Saturday, November 01, 2008
Joe the Oxford Don
Dr Peter Millican, a philosophy don at Hertford College, Oxford, has devised a computer software program that can detect when works are by the same author by comparing favourite words and phrases.
He was contacted last weekend and offered $10,000 (£6,200) to assess alleged similarities between Obama’s best-seller, Dreams from My Father, and Fugitive Days, a memoir by William Ayers.
Ayers, now a university professor in Chicago, co-founded the Weathermen, a radical 1960s underground group that bombed government buildings in Washington and New York. The Republicans accuse Obama of “palling around” with him.
The offer to Millican to prove that Ayers wrote Obama’s book was made by Robert Fox, a California businessman and brother-in-law of Chris Cannon, a Republican congressman from Utah. He hoped to corroborate a theory advanced by Jack Cashill, an American writer...Millican took a preliminary look and found the charges “laughably unsubstantiated”. A deal was agreed for more detailed research but when Millican said the results had to be made public, even if no link to Ayers was proved, interest waned.
If you need philosophy profs to save your presidential campaign, you may be beyond saving.