Michael Shermer has responded to Anthony Hall's confronting of him in his usual way.
After listing several NWO theories, Shermer writes...Nevertheless, we cannot just dismiss all such theories out of hand, because real conspiracies do sometimes happen. Instead we should look for signs that indicate a conspiracy theory is likely to be untrue. The more that it manifests the following characteristics, the less probable that the theory is grounded in reality:Same old incredulous nonsense. But I found 2, 8 and 10 interesting as they could equally apply to the official conspiracy theory and Shermer's own beliefs.
1. Proof of the conspiracy supposedly emerges from a pattern of “connecting the dots” between events that need not be causally connected. When no evidence supports these connections except the allegation of the conspiracy or when the evidence fits equally well to other causal connections—or to randomness—the conspiracy theory is likely to be false.
2. The agents behind the pattern of the conspiracy would need nearly superhuman power to pull it off. People are usually not nearly so powerful as we think they are.
3. The conspiracy is complex, and its successful completion demands a large number of elements.
4. Similarly, the conspiracy involves large numbers of people who would all need to keep silent about their secrets. The more people involved, the less realistic it becomes.
5. The conspiracy encompasses a grand ambition for control over a nation, economy or political system. If it suggests world domination, the theory is even less likely to be true.
6. The conspiracy theory ratchets up from small events that might be true to much larger, much less probable events.
7. The conspiracy theory assigns portentous, sinister meanings to what are most likely innocuous, insignificant events.
8. The theory tends to commingle facts and speculations without distinguishing between the two and without assigning degrees of probability or of factuality.
9. The theorist is indiscriminately suspicious of all government agencies or private groups, which suggests an inability to nuance differences between true and false conspiracies.
10. The conspiracy theorist refuses to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth.
Hani Hanjour would need to have been superhuman to pull off the maneuvres he did. So number 2 definately applies to the hijackers.
Defenders of the official story mix facts and speculation, and they don't ever calculate the improbability or assess the factuality. If they were to calculate the improbability of all the coincidences surrounding 9/11 being 'just coincidences', they'd probably get a value greater than the number of electrons in the universe. And with regards to the explanation for the towers destruction, the debunkers take computer models over hard evidence. So the official conspiracy theory also ticks number 8.
Finally, the debunkers, including Shermer himself, "[refuse] to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth". I couldn't have put it any better myself, Shermer!
Why they choose to spell out all of Shermer's points and only address three of them is beyond me - especially when their three attempts only make themselves openly look worse. First of all, their point about Hani Hanjour's "maneuvering" is false. Even other 9/11 deniers concede that Hani Hanjour's "maneuvering" was nothing special. Their second attempt is a particularly glaring internal contradiction:
Defenders of the official story mix facts and speculation, and they don't ever calculate the improbability or assess the factuality. If they were to calculate the improbability of all the coincidences surrounding 9/11 being 'just coincidences', they'd probably get a value greater than the number of electrons in the universe.
"Skeptics don't bother to run the numbers... I didn't bother to run the numbers, but they'd probably get some kinda CRAZY number!" They really give nothing meatier here than an underhand-pitch for an amusing aside. The mere phrase "calculate the improbability of all the coincidences" makes my statistics background start to ache. Did they mean "calculate the probability, given their priors?" Let's give them the benefit of the doubt on that one.
For their third and final attempt at substance, they trackback to one of their own previous posts where they attack Shermer for daring to refute their beliefs from the standpoint that they lack logical coherence and the mere presence of empirical data. In attempting to rebut him, the author(s) of 911debunkers.blogspot.com seem to have repeatedly fallen back on the perpetually resurfacing fraud of "thermate incendiary" [sic] being found at the WTC sites. For their own edification, in case they are as yet unaware (and they seem to be so, as they trotted out that pathetic claim as if it were still relevant to the debate), CrNU has refuted those claims here and here. Thermite was not found at the WTC site, guys - you've been duped.
Wannabes? Cargo-cult skeptics? Whichever they are, they managed to give it their full 30% at rebutting Shermer this time, and even came up 0 for 3 overall.