Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Did Oxford Don Peter Millican Trivialize and Misrepresent Jack Cashill's Research?

Dr. Jack Cashill is making the case in a series of articles that the Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers had a hand in writing President-elect Obama's memoir Dreams From My Father (1995).

Dr. Cashill writes in an article titled "Oxford Don Trips Badly On Dreams Analysis" (11-3-08) that Dr. Peter Millican, an Oxford Philosophy professor, is mocking his theory:

Oxford philosophy don Peter Millican has posted a report on Bill Ayers’ likely involvement in the writing of Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father so shabby and slapdash that it had me checking Britain’s famous libel laws before I was halfway through.

Millican seems to be a man on a mission. He tells readers that they “will be pleased to discover that the probable next leader of the free world did not get his impressive first book written by Bill Ayers.”

His gratuitous leaks to the London Times about his work have netted him glowing headlines as a bloke bold enough to blow the whistle on Republican chicanery.

“How they tried to tarnish Barack Obama,” reads one laughable headline. “Peter Millican reveals how he was drawn into a plot to link the Democrat to a former radical.”

Dr. Cashill criticizes Dr. Millican's article for trivializing and misrepresenting the facts that support his argument:

Millican begins by trivializing the undeniable evidence that three nearly identical stories appear in Obama’s Dreams that also appear in Ayers’ works. (Please see cashill.com for more details).

Even if parallel passages were to be found between Obama's [1995] book and Ayers's Fugitive Days of 2001, the charge of plagiarism could only be directed at Ayers . . . “ writes Millican [my link].

Let me repeat: I have found not just parallel passages but detailed and distinctive parallel stories, at least three of them, all of them embarrassingly obvious.
Millican tries to explain them away by suggesting Ayers possibly plagiarized Dreams, given that Fugitive Days was written six years later.


If Millican had bothered to read what I had written, however, he would have known that two of the parallel stories appear in Ayers’ 1993 book, To Teach. [not Fugitive Days!]

The third parallel story is cited in Ayers’ 1997 book, A Kind And Just Parent [not Fugitive Days!], but has its origins in a 1992 book by black author Reginald McKnight. Ayers obviously knew enough about this story by 1995 to adapt it to Obama’s life. [See full text]

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