Thursday, 5 March 2009

Conservapedia v. Student Sixteen

I honestly feel sorry for Student Sixteen. The comments on this homework (If it doesn't work try here.

I mean this person who is apparently called Charles Thoreaux actually did quite well in my opinion, based on what I have seen of these "World History" homeworks.

I wonder what exactly Andrew Schlafly uses as a benchmark to mark people. Compare the above to Student Eleven.

I know I'm not a teacher, but if I were I would not have given Student Eleven 100%, I would probably give a low pass mark because said student did give dates.

However, I get the feeling that Student Sixteen has actually done some research regarding Roman Philosophy. Sixteen chose Marcus Aurelius as his favourite Emperor because of his philosophical insight. Unfortunately he is getting marks from a guy who thinks that the Romans didn't actually do anything apart from conquer the Mediterranean and most of Western Europe and build roads.

You even see this regarding his comment on the answer to Question H1 (it's an "honours" question). Student Sixteen mentions Greek Philosophers in his answer, and then mentions Roman Philosophers who were influenced by them, apparently Cicero, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius and Virgil were all Greeks. Who knew?

The sad thing in a way is that for someone who does that "honours" question, you have to work around the definition of "truth" that Schlafly uses, a "truth" that involves the Bible and Christianity. So in essence the question is flawed to the extent that every civilisation before the birth of Christianity would not know what "truth" is.

I mean this student actually picks up and mentions the flaw in the question (judging an entire civilisation based on the actions of one man, in this case Pontius Pilate).

I think in a way the irony of the question is that Schlafly claimed that the Romans just took what the Greeks had with regards to philosophical ideas and ran with it, without making their own contributions, but still somehow can think that they wouldn't have applied Greek philosophical teaching to their lives. It doesn't make any sense.

I would, to be honest, have not deducted any marks in that case because I think he answered the question quite well there. He gave examples (albeit more passively) that shows that the question is wrong, and showed the main flaw in the question.

Other instances that make me feel for the guy is that he lost marks on a question about Latin because he didn't argue for the "inherent advantages" of Latin (which, by the way, was based on what I think is a rather ridiculous definition of "caveat emptor") which somehow means there is a "Liberal bias".

Schlafly's comment regarding question 3 ("more depth in analysis is needed") is rather hypocritical considering that Student Eleven answered the same question with far less depth then Student Sixteen did. Eleven gets full marks for writing something along the lines of "The Eastern Roman Empire had fewer attacks then the Western Empire and lasted far longer". I'm trying to be grammatically correct here and make sure you understand what I'm going on about.

So if I was to take any lesson away on Schlafly marking things then it would have to be "you can be as grammatically incorrect as you want as long as you spell your words right".

That being said, I would never give Student Sixteen full marks, because there were some answers that were clearly wrong, and a lack of dates in answers that should have them would also mean that you couldn't give full marks either.

The last thing that I am going to comment on is that I don't believe that Student Sixteen should lose marks because of a perceived bias, which is clearly what happened in question six. Question seven is a different can of worms. I feel that the answer that was given is actually quite good, the problem is that Schlafly undercuts his own comment regarding deducting marks and opinions, by having done exactly that in the previous question.

Question six was worded in such a way that you would be getting opinions as answers. Nobody, anywhere knows all the facts for a current event, because it is exactly that, a current event. It's pretty easy to form an opinion of the US at present based on the Fall of Rome, however it is ultimately opinion.

I think that most people who know anything about Conservapedia understand that Schlafly is not the most consistent of markers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I like to think that student 16 is someone who signed up for the course just to troll Assfly.

The site is basically a cult run by one madman. An entertaining one to outside observers, but a cult nonetheless.