Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A New "Green Day"

There is much talk about "mother earth," being "green," and preserving our environment.

Use better light bulbs. Turn off the lights early. Turn off the TV. Turn off the computer. Drive less.

Going out to eat means using more resources (which already exist at home), especially fast food restaurants with disposable products. Entertainment means more driving and more electricity usage.

In fact, working around the house every day--yard work, car work, basement repair--all use energy.

What if we, as a nation, decided to take a day off from all this energy consumption and disposable waste. An entire day could be "green" and make everybody feel better (both from the liberal guilt and from work in general).

If it got popular enough, it could be a weekly "green" day.
One day in seven.

How about the Christian Sabbath--Sunday?

Although not the central point of the day, it turns out those ornery Puritans had something right after all.


Friday, April 04, 2008

Martin Luther King's Plagiarism

This is actually old news. But old news is quickly forgotten.
And truth is easily forgotten when inconvenient.

This truth is very inconvenient. King plagiarized portions of his dissertation and other works while at Boston University. Their own investigation discovered this in 1990. And the plagiarism was not inconsequential: it was "enough to indicate a serious violation of academic principles." (NY Times).

Naturally, if my M. Div. paper had such problems, it would be rejected out of hand and my credibility would be lost. What I said and wrote would be suspect: am I real? am I fake? am I an opportunist?

But then, I'm not famous.

[Full article below:]

Boston U. Panel Finds Plagiarism by Dr. King

"A committee of scholars appointed by Boston University concluded today that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. plagiarized passages in his dissertation for a doctoral degree at the university 36 years ago.

"There is no question," the committee said in a report to the university's provost, "but that Dr. King plagiarized in the dissertation by appropriating material from sources not explicitly credited in notes, or mistakenly credited, or credited generally and at some distance in the text from a close paraphrase or verbatim quotation."

Despite its finding, the committee said that "no thought should be given to the revocation of Dr. King's doctoral degree," an action that the panel said would serve no purpose.

But the committee did recommend that a letter stating its finding be placed with the official copy of Dr. King's dissertation in the university's library.

The four-member committee was appointed by the university a year ago to determine whether plagiarism charges against Dr. King that had recently surfaced were in fact true. Today the university's provost, Jon Westling, accepted the committee's recommendations and said its members had "conducted the investigation with scholarly thoroughness, scrupulous attention to detail and a determination not to be influenced by non-scholarly consideration."

The dissertation at issue is "A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman." Dr. King wrote it in 1955 as part of his requirements for a doctor of philosophy degree, which he subsequently received from the university's Division of Religious and Theological Studies.

One member of the investigating committee, John Cartwright, the university's Martin Luther King Professor of Social Ethics, said the panel had refrained from speculating about the reasons why Dr. King had not properly attributed material, which came from a variety of other interpreters of the works of Tillich and Wieman."