Tuesday, February 02, 2010

I'd rather play tennis

The late German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer liked to compare intellectual argument to tennis, a sport he played well into his nineties. Just as tennis players have to make their shots high enough to get over a net, and then land them within a specified area, so participants in intellectual debate should, Gadamer insisted, make arguments that allow for the possibility of a reply from opponents. A completely one-sided argument is no more plausible or desirable than a solo game of tennis.

On the internet, even the best intellectual arguments resemble a frenetic game of ping pong, not the stately sets of tennis Gadamer loved to play on the lawns of Freiburg. Thanks to the magic of high-speed connection and the convenience of comments boxes, propositions, evidence, and points of order shoot back and forward across the internet at a speed which can be bewildering as well as exhilerating.

The modest piece on Jeanette Fitzsimons' view of 9/11 which I posted last Thursday has prompted more comments than any other post to this blog - its nearest competitor is a discussion of a different brand of conspiracy theory - but, as writers as different as Stephen King and Jack Kerouac have shown, quantity does not always equal quality.

The 'debate' over 9/11 which has followed my post on Fitzsimons resembles not a friendly game of tennis, nor even a furious ping pong match, but a drawn-out session of solo squash. Again and again, Giovanni Tiso (amongst others) has aimed a well-struck shot in the direction of an anonymous 9/11'Truther'; again and again, the shot has collided with an impermeable wall and rebounded.

Solo squash is not exactly a spectator sport, and many readers will lack the desire to consider the two hundred or more comments under my post, so I'll offer an excerpt from the 'debate' between Giovanni and his Truther interlocutor which illustrates its essential nature:

Truther: [After a lecture on the failure of non-Truthers to consider evidence that 9/11 was an 'inside job'] There was no aircraft wreckage at the Pentagon.

Giovanni: No, you're full of crap
[provides link to photos of the wreckage].

Truther: OK. So where is the photographic evidence of this wreckage?

Giovanni: In the link provided.

Truther: These people falsify evidence all the time my friend.


Giovanni's interlocutor persisted with this pattern of engagement throughout the discussion under the Fitzsimons post. First he'd challenge his opponents to provide evidence 9/11 wasn't an inside job, then he'd respond to the evidence offered to him - evidence which included photos of plane wreckage, eyewitness accounts of plane crashes, transcripts of phone calls made from a hijacked plane, quite detailed explanations of why 757s and similar aircraft cannot be controlled remotely from the ground, and much else - by claiming that it could be disregarded, because it was just the sort of evidence that the vast conspiracy behind 9/11 would fabricate.

Of course, the Truther made no effort to explain how the evidence was fabricated, to name the people involved in the fabrication, or to offer any evidence of the fabrication of evidence - for him, it was enough to state baldly that the evidence was fabricated. Here's an exchange between the Truther and an anonymous critic of his views:

Anti-Truther: So how do you think all the calls from Flight 93 [the plane that was hijacked and then crashed, after passengers stormed the cockpit] were faked? Agents putting on voices? The real people taken some place and tortured into making the calls? Some kinda voice fabrication software that is so advanced we don't know about it yet? Or paying the people who say they got the calls to lie about their loved ones? I don't know which scenario is more insane.

Truther: It would merely be speculation. I simply don't know but the governments case
[ie, the case of those who don't believe 9/11 was an inside job] is weak to the point of unbelievable.

The impossibility of any sort of rational engagement with an interlocutor like Giovanni's Truther opponent should be clear. We are invited to provide evidence that has been ruled inadmissable in advance. Ping pong and tennis are out; we can only bang our heads against the wall that has been erected in front of us.

It is not always wrong for people to be unable or unwilling to justify their beliefs in rational terms. Many people who hold religious beliefs, for example, are uninterested in justifying these beliefs with argument. My good friend the Reverend Nathan Parry, who has studied and been inspired by a lot of the great Christian mystics, once explained his refusal to submit his deepest beliefs to rational interrogation by telling me 'God is bigger than the human brain'. I think I would struggle to justify some of my own cherished beliefs - my belief that poetry is as important as economics, or my belief that Huntly is one of New Zealand's most beautiful towns, or my belief that the Black Caps will one day win the World Cup - with rational argument. If Truthers and other conspiracy theorists admitted that they held to their beliefs in an essentially religious way, and that they were unable to consider any evidence which contradicted their beliefs, then a great deal of bandwith and confusion would be avoided.

We should not have to live our whole lives in the court of rational argument, but when we do invite other people to debate us about matters that rely on the analysis and interpretation of empirical evidence, then we have a responsibility to proceed with at least a modicum of rationality. This is particularly true when tragic events like the 9/11 attacks are under discussion. By inviting us to play ball, but then refusing to deal with our replies to their shots, Truthers waste their own time and ours.

Anyone for a game of tennis, or at least ping pong?

Footnote: I've just noticed that the Truther who is the subject of this post seems to have outed him or herself as an anti-semite, by calling Simon Wiesenthal and the organisation he set up to hunt Nazis and monitor anti-semitism 'vile' at the bottom of the discussion under the previous post. While I don't necessarily support everything Wiesenthal did and everything the organisation he founded says - along with the Jewish community of Venezuela, I thought that the Wiesenthal Centre was wrong to accuse Hugo Chavez of anti-semitism several years ago - I can't understand why anyone who wasn't an anti-semite would object so violently to a man who spent his life hunting the perpetrators of the Holocaust, and an organisation that spends a lot of time exposing neo-Nazis today. What is it about Truthers and anti-semitism?

106 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about badminton?

5:02 pm  
Blogger HORansome said...

Croquet?

5:17 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Croquet is pretty bourgeois, innit?

At my school we had a weird racket sport called Long Distance. Anyone else heard of it, or is it indigenous to Drury?

5:27 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is about as dishonest as it gets.

You may wish to research some holocaust survivors thoughts on the SW centre.

And their recent "activism" in the "Darfur genocide" hoax. (Or where the money went.)

But then, research doesn't seem to be your strongpoint.

5:35 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'the "Darfur genocide" hoax'

Says it all really. What rock did this 'Truther' crawl out from under?

5:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, the "Darfur genocide" hoax. It is a phoney war for oil.

The SW centre collected millions and not one penny went to the refugees. Not a single cent.

5:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Marshall McLuhan.

Only the small lies need protecting, the big lies are protected by public incredulity.

5:52 pm  
Blogger HORansome said...

I do so love the 'Follow the money' hypothesis because it:

a) assumes money is actually important (it mistakes money for power in most cases), and

b) it suggests that the powerful figures who Conspiracy Theorists claim already run the world need, in addition to their power, money (power over us is not, it seems, sufficient; in essence it makes 'them' all the more evil because they need even more power than they have).

5:55 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Googled 'Simon Wiesenthal Centre Darfur appeal' and got nothing. This guy is nuts.

6:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.fighthatred.com/
articles/reports/jewish-
conspiracy-theory-of-the-week-
jews-behind-the-darfur-conflict

Anti-Semites seem to find a way to attribute every catastrophe and atrocity in the world to the Jews. This includes the bloodiest conflict in recent history: Darfur.

According to Sudan's defense minster Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein, 24 Jewish organizations are responsible for "fueling the conflict in Dafur". The minister accused the Jews of using their financial and political dominance in the world to promote ethnic cleansing and violence in Sudan. He also stated that the Jews are "making the largest amount of noise over the issue, and using the Holocaust in their campaigning."

Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein himself has been accused of involvement in genocide and ethnic cleansing in Sudan. He has denied that either took place and claims that the actual number of victims in the conflict is not the generally reported and accepted number of over 200,000, but rather under 10,000.

However, anti-Semitic websites, such as Stormfront, were quick to percieve Hussein's statements as truthful.

In reality, it is actually true that a number of Jewish organizations have been attempting to become involved in the Darfur crisis. The "Save Darfur Coalition" features over 20 Jewish organizations, who are actively trying to stop the Darfur atrocities through a peaceful solution to the conflict.

6:25 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"In reality, it is actually true that a number of Jewish organizations have been attempting to become involved in the Darfur crisis. The "Save Darfur Coalition" features over 20 Jewish organizations, who are actively trying to stop the Darfur atrocities through a peaceful solution to the conflict."


Yeah right, by putting troops into the oil regions rich and supporting and arming the antigovernment militias.

Peaceful resolution my arse.

It's the same shit as the Yemen threat, the Somali pirate threat and every other "threat" in the "arc of instability".

The whole thing is a hoax.


Oooooo ahhhhhh!!!!!! Scary muslims.

6:38 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Dude. I didn't even know that you could get to a second page of Blogger comments.

The impossibility of any sort of rational engagement with an interlocutor like Giovanni's Truther opponent should be clear. We are invited to provide evidence that has been ruled inadmissable in advance. Ping pong and tennis are out; we can only bang our heads against the wall that has been erected in front of us.

I might have said at some point that it was pointless to argue, but in fact it isn't, of course. You'll never win the argument in the sense of getting your Truther to concede as much as an inch, but their method is double edged: on the one hand, concentrating on a lot of disparate pieces of 'evidence', without a single cornerstone, allows them to build what may appear superficially as a coherent case. As Gage puts it, his points may be impeachable individually, but together they form an incontrovertible Truth. (Which allows him to shrug and move on if you disprove one of them, of course.)

On the other hand, the compulsion to question everything, and the strategy of evading criticism by moving constantly onto the next item on the list of things that aren't as they appear, are just too strong, and will always backfire. So too in the thread we got the Truthers to admit to believing the most outrageous things, far beyond Gage's initial purvey, and that the conspirators - who by now number literally in the tens of thousands - were in it for no less than a a dozen different motives, one more nefarious than the next. That may not be a problem for the Truthers themselves, who are comfortable with this notion, but for the lazy passerby who might find their arguments initially convincing, it's a killer. And ultimately it's about how many people they get to "convert", and how likely they are to stay converted, as it were.

6:40 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HORansome said...

I do so love the 'Follow the money' hypothesis because it:

a) assumes money is actually important (it mistakes money for power in most cases), and

b) it suggests that the powerful figures who Conspiracy Theorists claim already run the world need, in addition to their power, money (power over us is not, it seems, sufficient; in essence it makes 'them' all the more evil because they need even more power than they have).



Money is debt in our system. It is the weapon of choice but when the other won't take the debt that binds them, the military goes in.

6:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyway, the whole "antisemitic" thing is merely a statement of YOUR lack of intellect and bigotry. It's just censorship for the anti-intellectual zionist leaning dopes.

It's so overused these days that it is having the opposte effect. It probably does more for the antizionist cause than it does for "Israel".

6:43 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

blah blah blah.

You are making the positive assertion that you "know" who did it and how. The onus is on you. Instead you run around whining "antisemite" for no apparent reason oother than your clear lack of intellect and honesty.

And how many of my questions were answered?

None that I recall.


Let's do one now.

Why did Bin Laden deny it?

6:48 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

I wasn't talking to you, I was talking about you. I'm done talking to you.

6:52 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

blah blah blah.

You are making the positive assertion that you "know" who did it and how. The onus is on you. Instead you run around whining "antisemite" for no apparent reason oother than your clear lack of intellect and honesty.

And how many of my questions were answered?

None that I recall.


Let's do one now.

Why did Bin Laden deny it?

6:48 PM
Blogger Giovanni said...

I wasn't talking to you, I was talking about you. I'm done talking to you.

6:52 PM


Hahahaha. Very grown up. What a pathetic whimp.

ANTISEMITE ANTISEMITE ANTISEMITE!!!!!!

Mummy. The big bad muslims are coming!!!!

Meanwhile Palestinians die in their own land you fucking muppet.

7:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And you didn't tell me oh great knowledgable genius where the NY Fed kept its gold.

Did you you fucking coward?

7:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

However, anti-Semitic websites, such as Stormfront, were quick to percieve Hussein's statements as truthful.


Hahahaha. Link somehow to stormfront.

Are you twelve? Your zionist ideology is almost identical to those frigging nazis you dolt.

7:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want to get a tiny clue of what this is all about, read this book from the horses mouth.

You imagine that there is no global elite and it all isn't part of a plan and that you're not all just little mushrooms pontificating about stuff that you know nothing about.

Read it. Morons. You think Afghanistan was just incidental?

http://www.amazon.com/Grand-Chessboard-American-Geostrategic-Imperatives/dp/0465027261

7:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look like our friend the Truther's had a temper tantrum.

8:47 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:51 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Number one on the list of things to do to get out of the current crisis: get calmer economists.

8:52 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

"Giovanni's interlocutor persisted with this pattern of engagement throughout the discussion under the Fitzsimons post. First he'd challenge his opponents to provide evidence 9/11 wasn't an inside job, then he'd respond to the evidence offered to him - evidence which included photos of plane wreckage, eyewitness accounts of plane crashes, transcripts of phone calls made from a hijacked plane, quite detailed explanations of why 757s and similar aircraft cannot be controlled remotely from the ground, and much else - by claiming that it could be disregarded, because it was just the sort of evidence that the vast conspiracy behind 9/11 would fabricate."

But the trouble is he is totally right - it can be and (could well have been) fabricated. We cannot know what happened 9/11 despite Tiso's splutterings. I saw him NOT LISTENING to the ohter side when quite reasonable questions were asked.

This is the tragedy when someone such has him has such a colossal ego...it undoes quite a lot of the good work he is doing on his own Blog, which is quite clever for someone such as him...but his obsession with the subject leaves him unable to see others' points of view.

9:46 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

And there was clear engineering evidence shown to him why aircraft CAN be controlled from the ground which he ignored.

9:47 pm  
Blogger HORansome said...

Richard, the burden of proof says that people who make extraordinary claims need to provide cogent arguments in favour of those claims. Giovanni is not being extraordinary in his claims; the Truthers, however, are. They, then, need to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that their position is justified. They have not done this. They put forward 'maybes' and 'possibly this' arguments but these are not good arguments in on of themselves, only weakly suggestive of them. Giovanni isn't being arrogant; he is applying critical thinking and common sense.

9:52 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Also, and I imagine this applies also to Matthew, I did quite a lot of research before and after seeing Gage’s presentation and in the process of writing the post that maps linked to, so I know a lot of the arguments that are being trotted out here, and how specious they are. Actually, the radio-controlled plane is a fairly typical example: a Truther came up with the idea (and you must understand that it’s a fringe of the fringe, not even Gage will go there) and just blurted it out, they radio-controlled the plane! Then somebody with knowledge of how commercial airliners actually work said bullshit to that, and after a few more exchanges the Truthers finally settled on some sort of document that told them that yes, it was possible to do, which they keep linking to. But if you had followed that particular debate, and you’d seen the two sides of it, and you’d seen how the Truthers had scrambled in search of somebody who might look like an expert and tell them what they wanted to hear, you’d have absolutely no doubt concerning both the dishonesty of their methodology, and the spuriousness of their claims. It really is as risible as the moon landing hoax, if you bother to research it, which clearly you haven’t.

On the subject of the listening and arrogance, consider what is happening when you entertain certain questions. When you’ve come to the point of debating whether the conspiracists might have used actors of voice-morphing software to fake conversations with the relatives of the passengers of Flight 93, stop for a moment and look behind: you’ll find that you’ve already conceded the most outrageous premises. That Flight 93 wasn’t really hijacked, but thrown off course and then shot down by the army, for reasons that aren’t altogether very clear, and some evidence was fabricated via the most incredibly devious fakery in order to establish that the passengers had tried to wrestle the controls of the plane. And again, to what end? Why just drop an extra plane out of the sky? The WTC and the Pentagon not enough for you? And so too with the radio-controlling of the plane. If you focus on that single question, then the veracity of the whole thing hinges suddenly on whether it is in fact possible to radio-control a plane, and not on the the integrity of the theory itself, which, if you had done the research, you’d know to be non-existent.

10:23 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Richard, with the best will in the world I can't see how you can portray yourself as an open-minded observer with a casual interest in this subject, and cast Giovanni as a one-eyed obsessive.

Like many if not all your friends, I've been treated over many years to numerous discourses from you on how 9/11 was definitely an inside job, and on various other conspiracy theories. Often the arguments you've offered have been pretty rough and ready. I remember you telling us at Galbraiths that you'd seen a house being demolished in Panmure some time back in the '70s, and that the twin towers fell just the same way!

I do think you have a partiality for conspiracy theories, and a reluctance to accept that we can assemble enough evidence to be sure about the veracity of important historical events.

I choose to treat this tendency towards chronic uncertainty and the entertaining of weird theories as one aspect of your poetic gift. If it helps you to write poems like, say, 'Deathentrances', then I'm all for it. Lots of fine writers have had strange ideas.

But it does sadden me to see you making a monkey of yourself in these threads (and I'm making this comment partly because I've had e mails from some of your friends asking what you are doing, and whether you can't be persuaded to stop).

I'm happy to go all Popperian and say that I think the evidence that Giovanni and others presented in the last thread definitively falsifies the idea that there no hijacks on 9/11, and that the attacks were an inside job. The richness of the evidence we have about 9/11, as cited by Giovanni and other critics of the Truthers, is quite remarkable.

Take the calls from Flight 93, for example. If I were doing scholarly work on a past event - a controversial incident in the life of EP Thompson, for instance - then I would be absolutely delighted to get a dozen different sources that proved said event took place. Even two good sources would be enough for me, and for most scholars, I'm sure.

With Flight 93, we have at least a dozen people giving eyewithness reports of a hijacking. For any trained historian, claims that there were no hijackings on 9/11 go down the toilet as soon as those remarkable calls from Flight 93 are considered.

(I'd never quite appreciated how useful cellphones could be in the accumulation of historical knowledge until I read those amazing transcripts posted in the last discussion thread. I was always hostile to the cellphone, because I thought that texting meant the end of the archive of letters that the historian has so often relied upon traditionally.)

Anybody who claims that secret, ultra-sophisticated software fabricated the voices of passengers well enough to fool loved ones, or that the passengers were taken off the plane and tortured and forced to make false calls claiming they were the victims of a hijacking, or that the family members who claim to have talked to loved ones are being paid by the conspiracy that killed those same loved ones is probably - how can I put this politely? - unsuited to undertake scholarly work.

Giovanni, Matthew and others have given us a lesson in rational enquiry and analysis over the last day or so. For that we should be grateful.

1:13 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger HORansome said...

Richard, the burden of proof says that people who make extraordinary claims need to provide cogent arguments in favour of those claims. Giovanni is not being extraordinary in his claims; the Truthers, however, are. They, then, need to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that their position is justified.


That is the exact opposite of the reality.

You are falsely claiming the skeptic mantle, when you are the true believers.

8:38 am  
Blogger HORansome said...

Really, anonymous? The official theory about 9/11 is what is sometimes called the 'received view' or 'accepted wisdom.' The Inside Job Hypothesis is a rival theory to the official theory and given that the official theory has both epistemic credentials (it is a good explanation with justified arguments in favour of it) and has been endorsed by appropriate authorities (both the academic and political sectors), the rival theory needs to prove itself. Arguably, it has not, and so burden of proof rests upon the theory that goes against the status quo.

8:45 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger maps said...

Richard, with the best will in the world I can't see how you can portray yourself as an open-minded observer with a casual interest in this subject, and cast Giovanni as a one-eyed obsessive.


Maybe when you figure that out, you can lay claim to being a serious researcher then.

It should be patently obvious that he uses half truths, logical fallacy and blatant lies along with the sneering manner to make his "case".

He's a fraud. As are you. This pathetic attempt to link to ANTISEMITISM!!!!!!! is blatant dishonesty and cowardice.

And years too late I might add. The charge is past its use by date. It says more about you and your dishonest charlatanry.

8:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger HORansome said...

Richard, the burden of proof says that people who make extraordinary claims need to provide cogent arguments in favour of those claims. Giovanni is not being extraordinary in his claims; the Truthers, however, are. They, then, need to show, beyond reasonable doubt, that their position is justified.


That is the exact opposite of the reality.

You are falsely claiming the skeptic mantle, when you are the true believers.

8:38 AM
Blogger HORansome said...

Really, anonymous? The official theory about 9/11 is what is sometimes called the 'received view' or 'accepted wisdom.' The Inside Job Hypothesis is a rival theory to the official theory and given that the official theory has both epistemic credentials (it is a good explanation with justified arguments in favour of it) and has been endorsed by appropriate authorities (both the academic and political sectors), the rival theory needs to prove itself. Arguably, it has not, and so burden of proof rests upon the theory that goes against the status quo.


First strawman.

"The INSIDE Job" theory is not an opposing view.

Genuine investigation is the goal.

Second strawman.

Received wisdom. The Bin Laden fantasy is not the prevailing view on any sort of global scale.

Tha arrogant white englsh speaking world may, and I do stress may, believe init on a majority basis but not globally.

Received wisdom is generally wrong in my experience anyway.

I read in the news every day things that "economists agree" or "economists say" that no economist in my orbit agrees to or would say.

The corporate media is very good at making myths seem generally accepted.

8:53 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

I think it's been, er, well established in past discussions on this blog that if anything I'm something of a radical sceptic, compared to our gracious host anyhow. But if you're a sceptic, you've still got to be honest and coherent. And if you're a sceptic, you've got to apply your scepticism to both sides of an argument. What Truthers do is apply a systematic turbo-charged hyper-scepticism to the official explanations only, and to as many aspects of it as they can (which proves to be their undoing, as we have seen). But they just take the arguments of their own kind as articles of faith. There is the most circumstancial, vague and downright fabricated evidence for nanothermite, but for the Truthers nanothermite was conclusively found, and in massive quantities. This happens partly because people like Gage claim not to have any theories, just enough evidence to call for an investigation. That's the supposedly neutral, impartial sceptical position. But then if you listen to him you quickly find that in fact he has a theory, as HORansome points out. He knows how it all went, he knows when and how they put the nanothermite in the elevator shafts and he knows why they did it and he knows who did it. But for these extraordinary claims he offers practically no evidence at all.

We never know anything down to an absolute certainty, and that is the case for 9/11 as well. But there are also things for which we have pretty compelling explanations, and if you want to come out with an alternative theory, it had better be at least remotely as compelling. Which is obviously not the case here.

8:54 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

On this, and the accusation we have heard many times in the last few days that if you support for official explanation, then you're a Bushy, here's Chomsky:

"...I am not persuaded by the assumption that much documentation and other evidence has been uncovered. To determine that, we'd have to investigate the alleged evidence. Take, say, the physical evidence. There are ways to assess that: submit it to specialists -- of whom there are thousands -- who have the requisite background in civil-mechanical engineering, materials science, building construction, etc., for review and analysis; and one cannot gain the required knowledge by surfing the internet. In fact, that's been done, by the professional association of civil engineers. Or, take the course pursued by anyone who thinks they have made a genuine discovery: submit it to a serious journal for peer review and publication. To my knowledge, there isn't a single submission."

"I think this reaches the heart of the matter. One of the major consequences of the 9/11 movement has been to draw enormous amounts of energy and effort away from activism directed to real and ongoing crimes of state, and their institutional background, crimes that are far more serious than blowing up the WTC would be, if there were any credibility to that thesis. That is, I suspect, why the 9/11 movement is treated far more tolerantly by centers of power than is the norm for serious critical and activist work. How do you personally set priorities? That's of course up to you. I've explained my priorities often, in print as well as elsewhere, but we have to make our own judgments."

"...I don't see any reason to accept the presuppositions. As for the consequences, in one of my first interviews after 9/11 I pointed out the obvious: every power system in the world was going to exploit it for its own interests: the Russians in Chechnya, China against the Uighurs, Israel in the occupied territories,... etc., and states would exploit the opportunity to control their own populations more fully through "prevention of terrorism acts" and the like. By the "who gains" argument, every power system in the world could be assigned responsibility for 9/11."

"I think the Bush administration would have had to be utterly insane to try anything like what is alleged, for their own narrow interests, and do not think that serious evidence has been provided to support claims about actions that would not only be outlandish, for their own interests, but that have no remote historical parallel. The effects, however, are all too clear, namely, what I just mentioned: diverting activism and commitment away from the very serious ongoing crimes of state."

8:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Evidence for "blatant fabrication" of nanothermite please.

That post is so dishonest it's laughable. Genuine skeptics tend not to lie like that.

You're just building strawman after strawman.

9:08 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

I said I was done with you, but what the hell, I'll make one last exception

http://www.debunking911.com/thermite.htm

There is a lot more stuff on the original paper in Open Chemical Physics Journal, but for that you'll have to dig yourself.

9:17 am  
Blogger HORansome said...

Anonymous, you don't seem to understand what a strawman argument is; if you did understand what one was you wouldn't be throwing the term around with the kind of abandon you are at the moment.

9:23 am  
Blogger maps said...

Somehow I think you'll find that the evidence you've just cited was fabricated, Giovanni ;)

You mention Gage's belief that he approaches the evidence free of presuppositions. This just proves how little understanding he has of research methods. He doesn't even realise the most basic points of the twentieth century revolution in the philosophy science - namely, that it is impossible to approach evidence without presuppositions, that evidence does not 'speak for itself', and that researchers have to consciously hold and test hypotheses. And this is the bloke that Truthers hail as a master scholar!

9:26 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

I said I was done with you, but what the hell, I'll make one last exception

http://www.debunking911.com/thermite.htm

There is a lot more stuff on the original paper in Open Chemical Physics Journal, but for that you'll have to dig yourself.

9:17 AM


So, you're web sites are authoritative, yet skeptics' websites aren't?

Have you looked at debunking the debunkers?

I'd guess not.

This is laughably skewed crtical analysis.

9:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That debunking 9/11 site is a bit of a giggle in and of itself.

They've actually published as genuine a "confession" from Bin Laden dated 2005.

Good stuff!!!!! Keep the faith guys.

9:32 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

HORansome said...

Anonymous, you don't seem to understand what a strawman argument is; if you did understand what one was you wouldn't be throwing the term around with the kind of abandon you are at the moment.

9:23 AM
I fully understand what a strawman is and both Giovanni and Maps arguments are almost entirely strawmen.

Just going back to the main charge of antisemitism against Richard Gage.

This is a blatant strawman. It isn't vaguely true. The "evidence" cited is complete unsubstantiated nonsense taken from unsubstantiated politically motivated slurring in an attempt to criminalise criticism of Israel and zionists.

9:37 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

So, you're web sites are authoritative, yet skeptics' websites aren't?

Have you looked at debunking the debunkers?


The answer is yes to both questions.

9:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just proves how little understanding he has of research methods. He doesn't even realise the most basic points of the twentieth century revolution in the philosophy science - namely, that it is impossible to approach evidence without presuppositions, that evidence does not 'speak for itself', and that researchers have to consciously hold and test hypotheses.


You are so up yourself that you are 5 minutes away from embracing utilatarianism without the slightest self awareness.

Little wonder that you are so easily swayed by neoconservative wack jobs in their desire to censor criticism.

9:59 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

So, you're web sites are authoritative, yet skeptics' websites aren't?

Have you looked at debunking the debunkers?

The answer is yes to both questions.

9:53 AM


Right. But apparently you still believe the photos of the Pentagon wreckage prove that Flight 77 hit it.

Sure. I believe that like in the same way as I believe your all your personal allegations.

10:06 am  
Blogger maps said...

'You are so up yourself that you are 5 minutes away from embracing utilatarianism'

If only you were five minutes away from learning how to spell it.

But you certainly have you work cut out - not only are you committed to exposing 9/11 as an inside job and revealing to the world that the human catastrophe in Darfur was invented by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, you've now set yourself the task of refuting the work of all the leading philosophers of science
of the twentieth century. I bet Popper, Lakatos, Kuhn and the rest would be shaking in their boots.

10:08 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What next?

Iran can launch WMDs at NZ within 45 minutes?

Big bad Hezb'llah is training Venezuelan terrorists to strike at Wellington?

The Chinese are coming?

Be afraid.

10:09 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...


What next?

Iran can launch WMDs at NZ within 45 minutes?

Big bad Hezb'llah is training Venezuelan terrorists to strike at Wellington?

The Chinese are coming?


And there's the other fallacy, well exposed by the notorious neoconservative NPAC supporter and Zionist Noam Chomsky: that if you believe that there is a group of terrorists called Al Qaeda who did this, then by necessity you must be islamophobic and a supporter of war, imperialism and oppression.

If you are indeed one person (hard to say, with anonymous types) you must be applauded for showing all of the pathologies of conspiracy theorists at once. That is quite impressive.

10:15 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you certainly have you work cut out - not only are you committed to exposing 9/11 as an inside job and revealing to the world that the human catastrophe in Darfur was invented by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, you've now set yourself the task of refuting the work of all the leading philosophers of science
of the twentieth century. I bet Popper, Lakatos, Kuhn and the rest would be shaking in their boots.



Not at all. I'm not committed to anything like it.

Call me a "troofer" all you want. The fact is that I'm not. What annoyed about your post is that you used the intellectually and morally repugnant "antisemite" smear to make your "case".

I've no desire to convince anyone about 9/11. The opening has past. Even the fraudulent bank bailouts failed to find resonance.

It's all over and I'm beyond caring much.

Darfur is a hoax and I don't care whether you believe it or not. But when you imply that I've said that the SW centre invented you are just being your constantly dishonest self.

You know very well that I didn't say that, yet you rush to imply it anyway.

You're ALL ad hominem. That's all you have. That's why you rush to "antisemitism".

You're a complete fraud.

You also don't understand the inherent contradiction in your view on matters epistemological.

Social science is so inadequate across the board and until you see the flaws, you're dangerous.

10:19 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And there's the other fallacy, well exposed by the notorious neoconservative NPAC supporter and Zionist Noam Chomsky: that if you believe that there is a group of terrorists called Al Qaeda who did this, then by necessity you must be islamophobic and a supporter of war, imperialism and oppression."


That's a fallacy in and of itself.

I've not suggested that. You are lying. Simple as that.

The argument is always introduced as an exposure of the logic of the believers that skeptics are antisemitic.

It is a means of exposing your blatany dishonesty and ethnoracial supremecy delusions/Manichaen paranoia.

It's about YOU, not the truthers.

10:24 am  
Blogger Edward said...

Oh, is that you again anon of the inappropriate catch phrases? "I know what a straw man is!", "ad hominem!". You know anon the economist, you are a complete and utter knob end. I would normally try and have a reasoned and constructive debate, but as Maps pointed out, that is impossible with people like you. Instead i've watched people I have a lot of respect for have to bash their heads against walls talking to raving imbeciles like you. My tact is different. Call it childish, inane or stupid, but I think you deserve nothing but our complete and utter contempt for being the biggest douchebag i've seen on this blog this year. With that in mind, I present you with the coveted 'douchebag of the year 2010' award for excellence in claiming everyone who doesn't agree with you is an idiot and a dubbya Bush lover, and for the most usage of inappropriate catch phrases. Now you have a super-skeptics power ring and your douche crown, you're ready to crawl back to whatever rock you crawled out from.

10:37 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, pointing out the basic dishonesty of your good self is not justified so you reduce real terms to "catch phrases".

Very good young man. You'll go far.

And still no answer to why Bin Laden denied it.

Nor, any comment on why the go to web source has a "confession" from 2005?

Cat got your tongues?

10:42 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

I suppose it might be vaguely interesting to ask you what you think that might prove.

10:50 am  
Blogger maps said...

'Social science is so inadequate across the board'

So it's not only the philosophers our chum has refuted - sociologists, anthropologists, economists, linguists - they all fall under the impact of his intellect. He's a universal genius, it seems. With all his other discoveries, it amazes me he's had time to find out that the reports of massacres, burnt villages, and refugee camps in Darfur are an elaborate hoax being exploited by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Maybe he doesn't need much sleep?

10:51 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

I suppose it might be vaguely interesting to ask you what you think that might prove.

10:50 AM

Surely it proves that the web site you are so enamoured with is prone to publish ridiculous bullshit.

10:53 am  
Blogger Edward said...

yawwwnn. Oh, econoanon. Didn't realise you were talking. Must've been the smell of excrement coming out of your mouth that woke me up. No one is interested in playing your lame game anymore anon. Lets face it, no matter what anyone says, we'll all be "idiots" who can "only use ad hominem" arguments, thus negating the point in giving you the time of day for anything other than contempt. As for your understanding of the philosophy of science, i'm sorry mr economist, but you're full of shit and don't know what you're talking about - as usual. Oh, and again referencing me as inherently "dishonest", again, you know me so well. You can't even grasp the irony of your pathetic statements.
Finally, if you don't care about 9/11 or proving your claims, then why the hell are you still here dribbling nonsense? Nothing better to do? Go on douche king, take your pathetic excuse for a debate and go. You are boring and i'm getting tired of insulting you.

10:53 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

I suppose it might be vaguely interesting to ask you what you think that might prove.

10:50 AM

Surely it proves that the web site you are so enamoured with is prone to publish ridiculous bullshit.

10:54 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Surely it proves that the web site you are so enamoured with is prone to publish ridiculous bullshit.

No. I mean, what do you think that the bin Laden denial immediately following the attacks proves?

10:55 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger maps said...

'Social science is so inadequate across the board'

So it's not only the philosophers our chum has refuted - sociologists, anthropologists, economists, linguists - they all fall under the impact of his intellect. He's a universal genius, it seems. With all his other discoveries, it amazes me he's had time to find out that the reports of massacres, burnt villages, and refugee camps in Darfur are an elaborate hoax being exploited by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Maybe he doesn't need much sleep?

10:51 AM


Or maybe I merely recognise the flaws in what I was taught in the social sciences and can apply it to experience over several decades.

Darfur is part of the same hoax as all the rest of your "war of terror". Yes, there was fighting there. But, is the explanation you read of it real?

The answer is no.

It's all about oil, Chevron and Chinese access.

The SW centre never spent a cent on Sudanese refugees. It is a political money laundering organisation.

11:02 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...


No. I mean, what do you think that the bin Laden denial immediately following the attacks proves?

10:55 AM

Stop evading the questions.

11:06 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

I'm not evading the question. I am asking what you think that the fact that bin Laden denied the attacks on the aftermath of 9/11 means. Since you brought it up, you must think it's significant.

11:11 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

I'm not evading the question. I am asking what you think that the fact that bin Laden denied the attacks on the aftermath of 9/11 means. Since you brought it up, you must think it's significant.

11:11 AM


Clearly it is significant. And yes you are evading the question. Like all the others I've asked.

Why would he?

And why would your go to site publish a fake confession?

11:17 am  
Blogger maps said...

'I merely recognise the flaws in what I was taught in the social sciences'

Like I said, you must have been a busy boy, studying subjects as diverse as sociology, geography, economics, archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, English lit, psychology, Law, political science and so on, and finding that they were all 'so inadequate across the board'.

Can you tell me why you think archaeology (for instance) is such a flop?

11:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger maps said...

'I merely recognise the flaws in what I was taught in the social sciences'

Like I said, you must have been a busy boy, studying subjects as diverse as sociology, geography, economics, archaeology, linguistics, anthropology, English lit, psychology, Law, political science and so on, and finding that they were all 'so inadequate across the board'.

Can you tell me why you think archaeology (for instance) is such a flop?

11:22 AM


Mate, you will learn far more if you just argue honestly.

The all or nothing duality is such a bust these days. As a self proclaimed expert I'd have thought you'd have avoided using such a crude ploy.

Your dishonesty continues to surprise me.

I know very little about archaeology (not that I'd ever thought of it as a social science before but fairs fair) but I do know an archaeologist who worked in Israel for some time, that was infuriated by the zionist archaeologists' "methods" shall we say.

Ooooooh, that's probably antisemitic.

She was probably a self loathing jew.

11:30 am  
Blogger maps said...

You didn't even know archaeology was a social science, and yet you felt qualified to announce that 'the social sciences are so inadequate across the board'? Talk about research...

How about linguistics? Is that 'so inadequate', or is it another social science that you didn't, erm, consider?

11:58 am  
Blogger Edward said...

"The all or nothing duality is such a bust these days. As a self proclaimed expert I'd have thought you'd have avoided using such a crude ploy."

Ummm, that's what you've been using all along. That's kinda exactly what you do when you accuse all who don't buy into the 9/11 conspiracy as therefore being anti-Muslim, zionist neoconservatives. You're the one making it black and white, not Maps. But then hypocrisy isn't at all surprising coming from you, as that's what every single post you've made is full of.

Take for example screaming "ad hominem" inappropriately at people while you yourself continue to use ad hominem statements without even realising it. You even go so far as to accuse a trained philosopher of not knowing what an ad hominem or strawman is!! Of course you, Mr economist, know best though aye? "A kid with nothing", "idiots", "complete fraud", "dishonest", "lacking in intelligence", the list really could go on. At least I acknowledge that 90% of my comments to you are ad hominem, you're just pathetically unaware of your own hypocrisy. Nothing more entertaining than an imbecile who thinks he's a polymath.

12:02 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Why would he?

The favourite mantra of the Truthers on this is that "terrorists always claim responsibility", but it's simply untrue. In Italy alone I could point to a number of attacks - Piazza Fontana 1969, Piazza della Loggia 1974, the massacre at the Bologna train station in 1980, Via Palestro, Via dei Georgofili, you can Google the lot - for which nobody came forward.

And while it's demonstrable that terrorist organisations don't always claim direct responsibility for their attacks, we also know that their leaders nearly never do, should there ever be a trial.

Consider also that terrorism is not just about striking fear, but also promoting confusion in the enemy. On the day of 9/11 the American and the German secret service (add the Germans to the list of conspirators!) intercepted communications that pointed to Al Qaeda. Why would bin Laden do them the favour of confirming that? He had been linked to it, which served his purposes, and he could claim not to have done it, which also served his purposes. For the vast majority of people in the Arab world were horrified by the attacks, so it was more strategic not to claim the blame conclusively, and yet the attack was also a recruiting tool amongst the most desperate, so there had to be a perception that he had done it.

Besides, Al Qaeda never directly claimed responsibility for the Cole either, now, did it? Bin Laden only said "it was us" in a training video. But all this seems to escape the brilliant minds of the Truthers, who routinely use "bin Laden never admitted the attacks" as proof that "it was an inside job", as if that didn't skip dozens of intermediate steps anyhow. It's a nice little compact illustration of how stupid they are really.

12:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger maps said...

You didn't even know archaeology was a social science, and yet you felt qualified to announce that 'the social sciences are so inadequate across the board'? Talk about research...


Yes I did and I stand by it. If archaeology is labelled a social science in the academic world then bully for it.

What a failing on my part eh? Tsk tsk.



How about linguistics? Is that 'so inadequate', or is it another social science that you didn't, erm, consider?

11:58 AM


I find liguistics very interesting on many levels but it is still inadequate in defining and solving the fundamental dlemmas of the world as we know it.

Propaganda is so ingrained and ubiquitous in the English speaking world that it's aall beyond repair.

I was trained in economics, which to me is a falsehood in and of itself. It is wrong to seperate politics from economics in my view.

And look at what using economists as spruikers and apologists for political dogma has done for the planet eh?

And all based on fundamentally flawed "economic laws".

It's all a joke.

12:39 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Edward said...

"The all or nothing duality is such a bust these days. As a self proclaimed expert I'd have thought you'd have avoided using such a crude ploy."

Ummm, that's what you've been using all along. That's kinda exactly what you do when you accuse all who don't buy into the 9/11 conspiracy as therefore being anti-Muslim, zionist neoconservatives. You're the one making it black and white, not Maps. But then hypocrisy isn't at all surprising coming from you, as that's what every single post you've made is full of.




Do you actually read the replies? I've covered this. It was turning his logic back on him.

12:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Edward said...

"The all or nothing duality is such a bust these days. As a self proclaimed expert I'd have thought you'd have avoided using such a crude ploy."

Ummm, that's what you've been using all along. That's kinda exactly what you do when you accuse all who don't buy into the 9/11 conspiracy as therefore being anti-Muslim, zionist neoconservatives. You're the one making it black and white, not Maps. But then hypocrisy isn't at all surprising coming from you, as that's what every single post you've made is full of.




Do you actually read the replies? I've covered this. It was turning his logic back on him.

12:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

Why would he?

The favourite mantra of the Truthers on this is that "terrorists always claim responsibility", but it's simply untrue. In Italy alone I could point to a number of attacks - Piazza Fontana 1969, Piazza della Loggia 1974, the massacre at the Bologna train station in 1980, Via Palestro, Via dei Georgofili, you can Google the lot - for which nobody came forward.

And while it's demonstrable that terrorist organisations don't always claim direct responsibility for their attacks, we also know that their leaders nearly never do, should there ever be a trial.

Consider also that terrorism is not just about striking fear, but also promoting confusion in the enemy. On the day of 9/11 the American and the German secret service (add the Germans to the list of conspirators!) intercepted communications that pointed to Al Qaeda. Why would bin Laden do them the favour of confirming that? He had been linked to it, which served his purposes, and he could claim not to have done it, which also served his purposes. For the vast majority of people in the Arab world were horrified by the attacks, so it was more strategic not to claim the blame conclusively, and yet the attack was also a recruiting tool amongst the most desperate, so there had to be a perception that he had done it.

Besides, Al Qaeda never directly claimed responsibility for the Cole either, now, did it? Bin Laden only said "it was us" in a training video. But all this seems to escape the brilliant minds of the Truthers, who routinely use "bin Laden never admitted the attacks" as proof that "it was an inside job", as if that didn't skip dozens of intermediate steps anyhow. It's a nice little compact illustration of how stupid they are really.

12:37 PM



You actually believe this stuff don't you?


You're using Operation Gladio false flags as evidence.

You are amusing.

So Bin Laden denies it. We can discount that as a devilish psyop on his part.

The gubmint and their friends then produce fake confessions, but this is just mere ........ what exactly. A social service to put the qyuivering masses minds to rest?

How sweet.

1:00 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

You're using Operation Gladio false flags as evidence.

Oh boy. You really have no earthly clue what you're talking about, do you?

Oh well, back to ignoring you.

1:03 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

You're using Operation Gladio false flags as evidence.

Oh boy. You really have no earthly clue what you're talking about, do you?

Oh well, back to ignoring you.

1:03 PM


Well it seems that I have somewhat more idea than you.

You're a clown.

1:20 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

You're using Operation Gladio false flags as evidence.

Oh boy. You really have no earthly clue what you're talking about, do you?

Oh well, back to ignoring you.

1:03 PM


Well it seems that I have somewhat more idea than you.

You're a clown.

1:26 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

maps and others - I want to comment here more when I have more time - I am busy just now.

I still keep to my view that there are many possibilities re what happened 9/11

Including that it was either organised from within or that arab "terrorists" - or freedom fighters is you want - actually "did the towers" -

These people who hold ultimate power in the US are capable of anything

(But I don't necessarily default to the view it was an inside job, that conclusion cant be verified, nor can any other... [and nor would I jump to the conclusion Bush and his mates did right after the event - or their pre-prepared conclusions...] but I welcome another inquiry, and even if Gage is a CIA agent or mad or a racist it is necessary that someone asks the questions he does - even if everything he says is wrong - and I know most of the arguments and counter arguments)

But anything is possible.

If people don't think these people are totally malevolent - then - Study the wonderful images of Giovanni's freedom loving mates in action with there bombs and napalm on this link to my earlier Blog post


http://richardinfinitex.blogspot.com/2008/11/room-x-e-z-guess-who-re-started-war-in.html


Knowing some things, truth becomes irrelevant. Humans are not rational beings.

1:54 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Giovanni's freedom loving mates

Fuck off, Richard.

1:57 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You don't need to go back in time to see his mates' handiwork.

Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan are now.



Boooooo yah.

2:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's so like Naqba deniers to ignore reasonable posters who don't submit to zionist inspired abuse.

Point at web site that says so.

3:37 pm  
Blogger maps said...

'I find liguistics very interesting on many levels but it is still inadequate in defining and solving the fundamental dlemmas of the world as we know it.'

What can one do except chuckle wryly when confronted with this?

All those linguists who were working away on differentiating the dialects of prehistoric Maori or discovering why there were so many vowels in Rotuman because they thought that their work would 'define and solve the fundamental dilemmas of the world' - ah, they'd better give up.

Same with the archaeologists digging up that old pa site down the road, the anthropologists studying tribal life in Vanuatu, and so on - all redundant!

Not only do you not know what subjects are included in the social sciences - you don't know what social scientists do. If you're an economist then I'm a professional dancer.

5:07 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice logical fallacy, but what is your point?

Once again you've introduced pointless red herrings rather than address the post.

Why would an economist even think about what clearly is an academic navel gazing execise? Some of us try to deal with the real world rather tha content ourselves with academic masturbation and mutual backslapping.

The only economists you've heard are the ones who have been spectacularly wrong about everything since 1980. They get the gigs in the media because they are wrong.

Another social science specialty.

If I were Jeanette Fitzsimons, I'd be considering suing you.

There's far too much of this zionist thuggery about lately.

5:23 pm  
Blogger maps said...

Last time I checked, old boy, Rotuma was part of the real world. It lies four hundred and twenty kilometres north of Suva. Very interesting language, too. Why do you think writing down Rotuman vowels is a form of masturbation?

5:37 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha, very good. No I was referring to your apparent view that focus should be maintained on the gambit of academia as opposed to doing actual stuff in the actual world. i.e you, not them.

The linguistics I am interested in is in relation to the manufacturing the propagandised western la la land we seem to have.

Your posts are indicative of the symptoms of thsi world. It's all so Orwellian.

Dissent is racism in your warped view apparently.

Or, you could be just a bigot making a feeble attampt to smear thoase who scare your widdle sensibiwities.

The classic bedwetter in common parlance.

6:01 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

# Account of Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, Pentagon employee and eyewitness to the events at the Pentagon on 9/11. "I believe the Commission failed to deeply examine the topic at hand, failed to apply scientific rigor to its assessment of events leading up to and including 9/11, failed to produce a believable and unbiased summary of what happened, failed to fully examine why it happened, and even failed to include a set of unanswered questions for future research. ...

It is as a scientist that I have the most trouble with the official government conspiracy theory, mainly because it does not satisfy the rules of probability or physics. The collapses of the World Trade Center buildings clearly violate the laws of probability and physics. ...

There was a dearth of visible debris on the relatively unmarked [Pentagon] lawn, where I stood only minutes after the impact. Beyond this strange absence of airliner debris, there was no sign of the kind of damage to the Pentagon structure one would expect from the impact of a large airliner. This visible evidence or lack thereof may also have been apparent to the secretary of defense [Donald Rumsfeld], who in an unfortunate slip of the tongue referred to the aircraft that slammed into the Pentagon as a "missile". ...

I saw nothing of significance at the point of impact - no airplane metal or cargo debris was blowing on the lawn in front of the damaged building as smoke billowed from within the Pentagon. ... all of us staring at the Pentagon that morning were indeed looking for such debris, but what we expected to see was not evident.

The same is true with regard to the kind of damage we expected. ... But I did not see this kind of damage. Rather, the facade had a rather small hole, no larger than 20 feet in diameter. Although this facade later collapsed, it remained standing for 30 or 40 minutes, with the roof line remaining relatively straight.

The scene, in short, was not what I would have expected from a strike by a large jetliner. It was, however, exactly what one would expect if a missile had struck the Pentagon. ...

More information is certainly needed regarding the events of 9/11 and the events leading up to that terrible day."


She MUST be an antisemite!!!!!!!!!!

What would Slappy of the academic debunking911dotcom say?

Wecan only guess because he wouldn't take her on. Just like you maps you little coward.

6:04 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

# Account of Lt. Col. Karen Kwiatkowski, Pentagon employee and eyewitness to the events at the Pentagon on 9/11. "I believe the Commission failed to deeply examine the topic at hand, failed to apply scientific rigor to its assessment of events leading up to and including 9/11, failed to produce a believable and unbiased summary of what happened, failed to fully examine why it happened, and even failed to include a set of unanswered questions for future research. ...

It is as a scientist that I have the most trouble with the official government conspiracy theory, mainly because it does not satisfy the rules of probability or physics. The collapses of the World Trade Center buildings clearly violate the laws of probability and physics. ...

There was a dearth of visible debris on the relatively unmarked [Pentagon] lawn, where I stood only minutes after the impact. Beyond this strange absence of airliner debris, there was no sign of the kind of damage to the Pentagon structure one would expect from the impact of a large airliner. This visible evidence or lack thereof may also have been apparent to the secretary of defense [Donald Rumsfeld], who in an unfortunate slip of the tongue referred to the aircraft that slammed into the Pentagon as a "missile". ...

I saw nothing of significance at the point of impact - no airplane metal or cargo debris was blowing on the lawn in front of the damaged building as smoke billowed from within the Pentagon. ... all of us staring at the Pentagon that morning were indeed looking for such debris, but what we expected to see was not evident.

The same is true with regard to the kind of damage we expected. ... But I did not see this kind of damage. Rather, the facade had a rather small hole, no larger than 20 feet in diameter. Although this facade later collapsed, it remained standing for 30 or 40 minutes, with the roof line remaining relatively straight.

The scene, in short, was not what I would have expected from a strike by a large jetliner. It was, however, exactly what one would expect if a missile had struck the Pentagon. ...

More information is certainly needed regarding the events of 9/11 and the events leading up to that terrible day."


She MUST be an antisemite!!!!!!!!!!

What would Slappy of the academic debunking911dotcom say?

Wecan only guess because he wouldn't take her on. Just like you maps you little coward.

6:05 pm  
Blogger maps said...

'The linguistics I am interested in is in relation to the manufacturing the propagandised western la la land we seem to have.'

Sounds intriguing. I never knew there were linguists who were part of the New World Order. Which linguists are you referring to, and what are some of their publications?

6:09 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha. There's that sense of humour again. Very clever. Slippery like a worm aren't you genius?

Way too clever to actually argue a point honestly.

Now, Why do you deny the Naqba and discount Palestinian human rights oh great fighter of imperialism and light unto truth and academia?

6:17 pm  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Sounds intriguing. I never knew there were linguists who were part of the New World Order. Which linguists are you referring to, and what are some of their publications?

I hate to speculate, but I think our friend might have meant linguists who expose the way state propaganda works. Like Chomsky, who naturally is a Truther.

Oh no, wait. He’s not, is he? He came right out and said they’re full of it. Well, he must be a Zionist then.

What, he isn’t? Oh, crap. Well, nevermind. Linguists like Chomsky. But not Chomsky!

6:19 pm  
Blogger maps said...

I thought he was suggesting that linguists were working as part of the New World Order to create an alternate reality. He's so incoherent himself it's hard to know what he means.

I was having a beer on the weekend with some old comrades from the Anti War Coalition, which organised a lot of the Iraq and Palestinian solidarity stuff in Auckland from 2001-2004. I should have confessed to them that I've been a secret neo-con and Bushite all along...

6:30 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Giovanni the Wise One said:

"On the subject of the listening and arrogance, consider what is happening when you entertain certain questions. When you’ve come to the point of debating whether the conspiracists might have used actors of voice-morphing software to fake conversations with the relatives of the passengers of Flight 93, stop for a moment and look behind: you’ll find that you’ve already conceded the most outrageous premises. That Flight 93 wasn’t really hijacked, but thrown off course and then shot down by the army, for reasons that aren’t altogether very clear, and some evidence was fabricated via the most incredibly devious fakery in order to establish that the passengers had tried to wrestle the controls of the plane. And again, to what end? Why just drop an extra plane out of the sky? The WTC and the Pentagon not enough for you?"

I don't recall talking about any of this (but I have studied videos etc on this possibility) but this argument doesn't hold as in my case it would be only be one line of analysis as I am - in my own case talking probabilities. You and the Truthers, are talking certainties. There are none.

One would or could get to exploring and analysing this as ONE AVENUE of INQUIRY.

"And so too with the radio-controlling of the plane. If you focus on that single question, then the veracity of the whole thing hinges suddenly on whether it is in fact possible to radio-control a plane,"

You seem obsessed with this. I would be interested in this in any case. Because engineers CAN or CANNOT control a commercial jet or other is NOT an argument for or against an "inside job". I have already said I don't subscribe necessarily to this concept. In the mass of posts that came you got me mixed up with someone else I think.

"...and not on the the integrity of the theory itself, which, if you had done the research, you’d know to be non-existent..."

This is where I differ - that is the integrity or not of theory doesn't matter to me - it matters only to me that this whole thing is opened up. .... Also if something is a theory it still remains to be verified? No?

6:58 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'Richard Taylor' is incoherent.

7:36 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Thank you.

7:41 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogger Giovanni said...

Sounds intriguing. I never knew there were linguists who were part of the New World Order. Which linguists are you referring to, and what are some of their publications?

I hate to speculate, but I think our friend might have meant linguists who expose the way state propaganda works. Like Chomsky, who naturally is a Truther.

Oh no, wait. He’s not, is he? He came right out and said they’re full of it. Well, he must be a Zionist then.

What, he isn’t? Oh, crap. Well, nevermind. Linguists like Chomsky. But not Chomsky!

6:19 PM


Chomsky is perfectly entitled to have a different opinion. It doesn't invalidate his other work for me.

I can see why you find that concept confusing though.

The world is a confusing place so cognitive dissonance combined with authoritarian intellectual rigidity is your main means of dealing with it.

12:24 pm  
Blogger Edward said...

Anon, you're still here. Your views on the social sciences, academia, and the political associations and level of intelligence of those who disagree with you are truly amazing. Nothing anyone else says can be right, but everything you say is. Surely with such omniscience mere debate is below you? I mean, you already know everything so what's the point? Especially when you consider that you said you didn't even care about the debate. I can see you in my minds eye, bare chested on horseback, long hair flowing in the wind, flying across the sky like a fiery phoenix passing out with one hand lightning bolts of just condemnation to those who dare disagree, while with the other hand sprinkling rose petals on those other brave souls who have the courage to challenge all officialdom. You're my hero.

2:46 pm  
Blogger arshad said...

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12:04 am  
Blogger Andrew Dean said...

This whole thing is a little bizarre. There is a question I often think about when faced with repugnant/irrational/fundamentalist/hateful lines of argument:

Is it better to refute the opposing argument, using the best tools one has available, or is it better to simply ignore the argument altogether?

Ignoring, of course, has its disadvantages. It can give a sort of credibility to absurdity, as official silence is treated as evidence of a conspiracy by the conspiracy theorists. (Ignoring the dictum 'absence of evidence is not evidence of absence'). Arguing against this almost inevitably involves talking past the conspiracy theorists themselves, but it may convince those who do not have such fundamentalist views.

However, I also think that treating absurd arguments with complete seriousness can be a problem too. It gives a sort of visibility and backhanded credibility to the theory itself -- even calling it a 'theory' implies that a warped set of ideas has a sort of validity as a counterveiling argument. Does arguing against such conspiracy theories give the conspiracy itself a form of currency in the marketplace of ideas?

And on a different note: I also have a lot of difficulty attempting to match evidence based practice with my unfailing faith in the Black Caps.

10:53 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Which arguments are hateful or warped? The ones that disagree with Maps and Giovanni? The ones that imply the US MAY have been involved - or in fact that anyone else might have been?

I agree this whole debate was pretty crazy - and indeed ignoring is often a good idea.

But don't confuse questioning with hate. Anything is possible. The Jews in Germany didn't believe the would ever be put in camps and gassed, thus many stayed, and died. And not enough of the very strong (or at least quite big) Communist Party in Germany fought the Nazis - in the early days. Some of them did but not enough. And there were members of the Jewish societies who did also or who were pretty much onto it - but the majority just ignored it out of apathy or they were probably felt such an accusation of the cultured Germans was "warped" or even hateful. And it was true (mostly) that the majority of the German people weren't in fact, especially in the early days of the rise of Hitler to power, so "hateful" as the few in hierarchy the Nazi Party.

My point is that the unbelievable can happen.

But where is the too much hate?

The result (of 9/11 however it came about) was a war - quite unnecessary in Iraq and Afghanistan, by a country that has a very bad record of aggression, atrocity, and murder. The Arabs etc don't have such. Neither Iraq or Afghanistan has menaced the US in any way.

Who do you side with - who do you hate? What or who is or are warped?
Are you frightened of ideas?

I think that being very skeptical of the US authorities doesn't amount to being warped. I think Bush and his allies made a very strong effort to get rid of democracy but they failed in this instance. I suspect the CIA and others of being behind EVERY act of so called terrorism. This to keep conflict going. I cant prove it, but I suspect it.

This doesn't mean I believe it to be true. It is a strong possibility for me though.

But I don't hate anyone. Nor do I think there is a world Jewish conspiracy.

11:52 pm  
Blogger Andrew Dean said...

When I said 'hateful', I was referring specifically to those arguments that pick out minority groups as an undifferentiated culture/ethnicity and blame them (with no evidential basis) for every crime under the sun. The 'International Jewish Conspiracy' is a good example.

I agree, the unbelievable can happen. But that doesn't mean that we should abandon evidence based practice--a little skepticism and reflexive uncertainty pays off in the face of naive and totalistic faith. I am no uncritical rationalist; I am very aware that there are limits to knowledge, and that 'what really happened' is a fiction and can only be represented as such.

In order to believe in 9/11 conspiracies we must believe that there is an alternative explanation of every action and piece of evidence available to researchers. The burden of proof, of course, is on the Truthers to positively establish that this happened--they must furnish evidence, for example, that people were forced into making false cellphone calls, or that voice fabrication technology not only exists, but was used.

I can't prove that there is not a teapot in the shape of the Star of David orbiting the earth in geosynchronous orbit, transmitting secret messages to the Jewish Conspiracy about world domination. However, like the 9/11 'theory', I find it extremely unlikely.

I am not 'scared of ideas'. What I am scared of is lines of argument that disallow response or movement. In the 9/11 case, it is relatively benign--no one is likely to be killed because a few people believe some strange things about who directed the planes. If, however, the view that Darfur is part of a Jewish plot becomes more accepted, then aid will dry up and people will die. The conspiracy theory that the Jews were responsible for Germany's loss in WWI, similarly flew in the face of evidence--yet many, many people died because of it.

I am scared of these lines of argument because the disallow response, and are totally self-referential. The result can be frightening, and violent. THAT is what worries me.

9:56 am  
Blogger Giovanni said...

Does arguing against such conspiracy theories give the conspiracy itself a form of currency in the marketplace of ideas?

I am rather convinced by Debra Lipstadt's argument that we must in fact engage, simply because ignoring is worse.

I am scared of these lines of argument because the disallow response, and are totally self-referential. The result can be frightening, and violent. THAT is what worries me.

Bang on.

10:32 am  
Blogger HORansome said...

In the 9/11 case, it is relatively benign--no one is likely to be killed because a few people believe some strange things about who directed the planes.

That's a fairly narrow notion of the malevolence of conspiracy theories, though, isn't it? What about the scepticism of social data such conspiracy theories engender, the way they get co-opted by others, et al?

11:25 am  
Blogger Andrew Dean said...

Agreed, it is a narrow approach to the danger of conspiracy theories. The violence performed against public discussion and informed debate is in itself a danger.

My main point was that this danger is not as threatening as the more active and violent call to arms of other conspiracy theories, which advocate dropping the bomb, wiping Jews or whatever.

Of course, I'm not going to advocate being a Truther or suggest that it is entirely harmless. It's just that in the scale of stupidity advocating violence, in my view it doesn't quite reach the top rung of the ladder.

11:46 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what the believers seem to be saying is that the government conspiracy theory, which has never been proven or open to scrutiny is correct/not dangerous, but those that question are dangerous/racist/insane/wrong.

So much for critical thinking.

Right. This blog doesn't seem to have a grasp on itself.

I suggest the author retire for self reflection.

If this "debate" is a test of the relative merits of the believers or the "truthers", te truthers win handsomely.

I may have to reevaluate.

6:17 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Re-evaluate..as nobody "won" this debate. (Just about everyone went ad hominem - they all lost it!) There were those who completely believe the story that it was an "inside job" and those who believe that it was done by outsiders and or terrorists and so on. (Of course there are other possibilities - e.g. that it was aided and abetted by certain agents and undertaken by 'terrorists')

But it is problem of truth, and how that is determined.

Her unfortunately both "sides - a the extremes - took to attacking each other because it came down to belief. Probabilities.

But in this case there is real room for huge skepticism.
(that doesn't mean one has to side with everything the truthers believe (or the anti truthers either) - (as for me I cant agree ) such that it was a Jewish plot etc (although I cant rule out Israeli involvement.)

Because the truth criteria here can't be fulfilled it is not possible to say who is right and in fact any more inquiries will be open to further speculation, questioning and skepticism.

It seems that there are certain quavering liberals who are terrified to think that the US Govt or the CIA would (or could) enact such things as the attack on the Trade Towers - but whether they did it (or could do it) or not they are certainly capable of wanting to do it. [And so is it possible for someone on the "outside to have done it! (or have wanted to do it!]

And de facto the subsequent actions
(and in fact this is the key problem with determining the "truth" or not here - is that the "measuring instrument" is unreliable." Or the US Govt (and the pipeline of the Information Highway) (in fact any Govt.) but we know the record particularly of US Imperialism since 1945 - but of course the USSR and all the other Imperialist powers also carry out "heinous plots and actions))

12:32 am  
Blogger Richard said...

Like the Kennedy assassination the truth has been so obscured here and the investigation and so on so mishandled that the "truth" will probably never be known.

There is here almost a language problem, a philosophical and scientific problem of probabilities and truth criteria etc

Yes one can advance theories either way - but all arguments need corroboration from the very people who you suspect of twisting the evidence! Or of actually perpetrating the actions in the first place...it is an eternal Catch 22.

Whereas it is now a matter of belief and problem of (flawed and uncertain) history and philosophy (and "science" which is a part of philosophy really) and we don't feel there is a strong case it was done by a few Arabs -not that they were incapable or couldn't have done it - they could well have been able to and may well have done it but we just don't know! We simply cant afford to believe the FBI and so on they are not reliable witnesses!! (whether they did it or not) it means we perhaps should default to a theory of a "conspiracy" even though we are only talking probabilities.

In other words, without making it a Jewish conspiracy,we can for now blame it on our main enemy, US Imperialism (not the "US" - that implies that it was somehow approved by "Americans"" - it isn't the same!), whether they in fact did it or not.

It is the most useful theory.

And apart from this debate Maps - who runs this Blog and I - see much of politics and many other matters - eye to eye ..though not all of course.

Unfortunately the information that is or has been given out has proved historically to be (from source or sources whose information...) has been so warped or sometimes is simply lies or contradictory that we would be fools to rely on or believe any powerful Government or anyone of any "authority".

This doesn't mean we cannot know anything but we sure have to remain very skeptical about news reports and Govt. information - so called - wherever it comes from.

This doesn't meant that there not some things we cant know.
- I am not taking that position.

For me their si sufficient info for me to be sure that the Holocaust took place, and that the My Lai massacre happened, and Abu Graib and much else...but whether (e.g.) there is even an actual Al Qaeda - for me - I remain skeptical of that - as I do that there is such a person as Osama bin Laden.

I stay almost completely skeptical or all news reports about Iraq or Afghanistan (it would help if journalists from Arab (and many other) nations were in these places reporting on events, but "independent" journalists (and NO ONE is ever completely objective), while there are some, are very few and far between.)

And for me there is much that is unexplained about 9/11.

12:33 am  
Anonymous 60 MPa said...

Watching this epic argument I note that the "truther" side


leave


lots


of

space

around

their

points.

It's as if they need more room to breathe than normal arguments - it couldn't possibly be padding, could it?


I too have a friend who has been lost to the twofer cause - we no longer talk on the subject because, even though I'll happily concede that JFK was an inside job, he won't give in that 9 11 might've been the saudis.
Sigh.
Pat them on the head and move on,

11:41 pm  
Anonymous 60 MPa said...

Sorry, Richard, it's just you and I down from the hills, bayonetting the corpses..

11:47 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

Well - the fact is that I was - unlike the Truthers, or Maps and Giovanni - completely right on this.

But as to this long discussion or rave I didn't "side with" the Truthers as in fact there were many different kinds of those: so to simplify this debate to being between only Truthers v Maps etc was wrong.

And note that Giovanni and Maps also padded out.

I however was rightly talking about the problem of Truth criteria as in metaphysics. This vital problem has never been solved. And as in the case of the "truth" of 9/11 or say the Bain murder case (similarly "unsolved") - due to insufficient motives and the lack of fulfillment of truth criteria.

Nor has it in fact even in the Arthur Allen Thomas murder case -in fact I saw the well known lawyer Williams (who was on that case) not too long ago. The big problem there was the (real) planting of evidence (shell cases and bullets) by the NZ Police. Now that didn't mean Thomas was or is innocent, or not - it just meant the police were under a cloud...

But there was no way I could say to Williams that Thomas might have been guilty (despite the falsification of evidence) - the "might have been", is not admissible. Despite the supposed "objectivity" of investigators they generally default to one conclusion or another. The best one can say is that one doesn't know, and cannot know. (Of course Bain and Thomas can, in all probability, except that both could be completely insane))

Similarly the "police" in this case are the FBI the US Govt and the news medias - unfortunately the US history of misinformation is so huge and so well known (from the Vietnam War to now) that one of the essential features of truth criteria - are, like the "reliable measuring instrument or source of data" is NOT so. Not reliable or believably reliable.

This means it is now impossible to now "believe" that it is the truth that (a,b,c etc) so IN THIS CASE as in the Bain case and the AAT murder case, we simply cannot and probably can never know the truth of what theory of who "did the towers" (The Saudis? maybe, or some Arab or Moslemic group but say it was also possibly the Saudis collusion with the Bush admin? Variations of this? What if it was three or more men (or women) who just decided to kill themselves dramatically? No? Then disprove it...and so on. Al Qaeda - who or what are they? Do they exist? Maybe they did "do the Towers", but...how do I reliably believe any source that tells me they did?) In other words we just don't know who the "bad guys" (or the good guys? Should we applaud any destruction of US Imperialism? (But then it may have been abetted by the CIA so the good guys are also the bad guys)) are.

If you read the above carefully you will see how Giovanni etc became increasingly hysterical as they, deep down, realized this basic flaw in their position... (of course many of the Truthers are also similarly working with a dubious "measuring device" or "reliable source of information" (many ignore this.)

1:11 pm  
Blogger Richard said...

See how Dr. Tiso THE GREAT PHILOSOPHER AND THEORIST OF MEMORY!!! (THE WISE ONE!!!) lost it and had to abuse me!! Ha ha!!

9:45 pm  

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