David Ray Griffin

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David Ray Griffin
Dr.griffin.jpg
Griffin in 2006
Born(1939-08-08)August 8, 1939
DiedNovember 26, 2022(2022-11-26) (aged 83)[1]
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolProcess theology
Doctoral studentsThomas Jay Oord
Main interests
Ontology
epistemology
theology
9/11 conspiracy theories
Influences

David Ray Griffin (August 8, 1939 – November 26, 2022) was an American professor of philosophy of religion and theology and a 9/11 conspiracy theorist.[2] Along with John B. Cobb, Jr., he founded the Center for Process Studies in 1973, a research center of Claremont School of Theology that promotes process thought.[3] Griffin published numerous books about the September 11 attacks, claiming that elements of the Bush administration were involved.[4] An advocate of the controlled demolition conspiracy theory, he was a founder member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.[5]

Life and professional career[edit]

Griffin was born on August 8, 1939.[6] He 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.[7]

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.[8] 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.[9]

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.[10]

Griffin was a full-time academic from 1973 until April 2004 and was a co-director of the Center for Process Studies. He was a longtime resident of Santa Barbara, California.

Statements and publications on the September 11 attacks[edit]

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.[11]

After reading the work of Paul Thompson[12] and Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed,[13] 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.[14] 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).[15][16] The book has been described by Peter Barber of the Financial Times as "a touchstone in the 9/11 Truth movement".[17] Griffin is a founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth.[5]

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.[18]

Critics, such as the activist Chip Berlet, have identified claims in the book that have been refuted by independent experts.[19] Griffin debated Berlet on Democracy Now! defending his claims.[20][21]

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).[22] 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."[23]

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."[24][25]

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?.[26] Debunking 9/11 Debunking (2007) disputes at the rhetorical level the debunking of 9/11 conspiracy theories in such venues such as Popular Mechanics.[27] 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.[28]

David Ray Griffin in Nagoya, Japan

Griffin delivered several lectures and was interviewed by Alex Jones on his radio show featuring 9/11 conspiracy theories.[29] 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.[30] 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."[31]

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.[32] 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.[32]

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".[33]

Philosophical and theological work[edit]

The theologian Gary Dorrien has said about Griffin:

No one better represents the intellectual ambition of process theology than David Griffin. He has surpassed everyone in challenging the materialistic, atheistic modernism of the academy, and his work is prolific and wide-ranging to the point of being impossible to summarize.[34]

Unsnarling the World-Knot[edit]

In his 1998 book, Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem, Griffin addresses what he says "has arguably been the central problem in modern philosophy since its inception in the seventeenth century," namely, the mind–body problem.[35] Griffin attempts to resolve this problem in two ways, first by providing an exhaustive critique of contemporary discussions of the problem (e.g.,Thomas Nagel, John Searle, Galen Strawsen, Colin McGinn, Geoffrey Madell, Karl Popper, Jaegwon Kim, and Owen Flanagan[36][37]) and then providing an “alternative for 'fully naturalizing’ the mind' based upon the process metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead and Charles Hartshorne.”[36] Griffin's alternative rejects the metaphysical assumption shared by dualism and materialism that matter is insentient[36][37] arguing that this shared assumption about matter leads to apparently unresolvable problems such as how experience arose out of non-experiencing natural entities[36] [38]or how conscious experience can be described in physicalist terms.[36] Griffin proposes instead that all genuine actual entities (i.e., not aggregates like rocks or chairs, etc.[36][39][40]) are events that have some degree of experience that includes both physical (objective) and mental (subjective) elements.[36][37] This is a version of panpsychism but one in which consciousness is not central,[36][37] rather consciousness “emerges in degrees of complexity from a rudimentary sentience that pervades the whole of nature.”[38] The better term, according to Griffin, is “panexperientialism.”[41]

Common sense beliefs[edit]

In the Introduction to his 1993 book Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy, as part of his effort to clarify the meaning of "constructive postmodernism" and its position with respect to truth, Griffin articulated a sophisticated understanding of a class of "privileged" common sense beliefs, "partly with Charles Pierce's 'critical common-sensism' in view".[42]

Gary Dorrien note that by the late 1990s, the notion of a privileged class of beliefs, now called "hard-core commonsense" beliefs, had become central to Griffin's philosophy.[43]

Parapsychology[edit]

Griffin wrote two books dealing with parapsychology: Parapsychology, Philosophy and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration[44] and James and Whitehead on Life After Death.[45] In taking parapsychology seriously, Griffin is at odds with the majority of other writers about science who have taken up this topic. Paul R. Gross, Norman Levitt, and Martin W. Lewis assert that "The overwhelming majority of scientists consider parapsychology, by whatever name, to be pseudoscience."[46]

Death[edit]

Griffin died on November 26, 2022 at the age of 83 following a long bout with prostate cancer.[47][48][unreliable fringe source]

Books[edit]

About philosophy, theology, and religion[edit]

  • A process Christology, Westminster Press, 1973, ISBN 0-664-20978-5
  • Process Theology: An Introductory Exposition, with John B. Cobb, Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976, ISBN 0-664-24743-1
  • John Cobb's Theology in Process, Westminster John Knox Press, 1977, ISBN 0-664-21292-1
  • Process and Reality, Free Press; 2nd edition, 1979, ISBN 0-02-934570-7
  • Physics and the Ultimate Significance of Time: Bohm, Prigogine and Process Philosophy, State University of New York Press, 1986, ISBN 0-88706-115-X
  • The Reenchantment of Science: Postmodern Proposals (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State Univ of New York Press, 1988, ISBN 0-88706-784-0
  • Spirituality and Society: Postmodern Visions (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1988, ISBN 0-88706-853-7
  • Varieties of Postmodern Theology (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1989, ISBN 0-7914-0050-6
  • God and Religion in the Postmodern World: Essays in Postmodern Theology (Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1989, ISBN 0-88706-929-0
  • Archetypal Process: Self and Divine in Whitehead, Jung, and Hillman, Northwestern University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-8101-0815-1
  • Sacred Interconnections: Postmodern Spirituality, Political Economy and Art (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7914-0231-2
  • Primordial Truth and Postmodern Theology (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7914-0198-7
  • God, Power, and Evil: A Process Theodicy, University Press of America, 1991, ISBN 0-8191-7687-7
  • Evil Revisited: Responses and Reconsiderations, State University of New York Press, 1991, ISBN 0-7914-0612-1
  • Founders of Constructive Postmodern Philosophy: Peirce, James, Bergson, Whitehead, and Hartshorne (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1993, ISBN 0-7914-1333-0
  • Postmodern Politics for a Planet in Crisis: Policy, Process, and Presidential Vision (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1993, ISBN 0-7914-1485-X
  • Jewish Theology and Process Thought (Suny Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1996, ISBN 0-7914-2810-9
  • Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 1997, ISBN 0-7914-3315-3
  • Reenchantment Without Supernaturalism: A Process Philosophy of Religion (Cornell Studies in the Philosophy of Religion), Cornell University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8014-3778-4
  • Religion and Scientific Naturalism: Overcoming the Conflicts (SUNY Series in Constructive Postmodern Thought), State University of New York Press, 2000, ISBN 0-7914-4563-1
  • Process Theology and the Christian Good News: A Response to Classical Free Will Theism in 'Searching for an Adequate God: A Dialogue between Process and Free Will Theists', Cobb and Pinnock (editors), Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2000, ISBN 0-8028-4739-0
  • Two Great Truths: A New Synthesis of Scientific Naturalism and Christian Faith, Westminster John Knox Press, 2004, ISBN 0-664-22773-2
  • Deep Religious Pluralism, Westminster John Knox Press, 2005, ISBN 0-664-22914-X
  • Whitehead's Radically Different Postmodern Philosophy: An Argument for Its Contemporary Relevance (SUNY Series in Philosophy), State University of New York Press, 2007, ISBN 0-7914-7049-0
  • Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2007, ISBN 978-1-55635-755-8
  • Panentheism and Scientific Naturalism: Rethinking Evil, Morality, Religious Experience, Religious Pluralism, and the Academic Study of Religion, Claremont, Process Century Press, 2014, ISBN 1-9404-4703-8
  • The Christian Gospel for Americans: A Systematic Theology, Anoka (Minnesota): Process Century Press, 2019, ISBN 1-9404-4742-9

About the September 11 attacks[edit]

About the work of David Ray Griffin[edit]

  • Reason and Reenchantment: The Philosophical, Religious and Political Thought of David Ray Griffin, John B. Cobb - Richard Falk - Catherine Keller (eds.), Process Century Press, 2013, ISBN 1-94044-700-3

References[edit]

  1. ^ David Ray Griffin (8 Aug 1939 – 26 Nov 2022)–The Man and His Work: A Synopsis
  2. ^ Sources describing David Ray Griffin as a "conspiracy theorist", "conspiracist", "conspiracy nut", "truther" or otherwise associate him with 9/11 conspiracy theories and the "truther" movement include:
  3. ^ "About the Center". The Center for Process Studies. Archived from the original on January 11, 2010. Retrieved December 14, 2009.
  4. ^ Powell, Michael (September 8, 2006). "The Disbelievers – 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists Are Building Their Case Against the Government From Ground Zero". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 1, 2010.
  5. ^ a b Gilan, Audrey (September 9, 2006). "Full house as leading 9/11 conspiracy theorist has his say". The Guardian. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  6. ^ John R Shook, ed. (2016). The Bloomsbury encyclopedia of philosophers in America : from 1600 to the present. London: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781472570543. OCLC 951784733.
  7. ^ Directory of history departments and organizations in the United States and Canada. American Historical Association. 1991. p. 101.
  8. ^ David R. Griffin (2007). Whitehead's radically different postmodern philosophy: an argument for its contemporary relevance. State University of New York.
  9. ^ Leslie A. Muray (2008). Liberal Protestantism and science. Greenwood Press. p. 97. ISBN 9780313337017.
  10. ^ Kevin J. Vanhoozer, ed. (2003). The Cambridge companion to postmodern theology. Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 94.
  11. ^ Griffin, David Ray; Richard Falk (2004). The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11. p. 13. ISBN 1-56656-552-9. Retrieved July 26, 2007.
  12. ^ Thompson, Paul (April 23, 2004). "Complete 911 Timeline". Archived from the original on April 23, 2004. Retrieved November 5, 2020.
  13. ^ Ahmed, Nafeez Mosaddeq (2002). The War on Freedom: How and why America was Attacked, September 11th, 2001. Media Messenger Books. ISBN 978-0-930852-40-5.
  14. ^ Griffin, David Ray; Richard Falk (2004). The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11 (PDF). p. 4. ISBN 1-56656-552-9. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Griffin The New Pearl Harbor
  16. ^ Harmanci, Reyhan (March 30, 2006). "Out Loud / An Inside Job? / David Ray Griffin: Theologian scoffed at 9/11 conspiracy theories, then looked closer". SF Gate. Retrieved May 24, 2020.
  17. ^ Barber, Peter (June 7, 2008). "The truth is out there". Archived from the original on 2022-12-11. Retrieved October 9, 2020.
  18. ^ Native Forest Council: News Archived July 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ PublicEye.org – Post 9/11 Conspiracism
  20. ^ PublicEye.org – Response to Chip Berlet's Review of "The New Pearl Harbor"
  21. ^ Democracy Now! | The New Pearl Harbor: A Debate On A New Book That Alleges The Bush Administration Was Behind The 9/11 Attacks Archived June 23, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Griffin, David (2004). The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 1-56656-584-7.
  23. ^ "David Ray Griffin's "The 9/11 Commission Report: A 571-page Lie"". May 22, 2005.
  24. ^ Smith, Peter (2006). "Presbyterian publishing board criticizes own book". courier-journal.com. The Courier-Journal. Archived from the original on January 19, 2013. Retrieved November 28, 2006.
  25. ^ Kane, Jason (2006). "PPC backs away from 9/11 conspiracy book". Presbyterian News Service. Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Retrieved November 28, 2006.
  26. ^ Griffin, David Ray (2006). 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out, Vol. 1. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 1-56656-659-2.
  27. ^ Griffin, David Ray (2007). Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory. Olive Branch Press. ISBN 978-1-56656-686-5.
  28. ^ Thomsson, Lena (May 2, 2009). "25 frågor hela världen vill ha svar på". Gefle Dagblad. Archived from the original on July 9, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  29. ^ Byford, Jovan (2011). Conspiracy Theories: A Critical Introduction. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 165. ISBN 9780230349216.
  30. ^ "[The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions And Distortions] | C-SPAN.org". www.c-span.org. Retrieved March 23, 2022.
  31. ^ "9/11: The Myth and the Reality" Lecture
  32. ^ a b "Dangerous Liaisons," September 27, 2004
  33. ^ Aaronovitch, David (April 15, 2008). "UN expert? No, a conspiracy crank". The Times. London. Archived from the original on October 12, 2020. Retrieved June 13, 2020.
  34. ^ Dorrien, Gary (2013). "Rationalistic Panexperiential Panentheism: David Griffin's Whiteheadian Religious Philosophy". In Cobb, John B., John B.; Falk, Richard A.; Keller, Catherine (eds.). Reason & Reenchantment: The Philosophical, Religious, and Political Thought of David Ray Griffin. Claremont: Process Century Press. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-940447-00-1.
  35. ^ Griffin, David Ray (2007) [University of California Press, 1998]. Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem. Eugene: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 1. ISBN 978-1-55635-755-8.
  36. ^ a b c d e f g h Grange, Joseph (1999). "Unsnarling The World Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem". The Review of Metaphysics. 53 (1): 164.
  37. ^ a b c d McHenry, Leemon (1998). "Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem". Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers. 16 (2): 271.
  38. ^ a b Leemon, McHenry (1998). "Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem". Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers. 16 (2): 270.
  39. ^ Dorrien, Gary (2013). "Rationalistic Panexperiential Panentheism: David Griffin's Whiteheadian Religious Philosophy". In Cobb, Jr., John B.; Falk, Richard; Keller, Catherine (eds.). Reason and Enchantment: The Philosophical, Religious, and Political Thought of David Ray Griffin. Claremont: Process Century Press. p. 21. ISBN 978-1-940447-00-1.
  40. ^ Griffin, David Ray (2007) [University of California Press, 1998]. Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 78 (bottom note). ISBN 978-1-55635-755-8.
  41. ^ Griffin, David Ray (2007) [University of California Press, 1998]. Unsnarling the World-Knot: Consciousness, Freedom, and the Mind-Body Problem. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 78 (bottom note). ISBN 978-1-55635-755-8.
  42. ^ Griffin, David Ray (1997). Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration (pbk. ed.). Albany: State University of New York Press. p. 101 (footnote). ISBN 0-7914-3316-1.
  43. ^ Dorrien, Gary (2013). "Rationalistic Panexperiential Panentheism: Davis Griffin's Whiteheadian Religious Philosophy". In Cobb, John B.; Falk, Richard; Keller, Catherine (eds.). Reason & Renenchantment: The Philosophical, Religious, and Political Thought of David Ray Griffin. Process Century Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-940447-00-1.
  44. ^ Griffin, David Ray (1997). Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality. SUNY Press. ISBN 0-7914-3316-1.
  45. ^ Griffin, David Ray (2022). James and Whitehead on Life After Death. Process Century Press. ISBN 978-1-940447-52-0.
  46. ^ Gross, Paul R.; Levitt, Norman; Lewis, Martin W. (1996). The Flight from Science and Reason. New York City: New York Academy of Sciences. p. 564.
  47. ^ Epperly, Bruce (26 November 2022). "An Homage to David Ray Griffin". Patheos. Retrieved 2 December 2022.
  48. ^ Woodworth, Elizabeth (1 December 2022). "David Ray Griffin (1939–2022). The Man and His Work: A Synopsis". SOTT. Retrieved 2 December 2022.

External links[edit]

Affiliations[edit]

Interviews[edit]