Monday, July 03, 2006

Latest UW ideological controversy

I saw this on the news last week, but didn't have a good internet link to it.

A Madison PhD and temporary instructor is planning on teaching a course, which may include his view that the government was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

It is the standard right-wing fare--how dare anyone question the Bush administration and official versions of history.

Read about the UW haters, who claim that this isn't about academic freedom . . .

More bad press for UW system

Inside Higher Ed :: Investigation Over 9/11 Teachings


Anonymous said...

If this guy really "said that the United States planned the 9/11 attacks as a way to start a war in the Middle East" than he should be fired, or sent to a mental hospital. that's called paranoid schizophrenia

Anonymous said...

What kind of data does this person have? Academic freedom is about serious discourse and intellectual debate. It is about critical thinking and informed opinion. It is about a great many other things that need tobe protected from politicall motivated censorsip. But it is not, repeat not, about protecting conspiracy theory and false logic

Lake Winneblogo said...

The two comments here illustrate the problem exactly. They both know the truth and think that anyone who disagrees with them must be muzzled. If we have an evidence based discussion, a college classroom is the perfect venue for this topic.

I think that these kinds of conspiracy musings are simply untrue, but trying to pretend that they aren't there or only deranged people might doubt the Bush administration's version of history means there can be no real discussion.

Conspiracy theories flourish when there are perceptions of a cover-up. This administration spends most of its time trying to cover-up its activities.

And as I posted above, a topic like this becomes more fodder for the UW-haters, who seem not to believe in the free exchange of ideas.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind there is a difference between a "free exchange of ideas" (which 95% of Americans support) and yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater. I dislike the Bush admin as much as the next guy but the only ones who brought those towers down were the hijackers themselves. well them and the failed US Intel system. Plus to have a professor of all people spouting out conspiracy theories to students and calling it education is dangerous. Save the conspiracy theories for Oliver Stone movies and late night AM radio.

Anonymous said...

Stating that conspiracy theories do not deserve any credibility in the class room is not the same as calling this prof to be muzzled. It is saying that academics is about critical thought and data. I don't spend time talking about earth being falt or that it was created in 4004 BC. people belive that but there is no evidence to support either contention. There is no evidence that passes even the slightest scrutiny that 9/11 was anything other than a terrorist attack. The class room is a place to debate competing ideas and evidence. It is not a place to lend credence to sloppy thinking or paranoid accusations. We have enough of that in this country already

Janine said...

Winneblogo --

I don't believe that people want to muzzle professor's or end the freedom of discussion of ideas -- whatever the topic. (There may be a few who do, but they are the minority.) However, what this prof. wants to do is a bit different. He wants to "discuss" the theory that 9/11 was not a terrorist act, but rather done by the US government to start the war in Iraq. That would be a topic up for discussion if he had any proof or facts in which to discuss. He has neither, or I should say he chooses to not present either of those.

This would be similar to me saying that I have proof that you started the fire at the house on 9th Street in Oshkosh. I'd like to discuss why you would have done this, but I don't have to present any proof that you did it --- my word is enough proof.

I think this means of "teaching" is irresponsible and ridiculous.

S.B. said...

What about people who claim Lee Harvey Oswald didn't shoot JFK? (He probably didn't, by the way. The government commission on this failed miserably; I wrote a paper about it in high school.) That's considered by some to be a "conspiracy theory," and I'd imagine it's widely discussed in college classrooms.

Also, anon. #1: do you have a medical degree? Qualified to say who's same and who's not? No? OK then.

Lake Winneblogo said...

First, I want to point out that nothing has happened in the classroom yet. We are talking about censorship before the fact. No one has any idea how this issue will be presented, but want to ban any discussion of conspiratorial views of 9/11.

Second, I like the analogy about the JFK conspiracy. Would you ban someone who is skeptical about the Warren report from the class room? How about someone who didn't believe that the holocaust really occurred? Where will the censors draw the line?

Jayce said...

If I'm UW I get rid of this guy as quick as possible. Having your institute being made a laughing stock is not a good thing.

While there are plenty of people drinking the Bush Kool-Aid by the gallon, this has nothing to do with conservative vs. liberal. It has everything to do with common sense vs. moronic views.

Now, if the intent of the class is to show how rational people can get whipped up in a frenzy by crazy ideas, leading them to believe stories that can't possibly be true, I've got no problem with that. But allowing a school to discuss the possibility that 911 was an inside job is as insane as allowing a school to discuss that there are smurfs on Neptune.