Sunday, August 18, 2013

#668: James Fetzer


James Henry Fetzer is an American philosopher, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth (yes, this James Fetzer), and a batshit crazy conspiracy theorist. Now, Fetzer has written plenty of intelligent stuff as well, for instance on philosophical aspects of “the Christian Right's crusade against science.” It would, however, have carried more dialectical weight if Fetzer’s own critical thinking skills had been up to date. But they definitely aren’t. Fetzer is a 9/11 truther and advocate of JFK assassination conspiracy theories – he has published three collections of studies on the death of JFK, and co-authored another on the plane crash that took the life of Senator Paul Wellstone. His views have indeed landed him appearances on such respectable intellectual venues as Out There TV and Jerry Springer, Hannity (some criticism of his appearance here), the O’Reilly show, and Jesse Ventura’s America– almost worth as much as peer-reviewed publications.

JFK
With respect to JFK Fetzer has edited plenty of books, arranged conferences and made talk show appearances claiming that there was a well-planned and precisely executed conspiracy, including alterations of the autopsy X-rays (substituting another brain), and recreating the Zapruder film using sophisticated techniques of optical printing and special effects. He has for instance written a study (with Jack White) of the films and photos of the assassination, in which the basic claim apparently is that as long as you assume that the material is genuine you won’t see the conspiracy; therefore the material must be fabricated.


9/11
Concerning 9/11 he maintans that elements within the U.S. federal government orchestrated attacks for political and economic gain and that World Trade Center One and Two were destroyed using a novel form of controlled demolition from the top down, while World Trade Center Seven was brought down by a conventional controlled demolition from the bottom (search this for more info), and that the hijackings were staged (calls from passengers to relatives and operators were faked). He isn’t quite sure how, but suspects that high-tech weapons, such as a “satellite-mounted military weapon”, may have been used to destroy the Twin Towers. Larry Silverstein was involved as well, even though he wasn’t. Fetzer seems to be pretty ardent about spreading his views (not so much about making them even minimally coherent), and has arranged several happenings both within the US and internationally to spread his stuff (though he doesn’t particularly like people pointing out the, shall we say, darker undercurrents in his views). Apparently he doesn’t quite get the fact that if you just search for confirmation of your views you will certainly find support, and that for this reason science advocates testing and falsifying hypotheses (“but X seems to suggest that my theory is true” will for rational people be less compelling when the theory has already be shown to be false for other reasons) – but of course, going for scientific standards for confirmation tends to bring conspiracy theories down rather quickly, so one better not. Fetzer has even written books about philosophy of science; I am not sure I would recommend them.

Fetzer is also founder and co-chair of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, “a non-partisan association of faculty, students, and scholars dedicated to exposing falsehoods and to revealing truths behind 9/11.” Apparently he’s fallen out with Steven Jones, however, and tends to spend some effort debunking Jones’s particular take on the conspiracy (hilarity ensues), mostly by citing conspiracies against his (Fetzer’s) preferred take. But he remains on good terms with Judy Wood and Morgan Reynolds, who left Scholars because they were unwilling to consider the fact that there were no plane crashes at all and that all video material is faked. Fetzer claims that Jones has failed to refute Wood’s and Reynold’s “mini-nuke” theory (here is Fetzer finding that particular idea fascinating), but has himself suggested instead the planes were unmanned and in the end plumped for the appropriately idiotic claim that the evidence supports the use of a holographic projection. There you go, Fetzer, make sure you pick the silliest one – it goes better with the yellow spandex and bells.

Moonlanding hoax
Fetzer and White also promoted the moonlanding hoax conspiracy, citing video material and documentation supposed to prove a conspiracy but later admitted to having been faked as a parody (a really illuminating story, that one). That should give you some idea about Fetzer’s and White’s competence in assessing these matters, but their blatant lack of such does not seem to have deterred their followers the slightest. 

On the other hand, the fact that Fetzer is so evidently batshit insane while also a critic of creationism has been used by your standard creationists (such as David Klinghoffer) as support for Intelligent Design creationism, diminishing the force e.g. of this one. In other words, though the degree of immediate harmfulness in his promotion of conspiracy theories is debatable, his lunacy indirectly fuels other denialist theories that he himself has criticized, which is, in fact, pretty tragic.

Miscellaneous conspiracy nuttery and holocaust revisionism
As for the Wellstone assassination, Fetzer thinks Wellstone was deliberately killed by an organization of assassinations run by Dick Cheney.

He has also alleged that Israeli involvement in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting – in an interview with the Iranian government-owned Press TV, he said that the “Sandy Hook massacre appears to have been a psy op intended to strike fear in the hearts of Americans by the sheer brutality of the massacre, where the killing of children is a signature of terror ops conducted by agents of Israel.” He has also published articles promoting conspiracy theories that the London 7/7 bombings, and that the Boston bombings were false flag attacks.

Indeed, to make sure that he appears as repugnant as he appears lunatic, Fetzer has (according to an article by Kevin Barrett) announced his support for holocaust revisionism at a talk by blunt anti-zionist Gilad Atzmon. In August 2012, Fetzer’s blog featured neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel who was allegedly “persecuted & imprisoned for research on WWII”. The Anti-Defamation League has noted that Fetzer has stated anti-Semitism “has been used as a political club to attack research on 9/11” and that Israel had a key role in the 9/11 attack. So it all comes around to anti-semitism, I suppose; not an unusual stopping point for a conspiracy theorist. Dickwad.

Diagnosis: Hysterically insane. Gibbering idiot who, sadly, views himself as a serious, rational scientist in shining armor, backed by valiant, smart, no-nonsense scholars, out to do good for the world. In the real world, of course, as opposed to his own fantasy kingdom, he is a deranged, mean, wailing madman surrounded by cardboard cannons and ushering incoherent commands to his army of tin soldiers and plush animals. 

12 comments:

  1. This is a nice parody, but virtually none of my work is actually cited. It is an excellent illustration of one biased source citing another for support, as if that strengthened their case, which is a common practice for shills.

    Anyone who wants to read some of my articles might want to consider these. If you find something you think I have wrong, let me know what it is, why I say it, what I have wrong and how you know. Write me about it.

    "Thinking about 'Conspiracy Theories': 9/11 and JFK"
    http://www.scholarsfor911truth.org/fetzerexpandedx.htm

    “Peeling the 9/11 Onion: Layers of Plots within Plots”
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/08/14/peeling-the-911-onion-layers-of-plots-within-plots/

    “20 Reasons the “Official Account” of 9/11 is Wrong”
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/09/10/20-reasons-the-official-account-of-911-is-wrong/

    “9/11 Interview with Islamic Republic News Agency (Iran)”
    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2011/09/13/911-interview-with-irna-the-islamic-republic-news-agency-of-iran/

    Taking words and phrases out of context and never actually presenting a target's own thoughts is child's play. But then, that's the whole idea of this "American loons" series: to treat serious issues in an infantile way.

    On JFK, see "What happened to JFK--and why it matters today", which I presented at UW-Madison (22 November 2011). On Wellstone, see "The Senator Wellstone Assassination", which I presented at the University of Minnesota Duluth shortly before my retirement. Both are on YouTube.

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    1. Fetzer is a lunatic, idiot, and waste of space. He is a massive joke in the JFK and 9/11 movements. Moreover, he and his bonehead mates have been destroyed by people like myself, and Jim DiEugenio numerous times. Indeed, it doesn't take much to shoot this twit down. As this article effectively explains.

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  2. Don't forget that this "dickwad" (an insult to dicks everywhere, but oh well) is an editor at veteranstoday.com, which is basically a neo-Nazi rag. For example, this site peddles articles like "NEO – Is Former Israeli IDF Officer Behind Fake Videos of Beheadings?"; "Hamas, Hezbollah fighting Israeli, ISIS terror: Pundit", "Sotloff was Israeli agent, his execution staged: Analyst", "Make Israel Stop Beheading “Journalists” etc etc etc. Basically it's what happens when you mix Alex Jones with David Duke, sprinkle in some Glenn Beck and then hit yourself in the head with a brick about 60 or 70 times.

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  3. I think you ignore the possibility that Fetzer, Like A. Jones, and many in the truther movement could be acting as conveyors, or dupes of Putins neo-Soviet disinformation campaign. The old KGB did a lot of work supporting the JFK ass. theories, (eg the forging of the Oswald-"Mr Hunt" note.)

    While one is tempted to feel sorry for you having to be embarrassed by Fetzer being so prominent a supporter of Evolution and foe of the "Christian Right", it is mitigated by knowing how much you would crow if he were a creationist.

    I would simply point out the similarity in Fetzers swill and what you see on Russia Today.






















































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  4. Not sure if my comment will sit in moderation, and it is late in coming. So I'll keep it relatively brief.

    I'm about to appear on a Professor Fetzer's vodcast, The Real Deal I believe it's called. I've never spoken to the man directly and only exchanged brief comments on social media over the past few years. I became aware of him and started consuming some of his work a few years back. I'm a "conspiracy theorist" and independent journalist myself. My educational background, however is nothing like Fetzer's.

    In my opinion after exhaustive (not an exaggeration) research is that Sandy Hook was largely a hoax, the Boston Bombing was almost entirely a hoax, 9/11 was perpetrated by many of the world's governments, the holocaust isn't something I would deny except to say that almost every single claim is false, the Apollo moon missions were partly or entirely faked and I'll stop there.

    Now that we have that out of the way, I expect you're prepared to dismiss my theories to save time or because you doubt any new information could ever convince you that they have substance. Then again, you might be someone who likes to appeal to intellectuals very much committed to being respected by peers. In that group, you're unlikely to find the truth in the real sense of the word. What you'll find is an educated minority among the group holding court over the others and possessing a consensus view of the topics I touched on.

    Whether James Fetzer is correct or not, I don't get the sense that he's motivated by ego or an interest in celebrity. If you're someone who likes being appreciated, conspiracy theorizing isn't the genre to pursue. It's almost certain to alienate you and might even lead to a measurable loss of life's opportunities. I do, however think he's spot on in many of these cases. Sure, he's enthusiastic and a bit overly trusting of other people's work. This does get him into situations where he must backtrack or revise his views. I don't like that aspect or shortcoming, but who am I to criticize?

    I'll leave it there. But, it's safe to say that I think your assessment of Fetzer is either crafted by or influenced by politically-correct nobodies or criminals. If you actually hold the views you've detailed, I would suggest further study of the nature of government, authority and secrecy through the ages. There's not one damn thing about the present time that should be viewed as an immunity to ghastly crimes or unimaginable deceptions. So you won't find protection from the truth there. Good luck.

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  5. I knew it. Come on? I spent like 5 or more minutes typing that. Oh well. You have your reasons & it's your blog. Yea freedom!

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  6. How do you hide the truth? You sandwich it between two lies. That's Mr. Fetzer's job and has been for a very long time. Acting as a Trojan Horse his fetzering* prevents an organized effort to strip away state secrets for all to see.

    The two main questions one should be concerned with are:

    1.) Who built the stage that Mr. Fetzer is playing on.

    2.) Who is the director of the stage?

    *Fetzering
    Noun:
    1. The act of making an unfounded or unsubstantiated claim.
    2. In philosophy, a method of debate or discussion based of the premise of: I think, therefore I am. I think you're wrong. therefore you are.
    3. The act of disagreeing by employing rancor, name calling, ad hominem attacks or straw man argument.

    Etymology: Fetzering began in earnest in the late 1960's, being implemented by a JFK conspiracy theorist and has since expanded it's use in the 9/11 debate arena.

    1. Without evidence your claim is simple fetzering.

    2. He should rely on his data instead of fetzering.

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Fetzering

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  7. The probability that Fetzer is correct is directly proportional to the banal thinking and insults hurled at him by his "critics". i.e., the charge of "conspiracy theorist" or "loon" etc. is the last resort of the desperate gatekeepers. Disclaimer: None of my comment should be construed as relating to discussion of the holocaust.

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    1. This. This is one of the most perfect examples of an ad hominem I've seen in the comment sections: "People are mean to Fetzer; therefore he is likely to be right." You even present the fallacy in the manner of a rule. I may use this as an example in a critical thinking course.

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    2. We all know the markings of a troll - yours for example. You and Cass Sunstein would be happy together. Noone thinks more critically than me, so if you actually had some critical observation rather than an emotional response, maybe you'd get a critical response.

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  8. Fetzer needs some company…….. Ralph Cinque, Judyth Vary Baker, and the list goes on. Just discovered your site. Most excellent !

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