Monday, September 24, 2007

Helping Students to Prepare for Life in the 8th Century

This is an interesting story care of Without Hyphens:

Pulling this from the Register, an Iowa community college Prof. was fired for telling his students to not interpret the story of Adam and Eve as literal. Apparently a bunch of students complained to the school administration that the teacher was “denigrating their religion”, and he was subsequently dismissed.

Choice quote from the teacher? (and one that shows this man is freakin’ badass):

“I just thought there was such a thing as academic freedom here,” Bitterman told the Des Moines Register. “From my point of view, what they’re doing is essentially teaching their students very well to function in the eighth century.”

Freakin’ awesome man, you totally get it. Anyway, if you’d like to complain, here’s a link to his former employer.

[via the Register]

When I first read this story, I though it must be a joke. A community college in America should not be able to fire Steve Bitterman for teaching religion as an academic subject. That's what secular higher education is about. What was the administration thinking?

"I put the Hebrew religion on the same plane as any other religion. Their god wasn't given any more credibility than any other god," Bitterman said. "I told them it was an extremely meaningful story, but you had to see it in a poetic, metaphoric or symbolic sense, that if you took it literally, that you were going to miss a whole lot of meaning there."

Source: - Teacher: I was fired, said Bible isn't literal by Megan Hawkins (9.22.2007)

Sounds like a politically correct overreaction to me.