David Ray Griffin
|Born||August 8, 1939|
Wilbur, Washington, U.S.
|Doctoral students||Thomas Jay Oord|
9/11 conspiracy theories
David Ray Griffin (born August 8, 1939) is an American retired professor of philosophy of religion and theology and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist. Along with John B. Cobb, Jr., he founded the Center for Process Studies in 1973, a research center of Claremont School of Theology that seeks to promote the common good by means of the relational approach found in process thought.
Griffin has published numerous books about the September 11 attacks, claiming that elements of the Bush administration were involved. An advocate of the controlled demolition conspiracy theory, he was a founder member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
Griffin was raised in a small town in Oregon, where he was an active participant in his Disciples of Christ church. After deciding to become a minister, Griffin entered Northwest Christian College but became disenchanted with the conservative-fundamentalist theology taught there. While pursuing his master's degree in counseling from the University of Oregon, Griffin attended a lecture series delivered by Paul Tillich at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. At that time, Griffin decided to focus on philosophical theology. He eventually attended the Claremont Graduate University, from which Griffin received his PhD in 1970.
As a student in Claremont, Griffin was initially interested in Eastern religions, particularly Vedanta. However, he started to become a process theologian while attending John B. Cobb's seminar on Whitehead's philosophy. According to Griffin, process theology, as presented by Cobb, "provided a way between the old supernaturalism, according to which God miraculously interrupted the normal causal processes now and then, and a view according to which God is something like a cosmic hydraulic jack, exerting the same pressure always and everywhere (which described rather aptly the position to which I had come)" (Primordial Truth and Postmodern Theology). Griffin applied Alfred North Whitehead's thought to the traditional theological subjects of christology and theodicy and argued that process theology also provided a sound basis for addressing contemporary social and ecological issues. Griffin's process theology is founded on the process philosophy of Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne.
After teaching theology and Eastern religions at the University of Dayton, Griffin came to appreciate the distinctively postmodern aspects of Whitehead's thought. In particular, Griffin found Whitehead's nonsensationist epistemology and panexperientialist ontology immensely helpful in addressing the major problems of modern philosophy, including the problems of mind-body interaction, the interaction between free and determined things, the emergence of experience from nonexperiencing matter, and the emergence of time in the evolutionary process. In 1973, Griffin returned to Claremont to establish, with Cobb, the Center for Process Studies at the Claremont School of Theology.
While on research leave in 1980–81 at Cambridge University and Berkeley, the contrast between modernity and postmodernity became central to Griffin's work. He has attempted to develop postmodern proposals for overcoming the conflicts between religion and modern science. Griffin came to believe that much of the tension between religion and science was not only the result of reactionary supernaturalism but also the mechanistic worldview associated with the rise of modern science in the seventeenth century. In 1983, Griffin established the Center for a Postmodern World in Santa Barbara and became editor of the SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Philosophy between 1987 and 2004.
Griffin was a full-time academic from 1973 until April 2004 and is a co-director of the Center for Process Studies. He is a longtime resident of Santa Barbara, California.
Following the September 11 attacks, David Ray Griffin shifted his focus from questions of philosophy and religion to ones of politics and history, specifically American expansionism and imperialism. He intended to write a book on the subject, presenting 9/11 in terms of "blowback" for aggressive United States foreign policies of the 20th century:
Until the spring of 2003, I had not looked at any of the evidence. I was vaguely aware there were people, at least on the internet, who were offering evidence against the official account of 9/11... I knew the US government had 'fabricated' evidence to go to war several times before. Nevertheless... I did not take this possibility seriously... I was so confident that they must be wrong.
After reading the work of Paul Thompson and Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed, he became convinced that there was a prima facie case for the contention that there must have been complicity from individuals within the United States government. He has called for an extensive investigation from the United States media, Congress and the 9/11 Commission. It was then that he set about writing his first book on the topic, which he entitled The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004). The book has been described by Peter Barber of the Financial Times as "a touchstone in the 9/11 Truth movement". Griffin is a founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.
Part One of the book looks at the events of 9/11, discussing each flight in turn and also the behaviour of President George W. Bush and his Secret Service protection. Part Two examines 9/11 in a wider context, in the form of four "disturbing questions." David Ray Griffin discussed this book and the claims within it in an interview with Nick Welsh, reported under the headline Thinking Unthinkable Thoughts: Theologian Charges White House Complicity in 9/11 Attack.
Critics, such as the activist Chip Berlet, have identified claims in the book that have been refuted by independent experts. Griffin debated Berlet on Democracy Now! defending his claims.
Griffin's second book on the subject was a critique of the 9/11 Commission Report, called The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions (2005). Griffin's article "The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-page Lie" summarizes this book, presenting 115 allegations of what Griffin claims are either omissions or distortions of evidence, stating that "the entire Report is constructed in support of one big lie: that the official story about 9/11 is true."
In his next book, Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (2006), he summarizes some of what he believes is evidence for government complicity and reflects on its implications for Christians. The Presbyterian Publishing Corporation, publishers of the book, described Griffin as being a distinguished theologian and praised the book's religious content, but said, "The board believes the conspiracy theory is spurious and based on questionable research."
In 2006, Griffin, along with Peter Dale Scott, edited 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, a collection of essays including Steven Jones' paper Why Indeed Did The World Trade Center Towers Collapse?. Debunking 9/11 Debunking (2007) disputes at the rhetorical level the debunking of 9/11 conspiracy theories in such venues such as Popular Mechanics. In 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (2008), he presents chapters on 25 alleged contradictions involving elements of the "accepted story" of 9/11 and calls for Congress and the press to investigate and resolve them.
Griffin has delivered several lectures and has been interviewed by Alex Jones on his radio show featuring 9/11 conspiracy theories. A lecture entitled 9/11 and American Empire: How should religious people respond?, delivered on April 18, 2005, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, was aired by C-SPAN. At the end of one of his lectures entitled 9/11: The Myth and the Reality Griffin was asked why a theologian would take such an interest in 9/11, to which he replied: "If 9/11 is not a religious issue, then I don't know what is."
In a review published in The Nation, former Central Intelligence Agency agent Robert Baer dismissed the gist of Griffin's writings as one in a long line of conspiracy theories about national tragedies but stated that the Bush administration had created a climate of secrecy and mistrust that helped generate such explanations. In the review, Baer said:
As more facts emerge about September 11, many of Griffin's questions should be answered, but his suspicions will never be put to rest as long as the Bush Administration refuses to explain why it dragged this country into the most senseless war in its history. Until then, otherwise reasonable Americans will believe the Bush Administration benefited from 9/11, and there will always be a question about what really happened on that day.
David Aaronovitch, in the London Times in 2008, wrote: "Griffin believes that no plane hit the Pentagon (despite hundreds of people seeing it) and that the World Trade Centre was brought down by a controlled demolition. There isn't a single point of alleged fact upon which Griffin's barking theory hasn't itself been demolished".
one of the world's most popular 9/11 conspiracy theorists