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Showing posts from July, 2009

Why academics are conformists

Minnesota psychologist Thomas Bouchard said academics are conformists in the July 3, 2009 edition of the journal Science , according to New York Times blogger Nicholas Wade in the TierneyLab blog . Wade reports that Bouchard said: The strength of this urge to conform can silence even those who have good reason to think the majority is wrong. You’re an expert because all your peers recognize you as such. But if you start to get too far out of line with what your peers believe, they will look at you askance and start to withdraw the informal title of “expert” they have implicitly bestowed on you. Then you’ll bear the less comfortable label of “maverick,” which is only a few stops short of “scapegoat” or “pariah.” (See Source, below) This psychological insight explains why Doubt about Will founder John Shahan's campaign for the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt about the Identity of William Shakespeare is so effective in eroding that hole in the dike of academic resistance to the

Tom Hunter comments on Shermer's SciAm essay

Oberon Chairperson Tom Hunter, PhD, commented online today on Michael Shermer's pro-Stratfordian essay in the August 2009 Scientific American at: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=skeptics-take-on-the-life&page=2&posted=1#comments Hunter wrote: Mr. Shermer gets it wrong about Oxfordians. Justice Steven’s decision for Oxford as the true Shakespeare beyond a reasonable doubt was not the granting of some baseless wish. It was the inevitable discovery, by someone who could not be ignored, a justice of the United States Supreme Court, about where the considerable evidence for Oxford reasonably leads us. Justice Scalia has come to the same conclusion. Two Supreme Court justices. It is fine for Mr Shermer to dissent. We welcome dissent. But we need stronger dissent than the well-worn uninformed, erroneous, blustery reasons he gives, such as that there is zero evidence that Edward de Vere wrote under a pseudonym. Shermer needs to do his reading. He needs to read

SciAm not so rational

Spurred by the Wall Street Journal article about Justice John Paul Steven’s anti-Stratfordianism , professional skeptic and publisher of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer, inveighs against the evils of authorship heresy in the August 2009 S cientific American . I’ve never understood Shermer’s staunch stance against authorship agnosticism. I would have thought that a skeptic might wonder how a man who couldn’t write managed to pen all those plays, or how the man from Stratford knew so much about science, math, astronomy, languages, law, mythology, and myriad books and authors. I thought a skeptic might be skeptical. But no, Shermer’s only concern is his hatred of conspiracy theorists. But what if there were no conspiracy? What if history just got it wrong when someone decided the playwright was this guy from Stratford? Would Shermer become an Oxfordian?  I doubt it. I don’t have much confidence in the intellectual acuity of the guy who said in his Scientific American essay: Some anti-

Oberon meets Wednesday, July 15

Dear Oberon,   A brief reminder that our July meeting this week will be on Wednesday at the Farmington Library rather than Thursday.  We are making the change in the fond hope of accommodating the schedules of those who cannot make it on Thursday.  Please let me know if the Wednesday date will cause you difficulty in being with us.   So we will see you at 6:45 Wednesday, July 15 at our usual place, meeting room A. We will be hearing about the results of Oberon Up North and the Interlochen Shakespeare Festival which in itself was a quite pleasant experience.  We will also be looking to the rest of the year, including the Michigan Shakespeare Festival coming up August 1, interesting productions at Stratford this summer, the UMS/Globe production of  Love's Labours Lost   in October, and our Sonnet meeting planned for October.   Lots on our plate as usual. See you Wednesday!   Tom Hunter Oberon Chair

Shakespeare Oxford Society newsletter

I put up three new entries on the Shakepeare-Oxford Society blog about my first issue as Shakespeare Oxford Newsletter editor now being mailed to SOS members. The first post tells about the contents of the newsletter that includes contributions by Oberon members: a report of the thirteenth Shakespeare Authorship Studies Conference by Richard Joyrich, MD and a commentary on the April 2009 Wall Street Journal article on Justice John Paul Stevens’ Oxfordian point-of-view by R. Thomas Hunter, PhD To get your copy of the newsletter, support the work of the Shakespeare-Oxford Society by joining online . You can preview the newsletter by reading two articles from the current issue on the SOS blog: a letter from SOS President Matthew Cossolotto and an interview with Oxfordian playwright Alan Navarre . Linda Theil, Editor Shakespeare-Oxford Newsletter