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ನೂರೆಂಟು ಸುಳ್ಳು (nUreMTu suLLu)

You may not be a "Dhrutharashtra", but we want to be the Sanjaya for you!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Even Martians Want Ph.D.s!

"Dr."John Gray "Ph.D.", is an American author of pop-psychology books. A self described expert on relationships, he has been able to sell millions of copies of his books. His 'Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus' alone has sold 6 million copies and has been translated world over into 40 different languages.

'Men Are From Mars, Women Are Fom Venus' is now being made available to Kannada readers. It is being serialized on a weekly basis in ThatsKannada.com

We at 108 Sullu H.Q. generally stay away from pop-psychology and self-help books. And we have not read any of John Gray's books including the most famous one. So, we won't be able to directly opine on his books. But, we can tell you a bit about his background. And also what others -- others who have better academic qualifications than John Gray -- think about his books. We will do just that.

What are his credentials? From Wikipedia entry:

After high school he attended St. Thomas University and the University of Texas, but did not receive degrees from these institutions. He lived as a Hindu monk for nine years in Switzerland and studied with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He received his BA and MA in Creative Intelligence from the Maharishi European Research University, a non-accredited institution[1].

Gray's books and other publications typically refer to him as 'Doctor John Gray' or 'John Gray, Ph.D. According to his website, he earned a Ph.D. in psychology at Columbia Pacific University[2]2001[3]. In one instance, "a Ph.D. dissertation written in Spanish was approved by four faculty who cannot speak the language." Gray's website[4] notes that degrees issued by CPU before June 25, 1997 are legally valid (although it is not clear whether these degrees were ever accredited. Gray's site further claims that "at the time John Gray graduated and received his degree CPU was a highly respected school in its field"; however, in 1997 California's Deputy Attorney General Asher Rubin called it "a diploma mill which has been preying on California consumers for too many years"[5]. - an institution that was forcibly closed by the California Department of Consumer Affairs in after a judgement that found that CPU "awarded excessive credit... to many students" and "failed to meet various requirements for issuing Ph.D. degrees"

In other words, the only accredited degree "Doctor" John Gray seems to possess is a high school diploma. Does that mean his books and the advice he gives have no merit? We don't say that. We say, we don't know.

For a man who is an "expert" in the human-relationships, does he even have license to practice psychology. According to this Psychology Today article:

[Gray] isn't licensed to practice psychology but is allowed to work as a "spiritual counselor" in California because of his nine-year stint as a monk.
(The same Psychology Today article also says that 'for a few thousand dollars, plus a yearly renewal fee, you too can buy the right to call your therapy practice a "Mars & Venus Counseling Center."')

So, what does John Gray say in his books? As we noted, we haven't read his books. We can tell you, what others -- others who are academically and professionally more qualified than Gray -- have to say about his works:

The women who pick up a copy of one of John Gray’s Mars and Venus books should know that the book ought to be stamped with a warning for female readers: Caution-- this book could be hazardous to your health.
Gray's Rx for relationships is for the woman to leave the man alone while she supervises the kids' homework, cooks dinner and cleans up. That's advice that gets people into trouble, not out of it. A woman who takes Gray's advice at face value may be at serious risk for high stress. Unable to express her anger openly, to ask for what she really needs, always on edge because she must sense a man's every whim and need, she is likely to turn her anger inward. ... [Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers]

Gray isn't into scare stories; stereotypes are his specialty.

He writes that male and female children are very different from each other and have different needs. Girls need to be supported, cared for, understood and helped. He depicts all female children, the researchers say, as dependent on others.

In contrast, he portrays boys as requiring independence, space, and opportunities to solve their own problems.

Mothers should avoid helping boys, Gray says, because it "insults them" and boys don't need help. Girls, in contrast, feel loved when they are helped. [Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers]

In their book Same Difference: How Gender Myths Are Hurting Our Relationships, Our Children, and Our Jobs. Rosalind Barnett and Caryl Rivers dismiss the Mars-Venus concepts as “junk science, no science, or bad science.”

In 2001, after studying the ten top selling self-help books including John Gray's Mars-Venus books, Colorado State University researchers had this to say:

...the messages in four of the top 10 books are detrimental to relationships. ...

... Books that the study found to be inconsistent with accepted best practices were "Men are from Mars, Women Are from Venus" by Gray; "The Rules" by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider; "Mars and Venus on a Date" by Gray; and "Mars and Venus in the Bedroom" by Gray. ...

We want to again stress that we have NOT read the book. Now that John Gray is being introduced to Kannada readers by thatskannada.com, we just wanted to provide you the parts of the picture that are missing.

Tail Piece: John Gray's main idea is that men and women are fundamentally different. But, Ms.Sudha Prasanna, Principal of Martin Luther School in Bangalore and Mr.Arunachalam of Bangalore are not that different. Based on reports in Sanjevani [June 4, 2004 and September 7, 2004], both of them got Ph.D. degrees in Psychology from Cosmopolitan University of USA.

If one look at Cosmopolitan University's website or not having a ".edu" in their Internet address does not give away their accreditation status, they themselves tell you that they are not accredited by any one. If that's not enough, here is a rather stern warning from the state government of Oregon:

Degrees from all of these suppliers are invalid for use in state or licensed employment in Oregon and the use of such degrees can result in criminal prosecution or civil penalties depending on the circumstances of the use.

The "all" in above of course includes Cosmopolitan University and Columbia Pacific University -- the university that conferred Ph.D. degree to "Doctor" John Gray.

If you want to read more about the "diploma mills" in US, you know what to do here.

On the other hand, if you WANT to get a degree (MBA, Ph.D., M.A.) in a hurry, we will provide you more specific instruction; click the left mouse button after pointing the cursor here.

Tip of the tail piece: The Oregon list of unaacredited universities includes a bunch of "universities" based in India. One such institute is "Bangalore Inst of Science, Tech. and Mgt". Does any one know anything about this?


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