Wednesday, January 12, 2011

AE911Truth's Pathetic Response to Ted Goertzel

In response to the Skeptical Inquirer article by Ted Goertzel on the durability of conspiracy theories, written up in the most recent issue of the magazine. The article is pretty long and at least worth glancing through - frankly, in my view it didn't say much that Michael Shermer didn't already cover in the classic Why We Believe Weird Things - but's response, predictably, leaves something to be desired.

The author of the piece complains that Goertzel "lumps the 9/11 Truth movement in with the “faked Moon landing,” and “AIDS was a government plot to kill gay people." Frankly, this is a point so banal, so obvious and so plainly true that to deny it is an insult to your readers. We've commented on this recently. No 9/11 denier, I don't think, believes in only one unproven (or in this case unprovable) conspiracy theory, and to say that 9/11 denial is being "lumped in" with other theories is to disingenuously deny a key aspect of the conspiracy mindset. As we've also noted before, the 9/11 denier mindset makes it impossible to parse conspiracy theories. This is a point both Goertzel and Shermer have made, implicitly - the intellectual path to arriving at 9/11 denial leads with equal cognitive discrimination and evidential accuracy to every conspiracy theory.

Oh, and the author complains that Goertzel supposedly engages in "ad hominem" attacks - lawl.

My favorite part of the ae911truth piece is the hysterical pedantry required to argue against one of Goertzel's main points. To be fair, its a point we have to make all the goddamn time: That the 9/11 denier's argument against "molten steel" is essentially fraudulent because the claim that any steel melted on 9/11 is nowhere to be found in the investigation into what happened on 9/11. Here, claims, was Goertzel's mistake: He said "no one" instead of "no one on the investigation" made that claim. Which is obvious, of course, if you're in any way intellectually honest.

Perhaps Mr. Goertzel should have done some actual skeptical inquiry of his own. If he had, he surely would have found numerous quotes making precisely the false claim that office and jet fuel fires can melt structural steel:

Stanford University Professor Steven Block: “The intense heat could have melted the buildings’ cores, allowing for the collapses, he suggested.” [Not part of the investigation.]

Structural engineer Chris Wise: “It was the fire that killed the buildings. There’s nothing on earth that could survive those temperatures with that amount of fuel burning. The columns would have melted, the floors would have melted and eventually they would have collapsed one on top of each other.” [Not part of the investigation.]

Engineer Hyman Brown: “Structural steel is fireproofed to last between one and two hours, which it did, and then steel melts.”

Structural engineer Richard Ebeltoft: “Richard Ebeltoft, a structural engineer and University of Arizona architecture lecturer, speculated that flames fueled by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel melted the building’s [sic] steel supports.” [Referenced by 9/11 Commission - but not regarding this admitted "speculation."] “Eventually raging fires melted the supporting steel struts, but the time delay allowed hundreds of people to escape.” [Written one day after 9/11 by non-experts in the period before any empirical evidence was available.]

Editor's comments on the inanity of this point in bold, obviously.

The piece reads like a sloppy press release about the sloppy research done by groups like ae911truth - for example, the author of the ae911t piece complains that Goertzel didn't fall for 9/11 deniers' fraudulent rendition of statements made by firefighters about "explosions" and "molten steel." He probably didn't mention them because 9/11 deniers have lied about them. And as a sociologist, Goertzel probably also knows how useless eyewitness testimony is, anyway.

And Jim Cirile concludes with the line, "Let’s turn this feeble smack-down into an effective opportunity." You've got a long way to go, kids.


OPAC_librarian said...

I'm no conspiracy theory buff. As for 9/11, I just say this--I saw on film three buildings of steel structure collapse neatly and quickly on the same day. The theory of the 9/11 commission was unbelievable, and basically did not explain anything. They in short really had no theory, just some speculation. To me it appears that three buildings came down very fast and uniformly, probably by controlled demolition. I viewed two buildings destroyed in this manner as a young person. My common sense tells me that these three buildings on 9/11 came down that way too. No other theory I have heard makes as much logical sense. Conspiracy does not interest me. I would love to learn, however, who brought down those three buildings. The persons responsible should be tried for treason and "neutralized" permanently.

Neighborhood Rationalist said...

So what you're saying is... you're a conspiracy theorist.

Sick of USA said...

No... What he is saying is he can exercise common sense. Its not a conspiracy if its true. Why, no matter how often you hear two people debate this issue, it is always the so called conspiracy theorist who speaks sense and logic and seeks answers while the believer of the official story can only squirm and grasp for answers, and deny facts (without even thinking about said facts). They just immediatly dismiss as conspiracy anything which debunks the official story. Why can no advocate of the official story come up with a reasonable explanation as to how building 7 came to collapse. They just gloss over the issue. I am a Architect and it is insulting to my intelligent. I am not pointing the finger at anyone in particular as i have no idea what really happened on that day. What i do know is that i am not blind, i am certainly not stupid and the official story is wrong. Everyone and anyone in the building industry knows the official story is false and anyone who believes the story just has their heads burried in the sand. But i have news for you... I can still see your arse sticking up in the air. Also no plane hit the Pentagon. If American people really care about each other they need to stand up and open their eyes. Educate yourselves because when retribution comes your way you will cry and moan that the American people are not the American Government and you do not deserve to be punished for your governments crimes. But when the wars and battles are waging away from your shores it is easy to pretend to be blind. It is up to the American people to stand up for the rest of the world and stop your government murdering millions worldwide. They murder millions while you count the grains of sand in you sand hole.

colby guillory said...

Sick of USA....please provide these "facts" that support your theory. I will be glad to shoot holes in all of them.