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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday

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Chris Mohr in Skeptic:

With the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks upon us, a group of 9/11 conspiracists are working hard to publicize their claims of scientific validity to the conjecture that the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed through controlled demolition. The architect Richard Gage is the founder of the nonprofit organization Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which focuses on the controlled demolition theory. So outraged was I by the Bush administration’s justification for the war in Iraq based on faulty WMD intelligence information that I initially thought that Gage might be on to something, until I examined his science carefully and engaged him in a spirited debate on March 6, 2011 in front of 250 people in Boulder, Colorado. (Listen to the debate audio.) The video of that debate is not being released (his own website admitted that twice as many people changed their minds in my direction as his during the debate), so I created 20 short videos on YouTube that present detailed rebuttals of each of Gage’s claims

This past weekend I attended DragonCon – mainly to participate in the science and skeptics tracks. It is a great outreach program, teaching the science behind science fiction. I sat on one panel that discussed the science of zombies. Zombies, for whatever reason, are currently very popular. Similar to the panel idea, the CDC has exploited this popularity to promote disaster preparedness – preparing for a zombie attack is the same, essentially, as preparing for any natural disaster. It’s a good hook for public service information.


 

Comments

Have you guys seen the documentary Loose Change? It's a real eye opener! You must see it.

I've seen it, it's crap.

you know what? I think I'll finally watch it one of these days, but what's with all the freaking different editions?

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Memetic evolution in action. With each new edition they remove some of the claims from the previous one which elicited the most negative responses and add in some new ones. Over time what is left is a more intuitively plausible, though no more true, version. The exact same process happens with holy books, albeit over a longer time period. Human beings are human beings and will replicate the same mass behaviours over and over again in a variety of contexts.

Sounds like something a Halliburton shareholder might say. Go ahead and erase my link, Norm. You can't keep the truth from coming out eventually!

Erase your link, why would I do that? I wouldn't want to be part of the make believe conspiracy you guys have going.

Well why are you erasing Tim's posts? Clearly, you're a despot desperate to keep the people ignorant of the truth!

I've been getting a lot of spam comments and in my zeal to rid the blog of them I've inadvertently erased some legitimate comments.

It's interesting that you would jump to the conclusion that there was something sinister going on, but then you see a conspiracy behind every rock so it's not surprising.

Aha! And the Mystery of the Disappearing Comments is solved!

Well, I do recall not long after 9/11 how you were deleting 9/11 conspiracy comments. You even went so far as to turn off comments altogether on one thread. You later allowed people to comment on the decision to turn off comments, but not on 9/11 itself. That's progress, I guess. In another 10 years, maybe you'll be able to actually discuss the event.

I believe it was Noam Chomsky who observed that vested interest prevents many people from suspecting their own governments of various types of delinquency. Most Americans have little difficulty accepting tales of, say, Hitler's false flag terrorism or Roman empress Livia's many assassinations. Ancient Rome and Nazi Germany can be guilty of such things, but not America. America's political violence is caused only by loan nuts, an unintended consequence of living in a free society.

Perhaps in a century or two, if we haven't annihilated ourselves, another great civilization that is beyond reproach will portray our epoch more accurately.

I was being tongue-in-cheek. I miss the heated discussions that used to occur here on a regular basis, and was trying to spark one up one last time. You guys have lost your passion to defend your beliefs, and frankly, it's sad to watch. What do you need to regain that passion? A Palin in the White House?

I applaud you. Trolls usually don't try to justify their trolling (sorry, tongue-in-cheek-ing) so eloquently.

Even you should know that you should do much better than Loose Change in order to troll successfully? Maybe JB can give you some pointers?

I would actually say that some of Charles posts and Norms strong pro-Hillary stance probably reduced readership a bit, and a few fights got a bit too personal and We don't have as many opposing viewers reading the site anymore.

With a reduced readership its possible for norm to post thing and have no commenters pick up on it and start a debate.

I remember when norm posted Bill Clinton's reaction to some truthers and the ensuing fight launched an 80 plus comment fight about 9/11.

I wasn't around at the beginning but my take was that as an early non-believer blogger, Norm collected a very large Atheist readership, that didn't necessarily ageree with Norms politics or his views on a lot of scientific issues.

I think he's already given up on you.

I'm going to the grocery store later, want me to pick up some prune juice for you?

As Vicent Bugliosi asks in his brilliant deconstruction of JFK conspiracies Reclaiming History: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, where did these people plan the alleged plot? Shea Stadium?

People who believe in this type of shit are the same folks who think evolution is bunk, think global climate change is a conspiracy, and yet believe in god, trickle-down economics, and every other ridiculous tenet of conservatives.

That makes no sense! Bush was president on 9/11 for FSM sake! How could it be a tenet of conservatism that it was an inside job when a conservative (sort of) was in the WH? Maybe some of the nuttier Paulbots, but nobody I know. In fact, the only Truther I know (I don't think he is any more) was the same carbon fearing atheist that introduced me to OGM.

I think that you are both right. The Conspiracy theorists had some born agains, but the ones I met were generally the crystal rubbers of the left. I would assume a large number of the Vaccine deniers are also liberal voters.

This is why the world needs skeptics and scientista. You can't just get everybody on the right side and call it a day, its a constant battle to test and retest assumptions and Ideas that keeps the crazy stupid ideas away.

From Understanding Evolution

“Gaps in the fossil record disprove evolution.”/i>

As Richard Dawkins states in The Ancestor’s Tale (which I doubt any fundamentalist has ever read) even without any fossils at all the evidence for evolution would still be overwhelming.

prune juice for everybody! then you'll have some "controlled demolitions". :)

is i a "successful troll" yet? i don't know if such a thing exists, but i'll tell you what i am: i'm a guy who can take a piece of river cane and with nothing more than a pocket knife and my ears turn it into a perfectly in-tune flute. so i fart in everyone's general direction. even leftbanker, who appears to be a fine cook, a skill i have great respect for.

...yet you can't seem to find the SHIFT button. I know, I know, it's an old guitar injury. Cry me a river.

I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. IS THIS BETTER?

Close. The Shift button is just below the Caps Lock ;)

One day, a lone nut assassinated a somewhat liberal president without any assistance from anyone. Then, a few years later, a different lone nut assassinated a prominent liberal black leader without any assistance from anyone. Then, a few months after that, yet another loan nut assassinated the even more liberal brother of the somewhat liberal president who had been assassinated a few years earlier. Yes, that's right. Inexplicably, not one, not two, but three loan nuts emerged from the recesses of society to take out only liberal leaders, all over the course of five years.

Time passed.

Then one day, 19 loan nuts hijacked some jetliners and flew them into some prominent buildings they felt symbolized the belief system that was keeping them down, except for one plane, which crashed harmlessly due to the heroic actions of its passengers. Two of the buildings that had been hit by the airliners, plus one building that hadn’t been hit, collapsed just like those controlled demolitions you see all the time on TeeVee. However, despite the fact that fire had never before (and has never since) caused a skyscraper to collapse, that is precisely the explanation offered repeatedly by trusted authorities. A shocked and saddened nation accepted this explanation with the same alacrity with which they accepted their leaders’ proposed response to the assault, which was to attack two nations that had nothing to do with the attack, but which, coincidentally, had lots of oil and/or natural gas. Again, the loan nuts altered the course of history without any assistance from anyone.

Gradually, with the assistance of science enthusiasts and despite the efforts of malcontents, the shocked and saddened nation resigned itself to the knowledge that we would always have loan nuts and that they would always coincidentally help achieve the aims of right-wing ideologues and multinational corporations.

The end

You obviously didn't bother to read the high points or listen to the debate or you would never have written.

However, despite the fact that fire had never before (and has never since) caused a skyscraper to collapse, that is precisely the explanation offered repeatedly by trusted authorities.

2 NO TALL STEEL FRAME BUILDING EVER COLLAPSED BEFORE 9/11 DUE TO FIRE. Though it is true that no tall steel frame buildings ever collapsed due to fire alone prior to 9/11, since then, other tall steel framed buildings have. On May 13, 2008, a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint. Gravity increases the force of a falling object by a factor of 30 for a single collapsing floor, and collapsing buildings have nowhere to go but straight down. Other types of steel frame structures have collapsed due to fire.2

Learning, or just being reminded, that you are a conspiracy theorist helps explain the arguments you offer in opposition to GMOs. I would be interested in other conspiracies theories you buy into, obviously Kennedy wasn't killed by Lee Harvey Oswald, nor was his brother killed by Sirhan Sirhan, and Martin Luther King, I do notice you leave out the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan by a loan [sic] assassin, though I understand why it doesn't quite fit with your theory. Personally I think you're working for one of those nasty corporations, "Cherry Pickers United"

Shit. I used "loan" and not "lone." I hate it when I do stuff like that.

Yeah, Reagan was shot by a LONE nut who happened to be friends with George W. Bush. Still, that one might have happened the way it was portrayed in the media. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

We've been down this road before, but for the record, I don't believe in bigfoot, I don't think the moon landings were faked, I don't think there are alien corpses stored at Area 51...let's see, what else? I'm drawing a blank on other ones right now, but the upshot is I simply believe in using skepticism regardless of whose feewingth get hoot. I don't feel I must remain loyal to this or that camp no matter what. Good stuff gets my applause, bad stuff gets my jeers and incomplete or dishonest explanations attract my scrutiny, even if that scrutiny reveals my government to be crooks.

Are you telling me that you're completely satisfied with the 9/11 Commission Report? Or are you just afraid of what a thorough investigation might turn up?

Yes, I believe the Kennedy assassination was the result of a conspiracy. I also believe the Kennedys were planning to use the Mafia to assassinate Castro. So my beliefs aren't based on partisan loyalty, just loyalty to the truth.

Also, Norm, don't tempt me into a spelling and grammar feud. You'll lose. If I had a dollar for everyone of your usage errors...

I make my share or errors, but loan was just too good to pass on. Homophones trip me up more often that I would like, and it's always embarrassing as hell.

Yeah, loan/lone is a hard one to ignore.

Then one day, 19 loan nuts hijacked some jetliners and flew them into some prominent buildings

No one is suggesting they were lone. There was clearly a conspiracy. The debate is who conspired.

And as far as JFK conspiracies go please read Bugliosi's fine book...or read the Warren Report.

Does anyone really think that our government is clever enough to pull off a conspiracy of this magnitude? It's laughable to even think it.

I'll stick by my original comment: if you believe in conspiracies you're probably a conservative or worse, a libertarian--whatever the fuck that is.

I congratulate you. In only three short sentences, you manage to employ just about every logical fallacy.

Does anyone really think that our government is clever enough to pull off a conspiracy of this magnitude?

This is a favorite tactic of magic bullet theory advocates. It couldn't have been just a dozen or so people; it had to be the whoooooooole government.

...conspiracy of this magnitude...

Conspiracy of what magnitude? Assassinating a leader? A conspiracy "of that magnitude" has been pulled off millions of times. Ever hear of...oh, I don't know...Augustus Caesar? Or Caligula? Or Trotsky? Or Sadat?

This is what I'm talking about in my comment upthread. Why should America be any different than any other country? Every other country has assassinated leaders, why shouldn't we? Are we carved out of ivory or something?

if you believe in conspiracies you're probably a conservative or worse...

A fine example of the camp loyalty thought process. Thank you. Don't bother to take things on a case-by-case basis and form your own conclusions, just plant that flag and holler. That's the ticket. This is the same thinking that causes people to call me a closet Republican any time I have something critical to say about Obama. Of course then it's okay to be a conspiracy theorist.

Oh, and another liberal, Thom Hartmann, is a JFK conspiracy theorist. Check out his book, Ultimate Sacrifice.

Yes, other countries have assassinated leaders but it wasn't a secret. America's complicity in the Allende assassination was fairly clear. Ditto Trujillo. But to think that something this big could have been kept a secret for 50 years is insane. The killings you point out were completely open.

I say lots of bad things about Obama. I'm no half-wit libertarian. I base my political thinking on results. Liberalism works. I live in a fairly socialist country and things are good here despite the problems. Show me an example of a conservative or a libertarian country where you would want to live. I'll wait.

Did you read my comment? Why would I show you an example of a conservative or a libertarian country where I would want to live? As I've already told you, I am a liberal, to the point of socialism, more or less...to the point, even, of Marxism on some issues.

You are displaying yet another frighteningly common occurrence on comment threads: persisting in having the argument you want to have rather than the one you are actually having.

One of the shittiest countries in Europe right now is England. They are less liberal than most countries and have embraced free market capitalism more than most. British Rail was the best in Europe before Thatcher privatized it, now it's shit.

Greece and Italy are looking pretty shitty right now.

ah. new rules for posting links: < and > no longer required.

Yeah, Reagan was shot by a LONE nut who happened to be friends with George W. Bush. Still, that one might have happened the way it was portrayed in the media. After all, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

You're being ironic, right?

We've been down this road before, but for the record, I don't believe in bigfoot, I don't think the moon landings were faked, I don't think there are alien corpses stored at Area 51...let's see, what else?

So, either you're cherry picking or you have weird standards of evidence.

BTW, at this point I should probably retract my comment about successful troll not being successful.

you guys are easy pickings. you're like religious fanatics or something.

but i luvs ya. you, after all, tought me the fine art of trolling. i didn't even know what a troll was when i started posting here. i was so naive, just telling the truth as i saw it, and asking what seemed to me honest and straightforward questions. your self-referential jaded hipsterism and self-righteous issue-glomming gradually forced me to take sides- the troll side- even as i learned from the actual facts that your narcissism forced you to throw in my direction, and i will be forever grateful that, whatever your faults, you at least had the courage to spew anonymously a great deal of bullshit from which i was able to choose the gems (not without some difficulty.) your senses of humor always redeemed you in my eyes and even if this blog is a shadow of it's former robust and blustery self, it is not, as syngas says, as if i have "given up on you". go forth and blusterfy, i say, in eternal robustness, and abuse me as you like, i am eternally in your debt. but please, could you talk about something mildly interesting from time to time? i'd appreciate it.

If Norm had "thumbs up" buttons, I'd give this comment a thumbs up.

My asking for an example of a good place to live for conservatives or libertarians wasn’t off-topic nor about me having my own argument. I was simply trying to show that my politics are based on eyewitness accounts, places I have actually seen. Believing that 9/11 or JFK were conspiracies is certainly more fun than believing in what almost certainly DID happen. I read a long piece in the New Yorker directly after 9/11 by the architect of the Towers. He didn’t say anything about conspiracies or whatever the fuck you people are talking about. They fell because an entire floor had disintegrated.

Just as being a conservative or a liberal has something to do with a person’s psychological make-up, the same is true with believing in conspiracies. No amount of evidence or proof will knock people off their positions—just like people continue to believe climate change is a myth, or that lowering taxes creates jobs, or less government is always better, or that the Iraq War was a good idea.

Believing in conspiracies? Those three words comprise your entire position. Some people "believe in conspiracies" and others don't; is that it? There are never ever any conspiracies and the people who say there are are loony tunes? What was Watergate? A conspiracy. What was Iran-Contra? A conspiracy. Indeed, what was 9/11? A conspiracy. 19 guys (20 if you count Zacarias Moussaoui) conspired to hijack jetliners and crash them into buildings. So right from the start, your premise that people who believe in conspiracies are nuts is deeply flawed.

Speaking of Watergate, have you ever wondered why Nixon wanted to break into Democratic headquarters when he was ahead in the polls by double digits? There are clues in the Nixon Oval Office tapes, some of which you can listen to online. In one tape, Nixon says, "Look, the problem is that this will open the whole, the whole Bay of Pigs thing..." Nixon was worried that the Democrats had information connecting Nixon to the Bay of Pigs invasion. Oh. And speaking of the Bay of Pigs? Conspiracy. So Nixon participated in one conspiracy in order to cover up another one. But to you, that kind of talk is nuts, right?

Take a look at the first World Trade Center bombing. Any idea who planted that bomb? The FBI. And that's a pattern that gets repeated again and again. Remember the Florida guys who wanted to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago? All of their money and equipment, as well as the idea to target the Sears Tower, came from their FBI informant. There's a similar case in Chicago where a guy wanted to bomb the crowd near Wrigley Field. Again, all the money, equipment and planning came from the FBI. The current issue of Mother Jones Magazine has a detailed expose' of the FBI's role in manufacturing terror plots. Most of the plots they have "busted" were ones they created.

You have drawn a comparison between conspiracy theorists and Christians. In reality, the similarity is between Christians and people who believe there's no such thing as conspiracies. In both cases, people persist in believing something that is obviously untrue.

But the thing that really sets me off about this topic is the tone adopted by so many Official Version advocates. They don't say, "Gee, you're right. It DOES look like a controlled demolition. I can totally see why you would think that." Instead, they act like it's stone cold cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, like saying hot is cold or up is down. To me, this means they are in deep denial, just like the Christians who refuse to even momentarily consider the possibility that there is no Heaven or God, etc. It's akin to clamping your hands over your ears and going "LALALALALALA."

People -- especially lefties -- are infatuated with this notion that if we can just get enough signatures on the petition or convince enough people to go to the polls, everything will work out fine. This view refuses to acknowledge how, in fact, usurped the electoral process had become. It's a defense mechanism, I guess. If they allowed themselves to acknowledge how fucked up the world really is, they'd never get out of bed. Toto keeps pulling the curtain aside and the lefties keep putting it back.

You said: "Take a look at the first World Trade Center bombing. Any idea who planted that bomb? The FBI."

I clicked on your link and read the article. No where in the article does it say that the FBI "planted" a bomb. The informant only says that there was a tentative plan to have him supply the terrorists with fake powder - but that the plan fell through after the FBI decided against that plan (reasons not apparently given, but entrapment is hinted at since the FBI, like any other organization, is subject to prosecutorial protocol.

In fact, the Times also posted a correction on every page. It reads: "Correction: October 29, 1993, Friday An article yesterday about accounts of a plot to build a bomb that was eventually exploded at the World Trade Center referred imprecisely in some copies to what Federal officials knew about the plan before the blast. Transcripts of tapes made secretly by an informant, Emad A. Salem, quote him as saying he warned the Government that a bomb was being built. But the transcripts do not make clear the extent to which the Federal authorities knew that the target was the World Trade Center."

I think the reason why conspiratorial thinking is dangerous is that it leads one to conclude strongly from evidence that is either ambiguous or weak. Where thin evidence would lead the non-conspiracy theorist to say "I don't know - the evidence is inconclusive," the conspiracy theorist would say "don't be naive - the truth is obvious." But the problem is that it's not obvious. However, when one starts out with a conclusion already in mind, it's quite easy to fit the facts to the claim, rather than the inverse.

Well stated Collin. Succinct and logical.

The link I used is the only one I could find relating to the first WTC bombing that you didn't have to pay for. Consequently, it wasn't the strongest piece of evidence; it was just the one that was most readily available. Admittedly, it was the weakest portion of my seven-paragraph comment, which is why you zeroed in on it and ignored the rest.

You could have, for example, commented on the Mother Jones article I referenced, which notes, "Remember the Washington Metro bombing plot? The New York subway plot? The guys who planned to blow up the Sears Tower? The teenager seeking to bomb a Portland Christmas tree lighting? Each of those plots, and dozens more across the nation, was led by an FBI asset."

I think the reason why conspiratorial thinking is dangerous...

Like Leftbanker, you appear to be locked in this one-camp-or-the-other mentality. You have planted your flag in the conspiracies-never-happen camp and anyone who presents evidence for a conspiracy is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs. The reason this thinking is dangerous is that it ignores the conspiracies that are real. Moreover, even if you accept the official 9/11 narrative, you are accepting a conspiracy theory. So by your reasoning, the official version is the result of dangerous thinking.

Of course, showing, say, Iran/Contra or Watergate or Operation Ajax or the Gulf of Tonkin incident or Operation Northwoods, etc., etc., to someone in the anti-conspiracy camp is akin to showing transitional fossils or vestigial organs to a creationist. The evidence gets ignored or accused of fakery or misinterpretation or any other convenient tool that will allow you to maintain your fantasy.

Of course, lots of conspiracy theories are crackpot, just like Piltdown Man was crackpot. But just as the occurrence of Piltdown Man isn't enough to "debunk" the theory of evolution, neither is Area 51 or whatever reason enough to claim that conspiracies never take place.

I am not engaging in "conspiratorial thinking." I am simply arriving at the conclusions the evidence leads me to. I wish everything was above ground, so to speak, but it isn't. This tendency among lefties to ignore the true nature of politics is our biggest weakness. You can't win against cheaters unless you acknowledge the cheating.

BigDaddy,

First, let me say that I’m not trying to pick a fight with you. I’m sure we agree on a lot of things, and we probably hold many of the same starting assumptions when it comes to our own political ideology. In fact, I don’t necessarily disagree with much of what you’re saying. Now…

Though I responded to your response to Leftbanker, I wasn’t responding because we’re advancing the same arguments. So, please don’t assume that we’re making the same argument. I was responding only because your post made a bold claim that provided a link, and, curious, I decided to check it out. Your saying that “Admittedly, it was the weakest portion of my seven-paragraph comment, which is why you zeroed in on it and ignored the rest” is a bit unfair. I wasn’t cherry picking your argument because you weren’t making one big argument. Rather, you made a number of claims, and that one happened to stand out among the others.

So, just to be clear: I didn’t click on the rest of your links because you weren’t saying anything that seemed patently false. The FBI actually planting a bomb in the World Trace Center, however, seemed very dubious – that’s what I was responding to.

I also think you may be confusing “cause” with “effect.” The Mother Jones article that you linked to demonstrates quite clearly that the organization of terrorist plots is a response to 9/11. In other words, 9/11 wasn’t an instance of an FBI-organized terrorist plot; FBI-organized terrorist plots are a response to 9/11. This is an important distinction, and it’s even made in the subtitle of the article: “The FBI has built a massive network of spies to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots—or leading them?”

The quote you provide in your comment also demonstrates this point. I don’t deny that those things happened. What’s important to note is that all those plots happened over the last five years – well after 9/11. It’s called counter-terrorism, and there’s nothing suspicious about it.

And just to emphasize why I think you’re confusing “cause” with “effect,” here’s what the author of the article that YOU linked to says: “The bureau's strategy has changed significantly from the days when officials feared another coordinated, internationally financed attack from an Al Qaeda sleeper cell. Today, counterterrorism experts believe groups like Al Qaeda, battered by the war in Afghanistan and the efforts of the global intelligence community, have shifted to a franchise model, using the internet to encourage sympathizers to carry out attacks in their name. The main domestic threat, as the FBI sees it, is a lone wolf. The bureau's answer has been a strategy known variously as "preemption," "prevention," and "disruption"—identifying and neutralizing potential lone wolves before they move toward action. To that end, FBI agents and informants target not just active jihadists, but tens of thousands of law-abiding people, seeking to identify those disgruntled few who might participate in a plot given the means and the opportunity. And then, in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.”

I don’t deny that the FBI manufactures plots. What I’m skeptical of is that the FBI and hundreds of other government employees knowingly plotted a terrorist attack that killed 3,000 of their own citizens. I feel quite comfortable saying that not only is that highly implausible, but that the evidence for it is quite weak. Much of the arguments made in favor of a 9/11 conspiracy involve anomaly hunting and appeals to motive. To me, that’s poor evidence.

I also don’t deny that real conspiracies happen. However, you’re accusing me of a false dichotomy when your own argument assumes no difference between “conspiracy” and “conspiracy theory.” In fact, I’d say you’re guilty of equivocation on that mark. Yes, our government has participated in false-flag operations. Yes, our government keeps secrets and has even attempted conspiracies in its own right. In 1933, General Smedley Butler testified that the wealthy elite planned a coup against Roosevelt because he dissolved the gold standard.

In short, I don’t disagree with you.

However, the mere fact that conspiracies exist is not evidence that all “hypothesized” conspiracies are real; by that same logic, we might argue that since every criminal was a suspect, therefore every suspect is a criminal. What’s important is that they are two separate categories. The reason why “theory” is added is simple: “conspiracy THEORIES” are an attempt to explain what has happened WITHOUT the quality of evidence to take it beyond a “theory.” (By the way, I’m not conflating conspiracy theory with scientific theory since the former hinges MOSTLY on human motive and anomalies in the evidence while the latter hinges almost EXCLUSIVELY on empirical evidence).

“Like Leftbanker, you appear to be locked in this one-camp-or-the-other mentality. You have planted your flag in the conspiracies-never-happen camp and anyone who presents evidence for a conspiracy is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs.” I blame this straw man on my not defining what I mean by “conspiratorial thinking.” Here’s what I mean by that: “any unfalsifiable argument that unnecessarily multiplies its assumptions in order to advance a conclusion that a powerful group is actively engaged in the highest level of government to effect some negative outcome for its own benefit (while avoiding a much simpler, linear explanation as reflected by the evidence).”

I think that’s a far cry from “conspiracies never happen.” I wouldn’t say that – that would be denial on my part. What I’m saying is that some people (based not only on the arguments from “Truthers” I’ve read online) seem prone to conspiratorial thinking. Since the subject of the discussion in this thread seem more broadly to be about conspiracy theory as it relates to 9/11, my comment is aimed more at that species of argument. Again, I’m not picking a fight, and I’m certainly not denying that conspiracies do happen.

You also say: “even if you accept the official 9/11 narrative, you are accepting a conspiracy theory. So by your reasoning, the official version is the result of dangerous thinking.” Nice try with that reductio, but it ignores the distinction between conspiracy and conspiracy theory. In short, the “official narrative” is based on evidence that meets the standard. Unless you have George Bush talking like Osama Bin Ladin, and government officials documented as acting to the same degree of evidence we have for the 9/11 hijackers, then NO… it’s still a conspiracy THEORY.

So, the crux of this argument is about quality of evidence. That’s the threshold that a conspiracy theory must cross before it ceases to be a theory. Until it gets there, it’s still a theory.

You also say: “Of course, showing, say, Iran/Contra or Watergate or Operation Ajax or the Gulf of Tonkin incident or Operation Northwoods, etc., etc., to someone in the anti-conspiracy camp is akin to showing transitional fossils or vestigial organs to a creationist. The evidence gets ignored or accused of fakery or misinterpretation or any other convenient tool that will allow you to maintain your fantasy.”

Again, I don’t deny this. But your analogy with evolution doesn’t quite work because conspiracy is a type of action, while evolution is a scientific theory about the origin and diversity of life on the planet; the two are not analogous. Your next paragraph even makes that point.

You also say: “I am not engaging in "conspiratorial thinking.” I am simply arriving at the conclusions the evidence leads me to.”

OK. I’m sorry if my comment came off like that. I don’t know you, and I’m sorry for making assumptions about you. I only respectfully disagree with the conclusions your draw from the evidence.

And you conclude: “I wish everything was above ground, so to speak, but it isn't. This tendency among lefties to ignore the true nature of politics is our biggest weakness. You can't win against cheaters unless you acknowledge the cheating.”

Yes, but the mere fact that cheating exists in politics should not lead us to conclude that therefore cheating is happening in this instance. As I said earlier, I don’t deny any of the documented conspiracies that have been brought up. What I question is the one for which the conclusions do NOT obviously follow from the evidence, i.e., the 9/11 conspiracy theory.

Thanks for the clarifications. I'm going to respond to you below, since the thread tends to get a little narrow after multiple replies.

You know, the point that 'Well, you know conspiracies do happen is not one that is at all lost on me. Watergate did happen. Iran-contra did happen. The Reichstag was burned down as part of a coup. I would even go so far as to remind my "fellow lefties" that there is no reason that American power mongers should be expected to behave any better than power mongers have throughout history and hence the argument that "the Bushies would never go that far" never held any water for me. What Dick Cheney would do is not a subject on which it is useful to speculate. I think he's a sociopath, asnd there is little I wouldn't put past him. I also recognize that my loathing for the SOB might make me willing to accept or reject arguments revolving around his motives in an unreliable way. My rejection of the 9-11 truthers ultimately rests on my judgment that they couldn't have pulled it off and the physical explanations for how the fires could in fact have brought down the buildings after all.

Here's my point: WE STILL DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON 9/11/01. I would like to know what happened. I guess that makes me a "truther." Even the members of the 9/11 Commission don't know what happened, as their investigation was stymied at every turn.

From Wikipedia:

"John Farmer, Jr., senior counsel to the Commission stated that the Commission 'discovered that...what government and military officials had told Congress, the Commission, the media, and the public about who knew what when — was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue.' Farmer continues: 'At some level of the government, at some point in time ... there was a decision not to tell the truth about what happened...The (NORAD) tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public.'[21] Thomas Kean, the head of the 9/11 Commission, concurred: 'We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth.'[22]

And just last week, the Miami Herald ran this article. "Ten years after the deadliest attack of terrorism on U.S. soil, new information has emerged that shows the FBI found troubling ties between the hijackers and residents in the upscale community in southwest Florida, but the investigation wasn’t reported to Congress or mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report."

So evidence keeps piling up that the official 9/11 narrative is riddled with inaccuracies and omissions. You anti-troofers are helping to keep the truth concealed.

By conspiracy I mean these vast and secret conspiracies like controlled demolitions and grass knolls. Of course I don't mean ALL acts of conspiring. There is a limited amount of space in a comment and anyone with a shred of common sense realizes that and thus realizes the need to depend on the common sense of others to interpret meaning. Yes, 9/11 certainly was a conspiracy which has been established. The controlled demolition theory is just fucking NUTS!

And like religions these conspiracy theories are farfetched, to put it mildly.

I understand. You like your history in neat little packages, not in messy, nuanced globules that keep changing as more information comes in. The simple version you learned in grade school is good enough. That's cool.

I'm reminded of an anecdote I read one time about a dinner party that Albert Einstein attended. A young lady who was, I think, a sophomore in college asked Mr. Einstein what he did. Einstein replied that he studied physics. "Physic?" exclaimed the girl, "why, I had that last semester!"

There is one important respect in which evolution denial and climate change denial stand apart as insane.

JFK is dead and all the evidence of his assasination is gone, or, rather, it is at best static. It can't be reenacted in a way that will tell us anything new. The 9-11 conspiracy theories (either accepted or rejected) won't be getting much fresh evidence in their "favor".

Not that the case for evolution in an utter slam dunk, but the filling in of the fossil record continues. More and more transitional forms appear all the time. (In fact, a "Jurrassic Park"-like revival of extinct species like the woolly mammoth may well be possible, and soon.) Genetic evidence and elaboration of the biological record continues. Adam and Eve are debunked and genetic evidence debunking them gets stronger all the time. The biogeographical argument for evolution is strengthened more every year.

The evidence for global warming gets stronger every year: A new minimum for Arctic ice volume was established in 2011, breaking the 2010 record. The Antarctic land ice pack melt continues to melt - every year. The Greenland ice pack melt continues - every year. The decrease in infrared radiation emission from earth out into space (the only significant mechanism for balancing solar energy influx) is decreasing - at the frequencies where greenhouse gases absorb... and isotopic signatures prove the human-activity origins of CO₂.

If you think that that man never landed on the moon and the evidence was all faked, then you are garden-variety loony tune. But to think that the planet itself is in on a continuing conspiracy to foist phony evolution and climate change "hoaxes" on you makes you a nutjob of much higher order.

oops, that should have read: ...Not that the case for evolution isn't a slam dunk...

I tried to explain this to a friend, in terms of anecdote vs. phenomenon. For example, I cannot disprove that someone saw a ghost sometime, but the general phenomenon of ghosts can be reasonably disproven. I just got a blank stare, and claims that "you and your logic" were close-minded.

BTW, how convenient that your comment wasn't deleted in this thread!

The funny thing is, my post was deleted and I left another post asking why it was deleted. Then Joann pointed out that a few other posts were deleted on another thread and hypothesized that Norm was deleting them for some reason. But since one of my posts was totally inocuous, my conclusion was that the deletion was inadvertent - i.e., the anti-conspiracy view. Then the post in which I offered that opinion was deleted...

Reply to Collin:

For starters, it's true that the Mother Jones article I referenced is about the FBI's post-9/11 efforts. However, I think it's worth noting the similarity between the dozens of manufactured plots chronicled in the MoJo piece and the original WTC bombing. The FBI mole, Salem, thought he was planting a fake bomb that the FBI had given him. Turns out the FBI gave him a real bomb. Other than that, his case is just like all the others in that MoJo piece. So it appears as if this modus operandi was in existence before the period covered in the MoJo piece.

It's also worth noting that since I am only commenting on a thread in a blog and not publishing an article in an international magazine, I am free to make some inferences and educated assumptions that the editors at MoJo are not free to make in their articles. They can only publish what they have concrete evidence for, but it would be illogical to assume that the behavior described in the MoJo piece only began in 2006. I mean, maybe you can only prove that Barry Bonds started taking steroids after a certain date, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to assume he started taking steroids prior to that. Investigators are stuck with what they can prove. Blog commenters are free to employ deductive reasoning. If some sports columnist postulated that Bonds' steroid use started earlier than what investigators have proof for, you wouldn't call him some kind of whack job conspiracy theorist; you'd say, "seems plausible." I'll bet that brainstorming sessions in the offices of Mother Jones while they were putting that article together were not unlike some of the things I've said in this thread.

Nice try with that reductio, but it ignores the distinction between conspiracy and conspiracy theory.

No, it doesn't. The official narrative remains solidly in the theory category, since so few of its assertions have been proven and since it contains so many obvious omissions. As I noted elsewhere in the thread, "John Farmer, Jr., senior counsel to the Commission, stated that the Commission 'discovered that...what government and military officials had told Congress, the Commission, the media, and the public about who knew what when — was almost entirely, and inexplicably, untrue.' Farmer continues: 'At some level of the government, at some point in time ... there was a decision not to tell the truth about what happened...The (NORAD) tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public.'[21] Thomas Kean, the head of the 9/11 Commission, concurred: 'We to this day don’t know why NORAD told us what they told us, it was just so far from the truth.'[22]"

Also, the BBC and others have reported that most of the supposed 9/11 hijackers are alive and well.

For these and many other reasons, the official narrative is at least as faulty as many of the "troofer" theories. Therefore, the official narrative is a conspiracy theory, not a proven conspiracy.

Which brings me to the thrust of my position. To wit: We still don't know what happened on 9/11/01. Wouldn't you like to know? What would it be like if instead of bending over backwards to disprove the Engineers for Truth or whoever, we bent over backwards to discover the truth? What if Popular Mechanics and Bill Maher and Skeptic Magazine and Penn Jillette and Norm and Leftbanker and you et al. presented a unified front demanding to know what happened rather than a unified front ridiculing anyone who wants to know what happened? If we approached all crimes the way we've approached 9/11, no crime would ever get solved.

Members of the 9/11 Commission have made it clear that their investigation was stymied at every turn. They even indicated that evidence had been destroyed by the government. And the Miami Herald article I linked to yesterday reveals an even broader coverup. What this means is that there is a gigantic vacuum where the truth should be. As I'm sure you know, vacuums attract debris, which in this case includes some crackpot ideas. But articles like this one in Skeptic are the journalistic equivalent of "move along, folks, nothing to see here."

re: bigdaddymalcontent's points: conspiracy theories are one thing, and being skeptical of them seems reasonable. but when merely asking about an issue, especially one that media/society/government has already decided upon (in a very public, heavyhanded way) becomes taboo, and the answers become universally dismissive and almost automatically insulting, something is wrong.

it's like a little girl asking about unicorns and instead of getting an honest, compassionate answer expressing an adult point of view she is crapped upon and made to feel unworthy for having asked. at this point the little girl is fully justified, imho, in assuming that there may be more to unicorns than what she is being told. so yes: ogm, along with other "authoritative" sources who refuse to admit to their own ignorance of the facts are guilty in PERPETRATING the belief in unicorns by their attitudes and constitutional cognitive dissonance re: human nature.

i mean really: if a little girl asks you about unicorns is it really SO FUCKING HARD to just say: we really don't know anything about unicorns because no one we trust has ever claimed to see one, BUT there is a vast literature...etc, etc.? do you really have to answer the little girl's question, as norm did all those years ago and still does today in spite of not knowing any more about "unicorns" than he did then with "little girl, you are stupid and offensive for even asking and i will not entertain any more of your foolishness?" it's dishonest and cruel and adds to the layers upon layers of distortion regarding...unicorns. and those little girls grow up to become bitter old women who have met neither a unicorn or an honest man.

petansareus: NOR an honest man.

I'd like to say a word about large numbers of people being able to keep things secret. Here in Chicago, there's a gigantic public works project called "Deep Tunnel." It's a huge storm sewer that runs more or less parallel to the Chicago River, but it runs well below the river. Hundreds of workers have been excavating the tunnel since 1975. Thousands of tons of limestone have been dynamited and removed. For a while, it was the nation's largest water pollution control project. It has been covered thoroughly in the local and national media. But you wouldn't know that to speak to the average Chicagoan. Most Chicago area residents have never even heard of it. And they're not even trying to keep it a secret. There are many other similar projects all over the world of which most citizens are blissfully unaware despite they're being widely publicized. So keeping something a secret doesn't seem like that big of a challenge. And if something does leak out, all you have to do is flood the media with tales of Taylor Swift's wardrobe malfunction or something and people forget all about it. After all, they can only think of one thing at a time.

It's interesting the approach BigDaddy takes. The first comment I made challenged something he called fact that fire had never brought down a building like it did on 9-11 did he address the question, hell no. When specific challenges are answered with oh yes and what about this, or silence and what about this, one gets tired of going around and around. The fundamental questions it seems to me have been answered, yes there has been ass covering and lies, and the rest of it. But that doesn't address how the conspiracy was kept secret and continues to me. BigDaddy says it would only take a handful of people, to conceive and maintain such a conspiracy I don't believe that is likely bordering on extremely unlikely to not possible. Nor does it cover other possible reasons for lies and ass covering avoiding embarrassment for poor performance comes to mind.

As to jonathan's unicorn analogy, when one thinks as jonathan does that they are more clever than all the rest, you do don't you jonathan, it is a becomes a little tiresome at times, not that I don't enjoy it.

I'm with you, when the little girl ask's about Unicorns the first time, she deserves the respect of a thoughtful and compassionate answer. When she repeats the question year after year, not acknowledging the explanations given but chanting what about this, what about this she is not much more than a bitchy little girl undeserving of respect or compassion.

The truthers, are like the bitchy little girl.

I'm not going to address every new bit of evidence no matter how unlikely that it adds to the question.

One of the recurring threads in the BigDaddy trop is that of sting operations where the FBI is involved in trying to trap someone. He concludes that this is just a sting engineered at the highest levels of government, a conspiracy, and yet although we all know that stings are engineered we don't conclude that every event is engineered, unless as with the truthers it happens to fit into our conspiracy theory. We can even agree that there is a conspiracy to cover up aspects of 9-11 without concluding that the act itself was planned and executed with the full knowledge of the president and his merry band of co-conspirators.

It would be nice if we could take the points BigDaddy makes at face value, but as the fire bringing down buildings misstatement illustrates, he's more interested in his theory than he is in accuracy.

I'll stick with my theory, those who believe in unicorns and the 9-11 conspiracy theory after all this time are bitchy little girls.

COMPARE AND CONTRAST

Here is the Delft University collapse.

Here is the WTC 7 collapse.

This is what the Delft University building looked like after the "collapse."

Notice the difference? The top third or so of the Delft University building toppled over sideways more or less how you would expect it to. The remainder of the building is left standing. It didn't collapse completely to the ground like a controlled demolition.

Only a bitchy little girl would insist the two are comparable.

The question was had a building ever come down as a result of fire your unequivocal statement was not before and not since. That statement was false some would call it a lie, intentional misrepresentation of the truth. You obviously were aware of the incident, but still made the statement. I'm sure you've rationalized it, with they are not the same, but the lie is there nevertheless. How do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you are so loose with the facts. but true to form you kick the ball down the field compare and contrast instead of acknowledging your misstatements.

I'll be charitable, you didn't intentionally make the claim that fire had never brought down a building, but either did a little cutting and pasting or were just sloppy.

I don't know or have a particular interest in whether they are comparable, other than it refutes the contention you made that a building had never been brought down by fire. The devil is in the details, were the temperatures in the same range were there construction details that account for the differences, I'm not going to continue on this particular point, because it is obvious that whatever evidence is presented you'll fail to acknowledge your false statements and just kick it down the field, the favored tactic of conspiracy theorists.

As you know I spend a lot of time birding these days. One of the things I like about it is it involves a lot of pattern recognition. Is it bird A or bird B the details matter. I continue to get identifications wrong because of how our mind works. I've identified sticks, rocks, paper plates, and other sundry items as birds. I've caught a quick glimpse of a bird thought I was looking at a wing when I was looking at it's ass. The point, we are easily fooled, particularly when we have preconceived ideas about what we're seeing.

Remember not every coverup is part of some GRAND CONSPIRACY often the inconsistencies are nothing more than ass covering, my advice focus on the bird not its ass, and you're more likely to get it right.

You are prevaricating; so is Chris Mohr. He starts by admitting that no steel framed building ever collapsed due to fire prior to 9/11/01. He then states, "since then, other tall steel framed buildings [plural] have." He then cites just one instance [singular], which is prevarication number one. He then claims, "a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint." But as you can see from the video, the collapse wasn't "nearly straight down" nor did it "collapse mostly into its own footprint." The top third or so of the building fell over sideways and landed next to the building. It couldn't have fallen "mostly into its own footprint" because said footprint was still occupied by the building. Those are prevarication numbers two and three.

It would be nice if we could take the points Chris Mohr makes at face value, but as the fire causing the Delft University building to collapse into its own footprint misstatement illustrates, he's more interested in his theory than he is in accuracy.

We know that NORAD officials lied to the 9/11 Commission. [see link above]

We know that the White House destroyed evidence relating to the attacks.

We know from former counter terrorism czar Richard Clarke that the CIA withheld crucial evidence from him regarding Al Qaeda operatives inside the US before the attack.

We know that the FBI withheld evidence from the Commission.

We know that most of the alleged 9/11 hijackers are alive and well. [see link above]

We therefore know that the official narrative is unreliable. I therefore respectfully request that you shift your focus from trying to shore up this error-laden explanation to joining those of us who are trying to uncover the truth. Only by doing so can we put the crackpot theories -- including the 9/11 Commission Report -- to rest.

And we know that two wrongs don't make a right, and we further know that you haven't acknowledged your lie, but tried to excuse it, kicking the ball down the field, surprise.

Furthermore we know that ass covering coverups don't mean a GRAND CONSPIRACY even if your facts are correct in this instance, sorry but your performance to date puts that proposition in doubt.

My statement that fire has never brought down a high rise wasn't a lie. Chris Mohr's statement that it has is a lie. I have proven as much, but you are sticking with Chris Mohr's lie, which means you are also lying.

I know how shocked and saddened you were/are by the Sept. 11th attacks. I know how badly you want closure on that incident. And I know how disturbing it is to consider the possibility that elements within the US government have, at the very least, participated in obstruction of justice on a grand scale. I'm not being snarky here. I really do understand all of this. But clinging to and even promoting such an obviously fallacious explanation for the attacks amounts to denial so extreme as to be dishonest.

Your only course of action, if you wish to retain any sense of credibility, is to ditch these denialists and join the call for an independent investigation.

no, i don't think i'm more clever than ALL the rest. :) and i don't have the answers here, either. i'm just more open, i guess, to recognizing a legitimate question when i hear one without taking it as a personal attack on my "beliefs" as so many many "religious atheists" and science groupies do (just like religious people.)

there's a big difference between trying to form a theory of what DID happen on 9/11 (which is pretty damn thin ice, necessarily relying on data and suppositions provided by interested parties) and merely asking questions based on what we CLEARLY don't know, and some issues that, given what we do know seem "passing strange". and this is true of all conspiracy theories. and since i haven't seen bdm cross the line into making his own call as to the actual chain of events, but rather asking questions, some stronger, some weaker, about OTHER people's overconfident assessments, i support his right to do so.

i also see that after all these years, you are more willing to calmly discuss the subject, norm, so kudos to you too.

maybe i can put it more simply: if someone wants to theorize that the u.s. government was and is, in many cases, simply LYING about, say, area 51, or the kennedy assassination, based on clear inconstancies and misdirection etc. in government attempts to provide a believable scenario, i'm all for it. the evidence for government lying is (i hope you'll agree) overwhelming and airtight, historically speaking. but the minute that someone wants to advance their OWN theory (say, that jfk was asassinated by aliens or whatever), without admitting that s/he has even less access to the facts than the gov't does and is merely connecting a bunch of dots that could be connected- or not connected- in many many ways, i would call foul. that's why i say again: asking questions is ALWAYS ok- even if you're a 'bitchy little girl". it's when you try to give your own answers, and insist that anyone who doesn't see it your way is deluded, that you graduate from "bitchy little girl" to "a danger to yourself and those around you". and no one here has crossed that line as far as i can see.

However, despite the fact that fire had never before (and has never since) caused a skyscraper to collapse.

That is simply not true. The question wasn't did the building collapse in exactly the same way it was did fire cause the collapse and it did.

You criticized those of us who don't buy the GRAND CONSPIRACY with the statement that we don't like it messy and want some neat explanation, but it seems that applies more to you than to us. We acknowledge the messiness, but see not need to resort to one all encompassing theory based on skimpy evidence.

I don't know if Mohr claim that it collapsed in its own footprint is true or not,. The building certainly wasn't totally destroyed, but the question is did the part that collapsed fall within the footprint. I certainly haven't looked at all the evidence but what I've seen doesn't contradict that statement. I'm will to change my mind if there is clearer evidence, but as to the question did fire cause the collapse I think we can both agree and that makes your statement above false. .

Okay. Fire evidently caused the top five or six stories of the Delft building to topple over. But if that's your go-to model for what happens when high rises catch on fire, it doesn't comport with what happened at the WTC on 9/11/01.

Mohr states, "If I told you I was making almost $100,000 and you found out I was making only $67,000, you’d say I was exaggerating." Well, similarly, if he told me the top five or six stories of a burning high rise toppling over sideways is similar to three WTC building completely collapsing, I'd say he was exaggerating. Well, I'd actually say he was lying, as I did above, but in the spirit of good fellowship, I will downgrade from "lying" to "exaggerating."

You mention Richard Clarke and link to Glen Greenwald to support your "doubts" (veiled assertions is probably more accurate). Have any of these guys come to the same conclusions as you, following their own investigations?

You're like those religious people or new agers who love to quote quantum mechanics to support their claims, but don't mention that no physicist agrees with them in their conclusions.

What conclusions have I offered in this thread that you don't agree with? Here they are for your convenience:

The official narrative is unreliable. I have given my reasons for thinking so above.

Chris Mohr's citation of the Delft University fire as evidence of fire causing a building collapse is an exaggeration at best.

Instead of bending over backwards to shore up the obviously faulty official narrative, Popular Mechanics and Skeptic and Norm and you, etc. should join in calling for an independent investigation.

That's it. A crime was committed. We did a shitty job of figuring out who done it. Let's do it right. What's so leap-of-logic about that?

Chris Mohr's citation of the Delft University fire as evidence of fire causing a building collapse is an exaggeration at best.

Okay what was it that caused the Deft University building to collapse? There was no exaggeration at all in the assertion that fire was the cause of the collapse.

Mohr's statement was:

On May 13, 2008, a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint.

You notice unlike you who make blanket statement like there has never been a building collapse before or since caused by fire, his is measured. He says NEARLY straight-down and MOSTLY into it's own footprint.

Although he may have exaggerated a bit about the nearly straight-down and into its own footprint. There was no exaggeration at all in the cause of the collapse fire. They are three separate statements. Each can be analyzed on its own. Even if one were to agree that two of the three were exaggerated it doesn't follow that the third, the cause fire was exaggerated.

The problem is that the collapse of a concrete-reinforced building undermine your claim of a controlled demolition since it provides an alternative explanation. The construction of WTC 7(52 floors) and the Deft University Building (13 floors) were different and so the collapse in the two would be different. World trade center was higher to it make sense to me that the forces of the building coming down would be much greater causing more damage than the Delft University building.

The problem with trying to discuss this is that each point like this one gets extensive discussion back and forth multiply that by the number of points you raise and on would spend a lifetime discussing it.

However, despite the fact that fire had never before (and has never since) caused a skyscraper to collapse, that is precisely the explanation offered repeatedly by trusted authorities.

Okay. Fire evidently caused the top five or six stories of the Delft building to topple over.

Chris Mohr's citation of the Delft University fire as evidence of fire causing a building collapse is an exaggeration at best.

I ask again if it wasn't fire that caused Delft University to collapse what was it? And considering the different construction of the two building the difference is height, why wouldn't they be different. The point is that as soon as you admit that fire can cause a building to collapse you've provided a reasonable alternative to your theory, and you are resisting doing that by using statements such as EVIDENTLY caused and EXAGGERATION at best. Once more what caused the Delft University to collapse, you need to be unequivocal in your answer. To deny the facts undermines your honesty in trying to find the answers you claim to be looking for. Fire as a cause of the collapse of WTC 7 seems far more likely than the explanation you suggest, and Delft University provides evidence that fire can cause a shell-reinforced concrete structure to collapse, think Occam's razor.

I'm not opposed to further investigations, there are questions that need to be answered, but we shouldn't start with the answer and work backwards. The evidence to date doesn't persuade me, it doesn't even come close, and the tactics of those arguing for a GRAND CONSPIRACY are not thoughtful they are nothing more than a bunch of bitchy little girls doing a post hoc search for any unanswered question, and then claiming that is proof, of their GRAND CONSPIRACY.

First of all, your repeated use of the term "GRAND CONSPIRACY" (in all caps, no less) is an intentional misrepresentation of what I've written in this thread. Show me where I proposed a GRAND CONSPIRACY.

Second of all, you can't have it both ways. Does the Delft fire and collapse substantiate Mohr's assertions regarding 9/11 or is it different? On 9/11, three buildings, one of which wasn't hit by any planes, collapsed completely to the ground with absolutely nothing left standing. At Delft University, the top few stories toppled over sideways while most of the building was left standing. When these differences are pointed out to you, you cite the differences in construction. Are they different or the same? It would be like citing a Cessna crash as proof of something that occurred in a 747 crash, and then when someone points out the errors in that citation, you say, "Well, Cessnas are different than 747s." THEN DON'T CITE THE CESSNA.

Third of all, you are correct that "The problem with trying to discuss this is that each point like this one gets extensive discussion back and forth multiply that by the number of points you raise and on would spend a lifetime discussing it." That's what's so fucking aggravating about this. I have to drag you kicking and screaming inch by painstaking inch to get you, at long last, to admit that "there are questions that need to be answered." Halla fucking luja. I finally got you to (sort of) admit that the official narrative is faulty.

Fourth of all, it perplexes me that such a vigorous defense of what you have now (sort of) admitted is a faulty explanation is coming from...wait for it... THE SKEPTIC COMMUNITY. Shouldn't skeptics be...oh, I don't know...SKEPTICAL? If even the 9/11 commissioners themselves are calling for a new investigation, why are so many, as Becker calls them, science groupies subordinating their skepticism?

Fifth of all, don't you realize that the lack of a reliable explanation for the 9/11 attacks is precisely what has breathed life into the "truther" movement? If you really hate crackpot conspiracy theories, the fastest way to put a lid on them is to answer the questions definitively.

Okay define what you believe the conspiracy to be and be specific, Answer the question don't ignore it. it's my understanding that you believe that the highest levels of our government, the evil twins Bush and Cheney and some unnamed others, knew the details of an impending attack and did nothing, and then covered it up.

My theory is that they were lax in paying attention to general intelligence and then when it proved to be true, tried to spin it as best they could to avoid embarrassment and other political costs.

By the way you still aren't answering the specific questions I pose, either start doing it or this discussion is done. In fact I may decide just to close the thread and make this topic off-limits on this site. When I ask you questions I want specific answers not your spin. Start with the answers and then provide you explanations. Don't ignore them.

Does the Mohr assertion support the collapse of WTC 7, well of course it does. It's called a proof of concept. Just like the fact that a fire on a Cessna, can bring down a Cessna, supports the idea that a fire on a 747 can bring down a 747. The differences in size and construction make a difference in the details, just like the differences in the details of WTC 7 and the Delft building make a difference in exactly what happened, but in both cases the cause was fire.

If as Mohr states, Gravity increases the force of a falling object by a factor of 30 for a single collapsing floor, then I believe it follows that the forces in WTC 7 at 52 floors, would exert far more force than a 13 floor building like the Delft. I believe that is a reasonable explanation of the differences.

What specific questions do you want answers to? Be specific.

I'm still working on a hypothesis, which, of course, should always be the case, at least until the case is satisfactorily closed.

After reading the news reports from Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan and hearing about the latest revelations from Richard Clarke, I have a roughly assembled hypothesis, which I will now share with you.

Let's start with some stuff we know. We know that George W. Bush has a close relationship with the Saudi Royal family. They even refer to him as "Bandar Bush," a play on the name Bandar bin Sultan, a prince in the Saudi Royal family.

We know that the investigative efforts of former FBI counter terrorism expert John O'Neill and former counter terrorism czar Richard Clarke were hindered by high-level interference. In O'Neill's case, the interference came from Louis Freeh and Amb. Barbara Bodean, among others. In Clarke's case, the interference appears to have come from George Tenet. [Watch this FRONTLINE segment on John O'Neill. Definitely something fishy going on there.]

We know, as I stated before, that NORAD lied to the 9/11 Commission.

We know that the White House destroyed evidence. From Kean and Hamilton's New York Times op ed piece: "...the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation."

We know that an organization known as The Project for a New American Century, whose members include Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfeld and Bill Kristol, published a "white paper" that openly wished for "a catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor." This event, the paper opined, would convince the taxpayers to divert trillions of dollars into the already bloated defense industry and abide an aggressive imperial expansion.

We know from the BBC that during the Ford administration, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz engaged in the same kind of intelligence manipulation that they perfected during Bush's presidency.

We know, also from the BBC, among others, that at least seven of the alleged 9/11 hijackers are alive and well.

We know that 9/11 ringleader Mohammed Atta and other hijackers were videotaped several times aboard Jack Abramoff's floating casino. We also know that Abramoff was a registered lobbyist for a Saudi businessman named Saleh Abdullah Kamel, who in turn has ties to Osama Bin Laden.

We now also know that the FBI withheld information about the Sarasota, Fla. Al Qaeda safe house that was owned by a member of the Saudi Royal family and occupied by a different member of the family and frequented by Atta and other 9/11 hijackers.

There are also various other pieces of circumstantial evidence, like the unclaimed "put" options on United Airlines and American Airlines stock and the fact that the firm in charge of security at the WTC and Dulles Airport was owned by Marvin Bush, the president's brother. And there are lots of connections between Marvin Bush and various Saudi business interests and also the notorious Riggs Bank. Next time the weather is too shitty for birding, read up on Riggs Bank.

So, using that knowledge, the hypothesis that I have formed is that members of the Saudi Royal family granted PNAC's wish for a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" by financing and orchestrating the 9/11 attacks, and then afterwards, Bush pulled strings to obscure any connection to the Saudis. The first part of the operation was probably conducted without Bush's direct knowledge or participation, although someone had to have made sure that NORAD and SAC planes would be far away on a training exercise. The second part of the operation is simply standard good ol' boy operating procedure. Bush may have put two and two together at some point, or maybe he is still completely in the dark. How and why the three WTC buildings collapsed is still a mystery to me. But since, with the possible partial exception of the Delft University building, fire alone has never before or since caused buildings to collapse, it seems unreasonable to propose that as the cause of the WTC collapses.

In any case, if I were to lead a fresh investigation, this connection between various Saudi elements and various neoconservatives would be where I'd start.

Thom Hartmann interview with Anthony Summers, author of 11th Day: The full story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden

Please note that Thom Hartmann is a liberal, Dylan Ratigan is sort of liberal and Bob Graham is a Democrat. So, contrary to Leftbanker's assertion that conspiracy theorizing is solely a conservative tendency . . .

norm says "we shouldn't start with the answer and work backwards" and he's right. but no one is doing that, except...norm!! and he seems desperate to force bdm into this position- he wants to create a strawman when there is no straw! the real question is, why is he so desperate to do this? why doesn't he see, even after my explicit warnings, that bdm isn't going to fall into this trap? is he in fact incapable of seeing that someone who disagrees with him might still be within the bounds of logic and reason? stay tuned...:)

I started with an answer and worked backwards, really. I looked at the evidence and arrived at a tentative conclusion namely 19 terrorists brought down the WTC and that the arrogant Bush and Cheney ignored general intelligence and when it proved true, went into cover their ass mode to avoid both embarrassment and political costs.

Let me ask you Mr. Becker, do you believe BD explanation for the collapse of WTC 7 or the one that it was fire that caused it. Which do you believe is best supported by available evidence.

You never weigh in on the specifics you just sit above the fray pontificating on how reasonable you are, and how unreasonable others are.

Both BD and I arrived at our conclusions based on the evidence, my contention is that his conclusions aren't warranted by that evidence. So it could be said that we had both reached our conclusions in advance, a charge you level at me, but not him and that is a bit of high class sophistry if you ask me. How could you possibly know the thought process I went through to arrive at my conclusions, or the order they took.

When someone said the WTC were brought down by explosives, BD apparently accepted it, I didn't think the evidence supported it. I thought there were other more simple explanations that explained the collapse. Occam's razor.

Do you agree or not?

I can't speak for JB, but I have concluded that the very best discussions are the ones that tempt the moderator to shut it down. How about a link to the UN Palestine vote in tomorrow's links? It might not be safe for Grandma's ears, but it'd be fun for the rest of us!

i haven't seen bd give any concrete theory about what brought the towers down. just saying that it looked like a controlled demolition is more than fair. just because it LOOKED like one doesn't mean it was one, of course, but bd didn't say that an neither am i. what i am saying is that anyone who doesn't even ADMIT that it looked like one has never seen one. and i have, not just on youtube, where there are plenty of examples for you.

your 'theory" (19 terrorists brought down the WTC and that the arrogant Bush and Cheney ignored general intelligence and when it proved true, went into cover their ass mode to avoid both embarrassment and political costs.") is, as i said, overconfident at best. how you could say, for instance, that only 19 terrorists were involved is truly beyond me. but i understand: this isn't your main point, which seems to be that bush and cheney were involved in a coverup ("cover their ass mode") which, as far as i can see, is what 9/11 "truthers" are saying. that is, you are sure, and they are sure. it is we who are NOT sure, i put to you sir, who are the honest men here, and you who, with the best of intentions, support "big brother" because you realized, correctly, that the conspiracy theorists are a danger of sorts, but failed to realize what a tiny, insignificant danger they were. and so you, just like the bush administration, were willing to give away our "civil rights" ( to ask questions) in the name of the "higher good" of security- and peace of mind. i hope you have slept well since then.

I think you give BD too much credit, do you really think all he's saying is that it looked like a controlled demolition and that he doesn't believe it was?

I leave it to him to answer the question. Perhaps I'm the one that is naive here. I would also like all those who have followed the thread to way in on whether they believe BD statements support the idea that he believes it wasn't fire and was a controlled demolition. It would also help if he would also answer the question as to what he thinks the conspiracy was, I'm waiting.

Refresh the page, man.

do you believe BD explanation for the collapse of WTC 7 or the one that it was fire that caused it. Which do you believe is best supported by available evidence.

I have offered no explanation for the collapse of WTC7. I simply maintain that it is highly unlikely that fire alone caused it and that Chris Mohr's Delft University citation is weak at best. I don't know why WTC 7, or for that matter, WTCs 1 & 2, collapsed.

All I know is that the premise that not one, not two, but three high rises collapsed due to fire on the same day when that has never happened before defies reason.

It seems reasonable to me, its seems far more likely than that they were controlled demolitions.

So do I have this right, your current hypothesis is that in all three cases it was a controlled demolition. Are you seriously considering any other options?

How and why the three WTC buildings collapsed is still a mystery to me. They looked like controlled demolitions, but it takes lots of workers several days to set something like that up, and I don't know how they could've done it with no one noticing. So it remains a mystery to me.

Thanks for the clarification.

This is exactly what I meant about veiled assertions. Just come out and say it, instead of expecting us to discard whatever you don't believe.

Come right out and say what? I don't know how I can make my position any clearer. Here. I'll try once more.

1.) The 9/11 Commission Report is a bunch of bullshit.

2.) Ergo, there is a different explanation for the 9/11 attacks.

3.) Since the Bush administration and the CIA and the FBI apparently obstructed the investigation and destroyed evidence before and after the attack, I suspect their involvement or that they know who the perpetrators are and they are protecting them.

4.) It pisses me off and perplexes me that the most vehement defenders of the bullshit 9/11 Commission Report are not the members of the Commission, but members of the so-called skeptic community.

Any questions?

Look again at what I responded to. You're making a case for controlled demolition but not really saying it.

Again, I don't know how to be any clearer. It's a 2+2=5 scenario. First, I don't believe fire alone could've caused all three buildings to collapse. Next, I don't see how demolition charges could've been installed in the buildings with no one noticing. Finally, the cause of the collapse remains a mystery to me.

So either fire alone did cause three buildings to collapse completely to the ground for the first, second and third time in history, which would be extraordinary nearly to the point of impossibility, or demolition charges were somehow installed in all three buildings prior to the attacks with no one noticing.

That's all I'm saying.

Or maybe there's a third possibility that I'm overlooking.

"All I know is that the premise that not one, not two, but three high rises collapsed due to fire on the same day when that has never happened before defies reason."

We also never had two jetliners loaded with fuel flown into 110 story skyscrapers. Firemen, for obvious reasons, couldn't reach the fire.

Since this also goes for WTC7, we've never let a building burn on its own without an attempt to extinguish its flames. How is it not possible for the building to collapse when its internal structure would be compromised by a fire that was left to burn on its own for hours?

I think this requires fewer assumptions than a controlled demolition that would require months of planning and the cooperation of thousands of people who would have advanced warning about airliners that would be flown into the buildings, and most likely result in the deaths of innocent citizens, not to mention unwitting policemen and firemen.

Perhaps I'm just naive, but I don't see how that's more plausible than two jetliners flown into buildings that were left to burn.

How is it not possible for the building to collapse when its internal structure would be compromised by a fire that was left to burn on its own for hours?

There are many, many examples of high rises burning far hotter for far longer without collapsing.

Here's one.

"The fire raged for more than four hours..."

Here's another

"The blaze began before midnight Saturday on the 34th floor of the East Tower in the complex, Briceno said. By Sunday afternoon, it had burned for more 17 hours and spread over 26 floors, reaching the roof.

[...]

"The high temperatures also stopped firefighters from reaching the tower's upper floors, where the fire was strongest."

[...]

"Earlier in the day, officials expressed fears that the building might collapse."

But it didn't.

Here is a more reasonable narrative than the one you provide.

http://www.debunking911.com/firsttime.htm

Yeah, I've seen that page before and it brings up some interesting points. However, I have a couple points in rebuttal.

For starters, if fire retardant was removed or improperly installed at the WTC, why isn't that mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report and why aren't there widespread calls for justice?

Secondly, as with the Delft University collapse, the collapses cited on this page bear little resemblance to the WTC collapses. Look at the video of the Madrid fire posted on that page. It looks nothing like the WTC collapses. Indeed, the video shows that most of that building is still standing the next day. All of the citations merely reinforce my assertion that fire-caused collapses look different than controlled demolitions.

Also, there's a lot of misspelled words, but I didn't see him substitute "loan" for "lone."

And the fire caused collapses look different from each other. WTC construction was unique as well as other variables, It makes sense to me that the results would be different.

Yeah, but they aren't a little different like a bouncing football is a little different than a bouncing soccer ball. They are a lot different like a bouncing football versus, say, a splatting water balloon.

Here I'll try it your way. So either explosives alone did cause three buildings to collapse completely to the ground for the first, second and third time in history, which would be extraordinary nearly to the point of impossibility with no credible evidence of explosive material.

Scroll to the bottom, please.

Let me ask you Mr. Becker, do you believe BD explanation for the collapse of WTC 7

this is what i'm apparently missing here: what exactly is bd's explanation? all i've seen is his skeptical views on other people's explanations. i don't have any "beliefs" on the matter, except that what little we really know about the nature and "contents" of wtc7 make for some pretty interesting questions, assuming that "what went down was meant to go down"- which itself is an open question. if we could agree on THAT, we'd all be conspiracy theorists.

Perhaps you missed one of bd's later posts. In the one I responded to, he was suggesting that the FBI may be implicated in the collapse of the twin towers because of recently documented false flag operations and an alleged incident with the 1993 WTC bombing. The context was to demonstrate the existence of conspiracies because of this larger debate about what happened to the twin towers. To me, that sounds like an endorsement of the narrative in question.

Indeed, that's why I made the assumptions I did. He's gone to great lengths to dismiss the fire theory, but until his last comment about the implausibility of explosives has to my knowledge never mentioned his doubts about that. I may have missed something but the posts I recall all failed to make that point. Perhaps he can link to all the times he demonstrated any skepticism of the explosive theory.

I didn't suggest "that the FBI may be implicated in the collapse of the twin towers..." I suggested the FBI may be implicated in the attack itself. I have repeatedly stated that I don't know what caused the collapse.

Norm said:

I would also like all those who have followed the thread to way in on whether they believe BD statements support the idea that he believes it wasn't fire and was a controlled demolition

I refuse to weigh in on any discussion re 9/11. I spent a good two or three weeks on a forum many years ago following the back and forth from truthers and others responding to some of their claims. There were some intelligent engineer types responding on that forum and I followed one link after another attempting to understand. The truthers would make a claim and it would be debunked by someone. But the truthers would ignore the fact that one claim had been debunked and swiftly move on to another claim, and on and on and on. Since then, I vowed never to get involved with that again.

I was curious about the following comment from BD:

We know, also from the BBC, among others, that at least seven of the alleged 9/11 hijackers are alive and well.

But when i read the article, this is what it actually said:

The identities of four of the 19 suspects accused of having carried out the attacks are now in doubt.

Furthermore there was an update noted at the end of the article.

I didn't bring it up at the time cause I thought to myself, "Get a truther going and they'll never stop."

Good advice, whenever I've followed the links provided or the evidence offered it was weak, the characterization of what was there was either false or exaggerated.

If BD hasn't made up his mind he should include his doubts about the demolition theory when he talks about it, that he doesn't leaves the impression that he believes it or at least it's in his view the best explanation. He's says it's a mystery to him, but the way he frames it leaves the impression that he believes it.

He's says it's a mystery to him, but the way he frames it leaves the impression that he believes it.

Yeah, that's the impression I got and still have.

Jesus. One step forward, five steps back. From the BBC update you cited:

"The FBI is confident that it has positively identified the nineteen hijackers responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Also, the 9/11 investigation was thoroughly reviewed by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States and the House and Senate Joint Inquiry. Neither of these reviews ever raised the issue of doubt about the identity of the nineteen hijackers."

Oh. Well, if the FBI is confident, then that's good enough for me. Say no more. You mean the same FBI that withheld information from the 9/11 Commission? That FBI?

You realize your statements are unfalsifiable, the only sources you accept are those that agree with you, the rest are part of the conspiracy. Isn't that convenient.

I don't know what that means.

I think I've poked enough holes in the official narrative that any reasonable person will no longer accept it. Earlier, you seemed to (sort of) agree that the official narrative is faulty. If we are in agreement that the official narrative is faulty, then it stands to reason that there is another explanation for the 9/11 attacks. Do you have any interest in finding out what it is? Or do you, like JoAnn, want to remain content with the faulty official narrative?

For many decades here in Chicago, the police m.o. was to pick up the first guy they found who loosely fit the description of a perpetrator. Then they would announce to the public that they got their man and that everything was fine now. It didn't matter if they had the actual perpetrator or not. They just wanted closure. Then something called DNA testing came along, and it turned out Illinois had a shitload of wrongly accused prisoners on Death Row. That's what's happening with 9/11. We put Iraq and Afghanistan on Death Row and now, the DNA evidence has exonerated them. But a whole bunch of people who were satisfied with the closure don't want to accept the new evidence.

BigD said: “I think I've poked enough holes in the official narrative that any reasonable person will no longer accept it.”

That’s not fair. First off, I’m not sure we’re even defining the “official narrative” correctly. If by “official narrative” you mean “the gov’t is changing their own story in terms of how prepared they were for the attack and trying to hide the fact that they were responsible for one of the greatest security failures in the history of the world,” then sure… I might agree with you.

But if by “official narrative” you mean “we now know that a group of radicalized Muslims that flew planes into the Twin Towers that eventually destroyed the buildings” is a FALSE narrative, then I don’t know what to tell you. I guess I’m not a “reasonable person.”

You also say: “If we are in agreement that the official narrative is faulty, then it stands to reason that there is another explanation for the 9/11 attacks. Do you have any interest in finding out what it is? Or do you, like JoAnn, want to remain content with the faulty official narrative?”

Again, it all depends on how you’re defining “official narrative.” Are you suggesting that we weren’t attacked by radicalized Muslim hijackers? Because that changes everything.

You also say: “For many decades here in Chicago, the police m.o. was to pick up the first guy they found who loosely fit the description of a perpetrator. Then they would announce to the public that they got their man and that everything was fine now.”

So, the men that hijacked the planes on 9/11 are those guys? They were the first guys who “loosely fit the description”? The same guys who had detailed plans for flying the planes into the towers?

You then say: “That's what's happening with 9/11. We put Iraq and Afghanistan on Death Row and now, the DNA evidence has exonerated them.”

I really don’t know where you’re going with this analogy… perhaps you’re conflating two different arguments. I don’t think anyone arguing with you thinks that Iraq or Afghanistan was responsible for 9/11. We (assuming I speak for everyone else) do, however, think Al-Qaeda and the hijackers are responsible. Are you saying that Afganistan/Iraq and Al-Qaeda/the hijackers are the same thing? Because I’m not, and I doubt Norm, JoAnn and LeftBanker are.

It seems like what upsets you the most is that we’re not demanding to know what the official narrative is. As I said, if I saw anything that suggested the Bush administration was personally responsible for 9/11, then yes, I would be very upset. But the strongest case you have is the “degree of negligence on the part of the Bush administration.” And if that’s what the issue is… well, to be honest, I’m not all that interested in the Bush administration’s security failings at this point. Was it awful? Yes. Does it need to be addressed? Personally, I think there are bigger issues we need to worry about at this point. I will, however, grant you the support to investigate that issue because… well, why not?

BUT: if your position is that you think there is good reason to suspect that the Bush Administration is personally responsible for 9/11… well, I really don’t know what to say except “good luck with that.” That’s not me being like a “global warming denier.” That’s me saying “I’ve tried REALLY hard to see your position, but I can’t see how you’re able to infer what you do from the evidence that you cite.”

I’ve looked at what you’ve posted, and, again, if by poked holes in official narrative you mean “the Bush Administration is personally responsible for 9/11” rather than “the Bush administration is hiding their own incompetence,” then we truly have reached an impasse.

I concur, that sums up my position quite well.

The official narrative is the 9/11 Commission Report.

Or, more accurately, the poor understanding of the Report that most Americans have, which amounts to "Bin Laden & Saddam done it because they hate our freedoms."

I think I've poked enough holes in the official narrative

These holes have to do with proving a negative, such as "Just prove that God doesn't exist"... or falsifying a negative, as Norm stated.

I don't have the patience to to go on and on and on with such bullshit.

Again, I don't even know what that means.

Something happened. Someone offered an explanation for what happened. Many people have pointed out that that explanation is faulty. That's all. You are now defending an obviously faulty explanation. Why? I mean, I understand why, say, George Bush would defend it, buy why are you? Why are members of the skeptic community so adamantly in favor of such an obviously flawed narrative? Why can't you answer that question? You guys are like global warming deniers. You can see the polar ice caps melting, but you refuse to accept it.

Really, now that I think about it, this discussion is just like ones I've had with global warming deniers. Here's why: (And I've seen Sean Hannity do this.) You rub their faces in the evidence, like shrinking glaciers or whatever, until they can no longer deny it. Then they admit global warming is real, but they don't accept that it's man-made. Well, that's progress, at least, I tell myself. At least now they accept the fact that global warming is real. In our next discussion, I will show them how it's man-made. But when the next discussion happens, they are back to denying it even exists, so I have to cover that ground all over again. As I said earlier, one step forward, five steps back.

QUESTION: Can we at least agree that the official 9/11 narrative is faulty?

QUESTION: If so, can we agree that the real explanation is something else?

That's all. That's my only goal here. Ditch the bullshit explanation. Wipe the blackboard clean. We can decide what to write on the blackboard later, but for now, let's just wipe it off. Mmmkay?

Fuck. I feel like Ignaz Semmelweis here.

BigDaddy: “Again, I don’t even know what that means.”

It means that the argument has no marker for determining if it’s wrong, which makes it flawed because any testable claim must have a condition that would demonstrate that it’s false. Not that it must be shown to be false, but that it needs to have the CONDITION for being able to be proven false. So, what Norm means when he says the statement is unfalsifiable and JoAnn says these holes have to do with “proving a negative,” what they’re referring to is the “nature” of the evidence being put forward. What they’re referring to is testability.

A testable claim would be “thermite was used to blow up the twin towers.” This is a testable because we can go out and examine the pieces of the buildings for thermite. In order to bring down the buildings, there should be a lot of it around. Thus, if we don’t find a lot of thermite, then the theory has been falsified.

An unfalsifiable claim would be “the government planted a special kind of thermite that can’t be detected.” That claim would be unfalsifiable in two ways: how are you going to get the gov’t to admit something like that, and how are you going to spot something that can’t be detected?

Conspiracy theories are largely based on unfalsifiable claims because, no matter the quality and quantity of contradictory evidence one puts forward, but conspiracy theorist can claim “well, who do you think put that out there? The gov’t is hiding the truth/destroyed the evidence/faked the evidence or the people who are presenting the counter evidence are just part of the conspiracy/controlled by the gov’t, etc.

By the way: I’m not saying that you’re a conspiracy theorist – I’m just using it as an example to show you what an unfalsifiable claim looks like.

I don't have first-hand access to the evidence, so I am not proposing things like you suggest. What I do know is that the 9/11 Commissioners have strenuously asserted that their investigation was obstructed and that the 9/11 Commission Report, which I've been referring to as the official narrative, is full of inconsistencies and omissions. I also know that Richard Clarke, whose opinion I trust, thinks his pre-attack investigation was hindered by George Tenet.

Then there's the latest information about the Sarasota, Fla. Al Qaeda safe house, the existence of which the FBI concealed from the 9/11 Commission.

On top of that, as I've already stated, it seems weird to me that fire alone should cause three buildings to collapse in a manner that closely resembles a controlled demolition. Moreover, Chris Mohr's citation of the Delft University collapse as proof that fire can cause such a collapse doesn't withstand scrutiny.

The reason I've been using the term "official narrative" is because I don't believe very many people have actually read the 9/11 Commission Report. Rather, they have picked up bits and pieces of it and have thereby embraced the "they hate us for our freedoms" hokum that I think makes up most Americans' understanding of 9/11. This version of the events is such obvious bullshit that it bothers me immensely that someone at a magazine called SKEPTIC would defend it...and not just one guy, but pretty much the entire skeptical community, for lack of a better term. A whole community of hitherto critical thinkers is supporting what essentially amounts to the Tooth Fairy.

After reading through every single piece of text on the tread I feel compelled to speak.

The biggest flaw of human nature is the Us vs. Them flaw.

By definition anyone in the Us department has to be "good" otherwise we would not want them as a part of the Us "team".

While not everyone on the Them "team" needs to be "bad", the only place we have to put the "bad guys" is in the Them "team" as we would not want to be associated with "bad"

The problem is that to admit that "Bush and Co." were directly responsible: i.e. directly planned the attack. Implies that they turn into Them, the bad guys, and living with that knowledge is almost impossible.

I am not saying that "Bush and Co." are responsible, only that it seems too painful for you (here we have Norm, Jo Ann, and others) to actually contemplate that as a possibility.

I will post one question:

What sort of evidence, (short of a piece of paper with the written directive: bring down the Towers, signed Bush) would move you towards thinking that Bush and company planned the whole thing?

user-pic

Verde asked: "What sort of evidence, (short of a piece of paper with the written directive: bring down the Towers, signed Bush) would move you towards thinking that Bush and company planned the whole thing?"

Simple: a significant amount of thermite present to substantiate the claim that thermite (or some other explosive material used for controlled demolitions) was used to bring down the WTC buildings, in addition to any of the thousands of people it would require to pull off such a conspiracy to come forward and reveal how they participated in it and/or were witness to those who helped bring it about.

And by the way: I don't the Bush administration is not responsible because it's "too painful to contemplate." I'm skeptical because it doesn't sound feasible (way too many loose ends, and way too many consequences) and we already have a plausible (despite what BigD is suggesting) explanation.

I see how rigging up the Towers for explosions seems really far fetched, especially if you think about rigging them to the brim with explosives. But then again, if a fire can bring down enough of the building, and then the whole thing collapses on its own, by the same rationale you would not need a large demolition set up to accomplish the same feat. Only a couple of floors, maybe five, I do not know. And thus you do not need a very large crew. Nor large amounts of thermite. (How much thermite would be a significant ammount?)

Let's imagine a scenario. Bush knows the planes will attack, and mildly reinforces the set-up, send a few guys to rig a couple of floors, call it mild insurance. The Towers come tumbling down. Boom. Couple of wars, money into the military, oil, etc. Bush becomes a war hero president and so on.

One does not need a large crew to mount a conspiracy. Only a few of the guys really know what is going on, human nature will do the rest.

I never thought I'd say this, but this horse has been dead for a long, long time guys. Can't you see the maggots crawling all over it? Let it go!

Yesterday, you said it was a great discussion because Norm was threatening to shut it down.

Yeah, I thought it was over.

you started it, dude. man up and face the monster you have created, dr. fronkensteen! :)

Perhaps if I had ignored the trolling, others would have refrained as well. On all the critical points we've either reached an impasse or are talking past one another, so I predict the discussion will now dry up. In my opinion the mistake the truthers make is hanging on to parts of the narrative that are not supported by any credible evidence, the demolition for example, and without the drama of that bit the rest doesn't rise to a level that creates the intensity needed to move on. Hell we can't even get Obama's justice department to prosecute those who engaged in torture in spite of definitive evidence that it occurred. To investigate and prosecute those who on 9-11 were most likely grossly negligent, who covered their asses and those of their friends. The good old boy network is now a global enterprise, as it was once just local, and there doesn't look to me that it will change any time soon.

Norm says: "Here I'll try it your way. So either explosives alone did cause three buildings to collapse completely to the ground for the first, second and third time in history, which would be extraordinary nearly to the point of impossibility with no credible evidence of explosive material."

Or? Usually when you begin a hypothesis with "either," there is an "or" following. What's the "or"? My hypothesis was that either fire done it or something else done it.

Anyway, it would not have been the first, second and third times that explosives alone caused buildings to collapse. It happens all the time. You must have watched at least one such instance on television or something. Here's one on YouTube.

Here's another one

So it isn't extraordinary nearly to the point of impossibility; it's commonplace. You can spend an hour on YouTube watching controlled demolitions. I mean, not including 9/11 videos.

The two videos I just linked to in this comment look pretty similar to the WTC collapses. The videos Chris Mohr and Debunking9/11.com cited do not look like the WTC collapses, which you have even acknowledged.

So I stand by my statement that either fire alone did cause three buildings to collapse completely to the ground for the first, second and third time in history, which would be extraordinary nearly to the point of impossibility, or demolition charges were somehow installed in all three buildings prior to the attacks with no one noticing.

That's all I'm saying.

Or maybe there's a third possibility that I'm overlooking.

I can accept the hypothesis that the planes caused structural damage that contributed to the buildings' collapses and that the lack of flame retardant also contributed, but I have a hard time swallowing the notion that such a collapse would bear such striking resemblance to a controlled demolition. It seems to me that the steel would buckle at the point of impact and topple over sideways, like the Delft building.

Furthermore, if the cause of the WTC collapses were the only point of contention, I would concede the point. But since there are many other fishy elements to the 9/11 Commission Report, such as destroyed evidence, perjured testimony and obstruction of justice, I find it necessary to be unforgiving towards every inconsistency. That is what it means to be skeptical.

For my work, I listen to and read deposition testimony every day. No deposing attorney worth his salt would ignore the difference between fire damage and explosives damage. The 9/11 Commission Report simply would not withstand the type of examination that takes place in depositions every day. The opposing attorney would tear that testimony to shreds. Kean, Hamilton, Graham, et al. know this, of course, which is why they have distanced themselves from the report. And it's why Graham is now calling for a new investigation. And it's why you should, too.

And so should Chris Mohr.

re: Unicorns: "we really don't know anything about unicorns because no one we trust has ever claimed to see one, BUT there is a vast literature...etc, etc.?"

One of my cows grew a third horn, right in the middle of her forehead. The Vet said it was unusual but not unheard of, but advised removing it. Since he said 'remove' not "exorcise", we did so.

Maybe anomalous third horns are the source of unicorn legend. Wait, do horses have horns? Do Unicorns have teats? I might be confused here....

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