• Jeremy, let me ask you. Are you a college graduate? What is your educational level?

    • John,
      I fail to see how that is in any way relevant considering the dumbing down of the American education system.

  • How does that matter, John?

  • Look in on my blog later this morning then.


  • It’s up.


  • John, you keep making this point about Team Blogs. Who told you that?

  • Well, its been my experience that some people who want college degrees cant seem to figure out how to get them, given where they are in life. But other people see no point to getting a degree.

    In fact, my uncle, who was Mexican-American who grew up in the forties and fifties and who worked when he had to but preferred to live on welfare in the USA (he was a US citizen by birth), was surprised that I would want a college education. In fact, he was surprised I would want to work. In the late 80’s, He suggested that I not go to school and not work and the government would take care of me.

    I’ve seen people from the poorest homes you can imagine (as well as more affluent people) work hard, get a college education, and live decent lives. I’ve seen people from all socio-economic backgrounds NOT work hard, get a college education, and have decent lives. I’ve seen people from all socio-economic backgrounds work hard, NOT get a college education, and have decent lives. I’ve also seen people from all socio-economic backgrounds fail to be productive citizens, but in fact to be drains upon society.

    I do not see the problem being educational opportunities. I think the problem is the culture which encourages people to not strive, but which encourages people to expect someone else to take care of them.

    • WB,

      I think you take a bit more complex view of the situation in the first part, but I must at least partially disagree with your last statement. Surely, culture is part of the problem. But, I don’t think culture alone explains the enormous disparities in the statistical data.

  • I’m wondering why, if you’re going to go down the road of reducing the list to those who are highly theologically trained you’d cut it off at Masters level? Especially given John’s argument about the ease of obtaining undergraduate degrees. The stats in my country on the number who enroll in Masters v the number who complete them are pretty much on par with the undergraduate degree stats measuring the same factor – I have no reason to assume that the US stats would be much different. Anyone who wants to do a Masters usually can and of those who choose to most pass. This same argument was good enough to exclude those with undergrad degrees and since we all know that to be considered an expert in the field one needs a PhD and that PhD attempts have a high fail rate, those who pass therefore must be scholars. So, if we accept John’s argument let’s go whole hogg – limit the list to those with PhD’s… oh but then John, that would leave you off and us still on… but then your reasoning was all about the good of the list and the quality right John so I’m sure you don’t mind?

    For me, blogs are not going to rise to the top of a list if they do not contain quality content or content that pushes peoples buttons and while I would agree that generally speaking the more qualified the author, the better the content is likely to be, I accept that sometimes words uttered by the simplest and most uneducated of persons can be totally profound – my 9 year old said something that blew me away in its profoundness just yesterday and I am still turning it over in my mind. So in short, my vote is to let the market decide – maybe put some basic limitations around theological content as an entry requirement.

  • Listen Madeline and others. Sometimes I don’t know why I bother. I expected flack from my suggestion. But I never expected anything would change. It is my opinion. I was asked for it so I offered it, that’s all it is. Don’t ask if you don’t want me to express it next time, okay? Maybe you just don’t want me to speak at all. Maybe next time Jeremy should make an exception for me by adding: “…except for John Loftus because I don’t want to hear what he has to say.” If so, then okay. 😉

    But to suggest that if the list is cut off at some point means it should be cut off at a farther point down the road, demands a justification. Before you suggest such a thing we must agree on the problem that needs to be fixed. The problem, as I see it, is that there are way too many blogs on the list. And, from my personal experience, there are several Bloggers on the list who, well, don’t think very well because they are not educated enough to do so. On that we might disagree, but that’s what I think. Okay? My suggestions go toward fixing these twin problems which leaves plenty of educated bloggers on the list. What does your suggestion fix? And who will be left on your list? We could go even further, if you want to. We could cut from your list anyone who has a Ph.D. who is not tenured professor, you see.

    At the minimum, the Biblioblogger ranking list should not allow anyone on it who does not have a college degree in a Biblical related field (we could include philosophy of religion, ethics, theology, and so forth). That’s my opinion. This proposal would leave us with a number of Bloggers on the list who are qualified and educated.

    I know you object. But then this is what I think. And I know nothing will change. But I was asked for my opinion.

  • Joel, DC was not allowed to be on the Biblioblogger list because it WAS a team Blog for so long. That’s what NT Wrong told me.

  • Just reiterating, as I did in the comments section on John’s blog, that the BiblioBlog list was only ancillary to the point I was trying to make here. I would have written this post if I heard a strong theist with whom I interacted online make it standing on the moon rather than on Joel’s blog. I simply think that John’s statement about education in America is absolutely wrong, and in a serious way. I don’t think there is “easy access to a college education in our part of the world today,” especially for particular groups in our society. I read John’s entire statement very generally as he appears to be speaking about “the world” in the first line, and not simply about “bloggers” as he claims in his post. (And, there is another commenter there who read the statement in the same way as I have – who is coincidentally not a conservative either as far as I know).

  • I see Jeremy, Joel et al’s point that plenty of non-trained people have done amazing things – if the list is about biblical blogs that speak to people, that people enjoy – but I can see the argument for limiting it to bachelors degree level in a relevant range of theological disciplines – if the list is to be about quality scholarship. what I cannot see is why Masters would be the cut-off – that seems more arbitrary to me and I was only yanking your chain about the self-interest thing.

    The reason I am more tipped in favour of a market approach is that this is the internet and the biblioblog list has always been pitched as a bit of fun, so for these factors I do not see why it should suddenly go in a more serious, formal and professional direction.

    There would be no reason to stop you or anyone else from starting a new list where the criteria was a degree in a relevant subject for entry.

  • John, regarding the list, what if we excluded non-believers? Or Catholics? Or Baptists?

    The point of the list was not an official listing, as if it was a resume builder. Because the list is what it is, I would tend to think that the larger group the better. I think the cut off point is simply the area of biblical studies. Is the blog more theological? More commercial? Politically driven? Or does it have a blogger interested in the field of biblical studies, not necessarily apologetics. What you would like to see, it seems, is a list which is official, formal, and based on your presuppositions. The fact is, is that you don’t like the way people think and thus see them as ‘uneducated.’

    To be honest, it seems that you have created this issue to exclude people from the list although you yourself was once excluded. I do hope that that is not the case.

    I think that this is post has yet to be unanswered, John, and we keep getting off track. Your comments about education being open to all and only those who don’t won’t to learn will not was way off base, as has been proved. Further, you have yet to make the case that post-graduate education is needed in order to discuss and blog about biblical studies within a community of bibliobloggers. Elitism is never a pretty picture, in my opinion.

  • Well said, Madeleine. The list is rather unofficial and informal, and as a matter of fact, several scholars have voiced their opposition to such a formal list as John would propose.

  • […] Jeremy has an excellent post on the myth of an open an easily accessible college education. He points out: […]

  • John, you might check, but there are team blogs on the list and have been on the list.

  • There’s a self-centered and twisted logic of argument that says “for me, anything I say must be judged according to what I said, and I must be accomodated according to whatever I feel about, but I am free to judge your writing according to everything I feel it implies or even hints at.” It’s a method intellectual combat similar to a small child who screams at the slightest hint, real or imagined, of aggression from another, while scoffing at the sensitivity of anyone who takes offense at any of their own aggression. And it is just this sort of pushy and self-centered rhetoric that characterizes what John Loftus says, both about the biblioblogging list, Psalm 14:1, and many other things.

    And as to a master’s degree requirement–this supposes that the compiler of the list actually has the ability to verify everyone’s educational status, which is asking a great deal of him.

  • Shutting down comments on this post at least for a bit. Going to enjoy my weekend (dinner and a movie with the kids tonight and Saintsies tomorrow) and don’t feel like moderating tonight or tomorrow. New lesson never write a post like this one on Friday. Not that big of a deal though, if you want to talk more about it, go on over to John’s blog ad talk to him about it here – http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/01/conservative-biblioboggers-attack-again.html . Nobody really seems to be talking directly to me very much in either place anyway.

    A couple of points that I make in the comments over there. 1) I am not a conservative, but rather a moderate, 2) I have very different ideas about the BiblioBlog list than I think John states for me there, 3) He does not cite himself in full there, though he states I have taken him out of context. So, I’ll do it again here stripped of my commentary. Decide for yourself (like another commenter on his post did) what you think John meant and converse with him about it at his place (Unless he decides to shut down for a couple of days and enjoy his weekend too):

    “Listen, for every uneducated person who made a big difference in the world there are millions who didn’t. The odds are against it. Such things as these should be judged on a case by case basis. The rule is that, given the easy access to a college education in our part of the world today, anyone who really wanted to learn could do so. If a person doesn’t go to college to learn then that person probably doesn’t have much of a desire to learn. And given the dumbing down of American education, even a college education doesn’t mean as much as it once did. Now most everyone is getting one. Those are the odds. Quite frankly I have not been impressed with any blogger who did not at least have a college education. Maybe you could point us to one or two or however many you wish to endorse, so I might see for myself.”