Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘WTC 7

9/11 Conspiracy Theory Redux

with 7 comments

OK, Wikipedia is down, so I can’t write the post I was planning on writing. Well, maybe I could, it’s not like the whole Internet is down yet. The SOPA thing is getting a lot of attention, so maybe it won’t come to pass after all. However, whatever excuse I may use, I decided the comments on my last 9/11 conspiracy post were … fascinating. I was going to write a comment in response, but realized I could squeeze a post out of it. And, well, people took the time to write a lot of long comments, the least I can do is respond.

Thank you for the comments. That being said, I don’t recall saying anything about my beliefs about what happened on 9/11, I was writing about my take on 9/11 demolition theories. And what people did write about my putative beliefs was wrong. However, that’s not the point. I also didn’t appreciate the few remarks casting doubt on my judgment etc, but, I won’t deny that on some levels I have poked fun at 9/11 Truthers, so, fair enough. And I’m sorry the comment thread devolved into endless listing of the various items 9/11 Truthers use to make their case. Seriously, did anyone think they were posting anything I hadn’t seen a before? I mean really.

So I stand by my original statement, all of the evidence submitted by 9/11 Truthers is interpretive, it’s only evidence because the Truthers say it is. None of it is hard evidence, none of it would stand up in court. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying if Truthers want their theory to be widely accepted, they need evidence that 90% of people are going to look at and say “Oh My God.” Evidence that actually is on point: Who’s idea was this conspiracy? Who were their co-conspirators? Who set the charges?

However, moving past all that, because there’s no profit to be had there, great, the Truthers think the evidence they have is convincing. I have no interesting in debating it, and I’m sorry if I gave that impression.  My point, that essentially every commenter seems to have missed: Convince me the 9/11 Truther Theory is a logical theory, defend it logically. Answer my questions:

1. Why 9/11, when a vastly simpler and far less risky false flag attack would have the same result?

2. Why WTC 7, a building no one had ever heard of.

3. How, exactly, did they recruit people into this conspiracy?

This is just a  logical exercise, right? My questions aren’t rhetorical questions, I don’t have preset answers. I do admit, my lifelong study of how and why humans commit terrible violence played a part in why I ask these questions. Mostly though, just as I said, logic. If 9/11 Truthers are proposing that the Bush Administration committed what would be one of the most heinous crimes in history, they should be able to defend their theory. All of it.

“On your way, Bud,” said Colonel Harper, “and good luck to you”

(The above image is of the US aircraft carrier Bunker Hill after being hit by two kamikaze aircraft off Okinawa in 1945. It’s a National Archive photo, so pretty much public domain under US copyright law. 400 people are dead or dying in this image. 402 counting the kamikaze pilots I suppose. Hell of a thing, suicide attacks.)

Written by unitedcats

January 19, 2012 at 6:42 am

9/11 Truthers

with 63 comments

Well, recently I have had negative encounters with both 9/11 conspiracy believers, and 9/11 conspiracy skeptics. It’s kinda what I do I guess. By negative encounters, I mean encounters that frustrated and annoyed me, I’m not casting aspersions. Not yet at least. On the plus side, it cleared up my thinking on a number of issues, and inspired speculation along several lines. Even better, it engendered a lot of passionate discourse, so it’s a perfect blog topic.

OK, I will do this systematically. To start with, my current opinion on 9/11 conspiracy theories involving controlled demolition of the three  World Trade Center (WTC) buildings that collapsed on 9/11. Let us call them 9/11 Truthers, they are pretty much the mainstream 9/11 conspiracy movement now. To wit:

I am extremely skeptical for one general reason, and because of  a number of  “logical bottlenecks” that are difficult or impossible to explain. The general reason is that 9/11 conspiracy theories are based on zero evidence. By that I mean they are based entirely on interpretation of public records. More specifically there are as yet no computer files, memos, recordings, conspirators, etc. that have been found that directly speak of any sort of conspiracy to blow up these buildings. It’s a purely circumstantial case at this point, and hell, until there is real information, who are we going to indict?

Secondly, there are a number of questions raised by the controlled demolition hypothesis that are very hard to answer. Or the answers raise new questions, so they aren’t really answers at all. I won’t bother to list all of them, just some of what I think are the more salient ones:

1. Why? This is the question that would come up the first time the conspirators met. “Why, exactly, are we going to do this Mr Bush?” Bush looks blank. They were already in power, a few backpack bombs in subways would give them all the casus beli they needed for the War on Terror. Why such an elaborate complicated plot involving mass death and damage?

2. Why WTC 7? The plot already involves four hijacked airliners and blowing up two buildings, why complicate an already complicated plot by blowing up  a building that no one has ever heard of?

3. Lastly, and thanks to the keen human insight of my august father, how, exactly, would one recruit people into this plot? This isn’t like ordering cops and soldiers to attack rioters or demonstrators or other sub-groups that can be dehumanized. “Psst, want to get in on a plot two blow up some national landmarks and kill thousands of Americans?” I don’t think that would work very well.

So, moving right along, first my annoyance with the skeptics. I have always found skeptics somewhat annoying.  They often go beyond skepticism to outright disdain and ridicule. I’m sorry, but if you are claiming to be the voice of reason, then you should make your case with reason. I don’t see how it can be any other way, but I have been ridiculed and called names for even suggesting that.

In this specific recent case, it was very politic, I just got kind of bored with the group. I like to approach things from original principles. I’ve read all the evidence surrounding 9/11 conspiracies, I’m still a skeptic, but I enjoy attacking the problem logically. “If 9-11 Truthers are correct, does this lead us to any testable questions?” is a very interesting question to me. Alas, I’ve done a poor job of expressing it apparently.

On the plus side, I left the group without any snarkiness on my part, since none was warranted. I hope. The old Doug could never have done that. Heck, I really shouldn’t even have left the group, but that part of me is changing too. Still, as my friends know, under my charming exterior, I am more than part misanthrope. Since I see it’s now possible for me to find out how much Neanderthal DNA I have,  maybe I’ll get to the bottom of this.

Last but not least, the 9/11 Truthers. Well, they seems to have achieved almost a cult like status. I could be wrong, but it appears to me that many Truthers are absolutely convinced that their explanation of the events of 9/11 is the only possible explanation. And that anyone who disagrees is either deluded, or an agent of the government. They can’t seem to accept even the possibility that they might be wrong.

So debate is kind of pointless, and ends up being endless argument over interpretation of the data. The particular example that got my goat is the videos showing the collapse of WTC 7. In one video there is a piece of building facing apparently falling at free fall speed, as if there was nothing underneath it. Truthers insist that this means it must have been a controlled demolition. Um, yeah. I’m not an expert at building collapse. I do know that if a lay person tells me that this tiny fragment of debris in a videotape is proof positive of their theory, I say bullshit. If they claim an expert said it, I check with the other experts. And in this case I did, a few dizzying pages of math I didn’t understand and comments I could barely parse, and one thing was clear. The experts weren’t exactly sure what accounted for this piece of debris’ apparent motion for that second or so, but there are all sorts of possibilities. Which ends the probative value of this particular snippent of film in any rational sense.

This does highlight a feature that seems common to, well, cult like beliefs. They assiduously look for evidence that supports their theory. The problem with this what some would call a “logical” approach is that with sufficient enthusiasm it can be used to “prove” any theory. In the nineteen fifties Velikovsky “proved” that Mars and Venus were comets that sprung from Jupiter in historic times. Some people still believe him. Some people believe the Moon Landings were a hoax. Some people believe Nostradamus predicted the future. I’m sure others have said it before me, but they are all falling into the same logical trap. Confirmation bias is the bane of mankind. Science is looking at all the pieces and seeing how they best fit together to make a picture. Cultists, r whatever ne wants to call them, start with the picture … and find pieces that fit.

I will conclude with this though. Some of the above beliefs are lot crazier than others. Whatever people believe, they are all normal people. The 9/11 Truther I recently met is also a vegan activist. Vegan activists are trying to make the world a better place for people and animals, what’s not to admire? And I will gladly admit that I think it’s entirely possible, if extremely unlikely, that I will get a call at 5am from the East Coast tomorrow telling me to turn on my TV. And when I do, it will turn out that a 9/11 co-conspirator came forward, and had provided to wikileaks hundreds of audio and video recordings that incontrovertibly showed that the 9/11 attacks and the entire War on Terror had been plotted by a small cabal in the White House and the CIA. And that the other conspirators had already fled or had been captured and were frantically confessing, naming names, and begging for mercy and protection … because millions of Americans were gathering on the Washington Mall demanding their heads.

Wouldn’t that be something?

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit, it’s from Wired Magazine. It’s a cave man,  a Neanderthal man to be exact. I used it to illustrate my Neanderthal nature. So I don’t need to explain myself, since that explains it. Right?)

Written by unitedcats

January 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm