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Why we need college degrees more than we need faith

Rick Santorum has made a number of outlandish statements recently during this presidential campaign that appear derive from his religious worldview, ranging from the claim that contraception is ‘harmful to women’ to the claim that birth control encourages more abortions. But while his criticism of President Obama’s encouragement of Americans to attend college, calling such aspirations snobby, was also off the mark – those with a college degree, for example, have been shown to vastly greater earning potential and job opportunities than those without one – his claim that many students who enter college with a ‘faith commitment’ leave college without one may in fact have some basis in reality. However, the conclusion he draws from this claim is precisely wrong.


Mr. Santorum views this apparent facet of higher education as a danger, and his proposed solution is simple –- less higher education and more faith.

As a faculty member at an institution of higher education, and as a scientist, however, I question the basic premise that loss of faith is a bad thing. If it is true that those who are more educated have a greater tendency to question their religious faith, shouldn’t we consider that this might be telling us more about religious faith than about how harmful getting a college degree can be?

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TAGGED: EDUCATION, LAWRENCE M. KRAUSS, POLITICS


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