Archives for posts with tag: college

“The technique for dealing with men whose opinions are disliked by certain groups of powerful individuals has been well perfected, and is a great danger to ordered progress. If the man concerned is still young and comparatively obscure, his official superiors may be induced to accuse him of professional incompetence, and he may be quietly dropped. With older men who are too well known for this method to be successful, public hostility is stirred up by means of misrepresentation. The majority of teachers naturally do not care to expose themselves to these risks, and avoid giving public expression of their less orthodox opinions. This is a dangerous state of affairs, by which disinterested intelligence is partially muzzled, and the forces of conservatism and obscurantism persuade themselves that they can remain triumphant.”

– Bertrand Russell, Freedom and the Colleges

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I love my students, and more so for their mistakes! And this one I particularly like. I am currently grading first year final exams, and the subject is Philosophy of Science.

One of the questions they could choose to answer was:

“Do you think there is an inevitable conflict between faith and science? Discuss critically with reference to the theory of evolution.”

Considering the cultural background of most of our students (the breeding ground for prejudice and fundamentalisms – remote and culturally isolated small towns) this question is a friggin nightmare to grade.

And then Mr. Hildebrandt made the mistake of writing “Revolution Theory” instead of Evolution Theory in his introduction.

I wish I made mistakes like that…


While grading the first year papers I came across the strangest student mistake. I’ve posted about other silly student mistakes but surely this one takes the prize! On a question about the meaning of life this student wrote:

“Man could be… seen as the evolving, an image ‘Darwin’,, but evolving psychically a precursor to the charting.”

I have no idea what it means… do you?

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