Posted by: CS | May 17, 2013

Why Sandy Hook Investigator, Professor James Tracy Should Not Resign

Professor James Tracy, an associate professor of communications at Florida Atlantic University, has speculated on his blog concerning the authenticity of the official account of the Sandy Hook Massacre and the Boston Marathon Bombings.

While, as he has acknowledged, not all of the arguments he has adduced as a reason for skepticism are necessarily valid, and while there is much room for debate as to the correct interpretation of the evidence considered, Professor Tracy’s examination of these events falls well within the realm of legitimate public debate in a free society.

However, not all of his colleagues agree, considering it impermissible for Professor Tracy to publicly question the mainstream media and police narrative on these events. Thus, in a letter to a local newspaper, three FAU professors assert that James Tracy should resign his academic appointment.

They preface this assertion by the following claims:

First, that Professor Tracy has

infuriated the public with his conspiracy theories about the Sandy Hook massacre and is doing the same with the Boston Marathon bombing.

Second,

In each instance, he claimed that the events as we know them may not have happened and were perhaps staged using crisis actors. Despite the suffering that he has caused to victims’ families, the poor example he has set for his students and the damage that he has done to the university’s reputation, Mr. Tracy continues to blog unabated.

On the first point, the critics offer no evidence that Professor Tracy has infuriated the public, and insofar as the claim is supposed to be generally applicable, it is surely false.

On the second point, Tracy’s critics offer no reason to suppose that his “conspiracy theories” are necessarily, or even probably, false, or conversely, that the events of Sandy Hook and the Boston Bombings are “as we know them,” if by that expression they mean as told them by Anderson Cooper and Megyn Kelly of CNN and Dr. Wayne Carver, Connecticut Chief Medical Examiner. His offense, so his critics thus imply, is simply to have asserted what is contrary to the narrative of the mainstream media and Connecticut State officials.

But then, in conclusion, his colleagues dismiss the relevance of these points, which seem therefore to have had no purpose other than to arouse a degree of incoherent animosity toward Tracy, and assert that their colleague should resign his academic post “not because he has upset people or brought shame to the university” but “because he is not an academic,” a claim for which they offer only the following:

What James Tracy does not understand is that ideas represent the end product of the intellectual process. Before they can be publicly espoused, ideas must be subjected to rigorous and intensive examination. Academics test ideas to prove their worth; commentators simply state them.

This is nonsense refuted daily, as will be evident to anyone who pays attention to the public discussion of events in the news. Academics express their ideas directly, informally and publicly in newspaper columns, blog posts, and books for the mass market every day. But few are silly enough to argue that because he writes a column in the New York Times, Paul Krugman is not an academic, or because they have publicly declared that Israel systematically discriminates against its Palestinian population, Stephen Hawking and Noam Chomsky are not academics, or because two-time Nobel prize winner Linus Pauling campaigned against above-ground nuclear weapons testing, he was not an academic.

It is not professor Tracy, but his critics who have brought shame on their university by resorting to such an illogical and fundamentally stupid public attack on a colleague.

Professor Tracy’s response to his critics nicely exposes the implications of their thinking: which is that the university exists not to inculcate a commitment to the truth or a capacity for clear thinking but to instil slavish adherence to the ideology of the ruling elite as related by the news media that they control.

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