Sunday, June 29, 2008

Just a quick survey of the denier webroll...

The hypothesis that the 9/11 denier movement has completely crumbled seems to be holding up well. Halfway through the year, has less than a third of the donations its owners claim they "need." Their collection of links is a pitiful joke - most of them haven't been updated in months (or years in the case of my favorite verbal punching bag, the relentlessly arrogant showcase of snake oil - and even our awesome group's usual roll call of Illuminati-hunting trolls has quieted a bit. Haven't gotten a death threat in weeks!

June has wrapped up with no new articles at the fraudulent "Journal of 9/11 Studies" and even perennial bandwidth-waster has resorted to picking on Bill Clinton and acting surprised and appalled that the Bush administration is probably seeking regime change in Iran through back channels.

But, in short, a slow newsday here at CANU is a good day. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

J911S ends another hiatus...

An article this author wrote that made it onto eSkeptic was written with the thesis believed and spoken by many: that the 9/11 denier “movement” is essentially dead and that its “leaders” have failed to convince anyone in the public of their claims. One of the main examples of this demonstrable failure is the pitiful, fraudulent scam known as the Journal of 9/11 Studies which we’ve blogged about previously . At the time said article was written, that blog had not managed to secrete any new content in roughly three months.

That has now changed.

At first this author was concerned because that publication’s dearth of content was a central part of my argument. Even though its one measly article (“article”), this means that my hypothesis may not be modeling the facts as accurately as it could be. Fortunately, after reading the article (“article”), I feel confident that my central claim stands.

First of all, it’s a measly four pages, which you can bump down to probably three or even two and a half because the author double-spaces all of his improperly-cited links. Second of all, it starts with exactly one of the little red flags that lets you know you’re not dealing with a serious person: quasi-accurate jargon.

“Both Boolean algebra and probability theory have been invoked as a means of estimating the likelihood that the official explanation of the event as a whole can be relied upon…”

(Just so we’re clear, the source it cites to argue that point doesn’t actually use Boolean algebra)

Nobody trying to convince a popular audience of his or her claims would use ridiculous and turgid jargon like this. Only someone insecure of the validity of their claims (with good reason in this case) would cloak their words in such V-SAT mush.

And, of course, we’ve already discussed why Frank Legge is not a good source for math. But don’t take our word for it – take his! Yes, nowhere in an entire article called “9/11 and Probability Theory” is there a single piece of probability theory. What is there is a really, really sad and silly criticism of a real academic article that only makes you wonder how these guys look themselves in the mirror. Legge argues that this scientific article is false because it “provides no mechanism to explain” how the top part of the buildings made the bottom part of the buildings collapse, as if the authors had to stop and say, “oh by the way, there were these planes involved on 9/11.”

Frank Legge’s blog post is, if anything, further proof of the desperation and hard times upon which 9/11 racketeers such as himself have fallen upon. The confederacy of dunces may rise again, but it sure isn’t going to be any time soon if this is what they can come up with.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Law of Orwell Analogies

This Blog may or may not be the first place to propose this idea, but it’s time to be addressed. Introducing the Law of Orwell Analogies.

This law is a permutation of Godwin’s Law, which states that referencing Hitler, generally but not necessarily in any of the opening rounds of a debate, is not just a hollow cheap shot but is a deliberate distraction designed to stunt a conversation. There are countless ways to compare the behavior of virtually any person in power to any other person in power, and references to Hitler work the exact same way. Is the leader of your country of choice working hard to instill a sense of nationhood, common identity, and a mandate to expand and strengthen for the good of said country? Congratulations, that leader must be either Hitler or his clone. Or, you know, George Washington or Andrew Jackson.

Everyone knows that, in a pinch, 9/11 deniers will happily resort to an Orwell reference to argue a point that isn’t otherwise supported by any actual evidence. After all, why try to figure out the subtle science of identifying the DNA of suicidal hijackers when you can just tell somebody else that they’re “falling for the OL’ DOUBLETHINK” instead? Why bother arguing with someone’s evidence at all when you can simply write him or her off as “sheeple of Big Brother?”

Perhaps no politician in history – right-wing, left-wing, libertarian, social democrat – has ever gone more than five minutes in office without saying something of dubious truthfulness. That does not give you a mandate to dismiss the numbers (that you can check yourself) in the NIST reports about the World Trade Center as “double-think;” what it does give you a mandate to do is read the news closely and sift through BS. That does not give you a mandate to accuse everyone who disagrees with you as being “sheeple;” that means you have to scrutinize their claims rationally. It’s no small irony that 9/11 deniers are the ones who shortchange a conversation about the facts and the logic of the matter by simply deciding that Popular Mechanics is a “mouthpiece for Big Brother” and that anyone who disagrees with them is complacently giving in to those, uh, three giant computers that manage all the wars in the world. Easier than explaining what those hijackers were doing on those planes there, evidently.

Never mind that Orwell analogies are almost completely incoherent in virtually every context where they’re presented. How exactly is a network of grassroots bloggers and mainstream specialty publications the same as a quasi-global police state, again? Where exactly is the doublespeak in the thousands of well-researched pages written by non-conspiracy-theorists of every stripe on the matter, versus the deliberate duplicity of virtually every denier site? Can someone explain how skeptics are making “unpersons” out of their opponents by addressing and calling them out relentlessly? (Hey, how many of these same Orwell plagiarists even read 1984 sufficiently closely to remember what an “unperson” is?)

The bad behavior of people in the Bush Administration today does not make the Republican Party the Inner Party and so far none of the various scandals to that effect have any bearing on what Osama bin Laden had been planning in the late 1990s. The fact that Popular Mechanics and Skeptic are mainstream publications that disagree with you does not make them “correctors” of the historical record in the name of computers that control all the wars in the world. What George Orwell wrote in part one of one of his many books has absolutely no bearing on the validity of the evidence for what happened on 9/11. Even all these years after the deniers got started, after this tactic played no small part in their own complete downfall as a movement, this behavior continues to run rampant in their debates. Drop it. Every time you violate the Law of Orwell Analogies, you forfeit your right to be taken seriously.