Top Down Pressure to Distort Data on Terrorism

Doug Knapp, philosophy instructor at Inver Hills Community College, will discuss how terrorist activities prior to 9/11 were distorted to fit the agenda of the speaker. Knapp cites some relevant historical facts about a terrorist campaign in or around Iraq in the early and mid-1980s. He argues that the subsequent (post-9/11) portrayal of this earlier data has been distorted in various subtle and not-so-subtle ways. In general, past terrorist acts by current enemies get inflated, and similar past acts by current allies get deflated. But distortion like this, he claims, isn’t a new problem; it stretches back several decades, even into the Vietnam War period, when relevant data was simply left off the record. During the Bush administration, the distortion problem has been exacerbated, Knapp contends. Finally, he proceeds to draw out some of the possible harmful consequences of such a practice. In his teaching and writing career, Knapp has often focused on political and social philosophy---topics such as terrorism, environmental ethics, abortion and euthanasia. In summer 2006 he participated in the Oxford Round Table, presenting on a topic similar to that of the title above. Knapp holds an undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, and a master’s degree in philosophy from Howard University, Washington D.C. He completed post-master’s graduate work in philosophy (all but dissertation) at the University of Toronto. Areas of special interest include social philosophy, environmental ethics and philosophy of religion.  Over the years, he has been active in the Minnesota Philosophical Society (both as presenter and responder), the American Philosophical Association and the North American Society for Social Philosophy.  A discussion period will follow.

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  • Nathan C.

    Needed more time for discussion

    September 21, 2008

  • jill t.

    It was way over my head. I did not like it. I am wondering if this is why there are not more women in Humanists of Minnesota. Maybe we don't belong there. These are my thoughts.

    September 20, 2008

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