Moscow State University establishes a course on “Orthodox Christian nature science”

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Discussion by: kirill.marchuk

Russian news media Lenta.ru published yesterday horrifying news: Moscow State University is establishing an "inter-faculty course" (attending one of such courses is OBLIGATORY for some grades of students).

URL to a news is: http://lenta.ru/news/2013/08/20/orthodox/

A course annotation is published here: http://edu.msu.ru/mfk/attachment/119/annotation.pdf

I will translate exempts of it here:

Author: A.G. Hundjua, professor, Faculty of Physics, Moscow State University, Dr. of Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Course target: formation of an integral harmonic world appreciation in students.

… Roman Empire at the eve of Christian Era. Degradation of Antic Civilization and coming of Savior.  Purpose of Life and sense of human being in Christianity. Acquirement of Moral Values. Spread of Christianity.

… Inquisition – spiritual court of Roman Catholic Church.

… Abduction and hypothetical character of evolutionary models.

…Choosing one’s world view (Weltanshauung). Goal and sense of a human’s life.

… Determinish and hypothesis on self-sufficiency of a human mind. Spread of materialism and atheism. Scientific progress and moral downfall. Forgetting of true values and civilized cannibalism. Society of free consumers. Human worshipping and Satanism. Human rights and democracy.

Morality from the point of view of “exact (precise)” sciences. Axioms of Christian morality. Morality as an integral part of one’s world view.

I do strongly believe that presenting such “disciplines” at the most influential Russian university  is absolutely impossible to tolerate ! Because if we will, tomorrow all the high and middle education facilities all over the country will provide such “courses”, and how will be an average student be able to distinguish true science and this non-sense about “morality” ?

This is another one step towards church resurrection in Russia, and towards oppression of all free-thinking persons all over the country.

I really ask you, colleagues, to attract world-wide media, NGO and politics attention to this case ! We must put as much pressure as possible on Sadovnichyi and colleagues, so that they stop with this shameful practice.

15 COMMENTS

    • In reply to #1 by joehev:

      To my way of thought, a free-thinking person should have no problem accepting the discussion of any concept, whether at the university level or otherwise.

      “Discussion” and “Teaching on obligatory courses at state-funded university” are quite different things. University is for science, not for bullshit. End of story

    • In reply to #1 by joehev:

      To my way of thought, a free-thinking person should have no problem accepting the discussion of any concept, whether at the university level or otherwise.

      Yes, let’s introduce a university course on scientology and Niburology, that’s totally normal!

    • In reply to #1 by joehev:

      To my way of thought, a free-thinking person should have no problem accepting the discussion of any concept, whether at the university level or otherwise.

      That is the problem: having reached the age of 18 does not necessarily mean you are a free-thinking person. In addition one might be pretty certain that no discussions will take place: too many students in each group and long tradition of venerating the authorities (professors in this case). Of course, part (small one) of the students will just write at the exams what they are expected to and forget about this course, yet many will accept it as truth ….

  1. It began with gays but clearly is not going to stop there… the tyrant (Putin) and the witch doctors (orthodox church) are once again scratching one anothers backs for mutual support, the former is the latters enforcer, the latter lends the former legitimacy. You know a religion/philosphy is false when it has to try and cram its fantasies down the throats of the young, those less able to defend themselves intellectually. As for the axioms of christian morality… this boils down to taking ones subjective feelings, dignifying and deifyng them with the term faith and holding that up as a self indulgent and superior means of discerning truth than getting off ones lazy gluteus maximus to find out. Little good ever comes from such arrogance.

  2. First time on your site, and before all, sorry for my english, – Im russian. Its a horreblest that I can imagine, when it happend in so famous and respected high school institution.. Its just dictated by modern country politics, that directed to stand its citizens to be a slaves, without minded oppinion. And now I understand that a massive proccess that touched every spheres of life. More than 2 year i consciously dont try to watch TV (except movies on dvd on kitchen)) because i cant to endure this liars news, stupid legislations (like anti-gay, anti-alkohol, anti-smokers, and more and more with prefix “anti-” public companies), with this list religion question is one of mostly popular… commercials i dont like too, course=) but this is not funny, im really think to go out from this country, because its not a freedom, and not good, when all that around you it seems like massive stupidness and cogs around you screwed more and more. To federal country politics its very profitably to promote religion in schools, etc, like that was in ancient Rome, when christian religion was founded like perfect product to stay in steel different nations and direct it. I dont think that any atheist groups from scientists can do somesing against this. There is war that we lost for many years forward. By the way, Im 33, but im never seen any program on tv with Richard Dawkins. Just for me, it was like revolution on my mind, when i find many videos and books in internet of them. I was just doubtful agnostic, now im sure atheist. Thanks! and sorry for alot of symbols =)

    • In reply to #4 by misteryest:

      Welcome misteryest, there’s no need to apologize for your English or your symbols. Some will disagree with the latter. ;-)

      I’m sorry to read about your situation regarding an increase in religiosity, especially as it appears to be at the behest of the state. I hope you’ll stick around and continue to contribute to the discussions. -cheers

  3. It’s difficult to form an opinion from such scanty information but it seems to me that there’s no harm in people from different faculties or departments talking to each other. In fact, I wish it would happen more often.

    • In reply to #8 by Archaic Torso:

      It’s difficult to form an opinion from such scanty information but it seems to me that there’s no harm in people from different faculties or departments talking to each other. In fact, I wish it would happen more often.

      Hi Archaic (is that really your name ?? :)
      You just don’t understand how education is done in Russia. There’s no “people from different depts talking to each other”. There’s a “professor vs crowd” lecture. He speaks – they listen. And what he says, should be considered as a truth in last instance (at least in theory).
      And secondly, I cannot imagine that theologists or “professors in moral sciences” (whoever is responsible for this part) could bring ANYTHING valuable in ANY discussion on NATURAL sciences. There’re no gods around, it’s evident to anyone who could ever try to study this question. People want to have faith ? Excellent, let them have it ! At home and in churches (mosqees, etc). But spreading one’s fantasies in public places and ESPECIALLY at govt-funded Universities, should be strictly forbidden !

  4. Yes it’s really my name ;)

    Well you’re right, I don’t know how education is done in Russia. The way you describe it in your last comment (he speaks – they listen etc.) it seems that it can hardly be called education at all. But surely students of biology will not be brainwashed so easily just because some theologian or philosopher gives them lectures? Might it not stimulate some interesting dialogue at least? And let’s not forget that morals do not belong only to religion, and discussion of morals in other courses is not necessarily a bad thing.
    Generally I agree of course that state-funded educational institutions should not be used to teach religious nonsense, but I assume (perhaps wrongly) that this would only be successful with young children; it’s difficult to believe that third-level science students would be so silly.

    Again, I accept that I may be approaching this with a cultural bias, so correct me if I am again misunderstanding!

    In reply to #10 by kirill.marchuk:

    In reply to #8 by Archaic Torso:

    It’s difficult to form an opinion from such scanty information but it seems to me that there’s no harm in people from different faculties or departments talking to each other. In fact, I wish it would happen more often.

    Hi Archaic (is that really your name ?? :)
    Yo…

    • In reply to #11 by Archaic Torso:

      Yes it’s really my name ;)

      Well you’re right, I don’t know how education is done in Russia. The way you describe it in your last comment (he speaks – they listen etc.) it seems that it can hardly be called education at all. But surely students of biology will not be brainwashed so easily just becau…

      I can totally agree with you on a point that “20-yo students are not so easily brainwashed”, and that’s definitely not the purpose (I mean, to brainwash them). The point is (and it’s what make me worry and post a message here, in a vain hope that Richard will see it and give some world-wide publicity to this case), that conducting such courses at MSU will be a (another one) beautiful reason to introduce smth of this kind, and much more fundamentalist, to education courses of thousands of institutions, all over Russia, and not only for students, but for pupils as well !!

      Another point that drives me so crazy, is that it’s MSU – the “temple of science”, top University of Russia, however you measure it. Would be somewhere at Ivanovo or Volgograd, it would hardly be ever mentioned by anyone, even by the students themselves :) But in this case… it’s a signal, and a signal of a very dirty kind…

  5. This course amy be offering starting points for debate and study. But if this is a dogmatic assertion of Christian orthodoxy with no discussion allowed then it is worrying.

    But I’d suggest that those with most cause to worry would be the University – not least the loss of academic debate and challenge: and then wider Russian society, as if (by some chance) the 20-yo student drank it all up the graduates would be less useful, maybe even commercially destructive in the real world – e.g. ardent Young Earth Creationists would screw up the Russian Gas and oil industry no end through Bible-based prospecting.

    I wonder also if the US might be in danger from Fundamentalist/Creationist education that may already be starting to erode the skills base.

    It is of course possible that compartmentalising (cognitive dissonance, denial) might allow young scientists and engineers steeped in religious hokum to leave the woo-woo at the lab door and produce good work – but can nations afford to assume that?

  6. I can’t get excited about this development.

    My Russian isn’t what it used to be but two things are clear:

    • Russian tertiary education is of a very poor quality, and is being made poorer by this kind of blanket curriculum: It is clear that the form of education being provided here is a instruction-and-test-to-orthodoxy (pun intended) model. That is the antithesis of a tertiary system that inspires, and develops human potential by freeing minds and giving them advanced critical thinking skills.

    • The course description is very attractive – it looks exactly the kind of thing I would love to have studied myself, except for the last unit which focuses on morality and appears to be structured in order to preach that scientific and technological advancement are automatically immoral. As I say, my Russian isn’t that great – but the upshot appears to be that the Authorities want to turn out graduates like a sausage machine. Each sausage, in this case, seasoned with the idea that science and theology are non-overlapping magisteria and that science is to be treated as a simply technical subject – all the answers to the important and deep questions only coming from theology. Philosophy also appears to come in for a treatment so twisted that most perspectives are undermined.

    On these two points:

    • My Daughter is not looking to Russia for her tertiary education, even though she qualifies. The model used is a reason. Putin’s promise is put further from reach by this kind of political interference in education. If anyone in Russian education knows Putin, and if they truly believe Putin loves Russia, they should tell him the facts: This kind of thing will put Russian science further behind the West, and fast.

    • The students who attend Moscow State University are some of the best that Russia can produce. Will they simply sit in the lecture halls like the most well-behaved high-schoolers and soak up the opinions and statements they are given – just to regurgitate them in the Exam Hall? No. What little insight I have into the Russian people persuades me that centuries of oppression has made them experts at nodding and smiling in the right places, noting the answers required to pass the tests and asking the right questions to suck up to the lecturers.

    Like students everywhere they will then go to the nearest park, dormitory or café and rip their professor’s poor arguments, unsubstantiated propositions, lack of facts, authoritarian position, pop-philosophy and cherry-picking to shreds.

    It is my belief that MSU’s latest course will simply fuel debate among Russian students on theism versus atheism, while simultaneously schooling them in the arguments of theists – using coercion so transparent it is guaranteed to rub them up the wrong way.

    My best advice to you, Kirill, is that you form a student club for the discussion of this course and the distribution of texts that properly and accurately describe the works of the philosophers and scientists named in the syllabus. One of the great things about a college education – whichever college – is that you’re surrounded by people hungry to learn more, about everything. Engage.

    Peace.

  7. This is terrifying stuff.

    It’s not Oxbridge, where the Theology Professor has a friendly chat about Moral Philosophy with the Biology students over a pint in the Buttery. It’s a Salafist Madrassah in Islamabad, Oxford at the height of Scholasticism, Paris in 1307 or Harvard in 1690 with the witchcraft trials on the horizon.

    Putin is using the orthodox church to dampen the social unrest that he and his mentor, Gorbachev, (Maggot Thatcher’s BFF, who seems to spend most of his time these days tweeting “I’m not dead!” – rather like the plague victim in “Monty Python & the Holy Grail”) set a-percolating when they pulled the plug on the Soviet Union.

    Bewitched by propaganda outfits like Radio Free Europe, by once-and-future plutocrats with poetic souls like Vaclav Havel and by Vatican-democrats like Lech Wałesa, shepherded by the likes of Gorby and Putin and their ilk in the other Eastern European countries, the proletariat of the “newly-liberated” states thought that they would abandon the ‘drabness’ (really a modest but generalized adequacy ) of Soviet times and, pockets dripping with cash, go a-prancing into glittering California-style malls that were festooned with all manner of wondrous gadgets churned out for them by democratic capitalism.

    Instead unemployment skyrocketed – former engineers and factory workers were reduced to picking over slag-heaps, while those who were lucky enough to get jobs in the newly privatized firms competed for less-than-subsistence wages with employees sucked up into Western-owned companies that had come East to exploit the new reserve of cheap labour. Soon starvation was widespread, especially with the abolition of food subsidies – young people were especially hard hit.

    Social welfare was abandoned, along with subsidized childcare, rent and public transport. As the health system was ‘americanized,’ infant mortality rose and life expectancy fell. TB – which had been eliminated in Soviet times – made its reappearance, along with AIDS, often in cross-infection. Heroin and other drugs flowed in (through US bases in the Caucasus and the Balkans) to keep the masses quiet.

    Women lost most of the benefits they enjoyed as workers, often being the first to be fired with the overtly expressed purpose of forcing them to return to the traditional roles of wife and mother (Hungarian women are once again being thought of in pre-1945 categories – as the mothers, daughters and wives of good Hungarian men … or as whores), or in the ‘newly-independent’ Islamic states, forced back into the burqa.

    And ‘nationalism’ is not the fluffy-bunnies of watching William-n-Kate’s baby-story or learning folk-dances – the vicious fascism of the 1930s, suppressed by the Red Army, is now seeping out from under the dungheaps of Eastern Europe. Anti-semitism is rampant, attacks on Roma and other ‘foreigners,’ as well as on ‘liberals’ who speak out against ethno-nationalism, are becoming commonplace and Nazism is being sanitized, normalized and rehabilitated.

    So “Orthodox Christian Nature Science” joins “Don’t Tell the Kiddies You’re a Lezzie” and “Don’t Diss the Orthodox Church” in the arsenal of social control that will take Russia back beyond the nineteenth century.

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