On last week’s episode of “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Maher ended the show by launching a diatribe against Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Liberty University, the Christian liberal arts university, at which Romney delivered a commencement speech earlier this month.
In Maher’s remarks (video above), the commentator repeatedly states that Liberty isn’t a “real” college.
But again, not really a college. Because Liberty teaches creation science. In fact, they have an actual Center for Creation Studies…And they teach that the Earth is 5,000 years old, and dinosaur fossils washed up in Noah’s flood. This is a school you flunk out of when you get the answers right.
Now, I would say we should take away their accreditation, but it’s a private college, and they can teach whatever they want. But at the very least, diplomas from Liberty should come with a huge asterisk next to your name. And at the bottom, it should say, “This institution teaches superstitious nonsense. Hire at your own risk.” Conservatives often say that gay marriage cheapens their marriage. Well, I think a diploma from Liberty cheapens my degree from a real school.
While the university does have a theological base to their teaching, Liberty is absolutely a “real college.” Liberty is an accredited university. A Liberty student can transfer to another school, and that school can accept credits from Liberty. A Liberty graduate can take his or her degree, and use it to go to a different institution for graduate school. Liberty has a law school which produces real lawyers.
Just because the university teaches certain things which are Biblical does not mean that everything every student learns while at Liberty is nullified. I find Maher’s thinking to be anti-intellectual. Just because the university generally leans towards Creationism, it does not mean that all students at the university believe in a young earth.
I am a Christian. I believe that the universe is billions of years old, and so do most of my friends (as well as literally every contemporary scholar for whom I have any respect). I think that the evidence to an old universe is overwhelming. That being said, I only believe that the universe is old. I don’t factually know it. Don’t get me wrong, I think we can have great certainty of this, but there is still at least a small possibility that we’re wrong. I do know people who believe in a young universe, and guess what, some of them are smart!
I think a major fallacy we make with the things we believe is this: we believe something that seems obvious, and for someone who doesn’t believe exactly like we do, we think it has to be because the person lacks intelligence. And that is not always the case. What do you believe about politics? Or Religion? Or global warming? Whatever the topic is, there are going to be people brilliant people who believe the opposite of you.
I might disagree with a person over the age of the earth, but if a man went to Liberty and he’s a brilliant financial advisor, what difference does it make what he thinks about science?
Also, for college students who do believe in creationism, keep in mind that they’re surely not unaware that there are other theories. It’s not like they live in an intellectual vacuum where they’re oblivious to other ways of thinking. They know that they believe in something with which most of the rest of the western world disagrees.
As another example, there are many things which Mormons believe which I find to be utterly ridiculous. The idea that God was a man, the idea that Jesus came to America, the entire theological foundation for their church even existing, etc. And I am sure that there are things which students at Brigham Young University are taught which I would find to be laughable.
But in other areas within that university, they have departments which are academic, scholarly, and respected nationally and internationally.
And we must also take this sentiment against religious institutions with a grain of salt. It’s not like state and non-religious institutions are these completely pure bastions of objective truth and intellectualism.
When I was a college student at a state university, I was taught some things which were absolutely ridiculous.
In women’s studies, the professor took it as a given that there were no actual differences between men and women. The assumption of gender differences being a matter of cultural rearing was a premise on which her entire philosophy was built.
In an African culture class, I was taught that the great philosophers like Plato had traveled to Africa, and that the philosophers had borrowed their views based off of what they learned from groups in places like Ethiopia.
Yeah. I was really taught that. And no. There’s absolutely no historical evidence to back that up. Basically, “scholars” work from the assumption that it’s possible that someone like Plato went to Africa and learned from the Africans, but then they teach this hypothesis as though it is reality.
Then you have some professors who seem to be more focused on speaking against capitalism, wealth, and white men that it can greatly reduce any educational value in the course.
My point is that there are university’s who teach things I might not agree with. But to act like Liberty is less legitimate and act like other schools are necessarily these Greek Lyceum’s of only focusing on absolutely objective reality all the time is simply not the case.
Maher on similarities between Mormons and Muslims