Mark D. Garfinkel garfinkl at
Fri Feb 25 12:32:04 EST 1994

Before net.people get too badly bent out of shape concerning posts that
originate from Pacific Union College, a little background is in order.
A small number of people from that school have been posting to
bionet.general regarding biomedical ethics issues intermittently since
New Years'. I am not affiliated with PUC, nor have I ever been, and
cannot speak for them. However, I have followed the threads and in some
cases posted contributions to them. Their professor, Dr. Bryan Ness, who
occasionally posts himself, and with whom I've exchanged some e-mail,
pointed out to me that the posters are students in his freshman biology
class. He has been encouraging their use of Internet as a means of
gaining and exchanging information concerning their course topics, a
laudable goal. The students' posts are sometimes poorly edited because
the authors are new to using computers and haven't mastered the programs.
If they're writing with Unix editors like vi or emacs this is not
surprising. Their ideas are sometimes poorly written because, well, the
authors are freshmen. Some issues are dropped into bionet.general "out of
context" because the students apparently forget that the newsgroup
readership includes many thousands who are not in their class. The
students seem naive in the opinions they express, IMO, because they
*are* naive, IMO. But this is true of most freshmen; those of us who are
a few-to-many years ahead on the track would do well to remember what *we*
were like as first-year undergraduates. The final point I want to make is
that PUC is a Seventh-Day Adventist college; the religiosity expressed by
some of the students is more understandable in this light. I learned *that*
by looking up the entry for PUC in the "US News & World Report Guide
to Colleges."


Mark D. Garfinkel (e-mail: garfinkl at
My views are my own, which is why they're copyright 1994

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