white male fundie Catholic or Protestant going to vote for him?

    The guy is a broken human and warped mind straight out of the Dark Ages.

    Fixed for you. And there’s a term for that: Hostis humani generis
    – “enemy of the human race”.

    (OK, stricly speaking he doesn’t meet the true legal definition of the term, but I think it’s an appropriate description in any case).

  23. Larry says

    Outside of jebus and the gub’mit meddling in women’s private parts and in the bedroom, is there anything Mr. Frothy doesn’t hate?

  24. christophburschka says

    What does he think “intellectual diversity” means? Equal weight given to creationism, anti-science, homeopathy, crackpots, etc.?

    I’d like to believe his unsourced 62% figure, because it sounds nice. Education working as it is supposed to.

  25. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

    is there anything Mr. Frothy doesn’t hate?

    Vanilla Ice Cream and rice puff crackers.

    Though sometimes the vanilla is too much for him.

  26. christophburschka says

    If you add them up, it comes to most of the American people. Now why is anyone who isn’t a rich, old, white male fundie Catholic or Protestant going to vote for him?

    I think the conservative movement has forgotten that every person can only vote once, no matter how loud he is or how strong his convictions. They have successfully replaced a broad base with a fringe that gains in insanity what it loses in numbers. If this trend continues, they will go through a schism or lose relevance.

  27. says

    I think the conservative movement has forgotten that every person can only vote once, no matter how loud he is or how strong his convictions.

    Not so! Scalia got to vote for president twice. The second time counted a lot more

  28. quoderatdemonstrandum says

    We Are Ing @ 35

    Not so! Scalia got to vote for president twice. The second time counted a lot more

    Bravo Ing, Well said. I’m still amazed more people aren’t more angry about that hideously corrupt abuse of power.

  29. says

    Despite his recent surge, I don’t Mr. Frothy mix of fecal matter and lube will win the nomination. Why? He’s a religious wild card the corporate oligarchy can’t control. They generally don’t care much about cultural issues, but in his case, if they feel Santorum can’t be made a corporate toady, they’ll throw their support behind Romney.

  30. raven says

    They generally don’t care much about cultural issues, but in his case, if they feel Santorum can’t be made a corporate toady,

    Ummm, Santorum is the corporate toad’s toad.

    IIRC, that is why he lost his senate reelection during the Bush administration.

    The K street project. I didn’t pay much attention, spending most of my time back then hiding in the closet or under the bed but IIRC, he set up a one stop buy your senator station. Basically, anything the corporations wanted, he got for them.

    Someone else who was paying more attention back then can correct me if I got it wrong.

  31. consciousness razor says

    (By the way, you can tell an evangelical Christian has a book when they plug it by telling you you can order them in “cartons of 48″.)

    That doesn’t sound right. I’ve only ever seen them wrapped for sale in plastic, not a carton. And I guess if you get a 24-pack of double-rolls, you could put it that way; but it still seems misleading to me — what if I needed 48 individual rolls to stock all the bathrooms in my mansion?

  32. grumpyoldfart says

    Here’s how it works:

    The preacher writes a book and sells the whole print run to the church.

    Often the church can’t move the books and they finish up being given away as free gifts to new converts.

    But that doesn’t worry the preacher – because he’s already been paid in full, with cold, hard cash, that came directly from the collection plates.

    These book selling scams are designed to give the preacher a legal way to skim church tithes into his own pocket.

    I wonder how Ken Ham’s system works?

  33. Part-Time Insomniac, Zombie Porcupine Nox Arcana Fan says

    Keep ‘em stupid and religious. That’s Santorum’s view, which is shared by far too many other people. Fuck them all, and I hope they someday realize that they wasted their lives over nothing (a part of me hopes this happens when they are on their deathbeds, but that’s a bit harsher than I would want.)

  34. frog says

    I am weary of Mr. Frothy. I’m sick of people taking this horrible creature seriously. The entertainment of watching Republicans rip each other apart has gone stale for me.

    I would regain my enthusiasm if Mr. Frothy were caught in flagrante delicto with a consenting, adult person, as long as s/he wasn’t his wife. (Bonus if a man, but fine scandal would ensue even if a woman.)

  35. frog says

    More on-topic…

    I wouldn’t mind leaving the anti-intellectuals to themselves, as long as we could pen ‘em up behind a wall somewhere, and have a robust underground railroad to smuggle out children and smuggle in contraband science textbooks.

  36. Gregory Greenwood says

    Santorum’s claim that universities indoctrinate students into atheism has no more connection to reality than his claim that the constituency of heterosexuals who have sex for pleasure is very small – it may be true in his disturbing, medieval headspace, but te real world would beg to differ.

    As Raven says @ 4, Santorum irrationally hates so many things that it can sometimes be difficult to remember them all.

  37. sc_c408e3b818e5fbf342058a2552e37187 says

    Rick does not strike me as the smartest guy.

    Then there’s this study saying conservatives and those with racist tendencies have lower IQs: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/27/intelligence-study-links-prejudice_n_1237796.html

    I am very interested in brain development as a scientist (see for example: http://www.ipscell.com/2012/02/stem-cells-on-the-brain and this http://www.ipscell.com/2012/02/why-is-the-human-brain-super-sized/).

    PZ, I wonder if atheists versus “believers” have different brain architecture or function? Different IQs?

    Agnostics could serve as a control.

    Any data already out there?

    Paul

  38. d cwilson says

    Santorum is serving the Republican Party just fine. What he is doing is making Romney looks reasonable and liberal on the lead up to Romney’s nomination and the general election.

    If that was the plan, and I don’t buy that Santorum’s ego would let him play the clown just to help Romney, it’s backfiring horribly. Not only has Romney lost his status as the frontrunner, but he’s been struggling to get to the right of whomever the current leading “not Mitt” happens to be at any given. So, instead of making him look reasonable and liberal, he’s had to convince people that he’s a “severe conservative”.

  39. randyc says

    Santorum is not necessarily saying that 62% of college students leave as atheists. He says that 62% of those who enter college with a “faith commitment” lose that commitment in college.

    I have no idea what a “faith commitment” is. Maybe it means wishing to become a minister or priest and 62% of the students entering college with that as their professional goal change their mind when they learn about other professions that actually benefit society.

  40. demonax says

    I hope he isn’t the guy Mencken predicted-but he has the necessary-

    “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

  41. amstrad says

    @48 d cwilson

    I didn’t mean that Santorum was a willing participant in this game. I have no doubt that he truely believe he is 1) electable and 2) good for this nation.

    Sure Mitt is having to “prove” he is conservative in debates and interviews, but the attack ads from Santorum and Gingrich labeling him as a bleeding liberal and friend of “Obama-care” cannot hurt his chances with swing voters in November.

  42. truthspeaker says

    frankb says:
    24 February 2012 at 10:06 am

    A high school student is living at home, going to church every Sunday with his/her parents. Then he/she moves out to attend college. Being away from the parents and the church and surrounded by new people, her/his habits and priorities change. No indoctrinations, no conspiracies. It is called “growing up”.

    And as President, I will end this practice!

  43. d cwilson says

    Sure Mitt is having to “prove” he is conservative in debates and interviews, but the attack ads from Santorum and Gingrich labeling him as a bleeding liberal and friend of “Obama-care” cannot hurt his chances with swing voters in November.

    But they are killing him in the primary, thus undermining his chances of even getting the nomination.

  44. truthspeaker says

    quoderatdemonstrandum says:
    24 February 2012 at 11:46 am

    We Are Ing @ 35

    Not so! Scalia got to vote for president twice. The second time counted a lot more

    Bravo Ing, Well said. I’m still amazed more people aren’t more angry about that hideously corrupt abuse of power.

    To get angry about it would be to acknowledge that the system doesn’t always work, and most Americans hate to do that. We’re supposed to pretend that the system works and that, overall, wise, well-intentioned people are in charge.

  45. petejohn says

    If you already have a Bible, why bother going to college anyway? Doesn’t it say everything a good Christian needs to know, like why it’s necessary to snip off the foreskin of the penis and that it’s a sin to boil a baby goat in its mother’s milk?

    Funny how the religious right turds seem completely certain that universities are places where kids are indoctrinated. Funny, ‘cuz ain’t that what those folks are trying to do with their own kids? Repeat the same dogma until the kids are incapable of saying something else and avoid burning in hell?

  46. petejohn says

    He attacked them at their weakest, that they were, in fact, smarter than everybody else and could come up with something new and different. Pursue new truths, deny the existence of truth, play with it because they’re smart.

    I love how he says that like it’s a bad thing. I mean, I realize he’s referring to the devil attacking smart people at their weakest, but it’s still hilarious to think he actually believes coming up new and different things and pursuing new truths is a bad thing. I guess it is from his point of view, which I think says all anyone needs to know about Santorum and his useless point of view.

  47. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart: mad, but sadistic genius says

    petejohn:

    … but it’s still hilarious to think he actually believes coming up new and different things and pursuing new truths is a bad thing.

    I don’t believe this for a second.

    Frothy uses a computer, a smart phone, a teevee. He has access to advanced medical care. He drives a car, sits in airplanes, and probably has eaten a frozen dinner at least once in his life. No, not all of these things were created/popularized by college grads, but you can bet your sweet ass that they’re being perfected by people who hold *gasp!* degrees from *gasp!* those evil evil universities.

    If he wants to reject everything that higher education has provided for us, that’s his fucking prerogative, but he needs to go hermit out the rest of his life in some dank, bat-infested cave and leave the rest of us the hell alone.

  48. jnorris says

    frankb in #6 is right.

    Also note that if the kid’s Christian beliefs cannot withstand four years of university and intellectual scrutiny then those beliefs must have been very weak to begin with. When faith fails in university, blame the parents.

  49. chuckonpiggott says

    If 62% of kids who enter with a ‘faith commitment” lose it at college shouldn’t that be called undoctrination?

  50. says

    There is definately indoctrination at colleges, just of a different sort. The class of people who complete non-technical college degrees tend to be the managers of society. They typically do the hard work involved in social institutions that obey the will of a minority to the detriment of the majority (schools, courts, corporations, prisons, etc). If the college educated class rebelled the leaders of society would be truly fucked, so a lot of effort has been put towards preventing that. The FBI sent people into classrooms in the 60’s as part of COINTELPRO for a reason, what college educated people end up doing matters to the actual decision makers. The ridiculousness of colleges, how much stupid bullshit you have to put up with to get anywhere, serves the function of weeding out people who aren’t going to willingly accept a bunch of hogwash from authority figures. Not only that, but colleges, especially ivy league schools, tell students over and over again that they are “the best” and thats why they are in college. Everyone else must be not the best then, and aren’t suited to do Big Important Things as a result. It is a leading principle of authoritarianism; people who feel the effect of decisions the most are too stupid to positively affect decision making, and mus thave it done for them by their betters.

    Every year after 6th grade or so, schools pushed so hard to get me to decide what I would do in college, what I would major in, what degree I would shoot for, with no alternatives presented at all and lack of college presented as something only losers consider, as though there isn’t a way to learn or earn decent money outside of going to college. Every kid had to make posters and take tests and such to determine their plan, as if anyone that age knows what they are doing. It seems difficult to believe that conditioning of that nature, which begins in elementary school now, doesn’t make a difference in the world. It is exactly the kind of difference that cannot be discussed in the mainstream media, instead debate is kept within safe bounds by wondering aloud if colleges that pump out countless wall street attendants and corporate lawyers are “too liberal”. pfft. dudes like santorum must have the most dismal opinion of their voters, they must laugh at them in private, at the shit they get away with saying.

  51. robinjohnson says

    Only the Republicans could brag about the fact that educated people tend to disagree with them as if it’s a point in support of their position.

  52. madknitter says

    At RAVEN, #4:

    He is also anti-gay, and anti-marriage equality. And anti-trans, too.

    The Boston Globe published an op-ed piece by Scott Lehigh yesterday (2/24/12) about Santorum. Seems he wants to be Pastor in Chief.

    He scares the crap out of me.

  53. carbonbasedlifeform says

    I hope he isn’t the guy Mencken predicted-but he has the necessary- “As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.”

    You are obviously forgetting George W Bush.

  54. Ogvorbis: Now With 98% Less Intellectual Curiousity! says

    Not sure if anyone has noticed, but this has been a major part of modern conservatism for quite a while. Though I don’t think anti-inellectualism was the initial impetus for the idea. Rather, defunding public universities is a very effective way to transfer costs from the entire population and dump it on the middle class in the form of much, much higher tuition. This means less competition for the children of the wealthy.

    That said, holy shit! it embarrasses me that this idiot used to represent me in the Senate.

  55. Pierce R. Butler says

    … these culture warriors like Santorum.

    But, but, he said:

    This is not a political war at all. This is not a cultural war at all. This is a spiritual war…

  56. scifi says

    If Santorum could get his way, all women would be barefoot and pregnant and forced to give birth to unwanted babies even those from a rapist. He expressed that President Kennedy’s statement that religious beliefs should be left at home and not included in politics, i.e., separation of Church and State made him want to throw up. Funny, his and the right wing Republican and religious groups attempt to remove separation of church and state make me want to throw up. Our forefathers knew what they were doing when they included it in the 2nd amendment.

  57. StevoR says

    Rick Santorum = Every Child Left Behind!
    – Shamelessly stolen from tonights / last nights (just seen but late night / early morn here in Oz Letterman show & quoted for truth.