Kevin Barrett will get to teach Introduction to Islam, including a presentation of his view that the US government was behind 9/11. The UW provost had this to say:
"It is in cases like this - difficult cases involving unconventional ideas - ... that we define our principles and determine our future," Farrell said. "Instead of restricting politically unpopular speech, we will take our cue from the bronze plaque in front of Bascom Hall that calls for the continual and fearless sifting and winnowing' of ideas."
As I've blogged before, my problem is not so much that certain views should be ruled out of bounds, as it is with how a guy who is either stupid enough or disturbed enough to believe the highly implausible "false flag" theory of 9-11 got hired in the first place. The only way that you can buy into that stuff is by taking bits and pieces of information out of context and then refuse to think critically about them. I wonder how a guy who seems to have the judgment of a two year old - referring to the 99.9% of the world who disagrees with him as "total f***ing morons" and responding to criticism from Jessica McBride with the kind of misogynist garbage that would get me (properly)kicked out of just about everything I do was thought to be the best person to teach this class. There must be pretty slim pickings in Islamic studies.
The other concern I have is why these "unconventional views" that the university must tolerate so that they can be "sifted" and winnowed" are always on the left. What would the provost say about a geneticist who argued that certain innate skills and abilities were statistically correlated with characteristics like race and gender? What about a biologist who argued for intelligent design? Both of these ideas are alot more plausible than 9-11 denial. (In fact, they are probably, at a certain level, true.) Would we be sifting and winnowing through these?