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Accreditation: Let Me Be Perfectly Clear…

September 7, 2010

Dr. West has continued his assault on accreditation: here and here. In his thoughts I have been accused of “adoring” accreditation. Some rejoinders:

  1. Dr. West’s argument, an analogy: The licensing industry is self-serving and only exists to exploit people for  money. The fact that there are accidents and bad drivers explicitly exposes the failure of the licensing industry. It should be abolished.
  2. Sweeping generalizations are a logical fallacy. Case in point: No professors care about their students or teaching them properly? They’re just tools of “accreditation”? Really? No professors? Sorry, Dr. McGrath, now we know that at Butler you really are only there to use your students and couldn’t give a rip about their education. I suppose that goes for the usury at Sheffield, St. Paul’s, and every class and university where anyone associated with biblioblogs teaches or studies. What is the goal of accreditation? To be fair in answering this question sweeping generalizations are of no use. Where does it succeed (because in some cases it does, that’s why there are good students turned out) and where does it fail?
  3. The charge of innovation. New = bad? Really? Actual formula: New = bad = logical fallacy.
  4. I have said this here and elsewhere: anyone, even persons of very limited intelligence, can walk into a room and criticize. Anyone. However, there is a reason that consultants get paid so much money. It is not the average person whom can walk into a room and clearly see an alternative or a solution. Ultimately, if there is a problem with accreditation the question is not one of abolition, but rather, reform. A system that strives to insure competency is always commendable, if you want to do away with the present system then suggest a better one. I highly suspect it will look very similar to the present one.
  5. I do not believe that “only people presently graduating from ‘accredited’ schools are intelligent, gifted, and articulate.” What often does happen though at good schools is that those who have the natural gifts of intelligence and articulation are given good training at using those natural gifts. Practice in academics is similar to practice in most other learned behaviors. The person who spends large amounts of time practicing the piano is better than the person who does not regardless of their ‘natural’ abilities.
  6. Once again: Sweeping generalizations are a logical fallacy. ‘All’ Baptists. “All’ atheletes. ‘All’ pastors’. ‘All’ Christians. ‘All’ atheists. There are some things, and I believe that accreditation is one, that simply cannot be characterized so generally.

To quote Spock, “You have been and always shall be my friend,” however, on this issue I must simply and humbly, most vehemently disagree.

(The Spock quote is double awesome because he also said it to a Jim)

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 7, 2010 12:58 pm

    I’m honored to have been used as an example! I hope people will circulate this widely on Twitter, where Jim West obviously can’t do anything about it… 😉

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