The Diederich College of Communications hates facts

Exhibit A
To-day, my professor for a history of printing survey-course claimed no less than three times that the radical pamphleteer Thomas Paine (1737-1809) was French:
He was a Frenchman, but fluent in English…
…at the time of their revolution, he returned to France…
Thomas Paine was born in Norfolk, England. Though he admired the work of many of the philosophes and relocated to France in 1792 to sit on the National Convention , he never learned to speak French.
This professor also claimed that Paine died aiding the Greek War of Independence. If this were true, Paine would have been fighting at age 84.
Paine died twelve years before Greek indepedence was declared, in Greenwhich Village.
"Stewart's" 1789 reporduction of Sir Godfrey Kneller's portrait of John Locke, purchased by Thomas Jefferson.

"Stewart's" 1789 reporduction of Sir Godfrey Kneller's portrait of John Locke, purchased by Thomas Jefferson.

Last week, this same professor tried to overthrow the basic intellectual framework of our founding, by claiming that Thomas Jefferson never read the political works of John Locke.  He claimed American republicanism was modeled primarily off an obscure tradition of elective communities in Scotland.

Jefferson commissioned a reproduction of Locke’s portrait for Monticello. Corroborating Link. He described Locke, along with Francis Bacon and Newton

My trinity of the three greatest men the world had ever produced

And lest be inclined to believe Jefferson made this pronouncement because he was a devotee of associationalist psychology, bear in mind that Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence explicitly advocated those three most basic rights in Locke’s politics, life, liberty, and the pursuit of property.

Exhibit B

The same week as the Locke comment, another communications instructor said there was still “a lot of uncertainty” about the connexion between childhood vaccination and autism.  

I might have given a pass on this comment, if it weren’t worded so ambiguously. He or she might have been trying to say that there is “uncertainty” insofar as there is no scientific consensus on whether or not vaccination and autism correlate. If this is the case, he or she is wrong and worthy of censure. There simply is no controversy among scientists about a link between vaccines and autism. There just isn’t. I don’t need to link to it; there has never been a single peer-reviewed study suggesting any such thing. By any sane epistemological reckoning, we have total certainty that vaccines do not cause autism.

There is, however, much confusion in the political or social sphere of conversation, based on confusion engendered by the flimsiest pseudoscience. conspiracy theorists claim that recent spikes in autism spectrum disorder diagnosis correlate with the propagation of vaccines containing trace amounts of mercury. However, while mercury is associated with cognitive impairments when encountered in huge doses, these effects do not resemble the symptoms of autistics, who might be high-functioning in many capacities; and anyway, those shots containing truly insignificant amounts of the substance have been off the market for years. If my instructor was alluding to this confusion among the general public on the issue, he or she is only guilty of speaking in haste, failing to qualify or explain her comment. I hope this is the case. I really do hope.


One Response

  1. These people are allowed to teach? Thomas Pain is French? Vaccines “might or might not” cause autism? Jefferson never read Locke??? Did they also tell you that Global warming was caused by the earth farting and that we never landed on the moon?!!!

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