« Talk Is Not About Info | Main | Self-Haters Donate More »

April 09, 2009

Comments

> Huge buildings known to include CIA offices happened to hold big chunks of hitech pyrotech when the planes hit.

How big chunks are we talking, exactly? The papers didn't cover this when I skimmed through. Larger than CIA offices could plausibly have for destroying all classified materials?

WTC 7 wasn't hit by any plane, yet collapsed:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LD06SAf0p9A

Interesting. It almost seems like one should make some predictions, say 10 sort of crazy ones, say them enough to be able to cite them if one or two happen, but not be so insistently repetitive that when 8 or 9 predictions don't happen, everyone remembers and makes fun of you. Maybe there's a sweet spot of remember-ability for cynical types to exploit! Make crazy predictions not too memorable, but not too forgettable either. ;)

This 22 second video shows a "random" bystander explaining what happened.

I don't know what you guys call this in the bias business, but this is a case where one conclusion just isn't socially acceptable because it contradicts fundamental beliefs. The official 9/11 story has become part of our accepted American mythology. The same way someone deeply embedded within a pro-life group can't come to the conclusion that abortion should be legal, anyone who wishes to remain inside of the sane group and avoid being instantly assigned to the 'conspiracy theorist crazies' group must come to the 'sane' conclusion that the towers fell simply because the planes/debris hit them.

So I would say there is a 100% likelihood that Robin Hanson will avoid being assigned to the conspiracy theorist crazies group by coming to the 'sane' conclusion.

Jason,

you make a good point. Another thing I noticed is that Robin is making the mistake explained in
The Importance of Saying "Oops". He is conceding as little ground as possible with each incoming evidence but he wasn't able until now to recognize that there is a fundamental problem with the official version.

Addendum:
The Importance of Saying "Oops"

What bothers me is the idea that the planes brought the towers down being coupled with the idea that the kind of 'controlled demolition' required to bring the towers down would have taken many people and months of preparation.

The standard story is that it only took a small conspiracy and no specialized explosives. Why is another small conspiracy and some more standard issue explosives so much more unlikely?

Note the asymmetric commenting - a few pro-conspiracy buffs are eager to comment, while the far more numerous skeptics find the subject too boring to comment.

Roland, I'm well aware.

gwern, I haven't seen that calculation.

Jason, are you really accusing me of having excessively conservative beliefs overall?

James, since we know the planes hit, we'd need to explain two coordinated conspiracies.

a few pro-conspiracy buffs are eager to comment

Including those with rival theories. Damn it, can't you all see that Iraq was behind it and the US government covered it up, because they'd already covered up Iraqi involvement all the way back to 1993, and so the final war against Saddam had to be justified by other reasons? :-)

@Robin

"too boring"

No, we don't find it too boring - we find these conspiracy theories sad. We hope these troubled conspiracy folks find a better way to accept what happened, grieve, and move on in a healthy way.

As one listed in the 9-11 Health Registry myself, who worked for a company that lost 4 colleagues and 1 ex-colleague when the Towers fell, as one standing on the street corner in that ticker-tape parade from Hell as the desperate threw themselves from the roof, I understand the common psychological need to find an "answer" to the events of that day.

The facts are clear to those of us who were actually on the ground that day, and who worked and lived in the area around the clock for months beforehand. My co-workers, and many other innocent people, were murdered by Islamicist ideologues, hijackers who flew planes into the buildings at the behest of Al Qaeda.

I know that many people, used to the psychological shadow of the American hyperpower, have deep, nearly unspeakable barriers to admitting this. To admit this means we were vulnerable to a small out-group. This is profoundly painful to many, to admit the weakness of our in-group.

We hold our place in our in-group by maintaining its superiority at all costs; as human beings, our in-group's status is quite important to us. So it is easier to argue that in fact we were not vulnerable from "the outside," from mere "rag-tag cave-dwellers," that we perversely had to "do it to ourselves."

Conspiracy, while strained, and bolstered only with the most absurd stretches towards plausibility, offers more comfort - it allows America to retain its power. It is a strange but strong way to signal a continued belief in the superiority of America.

But it does so at the expense of justice. And if justice - which comes only from knowledge of the truth - is not our highest moral value, then we have gone far astray.

My colleagues and those like them who were murdered do deserve such justice. This means that the planners of the attacks must be captured and go before the Hague for their crime against humanity. To argue for these worthless conspiracy theories, while salving dark tribal needs, serves only to divert attention and resources to delay justice.

As Robin has so often and eloquently noted, self-deception is a great force. We deceive ourselves with true sincerity and much effort; then use that sincerity to deceive others. So we can see, using Robin's own principles, why and how 9-11 conspiracy theorists come to ardently believe the false, and evangelize their falsehoods.

But Robin also teaches the love of truth against all forces. While the conspiracy sirens sing in our ears, we at OB must steel ourselves to bear crushing and sorrowful truths, no matter how painful. Sing away. I will not be deceived; I have tied myself to the truth of what we who were there all experienced that day together.

Note the asymmetric commenting - a few pro-conspiracy buffs are eager to comment, while the far more numerous skeptics find the subject too boring to comment.

Robin,

that's asymmetric valuation. Those who believe the official story are skeptics, the others are conspiracy BUFFS(a pejorative). Robin, the official story is as much a conspiracy theory("it was Bin Laden") as the alternative explanations. Also consider that those who promoted the official version were the same who claimed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, what later proved to be false. Why would you believe them?

One problem is that you are operating under different basic assumptions than myself. IMHO most so called terrorist actions are in fact false flag operations to win public support for government policies. Once you realize this the pieces fall into place.

I provide two links from wikipedia:
False flag as a pretext for war
Interesting to note is that governments only admit the authorship decades after the fact.
Operation Northwoods

'Also consider that those who promoted the official version were the same who claimed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, what later proved to be false. Why would you believe them?'

This, itself, is a logical fallacy. I will concede that everyone who promoted the WMD theory also accepts the official 911 theory, but not everyone who accepts the official 911 theory promoted the WMD theory. That aside, the bigger problem is that because someone lied, even about what might be considered a related incident, it does not mean that they are always lying.

MissedCall:

When I wrote about the promoters of those two theories I was thinking more about key people in the government. Lying about "What might be considered a related incident"? man those are part of a bigger government agenda which btw was planned much before 911. You have to look at the big picture. Sure, I concede that the official 9-11 version could still be true, but once you realized that they lied in regard to WMD maybe it's time to question the government and listen to the skeptics.

The biggest problem that I have with the "controlled demolitions" theories are that, well...

How the hell did they, whoever they are, know the date and manner of the 9/11 attacks far enough in advance to set up a controlled demolition?

Besides, haven't you seen that South Park episode? The 9/11 Truth movement is run by government agents trying to trick everyone into thinking that the government actually runs things! ;)

Jason, according to your logic, there is no way Robin could possibly develop an informed opinion, upon assessing the evidence, because one position is more popular. Isn't equally possible that you cannot possibly maintain an accurate position on the matter, because you will tend favor ideas that are edgy, "against the grain," and point to a large-scale conspiracy? Psychoanalyzing away the need for or usefulness of weighing evidence is most convenient for the side with lots of passions, but less evidence.

@Roland,

Fair enough. I had no problem with your broader logic. Just wanted to point out what I felt was an overstatement.

@Doug,

Usually the people who support the controlled demolitions theories (and I don't count myself among them) assume that the attacks were also staged.

@all,

We hear a lot about the steal, the jet fuel and the paper/office products. What about everything else? From the gasses in the thousands upon thousands of fluorescent lights to the aluminum ducts that ran through the building, it seems like (and I didn’t slog through all of the documents Robin referenced, some had page numbers 300+) These other materials get over looked in how they could have contributed to the end result. Even if, in the end, these other materials don’t account for everything and some explosive materials (as in Robin’s 1st scenario) would still be necessary, the lower the quantity of materials need the easier it is to accept their presence. (I’m sure that reflects a bias on my part.)

@Doug:
How the hell did they, whoever they are, know the date and manner of the 9/11 attacks far enough in advance to set up a controlled demolition?

Doug, are you talking seriously here? The people who planned the plane crashes are the same who set up the demolition.

This is ridiculous. Everyone knows it was the Trilateral Commission.

'This is ridiculous. Everyone knows it was the Trilateral Commission.'

/I like what you did there. Although...

Just want to remind everyone of this passage from the post Roland linked us to earlier, 'Theories must be bold and expose themselves to falsification; be willing to commit the heroic sacrifice of giving up your own ideas when confronted with contrary evidence; play nice in your arguments;' It’s particularly that last one.

At the risk of stating the (beyond) obvious, everyone's got very strong emotions about this topic, it's easy to get heated. I was nervous posting at all. I think that all of us showing a little more caution than we otherwise would, all of us playing a little nicer than usual, wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world.

There's a much stronger reason why the Truthers are eager to comment and the rest of us aren't. It's simply that most of us realize gains from the division of labor, while the Truthers have opted not to.

I don't happen to trust my knowledge of structural engineering, chemistry, and inside CIA information well enough to make an informed comment. I leave that to professional engineers, chemists, and intelligence analysts. This is much like I do with medicine: On anything important, I ask my doctor and almost always follow his advice.

Truthers, however, have no such qualms. They appear to believe themselves experts in engineering, chemistry, and the inner workings of the CIA. The result is that they end up with an inferior output.

when you call your mother on the phone do you say 'hi mom, this is robin hanson'?
there are other things more glaring than thermite but who cares? i don't.

'The facts are clear to those of us who were actually on the ground that day, and who worked and lived in the area around the clock for months beforehand.'
That doesn't seem to follow. Witnessing the events doesn't introduce you to any relevant information not available to the general public (other than the fact that the planes really did hit the towers, something that the 'fringe' conspiracy theorists don't seem to agree).

"everyone's got very strong emotions about this topic"

And this is where the topic truly fits into OB, in my opinion.

A couple of buildings, gone. Roughly the number of people who die in motorcycle wrecks a year, gone.

Histrionics, still here.
Lotta troops, over there.

We're suckers, alright. No matter who knocked 'em down.

BUFFS(a pejorative)
It's usually used as almost the opposite, in my experience: someone unusually interested and knowledgeable about a subject. The kind of person to ask if you'd like to learn more.

"Theories must be bold and expose themselves to falsification; be willing to commit the heroic sacrifice of giving up your own ideas when confronted with contrary evidence; play nice in your arguments;"

@conspiracy theorists: Can you think of any event or piece of evidence that would cause your theory to fail instead of simply morphing to accommodate it?

If you'd really put that one at 10%, is there any way we can bet on this?

Robin,

Does anybody believe the original official version about the Iraq government involvement? I think it is a bias to believe that there is some static "official version". It only means that you believe anything the government says is true at any point. This can hardly be said to be rational, because nobody believes the original version anymore.

If you belive something else, make it explicit.

Robin, I would have thought that the well-documented human tendency to engage in conspiratorial thinking even when there is demonstrably no evidence of conspiracy would give you strong reason to distrust your inclination to disbelieve the official story about 9-11, even after exposing yourself to the relevant literature on this question. There is also the issue concerning the epistemology of disagreement; I can think of very few other areas where epistemic superiors agree so unanimously as they do here. Finally, note that the factors generating the asymmetry in the posting of comments that you correctly identify above are also likely to generate an asymmetry in the production of arguments: for every physicist arguing for conspiracy, there are dozens who can’t be bothered to argue against it. The fact that nearly all the experts have argued against conspiracy shows how overwhelming the discrepancy really is.

/I like what you did there.

Not sure what you mean. I'm just using my Bayesianism, that's all. If controlled demolition brought down the towers, then there is a nonzero probability that the explosives were always there; installed during construction. Does "CIA" by default have a higher value than "David Rockefeller/Trilateral Commission?" They were good buddies, after all. And I have an equal amount of proof for my assertion.

One the other hand, if one has prior knowledge that wood, plastic, and most organic materials have an adiabatic flame temperature of ~1950 C, hot enough to melt metals, or even if one simply stops to consider that the Chinese were melting iron in the 5th century BC using charcoal, then the cited papers might not have as big an impact on one's reasoning.

Richard Muller, the author of this "buckling" argument (http://muller.lbl.gov/ [Link: "Analysis of the Terrorist Attack"] ) seems authoritative to me, and his explanation of the physics involved matches my naive intuitions.

Mikko said: Does anybody believe the original official version about the Iraq government involvement?

Well, if you're talking about the WTC attacks, the official version is "the Iraqi government was not involved at all", and I think pretty much everyone believes that.

(As to the original post and links, I should point out that #2's actual paper suggests "Data collected by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicate striking spikes in levels of benzene, styrene, and several other products of combustion" ... which has no relation to the "thermite" suggested by #3 (where "thermite" here means "any combination of aluminum and iron" - and thermite is not an explosive).

Likewise, the "unreacted thermitic compounds" suggest the opposite of a demolition charge - in that, one would expect to not find lots of unreacted thermite, as the fact of it burning would be the cause of the collapse. (And since thermite is not an explosive, it's not so that one would expect it to eg "blow up and send out a cloud of unburnt/unburning thermite dust".) Note that the abstract in that case makes no guesses of any sort as to the origin of the compounds - but knowing that a steel-frame building with lots of aluminum in it collapsed (in the process creating a huge amount of metal-on-metal friction and energy), it seems far more plausible that they're a result of the collapse physics than that they're "evidence of demolition".

A similar caveat must apply to the "but there were globules of molten stuff" paper - even if we bracket concerns with methodology and source, that the dust had "150 times as much globular iron as household dust" sounds more incriminating than it is, given that it was, again a steel framed building that just collapsed in an energetic way after being hit by an... aluminum aircraft in an even more energetic way.)

And to back up Josh, this article has stood the test of time very well, explaining exactly how the very specific structure of the WTC towers combined with mere uneven heating from kerosene fires is more than sufficient to explain structural failure and collapse.

Sigivald,

Well, if you're talking about the WTC attacks, the official version is "the Iraqi government was not involved at all", and I think pretty much everyone believes that.

You missed my point. You state the current official version. The question I asked was: does anybody believe the original official version. Many people used to believe it, including me.

I for one would like to see a post on all the true conspiracies out there. We seem more biased against government conspiracies, but find all conspiracy theories to be rather wacky. However, there have historically been conspiracies in government, with significant affects (e.g., Gulf of Tonkin, the Iraq War). These conspiracies have been extremely destructive, yet we don't often even acknowledge them as such. Why don't we think 9/11 could have been something similar?

I'm skeptical of 9/11 conspiracy theories because I think its unlikely so many different people within different government agencies could undertake such a large operation without any sort of leaks. Successful conspiracies generally have to remain small.

Also, I'm not familiar with nano-thermites, but thermite is simply a mixture of aluminum and iron oxide (rust). I would think there would be an abundance of those two materials within the building, and the jet fuel would create high enough temperatures to ignite it.

If you were going to take down the Towers in a controlled demolition, why bother staging a kamikaze plane crash? Wouldn't it be simpler and easier to stage an incident like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, in which an actual bomb was used? That way, if anyone finds evidence of explosives or some such, then, well, duh, it was from the bomb the terrorist used!

On the topic of true conspiracies in government:

The largest government conspiracy in history, of which I am aware, is the Manhattan Project. Each person you add to a conspiracy increases the chances that someone is going to disagree that the secret conspiracy should be kept secret and spill the beans. The way you can have a secret shared among so many people is if almost everyone would agree that the secret should be kept secret. Not one person involved revealed the secret to the Germans, because, among the general population, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would want the secret revealed to the Germans. On the other hand, it would be much easier to find someone willing to share the secret with our allies in Russia, and the details of the Manhattan Project were, in fact, leaked to Russia.

If the average person would consider a specific conspiracy to be "evil", then you're simply not going to be able to make that conspiracy out of a large number of average people, and most government employees are average people.

AFAIK the US Government never explicitly alleged Iraqi involvement in 9/11; they just said "Iraq" and "9/11" in close proximity over and over again, after which a majority of the US population came to believe that Iraq had something to do with 9/11.

I compliment Robin on actually estimating a probability for the two theories (9/11 facilitated by U.S. government vs. not).

What we are trying to do here is come to conclusions about the causes of events we only saw at a distance. We cannot come to certain conclusions about this. If we want to be rational, we have to estimate. It is irrational to believe with total certainty that yes, the U.S. government facilitated this, or no, that it didn't.

My estimation is 75% no government involvement, 25% Bush and his buddies helped it happen.

With regard to the "uncanny" valley, it seems to me that the problem is similar as that in voting. Suppose your private ranking of candidates is 60% for candidate A, 30% for candidate B, and 10% for candidate C. Even if the voting system was such that you were able to express a vote structured as 60-30-10, I believe there's some mathematics somewhere which shows that this is not what you should prefer. If your internal ranking is 60-30-10, you will maximize the desirability of your outcomes by voting 100-0-0. I think.

Doug, yes, faking a bombing would seem easier.

Grant, it would be great if historians could give us a rough estimate of how often war-inducing transgressions were created by conspiracies on the harmed side.

Sigivald, one might expect a few but not most, charges failed to trigger. Mere crash energy and ordinary materials seem by themselves insufficient to create high enough temperatures to create large quantities of molten iron. And the nano thermite found is clearly not just an accidental mix of aluminum and iron.

Pablo, until I looked into details I didn't know exactly where experts agreed. There are plausible biases both ways here.

Paul, I didn't say I put it at 10%.

Mere crash energy and ordinary materials seem by themselves insufficient to create high enough temperatures to create large quantities of molten iron.

You should read up on how a blast furnace works before coming to that conclusion.

@denis bider et al. regarding the use of numbers.

If you are pulling the numbers out of thin air they are totally useless. I also disagree with the thinking on historical basis like: 10% of the war pretexts were conspiracies so the probability in this case must be 10%.

Folks, we have sufficient detailed data about what exactly happened to be able to screen off similar incidents. Let us reason based on that.

There are some oddities about Flight 93, such as the local residents who claim to have seen a fighter jet right after the crash, or to have heard a missile. See http://gnn.tv/videos/viewer.php?id=62&n=2

Agreed with the commenter who pointed out that if someone wanted to use demolitions on the Twin Towers, it would have been incredibly pointless and stupid to involve a set of hijacked planes . . . The hijackings might have failed for any number of reasons (incompetence, lack of opportunity, flight delays, detection by the authorities, someone spilling the beans, or a pilot who fought back), and hence the planes might not have crashed in such a way that the towers' collapse was plausible.

And anyway, terrorists had already tried to set off a bomb in 1993, so the most obvious and most plausible plot would just be to set up demolitions in the towers, set them off, and then claim that the terrorists came back to finish the job. Why add in the stupid complication of a set of hijackings, if your real plan is to use explosives?

If you ask me, the best evidence isn't the technical details of the collapse, building 7, the supposedly unrecoverable flight recorders etc, but rather the administration's attitude toward the investigation. Barrie Zwicker has a good piece on it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9g5xGU_uCks#t=5m38s

Robin, I don't think that what I said implies that you have overly conservative beliefs. I thought that I was clear enough in my point which was not about your beliefs or really intended to just be specific to yourself or this particular issue.

I'm saying that in this type of case, regardless of what the rationalization is, a significant number of people are going to think you are deluded or completely insane if you decide that 9/11 was 'an inside job'. Of course we should all be skeptical -- such a conspiracy would mean that the world was even more unbelievable than most come close to realizing.

The next idea is that knowing people will think we are crazy is definitely going to affect our conclusions (generally formed more subconsciously/emotionally than logically, but that is another discussion about people in general and not a personal accusation) and therefore our rationalizations.

Its just impossible to overcome the bias of wanting to be sane. In order to come to the "crazy" conclusion, you have to first modify your world-view to completely reclassify all of the crazy 9/11 conspiracy theorists as insightful 9/11 truth bearers. Then you have to accept that you will now be classified as a crazy conspiracy theorist.

Rethink the scenario without planes, where the terrorists used only explosives to bring down the towers. Wouldn't that raise a number of questions? Like, how could they place all these explosives without being seen? Then you would immediately have a suspicion against the ones responsible for the towers.

With the current official story there is no connection between the towers and the terrorists before the moment of impact. Isn't that a valid reason for using both planes and explosives? Using the planes could even have two purposes: Hiding the fact that there were explosives planted (to make sure the towers collapsed) and having all newsmedia in the world broadcasting the collapse in realtime.

With both planes and explosives there are of course a number of other questions without answer. How did they synchronize the operation? How did they make sure the planes would hit with good enough precision? But just because you don't have answers to these questions you can't falsify the theory that both planes and explosives were used in bringing down the towers.

I am from Sweden and have no emotional involvement in the matter, although I find it very interesting. I have not made up my mind of what I think really happened. I just know that there are a number of peculiarities surrounding the event.

@ Robin

As you are aware, the World Trade Center was a complex of buildings. Of the three destroyed on 9/11 (Towers 1, 2 and 7) only WTC7 had a CIA office in it and this building was not destroyed until much later in the day.

So, to follow your first scenario through:

The sample that was collected by a Manhattan resident about ten minutes after the collapse of the second WTC Tower (i.e. at approximately 10:40am) probably contained traces of nano-thermite in it because a different building, which would not collapse for another six hours (at 5:20pm), had a CIA office in it.

Bravo on a tremendous leap of logic.

And let us not even get into why a CIA office would even have such explosives in it, let alone 'big chunks'(10-100 tonnes according to one of the paper's authors.)

You should rename this site "Overcoming Insanity".

With regard to some of the other nonsense on here:

@ Jason Kuznicki

"It's simply that most of us realize gains from the division of labor, while the Truthers have opted not to."

I suggest you take a look at some of the qualification on show here.

@ Grant

"I'm not familiar with nano-thermites, but thermite is simply a mixture of aluminum and iron oxide (rust). I would think there would be an abundance of those two materials within the building, and the jet fuel would create high enough temperatures to ignite it."

That makes as much sense as saying, "I am not familiar with nano-apple pies, but there was enough apples and pastry in that building...". Nano-thermite is engineered.

I don't consider Steven Jones or his paper a credible source. He is co-founder and co-editor of the "Journal of 9/11 studies," which published the paper. Calling the journal "peer-reviewed" is an abuse of the term. Other work by Jones starts with his belief that Jesus visited America and--lo and behold--he finds supporting "evidence." This paper follows a similar pattern.

In reality there is plenty of historical evidence of plain old forest fires burning hot enough to melt steel rails, collapse metal bridges, etc. No jet fuel or nanothermites required. Two giant fires burining 1000 feet in the air, and later one immense fire--I smelled it 7 miles away on 112th St.--70 feet underground, with all sorts of plastics and other fuel loads, plus endless sources of combustion air from underground tunnels, but Robin lets Jones get away with comparing the fire to a typical house fire and citing air temperatures that are clearly averages over large area.

The mysteries are not fed by evidence but by ignorance. This paragraph from the Springerlink paper illustrates the mindset:

The characteristics of these un-extinguishable fires have not been adequately explained as the results of a normal structure fire, even one accelerated by jet fuel. Conversely, such fires are better explained given the presence of chemical energetic materials, which provide their own fuel and oxidant and are not deterred by water, dust, or chemical suppressants.

In other words, WTC was not a normal fire, so it was probably nanothermites. And those hoofbeats I hear must be zebras, not horses.

@David

"I don't consider Steven Jones or his paper a credible source."

Well The Open Chemical Physics Journal obviously does. Are you also saying you do not consider this a credible journal? If not, why?

"Calling the journal "peer-reviewed" is an abuse of the term."

Are you implying that the Open Chemical Physics Journal does not employ standard peer-reviewing procedures? What evidence do you have to support this claim?

It is difficult to grasp what you actually do believe. Are you claiming that Jones et al did not find active thermitic material in the WTC dust? Is he therefore lying? Are all his colleagues and the staff of the Open Chemical Physics Journal engaged in a massive conspiracy to make you believe they found something that was not there?

The rest of your post is irrelevant to the subject - but what the hell.....

You start off with the very bold assertion that:

"In reality there is plenty of historical evidence of plain old forest fires burning hot enough to melt steel rails, collapse metal bridges, etc. No jet fuel or nanothermites required."

Unfortunately you forget to reference even one.

Undeterred, you go on to offer some highly credible olfactory-based evidence (perhaps Jones should have gone with the more provocative title: "New evidence possibly challenges what David thought he smelled on 9/11") and assert that "Robin lets Jones get away with comparing the fire to a typical house fire and citing air temperatures that are clearly averages over large area."

Without wishing to defend Robin (whose own take on the issue was also weak) he did at least appear to have grasped what the most significant issue is- something you have clearly failed to do (the clue is in the title David). Failing to grasp this point you allow yourself to get bogged down in irrelevant technicalities.

You then give us the Zen-like insight that "The mysteries are not fed by evidence but by ignorance" and site a paragraph which you obviously have not fully understood. For your benefit I will highlight the important part:

The characteristics of these un-extinguishable fires have not been adequately explained as the results of a normal structure fire, even one accelerated by jet fuel. Conversely, such fires are better explained given the presence of chemical energetic materials , which provide their own fuel and oxidant and are not deterred by water, dust, or chemical suppressants.

"In other words, WTC was not a normal fire, so it was probably nanothermites."

No, in other words "There were nanothermites present, so it was probably nanothermites."

"And those hoofbeats I hear must be zebras, not horses."

To assume zebras when you hear hoofbeats is illogical, for you are attributing the effect to the least probable cause. But if someone produces a scientific paper proving that zebras were present at the time of the hoofbeating, your refusal to acknowledge this because "Horses could have made that noise" is just ignorant.

David, did you actually read any of the Jones papers?

Wonderboy, I didn't claim the thermite came only from WTC7. I don't assume I know where all the CIA offices were; the point is that there could be a lot of strange organizations with offices there. We have to judge the relative likelihood of two a priori unlikely hypotheses.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Less Wrong (sister site)

May 2009

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
          1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31