Episode 5: Cristine Legare, Socioeconomic Diversity and Teaching Controversial Topics
- Big Gods: How Religion Transformed Cooperation and Conflict by Ari Norenzayan
- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
“And so one of the things that I had them do as an assignment for this book was to use Moral Foundations Theory to present arguments for and against teaching creationism in science classrooms, and the way the students were graded in this particular assignment was the extent to which both sides of that argument were equally persuasive….I wasn’t arguing that we should teach creationism in science classrooms, I don’t think that we should. But I think it’s a useful opportunity to accurately represent and convey beliefs that are very different from your own, and students struggle with this a little bit, but really embraced it and took this on. And gathered data from all kinds of different sources. They kind of spontaneously interviewed friends of theirs that were young-earth creationists. It was really fascinating.”
“In addition to modeling constructive ways to have a dialogue, I also model a few examples of bad practice…I used examples in class of both very religious people as well as atheists, and ways in which people from both those camps did a good and a bad job at reaching others, and I also use this as an opportunity to talk about how particular styles of argumentation are not persuasive. They’re meant basically to further endear you to people who already think the way that you do. That is kind of psychologically satisfying for people but that is not constructive, so when you get a famous atheist scientist talking on and on about how stupid religious people are, his goal is definitely not to convert, not to persuade, from a persuasion perspective, that is entirely ineffective. In fact, I would say destructive.”Other episodes of Half Hour of Heterodoxy.
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