Sifting & Winnowing at the University of Wisconsin
Years ago, I read a story about a Harvard Law class that elected one of their own for the specific job of reminding the rest of them how awful their three years at Harvard were when the University came calling for donations. I feel like it's time for me to the do the same to the University of Wisconsin. In case you haven't heard, the University, in its infinite wisdom, will be offering a course entitled Introduction to Islam taught by a Kevin Barrett, the founder of something called the Muslim Jewish Christian Alliance for 9/11 truth". As you can imagine, Barrett doesn't think we really know the truth about 9/11. Despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, Barrett and his fellow loons are convinced that:
"'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.
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.''
And so the University of Wisconsin, an institution whose motto states "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" is allowing this man to teach an intro course to a bunch of 18- and 19-year olds most of whom are taking the class to fulfill their bs "ethnic studies" requirement.
Predictably, the University and its apologists are hiding behind this motto and using it to justify a really, really poor decision. As Ann Althouse put it, "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." She rightly, unlike a bunch of Madison's usual suspects (i.e., the Capital Times), classifies Barrett as the purveyer of "crackpot conspiracy theories". Does the University really want to be in the business of providing a forum for every moonbat and wingnut? Apparently they do, at least if their views veer to the political left.
If the University really thinks that students will learn anything of value from being exposed to crackpot theories, then perhaps they should allow Barrett to be a guest lecturer in an entire class devoted to the topic. I'm sure they could fit him in in between studying Holocaust denial, Bigfoot, Scientology and the secret world rule of the
Stone CuttersFree Masons.
In the meantime, I hereby vow not to give a dime to my alma mater and to urge others to hide their checkbooks too if this class actually takes place. Barrett and his ilk can exercise their free speech rights and I'll exercise mine.
Posted by at July 5, 2006 07:44 PM
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|# July 7th, 2006 3:01 PM skettler|
|I think that Bush stinks and the Gov't is corrupt but I also think who ever wrote that the Gov't planned for these buildings to fall is a freakin wacko who need to be tied up in a freakin' mental hospital. Come on. |
|# July 20th, 2006 10:13 AM mbrlr|
|ditto...although the administration had the info available and in sufficient time to prevent it, I would note. |
|# July 20th, 2006 10:27 AM BVBigBro|
|I guess that makes you only half wacko. |