Sunday, February 03, 2008

Sunday Sermon:

Once again, I'm going to promote an evangelical Christian sermon. This time from the Chapel at The Masters College, an evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant college. You can hear Gregg Frazer explain his PhD thesis to students at TMC here where he argues America's key Founders were "religious" but not "Christian" and otherwise refutes the Christian Nation idea ala Barton, Federer, Kennedy, and Eidsmoe.

Much of what he has to say I've reproduced on my blogs over the past few years; however, something that this lecture gives that I've perhaps neglected is the value to conservative traditional Christians in rejecting the Christian America idea. The secularists who read my blogs enjoy hearing how Jefferson, Franklin, and John Adams were men who put their faith more so in reason than revelation and otherwise denied orthodox Christianity. However, conservative Christians do well to understand that traditional Christianity is not Americanism. And those Christians should think long and hard about the two and do their best not to conflate them else they risk corrupting the purity of their faith. They risk "Mormonizing" their faith, that is importing a-biblical ideas into the Christian religion and pretending such are scripture. Instead of the Book of Mormon, we get the Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and words of Christian American prophets, America's Founders. Ironic in that Mormonism, unlike Christianity, developed in America after its Founding, actually officially incorporates many of these ideas as divinely inspired on the same level as the Old and New Testament. Mormonism, though not exactly the same as the religious faith of America's key Founders, is closer to it than is orthodox Trinitarian Christianity.

Anyway Dr. Frazer's lecture can be heard here.

1 comment:

boyd said...


The most rigorous part of the dissertation includes the

Methods Section
Study Design
Research questions and hypothesis formulation
Development of instrumentation
Describing the independent and dependent variables
Writing the data analysis plan
Performing a Power Analysis to justify the sample size and writing about it

Results Section
Performing the Data Analysis
Understanding the analysis results
Reporting the results.
When you enter this phase of the program, you are nearing the end of the journey. Given the difficulty of this phase, one often wishes they had previewed what was to come.
Many Ph.D candidates seem to hit a brick wall and feel disarmed when called upon to work on the methods and results section of their dissertation.
This is the point where many students diligently search for help calling on their advisor, peers, university assistance and even Google.
This is also the time when the student asks themselves the question" HOW MUCH HELP IS TOO MUCH".
Surely no one will deny that having your dissertation written for you is very wrong.

On the other hand, it is not unusual for doctoral students to get help on specific aspects of their dissertation.(e.g. APA formating and editing) It also is not unusual for advisors to encourage students to seek outside help.

If you are a distance learning student it is almost essential you seek outside assistance for the methods and results section of your dissertation. The very nature of distance learning suggest the need for not only outside help but help from someone gifted in explaining highly technical concepts in understandible language by telephone and e-mail.

Distance learning, and the avaiability of programs, has increased exponetially over the last few years with some of the most respected institutions (Columbia University, Engineering; Boston University and others) offering a Ph.D in a variety of fields. If you are enrolled in a distance learning program, or considering one, you will be interested in reviewing the reference sites listed at the bottom of this page.

As stated above, many students hit their dissertation "brick wall" when they encounter the statistics section. Frequently, a student will struggle for months with that section before they seek a consultant to help them. This often leads to additional tuition costs and missed graduation dates.

If I were to name a single reason why a PhD candidate gets off track in their program it is the statistics and their fear of statistics.

So, the question is whether or not it is ethical to get help at all. If so, how much help is too much.

I don't know if there has ever been a survey of dissertation committee members who were asked this question, however, I know many advisors take the following position when they suggest or approve outside help:

To a large extent the process is self controlling. If the student relies too much on a consultant, the product may look good, however, the student will be unable to defend his/her dissertation.

It takes a committed effort on the part of the student and the consultant (resulting in a collaborative/teaching exchange) to have the student responsible for the data and thoroughly understand the statistics. The day the student walks in front of the committee to defend, there should be no question as to his/her understanding of statistics.

When their defense is successful, the question of "was the help too much" is answered.

If you are a Ph.D candidate and would like additional information, you may email me at:


Reference sites: