Believing in Miracles

By Daniel Margrain

Bob Dylan once said “every pleasure’s got an edge of pain, pay your ticket and don’t complain.” Following my previous article about WTC building 7 [1], I promised to myself I wouldn’t write another word about the subject, but the temptation turned out to be too much – not that I’m complaining. Like a gambling addict, I can’t resist the temptation to feed the slot machine one more coin in my attempt to persuade others to see reason, particularly as the debate about what happened that fateful day on September 11, 2001, has once again surfaced in light of its recent anniversary.

Official narrative

The gist of the broad official narrative is that on the morning of September 11, 2001, 19 men, mostly from Saudi Arabia – under the direction of Osama bin Laden – hijacked four planes out of Boston, New York City, and Washington, DC, and without giving away their intentions redirected the planes on kamikaze missions towards four American landmarks on the east coast — the Twin Towers of the WTC in New York, the Pentagon, and an unknown fourth location theorized by some to have been the White House or the Capitol building (the last plane was brought down through passenger interference, in an open field outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania).

The attacks resulted in the complete collapse of the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City (now known as Ground Zero), heavy damage to one side of the Pentagon and the deaths of just under 3000 people, some 400 of whom were police and firefighters [2].

This narrative seems highly plausible. Indeed, all alternative versions have been comprehensively debunked and rebutted [3], [4], [5], [6][7]  Commenting on the notion 9/11 was an ‘inside job’, Noam Chomsky said:

“The Bush administration would have had to have been insane to plan anything like that. If it had, it is almost certain it would have leaked…It’s a very porous system. Secrets are very hard to keep. You couldn’t control an event like that. It’s very unpredictable.”

Chomsky continued:

“There are plenty of coincidences and unexplained phenomena. But if you look at controlled scientific experiments, the same is true….If you want to get a sense of it, take a look at the letters columns in the technical scientific journals. They are commonly about unexplained properties of reports of technical experiments carried out under controlled conditions which are going to leave a lot of things unexplained – it’s the way the world is. When you take a natural event – something that isn’t controlled – most of it will be unexplained….The belief it [9/11] could of been planned has such a low level of credibility, I don’t think it’s serious. It’s diverting people from serious issues” [8].

Conjecture-based assertions presented as facts

Unexplained phenomena and coincidences of the kind alluded to by Chomsky, have been seized upon by the 9/11 truth movement who have filled in the gaps of uncertainty with unsubstantiated and conjecture-based assertions. They then present these assertions as evidence based facts.

Accounts from the 9/11 truth movement are remarkably similar to the accounts of many of those who experienced the sinking of the Titanic. As the vessel was sinking into the ocean, passengers heard explosions in the ship. In this case, the ‘official story’ would be wrong, according to the truth movement. To this day, no one really knows what exactly caused the sound, only that it sounded like an explosion. Some say it was the steel snapping as the ship broke in two. Others say it was the hot steam engines hitting the cold water which exploded. Using truth movement logic, it was blown up because some witnesses characterized the sound as an ‘explosion’.

The point is, appearances can often be deceiving. Indeed, if essence and appearance coincided, there would be no need for science, as our observations of earth as a static entity viewed from the perspective of our planet, attest.

When the truth movement view videos of the twin towers collapsing in what they claim is free fall speed, what they actually see are versions of the collapse at angles that reinforce their own prejudices. This is commonly referred to as confirmation bias. The claims made on the basis of what is contained in these videos have no basis in factual scientific-based evidence.

Of course, it’s the controlled demolition explosion theory that the truth movement cling to in order to explain the collapse of WTC 7 (and depending on which particular conspiracy theory one believes, the other two towers). For the sake of brevity, it’s the questioning of the theory in relation to the former, I want to return to here.

In terms of the WTC collapse, George Galloway was among the first to popularize the notion that “if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, the chances are it’s a duck” thesis. Unconvinced that the twin towers were brought down by controlled explosives, it’s the likes of Galloway and Chomsky and others on the progressive left that those who dismiss the official narrative, should be listening to.

Elephant in the room

The blank spot among those who propose the controlled demolition thesis is their inability to acknowledge the ‘elephant in the room’, namely, cause and affect. It is incomprehensible to realists how otherwise rational people refuse to accept the most probable explanation that two planes travelling at high velocity laden with jet fuel smashing in to the WTC, was the most likely catalyst for WTC 7s collapse.

The claim that the building was brought down as a result of a controlled demolition, given the circumstances that preceded it, is about as extraordinary a proposition as it’s possible to get. It’s not necessary to be an expert to arrive at such a conclusion. Given the available evidence, on the balance of probability alone, the notion that it was a controlled demolition that brought the building down, does not stack up by any logical measure. Those honest enough to look at the claims and counter claims in an objective and rational manner, could not arrive at any other conclusion.

Controlled demolition?

To believe, for example, that a controlled demolition took place one would have to ignore the testimony of FDNY chief, Daniel Nigo [9], 16,000 uniformed and civilian members of the FDNY [10], or anyone else who was involved in this apparent huge conspiracy, at least one of whom after 16 years – as post-doctoral researcher, David Grimes, implies [11], would have, by now, come forward.

You would have to believe that WTC 7 was wired for explosives, either when the building was erected (which would require the longest conspiracy planning in history), or that they were planted later. If the latter scenario is to be believed, how could it be possible to wire a high rise building occupied by 50,000 people on a daily basis?

You would have to believe that a set of incompetent governments who failed to pull off Watergate and who were incapable of faking weapons of mass destruction, are all-seeing and all-powerful. You would have to believe in an incredible motive such as the Larry Silverstein insurance scam theory, which has been comprehensively debunked [12].

You would have to believe the building fell at free fall speed into its own footprint, and discredit the notion the damage to WTC 7 was actually caused by debris from WTC 1, 400 feet away [13]. A controlled demolition would obviously try to avoid such behaviour. If one accepts that WTC 7 was burning for many hours, it’s illogical to also propose the controlled demolition thesis because the one precludes the other.

You would have to ignore the notion that the explosive demolition would not be very controlled, or likely to work at all, if it involved slamming tons of skyscraper debris through a building and then setting it on fire for seven hours. You would also have to ignore the experts in the field who insisted that precision explosives, timers, and wiring don’t like that sort of treatment [14].

Witness testimonies & unreliable experts

Testimonies from firefighters inside and outside of the building in relation to the damage caused are consistent, and demolitions experts who saw WTC 7 collapse neither saw nor heard anything indicating an explosive demolition [15]. You would have to ignore the notion that nothing can be seen or heard in videos that resembles explosive charges going off before the collapse or that seismic data from multiple sources indicates that the collapse of WTC 7 began slowly, completely unlike an explosive demolition but consistent with internal failures leading to global collapse [16].

You would have to believe the citations of experts in disciplines only superficially connected to structural engineering, ballistics, nano-thermite and other specialist fields, like David Ray Griffin and Lynn Margolis who the truth movement regularly cite. Griffin is professor of philosophy of religion and theology [17], and Margolis specializes in evolutionary theory and biology [18].

Some epistemological aspects of 9/11 conspiracy theories include evidential cherry-picking and egregious ‘quote mining’, disproportionate emphasis on anomaly and attention to these kinds of maverick voices [19]. The truth movement consistently cite experts in irrelevant disciplines. Loose Change is full of this, for example [20].

Like Holocaust deniers and climate change deniers, internet ‘experts’ not only cite loosely connected academics, but also cite discredited academics like Steven E  Jones [21] to support their theories. They pontificate on highly complex matters like engineering and munitions with apparent absolute certainty, and have a habit of cross referencing one another in a cosy little circle. They frequently use faulty logic, like presenting inductive possibility (inference) as deductive fact [22].

Alexander Cockburn accurately described 9/11 truthers as amateur detectives:

“[They] proffer what they demurely call “disturbing questions”, though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad Inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data ­- as the old joke goes about economists — till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories–like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon — is contemptuously brushed aside” [23].

Religious cult that denies agency

The notion that WTC 7 free fell for 2.25 seconds is not controversial. But the truth movement extrapolate from that as evidence the building was brought down by controlled explosives, on the basis that a professor of religion and theology believes it to be the case. Experts in theology also believe that scripture in the Old Testament is evidence of the existence of Jesus. But the existence of Jesus is, in fact, highly contested.

As Chomsky inferred, people believe these false arguments because it proposes a closed world that’s comprehensible and controllable, as opposed to one that’s chaotic without destination or purpose. The cold, hard truth, that no paper to date has passed the peer review process proving the controlled demolition thesis, is quietly overlooked.

But perhaps the biggest argument of all against the notion of conspiracy is that it denies agency. By claiming WTC 7 was brought down by explosives, and by extension the broader belief 9/11 was an ‘inside job’, the truth movement deny that those who suffer at the hands of US imperialism have a legitimate grievance against decades of US military aggression sufficient enough to warrant a terrorist attack on the US.

Until the 9/11 truth movement get around to actually testing their controlled demolition hypothesis and publishing the data from such a test in a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal, their claims are worthless. Until now, they have not got beyond the stage in which they have made the leap from assertion and conjecture to testable hypothesis and plausible theory.


Noam Chomsky Debunks 9/11 and JFK Murder @

Noam Chomsky Has No Opinion on Building 7 @

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Brent Blanchard of Protec:

Incontrovertible – the ‘truth’ about 9/11 by Philip Roddis @

NIST WTC Disaster Study:

Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?—Simple Analysis By Zdenˇek P. Baˇzant1:


Collapse Symmetry:

The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts by Alexander Cockburn:

How To Tell If Conspiracy Theories Are Real – Here’s The Math by Taylor Kubota:

Bayoneting A Scarecrow by George Monbiot:

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