Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Ethics, Science — Rick Moran @ 9:07 am

This article originally appears in The American Thinker

Is this a great country or what?

Where else can a lecturer with marginal credentials, deep paranoia, and a self righteous streak a mile wide, play upon a gullible press eager for controversy to become an instant celebrity and a recognized “expert” on a subject so far removed from his own academic discipline it may as well be on the surface of the moon?

A University of Wisconsin-Madison part-time lecturer Kevin Barrett will be allowed to teach a course entitled “Islam: Religion and Culture” next term. If that were all the course was about, I would say so what? What’s one more leftist loony bird teaching our impressionable young about the grievance culture of Arabs, all the while dissing western civilization, and refighting the crusades?

The kids will probably fall asleep during class anyway.

But Mr. Barrett will apparently not stop with teaching the usual anti-western bromides and Arabian sob stories about colonialism and its deleterious effects on Islamic culture. Instead, this self described “Islamologist and Arabist” will take a week of class time to teach aspects of physics, metallurgy, thermal dynamics, engineering, and aviation.

Or not. You see, Mr. Barrett plans on teaching “alternative” theories of how the twin towers fell on 9/11. And in the name of academic freedom, the University of Wisconsin-Madison has given him the green light to do so - as long as he teaches “other viewpoints” (presumably what really happened) along with his theory that 9/11 was “an inside job” involving the American government.

Obviously, in order to present his theories, he must have a firm grounding in many scientific disciplines as well as some knowledge of engineering in order to debunk the established theory that two 737’s filled with hundreds of thousands of pounds of jet fuel plowed into two 110 story buildings at more than 500 miles per hour, igniting and burning the fuel at several thousand degrees causing support structures to weaken until the weight bearing beams holding up the top several floors gave way allowing the entire edifice to pancake down to the ground. But Mr. Barrett has so far not shown that he has any expertise in anything, much less his possessing the specialized and collective knowledge of The American Society of Civil Engineers whose brilliant analysis of why the towers fell is generally accepted in the scientific community as the best theory available about how the disaster happened.

This obviously won’t stop Barrett from prattling on about subjects of which he knows little and scientific concepts of which he knows even less. But it does raise an interesting question: Does the cherished ideal of academic freedom allow for teachers to have the absolute right to make gigantic fools of themselves?

Barrett wouldn’t be the first academic to stray from their own tiny corner of the ivory tower and branch out into silliness. Perhaps the most famous case involves the Nobel Prize winning physicist William Shockley whose startling discoveries along with his team at Bell Labs in the early 1950’s led to several breakthroughs in transistor technology which, in turn, gave us the ubiquitous silicon micro-chip and the modern world.

In his later years, Shockley settled in to teach physics at Stanford University, a job that he enjoyed and was evidently very good at. But something happened to this brilliant, stubborn man that caused him to start espousing not only theories that were for the most part scientifically untenable but also socially unacceptable.

Shockley began to espouse the “theory” of eugenics as a key that would save mankind from overpopulation. He began by giving speeches about overpopulation, an issue coming to the fore in the early 1960’s. Then in May of 1963, Shockley gave a speech at a Minnesota college suggesting that the people having the most babies in the world were the one’s least able to survive while those with the best attributes were practicing birth control and having far fewer children.

The idea was incendiary and based on poor science to boot. The theoretical notion that poor people are less capable of becoming productive has been proven to be false as even extremely modest investments in things like education and sanitation will cause the productivity of the poverty stricken to skyrocket.

But Shockley didn’t stop there. A year later, he gave an interview to US News and World Report in which he pointed out that African Americans as a group scored much lower on IQ tests while suggesting the cause was racial.

To say the good professor set off a firestorm would be an understatement. He was condemned from one side of the country to the other. In debates with opponents, his lack of specific knowledge of genetics would lead to him looking ridiculous as fellow scientists skewered his faulty conclusions. Even in later years after he immersed himself in the subject of bio-genetics, it was apparent that his theories were half baked and with little to recommend them to the scientific community.

Shockley was allowed to continue to teach at Stanford to the end of his life despite the raging controversy surrounding he and his cockamamie theories, a noble example of academic freedom in action. By the time he died, his reputation was in tatters and he had become something of a laughingstock.

But in Barrett’s case, is it really a question of academic freedom? Or is it a question of allowing someone without the specialized knowledge to give students even a rudimentary grasp of the concepts involved in the subject matter to, in effect, spout nonsense from the classroom of one of the most respected universities in America?

Why shouldn’t a Comparative Literature teacher now agitate to be allowed to teach a course in political science? Or chaos theory? Or any subject for which he has a passion? The idea that Barrett is going to be allowed to delve into subjects for which he has no formal knowledge is startling in its implications not only for the concept of academic freedom but also the very practical matter of short changing students who presumably have come to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to get an education.

Barrett may believe that the twin towers came down as the result of the US government placing explosive charges in the buildings prior to 9/11 and that the government destroyed them so that we could start a war against Islam and the Arabs. He can believe anything he wishes and should not be penalized by the school for it. But in order to “teach” such a theory while exposing his students to enough information so that they can make up their own minds about the viability of competing viewpoints, Barrett would need to give the students a solid enough grounding in the scientific principles at work in building collapse so that they would be able to judge whether the buildings fell as a result of implosion or the stresses outlined in the ASCE paper.

It should go without saying that he will be unable to do so in one week’s time. This calls into question his entire rationale for teaching the controversy in the first place in a university class devoted ostensibly to learning about Islam. What’s the point? If he’s simply going to spout his loony conspiracy theories without giving any context, any background, how on earth can this kind of shoddy scholarship be accepted by the University as proper course material?

There are many remarkable facts at large in the telling of this story, not the least of which is an eerie parallel with arguments made by proponents of Intelligent Design who wish to teach ID alongside evolution; that students somehow benefit when “other viewpoints” are revealed to them about an issue. This statement from University Provost Patrick Farrell could have been lifted from the ID vs. Evolution debate:

We cannot allow political pressure from critics of unpopular ideas to inhibit the free exchange of ideas,” Farrell said in a written statement. “That classroom interaction is central to this university’s mission and to the expansion of knowledge. Silencing that exchange now would only open the door to more onerous and sweeping restrictions.”

The problem is that there is usually a good reason that ideas are unpopular, especially scientific ones; they tend to be wrong. One wonders if some evangelical professor wanted to teach creationism “alongside” evolution whether we would hear such ringing calls for tolerance and academic freedom from liberal academics and university officials.

That example is relative to the Barrett imbroglio. There is as much scientific validity in creationism as there is in the twin towers implosion theory. Perhaps more given the circumstances of conspiracy. One could debunk the theory of government culpability in 9/11 simply by using Occam’s Razor. Is it more likely that the towers fell as a result of planes crashing into them or some gigantic plot involving certainly dozens, maybe hundreds, perhaps thousands of people all of whom have kept their mouths shut about their involvement? Anyone who has perused the pages of The American Thinker over the past two years and read in horror about the numerous leaks from the anti-Bush factions in our intelligence community would be justified in wondering why leaks about this government “plot” have not been forthcoming.

If this were just a question of academic freedom, I suspect most of us would simply roll our eyes and shrug our shoulders, chalking it up as one more example of the looniness the academy is prone to these days. But for many of us, this attempt to alter the historical narrative of 9/11 with the support of a respected university’s administration is very troubling. It goes to the heart of the the university’s mission to search for truth.

Is there truth to be gleaned from teaching that little green men live on mars? Or that Elvis is alive and well and living in Traverse City, Michigan? Or that the stork is responsible for procreation? These examples are admittedly extreme but they highlight the problem the University of Wisconsin-Madison has created for itself; where does “the free exchange of ideas” end and outright stupidity begin? And shouldn’t the intellectual mettle of a university be taken by where they draw that line?

Rigorousness in scholarship should be the hallmark of any university. The fact that the University of Wisconsin-Madison is failing in this basic academic barometer by allowing a crackpot to teach material that he is not qualified to pass judgement on is a travesty in education that the state legislature should examine thoroughly. It could be that the present administration of the school is incompetent to deliver the kind of education to their children that Wisconsin parents might expect from an institution with such a stellar reputation for learning.


  1. Just a minor point, but the Twin Towers were hit by two 767 aircraft, much larger than 737s. They carry a lot more fuel, too, especially for a cross-country flight.

    It always amazes me that people will lend an ear to conspiracy theorists who have no background in the science & engineering involved nor any direct access to the site to have performed anything resembling an investigation of facts.

    One thing the conspiracy theorist cannot explain is the lack of leaks that might prove their point. Heck, there seem to be leaks on about every other secret effort on the War on Terror, why are all of the leakers and whistle blowers quiet on this one?

    Comment by Steve — 7/12/2006 @ 9:44 am

  2. Excellent commentary. And it goes to the exact reason why I left academics. I wanted to teach grammar, logic, rhetoric, and (classic) literature. But that isn’t being taught anymore. In fact, I was actually called into the principal’s office once and asked to explain why I was teaching grammar, instead of “whole language learning.” I told the principal, because the students don’t know grammar and that they need to. I was ordered to teach whole language. I didn’t of course. I just put whole language in my lesson plans, which had to be turned in to the principal, and kept teaching grammar. A few months later, when three times as many of my students passed the mandatory state exam than any other teacher’s (including and especially the advanced placement teacher’s), I was called back in to the principal’s office and asked what the school had to do to get their passing rate up to my level. I told him to teach grammar, right after I told him to kiss my ass, and resigned.

    Comment by GawainsGhost — 7/12/2006 @ 9:58 am

  3. Great piece, and I’m a loyal Badger.

    In one sense it’s even worse:This nutter is a TA without tenure so there is none of the usual impediments to quick removal.

    Comment by clarice feldman — 7/12/2006 @ 10:40 am

  4. there ARE none of the usual impediments, I mean..

    Comment by clarice feldman — 7/12/2006 @ 11:14 am

  5. In “ABUSE OF ACADEMIC FREEDOM: WHAT SHOULD BE DONE?”, Kenneth H.W. Hilborn presented at the SAFS Annual General Meeting (May, 2004), in a symposium entitled: Limits to Academic Freedom, http://www.safs.ca/academicfreedom/hilborn.html, a solution to this problem:
    “Academic freedom does not mean freedom to misrepresent, to distort or to talk nonsense to students while enjoying security against outside criticism. Faculty members should not feel free to give students any version of the facts that those faculty members are unable or unwilling to defend in a debate with people better qualified than students are to detect errors, and if necessary to expose falsehoods.”
    So, this case would go something like this:
    “Hello, Professor Barrett? This is Dean So-And-So” (his boss). “Please be in the conference room in one hour, bring your notes and research regarding your theory on the Twin Towers, and present them to our academic committee. Be prepared to defend your theory.”

    Comment by sedonaman — 7/12/2006 @ 12:20 pm

  6. GawainsGhost;

    Here is a stupid question. What is whole language learning?


    I am not sure if I mentioned this story here. One of my history professors(ironically a Berkeley doctrate.)He went to a seminar at Harvard, and it basically amounted to a roast of George W. Bush. Of course, W was no where to be seen. Essentially, they were making fun of the stupidity of Bush and the policy formers under him. My professor stood up and said they were being completely unfair. He stated that as historians their goal was to look at policies objectively not through partisan goggles. He also stated these guys could hardly be deemed stupid because they were former classmates and collegues of these Harvard professors. That made them quiet. Of course, outside of Europe my professor is not very popular. He is not a conservative. He is middle of the road, but he looks at history objectively which is actually frowned upon in academia these days.

    Comment by Svenghouli — 7/12/2006 @ 12:59 pm

  7. I don’t want to quibble about something that is tangential to a good post but it seems you take the airing of viewpoints opposed to evolution as an attack on the university itself, because you say these theories are “unscientific”. My problem with this is the university was invented by believing Christians — not pagans — and pretty much all of the so-called good schools in America were founded by Christians as well in order to learn about “the true, the good and the beautiful”. Seems you are saying because an Evangelical says something, we should assume that person’s perspective is unscientific. But let’s say the Evangelical (I’m a Catholic) is teaching Aristotelian physics (one version of ID), which is totally contrary to the Darwinian theory of nature. In light of the origins of the university and what sort of people came up with the idea (not pagans) - the notion that thinking whether there is an uncaused first cause somwehow corrupts the truth or is antithetical to “science” and the mission of the university is very ironic.

    Comment by Rez — 7/12/2006 @ 1:34 pm

  8. Svenghouli,

    Here is an article on whole language learning. Frankly, if I ever have kids, I’m going to be making sure they learn phonics at home.

    Comment by Steve — 7/12/2006 @ 4:03 pm

  9. There seems to be a connection between Barrett’s & Shockley’s opinions and the desire of some fundamentalists wanting public school districts to include ID & young earth pseudo-science as realistic theories.

    Comment by SteveAudio — 7/12/2006 @ 5:28 pm

  10. Good God, snatch the money from the U OF Wisconsin. There have to be some alumni with common sense– tax dollars should not going to pay this asshole’s salary — I’d snatch my kid outta there in a heartbeat.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 7/12/2006 @ 6:12 pm

  11. Further Quibbles:

    Quibble One:

    It should be noted that even though jet fuel and the tower fires never reached heat levels of “thousands of degrees,” the fires nevertheless caused the towers to fall.

    The following from a Popular Mechanics article:

    FACT: Jet fuel burns at 800° to 1500°F, not hot enough to melt steel (2750°F). However, experts agree that for the towers to collapse, their steel frames didn’t need to melt, they just had to lose some of their structural strength–and that required exposure to much less heat. “I have never seen melted steel in a building fire,” says retired New York deputy fire chief Vincent Dunn, author of The Collapse Of Burning Buildings: A Guide To Fireground Safety. “But I’ve seen a lot of twisted, warped, bent and sagging steel. What happens is that the steel tries to expand at both ends, but when it can no longer expand, it sags and the surrounding concrete cracks.”

    “Steel loses about 50 percent of its strength at 1100°F,” notes senior engineer Farid Alfawak-hiri of the American Institute of Steel Construction. “And at 1800° it is probably at less than 10 percent.” NIST also believes that a great deal of the spray-on fireproofing insulation was likely knocked off the steel beams that were in the path of the crashing jets, leaving the metal more vulnerable to the heat.

    But jet fuel wasn’t the only thing burning, notes Forman Williams, a professor of engineering at the University of California, San Diego, and one of seven structural engineers and fire experts that PM consulted. He says that while the jet fuel was the catalyst for the WTC fires, the resulting inferno was intensified by the combustible material inside the buildings, including rugs, curtains, furniture and paper. NIST reports that pockets of fire hit 1832°F.

    “The jet fuel was the ignition source,” Williams tells PM. “It burned for maybe 10 minutes, and [the towers] were still standing in 10 minutes. It was the rest of the stuff burning afterward that was responsible for the heat transfer that eventually brought them down.”

    Quibble two: Shockley may have been wrong about a lot of things, but the genetic nature of IQ differences among various groups was not one of them. A similar furor arose over the publication of “The Bell Curve” a decade or so ago. Please see the latest information discussed by one of the authors, Charles Murray, in a 2005 article at Commentary Magazine entitled “The Inequality Taboo.”

    It is now archived and requires subscription, but one of the telling points is that the difference between blacks and whites remains about one standard deviation and is related to ethnicity. He suggests that we not hide scientific truth from open discussion, since more harm than good often results:

    “The Orwellian disinformation about innate group differences is not wholly the media’s fault. Many academics who are familiar with the state of knowledge are afraid to go on the record. Talking publicly can dry up research funding for senior professors and can cost assistant professors their jobs. But while the public’s misconception is understandable, it is also getting in the way of clear thinking about American social policy.

    Good social policy can be based on premises that have nothing to do with scientific truth. The premise that is supposed to undergird all of our social policy, the founders’ assertion of an unalienable right to liberty, is not a falsifiable hypothesis. But specific policies based on premises that conflict with scientific truths about human beings tend not to work. Often they do harm.”

    Comment by Bubba — 7/12/2006 @ 6:24 pm

  12. Well, when I went through school, we learned phonics, parts of speech and usage, grammar, syntax, punctuation, spelling, vocabulary, and sentence diagramming. Then we studied logic, rhetoric and literature. I hated my high school English teacher with a passion that I would normally reserve only communists, but today I praise God every day for having been her student.

    Basically whole language learning is premised on the (badly mistaken) idea that children can learn language by studying the “whole” word, without regard to pronunciation or spelling, that they can learn vocabulary simply by studying words in context, without regard to definition or etymology. In other words, they can learn language by studying the “whole” of it, without regard to its component parts. By studying the whole, they can absorb the component parts.

    The reverse of course is true. You study the component parts, then put the whole together. Which is how we learned when I was in school.

    The result of the misguided education philosophy over the last few decades is that most students cannot construct a complete sentence or develop a paragraph, if they can even spell their own names. And as far as reading comprehension goes, it’s nonexistent. Whole language learning succeeded only in producing an entire generation of functional illiterates.

    Comment by GawainsGhost — 7/12/2006 @ 6:26 pm

  13. Make that ‘genetic component’ rather than ‘nature.’

    Comment by Bubba — 7/12/2006 @ 6:29 pm

  14. Dear Folks,
    It seems to me we’re all in the same boat.
    I don’t know that any of you are credentialed to explain what really happened on 9-11.Since there was no independent investigation of what happened that day and you rely on government sources for much of your “knowledge”, I don’t know how you can truthfully say that you know anything. The good professor may or may not have an agenda, but I’m not convinced that there isn’t a kernal of truth in what he has to say.
    Moreover, we certainly know that certain elements of our Government would like to keep such controversy limited to a fringe group if possible.
    Just think how the American people would react if it came out that there was Government involvement (republican?).
    So just try to keep the lid on this thing, you don’t really want to reap the whirlwind.
    John Hyatt

    Comment by John Hyatt — 7/12/2006 @ 7:01 pm

  15. John:

    You are ignorant.

    To refuse to acknowledge that the American Society of Civil Engineers isn’t an independent organization is to reveal yourself as a loon. And are most of the other scientists in the world also in on this conspiracy? They have accepted the ASCE paper as the best theory available on what happened to the towers.

    To deliberately self delude yourself such as you do is the sign of an immature, shallow, cretinous mind. And I will fight for the rest of my life to make sure that idiots like you don’t hijack 9/11 for your own sick, twisted, idiotic paranoid reasons.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 7/12/2006 @ 7:07 pm

  16. Dear Rick,
    You don’t know me and I don’t know you.
    But I’m sure I understand you completely now.
    What a perfect ass you are.
    John Hyatt

    Comment by John Hyatt — 7/12/2006 @ 8:07 pm

  17. Well done, Rick! I read your excellent post at American Thinker, and came here…

    My amazement is triggered by people who WATCHED, real-time, LIVE, as the WTC were hit, burned, and fell…

    BUT are unwilling or unable to believe their own senses, trust their own primary inputs from reality!

    Oh, Occam! Wherefore art thou, Occam?

    Comment by Karridine — 7/12/2006 @ 8:33 pm

  18. College is becoming too expensive as it is without salaries and class room space being wasted for nonsense like this. If American kids want to learn about conspiracies, diversity and multiculturalsim and such we should open an institute and call it Tinfoil Hat U. Leave the Universities open for real learning and scientific advancement.

    Comment by R. Woods — 7/12/2006 @ 9:46 pm

  19. If I may paraphrase a quote from an inane but funny movie…

    Mr. Hyatt, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent post were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone reading this blog is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    Comment by Principal Slublog — 7/12/2006 @ 10:41 pm

  20. Living in Madison I have been aware of Kevin Barrett for a couple of years. Barrett declared himself a Muslim in 1992 and now, with the certainty of the convert, he is proclaiming Osama bin Laden a liar for taking credit for 9/11. Barrett is a product of the College of Letters and Science, and more specifically the Department of African Languages and Literature. UW-Madison awarded Barrett his Ph.D. so they are not hiring an unknown who subsequently reveals unexpected reasoning flaws. I suppose the UW is taking the position there are no meaningful scholarship guidelines in the professional study of fiction.

    Comment by random10 — 7/12/2006 @ 10:42 pm

  21. John Hyatt,

    I don’t lend much credence to conspiracy theorists because they depend far more upon their imagination than on science.

    While I do not claim to be credentialed in Civil Engineering or Materials Engineering, I have learned quite a bit over the years.

    I read the ASCE report with great interest, too. I assure you that it is only a brief report of all the analysis that followed the terrorist attack.

    Let’s look at some things logically. (Rick - I hope I’m not feeding the trolls.)
    1. The buildings were subjected to greater stresses than they could handle. The loading on the columns had shifted drastically from the original design. The core columns that were designed to take the load from the outer supports were damaged by fire and aircraft parts. The fire was also causing expansion of components within the towers. Since there are different materials involved, they don’t expand equally, changing the loading further.

    2. The south tower collapsed first. Even though it was hit about an hour later than the north tower, this does make sense. It was damaged at a lower point than the north tower, therefore, there was more weight/stress above the damage. Coupled with details from paragraph 1, the south tower reached a failure point before the north tower.

    3. The collapse of WTC 7 was the indirect result of the attacks. The building was assaulted by debris from the other towers, the shock waves of the crashing towers, and the overpressure of the air displaced by the rapid pancaking of the twin towers. Furthermore, WTC 7 was on fire, and no one was making any effort to put out the fires. It was severely weakened and destined to fail.

    4. Controlled demolition is not a simple process. If you have ever seen the documentaries on the preparation it takes for a controlled demolition, you would see that they drill into some columns and take out others to get the desired effect. It requires a suspension of my disbelief to think that a group could do the prep work for the demolition and not be noticed.

    5. Covering up the controlled demolition with aircraft crashes would require even more suspension of disbelief. One has to believe that a plane was flown into just the right floor above the charges and not have the fire or debris affect the charges or the wiring. The 767-200 is a fairly large aircraft, and for purposes of control theory, it can be considered a stable platform. It is not easy to exert quick changes in direction. This is in essense a lack of control. The plane is going to go where you point it. If you look at the ASCE report in chapter 2 (http://www.house.gov/science/hot/wtc/wtc-report/WTC_ch2.pdf), you will see that the second plane impacted at an angle that indicates the pilot was banking the plane to attempt to strike the tower in the center. He was off-center, and he couldn’t make the course correction fast enough because the plane wouldn’t allow it. So in the controlled demolition scenario, the plane would have to barely miss the floor where the charges were placed. (Or do the conspiracy theorists believe charges were placed on many floors?) A little off, and the cover story is blown. The plans fail.

    6. For the conspiracy theories to work, two more unlikely things would have to happen. EVERY member of the cover-up would have to keep quiet, and no reporter could investigate the story hard enough to uncover the holes. The federal government leaks like a sieve. How many stories of lesser magnitude have come out using anonymous sources in the Pentagon, State Department, CIA, etc.? How many reporters out there would like to break the story that would make Watergate seem as offensive as a parking ticket? Do you think the New York Times would sit on that story? Again, it requires the willing suspension of my disbelief.

    We underestimated our enemy. I know I laughed when I heard the FBI caught one of the conspirators of the 1993 WTC bombing when he went to reclaim his deposit on the truck he rented to hold the bomb. The 9/11 attacks were the result of a sophisticated plan. Some speculate that carrying out the attack depleted some of the brain trust of our enemy. After all, how many first team terrorists killed themselves in the attack and were targeted shortly afterward? I can only hope that the FBI, CIA, DHS, etc., won’t underestimate the enemy again.

    So, do I think there is a shred of truth to the conspiracy theorists? No.

    Comment by Steve — 7/13/2006 @ 6:55 am

  22. Another thing wrong with the whole nutty conspiracy theory is that it’s so insanely baroque. Why would the alleged conspirators have to set charges in the buildings, THEN add the whole “hijack airliners and slam them into the buildings in order to ‘cover’ the bombs” nonsense? Why not just blow them up directly, like the 1993 bombers tried to do but didn’t quite pull off, and blame that on the alleged scapegoats? Much simpler, much less likely to go wrong, and fewer layers of conspiracy to potentially leak and give away the game.

    Conversely, why bother with pre-planted bombs that could be discovered prematurely and blow the plan, why not just load explosives into the planes themselves as air freight cargo and use them as giant cruise missiles? If *that* was discovered prematurely, you could just say it was part of the hijackers’ plans, something the “planes as cover for bombs already in the buildings” silliness would be harder to explain?

    Or why would conspirators have to risk getting caught planting bombs in the towers at all? Wouldn’t slamming planes full of screaming passengers into the buildings and turning them into towering infernos have been enough to enrage the country and produced support for a war of reprisals even if the buildings hadn’t fully collapsed? The death toll would have been almost as high — most of the people below the impact locations had had time to evacuate before they collapsed, most of the dead were those who were trapped on the floors above the impacts, and they still would have died from fire and smoke even without the building collapse. For that matter, why WAIT close to an hour after the planes hit before “imploding” the buildings? Wouldn’t the “cover story” have been better cover if the implosion charges had been triggered within seconds after the plane impacts, making it appear that the force of the impact and exploding jetliners itself had brought down the building?

    …and how did they get the 19 Muslim hijackers to suicidally go along with the “cover story”, anyway…?

    The whole “conspiracy” thing is nutty from start to finish, and doesn’t withstand even a moment’s examination.

    But there’s a deeper issue here that hasn’t really been touched on. The problem with teaching this conspiracy idiocy isn’t just that professors are being allowed to teach their students complete nonsensical BS. Many kinds of BS are harmless enough, albeit a waste of class time. But *this* kind of BS isn’t harmless. It’s actively teaching and inducing paranoia, hatred, division, and distrust. And *that* is why this idiot deserves to be booted out on his ass.

    Comment by Ichneumon — 7/13/2006 @ 11:24 am

  23. Principal Slublog,

    Nice job of referencing Billy “Madison”.

    Comment by Svenghouli — 7/13/2006 @ 1:08 pm

  24. Mineta: “During the time that the airplane was coming into the Pentagon, there was a young man who would come in and say to the Vice President…the plane is 50 miles out…the plane is 30 miles out….and when it got down to the plane is 10 miles out, the young man also said to the vice president “do the orders still stand?” And the Vice President turned and whipped his neck around and said “Of course the orders still stand, have you heard anything to the contrary!??”

    Comment by John Hyatt — 7/13/2006 @ 8:32 pm

  25. John Hyatt, you are a fool — period.
    To beleive our government was behind this is pathetic — even the dems don’t believe that — I take that back — the air america arrow heads do and ward churchill types.
    You sound like a somewhat intelligent man — what a waste of brain matter.

    Comment by Drewsmom — 7/13/2006 @ 8:51 pm

  26. The war games included:

    * a National Reconnaissance Office exercise on September 11, in which a small corporate jet would crash into one of the four towers at the agency’s headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure[1] The NRO, whose name was classified until 1992,[2] is the branch of the Department of Defense in charge of spy satellites.[3]

    Comment by John Hyatt — 7/13/2006 @ 9:32 pm

  27. Thanks for your thoughful post.
    Regarding the growing scientific controversy regarding intelligent design vs. philosophic materialism…
    You write:

    “There … is an eerie parallel with arguments made by proponents of Intelligent Design who wish to teach ID alongside evolution; that students somehow benefit when “other viewpoints” are revealed to them about an issue. This statement from University Provost Patrick Farrell could have been lifted from the ID vs. Evolution debate:

    “We cannot allow political pressure from critics of unpopular ideas to inhibit the free exchange of ideas,….”

    Perhaps you are studying the news media; you appear to believe I D proponents “wish to teach ID alongside evolution.”

    (1) I do not know of one major I D theorist or advocate who has ever favored any public school curriculum mandate in any state or district. Additionally, I D’ers have not advocated removing any of the misleading pro-Darwin “evidences” from texts.

    (2) Leaders in the I D do favor students learning MORE about evolutionary theory–not less; students should be exposed to scientific critiques of Darwinism along with the best evidences for Darwism.
    “Teaching the controversy” regarding Darwin’s theory of evolution is more accurate, updated science. It is NOT religion. It is superior pedagocically, awakening students and honing critical thinking skills. It honors free speech.
    What in the tax-funded biology texts presently? See:
    BTW. a scientific evidence against an aspect of standard Darwinian evolutionary theory is NOT the same as I D theory, which examines positive evidences of design.
    I D advocates generally oppose prohibiting voluntary discussion(e.g., a book report)of newer theoretical alternatives to Darwinism–as long as such theories are based on scientific data, as is I D.

    (3) I D is based primarily on scientific evidence leading to the inference that some things in nature are best explained as being from an intelligent cause–rather than from exclusively unintelligent, purposeless causes. I D is not primarily an appeal for idea proliferation, behind the shield of the first amendment.
    Here’s a pretty good synopsis of the I D movement, by a Cambridge PhD scientist:
    Science writer George Gilder–the living author Ronald Reagan quoted more than any other–muses on the modern shift of evidence for design–and the scientific and moral bankrupcy of Darwinism, in this week’s NATIONAL REVIEW:

    (4)I D’ers do not bid others to accept I D so as to emulate great Jewish or Christian theologians, or Americas Founding Fathers, or Ronald Reagan, or all the major progenitors of the the scientific revolution–such as Newton, Keplar, and Boyle.

    The intelligent design movement asks you to take a hard, careful look at the evidence–and to follow the evidence where it leads–even if it leads to doubting the materialist superstition.
    Some I D links:


    Todd Norquist

    Comment by Todd Norquist — 7/14/2006 @ 3:15 am

  28. John,

    As for your comment #26, what is your point? It was an exercise. Defense organizations, civil authorities (police, fire, etc.), and even private industries (nuclear and petrochemical for instance) come up with exercise scenarios. Does every scenario developed mean that it’s fodder for evil people in the government to turn into an attack? If you truly believe that, PLEASE get some psychiatric help for your paranoia.

    As for your comment #24, please post the source so it can be reviewed for authenticity and context. There is no use in addressing a random quote. Is it easier for a conspiracy theorist to hang on a random quote than a pleathora of facts?

    By the way…BOO! I hope that didn’t scare you too much.

    Comment by Steve — 7/14/2006 @ 7:04 am

  29. Scientific Fact: A solid object, billiard ball, let’s say, dropped from the top of the WTC would take 9.2 seconds to hit the ground with only air for resistance.

    Scientific Fact: The towers took between 10 and 12 seconds to completely fall to the ground.

    Scientific Fact: If it took each floor of the WTC one second to fall upon the floor below it, then it would have taken 110 seconds for the towers to completely collapse.
    Speed that up a bit and say it only took half a second per floor. 55 seconds to total collapse. Faster still, quarter second per floor, 27.5 seconds.

    My point? The governments theory of the collapse is one of pancaking floors, one on top of another, all the way down to the ground. With their theory it would be physically impossible for the towers to have fallen at the speed they did. There was an immense amount of resistance from the undamaged lower 2/3 of both buildings.

    Finally, considering the miles of video footage documenting the fall of these buildings, why has the government refused to consider investigating the possibility that terrorists could have infiltrated those buildings and planted demolition charges? After all, they tried in 1993 to blow it up with bombs, why not look into it this time. No good investigation team looks at just one theory, they look at every theory, no matter how remote. Remember, before 9/11, no steel high rise ever fell due to damage/fire. Since 9/11, no steel high rises have fallen due to damage/fire. 3 in one day?????

    A quote from my source: “In conclusion, the explanations of the collapse that have been given by the 9/11 Commission Report and NIST are not physically possible. A new investigation is needed to determine the true cause of what happened to these buildings on September 11, 2001. The “collapse” of all three WTC buildings may be considered the greatest engineering disaster in the history of the world and deserves a thorough investigation.”

    Source Link; http://janedoe0911.tripod.com/BilliardBalls.html

    Comment by Jon — 7/15/2006 @ 12:26 am

  30. Steve,

    Here is the proof of “authenticity and context” with regard to your comment to John, “As for your comment #24, please post the source so it can be reviewed for authenticity and context. There is no use in addressing a random quote. Is it easier for a conspiracy theorist to hang on a random quote than a pleathora of facts?”


    Comment by Jon — 7/15/2006 @ 12:39 am

  31. Interesting thing to discover that the testimony you just watched, via my last link, never made it into the 9/11 Commission Report.

    Comment by Jon — 7/15/2006 @ 12:47 am

  32. Anonymous websites to support conspiracy theories? Please come back with credentialed analysis, otherwise don’t try. There is no evidence in the website that the person providing the “analysis” knows anything about controlled demolition.

    I watched the video link. So? I guess I lack the nuance to see what a conspiracy theorist might think. Again, quotes lacking context.

    Your arguments continue to grasp at straws while you FAIL to address the lack of CREDENTIALED AND VERIFIABLE proof in sufficient context to make a coherent arguement. Throwing a bunch of crap against a wall to see what sticks is pathetic. You may return to your bunker.

    Comment by Steve — 7/15/2006 @ 10:01 am

  33. Steve,

    What is so anonymous about the websites? Is not the government version of what happened on 9/11 a conspiracy theory? Sure it is. It is one of many conspiracy theories out there. I don’t understand why they don’t investigate the possibility that terrorists got into all 3 buildings and planted charges. If they would consider that theory and investigate the evidence available, maybe they could prove that theory false. But, not investigating that theory just puts fuel on the fire of the alternative conspiracy movement.

    I look at it this way. 19 terrorists take over 4 planes and do their damage. they had to jump through a lot of hoops to pull it off. Why couldn’t there have been another 19 or so terrorists who jumped through similar hoops and wired the buildings. Is that so unbeleivable? The first part is strange enough, so it not much of a stretch to add the second part.

    The government theory fails to recognize the speed at which the buildings came down and they claim they’re not sure how WTC 7 collapsed, therefore they fail to investigate the possibility that planted charges may be responsible for the speed of collapse. All I want is a more thorough look and explaination of the evidence that reputable scientists are bringing to the table.

    Thanks for the dialog.


    Comment by Jon — 7/15/2006 @ 1:47 pm

  34. Steve,

    Another question. Is the only “CREDENTIALED AND VERIFIABLE proof in sufficient context to make a coherent arguement” that you will accept have to come from a government source or will you accept qualified opinions from other sources? Or, like so many others, have you already made up your mind to beleive what the government says and ignore any other evidence regardless of it’s validity, content or source?

    Comment by Jon — 7/15/2006 @ 2:03 pm

  35. Yep, Jane Doe is a recognized expert in her field. I had lunch with Jane last week. Wait! That’s a name frequently used by people who wish to conceal their identity.

    ASCE is NOT a government organization. Your premise is faulty. Your sources are flaky. You like to quote out of context.

    Now go away before I give your name and IP address to the trilateral commission. (That’s a joke. In that way, it’s a lot like you.)

    Comment by Steve — 7/15/2006 @ 3:05 pm

  36. Oh sorry, her name is Prof. Judy Woods. Why are my sources flaky and yours aren’t? And why can’t you have good debate on this instead of being such a smart ass?

    Comment by Jon — 7/15/2006 @ 11:42 pm

  37. Submitted for Your Approval

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher’s Council for this week’s vote. Council li…

    Trackback by Watcher of Weasels — 7/19/2006 @ 12:16 am

  38. [...] Right Wing Nut House, “Enjoying the Academic Freedom To Be An Idiot” [...]

    Pingback by The Glittering Eye » Blog Archive » Eye on the Watcher’s Council — 7/19/2006 @ 2:40 pm

  39. The Council Has Spoken!

    First off…  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now…  the winning entries in the Watcher’s Council vote for this week are When History Bites Back by Joshuap…

    Trackback by Watcher of Weasels — 7/23/2006 @ 3:32 pm

  40. how about the possibility of the US gov setting up the plane crashes into the towers, without necessarily planting bombs as well. The fuel in the planes were sufficient enough to cause the initial heat required to burn everything else and cause the collapse. I do NOT yet “support” this theory, to me it is ONLY a farfetched and radical view, but it still remains a minute possibility. Therefore, this theory, without adequate proof, should NOT be officially taught in Universities, but should be left to the students to discuss amongst themselves… The US government has had a LOOOOONG history of working with the bin Laden family, including Osama, and even training these so called MONSTERS (ex. Sadaam and Osama again… Chaney is making some sweet change through this war, and not just because of the OIL we are taking, but also through defense companies which are supplying the US military for the war on Afghanistan, Iraq, and we all know IRAN and possibly SYRIA which will be coming up shortly… You think that GIGANTIC oil pipeline the “US gov” is building across Afghanistan is only a coincidence ??? How else would the U.S. gain all this “access” to Afghanistan if it weren’t for the “TERRORIST” threats which needed to be handled… Mr. Bush has cleverly put the American people into a state of fear and pushed us into a ridiculous national debt… All of these things COULD be coincidences, but maybe we should all think outside of the U.S. media Box for once… And maybe we should also TRY to consider the reasons why the whole god damn world hates us…

    Comment by John — 9/12/2006 @ 4:45 pm

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