In the academy, research is not always a collaborative experience, but rather, competitive, more like a World Series or Super Bowl championship game. All season long, even the players on the same team compete amongst each other for a chance to start and be noticed. This makes for a very interesting tension. I call this “collaborative competition.” We assume that each research practitioner is working in concert with others in a quest to uncover scientific truths, challenging assumptions, validate and confirm, thus, adding to the field of inquiry something new and important, a revelation or paradigm shift. Truth is, this rarely ever happens. Yes, as many of you have pointed out in prior blog posts, some researchers do provide insights that help validate existing studies but others focus only the the results that merely reflect their bias. And… here is the rub, researchers don’t play well together. Unlike professional team sports, researchers are biased and prefer to play only with those that agree with their findings and perspectives, (Kuhn, 1962).
Indeed, philosopher Thomas Kuhn (1991) captures this interesting dynamic in his classic book, The Structure of Scientific Paradigms. Research bias is the seeds of group think and functional fixedness. How can we break away from this academic echo chamber? How and where can one find the truth? Unbiased researchers will challenge assumptions and carefully and precisely reconstruct an experiment or study to see if the results hold up over multiple trials? This is called construct validity. It rarely ever does. The challenge is to seek the Spirit of Truth in everything. So, research can fall into two camps, group think (everyone thinks alike) or, seekers of the Truth (honoring diversity, different perspectives and practicing collaborative competition). Sadly, in post-modern higher education today, there is very little collaborative competition, most research is the result of group think and easy to poke holes. This is perhaps why there is so much divisiveness in perspectives on research. The truth bites so the progressive “all inclusive” socially constructed, politically correct lie says, everyone gets a trophy. This popular narrative seems to gain more traction than the truth. But, through authentic, honest and open (AHO) inspired conversations we have the opportunity to collaborate and break free from the bondage of post-modern constructivism and represent the next generation of research practitioners that are committed to seeking the truth. What is your perspective?
Today, our children think they are not enough and they let society decide who they are (Westenberg, 2019). The current educational zeitgeistsows seeds of moral, ethical and emotional confusion. This is worrisome because if your Truth is not biblical you will not be sustained and you will always be let down. Education at the youngest level, through reading, can help empower those that listen and encourage those who read. I am passionate about this because it is a platform so rarely used to empower young ones to know who they are. I work in a school setting and I am able to see the lies, nomenclature, social constructivism, moral relativism, post-modern, progressive perspectives teens believe and I feel that if they were spoken truth to at a younger age they would have a better foundation of who they are. Knowing who you are, your confidence, your self-esteem is important because it heavily influences people’s choices and decisions. It serves a motivational function by making it more or less likely that people will take care of themselves and explore their full potential (Oswalt, 2019).
And that my friends is why I am writing a children’s book to address youth suicide. As simple as a children’s book may be it provides a platform for parents to check in and ask tough questions like suicide.
My goal with this book (book series) is to take complex issues and an ethically confused world and influencing social change and public opinion through an intergenerational children’s book series that aims to empower listeners and lead readers through the spirit of the truths of the Lord.
From ages zero to five children learn the basic virtue of hope, will, and purpose” (McLeod, 2018).
In my opinion, children’s books have long shelf-life and legacy and are less likely to go out of style. This provides a platform to speak truth’s into the lives of generations to come and provide words the readers that guides conversation. Mixed methodology will allow me to use meta-data analysis to inform my etic (deductive) analysis and community praxis (action learning) to inform the emic (inductive) analysis and the narrative will be the written book narrative that expresses both the etic and emic. My books are intended to bridge the gap between believes and truths and formulate a discussion on epistemology. I plan on diving into a disciplined inquiry of children and trends from ages 5-15 and frameworks and systems that are flawed. This field is so tempted by the false and socially constructed narratives that my goal is to educate around tough subjects with biblical Truths. “That is the paradox of the epidemic: that in order to create one contagious movement, you often have to create many small movements first” (Gladwell, 2002).
“A majority of the general population reads five books or less every year (67%). Broken down a little more, one-quarter of all adults don’t read any books at all (25%), while two out of five read anywhere between one and five books a year (42%). One-third of adults read five or more books a year (34%). Among the generations, Elders are the true bookworms—with about one-quarter reading more than 15 books a year (23%) (Kinnaman, 2015).
Figure 1. Pie chart of statistics of why each demographic reads 2015. Adapted from ‘). The state of books and reading in a digital world’ (Kinnaman, 2015).
Figure 2. Bar graph of statistics of number of books each demographic reads per year in 2015. Adapted from ‘). The state of books and reading in a digital world’ (Kinnaman, 2015).
Thus the idea that children are soaking up their environment and are a byproduct of their society stems from the same concept organizational theorists. As example, organizational theorists relate non-profit organizations as a direct reflection of the pressures and constraints presented by their environments. Jean Piaget’s theory of cognitive development states, “children constructs a mental model of the world. He disagreed with the idea that intelligence was a fixed trait, and regarded cognitive development as a process which occurs due to biological maturation and interaction with the environment (McLeod, 2018). Researcher Lev Vygotsky’s social development theory states that social interaction precedes development; consciousness and cognition are the end product of socialization and social behavior (Vygotsky, 1980). Erik Erikson’s stage theory articulates the importance of the formidable mind at a young age. “Erickson maintained that personality develops in a predetermined order through eight stages of psychosocial development, from infancy to adulthood.
We must be purposeful with words, actions, and truths we let our children hear at a young age. “A person’s words can be life-giving water; words of true wisdom are as refreshing as a bubbling brook” (Proverbs 18:4). Their behavior reflects their resource dependency, and risk of goal displacement and loss of autonomy if they are too dependent on one item (Worth, 2017, p. 68).
This is my second masters and fourth degree from CCU and I am most excited to see where this thesis goes. I am currently working with a book editor and in the process of choosing an illustrator. My book, You are You, is expected to hit shelves and be available online in 2020.
“Who Knows Only His Own Generation Remains Always a Child.”
This very interesting and relevant quote by Dr. George Norlin, former president of the University of Colorado, is inscribed over the west entrance of the University’s library where I spent hundreds of hours deep in the library stacks studying late into the night. I have learned to navigate the depths of that library in the dark and with my eyes closed. But when it came to learning and understanding truth, my eyes were then, as they are now, wide open. Learners ask questions and challenge assumptions. Learners have a desire to understand alternative perspectives and become knowledgeable with both sides or perspectives of ideas and so called facts. One must understand another’s perspective to have a civil conversation let alone formidable debate. Why do so many college students today simply reciting the boring one-sided opinions and lectures their professors pedantically preach to them? What ever happened to critical thinking, epistemology and disciplined inquiry? What about the merits of considering alternative perspectives while seeking the truth? What is truth and how do we know what we know?
“In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity In Peace: Good Will.”
Kelly was attacked by some who considered the quote offensive. So, Kelly back peddles and apologizes. He says something to the effect, “I need to get educated”. Which brings me to the topic of this blog post, truth, grace and learning how to learn. While I find nothing offensive with this quote, I am actually inspired by it, I am trying to understand how it might be offensive to some people? That’s an honest question. You see, I believe, words matter. However, there’s no question the truth can bite. That is perhaps one reason why we some people hide behind the safety of “political correctness” and postmodern relativism. It allows one to be wrong and still be right. We are experiencing a division in perception of reality. Fortunately, truth and grace are interconnected, you can’t have one without the other. What Kelly was responding to is a pressure to conform narrative, not truth and grace. The political correct narrative, I believe, is part of the social constructivist agenda to rewrite history, not correct it nor to seek the truth. “Who knows only his own generation remaining always a child.”
If we lose the truth about our history, we lose our liberty. It is happening now at universities across America. Political correctness has crushed the spirit of truth and free speech. This is why the First Amendment to the United States Constitution was so important to the Founders, it was first and foremost.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Why do so many people think history needs revision? Perhaps it is because, for hundreds of years, churches and universities were the center of the community. These were the places people gathered, church steeples marked the city centers. This is where people interacted with each other, learned from each other, shared stories and exchanged ideas, knowledge, goods and services in free markets. The city center or, market square were the very places truth and grace intersected as expressed through the First Amendment. This idea, no longer fits with the current spirit of the time (zeitgeist). These days many people see religion as the source of legalism, bigotry and scientific ignorance. However, many more people, like me and perhaps you too, believe that faith in God expressly and implicitly guarantees individual liberty, justice and love. It is the very bases for human rights, democracy and American justice system; Jefferson referenced the Jewish and Christian God who made us free–“self evident”, he proclaimed as reflected in the Declaration of Independence. The Founders regarded religion as the duty of the independent and free individual to seek. The constitution assure this as an inalienable right and not a privilege to be tolerated. There’s a big difference.
Learning requires we enter a place I call the “epistemic gap”. This is a place between the known and unknown, the natural and supernatural. Stepping into the epistemic gap takes courage because it is more about learning than knowing. Cultivating a learning spirit requires humility. Part of this “epistemic” journey involves understanding self in relation with God and His creations. Thank God, we don’t all think alike. This is a gift, not a curse.
Grace and truth’s perfect union can be cultivated in a community of diverse experiences and worldviews. Truth and grace are integral and cannot be truly understood or experienced as an either/or concept. Truth without grace breeds self-righteousness and legalism. Grace without truth breeds deception and moral compromise. The key to true intellectual and spiritual growth is to integrate these two qualities into life and learn how to learn all over again.
This is an honest question; how is the above quote offensive? What are your thoughts?
“Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.” Karl Marx
I am a Christian and a fiscal conservative, independent thinker. However, in these tumultuous times, I find it increasingly challenging to express my worldview openly to some of my friends and associates without being shamed or ridiculed by some for my personal perspective. It’s gotten worse recently, I started experiencing disdainful scorn and self-righteous indignation. As a Christian, I am mocked for being foolish and stupid. As a conservative educator, I am chastise and rebuked for my views on limited government, free market economics, poverty theory and social policy. Have you noticed that thinking critically and having an honest alternative perspective is considered “offensive” and not tolerated by some people? Forget about tolerance, that’s an oxymoron. I don’t want to be merely tolerated. I want to be understood and respected. Have you too felt shunned either in face-to-face encounters or on social media? I believe that we are missing an opportunity to experience community and the goodness that comes from developing intellectually and growing emotionally and spiritually through listening to each other and not talking over one another. Understanding alternative perspectives is the foundation for research methods and learning. To achieve this, we need to become truth seekers. Yet, some of my friends and colleagues have drunk the kool aid of moral relativism where there is no truth. Ironically, they cannot tolerate diverse worldviews nor respect alternative perspectives. They choose to live in the echo chamber of their own group think. This is not only boring, it’s dangerous.
How did we get here?
The deconstruction of everything sacred began with secularizing education a little over a hundred years ago. Thus, we see the beginnings of the secular/sacred divide and normalization of secular humanism. Accordingly, progressive postmodern dualism was ushered in shortly after the founding of scientific labs in Leipzig Germany around 1879, when Thomas H. Huxley organized a small group of German and American scientists, [primarily Gestalt psychologists] who sought to overthrow the cultural dominance of Christianity—particularly the intellectual / theological dominance of the Anglican Church, (Huxley’s grandson penned A Brave New World). Their goal was to secularize society, replacing the Judeo-Christian worldview regarding the laws of nature and nature’s God, with a secular-humanist worldview that recognizes the existence of science alone, as observed in scientific labs. This biased perspective denies the apodictic (absolute) and self-evident Truths of the natural order of things and the Bible endowed by our Creator. Thus, public education today essentially advances a social constructivist agenda. Students are taught that they can rewrite history and socially construct their own realities. This is a lie! But, as I have stated earlier, they have drunk this kool aid and believe it. Nevertheless, as secular humanists, Huxley and his advocates understood they were merely replacing one religion with another, for they described their goal as the establishment of the “church scientific.” A search of the American Humanist Association reveals it is a tax exempt 501(c) (3) religious organization (americanhuminist.org retrieved on 3/14/2012). This has since been changed but the original intent hasn’t. An example of the deconstruction of the spirit of truth and social construction of myth is illustrated in the hyperlink below. At the University of Colorado Boulder, for instance, in place of American Civics, students learn “the people’s history of the United States.” http://www.historyisaweapon.com/zinnapeopleshistory.html.
It is indeed ironic that is was Karl Marx who first said, “…religion is the opiate of the masses” but, it turns out liberal extremism / secular humanism and social constructivism appear to be the opiate of the masses. What are your thoughts? Please opine.
Hello! Part of the purpose of the TruthBites blog is to understand and respect various worldviews within the context of our daily lives, the workplace, broader community and integration of faith, family and freedom. We will explore the intersection between the known and unknown, natural and supernatural, the clash of worldviews and common-core values all cultures share in common. So, diverse perspectives are welcome here. Please demonstrate civility, dignity and respect in your posts. Please join me in this journey of joint exploration–understanding self in relation with God and each other.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NIV).
Is there an overarching truth in this universe, or no truth that is absolute and irrefutably reliable? Is truth relative? Is your truth different from my truth? Do we really socially construct our own reality? What do you believe?
Words carry power. Words can edify, inspire and affirm. And words can also crush spirits, cause anguish, stir conflict and sow seeds of discord. One’s choice of words can therefore be a double edged sword. According to Calvan Exoo (2010, p. xvii), “those who own or control society’s ‘idea factories’ including mass media can use [words] to impose their own ideas on others.” This is the idea behind the social constructivist movement in education. As such, academics have used words to socially construct reality rather than pursue the truth. Students are taught what to think instead of how to think. It is unfortunately but in this current postmodern “moral relative” corporeality (meaning, of the body and not the spirit), words have little meaning when not connected with values or recognized apodictic (absolute) truths. However, words can also edify and educate producing emotionally and spiritually healthy interactions within and between groups (Scazzero 2012). Nevertheless, words are often used to distort the truth (Phillips & Gully, 2014). This tradition goes back long before the Chinese warrior/philosopher Sun Tzu illuminated the tribulations of the “bearer of bad news” or Machiavelli’s cruel and narcissistic analysis of politics and power (Sun Tzu, 2012; Machiavelli, 2011). The infamous line in a Few Good Men, “you can’t handle the truth,” rings true. In light of the current divisiveness in this country, why does the truth matter?