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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Point counter point: Who should bend their beliefs in accommodation? (Fullmer)

The ultimate goal of any student should be the pursuit of truth, and this pursuit of truth inherently requires a bit of flexibility. Indeed, where would we be if Copernicus had never considered that the Earth orbited around the sun?

Every student has a duty to open his or her mind to the many theories the universe offers, hold each in his or her hand, and carefully ponder what is truth and what is fiction.

The old saying, “It’s free to listen to advice, but bad advice can be costly,” should be every student’s credo.

It’s the duty of students to objectively listen to each idea presented to them with as little bias as possible and use logic, rationality and faith to decide what is right. I say faith because spiritual concerns are of utmost importance.

I realize many of the students on campus are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and many of the males served LDS missions. While on their missions, they asked people of other beliefs to consider their faiths and decide what is right.

This sort of consideration goes both ways; one cannot rationally expect somebody else to reconsider their beliefs if you do not reconsider yours.

Consider John Stuart Mill, a leader of the democratic movement in 19th century Europe. He wrote, “Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom…nothing was ever yet done which some one was not the first to do, and that all good things which exist are the fruits of originality, let them be modest enough to believe there is something still left for it to accomplish, and assure themselves that they are in more need of originality, the less they are conscious of the want.”

This entails not only an openness of professors to the ideas of their students, but also more importantly, an openness of the students to their professors’ varying ideas.

It may be easier for a single professor to accommodate a class of students than it would be for a group of students to accommodate a professor and at the face of it this is seemingly common sense, but it is inaccurate.

In fact, it would be impossible for a professor to accommodate a classroom full of dozens of students, each of whom has a unique perspective on life. Rather, the students’ duty is first to carefully consider the beliefs of their professors and then decide what is true.

After all, it was my opponent who stated, “Professors, by their calling, are to be fonts of knowledge and experience from which students may drink so that the students will learn how to make wise choices for themselves.” How can professors possibly be “fonts of knowledge” if they do not offer their knowledge to their classes?

Now, I would like to consider the view of my opponent. First, he offers an extremely paradoxical view of professors. He writes that they are not only “fountains of knowledge…leaders and mentors,” but also that “fallacious theories are taught without the slightest skeptical objection.”

First he makes heroes out of professors then claims they teach fallacious theories. I would also like to know what fallacious theories they teach, as he gave no example of them. He believes professors should establish a learning environment in which students “are able to share what they think and believe without mockery.” But throughout his article, he more accurately seems to express his opinion from a pro-spiritual viewpoint.

He also says one can study spiritual concerns in all types of classes. What Stevenson really seems to say is he wants a classroom in which he can express his beliefs, so he can be comfortable, without having to hear from anyone else.

Finally, he writes, “It is not inappropriate to study spiritual issues in all types of classes.” This is flatly ridiculous. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to stop my weight-lifting class so I can talk about spiritual issues, nor does any physics student pay so he can hear about another student’s beliefs in God.

In brief, college is a place of learning and discovering oneself and no discovery will take place unless we search for new ideas and new ways of life.

We pay tuition to drink from the fonts of knowledge, and to tell professors that they can no longer teach what they believe is counter-productive.

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