Tag: david ray griffin

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.

Sources:

Noam Chomsky Debunks 9/11 and JFK Murder @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7SPm-HFYLo

Noam Chomsky Has No Opinion on Building 7 @ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3i9ra-i6Knc

http://debunking911.com/

http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/9-11

http://www.911myths.com

http://screwloosechange.blogspot.com

http://www.jod911.debunking911.com

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Brent Blanchard of Protec: http://tinyurl.com/z6zyc

Incontrovertible – the ‘truth’ about 9/11 by Philip Roddis @ https://off-guardian.org/2016/09/05/incontrovertible-the-truth-about-911/

NIST WTC Disaster Study: https://www.nist.gov/topics/disaster-failure-studies/world-trade-center-disaster-study

Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse?—Simple Analysis By Zdenˇek P. Baˇzant1: http://www-math.mit.edu/~bazant/WTC/WTC-asce.pdf

Testimonies: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20061221064623AA01qch&page=2

Collapse Symmetry: http://ae911truth.info/wordpress/ae911truths-case/collapse/collapse-symmetry/

The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts by Alexander Cockburn: https://www.counterpunch.org/2006/09/09/the-9-11-conspiracy-nuts/

How To Tell If Conspiracy Theories Are Real – Here’s The Math by Taylor Kubota: https://www.livescience.com/53494-how-to-tell-if-conspiracy-theories-are-real.html

Bayoneting A Scarecrow by George Monbiot: http://www.monbiot.com/2007/02/20/bayoneting-a-scarecrow/

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9/11

By Daniel Margrain

It’s been almost 15 years since the tragic events in New York but the theories which deny the reality of that day keep coming. One of the latest in a long line of articles which attempt to undermine what billions of people saw with their own eyes is by author Frances Shure who asserts that people who critically dismiss the arguments of the 9/11 Truth Movement are unable to engage with reality. Thus the inference is that millions of critics of the denier narrative, including the thousands of witnesses and families who lost loved ones on that day, are mentally ill. But since Shure neither saw anyone, had a protocol for interviews, or engaged in research would suggest that no clinical observations were possible and thus she would of been unable to compare any subject’s mental states to either 9-11 conspiracy theorists nor to a control group.

The introduction to her papers says that they are a “synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations.” However, her “synthesis of reports on academic research” was not a meta-analysis, did not include even one proper research paper or authors that contradicted her and was sloppily referenced and dated. Shure does not once ask the question, why do people refuse to acknowledge that many people in the world quite justifiably – after years of horrendous war crimes against them – have very valid reasons for attacking the United States? With her blinding ignorance of what evidence and research are, she claims “the 9/11 Truth Movement has been stunningly successful in documenting mountains of evidence.” 

The reality is there has not been a single piece of “evidence” that has not been thoroughly debunked. In 2006, Noam Chomsky gave some helpful advice to people who believe they have physical evidence refuting the official account:

“There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists . . . who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis. . . . Or, . . . submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn’t a single submission”

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) who have exhaustively documented the failure of the Twin Towers surmised that far from being impossible, the collapse turns out to have been inevitable. The planes cut some of the support columns and ignited fires sufficient to weaken (but not melt) the remaining steel structures. As the perimeter columns buckled, the weight of the collapsing top stories generated a momentum the rest of the building could not arrest. Puffs of smoke were blown out of the structure by compression as the building fell. In other words, contrary to many of the claims of the conspiracy theorists, melting steel was not required to bring about the collapse. All that was needed were temperatures high enough to heat the steel beyond their tolerance levels.

This thesis was also acknowledged in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the Twin Towers by numerous structural engineers and experts. Hassan Astaneh, a structural engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley, for example, explained that the high temperatures in the fires weakened the steel beams and columns, causing them to become “soft and mushy”, and eventually they were unable to support the structure above. Astaneh also suggested that the fireproofing became dislodged during the initial aircraft impacts. Reiterating the subsequent conclusions of NIST, he explained that once the initial structural failure occurred, progressive collapse of the entire structure was inevitable.

The magazine, Counterpunch, commissioned its own expert, an aerospace and mechanical engineer, Manuel Garcia, whose conclusions into the official findings also tallied with NIST. Garcia demonstrated how Building 7 collapsed. Shure takes it as a given that Building 7 collapsed into its own footprint and implies that what everybody saw was a building in free fall indicative of a controlled demolition. But as Garcia shows, Building 7 fell slowly and gradually. This interesting set of videos, which are shot at different angles, clearly show Building 7 does not fall straight down and that Building 1 falls from the top first. It was Galileo who dropped two cannon balls of different mass off the tower of Pisa and found that they both arrived on the ground at the same time. Therefore the Towers did not free fall because debris which was in free fall arrived on the ground first. This is basic physics which denialist websites do not explain.

The final NIST report in November 2008 into the collapse of building 7 explains that fire was the main reason for the collapse, along with lack of water to fight the fire and falling debris which ruptured the oil pipes feeding its emergency generators. The reduction in pressure triggered the automatic pumping system, which poured thousands of gallons of diesel onto fires which continued to burn throughout the afternoon on the lower floors. At 5:20 p.m. a critical column buckled, leading to the collapse of floor 13, which triggered a cascade of floor failures within the building, eventually leading to global collapse. Popular Mechanics magazine polled 300 experts who came to the same conclusions.

The denialists also make false assertions in terms of the pancake theory which they claim has been debunked. But it is has only been “debunked” by the conspiracy believers. Actually, it is not a “theory” at all. It’s the most common sense explanation and has been documented in a number of other high rise buildings around the world. Despite all this, realists are somehow expected to believe that either:

a) “Explosives” were planted when the buildings were erected. That would require the longest conspiracy planning in history.

Or:

b) They were planted later. In which case, who planted them? How did they do that in a building occupied by 50,000 people on a daily basis? Perhaps they did it on weekends when the building only had about 5,000 visitors /day?

As Craig Murray argues, “The notion that a small team at night could plant sufficient explosives embedded at key points, is laughable.”

After reading the various theories of architects and engineers and other “experts” who support the claims of the 9-11 truth movement, one might be left with the impression that their views represent the majority. However, here’s a sober reminder of the context of such “support”.

According to The United States Census Bureau there are 233,000 architects and 2,495,000 engineers in the United States. Only 1,761 out of 2,728,000 joined Architects and engineers for 9/11 truth. That’s 0.065% of the total. And I haven’t even looked at whether the architects and engineers listed were in fields in any way relevant to the WTC. Although the tiny minority of “experts” and others who support the perspective of the denialists might know nothing about physics, structural engineering, ballistics or explosives, they still feel qualified to assert that the vast majority of experts in these fields are wrong.

Alexander Cockburn described these kinds of amateur detectives in the following way:

“[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.”

Some might argue that there is a potential conflict of interest issue with respect to the US government and NIST funding. But this presupposes that if NIST conclusions of their findings were based upon falsehoods and lies, then the alleged cover up would extend to a further 200 technical experts and 125 leading experts from the private sector and academia— many of whom worked independently of NIST and whose work involved:

– Reviewing tens of thousands of documents.

– Interviewing more than 1,000 people.

– Reviewing 7,000 segments of video footage and 7,000 photographs.

–  Analysing 236 pieces of steel from the wreckage.

– Performing laboratory tests and sophisticated computer simulations of the sequence of events that occurred from the moment the aircraft struck the towers until they began to collapse, and so on and so forth.

Is the general public seriously expected to believe that if the NIST conclusions were based on falsifications, not one individual among the literally thousands of people who were involved in the NIST project, would not by now have come forward to publicly question any wrongful and misleading interpretation of events attributed to them by NIST? The reality is that too many people would of had to of been involved in any cover up. Moreover, it’s inconceivable that over the course of almost 15 years nobody has objected or come forward to the media.

But even if one thinks that organisations’ or individuals have colluded for reasons of political expediency, how does one explain findings from other investigations that fires alone (without any damage from the planes) were enough to bring down the WTC buildings?

Take a study undertaken by the University of Edinburgh as an example. Edinburgh published a paper in which they concluded that the towers were uniquely vulnerable to the effects of large fires on several floors at the same time. When the NIST report was published, Barbara Lane from the UK engineering firm Arup, criticized its conclusion that the structural damage resulting from the airplane impacts was a necessary factor in causing the collapses.

Cesar Pelli, who designed the Petronas Towers in Malaysia and the World Financial Centre in New York, remarked, “no building is prepared for this kind of stress.” On September 13, 2001, Zdeněk Bažant, professor of civil engineering and materials science at Northwestern University, circulated a draft paper (subsequently expanding the analysis) of the World Trade Centre collapse. Bažant suggested that heat from the fires was a key factor, causing steel columns in both the core and the perimeter to weaken and experience deformation before losing their carrying capacity and buckling. Once more than half of the columns on a particular floor buckled, the overhead structure could no longer be supported and complete collapse of the structures occurred.

Other analyses were conducted by MIT civil engineers Oral Buyukozturk and Franz-Josef Ulm, who also described a collapse mechanism on September 21, 2001. Many who have questioned the official version of events argue that the truth can be found by visiting websites like http://www.911truth.org, http://www.physics911.net and http://www.911scholars.org or by reading articles by the theology professor David Ray Griffin, the physicist Steven E. Jones and others. But in all these cases you will find wild supposition raised to the status of incontrovertible fact; rumour and confusion transformed into evidence; selective editing; the citation of fake experts and the dismissal of real ones.

Rather like climate change deniers, 9/11 “truther’s” cherry-pick their evidence and seize any excuse for ignoring the arguments of the vast majority of the relevant experts in the field.  Naturally, those in positions of power or influence who challenge conspiracy theories are invariably deemed to be part of the conspiracy. As David Robert Grimes, postdoctoral research associate at the University of Oxford, who has used maths to examine conspiracy theories, argues “..those making these charges will descend into accusing one of shilling or being an agent of some malignant entity.” Grimes calculates the greater number of people that are involved in a conspiracy means the shorter its lifespan is likely to be. In response to his work, conspiracy theorists have threatened him and tried to get him removed from his academic position.

The evidence that planes smashed into the twin towers which triggered a set of events that resulted in their collapse, is overwhelming. But all this overwhelming evidence is not enough. Apparently, to qualify as an opponent of the neocons, it’s not sufficient to acknowledge that the Bush administration exploited the attacks on the WTC for their own political ends, but rather, one must also believe that it could blast the Pentagon with a cruise missile while persuading over a hundred witnesses that they saw a plane, wire every floor of the Twin Towers, detonate them in a perfectly timed sequence and make Flight 93 disappear into thin air while ensuring that the relatives of the passengers collaborated with the deception.

In other words, one must believe that an incompetent set of governments,’ who failed to pull off Watergate and who were incapable of faking weapons of mass destruction, are all-seeing and all-powerful. People believe the false arguments of the 9-11 truth movement because it proposes a closed world that’s comprehensible and controllable, as opposed to one that’s chaotic without destination or purpose.