Among the relentless academic critics of The Professors, one is more relentless than others. Adam Barlow is a professor of English at Kutztown University, who has attacked me on TPMCafe and EPluribusUnum and whom I have dealt with here. Now DailyKos, the Democratic hysteria blog has re-posted his latest effort, which deals among other things with the methodology of using a collective profile to identify patterns of academic abuse. The methodology is an academic approach known as prosopography. I asked a distinguished professor of history to comment on Barlow’s critique. The critique can be found here.
Professor X: “Barlow’s arguments are worthless. If you examine the careers of Roman consuls from 40 B.C. to 20 B.C., how they got to the high political point where they got, you are not examining ALL Roman consuls (509 B.C.-476 A.D.: a thousand years of them), nor are you examining all Roman office-holders in this 20-year period (many of who did not reach as high as consul). If, even more narrowly, you examine all Roman consuls who come from Etruria in this 20-year period, you are not even examining all Roman consuls from 40-20 B.C.. Yet methodologically this is perfectly reasonable to do, and it is done all the time. If you discover patterns in how careers proceeded among our Etruscan consuls in this 20-year period, it doesn't matter that this is a sub-group of all consuls: the pattern remains. What you did was look at your 100 subjects and see if there were patterns in careers. There were. End of story.
“Barlow is a composition teacher, not a historian. He knows nothing about prosopographical method and how it is used.”
The following letter to the editor appeared in today's Pittsburgh-Tribune Review
Re-educating Comrade Horowitz Tuesday, March 21, 2006
David Horowitz, author of "The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America," makes misleading statements about me in his interview with Bill Steigerwald ("Invasion of the mind snatchers" Q&A, March 18 and TribLIVE.com). I'd like to reply.
Horowitz says that I "think Stalin was a democrat." That's what the best evidence and research, including my own, demonstrate ("Stalin and the Struggle for Democratic Reform"). Horowitz disagrees? Where is his evidence?
He says I think "the collapse of the Soviet Union was a moral catastrophe," but omits my reason for thinking so: It led to a catastrophic plunge in the standard of living for most of its people.
He says that I have "managed to get a course ... in which he can teach his ridiculous opinions." This is a lie, and Horowitz knows it. His researcher read all my course Web pages and homework assignments, and knows that I do not even mention the Soviet Union in any of them.
In my courses I teach not "opinions," but what the best research demonstrates. Scholarship, research, evidence, logic -- this is the only way to approximate the truth.
If he were honest, he would have said: "Professor Furr disagrees with me, David Horowitz!" To which my answer would be: "Sure I do! So what?"
The writer is an English professor at Montclair State University.