Dr. Facts

Edit911 vs. Other Editing Services

Do a quick search and you’ll find thousands of editing services. When we started back in 1999, there were probably less than 100.  So how do you sort through the clutter to find the best one? By considering this comparison checklist.

Who Owns the Editing Service? Our owner is Marc D. Baldwin, PhD, whose bio, credentials, and contact information are right on the website (http://edit911.com/staff).  He also runs the Customer Service department, often answering emails and phone calls himself. The buck stops with him.  Few other editing services are up front about their ownership and fewer still have the owner himself readily available for questions and clarifications.  Dr. Baldwin puts his professional reputation and career as a college professor on the line with every single editing job his company does.

Who Does the Editing? Again, most other editing services don’t make it very clear who is editing your work, much less including staff names and bios (http://edit911.com/staff). All of Edit911’s editors are PhDs and published scholars in a wide range of fields and disciplines.  Many on the Staff have been with Edit911 for 7-10 years.

How Dependable and Responsive is Their Customer Service? Dr. Baldwin has one or two assistants, depending on the day, but for the most part he—the owner—answers emails and phone calls. He likes it that way because it ensures that his clients receive the very best treatment and service.  No client of Edit911 ever gets delayed or ignored.  All questions, concerns, or issues are immediately addressed to our clients’ complete satisfaction.

Do They Have Accountability as Members of TrustE & the Better Business Bureau of America (BBB)?  These two organizations warrant and certify that a company is reliable and trustworthy. Without their seals on the site—active and responsive when you click them—the editing service has no accountability. That is, to whom does an unhappy customer complain and report that complaint? Edit911 has perfect A+ rating with both companies, never having had one single complaint filed against it in 13 years of business.  Few other editing services are members of these organizations, much less having a flawless record of zero customer complaints.

Does the Editing Service Have a Track Record of Successful Editing? Having edited over 22,000 documents since 1999, Edit911 has hundreds of stellar Testimonials and many delighted Published Clients. Few other editing services have anywhere near the amount of enthusiastic clients singing their praises.

Do the Editors Themselves Actually Write and Publish Their Work? When you think about it, isn’t it absurd to hire an editor who doesn’t actually write anything? All of our editors are published authors of their scholarly articles, books, and novels. They also write blogs (http://edit911.com/blog), books, white papers, and articles for Edit911. Few other editing services provide any information at all about their editors, much less whether or not their editors are published authors.

Do the Editors Offer Any Mentoring and Advice as They Edit? Since almost all of Edit911’s editors are college professors, they enjoy teaching and helping their clients in any way they can. So, they explain their editing and offer constructive suggestions. These two samples of our editing reports demonstrate our editors’ level of engagement with their clients.

Is Their Editing Comprehensive? Most editing services have several different rates, depending on what you pay for. If you just pay for proofreading, they ignore all other issues, regardless of how serious they may be, because you didn’t pay for them to correct anything but basic “errors.” That’s like asking a medical doctor to just check your pulse. She may notice that your eyes are blurry and you have a fever, but she doesn’t treat those symptoms because you didn’t pay for them. We at Edit911 believe it is unethical to do anything other than everything we can possibly do for you. Therefore, we have one low rate for our full-service editing (See Services, FAQs and Order Service).

In Conclusion? The difference between Edit911 and other editing services could not be greater.            

Defining Your Terms to Win the War of Words

Is there any kind of communication or conversation that we have to negotiate and deal with more than argumentation? I don’t think so. While performing dissertation editing, I always concentrate on the strength and soundness of the writer’s thesis or argument.

All communication is an argument of some kind

In a practical sense, who isn’t always arguing—excuse me, talking—with your spouse, partner, friend, boss, underling, or complete stranger in the tube or a bar or while standing in line for a table, tickets, or tram? Arguments—I mean, discussions, of course—break out routinely, nauseatingly, incessantly, as we homo sapiens tend to want our way, viewpoint, gripe or gut reaction heard, known, and heeded. Or maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re the passive, silent, non-confrontational type and you keep it to yourself. But it’s highly likely that your silence is just disguising a raging interior dialogue with the offending person who can’t hear what’s going on inside your head.

All those arguments and disagreements, conflicts and debates can be broken down into four types of claims, inferences, appeals, or approaches to whatever topic is being bandied about. It helps to understand yourself, if not the other person. We’re all coming from our own paradigm, our own set of assumptions, perceptions, biases, and experiences. To successfully argue, it helps to know where we’re all at, so to speak.

It all starts with definitions

So many contentious conversations and positions are stuck in park, frozen in stone, two fists striking at each other, knuckles cracking over sheer misconceptions about definitions. We’re arguing about two different things. We don’t define our terms the same way. You think a word, a concept, a subject means one thing, while your opponent or adversary thinks it means another. I even have such debates with the staff at my dissertation editing service. Even fellow PhDs regularly disagree about the exact meaning of certain terms or words.

The dictionary has multiple definitions of a word

As with the other three types of claims, we have to be honest with ourselves, go to the source, perhaps even a dictionary, to be sure we’re on the same page. Usually, it takes more than a dictionary. It takes articles, studies, books (plural) to straighten out the fundamental meaning of what we’re arguing about.

Take conservatism vs. liberalism. There’s as many conceptions of those terms as there are people on the planet. I was perusing Quora today (a great Q&A social media site) and that was one of the hottest questions du jour. What do the terms mean? You can’t even begin to intelligently and soberly debate the issues affected by the dichotomous terms until you know the person you’re discussing the issues with agrees with you on the meaning of the terms themselves.

And then there’s the denotation and connotation of the definitions

They lift (or lower) us into 3-dimensional chess match of meaning. How about pro-life and pro-choice? The entire flaming intense debate starts with the definition of life. Or how about this: Does pornography exploit women? Depends on your definition of “exploit.” And did you know that major land developers lobbied for years to have Congress rewrite the definition of “wetlands,” so that once the new definition took effect, what was a wetland and off-limits on Tuesday, became a non-wetland and was open for development on Wednesday?

The author is the authority

Definitions are written by authorities. There’s power in the pen. So when conducting your own thesis editing,pay strict attention to definitions.

P.C. and the War on Facts

I’m angry today, so I haven’t got time to be clever, cute, metaphorical, or entertaining in this blog. Why am I angry? I witnessed an example of Political Correctness (P.C.) that has me enraged and feeling helpless to combat.  It interrupted my book editing work, so that really ticked me off even more. I’m not even ready to put my exact thoughts on this specific incident into words yet. But I will discuss P.C. itself as a way of venting and informing.

No doubt some of you already know and understand P.C. pretty well. But, regardless, a good solid, well-composed primer never hurts. So here’s mine.

P.C. is a totalitarian, anti-American, anti-First Amendment imposition of a speech (and presumably thought) code upon people, with the express purpose of intimidating them into silence. It is a creation of certain political groups and powers, designed to stigmatize people who hold viewpoints that conflict with those currently in vogue and favor. If you hold any position that is deemed politically incorrect, you can be fired from your job, kicked out of a club or group, or even expelled from a college.

We are not talking about racial or ethnic slurs here; those are obviously ugly and have no business being uttered in civilized society. Once in a while we get some very prejudiced clients who come to us for dissertation editing or book editing. We turn them away. We brook no quarter for fools.  But what we’re talking about here are opinions, ideas, and/or political beliefs or positions about a variety of topics. Some groups and positions are considered “good” or “correct” while others are considered “bad” or “incorrect.” Look out if your views are considered “bad” or “incorrect.”  The media, some powerful politicians, “public opinion,” and various favored groups dictate who is P.C. and who is not P.C..

If this all sounds very mysterious, vague and difficult to understand, that’s because it is. How such ostracizing, stigmatizing, and judging of one’s rightness or wrongness can happen in America is a testament to how far our freedoms have eroded from the days of the Founding Fathers, who warned of such encroachments upon our basic civil liberties in many historic documents, such as the Constitution of the United States of America and the Federalist Papers. Various factions, backed by bands of litigious attorneys—most notably, the ACLU—now browbeat dissenters into submission through threats of lawsuits based on the flimsiest, most pathetic reasons, including “you offended me, so I’m going to sue you, or fire you, or both.”

The War on Facts is related to P.C. because basic facts no longer matter in many of today’s most important issues. What matters more are your “feelings” and “visions” and “beliefs” about subjects, regardless whether such feelings, visions and beliefs can be supported by cold hard facts. “That’s  my opinion and I’m entitled to my opinion” is the comeback mantra of those who usually cannot support their opinions with facts.

The P.C. crowd loves and even worships opinions and feelings over facts—for they often base their personal and political decisions upon them. If they “feel” you have “offended” them, for instance, then it doesn’t matter one bit that what you said is a concrete fact. If the fact itself is “offensive,” “insensitive” (that’s another favorite feeling of theirs), or otherwise “distasteful,” never mind that it is demonstrably accurate and true, you are judged politically incorrect and subject to their condemning wrath. Facts just do not matter if those facts get in the way of their political or social engineering goals.

In fact, the P.C. crowd hates certain facts because those facts disprove their theories and contradict their overarching objectives to remake the world in their utopian image. The reverse is also true: the P.C. crowd often makes up stories, perpetrates hoaxes, and tells absolute lies to support their points. When their lies are exposed, their common response is that “it doesn’t matter if what I said is true or not, it’s what I feel (or believe, or sense, or predict, etc).”

Again, I know the preceding facts may seem, to some of you, too bizarre to be true, but they are. I have seen many examples in my life of this outright deception and mendacity by the P.C. crowd. Just one example is this: a noted feminist who earns $5000-10,000 per lecture on college campuses, tells her adoring audiences this disgusting untruth: “All men are rapists.” That is the thesis of her speech to her largely feminist audiences. When told that such a statement is a lie, she says it doesn’t matter if it’s not actually true. What matters is that all men would be rapists, could be rapists, might be rapists, or don’t care about women being raped, and a variety of other rationalizing statements that fail to adequately change the fact that she calls all men—all men—rapists. The fact that all men are NOT rapists does not matter to her or her audience. The only thing that matters is her sick, twisted opinion of men in general.

We simply cannot allow the media, various groups, academic lunatics, attorneys, politicians, and the overall climate of intimidation and fear to silence us when we disagree with a position and/or wish to state facts that others may find unpleasant, offensive or otherwise politically incorrect. I make such all my thesis editors jump on and decry any such statements when they’re performing their thesis editing. Not all facts are created equal, but there do exist some concrete, indisputable facts about just about any issue or subject. It’s a portentous and potentially apocalyptic development for civilization as we know it when the factualness of concrete facts can be brazenly decried or even denied, while bald-faced lies can be thrown in our faces and declared to be facts.

Aristotle’s (and Bill Clinton’s) Rhetorical Triangle

Here’s a seemingly innocuous but actually rather controversial subject: rhetoric.

Is rhetoric good or bad?

Bad if you’ve been victimized by a crafty rhetorician—either someone you bought a car from, or voted for in an election, or even dated or married, only to find out this man or woman was great with words, but the words were empty or deceitful or disingenuous. It’s also something to root out when performing dissertation editing, because scholarly writing demands the objective and formal use of language. But before we stereotype rhetoric, let’s define it. Starting with definitions is the first step in a careful, critical analysis. Always best to be sure we’re on the same page—definitionally anyway.

The 1st step in critical analysis: Define your terms

Rhetoric is the skilful use of language to persuade or argue. An early definition of to “argue” is to “clarify.” I love that because it implies that if I can just be clear enough, I should be able to persuade you to see things my way. Argumentation is, after all, a means of fulfilling desire.

Aristotle & Bill Clinton: Masters of Rhetoric

2350 years ago, Aristotle taught how to compose a convincing argument through his rhetorical triangle of logos, ethos, and pathos. Employing these three elements makes your case pretty compelling. President Clinton also was, and still is, a master of triangular argumentation. He never gave a major speech—perhaps not even a minor one or even an impromptu townhall reply to an audience member’s question—without triangulating his words. As he infamously replied to a Congressional inquiry regarding the stain on Monica’s blue dress: “It depends on what your definition of is is.” The funny thing is, he’s right.

Logos

Logos means the “word.” Quite simply, you have to use the right words. For example, our dissertation editing service examines the writer’s message for its internal consistency: your claim, contention, or thesis must be clear; your reasons must be logical; your supporting evidence must be factual. Aristotle designed a syllogistic structure to test the logic of an argument: from the premise, to the reasoning, and then the conclusion. It’s deductive; it makes sense.

Ethos

Ethos refers to the character or credibility of the author or speaker. Ethos is conveyed through reputation, credentials, tone, and style. It’s the way the writer/speaker refers to opposing views that shapes his/her ethical image that appeals to the audience. A speaker or writer creates that ethos by being knowledgeable about the issue, demonstrating fairness, and building a bridge to his/her audience by stressing shared values, assumptions, and benefits.

Pathos

Pathos refers to emotion—the impact of the message on the audience—its motivational appeal. A writer or speaker creates emotional appeal by using concrete language, specific detail, and personal experience. The issue is humanized through a moving, compelling anecdote, an actual example of how the topic impacts real people.

Face the facts: We are all rhetoricians

Tricky stuff or common sense? What salesmen and politicians do, or what you do when you want someone to agree with you? Both, obviously. We all do it, or wish we had the skill to do it. And what’s wrong with that? We should make our words and argument clear. We should demonstrate we’re credible authorities. We should show people what’s in it for them or how it affects them. Funny, though, isn’t it, how the word “rhetoric” has a negative connotation? Sheer hypocrisy, really. We condemn salesmen and politicians for their slick rhetorical skills while attempting to use those same tactics and strategies in our own daily communications. The fact is we’re all rhetoricians—to one degree or another.

CNN & Slanted Journalism

CNN & Slanted Journalism: Bye Bye Blackbird

Let’s talk about how in today’s “news reporting” clever “journalists” work their own slant into a story.  Note that I’ve put quotation marks around “news reporting” and “journalist” to draw attention to their being highly dubious and debatable terms. True “news reporting” by true “journalists” is a thing of the past. Today’s news is fraught with ideological spin and slant, as it is written by today’s journalists, who are—for the most part—propagandists with a political bias to sell.

Let me be perfectly clear (as President Nixon oft put it): facts, honesty, truth, and integrity exist but rarely and sparingly in the vast majority of “news reporting” these days. I’ll recommend what I contend are some straight shooters in future blogs.

It took me four minutes at CNN online to find an example of slanting. It took that long because I got sidetracked reading about the latest heartwarming attack on our military by the ACLU. They’re such lovely guardians of our glory. Then I wept terribly over Keith Olbermann’s departure from MSNBC. How we’ll miss his charming delusions. After drying my eyes, I clicked the “politics” page where I found some delectably fine fare there for my illustration on slanting the news. Check this out, my friends: http://bit.ly/dT29lM.

In his article entitled “Justice Scalia set to address Tea Party Caucus on Capitol Hill,” Bill Mears manages to a) disparage Scalia, conservatives, the Tea Party movement, and all those Americans who are like-minded, while b) never once directly or explicitly doing so. It’s a virtuoso performance of slanting the news in your political direction, which in Mears’ case is left, as in liberal/progressive—in lock step with CNN’s own corporate “culture” and mission. [For the record, readers, it matters not my position on these issues. Frankly, I’m leaning apolitical anymore. Too damn much rhetorical nonsense from all parties in the public conflicts. Thus, I readily admit that the same analysis could be performed on a conservative’s writing.]

So, let’s get to the foundation and fundamental task of critical thinking and analytical writing: supporting your base opinions with golden facts. By the way, all the editors on the staff of my dissertation editing service look for and note for our clients such slanting in the work they’re editing.

I’ve pasted a couple of passages from Mears’ article and commented [IN BRACKETED CAPS] below:

Justice Antonin Scalia, a popular and entertaining speaker at various forums around the world, has one of the busiest schedules off the bench. [WHAT A LEAD SENTENCE. NOTE THE SARCASTIC TONE AND IMPLIED CRITICISM OF HIS ADJECTIVES “POPULAR AND ENTERTAINING,” AS IF A SUPREME COURT JUSTICE IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE A LIFE “OFF THE BENCH.”] But a closed-door address [“CLOSED-DOOR” SOUNDS NEFARIOUS AND SNEAKY, WHEREAS “CLOSED-DOOR” ADDRESSES AND MEETINGS ARE THE NORM IN WASHINGTON AND EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD OF POLITICS, BUSINESS, AND PERSONAL LIVES. DON’T YOU CLOSE YOUR OWN DOOR WHEN YOU WANT TO TALK PRIVATELY WITH YOUR FRIENDS?] the conservative justice is scheduled to give Monday afternoon has attracted controversy, partly because of who is sponsoring the event….

 

…The event was designed as a “teaching event” only for members of Congress, and no cameras or reporters would be allowed to cover it. [AGAIN, THIS IS COMMON PRACTICE, BUT MEARS MAKES IT SOUND SOMEHOW WRONG TO DO.] Scalia’s scheduled one-hour topic will be “separation of powers.”…

 

…The Tea Party movement, a populist grass-roots coalition with mostly politically conservative members, has [GRAMMATICAL ERROR: OBVIOUSLY THERE SHOULD BE A “BEEN” IN HERE] growing in popularity in the past few years. The various affiliated groups had some success electing members of Congress in the November midterms [“…HAD SOME SUCCESS…”?! THAT’S QUITE A LIBERAL SLANT ON IMMEDIATE HISTORY. FOR THE TEA PARTY SUPPORTERS, THE ELECTION WAS A LANDSLIDE, WHICH IS SIGNIFICANTLY MORE THAN “SOME SUCCESSS.”] who shared many of the positions on taxation, budget deficits and constitutional interpretation.

And so it goes.

You might be thinking, so what? What’s wrong with Mears being a bit opinionated, sarcastic, or critical? Here’s what’s wrong with it: there’s a big difference between reporting the front page news and slanting that news.

  • It’s the difference between journalism and commentary, between straight news stories and opinionated columns, between clinically objective studies and blogs.
  • It’s the difference between informing and disinforming; between teaching people to think and teaching them what to think.
  • It’s the difference between most blogs and this blog. Here I stick to the facts.

Alas, many people hate facts that disprove their precious opinions. And then they transfer that hate to the one who stated the facts. So I might not be too popular right now.

So it goes.

There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.

But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.

— Bob Dylan, “All Along the Watchtower”