Of Men and Monkeys
It strikes me that a professor of biology who refuses to write recommendations for students who believe in creationism, is most likely doing so out of concern for his own reputation within his profession. If I was at a medical school, and if Professor Joe Bob Briggs kept on sending me glowing recommendations for students who turned out to be slack-jawed, Bible-belting yokels who thought that man was created by an act of the divine will 10,000 years ago and woman shortly after out of one of Adam’s ribs, then I think I would form the opinion that Professor Briggs was a bit of a bastard, and would resolve to do him a professional bad turn whenever I had the opportunity. In refusing to endorse creationist students, Professor Whatsisface (don’t ask me, I get my news from blogs) is just trying to avoid creating the impression that he is stuck in some third-rate job in the academic gulag, sitting around teaching morons in a town where the definition of an intellectual is someone who can keep his mouth shut when he points at aeroplanes.
This is false advertising. The guy clearly is stuck in a dead-end job in a terrible university, and it would be in the long term interests of everyone, including himself, if he just told the truth and shamed the devil. This is of course assuming that the students in question believed in creationism when they arrived at the university; I suppose it’s an outside possibility that biology teaching at Podunk College is so fucked-up that people finish the course thicker than when they went in. In that spirit, I suggest the following form letter of recommendation, slightly altered from Dwight Meredith’s:
This is Eustace. I’ve taught him biology for three years and he still believes in Creationism. If you fancy having a go at turning him into a doctor, be my guest. I daresay I’ll be sending you another crop of students of this calibre in twelve months’ time. Do you know, when I was little, I wanted to be a lumberjack? Funny the way things turn out.
Best Regards, Joe Bob.