Christian Unions

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Christian Unions

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:28 pm

I dropped in toe the Winchester Science festival today (it looks as if it has established itself as a regular annual event here). The University of Southampton had its own stand promoting science. I had a chat with one of our past acquaintances there about creationism and he presented quite an alarming picture. The university's Christian Union has about 1,000 members (out of some 22,000 students there) but he thinks about 400 are creationists. That's an enormous number for what is basically a very good university.

I don't know why it is so prevalent there. Christians in Science is active in the university, so, presumably, there is an anitidote to creationism, but it only has about 1,000 members nationwide. A few years back there were two academics there who were prominent creationists - Jonathan Swingler and Terry Hamblin. Both seemed to have been associated with the Truth in Science mob and Swinger was involved in the Christian Union. However Swingler is now at Heriot Watt and Terry Hamblin died a couple of years or so ago. (Hamblin went to the same grammar school as me, much to my embarresment).
Those who believe absurdities will commit atrocities - Voltaire
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Re: Christian Unions

Postby a_haworthroberts » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:32 pm

I imagine Christian undergrads who struggled with science at school and who are doing arts/humanities courses can be easily swayed by the bold claims of YECs and the like, especially if those making them demonstrate how their position is the most biblical (if any science can ever be 'biblical' rather than merely not unbiblical).
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Re: Christian Unions

Postby jon_12091 » Mon Jul 22, 2013 11:23 am

400 feels somewhat high to me without any context.
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Re: Christian Unions

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:56 pm

jon_12091 wrote:400 feels somewhat high to me without any context.
Around 2% of all students. If a few creationists have tried to hijack the CU, the first thing they'd do is to pack it with as many fellow-creationists as they could identify. By which reckoning 400 isn't exceptional. Especially as universities are now accepting so-called qualifications from the likes of ACE.
And of course, with any society 40% determined activists can have it over a barrel.
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Re: Christian Unions

Postby a_haworthroberts » Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:23 pm

A matter of concern to this bloke:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/biosci/abo ... f/krf.page

And this bloke (who debated windbag creationist John Mackay about the opening chapters of Genesis at Southampton Uni the other year):
http://www.doctorlewney.com/
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Re: Christian Unions

Postby jon_12091 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 11:16 am

Brian Jordan wrote:
jon_12091 wrote:400 feels somewhat high to me without any context.
Around 2% of all students. If a few creationists have tried to hijack the CU, the first thing they'd do is to pack it with as many fellow-creationists as they could identify. By which reckoning 400 isn't exceptional. Especially as universities are now accepting so-called qualifications from the likes of ACE.
And of course, with any society 40% determined activists can have it over a barrel.

A clique would have that effect and university scoieties are by and large run by cliques, as indeed are some churches.
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Re: Christian Unions

Postby cathy » Sun Aug 04, 2013 8:49 am

Especially as universities are now accepting so-called qualifications from the likes of ACE.
.

In theory they are accepting qualifications from the likes of ACE, in practice, for the more established universities, any unusual qualifications are viewed with huge suspicion by most. It is still usually A levels, the IB and the strange Scottish qualifications that are the norm, and though in theory they list some others, you'll struggle to get in IF you are competing with students offering those.

And most of the good universities or courses are now asking for very high grades at that (due to good old Gove offering financial incentives if they only offered and accepted AAB last year, alongside Gove messing with the A level results meaning many were scuppered when those they offered to didn't make their predicted grades and they couldn't then really offer thru clearing without losing the AAB subsidy). Last year a lot of our very good sixth formers struggled to get offers and a lot were relying on clearing, whereas previously all good students would have had something, and that is with the traditional three A levels plus good personal statements.

Under those circumstances they would be under little or no pressure to offer on ACE without looking at it very carefully. And you'd hope once they knew what it was they'd reject straight away, thanks to Johnny's hard work. Even most of the CST schools offer GCSEs even tho they train the kids to be liars in doing so.

But since the fees, Some of the non Russel group or newer universities have struggled to fill their places. Last year places like University of Central England were offering places to people before they'd even recieved their A2 grades - and they are now constantly advertising every time you go to the cinema. My friends daughter was offered an unconditional place last June based on GCSEs, predicted A2 grades and poorish AS results alone. So I don't think Southampton is a risk from ACE students BUT some of newer ones may well do. If it's going to get a foothold it'll be there.

And of course, with any society 40% determined activists can have it over a barrel.

Yep and the problem with CUs is going to be a huge one!! Far bigger than the ACE risk given the small numbers coming thru the CST style system. I don't remember much about CUs when I was at uni other than knowing they were there. But what I did notice was amongst the genuinely Christian they also attracted lots of people who were struggling to fit in or were very homesick.

I think that is very much the same demographic that the creationists home in on. Even the bigger creationist names seem to be personality free zones. And lots of people underestimate how much teenagers need to fit in, how strongly they will attach themselves to a cause/ideology in order to do so and how fiercely they will fight for it. Whether it is nicking cars, stripping off for the boys, self harming, Al Quaida, EDL or creationism - the ones with low esteem or the disadvantaged and disaffected will do what is needed to fit in or find a purpose. Those groups will do so loyally and take it to extremes and bully the others into either leaving or submission. I'd love to know how many of the big name creationists were bullied or who were non entities whose creationist fervour suddenly gave them a purpose.

And that same phenomenon is true in school CUs. So many people are terrified of faith schools without realising the far bigger threat is from CUs in non faith schools. Our CU was infiltrated by creationists who worked very hard. The two creationists have since left and its high profile has gone, but I guess the one that remained a creationist will be 'contributing' to his uni CU.
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