David Touretzky was caught faking his credentials as a religious expert while being interviewed on CNN last night. Touretzky was making highly inflamatory and untruthful remarks about the Church of Scientology and the Church supported social betterment programs in which many Scientologists engage such as the Narconon drug rehabilitation program and Applied Scholastics, a program to help teach children how to study and learn.
It struck me that having Mr. Touretzky on a show like this is a disservice to CNN's viewers as Mr. Touretzky is pretending by inference to have credentials as a religious studies scholar, yet his only expertise is in computer science. More specifically, he is a research scientist who studies rat brains. His specialty is rodent navigation i.e. which way a rat turns his head when given an external stimulus. He is attempting to map their neural networks in order to create rat-like intelligence in a computer. This has been wholly unsuccessful to date, yet he receives millions in taxpayer money for this type of research project.
Factually, Mr. Touretzky has no expertise whatsoever in any religious or theological field. For some reason he was allowed to go on CNN and rant about Scientology. They were most likely unaware of his history of anti-religious / anti-Scientology extremism and bigotry, his lack of credentials and history of bigoted statements. My real complaint is that he gets booked on shows like this by people who don't do the research on Touretzky. He is then allowed to go unchallenged by commentators.
To fill you in, the dispute between Mr. Touretzky and the Church of Scientology stems from his involvement in a blatant copyright infringement campaign he participated in years ago that violated the Church's copyrights. When he was forced by CMU's attorneys to take down the offending material from his website (located on the CMU computers) Touretzky began an imature campaign of harassment against the Church. Over the years this has included childish acts such as putting up pornographic photos on his website at CMU pretending to depict Scientologists, participating in hate pickets of the Church and his direct support of persons who have in engaged in illegal and/or tortious conduct against the Church, including persons who have made terrorist threats against the Church.
Simply put, Mr. Touretzky a bigot. However his bigotry is not just against the Church of Scientology. He has made some pretty outrageous and disgusting statements of a similar nature against blacks, Mexicans, Moslems, and women. These have been competently documented by Joel Phillips on his Religious Freedom Watch website which you can find at David Touretzky.
Mr. Touretzky has taken to lying that he authored these racial slurs when asked by the media, but the computer logs don't lie and he did in fact make them. As you can see these statements are much worse than what Don Imus said, yet CMU has chosen to ignore his conduct and continues to retain Touretzky. (Maybe they feel this is the sort of thing young adults should be taught.)
Several years ago Mr. Touretzky was also exposed for having used his CMU office phone for ordering sex toys from an outfit in California see David Touretzky.
You can find the invoice, put up by some enterprising CMU students at David Touretzky sex toys. What anyone wants to do in private is their business, but CMU is supposed to be an institution of higher learning and it receives a lot of taxpayer funding. It is not some wacky professor's personal domain.
Professor Touretzky was also forced by CMU at one point to take down bomb-making instructions from his website hosted on their computers. Yes, that's right, bomb-making instructions, complete with how to make a draino bomb and how to blow up a police car. Again, after outrage from various individuals, CMU forced Touretzky to move the materials off the CMU website. Information about this can be found here: David Touretzky bombmaking instructions.
This was once covered in a local Pittsburgh news station which did a story on the Touretzky bombmaking site. Although he claimed it was free speech, he refused to go on camera and answer questions at that time. You can see this piece here:
In my opinion, Mr. Touretzky is not the sort of person that any news organization should be presenting to their viewers for information about a group that he has spent much time trying to demean as all they are going to get is a spew of bigotry. Or, if he is going to be allowed on a show like CNN, it would be very interesting to see how Touretzky responds to questions about the above points.