''The physics of those collapses clearly could not have resulted from plane crashes and jet fuel fires with office materials.'' Barrett says jet fuel does not burn hot enough to melt steel, and says recent tests on melted steel from the building prove his theory that it was wired to collapse, by the Government.I have a huge resistance to believing that this will be taught at my university.
Barrett says the Bush Administration is fooling the American public with the Adolf Hitler 'Big Lie Technique'... ''Tell them a little lie and they'll wonder about it - weapons of mass destruction in iraq was a relatively little lie - and people are getting called on it.'' Barrett says. ''Tell em a big lie like 9/11 and they have a huge resistance to questioning it.''
Barrett defends himself in classic academic form, saying he's presenting different interpretations and promoting debate and critical thinking and citing academic freedom.
[T]he Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance, which claims the Bush administration planned the attacks to create a war between Muslims and Christians. He argues that members of the faiths must work together to overcome the belief that terrorists were to blame.The university has issued a statement saying it is reviewing the matter "to ensure that his course content is academically appropriate, of high quality, and that his personal views are not imposed on his students."
"The 9/11 lie was designed to sow hatred between the faiths," Barrett has written on the organization's Web site.
"Either we discuss the compelling evidence that 9/11 was an inside job, or there is precious little to talk about."
I'm just noticing the story this morning, but I see that it heated up last week after Barrett appeared on Jessica McBride's radio show. McBride has blogged the story: here (noting, among other things, that Barrett will be teaching "a large introductory course for undergrads and supervis[ing] several TAs" and that "Barrett says that his views are no surprise to his colleagues. In fact, he claims they are shared by many of them"), here (asking whether "the UW draw[s] any line about who it hires to teach courses when it comes to political views"), here (providing the syllabus for the course and the reading list), here (comparing the university's response to its response when the student newspaper published the Muhammad cartoons), and here (dealing with academic freedom saying "He didn't have academic freedom claims until they gave it to him. They MADE him an academic.").
UPDATE: The Capital Times -- the afternoon newspaper here in Madison -- has this editorial, aimed at State Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, who "called on the UW to bar [Barrett] from teaching."
The vitriol that Nass is spewing now is similar to the language he used last year to attack another academic with whom he disagrees University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill. Nass tried to prevent UW-Whitewater from letting Churchill speak at a student-sponsored event....But you don't find the truth by "sifting and winnowing" in a pile of obviously worthless ideas. And you don't learn to exercise critical thinking by reading a lot of material that is clearly wrong. And could the Capital Times learn the difference between "controversial views" and crackpot conspiracy theories? Focusing on the statements of some Republican legislator is a very easy route for the Madison newspaper. How about paying some attention to the interests of students who would like to be able to take a creditable introductory course on Islam? How about some consideration for Muslims who may not appreciate having their religion connected with ridiculous, unscientific, politically motivated bilge? How about a little less attention to the inflammatory question of whether a teacher should be fired and a little more attention to how he got the job in the first place?
If Barrett tries to force his views about 9/11 on students, he will be called on it. But everything he has said suggests that he will be a responsible instructor. Indeed, Barrett has been very specific about the fact that he wants to try to "present all defensible sides of important issues" and "let students make up their own minds."
That sounds a lot like the values expressed on a plaque at the UW that reads: "Whatever may be the limitations which trammel inquiry elsewhere, we believe that the great state University of Wisconsin should ever encourage that continual and fearless sifting and winnowing by which alone the truth can be found."
Steve Nass should go up to Bascom Hall and read the plaque before he starts telling this great university to fire controversial instructors.