Re: FWD: Undergraduate Writing Up Research

From: george murphy (
Date: Fri Apr 27 2001 - 11:24:40 EDT

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    "Freeman, Louise Margaret" wrote:

    > In my experience, "acknowledgements" (I assume you are talking about the final
    > slide of your talk) are generally reserved for people who helped with the
    > research in a concrete way... funding agencies, faculty advisors, lab
    > technicians. I have never seen anyone acknowledge God in that format.
    > However, many people writing a thesis put a "dedication" section before
    > introduction, not unlike the dedication line of someone writing a book. In
    > those sections I've seen people thank spouses, parents, children etc., who
    > provided emotional support during the research. I've also seen people honor
    > deceased family or friends in that manner... "Dedicated to the memory of...."
    > and yes, I've seen religious people acknowledge and thank God in that context.
    > I assume you will be submitting a formal paper of some sort to your advisor,
    > so that might be the more appropriate way to acknowledge God. You might check
    > other theses submitted to your department for guidelines as to how dedications
    > are handled.
    > I have also seen graduate students thank family and friends at the "public
    > defense" of their thesis, (where family and friends were invited to attend,
    > sort of like a mini-graduation ceremony.) A more personal acknowledgement of
    > God might be more appropriate in that context, but I don't know if that's the
    > kind of setting you're presenting in. But I don't see how any reasonable
    > person, atheist or not, could object to a student thanking God in the same
    > context as others might thank earthly parents for their support and
    > inspiration.
    > Then again, there's no guarentee that a faculty advisor is a reasonable
    > person.

            I would have some hesitation about either an acknowledgement or a
    dedication to God, simply because they might seem even to some Christians as
    pretentious. Cf. Luther's sarcastic remark in the prelude of "The Babylonian
    Captivity of the Church" about one of his opponents' books: "From him I shall
    doubtless learn a great deal, since he writes his dedicatory epistle to the Son of
    God himself: so familiar are these saints with Christ who reigns in heaven!"
    Besides, some might treat such an acknowledgement as a claim to special divine



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Dialogue"

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