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Has Anyone Read God's Harvard?


GenerationCedarchip

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This book was published a few years ago, and I recently picked it up at Goodwill. If you haven't read this one, it was a pretty good read. It's by a Jewish author who spent what appears to be at least a year interviewing students and faculty at Patrick Henry College. They seem to have given her pretty unfettered access and I found it fascinating reading.

It's obvious that the author doesn't really understand Christianity, at least as practiced by fundies, so that colors some of the book. However, she still gives a pretty good picture of how the students view the world. The students seem very driven (as are the ones I know in real life), and the most dedicated of them do seem to have put themselves on a path to "take back the government" as they see it. I got curious and googled some of the students mentioned in the book. A number of them are definitely on the power track.

The other thing that struck me was how as she shows him, Michael Farris looks like a really hot-tempered wacko. The scenes of him verbally abusing faculty and just generally flying off the handle in front of the reporter amazed me. From reading the book, I can see where the homeschool grads who attend the school could really go far in life, but it's really hard to see how anyone would trust this guy leading them. Scary stuff.

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I have! I got a discount copy at B&N a few years ago. I think it's a fantastic read, and what really got me is how the writer was treated when the subjects found out she was Jewish. She talks about it in the intro, how they got really gung-ho about taving her and suchlike.

And I agree, Farris did not come off well, and frankly, I'd be scared to work for him, because he was such a fickle hothead with an ego and whackdoodle ideas. Any place that does not often offer tenure or academic protection is suspect to me, and Farris seemed way down on that idea. The whole point of academia, to me, is to enhance and challege today's knowledge and ideas, and it's not always pretty. But by creating a healthy, respectful discourse (and it CAN be done, Mikey-poo!), a university or college or even high school classroom can be a place of amazing growth and learning. Without that, though, it just seems like the learning is regurgitation, not critical thinking.

Edited because I'm working on a laptop with really sticky keys.

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Since the book seems to cover the 2005-06 timeframe, I find myself wondering if the academic climate there has changed at all. I did notice that since the time of this book, Farris has transitioned to being "chancellor" and the school now has a new president. Everyone I know from PHC graduated before 2005, so I don't know much about what's going on there now.

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I graduated in 2005. Hanna Rosen was there during the academic year 2004-2005, I believe. There was almost a complete faculty turnover in 2006-7-ish, such that only two of the faculty who taught while I was there are still there -- in addition to a new president and dean. I'm sure the academic climate has changed due to the Great Meltdown (which was largely about academic freedom and due process issues), but I've distanced myself from it enough that I'm not sure how the change was manifested.

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I read it not long ago. The whole thing about baraminology is upsetting to me. So much effort goes into trying to disprove evolution. What a waste.

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I know Dick Cheney and G. W. Bush looooved to get interns from PHC.

I'm sure Obama does not feel the same about that institution.

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