Quote of the Day

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

TJEd'ers Encouraged to Shill for DeMille

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this twitter post. The DeMilles are offering to compensate followers for reviewing their books on Amazon.com. Just email for details.

So how does this work -- you leave a review, email it to DeMille for approval, then you get your stuff shipped free? That's the DEFINITION of shilling.

Remember that a shill is "a person paid to endorse a product favorably, while pretending to be impartial."


Degrees No Longer Offered

George Wythe University has offered many degrees in its 17 years, sometimes for nothing more than a shoddy book manuscript, and sometimes, apparently, for nothing at all.

Degrees no longer offered:

-Youth and Family Counseling
-Near Eastern Studies (Rachel DeMille, 1993)
-Education (Andrew Groft, Ph.D., date unknown; (Julie Earley, Ed.d, date unknown) UPDATE: Masters still offered
-International Business (Mark Siljander, Ph.D., sometime in the 1990s)
-Business Management
-Health Sciences (Ann Blake Tracy, Ph.D., sometime in the 1990s)

Expert witness
By the way, Ann Tracy puts herself out as an "expert witness" based on this degree, and apparently has testified at several trials. At one in Arkansas -- a child rape case, where she was TESTIFYING ON BEHALF OF THE ACCUSED -- she was forced to admit that the degree came from George Wythe College. Her testimony was thrown out. (David Eric WOOD v. STATE of Arkansas, Opinion delivered September 5, 2001)

Does anyone else find that disturbing?

Tracy explained to the Deseret News that "the Ph.D. was awarded for 'lifetime experience,' specifically for the writing of Prozac: Panacea or Pandora? which she says she has been told is the equivalent of, or 'far beyond,' a dissertation."

The Deseret News then noted that the self-published book "contains spelling and punctuation errors and incomplete sentences."

The school's response (given via administrators' edits to the school's Wikipedia article) is that it cleaned up its act in 2002, and that it now has a sharp focus on Statesmanship and Constitutional Law -- no more psychology or business degrees.

Interesting doctorate
One final tidbit. Shanon Brooks reports that his Ph.D. from George Wythe, received in 2004, was for Constitutional Law AND Entrepreneurship. Wow, I can't even find where that degree has been offered. I would love to see the dissertation (in fact, I would love to see ANY dissertation for one of these "doctorates")!

Let me know if I'm missing any!

UPDATE: Brooks says in his CV above that he earned his doctorate in 2004. However, in this article he wrote in 2003, he is already calling himself "Dr. Brooks."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Quick news items

Three quick news items while I work on my second Feynman post:

Coral Ridge site gone
First, it appears all Coral Ridge Baptist University (www.crbu.net) web archives have been removed from archive.org at the request of the site owner. (You'll recall that CRBU is where DeMille got all his degrees after BYU, before he got them before BYU, but then... Forget it, it's pretty confusing.) For a sampling of what that site contained, read this article by Richard Stout.

GWU no longer delinquent
Second, it appears Andrew Groft and team have finally cobbled together the money to renew the George Wythe Foundation's delinquent filings with the State of Utah. Whew! How can you send your kids to a place that can't even do the basics like this? (Incidentally, Groft is now the registered agent instead of Shanon Brooks.)

DeMilles' new venture
Third, the DeMilles have begun offering online TJED classes "with the same system used by George Wythe University." That would be Elluminate. These classes are through their new venture, TJEd Academy and Prep School, an extension of their TJEdOnline.com website (which, coincidentally, is now delinquent in its filings).

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Richard Feynman and Becoming a Statesman

Okay, so I think we've made it clear on this blog that George Wythe is poorly managed, struggles with transparency, is essentially a money hole for anyone looking for a good education, blah, blah, blah. Yes, the school may sputter along, but it will never be what it claims because of its terrible foundation.

Which brings me to Richard Feynman. When I was in college--GASP, not George Wythe College!--I read a great essay by Feynman for a critical writing class. Below is an excerpt from that essay followed by my discussion of how it applies to a college seeking to "Build Statesmen."

Feynman was a visiting physics professor at a university in Brazil when he had the following experience, related in his essay "O Americano, Outra Vez!":

"In regard to education in Brazil, I had a very interesting experience. I was teaching a group of students who would ultimately become teachers, since at that time there were not many opportunities in Brazil for a highly trained person in science. These students had already had many courses, and this was to be their most advanced course in electricity and magnetism - Maxwell's equations, and so on.

"The university was located in various office buildings throughout the city, and the course I taught met in a building which overlooked the bay.

"I discovered a very strange phenomenon: I could ask a question, which the students would answer immediately. But the next time I would ask the question - the same subject, and the same question, as far as I could tell - they couldn't answer it at all! For instance, one time I was talking about polarized light, and I gave them all some strips of polaroid.

"Polaroid passes only light whose electric vector is in a certain direction, so I explained how you could tell which way the light is polarized from whether the polaroid is dark or light.

"We first took two strips of polaroid and rotated them until they let the most light through. From doing that we could tell that the two strips were now admitting light polarized in the same direction - what passed through one piece of polaroid could also pass through the other. But then I asked them how one could tell the absolute direction of polarization, for a single piece of polaroid.

"They hadn't any idea.

"I knew this took a certain amount of ingenuity, so I gave them a hint: 'Look at the light reflected from the bay outside.'

"Nobody said anything.

"Then I said, 'Have you ever heard of Brewster's Angle?'

"'Yes, sir! Brewster's Angle is the angle at which light reflected from a medium with an index of refraction is completely polarized.'

"'And which way is the light polarized when it's reflected?'

"'The light is polarized perpendicular to the plane of reflection, sir.' Even now, I have to think about it; they knew it cold! They even knew the tangent of the angle equals the index!

"I said, 'Well?'

"Still nothing. They had just told me that light reflected from a medium with an index, such as the bay outside, was polarized; they had even told me which way it was polarized.

"I said, 'Look at the bay outside, through the polaroid. Now turn the polaroid.'

"'Ooh, it's polarized!' they said.

"After a lot of investigation, I finally figured out that the students had memorized everything, but they didn't know what anything meant. When they heard 'light that is reflected from a medium with an index,' they didn't know that it meant a material such as water. They didn't know that the 'direction of the light' is the direction in which you see something when you're looking at it, and so on. Everything was entirely memorized, yet nothing had been translated into meaningful words. So if I asked, 'What is Brewster's Angle?' I'm going into the computer with the right keywords. But if I say, 'Look at the water,' nothing happens - they don't have anything under 'Look at the water'!"

So what does this story have to do with George Wythe University?

One of the things Feynman wondered about was why a country like Brazil had so many physics students, yet virtually no physicists. It turns out that the students were taught what to think, but not how to think. Not surprisingly, their education bore little fruit.

George Wythe College was founded to systematically produce statesmen. (DeMille himself said his vision was to put people in Congress.)

Where are the statesmen? Yes, a while ago some students went to a UN conference. Yes, there is some work going on in Africa that is loosely connected with the school. But these are isolated cases with negligible impact.

Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence 9 years after he finished reading law under George Wythe. This school has been around for 17 years.

Where is the fruit? Where are the statesmen?

(public domain image: Nobel Foundation)