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BYU professor supports 9/11 conspiracy theory

I found this article on CNN about Steven Jones, a Physics Professor, whose tenured position at BYU allows him to explore (without being fired) a theory that the September 11th attacks on the world trade center were staged by the U.S. government.

Just thought it was interesting that the stereo-typically conservative BYU has some respected professors that are pushing against the boundaries. I guess tenure brings out the best in people.

[ ARTICLE ON CNN ]

Academic/Institutional Freedom at BYU

It's a common thought that BYU is only populated by conservatives and that BYU actively weeds out anybody with a different point of view.

However, academic freedom at BYU is really only limited in subjects that relate to the Church and Church policy. Or, from another point of view, institutional freedom at BYU is really only liberating in subjects that relate to the Church and Church policy.

Dr. Jones, if I understand

Dr. Jones, if I understand correctly, has not once suggested U.S. government conspiracy. He has simply said that the explanation we've been given doesn't add up with the physical characteristics of the WTC downfall(s). His points are pretty dang good. He focuses on building 7, which fell later in the day of 9/11, but was not hit by an airplane.

BYU prof placed on paid leave over 9/11 research

The Deseret News ran a story today about Dr. Steven Jones, The BYU physics prof who postulates that the twin towers fell due to a controlled demolition and not the two airliners that crashed into them, being put on a paid leave while they investigate his recent work. You can read the article here.

I think it is not an unethical move by BYU

Frankly, I believe Dr. Jones' theories about thermite charges going off aren't ridiculous and they are very plausible. I don't criticize him for that.

What I do have an issue with is this: he used his position as BYU faculty to support a series of accusations that nobody can prove at the moment. This is not an issue relative only to his own personal freedom of speech, but rather it's about how he's dragging the name and prestige of the university into this whole mess. To be honest, being a member of BYU's faculty puts in him a position where he should really measure what he says.

I know there are many people concerned about the possibility of government involvement in 9/11. That is fine, I think everybody's concerns should be addressed. That is NOT the problem. The problem is that there is a culture of illogical, intellectual-wannabe zoobies (that frequent sites such as crooksandliars, TinWiki, ConspiracyArchive.com, NWOWatcher and other similar sites) that feel that rumors are indisputable evidence, due process should be skipped and heads should roll without much of a thought. This is the "Bush doesn't care about black people" hip crowd that BYU is being associated with, thanks to Dr. Jones non-conclusive assumptions.

That's the thing: determining whether the current adminstration is responsible for 9/11 is WAY outside of the scope of academic research in civil engineering. Determining whether thermite charges were used or not is a very different matter than assigning blame or feeding conspiracy theories, regardless of whether that is actually true or not.

The issue at stake is this: in the past, the current government has been a big help to BYU. Many students from the J. Reuben Clark school of law have had the opportunity to do internships in Washington. Also, the current administration has relied on the BYU school of MFHD for a lot of research and design of social work policies and programs. Last, if it wasn't because of research grants (linked closely to the executive power through the U.S. Dept. of Education), BYU would not be as much of a good school as it is.

Regardless of whether the government was involved in 9/11 or not, it is logical to assume that if a BYU professor starts making accusations on writing and national TV (BTW, last time I checked, neither of those qualify as "doing research"), then some of these close ties that generate opportunities for studies would be harmed.

Now, if the government was involved in 9/11, well, grants and internships are insignificant in this argument. But there is no proof or evidence of it. Even further, there is not even a real case. Let me ask: let's suppose Dr. Jones is right and there were thermite charges in WTC-7 (and personally I am not simply crossing off this possibility). Is an inside govn't job the only logical, consequential conclusion that can be drawn? Could have been some maffia organization? Infiltrated terrorists? Again, it could have been government too, but each time I ask this question, the only answer I get is "well...uh...I think it is not probable someone else other than govn't could have done it, so yea, it was the govn't!!!"

This last point is important. So far, all conspiracy theories that condemn goverment of 9/11 are veredicts based on probabilities assigned by our own imagination. Is this legitimate due process? How would you feel if you're brought up to court and condemn on the basis of "most likely perpetrator"? Why do we support such a double standard?

Dr. Jones (and any other typical conpiracy theorist) base their claims on things for which there is no evidence, and that is pretty much libel and slander. Yes, I know, both slander and libel defined as accusations (verbal or in writing, respectively) that are false. If the accusation is true, then it is not slander/libel. This definition might work in an ideal Disney world. What really matters is what can be proven through evidence. Thus, a more practical and realistic definition for slander and libel is more in terms of whether the accusation can be proven or not. Here is where CPs (short petty name for conspiracy theorists) fail.

Finally, I found Dr. Jones's paper interesting, but I don't think he has enough evidence to say anything other than "I think there were thermite charges in WTC-7". He has no evidence that could allow him to go from there to "the current administration did it" without doing borderline slander and/or libel (and slander and/or libel are not protected as freedom of speech). Also, saying "Bush did it" != doing research on whether the current administration was involved. Further, the scope of the consequences his remarks can have on the school and on the opportunities for the student body are considerable enough to take measures. Finally, he was not fired, but rather he was put on paid leave while under investigation. It seems very reasonable to me.

I thought it was important and necessary to give my view on this. I am not defending BYU just because it's BYU, but because if I was an administrator of a school where that was happening, I'd do the same thing.

I also find it interesting to see the knee-jerk reaction people have at anything that might remotely look like someone reprimending someone for something they said. Especially when it is a big company or institution to a small group of people, I think the concept of the "court" vs. the "country" is too romantically appealing to some.

But what I find the most negative about the "freedom of speech" techno-pop cult is the lack of examination of the issue at hand before the protests, the accusations and the "getting it off the chest" blog posts (including USSR jokes and such) come out.

It is true that some of those who favor a less loose definition of freedom of speech are also guilty of not studying the issue at hand, but at least they're not the ones that start with speedy accusations.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

Re: This is not an issue

This is not an issue relative only to his own personal freedom of speech, but rather it's about how he's dragging the name and prestige of the university into this whole mess.

How exactly do you suggest an honest researcher state his or her credentials without mentioning the organization where employed? Dr. Jones has *never* implied that BYU endorses any position. He only mentions that he is a physics professor at BYU -- it's simply a part of who he is.

...being a member of BYU's faculty puts in him a position where he should really measure what he says.

Agreed. And guess what? He's said nothing that contradicts any church teachings -- unless you happen to have a testimony that the Republican party® is true -- in which case you don't even understand your own religion.

The issue at stake is this: in the past, the current government has been a big help to BYU. Many students from the J. Reuben Clark school of law have had the opportunity to do internships in Washington. Also, the current administration has relied on the BYU school of MFHD for a lot of research and design of social work policies and programs. Last, if it wasn't because of research grants (linked closely to the executive power through the U.S. Dept. of Education), BYU would not be as much of a good school as it is.

Do what is right and let the consequence follow. I suggest you read the whole text of this hymn. It's very good, and very relevant to the subject matter.

it could have been government too, but each time I ask this question, the only answer I get is "well...uh...I think it is not probable someone else other than govn't could have done it, so yea, it was the govn't!!!"

AFAIK Dr. Jones has tried to be very careful to not give an opinion as to who is responsible. He has only presented some very compelling evidence and made requests for an honest investigation into the matter. It's not the fault of the researcher if the evidence is consistantly interpreted by those who review it in a certain way. If you can show us where Dr. Jones made any direct accusation against president Bush, I'd like to have a look at it. Link, please?

Finally, he was not fired, but rather he was put on paid leave while under investigation.

Agreed. Unfortunately, the local news (Fox 13) began their report tonight: "BYU is very unhappy with Dr. Steven Jones..." Rather disgusting the way the press is trying to mold public opinon. They know that many people will hear that and think: "Oh, BYU hates Steve Jones -- I better, too!" This could lead to some people that know nothing about the issue calling for his dismissal, mistakenly thinking that such a course has the official sanction of the Church.

I pray that God's will be done in this matter.

Difference between Jones and the other scholars for 9/11 truth

I think what makes the Jones case interesting is how his Scholars for 9/11 truth peers are being treated by their employers. Instead of being placed on paid leave, these profs' schools are rallying behind them.

In fact just a few days ago The University of New Hampshire's interim president Bonnie Newman had this to say:

Let there be no doubt - here at the University of New Hampshire, we cherish and protect the principle of academic freedom, and we have done so for a very long time," she said. "Though at times we may disagree, and we will; and though at times we may be offended - and believe me, I have been during my long tenure in higher education - we stand firm in our commitment to the principles and inherent responsibilities of academic freedom, and freedom of speech, and to the pursuit of truth."

This of course comes on the heels of criticism of UNH psychology prof Bill Woodward and his involvement in Scholars for 9/11 truth. To read more about Woodward's situation check out this article that appeared in the Union Leader two weeks ago.

This might surprise some to hear me of all people say this but I think BYU might have made the right move here. Afterall they are a private institution, and they can basically do whatever they want. They don't need to worry about the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) condemning them. They have been censured by that body since 1998.

Hhhhhh is right (again...is this me saying this?) that the university has much to lose in the way of government grant money and support. Better to put one troublemaking prof on paid leave while an investigation is conducted than to bite the hand that feeds by standing by him.

Unfortunately for the 9/11 conspiracy movement Steven Jones was the closest thing they had to legitimacy. Quite a few of these scholars for 9/11 truth are not involved in the hard sciences. But here comes this former Bush backer from one of the most conservative schools in the country, and not only does he have the Phd at the end of his name but he also has the physics background to go with it (if his science actually means anything...well, that remains to be seen).

So for now at least it appears that the only guy that had any gravitas in regards to the physical falling of the towers is being thrown under the bus. Meanwhile, the psychologist Woodward (who has no hard science leg to stand on) is being propped up by his college, even in the face of New Hampshire state legislators who want to take away funds from the public university for "hiring such a wacko."

So the one guy who actually might deserve some attention (and by the way, personally I think Jones is nuts) is being hung out to dry while his less-deserving peers get their university presidents to fight for them. While I think BYU is going against some basic principles of academic freedom, as a private institution, they have the right to hush anyone they like. And in this case it might be the smartest move.

I think the important lesson from all of this is that academic freedom is crucial to expanding knowledge. If nothing else, the conspiracy theories of kooks like Jones and Woodward give the serious academics some practice in debunking these crackpot ideas. And if, god forbid, Jones and his buddies are right then at least we didn't kill the messenger before evaluating their message.

Remember...in the marketplace of ideas the best ones rise to the top only when they survive the gauntlet of time, peer review, and constant questioning. When we shut down the weirdos just because we don't agree with them we actually weaken our position. No one has a monoploy on the truth.

Good points Gary

I think the links you posted should be considered and given as much attention as Dr. Jones'.

Now, everybody should keep in mind that the problem is this:

The attacks of September 11, Jones asserts, were an "inside job", puppeteered by the neoconservatives in the White House to justify the occupation of oil-rich Arab countries, inflate military spending and expand Israel.

Not this.

One of the reasons of why Dr. Jones was put in leave is that his accusations are so disparate that nobody wants to publish them. Now, what's sad is that actually some people created a """peer-reviewed journal""" just to save the neck of all scholars that actually need to publish this stuff. Check it out.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

It's almost too funny....

Creating your own journal and stocking it with your choice of "peers" to apparently do the reviewing.

There is an antidote however, actually somewhat of a parody on Jones' & co. idea of peer review. But along with that underlying message, there's some very thorough rebuttals to much of what is put forth by the so called truth movement, going even further to show that one certainly doesn't even need to be a professional in fire science or structural engineering to pick apart the rather flimsy and largely politically motivated contentions of Jones, et al.

I know there is such a thing as political science, but science and politics don't mix very well. They tend to pollute one another.

Google Video: Jones speaks to LDS group

Here's a video you might enjoy. Prof. Jones speaks to a small crowd of LDS. I also recommend a visit to www.latterdayconservative.com that posted the video. (This site is not your typical "party-line" site, but conservative as in "conserve" our Constitutional freedoms.)

BYU

Ask Scott Abbot, Sam Rushforth, David Knolton, and Cecilia Konchar-Farr about being actively weeded out. Or Darren Smith for that matter. You cannot attempt to research the church objectively, or even work towards change, and expect to last long at BYU.

As always, it is their right as a private institution. I just wish that an institution dedicated to truth, which I would hope BYU is, would allow their people more freedom to examine and critique such an all-encompassing subject like religion.

By the way Stephen Jones tackles this subject from a very conservative angle. Most folks that agree with him, or I should say the ones who attended his lecture at UVSC this past semester, were far-right constitutionalsits. It was fun to see them mixed in with far-left conspiracy nuts. Both sides seem to agree on one thing...Bush is bad.

Interesting. I wonder if

Interesting. I wonder if BYU would also investigate a professor for voicing his opinion on falsehoods that support the government of the US, or Israel for that matter. Were there any protests at BYU over the recent Lebanon fiasco?

To gg3po

How exactly do you suggest an honest researcher state his or her credentials without mentioning the organization where employed? Dr. Jones has *never* implied that BYU endorses any position. He only mentions that he is a physics professor at BYU -- it's simply a part of who he is.

An honest researcher does not jump to conclusions without evidence. Also, an honest researcher does not misrepresent his/her credentials. He is a physics professor, not a political science or forensic science professor. As I mentioned earlier, the fact that Dr. Jones proposed the idea of thermite charges in WTC-7 is NOT the reason of why he is on leave. I am of the opinion that if he had limited to the scope of his research, he would have been fine. But he did not, he decided to go for theories on who is responsible, etc. That is why he was put on leave.

Before defending Dr. Jones any further, I'd like to hear you comment on this.

Agreed. And guess what? He's said nothing that contradicts any church teachings -- unless you happen to have a testimony that the Republican party® is true -- in which case you don't even understand your own religion.

*sigh* I don't understand your accusation, I'm not a registered Republican (if you cared, I could tell you that I don't believe in partisanship, either Republican or Democrat, but obviously you don't care, so let's move on).

Again, the issue is not whether he was against Church's teachings, but rather how his accusations are borderline libelious or slandering. Slander and libel carry consequences (they are not protected by freedom of speech and you can legally by prosecuted for that), and you can lose tenure. I think the investigation has to do with whether his statements are libelious or not, instead of whether he conforms to church policy or not.

Do what is right and let the consequence follow. I suggest you read the whole text of this hymn. It's very good, and very relevant to the subject matter.

Well, that was cheesy...anyways, I believe making accusations based on suppositions, assumptions and lacking evidence is not right.

That hymn is very irrelevant, and it simply shows you don't understand what I'm trying to say. I suggest you read my previous post again.

AFAIK Dr. Jones has tried to be very careful to not give an opinion as to who is responsible. He has only presented some very compelling evidence and made requests for an honest investigation into the matter. It's not the fault of the researcher if the evidence is consistantly interpreted by those who review it in a certain way. If you can show us where Dr. Jones made any direct accusation against president Bush, I'd like to have a look at it. Link, please?

The CNN article that started the thread is very specific on what kind of accusations Dr. Jones was making. He didn't say "Bush", but he mentioned certain agencies linked to the executive power. It's not just a misrepresentation, he has made accusations and that is what got him in trouble.

Agreed. Unfortunately, the local news (Fox 13) began their report tonight: "BYU is very unhappy with Dr. Steven Jones..." Rather disgusting the way the press is trying to mold public opinon. They know that many people will hear that and think: "Oh, BYU hates Steve Jones -- I better, too!" This could lead to some people that know nothing about the issue calling for his dismissal, mistakenly thinking that such a course has the official sanction of the Church.

Well, BYU is not responsible for what Fox 13 says. And saying that "BYU is very unhappy with Dr. Steven Jones" is accurate, it is not biased (I'm not saying that Fox is not biased BTW, but in this particular instance I don't see a bias).

I pray that God's will be done in this matter.

I do too.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

To vegor

I think what makes the Jones case interesting is how his Scholars for 9/11 truth peers are being treated by their employers. Instead of being placed on paid leave, these profs' schools are rallying behind them.

So what? Should BYU do it to because "everybody does it"?

This might surprise some to hear me of all people say this but I think BYU might have made the right move here. Afterall they are a private institution, and they can basically do whatever they want. They don't need to worry about the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) condemning them. They have been censured by that body since 1998.

True.

Hhhhhh is right (again...is this me saying this?) that the university has much to lose in the way of government grant money and support. Better to put one troublemaking prof on paid leave while an investigation is conducted than to bite the hand that feeds by standing by him.

Your sarcasm is weak. the "hands that feeds" provides internships, grants and other things that not only benefit BYU as an institution but also help students. It must suck to be a MFHD or law student who applied for a juicy internship and being denied because some professor could not wait for evidence before making a serious accusation.

Unfortunately for the 9/11 conspiracy movement Steven Jones was the closest thing they had to legitimacy. Quite a few of these scholars for 9/11 truth are not involved in the hard sciences.

Exactly.

But here comes this former Bush backer from one of the most conservative schools in the country, and not only does he have the Phd at the end of his name but he also has the physics background to go with it (if his science actually means anything...well, that remains to be seen).

Bold added.

So for now at least it appears that the only guy that had any gravitas in regards to the physical falling of the towers is being thrown under the bus. Meanwhile, the psychologist Woodward (who has no hard science leg to stand on) is being propped up by his college, even in the face of New Hampshire state legislators who want to take away funds from the public university for "hiring such a wacko."

Well, again, your comparison is meaningless. UNH's matters are UNH's. And Dr. Jones really has noone to blame, unless he has compelling evidence of "the govn't put thermite!", as opposed to "there was thermite".

So the one guy who actually might deserve some attention (and by the way, personally I think Jones is nuts) is being hung out to dry while his less-deserving peers get their university presidents to fight for them.

Again, this is no socialism, there is no "Mother Russia will provide for everyone equally".

And by the way, I don't think Jones is a nut. I think he is not a prudent person and that he should hold judgement until evidence is present, but not a nut.

While I think BYU is going against some basic principles of academic freedom, as a private institution, they have the right to hush anyone they like. And in this case it might be the smartest move.

No, it may be the most moral move. If I was a school administrator, I would not sit still while one of my professors might be slandering.

I think the important lesson from all of this is that academic freedom is crucial to expanding knowledge. If nothing else, the conspiracy theories of kooks like Jones and Woodward give the serious academics some practice in debunking these crackpot ideas. And if, god forbid, Jones and his buddies are right then at least we didn't kill the messenger before evaluating their message.

I think you don't understand the concept of academic freedom well. Academic freedom does not mean people can say or write illegal things and not expect consequences.

Remember...in the marketplace of ideas the best ones rise to the top only when they survive the gauntlet of time, peer review, and constant questioning. When we shut down the weirdos just because we don't agree with them we actually weaken our position. No one has a monoploy on the truth.

And we're back to the beginning...You think BYU is shutting down Jones because they don't agree with them? This is deeper than I thought.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

Peer Review indeed

"Remember...in the marketplace of ideas the best ones rise to the top only when they survive the gauntlet of time, peer review, and constant questioning. When we shut down the weirdos just because we don't agree with them we actually weaken our position. No one has a monoploy on the truth."

Isn't this really the big stumbling block for Jones? He is not able to get his worked published in any appropriate scientific or engineering journal. There is a reason for that.

I'm not sure, but I believe that Jones' first drafts didn't make the disclaimer separating his views from that of BYU. I assume he was told to add it later, along with being told not to go on TV anymore!

It doesn't even take a trained structural engineer to bat down Jones' rather "bad science".

Were there any protests at

Were there any protests at BYU over the recent Lebanon fiasco?

In my three and a half years at BYU, I saw exactly one protest. It was over the firing of Todd Hendricks, and it wasn't much of a protest.

Anyone got a BYUSSR t-shirt? I'd love to buy one.

The reason why my sarcasm is weak

The reason why my sarcasm is weak is becasue I wasn't being sarcastic. I agree with you...BYU does have a lot to lose in the way of government support. I really do think BYU made the smart move by investigating Jones.

Geez! You try to pay someone a compliment, and try to say that both sides make valid points and look what you get.

It is my fault for not being clear enough in my post (again...I am not being sarcastic). Hear is my position...hopefully clearly stated:

Jones is the best thing the scholars for 9/11 truth have going for them. While schools like UNH defend profs like Woodward they really shouldn't because one of the basic tennets of academic freedom is that you use it to further knowledge in YOUR FIELD OF EXPERTISE. This has been the accepted definition of academic freedom by organizations like the AAUP for years.

Woodward, a psychology scholar, is definitely outside the scope of his expertise when contending that the government brought about the events of 9/11. Yet his school is defending him.

Meanwhile Jones IS well within his scope and yet his school is investigating him and placing him on a paid leave.

Add to this murkiness the fact that BYU doesn't have to hold to any notion of academic fredom, nor should they as a private religious university. BYU is not in the academic freedom business, they are not a marketplace of ideas...while I don't agree with them, they have every right to play by a different set of rules.

Now to complicate the matter further is my opinion that BYU SHOULD do exactly what they have done by investigating the matter further and, for now at least, not firing Jones.

And as a private institution, that has made no bones about the fact that they will fire anyone who displeases them, they would be very smart (in light of upsetting their government backers) to do just that.

Personally I hope they do fire him and he goes somewhere else that does have academic freedom so he can continue being a thorn in the side of academia.

Again, science needs men like Jones to upset the apple cart every now and then and get people thinking in different directions. Look what Jones has done for Pete's sake...they got an old BYU-hater like myself to agree with folks like Hhhhhh for once. If that isn't progress, I don't know what is.

As for schools like UNH who defend profs like Woodward, I don't think they understand academic freedom much more than BYU does if they are willing to go to the mat for a quack like Woodward who hides behind freedom instead of admitting he has no qualifications in regards to this topic.

If my view seems complicated, and I admit it seems to contradict itself at times, it is because the Jones issue is equally complicated.

Like you said Hhhhhh "This is deeper than I thought."

Re: to gg3po

I am of the opinion that if he had limited to the scope of his research, he would have been fine.

If Professor Jones did, in fact, make specific accusations, than he naively walked right into a trap. This is unfortunate.

I could tell you that I don't believe in partisanship, either Republican or Democrat, but obviously you don't care, so let's move on

How exactly were you able to determine what I do and don't care about? Do you mean to tell me you have the power to know a man's heart? Maybe I should be worshipping you, instead.

Again, the issue is not whether he was against Church's teachings, but rather how his accusations are borderline libelious or slandering. Slander and libel carry consequences

If a crime has been committed (slander and libel are crimes) then there already exists a procedure for determining guilt -- a trial by jury. "Slander" and "libel" are only slanderous and libelous if the accusations are proven not to be true in a court of law. I would think the accused would be delighted at the opportunity to clear their name in such a setting. Why don't we allow them to press charges if they are offended? If Dr. Jones is convicted of slander or libel I think any university would be justified in removing him. BTW, Dr. Jones would be liable for the slander, not the university. They've made it abundantly clear that they don't give endorsement to his views.

That hymn is very irrelevant, and it simply shows you don't understand what I'm trying to say.

Oh, it's relevant. And it simply shows you don't understand what I am saying. The university should not base its' course of action on what bad consequences may or may not come from doing the right thing -- whether the right thing is to dismiss Jones or keep him.

The CNN article that started the thread is very specific on what kind of accusations Dr. Jones was making.

Unfortunately the article link is coming up "page not found" right now.

BYU is not responsible for what Fox 13 says.

Agreed. I didn't say it was.

saying that "BYU is very unhappy with Dr. Steven Jones" is accurate, it is not biased

As of the broadcast in question it was clearly biased. "BYU" is not one person. Speaking for all of "BYU" as if it were a single person is unavoidably biased. How does Fox 13 define this "BYU" entity? Did they conduct a scientific, repeatable poll of the entire student body? the administration? ...or just the board of directors? What percentage of those polled expressed their "unhappiness"?

I do too. [pray that God's will be done]

And yet you think that a hymn about doing the right thing -- consequences be hanged -- is cheesy? Keep praying.

Re: The reason why my sarcasm is weak

OK, I apologize, I honestly thought you were being sarcastic, my own sarcasm was out of place.

One thing though:

Meanwhile Jones IS well within his scope and yet his school is investigating him and placing him on a paid leave.

Physics doesn't deal with conspiracy theories, neither it enables someone to feel he can pass moral judgement on assumptions. As I've said it before, Mr. Jones is qualified to say "evidence shows that thermite charges were present and used in WTC-7". What he is not qualified to do is accuse certain branches of government of doing it. Physics simply does not deal with determining culprits or solving conspiracies (that seems more on the line of intelligence, political science and law, maybe, but for certain not physics), and in that area he has as much expertise as Tom Cruise.

Before defending Dr. Jones and/or questioning BYU's decision on the matter any further, you NEED to clear that off. If not, well, then I feel my background in Computer Science and Mathematics enables me to make accusations regarding the murder of JFK.

Add to this murkiness the fact that BYU doesn't have to hold to any notion of academic fredom, nor should they as a private religious university. BYU is not in the academic freedom business, they are not a marketplace of ideas...while I don't agree with them, they have every right to play by a different set of rules.

You know what...? That is nothing more than your own private interpretation of what academic freedom is. Academic freedom does not imply a professor can say whatever he/she wants regardless of what-not. I don't think academic freedom has anything to do with defending a professor misquoting his credentials (physics != intelligence, forensic science, political science and/or law).

So, this means you cannot logically make any claims about academic freedom unless you clear off the issue of the relevance of Dr. Jones's background in his accusations.

Now to complicate the matter further is my opinion that BYU SHOULD do exactly what they have done by investigating the matter further and, for now at least, not firing Jones.

Jones isn't fired. He may be in the future, provided that he is found guilty of slander and/or libel. I don't wish that BTW.

And as a private institution, that has made no bones about the fact that they will fire anyone who displeases them, they would be very smart (in light of upsetting their government backers) to do just that.

Well, any entity can fire employees that displease it. In the case of a tenured professor, BYU is very strict on these matters: they are fired in case of a criminal offense or a felony (libel and/or slander qualify as such) or when going against official LDS doctrine. It's not as relative and as "dirty politics" as you portray it.

Personally I hope they do fire him and he goes somewhere else that does have academic freedom so he can continue being a thorn in the side of academia.

I hope they don't, he is a very acknowledged scholar and he has brought prestige to BYU (or at least until before this whole mess). Now, if he prefers to go to a different school that doesn't care about the grounds for his accusations (regardless of the consequences this may have on the school, e.g. UNH), that's fine too.

Again, science needs men like Jones to upset the apple cart every now and then and get people thinking in different directions. Look what Jones has done for Pete's sake...they got an old BYU-hater like myself to agree with folks like Hhhhhh for once. If that isn't progress, I don't know what is.

I agree, it's necessary to help people think in different directions, but using methods that may be illegal is not what I had in mind.

At any rate, I can see we agree in some things and we disagree in others. I apologize for any measure of unnecessary sarcasm I may have used.

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy." - Hamlet, Shakespeare

Clearing things up

Once again I feel you are not getting my point. And so once again I need to spend an hour explaining myself. I don't mind. Like I said before, situations like the one involving Jones allow us all to exercise our minds. So here goes:

Before defending Dr. Jones and/or questioning BYU's decision on the matter any further, you NEED to clear that off.

Physics does deal with buildings falling and so far that makes up for the bulk of what Jones has said. Watch his presentations. He does not make many assertions about government involvement, and when he does he doesn't state them as fact. A lot of people have put words in his mouth.

While it is true that the other nuts in Scholars for 9/11 truth have implied government involvement I think Jones has done well to steer clear of making these accusations.

If not, well, then I feel my background in Computer Science and Mathematics enables me to make accusations regarding the murder of JFK.

If you were to use your mathematical research to investigate the geometry of the assassination than by all means, use your expertise to enlighten us all. I feel my previous post made it quite clear that academic freedom allows you to speak to the field of your expertise. Again, look at Jones' research (even with all its holes) he talks about physics and little else.

I hope this explanation has cleared me to "logically make any claims about academic freedom".
Does everyone here need to meet YOUR silly burden of proof in order have an opinion, or is it just folks you don't agree with?

And speaking of a burden of proof...Let's imagine that Jones had indeed said explicitly that the government was involved, that still comes nowhere close to meeting the standards for slander or libel. With my background as a journalist I feel qualified to talk a little about this.

In the US (and especially in Utah) there is a pretty big burden of proof that needs to be met in order to prove libel.
1.You have to KNOW that what you said (slander) or published (libel) was false. The burden of proof for this usually (in most states) lies with the plaintiff.
2. Not only do you have to know that what you said or printed was a lie you have to have malicious intent, and again the plaintiff usually has to prove that you had said intent. Tough to do.
3. No state allows the plaintiff to be a group of people. It has to be personal. So I suppose Bush could sue, but the government can't.
4. As a public figure Bush, or any other possible government plaintiff in a libel case brought against Jones has an even higher burden of proof to be met. If this wasn't the case Bush could sue every late-night talk show host that made a joke at his expense that might not be true.

Jones isn't fired. He may be in the future, provided that he is found guilty of slander and/or libel.

You will notice that the very paragraph of mine you quoted said "Now to complicate the matter further is my opinion that BYU SHOULD do exactly what they have done by investigating the matter further and, for now at least, not firing Jones." Trust me. I know he hasn't been fired. I was the one who first brought up his current status here on Provopulse.

But to think that BYU would only fire Jones "provided that he is found guilty of slander and/or libel" goes against the school's track record. They fire at will, and don't need charges to be brought against Jones.

Well, any entity can fire employees that displease it.

Not true. Public colleges cannot fire a teacher for espousing radical ideas. Sometimes they do just that and they usually are sued. And usually the prof wins. This concept is what gives academic freedom its teeth.

In the case of a tenured professor,

BYU does not have tenure read the article
BYU does not grant tenure, generally regarded as a permanent position, to professors. However, it does give continuing status to professors found worthy after six years on campus.
"Continuing status," Jenkins said, "grants the expectation that faculty members will have continuing employment at the university, although it is not a guarantee. They still need to meet satisfactory performance levels for scholarship, citizenship and teaching."

BYU is very strict on these matters: they are fired in case of a criminal offense or a felony (libel and/or slander qualify as such) or when going against official LDS doctrine. It's not as relative and as "dirty politics" as you portray it.

First of all libel is not a felony...nor is it even a criminal offense. Libel and slander are civil matters, not criminal.

And riddle me this Hhhhhh...If BYU only fires people for felonies or going against church doctrine than pray tell which one of these did former BYUSA advisor Todd Hendricks violate? The answer of course is neither. BYU fired him because he spoke against his superiors (which unless there is a Patriot Act provisio that I don't know about is still legal).

And yes, I am aware that BYU can fire people who don't agree with them. As a private institution they answer to no one (except of course the 1st presidency). It may not be "dirty politics" but it certainly rubs most in the academic community the wrong way...hence the AAUP censure.

Finally (thank God!) I want to address this:

You know what...? That is nothing more than your own private interpretation of what academic freedom is.

I hope we aren't going to point out every time someone voices an opinion or "private interpretation" on here. Of course this is my opinion! But to imply that academic freedom is alive and well on BYU campus is also YOUR opinion.

So feel free to show me some recent examples of when BYU has defended profs or other employees for going outside the school's norm. To think that BYU's policies and track record (particularly under Samuelsen) don't have a chilling effect on their faculty is rather silly.

Hope this clears up my "private interpretation" of the situation. But something tells me it won't.