(POLITICAL) SCIENCE!

The usual suspects return for another entry in the BCC Labs series. See prior entries herehere, and here.

BCC Labs is always working on innovative ways of maximizing the upsides of your online Latter-day Saint information consumption, interaction, and generation experience . Studies have shown that the marginalization of insufficiently critical approaches to the theological exploration of appropriate ethical behavioral actualizations by means of negative sporting and humorous contumely are market desirable. Therefore it is with great excitement that BCC Labs presents to you its latest innovation: The Student Review’s Political Analysis, examined through the window of (Political) Science!

Before we present the material being studied, let’s have a quick refresher of BCC Lab’s methods of examination.

The TvP ratio:
This ratio measures the relevant amount of truth in a statement as compared to the amount of proof offered. In our food storage, we appreciate the texture (it’s what makes tvp seem like ground beef), but what nourishes us is the protein. Roughly the same thing is true in newspaper articles and political arguments.

The Good, Better, Best Criteria
As Elder Oaks has taught, some things are Good, some things are Better, and some things are Best. Through extensive research, BCC Labs has concluded that the universe of “things” includes sentences, ideas, or conclusions found in campus newspaper articles. Therefore, the GBBC pertains to whether an article is free from ideas, thoughts, explanations or conclusions which could be improved upon in any way.

The A grade:
The A grade tracks the presence (or the implied presence) of those accusations, ideas, or stereotypes so common to BYU that they hardly need be expressed at all. They also start with A.

The Scriptorendum:
This is the ratio of implied scripture to actual scripture quoted. Quotes from General Authorities only count as actual scripture if all of the following conditions apply: a) The quoted authority is the person who actually said the quote & b) the quote is cited OR the quote is of such a nature that everyone like totally knows its source.

The PPI index:
The PPI (Point Proven Internally) index tracks the number of times the article makes a point that is subsequently contradicted in the same article. Bonus points for multiple contradictions of the same points, or contradictions-within-contradictions.

The Odds:
These are the odds that a given article was written out of a given motivation based on actuarial tables buried deep beneath the earth that can only be found via the spirit of Steve BCC’s curelom.

Finally:
I will supply you with an out-of-context quote from the letter itself, because it’s funny.

DATA

The article, “Just How Blue Is BYU Really?” comes from the recently-resurrected Student Review, the BYU’s “Liahona” newspaper. It was delivered to BCC Labs by our Juvenile Intern, Ben Park, who discovered it in the basement of the Testing Center. Intern Park claimed that the article was hidden under a giant heap of whiskers that had been forcibly extracted from the upper lips of would-be test-takers by Honor Code thugs. However, BCC Labs has no way of verifying this, nor does BCC Labs have an explanation for the presence of its Intern in the Testing Center’s basement.[1]

In any case, BCC Labs will wait patiently for you to consume this fine morsel of journalism before resuming our discussion.

RESULTS

TvP ratio: 3:1
In order to properly calibrate the TvP ratio, it is important to delineate all truths that we will be discovering about the BYU prior to actually reading the article. These truths comes in two types: 1. Truths about the BYU, and 2. Truths about the publication discussing the BYU. In this manner, we can be certain of the lessons that we will learn from the experience before we even begin, which is useful for determining if you want to go through with it. This process also works with object lessons suggested for girl’s camp and other youth activities.

Truths we will learn about the BYU from an article in The Student Review:

1a. The BYU will be right.
2a. The BYU will be politically right.
3a. The BYU will not put up with namby pamby whining about the first two truths.

Truths we will learn about the Student Review from its article about the BYU

1b. The Student Review doesn’t have a testimony of the Church, the BYU, the BYU’s mission, or the legacy of Hayek or von Mises.
2b. The Student Review is, therefore, wrong.
3b. The members of the Student Review celebrate difference. To paraphrase Emeritus General Authority Steve Martin, they are different; the BYU should better reflect them.

With these truths in mind, let us consider the proof offered in the article. First, the argument goes that, the BYU is more politically balanced than most college campuses because its faculty and administration is more politically conservative than most college campuses. This demonstrates all of the a truths (1-3). That this can even be implied by the Student Review as being a bad thing is proof of the first two b truths. The author then implies that this state of affairs means that the BYU is more balanced politically than most campuses. That the author attempts this with a straight face provides clear proof of truths 3b and 2b, but strangely it undermines truth 1b. Check your narrative, Student Review!

The article goes on to detail the harrowing experience of a student who felt marginalized for not being conservative. After this terrifying marginalization, she was turned into a non-the-BYU-attending newt. However, as is the wont of newts, she got better and returned to the BYU. She’s made it her life’s mission to avoid marginalization by never interacting with professors with whom she may disagree politically again. We applaud her decision; she clearly learned the right lesson from this terrible ordeal and her willingness to jump right back into the lion’s den demonstrates this mostly. While we only hope the best for this intrepid student (and for a political conversion to God’s party, the Constitution party), we can say with confidence that this, once again provides proof of truths 1a-3a. That the story is told as objectively as possible, with no attempt to exaggerate conflict or tension, demonstrates truths 1b-3b. If the Student Review had a true testimony of the BYU, they would have asserted that 1. this girl was banned from the BYU for honor code violation 4B.103: Belonging to the wrong political party (which really is what should have happened (they are getting soft at the BYU)); and 2. they would work for the Daily Universe (or, at least, spend their off-work hours tracking down suspicious males in the name of public safety (and hygiene)).

Finally, the article cites the experiences of three more students: One feels that the BYU has unduly influenced him politically, while the other two agree that any influencing was duly done. We at BCC Labs are particularly impressed with the president (or former president (we aren’t sure if the BYU has political clubs anymore (we don’t care either, since they kicked Bo Gritz off campus))) of the College Republicans who courageously asserts that she was never marginalized for her beliefs. This is courageous, of course, because it is ridiculous. Left-leaning organizations like the Republican party and its sympathizers should be marched off campus and transferred to the UVSC, like many a liberal professor before them. These “anecdotes” offer some proof of truths 1a-3a and 1b-2b. We’ve forgotten how to do the math, exactly, but if you say the ratio is 3:1, people almost always believe you.

The Good, Better, Best Criteria: BEST
The GBBC for this article is impeccable. Consider two examples:

Question 1: Why does the BYU employ so many conservative faculty members?

“Good” Answer: There is no proof that the faculty at the BYU are ultra conservative. Who can know for certain?
“Better” Answer: Conservatives are better teachers, so this is proof that all hiring decisions at the BYU are inspired.
“Best” Answer (as chosen by the Student Review): Sacred groundwater in Pleasant Grove and Lehi causes faculty members to spring from the ground in abundance; thus, all job applicants originate from Utah County.

We paraphrase, of course. The full explanation, as given by church history professor Richard Bennett is “the faculty comes from the community…I don’t think it’s a reflection of our doctrine as much as it is our demography.” BCC Labs rejects any possibility that the good professor has confused “born and raised in” with “currently resides in.”

Question 2: Since 75% of professors nation-wide consider themselves liberals, what should we make of the fact that the BYU has more politically-unaffiliated faculty than the national average?

“Good” Answer: It’s difficult to infer much of anything, since we don’t have voting records–though initiatives to include these as part of the Ecclesiastical Endorsement are being considered.
“Better” Answer: People who checked “unaffiliated” were probably asked to do so by local leaders to help Provo obtain statehood.
“Best” Answer (as chosen by the Student Review): They’re all closet Republicans.

Again, we paraphrase. The full text says, “The percentage of unaffiliated professors at BYU is higher than the national average – nearly 38 percent at BYU compared with 34 percent nationally … According to national data, three fourths of professors consider themselves liberal, 25 percent more than are registered Democrats. This suggests a large portion of BYU’s unaffiliated professors might consider themselves conservative.

BCC Labs rejects any possibility that the author of the article has overlooked any other possible explanations, flashing text and neon lights notwithstanding. The idea that “Unaffiliated” at the BYU means “Closet Liberal who fears losing his/her job because 95 percent of the administration think he/she is evil,” is simply absurd.

A grade: F
There is quite a bit of discussion of Apoliticism, as if that was desirable, or the Lord’s way! Sure, some might like to be educated in an environment where all information isn’t distorted by some overarching Agenda, but if they feel that way, they shouldn’t attend a private religious university. There also seems to be implied Apostasy, although that appears to be in reference to foreign, secular concepts like Academic freedom, which don’t count. The A grade here only references one item, so it gets an F. Work harder next time, Student Review!

Scriptorendum: -1.8
The article contains exactly zero scripture references or quotes from General Authorities. In fact, the article quotes three academics–or “Intellectuals” if you will–which results in a negative Scriptorendum calculation:

-3.0 (-1.0 per “Intellectual” x 3 “Intellectuals”)
+0.5 (Credit for 1 “Intellectual” from Religious Education Dept = righteous “Intellectual”)
+0.7 (Credit for 1 “Intellectual” from Business School = Covey Disciple = Future Mission President = Future GA)
___________
Total -1.8

PPI: 82%
The article talks about how the BYU is more conservative than the norm, but then argues that this makes it more balanced. Since the balance between conservatives and liberals is (as far as anyone can tell) roughly the same as the national average (just reversed), BYU isn’t actually more balanced. It is just unbalanced in a manner that is opposite of how most college campuses are unbalanced. We, at BCC Labs, believe that the BYU can take advantage of this by approaching students at other campuses (like, for instance, Yale, the Harvard of the East) and suggesting that they take 4 years of BYU online coursework in order to balance the political outlook of their professors. We are certain that this will result in more revenue for the BYU and, therefore, inclusion in a BCS conference. There are no possible bad outcomes.

Unfortunately, the PPI is not 100% because of the following passage from the article (which, to paraphrase former Secretary to the First Presidency Dave Barry, we are not making up):

Alex Hairston, a senior studying communications, said having conservative professors and classmates has quieted his comments in class at times. He wonders about the effect a professor’s political beliefs has in the classroom. “I worry whether professors’ political leanings come into play in the educational process,” he said.

To recap:

  1. The article states the student wondered about the effects a professor’s political leanings have on his teaching.
  2. The article then demonstrated that the student did in fact wonder about that very thing.

You see? No contradiction whatsoever. Kudos for a well-researched quote, Student Review.

The Odds:

  • The article’s author wrote this to for a journalism portfolio to get hired at the Daily Universe: 3:1
  • The article’s author will one day become an unpaid blogger for the Deseret News: 5:1
  • The article’s author has a piercing that he takes out to pass the sacrament: 10:1
  • The article’s author was writing in behalf of the Romney/Reid 2012 Campaign: 1000:1

Finally, your out-of-context quote:

“I’ve had very little of that at BYU.”

______________________________________
Next Project: FOOD STORAGE!! (seriously, we need to work on our food storage)

Comments

  1. Steve Evans says:

    Three cheers for the return of SCIENCE! The GBBC is indeed impeccable.

  2. Wow.

    That’s all.

  3. You’re welcome, Ray.

  4. My little baby’s all growed up.

  5. John,
    Is your baby the girl who took her ball and went home (but then came back)?

  6. I’m just glad that she is still out there, fighting for a diversity of belief.

  7. How scary is it that some of this analysis occurred to me as I read the article yesterday? I’m going back to bed and pulling the covers over my head.

  8. You will be assimilated, Ardis.

  9. La-la-la-la-la-la-la-I can’t HEAR you, John-la-la-la!

  10. observer fka eric s says:

    I love the PPI.

    The graph on slide 4 of the article shows no Republican representation in Anthropology. That is so classic! My testimony is strengthened by BYU once again.

  11. Based on my experiences at non-BYU, I can’t even conceive of what a majority-right-leaning Sociology department looks like. They should have Sociology professors from other schools study BYU’s Sociology department via ethnographic observation.

  12. I tried that once Ardis. It still seeps past.

  13. Brilliant. This made the document retrieval process totally woth it.

    Also, my lawyers have advised me to remain silent on why I was in the testing center basement.

  14. There is no UVSC. Science types are so out of touch.

  15. Mostimportantly says:

    It is the UVU, you snob.
    That’s right, a full scale, liberal university, right in Orem (the Boston of the UC).

  16. So good to see the new subject: Religology.

  17. *the* BYU? What are you, seventy? Eighty?

  18. Ben,
    We, at BCC Labs, prefer not to brag about our church callings.

  19. Here’s John C., trying to claim an association with a scientific enterprise:
    “We, at BCC Labs, prefer not to brag about our church callings.”

  20. Peter LLC says:

    *the* BYU? What are you, seventy? Eighty?

    I see it as restoring plain and precious truths, for there is only one.

  21. WVS,
    I have a degree in a social science. Sorta. And I can do long division. If I’ve had 8 hours of sleep.

  22. Science is so confusing…

  23. Of *COURSE* it is The BYU. There is BYU-Hawaii, but I hear that they sometimes go swimming there, and Satan has dominion over the waters. There is BYU-Idaho, but that is just an abomination because there is no fashion sense in Rexburg, and besides, there was that whole Dorm 5 scandal where the girls were selling (s) (e) (x) to pay their tuition, so there’s no way THAT could be The Lord’s True University (TM). I mean, they don’t even have Sports, so how much missionary work could they be doing? Using THE BYU will differentiate the One True School from those pale imitations, those counterfeit campuses.

  24. WVS (19),
    Careful, buddy. John C. is not only the founder of BCC Labs, he is a major contributor and the whole soul of the operation.

  25. Scott, I’m not intimidated by nonscientists. Come to think of it, I’m probably not intimidated by anyone. Well maybe Conan the Barbarian, and maybe Tracey.

  26. This was awesome.

  27. Genius (in a strictly academic sense). If you haven’t already patented your GBBC mechanism, you should. That’s some defendable BCC IP right there!

  28. Oh good grief, I’ve been laughing almost the entire time I’ve been reading. This is amazing. It’s my first BCC Labs post, and I’m hoping that the previous ones are as funny because I’m about to go look them up.

    “After this terrifying marginalization, she was turned into a non-the-BYU-attending newt. However, as is the wont of newts, she got better and returned to the BYU.” Seriously–laughed out loud. My husband grouched at me that I’m no longer allowed to read funny things while he’s trying to write.

  29. BCC Labs regrets to inform you that, ostensibly as a result of our analysis, the article referenced above is no longer available.

    BCC Labs will conduct a thorough investigation, or at least send our Intern off to the Testing Center, anyway, and get back to you.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 9,474 other followers