Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Truthers Have to Fake It

Hello everyone, this is a Blog. Our blog is a skeptical rebuttal to claims made by 9/11 deniers.

A blog is not a news outlet. A blog is not a source of broad objectivity. A blog is a place for the opinions of its authors concerning events that they feel are worth commenting on. No “blogger” should pretend otherwise.

Sadly, 9/11 deniers indeed pretend otherwise.

Our blog – our pointed, opinionated blog – is written by three guys to speak for an awesome Facebook group. Another blog, the Journal of 9/11 Studies, is written by three guys for a bunch of trolls.

One of these two pretends to be objective news. Worse than that, it pretends to be an academic journal, one of those things whose legitimacy is supposed to be self-evident. And it ain’t us. But what is it, exactly, that separates the J911S boys from the men of the academic world? Why isn’t this academic “journal” equal to the real thing?

1. Publishing quorum?

I can’t imagine a legitimate academic journal that ever goes to press with zero articles. I can’t even imagine that a legitimate academic journal would keep going to press with, say, a six-month string of only having one article published apiece. J911S has done both.


Fig. 1. The J911S has a completely irregular schedule. This data is presented in two-month spurts, but so far it has had two completely empty “issues” (that is, they skip that month on the website), and an appalling eight out of twenty issues have only had ONE article.

This is not professional. This would be an embarrassing record for a high-schooler’s Xanga. In fact, to even put the word “professional” into this discussion is to degrade the term. This is on the absolutely wrong planet from the library that would have the directory that would contain the name of the bookstore that held the dictionary with the definition of “professional” inside it.

Who could possibly be so lazy and embarrassing?

2. As if you couldn’t guess already... Kevin Ryan, Frank Legge (not famous or sane enough to be listed on any popular debunking sites...yet), and Steven Jones.

All three of these schmucks have the remarkable ability to really, really suck at science and to happily accept claims without evidence – and when they can’t, they just make the evidence up.

None of these “peer editors” are qualified to “edit” a Post-It note, much less an “academic article.” Even worse, they have proven that they will deliberately err on the side of utter garbage, especially when it comes to the charming beliefs of the Loose Change boys. Each has at least implicitly supported as part of the vast marketing/advertising campaign that is the 9/11 denier racket.

In fact, do we have to look any further than their own collective website for evidence of academic diddling in the form of corrupt publishing practices? I’m glad you asked!

3. THE EDITORS EDIT THEMSELVES.

“You” are not a “peer.” “You” are... “you.” These same guys who claim that the NIST is 'the government reporting on itself' (which is categorically false as concurs anyone who knows jack about how such investigations work) use the term “academic journal” to excuse their own blatantly corrupt practices of “peer editing” themselves.

4. ...And they do it a LOT.

In its two-year history, the J911S has had twenty-eight authors publish articles. Three of those twenty-eight authors account for one third of the entire “journal’s” published content. Guess who those three are?


Yes, somehow, by some wondrous coincidence, the editors of J911S manage to “get in” by far the most articles. In fact, there are only two exceptions to this rule. Two other authors have each published four articles but are not editors – Gordon Ross and Gregory S. Jenkins (yes, his article seriously debates the plausibility of using laser beams to destroy the World Trade Center, as if such an option were even on the table), which isn’t also corruption or anything. I suppose in their defense David Ray Griffin has only had one published...

“Academic journals” are a very specific subset of journalism that have very explicit criteria, and lots and LOTS of means of determining the reals from the fakes. I don’t think J911S fools anyone but the most credulous – if anything, it’s just pitiful and embarrassing, like when you try to fix your own car without any knowledge of mechanics.

However, what is slightly less funny is the fact that these people actually resort to this to get themselves noticed. A source of objective news is a precious and indispensable gift to the world. Any place that reports facts is a useful thing. Steve, your website is not a useful thing. Frank, your blog is not and has never been about “academics.” Kevin, stop lying to people.

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