Thursday, November 10, 2005

Responding to BYU's conspiracy theorist

Here's my thoughts on the problem with BYU's Steven Jones and his publication of '9-11/inside job' conspiracy theories. This is taken from an email to BYU's president. I don't address the problems with Dr. Jones's arguments (which are not my expertise), and only briefly mention the problem with conspiracy theories in general (more about that in a later post).

President Samuelson,
As an alumnus of BYU, and a member of the church, I have some serious concerns about the publications of Dr. Steven E. Jones on the causes of the WTC collapse. (http://www.deseretnews.com/dn/view/0,1249,635160132,00.html)

-I am unaware if this publication was produced as a hobby, or if Dr. Jones was paid by the university for the time spent writing this garbage. Tithing money is spent under your supervision. I feel that the expenditure of church funds on this subject is quite misplaced, especially after the admonitions we received as students to treat the Church's contribution as an investment. If the Church invested in Dr. Jones’s publication, they got junk bonds.
-If Dr. Jones believes that the American government is responsible for the 9-11 atrocity (his 'inside job' claims), that’s his right and should be respected. That he would publish it and post it on the BYU server (www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html) is a black eye for a university that is trying to develop respect for its research. Respected scientists have come out saying that the buildings were brought down by the planes (and not bombs), and for a BYU professor to make claims against that is embarrassing.
-In an era of unprecedented anti-Americanism both at home and abroad, the publication of conspiracy theories implicating our government in the mass-murder of its own citizens adds fuel to the fire. Conspiracy theories take a lot of work to disprove, and even after a thorough debunking, they live on. Because of Dr. Jones's publication, even after someone goes to the trouble of once again disproving the claims of an 'inside job,' extremist websites and anti-American agitators will point to the original publication when they call our national leaders "murderers," "Hitler," and "war-criminal." BYU's name should not be involved with such deceit and hate.

I'm reminded of an anti-rumor Mormonad from the "New-Era magazine;" the warning 'Don't pass it on' is equally valid with conspiracy theories. The publication and propagation of these theories spreads filth (lies) and stains the hands of those who are complicit in their dissemination.
Please don't let our university be associated with this embarrassing publication. At the least, the University should issue a statement distancing itself from the views held by Dr. Jones. If tithing money was used to fund the production of his work, disciplinary actions should be taken against those involved.

Thank you for your attention,
Matthew Merrell, ‘05

3 Comments:

At 9:38 PM, Blogger Alexander said...

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At 9:44 PM, Blogger bloggrez said...

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At 9:56 PM, Blogger Bear said...

Arrgg! Two spams on the same post. I hate these guys!

 

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