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9/11 documentary sheds light on birtherism

imageI just finished watching a very interesting documentary on the National Geographic Channel, 9/11: Science and Conspiracy. I don’t know how good it was scientifically debunking the 9/11 truther movement (I’m not a physicist or a structural engineer), but it was fascinating to watch truthers deal with evidence that contradicted their theories and to note the strong correlation between truther and birther. I knew the general outline of the truther views of 9/11, but it was a very different thing to listen to them talk about it and watch them interact with each other and with critics.

The first obvious similarity was the use of hyperbolic language, phrases like “overwhelming evidence” [of controlled demolition]. Truthers were given a great deal of air time in the two-hour documentary but came up with very little in the way of real evidence. It reminded me of the certainty with which birthers embrace the crank two-citizen presidential eligibility requirement.

The next obvious similarity was the overall nature of the evidence in support of their conspiracy theory. In fact, there isn’t much in the way of evidence, but rather there are questions and demands for explanations. Indeed, one truther documentary maker essentially said that the central fact supporting the truther movement is that the government doesn’t open the archives of every agency for truther investigators.

Truthers, like birthers, do not put forward comprehensive narratives of their alternate theories. They don’t explain how the controlled demolition explosives could have been put into the World Trade Center, no more than why Hawaiian officials say they have Obama’s birth certificate on file. They claim that producing these things are not their purview, but rather what a thorough investigation would reveal.

Like long-form birth certificate detractors, truthers demand that every nit be explained or they won’t concede anything. There is a massive burden shifting going on where the truther and birther basically just keep saying “not satisfied, no evidence” no matter what evidence is presented. Nothing looked so familiar to me from the birther business as when the 9/11 truthers gave knee-jerk rejection of evidence.

Finally, both believe that there is a massive cover-up inside the government and that the government is too corrupt to investigate itself.

It seemed to me that whether one calls birtherism a conspiracy theory or something else, the underlying mechanisms between conspiracy theorist and birther belief systems are very similar.

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73 Responses to 9/11 documentary sheds light on birtherism

  1. avatar
    richCares September 2, 2011 at 11:33 pm #

    talk about you being a carpenter, you hit the nail on the head!

  2. avatar
    misha September 3, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    There’s someone in my photography workshop who told me 9/11 was an inside job. I asked him if he knew what was involved in wiring a building with explosives for demolition. “Yeah, I know.”

    So how did these people drill into the beams, and run the wires? “They did it at night, when the building was empty.”

  3. avatar
    Keith September 3, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    One of the neatest tricks I’ve seen the Truther’s do is show an extreme zoom closeup of a photo showing a hole in the wall at the Pentagon. This particular photo has a hazy white cloud across the bottom which when zoomed in like that looks like it might be smoke. They say “look here is the entrance hole – its clearly only about 12 feet wide – how could a 747 go through that?

    But when you look at the entire photo, you notice that the white ‘smoke’ cloud is in fact fire fighting foam or water coming out of an appliance and the hole is the second floor. The fire fighting foam or water is completely hiding any view of the ground floor.

    But here’s the trick: when you show them the photo that was taken about 10 seconds later with the same camera from the same location after the appliance has been turned off showing the entire 95 plus foot hole in the ground floor, they just do the ‘lalalalalalalala’ dance and refuse to acknowledge the photo is showing them what it is showing them. It is fake, or not enough damage, or why didn’t the wing tips punch a hole in the wall, or where is the plane parts inside the building, or ‘lalalalalalalalala’.

    You are 100% correct. It is exactly the same mind games going on in both Birthers and Truthers.

  4. avatar
    Keith September 3, 2011 at 2:49 am #

    Sorry, it was a 757 not a 747.

  5. avatar
    obsolete September 3, 2011 at 4:16 am #

    I just watched this too, and noticed the similarities. (I also just finished Jonathan Kay’s book “Among The Truthers”.

    One question for truthers-
    Every proponent of the “controlled demolition” theory believes that the explosives had to be placed in the Twin Towers before the planes hit them.
    As any video shows, both Twin Towers started collapsing at the floor levels where the aircraft hit them.
    This means that the explosives must have been on those floors, at the exact point the aircrafts hit. This means the terrorist pilots would have had to fly the planes into the exact spots they did- no higher or lower.
    How likely is that?

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 3, 2011 at 6:44 am #

    That objection jumped out for me as well. Indeed, truthers don’t seem to be able to explain much of anything. It was telling when a couple of them at different times said that the only thing they were sure of is that the official story isn’t true.

    obsolete: This means that the explosives must have been on those floors, at the exact point the aircraft hit. This means the terrorist pilots would have had to fly the planes into the exact spots they did- no higher or lower.
    How likely is that?

  7. avatar
    Scientist September 3, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    We have here a case of history repeating itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

    There are certainly many parallels between the truthers and the birthers. However, there is a major difference. Were the truthers correct (they aren’t of course) it really would be of monumental importance. A government actually staging a terrorist attack on its own capital and financial center resulting in thousands of deaths and a decade of war would be a historical event of enormous significance to the entire world.

    On the other hand, if the birthers were correct (they aren’t, of course) you would have an office holder who potentially violated a legal technicality of eligibility. It would barely rate a footnote in US history and not even that in world history.,

  8. avatar
    Horus September 3, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    “There is a massive burden shifting going on where the truther and birther basically just keep saying “not satisfied, no evidence” no matter what evidence is presented. Nothing looked so familiar to me from the birther business as when the 9/11 truthers gave knee-jerk rejection of evidence.”

    They just stick their fingers in their ears and go lalalalala, I can’t hear you.

  9. avatar
    Horus September 3, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Scientist: Were the truthers correct (they aren’t of course) it really would be of monumental importance. A government actually staging a terrorist attack on its own capital and financial center resulting in thousands of deaths and a decade of war would be a historical event of enormous significance to the entire world.

    Check out the movie Canadian Bacon.

  10. avatar
    Northland10 September 3, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    obsolete: This means that the explosives must have been on those floors, at the exact point the aircrafts hit. This means the terrorist pilots would have had to fly the planes into the exact spots they did- no higher or lower.
    How likely is that?

    Wouldn’t it be simpler just to claim the terrorists were actually supported/provided by the government? The truthers, and now the birthers, never seem able to keep the conspiracy simple and focused. It needs to grow and expand into far more complex theories, that, ironically, would be easier to disprove then the simplest theory. In actuality, their constant compulsion to inflate the conspiratorial commentary only results in conflicting claims.

  11. avatar
    Rickey September 3, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    The National Geographic Channel will be airing the documentary again on Friday, September 9 at 4:00 p.m eastern time.

  12. avatar
    gorefan September 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    obsolete: As any video shows, both Twin Towers started collapsing at the floor levels where the aircraft hit them.

    I once posted to a Portland Examiner birther story and one of the birthers who responded was also a 9/11 truther. That is some serious delusions

  13. avatar
    Rickey September 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    Keith:
    One of the neatest tricks I’ve seen the Truther’s do is show an extreme zoom closeup of a photo showing a hole in the wall at the Pentagon.

    I have a friend who is convinced that the Air Force shot down the 757 and the government then staged the explosion at the Pentagon to cover up the shoot down. Of course, he can’t explain how the military could have rigged enough explosives to cause massive damage to the Pentagon in such a short period of time, or how it could have been done without Pentagon personnel noticing that something strange was going on. And if the 757 was shot down, where did it crash?

    As a general rule, conspiracy theories require the involvement of too many people to be plausible. Who placed the explosives in the World Trade Center? The Twin Towers had tight security. Were the security people bribed to look the other way while the explosives were put into place? And then we have to believe that the U.S. government somehow persuaded a group of mostly Saudis to hijack four planes for a suicide mission.

  14. avatar
    Sef September 3, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Rickey:
    The National Geographic Channel will be airing the documentary again on Friday, September 9 at 4:00 p.m eastern time.

    For those who are unaware National Geographic Channel is 75% owned by News Corp. Another organization with an illustrious history co-opted by the right.

  15. avatar
    Majority Will September 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    Sef: For those who are unaware National Geographic Channel is 75% owned by News Corp. Another organization with an illustrious history co-opted by the right.

    And Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud, a Saudi Prince known as the “Arab Warren Buffet”, owns seven percent of News Corp.

    That’s the second-largest stake after Rupert Murdoch, who owns 12 percent.

    The Prince has an estimated net worth of $12 billion versus Murdoch’s $7 billion.

    More fodder for the conspiracy nuts.

    And it’s a fact that is particularly galling and revealing of hypocrisy considering the blatant Islamophobia and consistent and regular Muslim bashing by Fox News.

  16. avatar
    nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan September 3, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    President Obama would never protect Neocon criminals

    evidence will be leaked during the 9 11 anniversary
    anthrax, shanksville, pentagon, bldg 7, twin towers

  17. avatar
    Majority Will September 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm #

    nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan:
    President Obama would never protect Neocon criminals

    evidence will be leaked during the 9 11 anniversary
    anthrax, shanksville, pentagon, bldg 7, twin towers

    You forgot to make sense before you clicked Submit Comment.

    You’re welcome.

  18. avatar
    Critical Thinker September 3, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Any. day. now.

    nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan:
    President Obama would never protect Neocon criminals

    evidence will be leaked during the 9 11 anniversary
    anthrax, shanksville, pentagon, bldg 7, twin towers

  19. avatar
    misha September 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    nader paul kucinich gravel mckinney baldwin ventura sheehan: President Obama would never protect Neocon criminals

    As an officer in the International Jewish Conspiracyโ„ข, I can assure you we have bigger plans. An Israeli is now Chicago mayor. Watch your back.

  20. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 3, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    And you can stream the video from the link in the article.

    Rickey: The National Geographic Channel will be airing the documentary again on Friday, September 9 at 4:00 p.m eastern time.

  21. avatar
    Obsolete September 3, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    The only conspiracy part of 9/11 that I had doubts about was whether or not flight 93 was shot down or not. (If it was shot down, I considered that a horrible yet acceptable response to save further lives).
    When I found out that the debris found (not at the impact site) was in a straight line continuing the flight path, I became convinced it wasn’t shot down.
    Any additional debris proving a shoot-down would have fallen somewhere BEFORE the impact site.

    I have in the past considered throwing truther stuff at birthers on birther forums to frustrate and confuse them, and possibly give them insight to their own craziness. (why are you worried about a mere smiley face hidden in a signature when the past President murdered 3,000 Americans?) etc.

  22. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 3, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    As someone who’s far more familiar with the physics of the WTC collapse (including building 7) than I am with Constitutional law, I completely agree with you on the parallels between truthers and birthers (I also agree with Scientist’s point about the relative significance).

    Just like the birthers you have all the different variants – the government let it happen on purpose or made it happen on purpose (either of these is a pretty monstrous accusation to make without evidence – in other words, standard birther fare), the collapse of WTC1, WTC2, and WTC7 was controlled demolition (it wasn’t – that’s just what happens when you release 5% of the energy in the Hiroshima blast within the footprint of a building [more or less]), holographic planes or mystery planes with strange pods (with poor quality video – which does the same kind of tricks that poor quality BC images do), the pilots or the planes couldn’t have managed the flight profiles (according to my pilot brother-in-law and appropriate use of the correct formulas and the recorded flight data there wasn’t any problem), energy weapons (a personal favorite – in my opinion it’s too stupid to debunk because anyone who believes it is beyond hope), nukes (and the president is a lizard person…), and many, many more (and those are just about the WTC attack…).

    I think that the state of the anti-truther community is probably a glimpse into the future of the anti-birther community once President Obama leaves office. If anyone wants to see what that might look like check out:

    The biggest debunking forum (that I know of, anyway) is probably JREF (the equivalent of the Fogbow):

    http://forums.randi.org/forumdisplay.php?f=64

    Here’s a some studies and scientific articles on 9/11:

    http://sites.google.com/site/911science/

    a good debunking site:

    http://www.debunking911.com/

    and here’s a truther site:

    http://911research.wtc7.net/index.html

    Doc,

    Thanks for the link to the documentary – I look forward to watching it.

  23. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 3, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

    Several of the regulars at drk(H)ate’s (including the bad doctor herself), have flirted with or embraced the truthers – once you’ve swallowed one ridiculous impossibility the second one is probably much easier. The truthers’ view of the duplicity of the Bush administration is not all that much different than the birthers’ view of the Obama administration – throwing out 9/11 truth might not have the result you want…

    Obsolete:
    The only conspiracy part of 9/11 that I had doubts about was whether or not flight 93 was shot down or not. (If it was shot down, I considered that a horrible yet acceptable response to save further lives).
    When I found out that the debris found (not at the impact site) was in a straight line continuing the flight path, I became convinced it wasn’t shot down.
    Any additional debris proving a shoot-down would have fallen somewhere BEFORE the impact site.

    I have in the past considered throwing truther stuff at birthers on birther forums to frustrate and confuse them, and possibly give them insight to their own craziness. (why are you worried about a mere smiley face hidden in a signature when the past President murdered 3,000 Americans?) etc.

  24. avatar
    Dave September 3, 2011 at 10:15 pm #

    Are there any truther websites, analogous to the birther websites we all know and love?

  25. avatar
    Obsolete September 3, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    A person I was “forum” friends with on 9/11 was in their car on the highway and saw the plane fly overhead and into the Pentagon. I read her account on our forum treat night.
    Even the young truther (who does the Loose Change movie) said that to a man every witness within a mile of the Oentagon said they saw a plane. There are perhaps dozens of witnesses on video in the hours after claiming they saw a plane. Not a single witness claims to have seen a missile.
    Like the birthers, the “Loose Change” thruther simply dismisses all these eyewitnesses, and make no effort to explain away their testimony or offer an alternate theory of why they may all be wrong.
    But yet they will cling to a single witness who claims to have heard/seen something they want to believe, and act as if a single witness proves their claim.
    In other words, a single (even nameless) witness is enough to prove a claim they want to be true, yet hundreds of witnesses aren’t enough to prove a claim they wish to disbelieve.

  26. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 3, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    The Architects and Engineers for 9/11 truth:

    http://www.ae911truth.org/

    Pilots for 9/11 truth:

    http://pilotsfor911truth.org/

    The nearest truther equivalent to Orly is Dr. Stephen Jones – a physicist that was a cold fusion researcher back in the day, has flirted with chemtrails, was more or less disavowed by his former university, thinks that having an editor who he appointed* review his papers papers poses no conflict whatsoever, has more chain of custody issues than the POSFKBC, and he displays a startling incompetence for someone who was once a respectable (if fringe) physicist. His papers read to good scientists like I imagine birther lawsuits read to lawyers. The Two-Face to his Joker is Dr. Neils Harrit, a Dane who is to scientists what Mario is to lawyers. They’ve written several papers on a residue of dust from 9/11 that was allegedly collected in an apartment of an artist who worked in metal (i.e. welding) sometime after 9/11 (and after cleanup operations had begun) and mailed to Dr. Jones which they believe to be thermite (active thermitic material is one of their buzzwords…). There is a wide array of very good reasons to consider their research bunk, but, to point out a favorite, if the residue in question were thermite then there was tons and tons of thermite packed into the WTC which didn’t behave in any way like we would expect thermite to behave (to do a job which was inevitable after the plane impacts).

    * To the Journal of 9/11 Studies – or JONES for short – the journal he founded to rubber stamp his (and others) deeply flawed research so he could call it peer-reviewed:

    http://www.journalof911studies.com/

    Some notes:

    They published a paper by Gregory H. Urich (a wonderful resource called Analysis of the Mass and Potential Energy of World Trade Center Tower 1), but refused to publish letters or a later article in which he showed that the damage from the aircraft impacts were sufficient (given the structure of the buildings and location of the impacts) to make the collapses inevitable. They probably learned that in “Echo Chamber 101” with Jerome Corsi.

    The interaction with Dr. Frank Greening (a chemist who wrote several papers on the mechanics and chemistry of the collapse) is also interesting.

    Don’t miss “The Overwhelming Implausibility of Using Directed Energy Beams to Demolish the World Trade Center” (Vol 8 – February 2007) – it’s a truther equivalent of the birther civil war.

    On the debunking side, I think as highly of the work of Frank Greening, Ryan Mackey, Dave Thomas, and Bazant on the physics of 9/11 as I do the legal analysis of the many fine lawyers here and over at the Fogbow. Greening and Bazant are authors of technical papers on 9/11, Dave Thomas is a professor of physics (at a university in New Mexico) and Ryan Mackey is a scientist at JPL – the last two are active on JREF (at least they were a couple of years ago) and Dr. Greening was until he had a falling out with some of the regulars there (he was posting on another site which allowed people from both sides to post as long as they were willing to substantively engage last I knew…) – he’s a little wacky himself, but his papers stand just fine on their merits (in my opinion).

    That’s just a small cross-section of the truther world, but it should give you a place to start – enjoy!

    Dave:
    Are there any truther websites, analogous to the birther websites we all know and love?

  27. avatar
    Lupin September 4, 2011 at 4:05 am #

    I’m ashamed to admit that I have come across a lot of “truthers” in France (I mean, French ones) (side note: many also believe Kennedy was killed by — insert plot here) — but most of the ones I’ve met seem a lot “smarter” (if I may use that word in that context) than your homegrown truthers.

    The French truthers generally believe 9/11 unfolded pretty much as we saw it, but believe the US Government (or rather shadowy forces within it whose name rhymes with Heyney) manipulated and/or went in partnership with Bin Laden (versions vary) to bring about the attack in order to create opportunities to seize oil fields in Iraq.

    It is all poppycock, of course (and I say this as one who loathes Mr Cheyney and think he should be tried in The Hague for war crimes) but a lot of harder to disprove considering the CIA track record in past decades. People just refuse to give America credit for being that incompetent.

  28. avatar
    brygenon September 4, 2011 at 5:13 am #

    More parallels include the thinking that when I don’t get answers to all my questions, it’s a conspiracy. Or, when things happen differently from how I would have expected, it’s a conspiracy. The real world is obviously nothing like that. If a building falls when I would have expected it to stand, or a man’s birth certificate doesn’t look like the one Mom gave me many years ago, that just means my model was wrong or at least much too simple.

    In both conspiracy theories we see the exhalation or disregard of people’s actual qualifications, whichever is required to cling to the theory. Both have first-try experts: people who took up their study of a topic in order to examine — and, let’s face it, to support — the conspiracy theory. The crank community regards them as experts on what they’d never done before. Like Ron Polarik, truthers claim to be motivated by their forensic analysis. Nonsense. It’s the other direction entirely.

    Both communities have to disregard legitimate experts, experts who were experts *before* the events in question. They are nevertheless desperate for conventionally respectable credentials. Yes, Stephen Jones was a professor of physics. He studied nuclear fusion (and was not, contrary to the implications of a post above, taken by “cold fusion”). But Dr. Jones is not arguing that any fusion phenomenon was relevant. The members of the panel NIST assembled from both inside and outside of government have the relevant expertise, and Jones does not. Leo Donofrio and Mario Apuzzo are lawyers, but they are not constitutional scholars, and we never even heard them advocate their two-citizen-parent theory until they wanted to argue that Barack Obama isn’t allowed to be president (if I’m wrong on that, please cite).

    Another common feature: utter real-word irrelevance. Truthers and birthers can both sight disturbingly high percentages of sympathetic respondents in polls, but no one with actual influence takes them seriously. The birther issue will be as important in the 2012 election as the inside-job issue was in 2004 and 2008.

  29. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2011 at 5:17 am #

    obsolete: This means the terrorist pilots would have had to fly the planes into the exact spots they did- no higher or lower.
    How likely is that?

    The Truthers’ answer to that is usually along the lines that there were no planes, or the images are holograms. (yes that is right… holograms ๐Ÿ˜Ž ).

    Alternatively, I think most Truthers concentrate on WTC 7 these days, claiming that building was ‘obviously’ brought down by a CD since the skin ‘demonstrably’ reached free fall velocity, and only a CD would allow that. This was demonstrated by a high school maths teacher who is right and all the engineers, architects, and physicists who do this kind of analysis for a living are wrong.

  30. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    Majority Will: And Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal Alsaud, a Saudi Prince known as the “Arab Warren Buffet”, owns seven percent of News Corp.

    And it’s a fact that is particularly galling and revealing of hypocrisy considering the blatant Islamophobia and consistent and regular Muslim bashing by Fox News.

    Especially after all the foo-for-all about the so-called ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Rec Center. The Prince was the major sponsor of that Rec Center and his Fox News was the leading mouth foamer.

  31. avatar
    Keith September 4, 2011 at 5:30 am #

    Obsolete:

    Like the birthers, the “Loose Change” thruther simply dismisses all these eyewitnesses, and make no effort to explain away their testimony or offer an alternate theory of why they may all be wrong.

    It is my understanding that the “Loose Change” ‘film’ makers are not really Truthers.

    They did the original film as a film school project on propaganda, and gradually got sucked into realization that maybe there was money to me made off it. They went through about 6 versions before I stopped paying attention and sold it to desperate for content cable TV stations around the world.

  32. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 4, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    I get the impression that truthers are a lot more serious than birthers. For example, you can’t get more than a handful of birthers to show up for a meeting. It’s almost like birthers are truther wannabees.

  33. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 11:15 am #

    In my experience, truthers say that there were explosives on EVERY floor (although this is completely inconsistent with the physical evidence and would require an almost miraculous control of the detonations) or just wrap themselves in their ignorance and ignore the question.

    obsolete:

    Every proponent of the “controlled demolition” theory believes that the explosives had to be placed in the Twin Towers before the planes hit them.
    As any video shows, both Twin Towers started collapsing at the floor levels where the aircraft hit them.
    This means that the explosives must have been on those floors, at the exact point the aircrafts hit. This means the terrorist pilots would have had to fly the planes into the exact spots they did- no higher or lower.
    How likely is that?

  34. avatar
    Northland10 September 4, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I get the impression that truthers are a lot more serious than birthers. For example, you can’t get more than a handful of birthers to show up for a meeting. It’s almost like birthers are truther wannabees.

    Despite Orly’s pronouncement that she is fighting the greatest issue ever to beset our nation, the birthers event, the election of Obama, pales in comparison to the shear size of 9-11. As 9-11 was a day of shocking and fearful destruction to the entire nation, not only of lives and property but our collective sense of security, it would be logical that the amount of conspiracy theories and believers would be substantially higher than the birthers. In addition, the event itself started as a conspiracy, among terrorists, so the ability to transfer it to a larger conspiracy is much easier (not to mention the amount of scientific, and to many confusing, details involved).

    In many ways, conspiracy theories grow to respond to our need to have the size of the event match the size our our fear. For the birthers and truthers, their fear of what has happened is so great that the simple explanation of terrorist hijacking or Obama was elected by the will of the people is insufficient to assuage their terror. The “truth” for them, much be much greater to equal their fear.

  35. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    In both numbers and organization the truthers dwarf the birthers – I think that there are many reasons for this:

    A demonstrable (and monstrous) crime actually was committed on 9/11

    No one learned about how the progressive collapse of a skyscraper impacted by a jetliner would happen in school – unlike presidential eligibility (a lot of people were pre-inoculated against birtherism).

    Our society has suffered from severe PTSD since 9/11 – it was a hugely traumatic experience for just about everyone, not just a small group of bigots and right-wing nutjobs. Naturally this is going to result in more people in the tails of the bell-curve, so to speak.

    Conspiracy theories thrive on “god of the gaps” arguments – the truthers have much bigger and more technical gaps to hide in.

    The collapse of the Twin Towers was something that was so far outside of normal experience that most people (including over 1000 architects and engineers and a bunch of pilots, too) had no idea what it should have looked like and the nearest analogy within their experience was controlled demolition – they just failed to understand that both the WTC collapses and CD look roughly the same because that’s how gravity destroys tall buildings – the only difference is in how and where the supporting columns were weakened/severed.

    The point scientist made about the relative importance is a factor, too – 9/11 was kind of hard to avoid on the TV machine for a while – birtherism’s media peak (The Donald and his smackdown by the POTUS, in my opinion) was much smaller and at the end of the birthers’ relevance rather than the beginning.

    Understanding the science of the collapses and their aftermath requires more technical know-how than most people possess.

    There was an actual government investigation which was not completely forthcoming (par for the course with our government these days, I’m afraid…) whereas President Obama was pretty much as open with his birth certificate as he could possibly be.

    There WAS an actual conspiracy of some sort on 9/11 (by al-Qaeda terrorists, if nothing else) – if one, why not more?

    Finally, the birthers alleged crime led to presidenting while black from a moderate, center-right position (or communism, as the teahadi call it…). The truther’s alleged crime led to a decade-long quagmire (so far) in the “Graveyard of Empire”, lying in order to start a war of choice against an uninvolved third party, and the perversion of our Constitution so that the administration could commit war crimes in order to obtain less reliable information in a more difficult way which will be a stain on our country’s honor evermore. Given the actions of President Bush (and Dick the war criminal) compared to President Obama, it’s not surprising that more BDS sufferers fell into trutherism than ODS suffers fell into birtherism…

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I get the impression that truthers are a lot more serious than birthers. For example, you can’t get more than a handful of birthers to show up for a meeting. It’s almost like birthers are truther wannabees.

  36. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    I think you’re dead on in considering the fear engendered by 9/11 vs. President Obama’s election. I would hypothesize that it takes about the same level of fear to make a birther as it does to make a truther and the disparity in the size of the groups is a direct result of the disparity in how scary the initiating events were (President Obama’s election didn’t happen in the space of a couple hours, either – by the time he was elected everyone saw it coming… or should have).

    Northland10: In many ways, conspiracy theories grow to respond to our need to have the size of the event match the size our our fear. For the birthers and truthers, their fear of what has happened is so great that the simple explanation of terrorist hijacking or Obama was elected by the will of the people is insufficient to assuage their terror. The “truth” for them, much be much greater to equal their fear.

  37. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 12:15 pm #

    I note from your use of the term “skin” that you probably know what happened, but for those that don’t, Column 79 failed which, due to the design of the building, basically gutted the center of the building allowing the shell to collapse at near free fall speed. If you measure the time of collapse from when the east mechanical penthouse first starts to move it’s much longer and the computer models of the collapse are completely consistent with observations. It’s very hard to press this line of argument against truthers, though, because the computer models aren’t public (and wouldn’t be understandable to most, in any case…).

    Keith
    Alternatively, I think most Truthers concentrate on WTC 7 these days, claiming that building was obviously’ brought down by a CD since the skin demonstrably’ reached free fall velocity, and only a CD would allow that. This was demonstrated by a high school maths teacher who is right and all the engineers, architects, and physicists who do this kind of analysis for a living are wrong.

  38. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    He was, as I implied in my post, “taken by cold fusion”. It was a pair of his colleagues who announced their premature (and ultimately false) results to the world, not him, but he did research on it as well (not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but, looking at his whole career, I believe it was a warning sign. He has never tried to connect cold fusion to 9/11 (and I never said or implied otherwise), but, in my opinion, his competence as a scientist – as shown by his super-ultra-nano-mega-thermite papers – is on par with Orly’s competence as a lawyer. This guy is every bit as much of a bottom-feeding opportunist and complete and utter hack as any birther lawyer – remember that the birthers have a man-crush on President Obama compared to the implicit accusation that truthers like Dr. Jones are leveling at President Bush. Being a scientist, I have every bit as much contempt for him as I imagine real lawyers must feel for Orly & company.

    You can find links to Dr. Jones’ cold fusion research here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steven_E._Jones#Links_covering_Steven_Jones.27_Cold_Fusion_research

    Here’s a quote from that page about one of his “peer-reviewed” papers:

    in April 2009, Jones, along with Niels H. Harrit and 7 other authors published a paper in The Open Chemical Physics Journal, titled, ‘Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe’.[39] The editor of the journal, Professor Marie-Paule Pileni, an expert in explosives and nano-technology,[40][41] resigned.

    brygenon: He studied nuclear fusion (and was not, contrary to the implications of a post above, taken by “cold fusion”). But Dr. Jones is not arguing that any fusion phenomenon was relevant.

  39. avatar
    G September 4, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

    I agree that these people should have seen Obama’s election coming, but it seems that many of them simply didn’t. They just couldn’t perceive a world in which a black man would actually get elected President.

    His election was a shock to their system. Even more so because it was by such a commanding margin of victory – at both the electoral college level and among the popular vote.

    They tried initially decrying ACORN as a bogeyman, as a lame excuse attempt to explain away his votes and victory. However, the margin of victory was too enormous to give specious accusations of vote fraud any legs or credibility. Unlike the prior two elections, this one wasn’t even close at all…. a reality too scary to their worldview for them to be able to accept.

    Therefore, they desperately needed the invention of birtherism as an excuse to both explain away Obama and invalidate him and pretend to themselves that it never actually happened.

    Slartibartfast: I think you’re dead on in considering the fear engendered by 9/11 vs. President Obama’s election. I would hypothesize that it takes about the same level of fear to make a birther as it does to make a truther and the disparity in the size of the groups is a direct result of the disparity in how scary the initiating events were (President Obama’s election didn’t happen in the space of a couple hours, either – by the time he was elected everyone saw it coming… or should have).

  40. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    You’re right that the RWNJs had enough cognitive dissonance going that they were shocked that President Obama won, but the entire country was shocked at the events of 9/11 – including the president who was warned that something might happen (I am of the “Let it happen through negligence and incompetence” school of thought, by the way…). I think there are many orders of magnitude difference between the number of people who were shocked to their core on 9/11 and the number who experienced the same level of shock in November 2008.

    I agree with you regarding ACORN – if you’re suffering from the cognitive dissonance and can’t believe that President Obama was lawfully elected, ACORN is an easy explanation as to why (the right wing propaganda view of ACORN rather than the reality of it). I think they were probably surprised when they were able to bring down ACORN and it didn’t result in any dirt on President Obama for election fraud.

    G: I agree that these people should have seen Obama’s election coming, but it seems that many of them simply didn’t. They just couldn’t perceive a world in which a black man would actually get elected President.

  41. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 2:32 pm #

    I wonder if there are any birthers who are not completely convinced that ACORN committed massive voter fraud… I doubt it.

    G: Therefore, they desperately needed the invention of birtherism as an excuse to both explain away Obama and invalidate him and pretend to themselves that it never actually happened.

  42. avatar
    G September 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Oh that extreme delusion is harbored by many of them, I’m sure. However, is is one heck of a steep delusional wall to cover up and explain away a 9.5 million vote margin. Therefore, simple “magic disappearing president” via birtherism and eligibility nonsense is an easier swallow for these self-deceivers.

    Slartibartfast: I wonder if there are any birthers who are not completely convinced that ACORN committed massive voter fraud… I doubt it.

  43. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    You’re right – the truthers have a much lower hurdle to clear: they just have to convince themselves that their government is lying to them… which is not really a stretch since we know the government has done just that in the past.

    I’m guessing that all of the energy put into building cognitive dissonance to scale the “wall” that you were talking about makes for a pretty formidable redoubt against the facts as well (not that truthers seem any more susceptible to rational arguments than the birthers…).

    G:
    Oh that extreme delusion is harbored by many of them, I’m sure.However, is is one heck of a steep delusional wall to cover up and explain away a 9.5 million vote margin.Therefore, simple “magic disappearing president” via birtherism and eligibility nonsense is an easier swallow for these self-deceivers.

  44. avatar
    Scientist September 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm #

    Slartibartfast: The point scientist made about the relative importance is a factor, too – 9/11 was kind of hard to avoid on the TV machine for a while – birtherism’s media peak (The Donald and his smackdown by the POTUS, in my opinion) was much smaller and at the end of the birthers’ relevance rather than the beginning.

    Bart, of course it goes much deeper than simply media coverage. 9/11 WAS an event of tremedous historic importance. If it really were the product of some enormous conspiracy beyond that carried out by Al Qaeda that would obviously have huge ramifications.

    On the other hand, suppose a non-natural born citizen became President some day. So, F-in what? He/she could be a great, good, mediocre or lousy President, just as has been the case with all the natuiral born ones who have been in office up to now. His/her performance in office would have nothing to do with the circumstances of his/her birth. Frankly, the whole eligibility issue is of concern mainly to the actual opponents of an ineligible candidate and of minimal import to the citiizens at large. Which, by the way, is the message the courts have been sending by their rejection of birther cases for lack of standing

  45. avatar
    Tarrant September 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm #

    The other thing is, the truthers don’t actually have to have that big a conspiracy. A small number of high-placed people – some even just claim Cheney – is all it would take for their claims to be true. They aren’t, but let’s pretend.

    But in the case of the birthers, at this stage, the conspiracy has to encompass a huge number of people, all of whom must be counted on not to spill the beans. Hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of judges, numerous governors, secretaries of state, media outlets (some of which oppose Obama on eery other substantive issue). Thousands of people had to be involved, and…why?

  46. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    Scientist,

    I was just using media coverage as a proxy – you’re right, of course.

    Tarrant,

    I think that’s a key point – the truthers don’t need an unreasonably big conspiracy (or a ridiculously big conspiracy like the birthers do…). After all, we can’t deny that conspiracies involving a handful of men proximate to the POTUS have happened in the past, whereas a conspiracy old enough to have altered records in 1961 or big enough to have covered up the real records in the present defies credulity.

  47. avatar
    aarrgghh September 4, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    1: the-powers-that-be are terrified of the inevitable race riots following the usurper’s ouster, which would destroy the country

    2: knowing this, the usurper promises to trigger the riots himself if he feels threatened

    3: would-be patriots have already had their careers and families threatened, their emissions hoses cut and their rooms booked in leavenworth

    4: the military is only waiting for the right leader to make the right call at the right time

    5: the supremes are only waiting for the right birther to give them the right case

    6: the rest have been bought off

    you don’t have to swallow the whole enchilada, but any specific birfer fail can be explained away in the universe described above, one strangely less terrifying to birfers than a universe wherein obama is the legitimate leader of the free world …

    Tarrant:
    But in the case of the birthers, at this stage, the conspiracy has to encompass a huge number of people, all of whom must be counted on not to spill the beans. Hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of judges, numerous governors, secretaries of state, media outlets (some of which oppose Obama on eery other substantive issue). Thousands of people had to be involved, and…why?

  48. avatar
    US Citizen September 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    I find much of all this to be like the mindset of gamblers.
    They know the odds favor the house, they can see the glitzy hotels that casinos spent large money to buy, but for some inexplicable reason they believe in their gut feeling instead.
    It overshadows all logic and all statistics.
    Some people think simply they’re smarter than they really are.
    Same thing for religion.
    For the religious, faith is stronger than science.

    I completely agree with G’s post on birthers/truthers too.
    Well said.

  49. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy September 4, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    The NG documentary suggests that number that had to be in on the 9/11 conspiracy is in the thousands.

    Slartibartfast: I think that’s a key point – the truthers don’t need an unreasonably big conspiracy (or a ridiculously big conspiracy like the birthers do…)

  50. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    That depends on what conspiracy theories you pick off of the menu – if you go with the full controlled demolition with a military stand-down, etc. you’re right, but if you take, say, a LIHOP theory where a small cabal in the intelligence community and the White House aware of the plot would be all that’s necessary. Even a modest MIHOP with the hijackers all being patsies wouldn’t need thousands to pull off – especially if it were strictly compartmentalized. Most of the truthers go straight for the buffet and have a little of everything (they don’t have a problem with believing two contradictory theories any more than the birthers do), but, in a pinch, they’ll hide behind the purist form of theories because most of them are just barely not impossible – it’s only when you put it all together into a comprehensive theory of events that it becomes clear that the truthers’ Frankenstein theories are completely beyond the realm of possibility.

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    The NG documentary suggests that number that had to be in on the 9/11 conspiracy is in the thousands.

  51. avatar
    gorefan September 4, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    Slartibartfast: That depends on what conspiracy theories you pick off of the menu

    You are right about it depending on which theory one picks. In the smallest conspiracy, only a few dozen people might be necessary to allow things to happen. This theory would fall along the lines that other silly conspiracy theory that FDR knew about the Japanese plans and allowed Pearl Harbor to be bombed so the US could join the war. In the case of 9/11, you would only need a few CIA analysis and maybe a dozen or so people in the White House and NSA.

    This particular theory could explain why Bush and Cheney refused to testify under oath to the 9/11 Commission. LOL

  52. avatar
    JD Reed September 4, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    “Three can keep a secret if two are dead.” — Benjamin Franklin

  53. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 4, 2011 at 9:39 pm #

    gorefan,

    You’ve got it – an FDR LIHOP (let it happen on purpose) theory. It’s obviously possible – after all Churchill let Coventry be bombed after breaking ENIGMA and killed a bunch of Frenchmen when he destroyed their navy to keep if from the Germans – why is FDR any different? Why hasn’t he released 24 hour audio and video from the White House to prove he didn’t know? What is he hiding?

    I think that the smallest cabal would be a single analyst and his chain of command and Dick the war criminal (but he didn’t let it happen on purpose – which is about the best thing I can say about the vile excrement… I mean former vice president).

  54. avatar
    roadburner September 5, 2011 at 4:46 am #

    Slartibartfast: That depends on what conspiracy theories you pick off of the menu – if you go with the full controlled demolition with a military stand-down, etc. you’re right, but if you take, say, a LIHOP theory where a small cabal in the intelligence community and the White House aware of the plot would be all that’s necessary. Even a modest MIHOP with the hijackers all being patsies wouldn’t need thousands to pull off – especially if it were strictly compartmentalized. Most of the truthers go straight for the buffet and have a little of everything (they don’t have a problem with believing two contradictory theories any more than the birthers do), .

    even the nubers involved in the simplest scenario are too great to prevent leaks.

    the most common theory i´ve come across for the towers collapsing has been controlled demolition. as i´ve mentioned to those who hold to this theory, the ammount of people needed to wire the buildings would be immense, it would take a long time to do, the wiring would be spaghetti from hell, and if they went remote detonation every emission in the area would have to be silenced to prevent an accidental detonation.

    the thermite crowd are fun. when you explain that cutting horizontally with thermite is as close to impossible as you can get, they change to thermate. after explaining thermate has the same problem, it becomes `nano thermite´. thermite is easy to make, and a simple experiment shows how difficult it is to control after ignition. using ceramic containers means you can channel it (like when it´s used for welding railway lines), but yet again you´re limited to the verticle plane.

    the controlled demolition is just too easy to debunk.

  55. avatar
    The Magic M September 5, 2011 at 5:00 am #

    > Nothing looked so familiar to me from the birther business as when the 9/11 truthers gave knee-jerk rejection of evidence.

    Actually, a lot of conspiracy theories looks quite familiar to me compared to birtherism.
    I was following the latest articles on Intelligent Design on WND and found quite a lot of the same tactics there:

    * the “there is no contrary evidence” stance (ID: “evolution cannot explain X”; birthers: “no-one remembers Obama from College”)
    * the straw man argument (ID: “evolution claims something was created from nothing”; birthers: “Abercrombie said he can’t find the BC”, “Obama named two different hospitals as place of birth”)
    * moving the goalposts (ID: “even if there are transitional forms, you still cannot explain how DNA evolved”; birthers: “even if Obama was born in Hawaii, he still isn’t a natural born citizen”)
    * inferring illegitimate motives (ID: “evolutionists are atheists”; birthers: “non-birthers are communist traitors”)
    * and finally arguments which expose the real motivation (ID: “how can you ignore the existence of the Creator, don’t you believe in God?”; birthers: “even if Obama were eligible, he’s still a gay Muslim Marxist traitor”).

    What they also have in common is that its supporters, even if obviously too illiterate to even write proper English, all consider themselves experts on the subject.
    Truthers are all experts on demolition, explosives and airplanes.
    ID followers are all experts on DNA, the animal kingdom and geological history.
    Birthers are all experts on Constitutional and citizenship law, forensic document examination and legal history.

  56. avatar
    Keith September 5, 2011 at 6:35 am #

    Slartibartfast: That depends on what conspiracy theories you pick off of the menu

    Not really. Unless you go for the whole enchilada LIHOP and ignore absolutely everything else the truthers say. That is, everything happened exactly as ‘the official story’ says it did, except that ‘they’ knew about it in advance, could have stopped it, and didn’t.

    Virtually any other truther conspiracy scenario involves hundreds and thousands of people, disappeared, bribed, hidden, and 100% guaranteed disappeared, bribed, hidden for probably 200 years at least.

    Take the Flight 77 at the Pentagon. It had some well known people on board. Yet every conspiracy theory about it denies there was a 757. It was a Tomahawk, or some small trainer plane disguised as a 757, or something. Anything but a 757 with several hundred passengers on board.

    It begs the question: if a 757 didn’t hit the Pentagon, what happened to flight 77 and its passengers? Did the government smuggle them off the plane in mid-air, crash the 757 in the ocean, and send all the passengers to some island halfway between the Galapagos and Easter Island maybe? What did ‘they’ have to do to bribe the passengers to stay quiet and not try to contact ANYBODY for life and why hasn’t the traces of this conspiracy shown up in Wikileaks yet? Is the U.S. Government so inept that they can’t fake a plane crash into the Pentagon without leaving clues for clueless conspiracy theorists, but at the same time omnipotent that they can silence and hide hundreds of people FOREVER?

    Another thing about the Pentagon attack: if it wasn’t a 757 that hit the building, why wasn’t it? Wouldn’t the best way to fake a 757 crash be to not fake it? They have the plane anyway and they’ve got the passengers off somehow (an important Truther claim is that there were no passenger remains found at the Pentagon, despite the map that was published showing the locations of each passenger found) and they have to get rid of the plane anyway, so why didn’t they just crash the plane into the building? Seems to me to be the best way, by several orders of magnitude, to make the crash site look like a 757 hit it, would be to hit it with a 757 instead of a disguised cruise missile or smaller plane.

  57. avatar
    The Magic M September 5, 2011 at 9:56 am #

    Keith: Is the U.S. Government so inept that they can’t fake a plane crash into the Pentagon without leaving clues for clueless conspiracy theorists, but at the same time omnipotent that they can silence and hide hundreds of people FOREVER?

    It’s another aspect of most conspiracy theories that the conspirators have to be near-omnipotent *and* totally incompetent at the same time.
    Many birthers believe the conspiracy started before Obama’s birth to have this Kenyan-born child (obviously the result of a highly advanced genetic program to develop the ultimate Marxist usurper) become President, yet no-one bothered to actually create a proper Hawaiian BC for him so they had to hastily cobble one together once some actually (*gasp*) wanted to look at it.
    In a similar vein, concerning my favourite stupid 9/11 truther argument, “they” were powerful enough to pull off detonating a nuclear (!) bomb below WTC, yet stupid enough to give it all away by calling the site “Ground Zero”.

    At least the truthers are fun. They have no problem incorporating “science fiction” technology, like perfect holograms disguising missiles as planes. I’ve yet to see birthers claim some highly advanced nanotechnology created Obama. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  58. avatar
    Horus September 5, 2011 at 10:15 am #

    I saw this show, it first aired about 2 years ago and no one noticed it back then.

  59. avatar
    roadburner September 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    The Magic M: Many birthers believe the conspiracy started before Obama’s birth to have this Kenyan-born child (obviously the result of a highly advanced genetic program to develop the ultimate Marxist usurper) become President, yet no-one bothered to actually create a proper Hawaiian BC for him so they had to hastily cobble one together once some actually (*gasp*) wanted to look at it

    always loved this one….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2u3Ax8UQ9ac&list=PL27D06720A4C4B31D&index=6&feature=plpp

  60. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 5, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

    I explicitly said that the smallest possible truther conspiracy (in my opinion) was a LIHOP theory which included an intelligence analyst, his immediate chain of command and Dick the war criminal (which implies that planes were really hijacked and flown into buildings by al-Qaeda terrorists but people in the government knew about it ahead of time). So, really, you’re saying that my statement is wrong because I didn’t say (or imply) exactly what I did say… How does that work exactly?

    Keith: Not really. Unless you go for the whole enchilada LIHOP and ignore absolutely everything else the truthers say. That is, everything happened exactly as the official story’ says it did, except that they’ knew about it in advance, could have stopped it, and didn’t.

  61. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    roadburner: even the nubers involved in the simplest scenario are too great to prevent leaks.

    A half dozen people or less is too many to prevent leaks? Because that’s what the simplest scenario takes…

    the most common theory i´ve come across for the towers collapsing has been controlled demolition.

    Yes, I’m sure that the vast majority of truthers believe in that fairy tale – just like most birthers believe in St. Vattel…

    as i´ve mentioned to those who hold to this theory, the ammount of people needed to wire the buildings would be immense, it would take a long time to do, the wiring would be spaghetti from hell, and if they went remote detonation every emission in the area would have to be silenced to prevent an accidental detonation.

    I agree with the exception of your last point which isn’t necessarily true and creates a gap for truthers to scurry into (a better point is that the explosives/incendiaries [read: thermite] in the impact zones needed to avoid going off or being disabled in the crashes since because the collapses started in the impact zones, if they were CD they would need to still work). It requires months to prepare large buildings for CD when you can rip out walls to gain access to the columns and string det cord everywhere – the idea that you could do that in a working office building in secrecy is completely absurd.

    the thermite crowd are fun.

    Having literally spent months of my life debunking the shoddy science of Dr. Jones and Dr. Harritt, “fun” is not the word that I’d use to describe thermiters. In my view, thermite is the Indonesian adoption of truthism – it is impossible for many demonstrable reasons and makes for something completely ridiculous when used in a comprehensive “theory of the crime”.

    when you explain that cutting horizontally with thermite is as close to impossible as you can get,

    For those that don’t know, thermite is an incendiary mixture of iron oxide (rust – such as might be found on decades-old steel beams…) and aluminum (which is what airplane fuselages are made of, by the way…) which burns VERY hot. So hot it can be used to cut steel very easily – but only vertically and it would be obvious to experts without a forensic exam and likely noticeable to non-experts. There are patents on devices that can be attached to a vertical beam (requiring a horizontal cut), but none in production so far as I know, and, of course, none found in the rubble (nor any signature thereof).

    they change to thermate.

    They tend to think that it could have been painted on all of the walls by a maintenance crew and get the observed results – the same kind of lack of critical thinking shown by those who believe that the Founders did not consider themselves natural born citizens of the US.

    after explaining thermate has the same problem, it becomes `nano thermite´.

    Which is where it officially becomes a pain it the ass – the properties of nano-thermite (an experimental explosive made by mixing the rust and ground airliner ๐Ÿ˜‰ REAL GOOD…) can only be found in a few dissertations and scholarly papers (and not for free) and proprietary materials. And the work of idiots like Dr. Jones and Dr. Harritt might be junk articles published in vanity journals, but it requires a understanding of their experimental methodology and the science to debunk their technical arguments. Just like some of the abstruse arguments of the birther lawyers require someone who understands Constitutional law to debunk…

    thermite is easy to make, and a simple experiment shows how difficult it is to control after ignition. using ceramic containers means you can channel it (like when it´s used for welding railway lines), but yet again you´re limited to the verticle plane.

    Specifically, you generally can’t stop a thermite reaction until the reactants are exhausted – which begs the question, why did Dr. Jones find so much UNREACTED thermite in his samples? (samples, by the way, which could only be admitted into evidence if the opposing council was as incompetent as Orly – any 1L would have no problem destroying the credibility of their chain of custody….)

    the controlled demolition is just too easy to debunk.

    Personally, I accounted for the energy required to produce the observed effects – like collapsing steel beams (~600 MegaJoules/floor), pulverizing concrete (~300 MJ/floor), expanding the dust cloud (don’t have a good estimate on this*), the seismic wave (same as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake by empirical measurement – the best scientific record of the airliner impacts and collapses, in my opinion), impact heating (probably raised the average temperature of the rubble by about 10 – 20 K by my calculations), the sound of the collapse (if it had required as much as 60 MJ everyone in the area would have had permanent hearing damage…), etc. All together it is in the ballpark of the TeraJoule of gravitational potential energy contained in WTC1 and WTC2 on the morning of 9/11 – there just isn’t any room for additional energy (energy saved by severing columns with explosives or energy used to pulverize concrete**, for instance). But that’s probably a bit over the top…

    In the end, to anyone who understands controlled demolition in the least it is obvious that the collapses weren’t CD – just like it is obvious to anyone with a cursory understanding of the Constitution that the Founders weren’t using the faux-Vattel two-citizen-parents theory.

    * You can find a REALLY BAD estimate here:

    http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volumev3_1.html

    if it were true, everyone in the dust cloud would have been roasted alive…

    ** which would require the equivalent of 600 Kilotons of TNT placed in thousands of pre-drilled boreholes in the 4″ concrete floor slabs, by the way… or the floors being slammed by a descending 30kiloton (and growing) mass of steel and concrete that was the next best thing to the fist of god.

  62. avatar
    roadburner September 5, 2011 at 3:50 pm #

    cheers for expanding on my post mate ๐Ÿ™‚

    it was quickly knocked out in the shop during a coffee break, so not too detailed.

  63. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    Thanks. My first serious foray into debunking was a thread that was hijacked early on by a discussion about 9/11. After a battle going more than 1500 comments (over 500 of which were mine and none of which could have been done during a week of coffee breaks… ;-)) and spilling over onto at least two more threads for hundreds more I got pretty good at taking on truthers. I can (or at least I could) back up all of the numbers I threw out as well – mod any memory errors on the values, of course… It was fun to dredge it all up again.

    roadburner:
    cheers for expanding on my post mate

    it was quickly knocked out in the shop during a coffee break, so not too detailed.

  64. avatar
    Rickey September 5, 2011 at 5:45 pm #

    Keith:

    Take the Flight 77 at the Pentagon. It had some well known people on board. Yet every conspiracy theory about it denies there was a 757.

    One of whom was Barbara Olson, the wife of U.S. Solicitor General Theodore Olson.

  65. avatar
    Keith September 5, 2011 at 6:51 pm #

    Slartibartfast:
    I explicitly said that the smallest possible truther conspiracy (in my opinion) was a LIHOP theory which included an intelligence analyst, his immediate chain of command and Dick the war criminal (which implies that planes were really hijacked and flown into buildings by al-Qaeda terrorists but people in the government knew about it ahead of time).So, really, you’re saying that my statement is wrong because I didn’t say (or imply) exactly what I did say…How does that work exactly?

    OK, maybe I misread your intention. Even that is a lot of people to keep quiet, and there is no sign of it on Wikileaks. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

  66. avatar
    Obsolete September 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm #

    Solicitor General Theodore Olson is a Conservative scholar who doesn’t buy into Vattelism. Both the truthers and the birthers must hate him or consider him “in on it”.

    Btw- in the court documents for the trial of Z. Moussoiri (forgive spelling- on my iPhone) they include three or four pictures of bodies in the Pentagon. (lots of aircraft parts too). I can provide a link later if anyone who wants to see them can’t find them with the Goooogles.
    Viewer discretion definitely advised. ๐Ÿ™

  67. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm #

    S’alright. I agree that keeping even a half dozen people quiet is difficult (especially about something with this kind of significance), but it is within the realm of possibility (if only barely). Personally, I think that the Bush administration let 9/11 happen due to negligence (not heeding the warnings they were given) – never attribute to malevolence what is more easily explained by incompetence, I always say…

    Keith: OK, maybe I misread your intention. Even that is a lot of people to keep quiet, and there is no sign of it on Wikileaks.

  68. avatar
    brygenon September 6, 2011 at 2:44 am #

    Slartibartfast: He was, as I implied in my post, “taken by cold fusion”. It was a pair of his colleagues who announced their premature (and ultimately false) results to the world, not him, but he did research on it as well (not that there is necessarily anything wrong with that, but, looking at his whole career, I believe it was a warning sign.

    No, you have it wrong. Jones was a debunker of the false phenomenon so famously reported by Pons and Fleischmann. Try following your own links: “It is high time to strongly question claims of cold fusion based on crude techniques and to demand tests at a rigorous scientific-proof level. . .I have not seen any compelling evidence of any ‘cold fusion’ effects to date.” — Steven E. Jones.

    I also disagree with our friend Slartibartfast’s claim that the pair who who announced the famous premature and false cold fusion result to the world were colleagues of Professor Jones. They knew each other, and even coordinated publishing dates, but they did so as competitors, not colleagues. I suspect Slartibartfast confused the University of Utah and Brigham Young University.

    What is true is that Jones believed in, studied, and published on muon-catalyzed fusion, which is supposedly a nuclear fusion phenomenon that occurs at low temperatures. Jones even published a paper in July 1987 (before Pons and Fleischmann reported cold fusion), titled: “Cold nuclear fusion”. Thus, Slartibartfast seems to be on strong ground with to claim that Jones, “was a cold fusion researcher back in the day”. Thing is, muon-catalyzed fusion is a genuine, reproducible, well-established phenomenon.

    Do we hold ourselves to higher standards than the cranks we debunk? Is it right to play on the public’s naive understanding of “cold fusion”, to disparage the reputation of a scientist who studied a genuine phenomenon that a lay audience could confuse with the discredited claims of “cold fusion”?

    Jones is a kook on 9/11 and at least one other topic (Jesus visiting America), but *not* on nuclear fusion.

  69. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 6, 2011 at 3:23 am #

    brygenon,

    I didn’t mean to imply that Pons and Fleischmann published with Jones (and I had confused BYU with Utah – my bad), but I would generally call people who did research in the same area “colleagues” and people I actually worked with “collaborators” – just a semantic issue…

    I admit that I never read Dr. Jones’ work on cold fusion and would note that I said that there was nothing wrong with researching cold fusion (or muon-catalyzed fusion as you more accurately describe it) – I may have been hasty to call it a warning sign, but I didn’t imply that he was a part of the prematurely published claims of Pons and Fleischmann which brought them well-deserved shame.

    That being said, Dr. Jones’ work on 9/11 displays shoddy methodologies, flawed reasoning, and assertions unsupported by the science – not to mention the fact that his ethical standards are questionable at best. I have personally read several of his papers on thermite as well as read commentary on them by people with relevant expertise at JREF and read many of the papers in JONES as well and I stand by everything I said about his character and that research. He makes sensational claims to play to the truther crowd and publishes in vanity journals to cover up (to the truthers, anyway) that his work could never pass legitimate peer review.

    Also, Dr. Jones has commented positively on at least one other kook theory – chemtrails. Unfortunately, my link to this has rotted, so I don’t have any evidence.

  70. avatar
    brygenon September 6, 2011 at 7:10 am #

    Slartibartfast: I didn’t mean to imply that Pons and Fleischmann published with Jones (and I had confused BYU with Utah – my bad), but I would generally call people who did research in the same area “colleagues” and people I actually worked with “collaborators” – just a semantic issue…

    Slartibartfast, what can I say? You concede one point; push another. I did, and still do, take issue with your description of Pons and Fleischmann as “colleagues” of Jones. For my previous post I actually looked up that word. I don’t think it fits. My lucky guess that you had confused BYU with U Utah was based on previous confusion of my own.

    Our central disagreement was on painting Jones as a “cold fusion” scientist. He studied muon-catalyzed fusion, which is a real and reproducible phenomenon, that could be and was described in the same terms. Jones was not taken in by what the public knows as “cold fusion”. In fact, he was at the front of debunking the famous false results.

    From the report in 1989, the scientific community was generally skeptical of Pons and Fleischmann’s discovery of cold fusion. Many though P&F had jumped to a world-shaking conclusion without adequately considering more mundane explanation for the excess heat they had found. Other skeptics, Jones among them, stated an explanation even less respectful to P&F: the experiment was botched so badly that the claim of excess heat was wrong; there was no new phenomenon in need of explanation. With 20-20 hindsight and decades more experience, the call is now clear: On this matter, Jones got it right.

    Slartybartfast wrote: “That being said, Dr. Jones’ work on 9/11 displays shoddy methodologies, flawed reasoning, and assertions unsupported by the science”

    Yeah. Jones turned crank. Do we need to go on arguing in violent agreement?

  71. avatar
    Slartibartfast September 6, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    A longer comment got et – sorry.

    brygenon: Slartibartfast, what can I say? You concede one point; push another. I did, and still do, take issue with your description of Pons and Fleischmann as “colleagues” of Jones. For my previous post I actually looked up that word. I don’t think it fits. My lucky guess that you had confused BYU with U Utah was based on previous confusion of my own.

    As I said, it’s just a semantic difference – I explained how I think of the term (no assertion that I’m using it correctly, just that I consistently use it in that way – or at least I have in the past).

    Our central disagreement was on painting Jones as a “cold fusion” scientist. He studied muon-catalyzed fusion, which is a real and reproducible phenomenon, that could be and was described in the same terms. Jones was not taken in by what the public knows as “cold fusion”. In fact, he was at the front of debunking the famous false results.

    Again, I conceded this point.

    From the report in 1989, the scientific community was generally skeptical of Pons and Fleischmann’s discovery of cold fusion. Many though P&F had jumped to a world-shaking conclusion without adequately considering more mundane explanation for the excess heat they had found. Other skeptics, Jones among them, stated an explanation even less respectful to P&F:the experiment was botched so badly that the claim of excess heat was wrong; there was no new phenomenon in need of explanation. With 20-20 hindsight and decades more experience, the call is now clear: On this matter, Jones got it right.

    Thanks for the additional detail.

    Slartybartfast wrote: “That being said, Dr. Jones’ work on 9/11 displays shoddy methodologies, flawed reasoning, and assertions unsupported by the science”

    Yeah. Jones turned crank.

    Big time.

    Do we need to go on arguing in violent agreement?

    No – I just wanted to make clear that whatever Dr. Jones may have been in the past, these days he’s a super-duper-mega-nano-ultra-thermite scientist like Orly, Mario, Leo, and Phil are Constitutional scholars. I REALLY don’t like the guy… Nor do I think much of anyone who makes extraordinary and monstrous allegations against the sitting POTUS with evidence that is completely insufficient to support such a charge – or any charge at all (and there are plenty of completely legitimate monstrous charges to make against President Bush and Dick the war criminal, in my opinion…).

  72. avatar
    Hawaiiborn September 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I followed 9/11 trutherism for the last 6 years (being introduced first to it by a little film by Thierry Mason (sp?) who did one of the first 9/11 conspiracy videos concerning that Flight 77 didn’t crash into the Pentagon.

    Then I found James Randi and their Conspiracy theory forum and have been ridiculing truthers (like birthers) ever since.

    My aunt and uncle were in New York that day, just getting out of a cab right there by WTC 1, when the first plane struck above them. Yes, they were there, they were in the middle of the first signs of chaos and carnage.

    This is why I hate truthers, more than I hate birthers. There were actual victims and witnesses that day, and they are pretty much telling me my aunt and uncle are liars.

    No one calls my family liars.

    My mother also lost a high school friend that day (she didn’t know until 5 years later).

  73. avatar
    bjphysics September 6, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Can we be sure the endless Garnier Fructis shampoo commercials in the National Geographic video are not part of a conspiracy to drive unsuspecting viewers to jump off the nearest tall building just to make it stop?