Friday, May 25, 2007

David Ray Griffin's Earlier Writing

I suspect that most people looking at Griffin's 9-11 books have been disinclined to take a look at his earlier works, since he is generally described as a theologian. However, I found that the Phoenix Public Library offers online access to some of his earlier books and at least one of them is rather interesting.

In 1997, Griffin published a book entitled, Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration. I've read a little bit of it online and it absolutely fits in perfectly with Griffin's 9-11 nuttiness, and marks him as a kook of the Barbara Honegger school.

In the book, Griffin makes some pretty wild claims for parapsychology, saying that a new type of experiment known as a Ganzfeld in conjunction with meta-level analysis has shown that Psi powers do exist. (Discussion here). Griffin leaps off from there to anecdotal evidence in favor of just about every kooky parapsychology claim, from life after death (Griffin in a memorable bit of quackery on page 151 estimates the odds of it happening at 50/50) to mediums, to possession to reincarnation (Shirley MacLaine was right!) to apparitions to out of body experiences.

More important than the crackpottery, which we've come to expect from the Guru of the 9-11 Denial Movement, is the similarity of the arguments. In his recent Vancouver lecture, Griffin harped on the fact that a lot of "respectable" people are part of the 9-11 Truthers, citing in particular Bishop Bob Bowman, Andreas Von Bulow, and (believe it or not) the inmates at Pilots for 9-11 Truth. So it is with his parapsychology book. Why look, a bunch of people like the former professor of moral philosophy at Trinity College in the 1800s believed in parapsychology!

As Griffin rails about a priori rejections of the 9-11 tinfoil hat crowd now, in 1997 he was bemoaning the a priori debunkings of psychic loonies. Indeed, substitute his bitter complaints about CSICOP (a parapsychology debunking group) for Popular Mechanics and you'd just about have the equivalent of Debunking 9-11 Debunking. James Randi even comes in for a bit of bashing!

You can see selected excerpts of the text online at Google Books.

We're going to be doing quite a few posts on DRG in the next couple days; stay tuned!

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