Tuesday, May 01, 2007

In her ceaseless prowling of the internet, looking for mice to pounce upon, Molly came on a real gem recently. In March 2005 the venerable magazine 'Popular Mechanics' published an article on the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon explaining the rather simple physics and engineering behind how the attacks were so destructive. To that point the editors of that magazine, fascinated as they were with wiring and widgets, were rather naive children is the forest of fringe politics. The naivety didn't last. Their article was greeted with a massive internet flurry of abuse, none of it answering their article of course.
On October 13th, 2006 they published a rejoiner which can be found at http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/research/4199607.html . The flavour of the attacks on them can be gauged with the sentence that the author uses to introduce this article. It says,
"On February 7, 2005, I became a member of the Bush/Haliburton/Zionist/CIA/New World Order/Illuminati conspiracy for global domination."
Yup, Popular Mechanics actually took a look at the conspiracy nuts who generated much of the hate mail, and I guess they were actually surprised to turn over this rock and find the maggots of nostalgic admirers of Hitler crawling beneath. It hardly surprises Molly. Bizarre conspiracy theories were a staple of ultra reactionaries long before old Adolph's great, great, great grandfather was a wiggling little sperm. They bequeathed this inheritance to their fascist descendants, and they, in turn, bequeathed it to their admirers today. No real surprise there, and the editors of Popular Mechanics should count themselves lucky that they had no previous contact with this underworld. Wiring and widgets may be sterile, but sterile beats putrid any day of the week. Molly has had her own little encounters with another "underworld" in her decades as an anarchist. Sympathy for acts of mindless violence amongst a few anarchists in modern decades, a small minority I assure you, has usually gone hand in glove with an absolutely uncritical admiration for other terrorists who wear an ill-fitting leftist disguise. The whole idea that anarchism should be utterly and completely opposed to Leninist tyranny and those who seek to impose it by acts of mindless violence seems a non-starter to those people. The last century and a half of anarchist history is actually a non-starter. Their world view is fueled by rather childish emotions, and the obvious futility of such tactics penetrates as deeply as the facts do for their right wing brothers. At its worst such people make common cause not just with the pathetic remains of Maoism but with neo-nazis. The attraction of using brutality is far greater than any political ideology in these cases.
But anyways have a look at the above essay for an amusing and interesting tour through the logical fallacies of "conspiratorism". The tour is instructive because the errors in thought pop up over and over in much other political discourse- just not in such concentrated and massive form.
If you are interested here are a couple of other references from critics of the 9/11 conspiracy nuts:
and a longer version at Counterpunch: http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn09092006.html
Of course you shouldn't miss George Monbiot's piece in The Guardian entitled '9/11 Fantasists pose a mortal danger to popular oppositional campaigns' . Molly love the way he describes the 9/11 conspiracy nuts as engaging in "displacement behavior" similar to that of a squirrel that sees a larger squirrel taking a nut and rather than attack it opponent turns on the tree and gnaws it to shreds. Hence the graphic above, and also Molly's recommendation to visit Scary Squirrel World, a subject too long neglected on this blog. Go over to SSW for the only conspiracy theory worth taking seriously (and funny too).


Anonymous said...

There are no citation for P.M. Claims. P.M. was crafty story that avoid true quetions "Nuts" have.

Anonymous said...

Look at the field were Flight 93 landed. No Plane, nothing.

terry said...

Check out the new book by Dr. David Ray Griffin “Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory”
www.amazon.com/Debunking 9-11 Debunking


b. j. edwards said...

"Look at the field were Flight 93 landed. No Plane, nothing."

Flight 93 did not land. It crashed at high speed. Ergo, pretty good disintegration as would obviously be expected.

They dug out most of it.

b. j. edwards said...

Poor Griffin sealed his fate as one of the wackier 9/11 Deniers long ago but could not resist an encore performance - with a whole bevy of True Believers like terry awestruck and prostrate before him in benevolent praise.

terry said...

Also, check out the Senior Military, Intelligence, Law Enforcement, Government Officials, Professors, 9-11 Survivors and Family Members who have expressed significant criticism of the 9-11 Commission Report and/or allege government complicity in 9-11 found here:


marc awodey MFA said...

what did that guy mean "no citation" for PM's claims? sorry to use up space but these folks are pretty credible - more so than webster tarply, alex jones, and the christian theologian griffin
Bill Crowley special agent, FBI

Ron Dokell president, Demolition Consultants

Richard Gazarik staff writer, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Yates Gladwell pilot, VF Corp.

Michael K. Hynes, Ed.D.,
ATP, CFI, A&P/IA president, Hynes Aviation Services; expert, aviation crashes

Ed Jacoby Jr. director,
New York State Emergency Management Office (Ret.); chairman, New York State Disaster Preparedness Commission (Ret.)

Johnstown-Cambria County Airport Authority

Cindi Lash staff writer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Matthew McCormick manager, survival factors division, National Transportation Safety Board (Ret.)

Wallace Miller coroner, Somerset County, PA

Robert Nagan meteorological technician, Climate Services Branch, National Climatic Data Center

Dave Newell director, aviation and travel, VF Corp.

James O’Toole politics editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania State Police Public Information Office

Jeff Pillets senior writer,
The Record, Hackensack, NJ

Jeff Rienbold director, Flight 93 National Memorial, National Park Service

Dennis Roddy staff writer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Master Sgt. David Somdahl public affairs officer,
119th Wing, North Dakota
Air National Guard

Mark Stahl photographer; eyewitness, United Airlines Flight 93 crash scene

Air Defense
Lt. Col. Skip Aldous (Ret.) squadron commander,
U.S. Air Force

Tech. Sgt. Laura Bosco public affairs officer,
Tyndall Air Force Base

Boston Center regional air traffic control

Laura Brown spokeswoman,
Federal Aviation Administration

Todd Curtis, Ph.D. founder, Airsafe.com; president, Airsafe.com Foundation

Keith Halloway public affairs officer, National Transportation Safety Board

Ted Lopatkiewicz director, public affairs, National Transportation Safety Board

Maj. Douglas Martin public affairs officer,
North American Aerospace Defense Command

Lt. Herbert McConnell public affairs officer,
Andrews AFB

Michael Perini public affairs officer, North American Aerospace Defense Command

John Pike director, GlobalSecurity.org

Hank Price spokesman, Federal
Aviation Administration

Warren Robak RAND Corp.

Bill Shumann spokesman,
Federal Aviation Administration

Louis Walsh public affairs officer, Eglin AFB

Chris Yates aviation security editor, analyst, Jane’s Transport

Fred E.C. Culick, Ph.D., S.B., S.M. professor of aeronautics, California Institute of Technology

Robert Everdeen public affairs, Northrop Grumman

Clint Oster professor of public and environmental affairs, Indiana University; aviation safety expert

Capt. Bill Scott (Ret. USAF) Rocky Mountain bureau chief, Aviation Week

Bill Uher News Media Office, NASA Langley Research Center

Col. Ed Walby (Ret. USAF)
director, business development, HALE Systems Enterprise, Unmanned Systems, Northrop Grumman

Image Analysis
William F. Baker member, FEMA Probe Team; partner, Skidmore, Owings, Merrill

W. Gene Corley, Ph.D., P.E., S.E. senior vice president, CTL Group; director,
FEMA Probe Team

Bill Daly senior vice president, Control Risks Group

Steve Douglass image analysis consultant, Aviation Week

Thomas R. Edwards, Ph.D. founder, TREC; video forensics expert.

Ronald Greeley, Ph.D. professor of geology, Arizona State University

Rob Howard freelance photographer; WTC eyewitness

Robert L. Parker, Ph.D. professor of geophysics,
University of California, San Diego

Structural Engineering / Building Collapse
Farid Alfawakhiri, Ph.D. senior engineer, American Institute of Steel Construction

David Biggs, P.E. structural engineer, Ryan-Biggs Associates; member, ASCE team for FEMA report

Robert Clarke structural engineer, Controlled Demolitions Group Ltd.

Glenn Corbett technical editor, Fire Engineering; member, NIST advisory committee

Vincent Dunn deputy fire chief (Ret.), FDNY; author, The Collapse Of Burning Buildings: A Guide To Fireground Safety

John Fisher, Ph.D. professor of civil engineering, Lehigh University; professor emeritus, Center for Advanced Technology; member, FEMA Probe Team

Ken Hays executive vice president, Masonry Arts

Christoph Hoffmann, Ph.D. professor of computer science, Purdue University; project director, September 11 Pentagon Attack Simulations Using LS-Dyna, Purdue University

Allyn E. Kilsheimer, P.E.
CEO, KCE Structural Engineers PC; chief structural engineer, Phoenix project; expert in blast recovery, concrete structures, emergency response

Won-Young Kim, Ph.D. seismologist, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University

William Koplitz photo desk manager, FEMA

John Labriola freelance photographer, WTC survivor

Arthur Lerner-Lam, Ph.D. seismologist; director,
Earth Institute, Center for Hazards and Risk Research, Columbia University

James Quintiere, Ph.D. professor of engineering, University of Maryland member, NIST advisory committee

Steve Riskus freelance photographer; eyewitness, Pentagon crash

Van Romero, Ph.D. vice president, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology

Christine Shaffer spokesperson, Viracon

Mete Sozen, Ph.D., S.E. Kettelhut Distinguished Professor of Structural Engineering, Purdue University; member, Pentagon Building Performance Report; project conception, September 11 Pentagon Attack Simulations Using LS-Dyna, Purdue University

Shyam Sunder, Sc.D.
acting deputy director, lead investigator, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology

Mary Tobin science writer, media relations, Earth Institute, Columbia University

Forman Williams, Ph.D. professor of engineering, physics, combustion, University of California,
San Diego; member, advisory committee, National Institute of Standards and Technology