Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A Religion, Not a Science

I have been arguing for a while that 9/11 conspiracy theorists hold beliefs of more of a spiritual or religious, than academic or scientific nature. It is no coincidence that the godfather of the movement, David Ray Griffin, is a professor, not of engineering, but of theology. The group “Scholars” for 9/11 “Truth” has a total of 9 philosophy professors, and 3 theology professors, but only 1 mechanical engineer, and not a single structural engineer among their full members.

While listening to this interview with Kevin Barrett, a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin, who recently appeared on Hannity and Colmes, this became even more evident. Barrett, a Muslim who started the group Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance for 9/11 Truth, talks at length regarding the spiritual effects of his faith on his 9/11 beliefs.

Fundamentalist religious groups, especially those referred to as cults, tend to have similar patterns of beliefs and practices, including; a belief in the infallibility of your cause, a feeling of superiority to non-believers, a paranoia that others are persecuting you for your beliefs, a belief in proselytizing and spreading the faith, a belief in the paranormal, and a veneration of your messianic leadership. Mr. Barrett demonstrates many of these signs:

Barrett: Conserve your energy for what is most productive. 9/11 is such an open and shut case that once we nail them on that, then these other things might be easier to resolve. And also, in terms of our audience, we shouldn’t be preaching to the converted. We should be trying to reach the people who haven’t understood yet and in order to do that we have to work with their attention span that’s out there. The 9/11 evidence is fairly straight forward, but it is a challenge to people with an ordinary attention span, and if we start throwing in every other issue. If we start throwing in Illuminati bloodlines, JFK...

Joe Hawkins: It’s endless...

Barrett: UFO’s, that will just confuse people with too much on their plate, and they will shutdown and think we are paranoid whackos, so-called conspiracy theorists. So I really recommend trying to stick with the clearest evidence and talk about it in the calmest possible way, kind of follow the David Griffin approach.
Later on the host talks about attending the recent conspiracy theory conference in Chicago, but for him too, it goes beyond a mere conference, it takes on more religious tones:

Joe Hawkins: I was afraid going, but once I was there, my fear quickly left, and the whole time I was there, I became completely energized, powerfully, and I came back with a much deeper sense of not being afraid. And not worrying, but much more. Just being around those people, it was much more than… You know I am a doctor, and I have been to a million conferences, and you know whatever, right? But this wasn’t a conference, these were souls who had gathered together to speak, I would submit some of the most important deepest truth on this continent.

If I pulled up a quote from someone who attended a Billy Graham revivial, it would probably sound much the same. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this, but recognize it for what it is, a faith based movement.


At 12 July, 2006 14:22, Blogger CHF said...

Indeed. Religion doesn't allow facts and logic to get in the way of absurd beliefs.

Ditto for the truthers.

At 12 July, 2006 14:54, Blogger Dog Town said...

It will be interesting to see how long Barrett keeps his untenured job.If I lived in Wisc,I'd be pissed to see my tax dollars spent on that kind of education.I have no problem with free thought,and expression.On your own dime however.Sure would love to hear more about his UFO stuff.Was he the subject of an anal probe.I saw that South Park it was F'ing funny.Wonder If Matt and Trey are hip to this nonsense.Dying to see what they come up with on this.Gotta Go Laughing way to hard.

At 12 July, 2006 15:22, Blogger default.xbe said...

barrett is supposed to be teaching a course on muslim culture, i dont think theres anythign wrong with that, i beleive his course syllabus was reviewed and deemed appropriate, so as long as he sticks to it i see no reason he should lose his job

but it will be ineteresting to see if he actually does stick to his syllabus

At 12 July, 2006 16:55, Blogger Dog Town said...

How does a course on muslem culture translate to the garbage he is spewing,on 911 conspiracy?Have you seen the syllabus,that you assume mentions these parranoid speculations?
Watch trouble is comen.Another one of those funny lines CTers love to draw to connect the dots.He makes Ward Churchill look like a Bush lover.Guess what happened to Ward.Who actually had tenure.That is rich.Ha Ha Ha Tee Hee Hee!

At 12 July, 2006 17:13, Blogger apathoid said...

Wasnt a 9/11 CT book(not sure which one) required reading for his course? Also, I believe there is a weeklong segment of re-examing 9/11 in the coursework. IMO, thats where I would draw the line. This guy has no business teaching Muslim culture with his distorted views of reality. Anyone who founds a group called Judeo/Christian/Muslim alliance probably lives in an alternate universe. I wonder what his feelings are on other terrorist attacks....

At 13 July, 2006 00:52, Blogger Billythekid said...

Just in:

Scholars for 9/11 Truth Under Attack


The author of an article about the attack on the World Trade Center has found himself under attack for having published it in a new on-line publication, Journal of 9/11 Studies.

Entitled "The Third Elephant", the article discusses evidence that a third airplane was captured on video at the time of the WTC attack.

He has now received a thinly-veiled threat against his children, who are cited by name, suggesting it would be a good idea if his article were to simply "go away".

but they were more interested in whether I was discussing these things with my students than whether they were true.

Scholars for 9/11 Truth is a non-partisan society of experts and scholars committed to exposing falsehoods and revealing truths about the events of 9/11.

The journal, which is archived at, is its latest attempt to create forums for discussion and debate about these important issues beyond its web site, which is archived at

The author, Reynolds Dixon, a writer and Professor of English, former lecturer and Fellow at Stanford University, has withdrawn from the society.


Of course, the Truthers will argue that they cannot speak their mind, but I believe it only shows that irritation is building up.


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