Saturday, 30 June 2018

Society's Christian Hangovers

What's Wrong With Cheating?

An interesting article has appeared in the NZ Herald.  If Alice were here, she might call it "curiouser and curiouser".  The essence of the matter is as follows:
More than $2.1 million will be forfeited to the police following a long-running legal battle with an alleged cheating service for university assignments.  In the first case of its kind, a settlement judgment released to the Herald this afternoon comes five years after the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the police first started an investigation into Assignment4U. 

No charges were ever laid, but the police took a civil case under the Criminal Proceeds Recovery Act, which has a lower evidential threshold of on the balance of probabilities.  The police case was Steven Li and Fan Yang, linked to companies running   Assignment4U, were providing "cheating services" for students to fraudulently submit purchased assignments as their own work.  [NZ Herald]
We are not sure of the ethnicity of the people involved in the systemic cheating enterprise, but their names suggest a Chinese origin.  We have seen cases over the years where students from various countries, but mainly Asian, have engaged in corrupt practices in an attempt to get passing grades in university or college.  Put more directly, they cheated.  Now an enterprising "firm" has made substantial profits from turning the latent demand into a business. 

A question of great moment is begged.
  What is wrong with such a snappy commercial enterprise?  One can only take issue if the divine command, "Thou shalt not steal" still holds in a culture.  But without believing in such a God, the basis upon which one rejects theft disappears.  It is the West which is backward, locked-in to a few antiquated "cultural hangups". 

The enterprise was pretty sophisticated.  It offered a Rolls-Royce service.  Nothing but the best, with various options on offer.
The judgment of Justice Woolford outlined the police case as one where students would lodge requests with Assignment4U for assignments to be written.  They would provide the assignment question, word limits, relevant textbooks and even their university log-in details.

"Generally, Assignment4U's fee would be set by reference to the word count. But students could also request assignments of a particular standard. The price would adjust accordingly - pay more for a better grade," wrote Justice Woolford, in summarising the case.  "Students could also pay more for faster turnarounds. If the desired grade or turnaround was not achieved, the student would be provided 'Assignment4U store credit'."
The West long ago rebelled against the Creator of all things.  It has sought to create its own "truth".  This truth hangs on skyhooks.  It is little more than a hangover from a Christian world and life view.  Principles out of this world-view would appear to be self-evident--until some enterprising folk from a non-Western culture apply their beliefs, which hang on their own particular set of beliefs.  They, being more commercially orientated, more pragmatic, more practical, and more utilitarian happily substitute their own cultural beliefs over the West's lingering historical hang-ups. 

Given the prevailing agnosticism and amorality of our culture, it is West which has the primitive, archaic hang-ups.  Its rejection of cheating is profoundly old fashioned.  But the Christian stands firm on the divine bedrock: "Thou shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not bear false witness".  The Christian alone has the foundation upon which a coherent rejection of cheating can be made. 

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