New York City activist

December 8, 2007

On our need for more scientists: Reply to Petros Evdokas

In response to a discussion in the Truth Action forum about my November 20 blog post Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please, a page titled Demolition is an Understatement has now appeared on one of the websites of a group called 9/11 Truth Portland.

9/11 Truth Portland also has another website whose main page begins with the heading “9/11 Truth Portland: Using 9/11 Truth to Open the Whole Can of Worms.”

The article Demolition is an Understatement is by Petros Evdokas.

In my quotes from the article below, I’ve taken the liberty of reformatting raw URL’s into text links with titles. Other than that they are exact quotes.

The author of the original article, Diane, received a piece of feedback which contained immense significance for the sincere seeker very soon after publishing her article. For some reason she glided over it ….

I’m sorry I’ve not had time to respond to, or even to look at, all the responses in the Truth Action forum. I’ve been too busy responding to comments on my own blog. Of those Truth Action posts I did reply to, I focuseed on those I could reply to most quickly and easily.

Here is the feedback that Diane ignored:
“…the idea that the buildings ‘collapsed mostly due to structural damage because the fires were just too intense’ (as per Harley Guy) is the centerpiece of the traumatizing mindfuck perpetrated on every human being with a television. Once traumatized, the audience was receptive to the rest of the bullshit…
Please don’t ask people not to believe their own lyin’ eyes.”
– From a Comment by Casseia, here:
Truth Action forum

Here is my belated response:

I’m sorry, but everyday common sense is not sufficient to evaluate things outside our everyday experience. It would be nice if it were, but the unfortunate reality is that it isn’t. There are many examples in science. In the section titled Size matters in my post Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please, I gave the example of the Michelson-Morely experiment.

Another example is quantum mechanics, which nobody really fully understands. There are equations that describe the probable motions of subatomic particles. But what do those equations actually mean, physically? No one knows. There are several competing interpretations, including the “many worlds” hypothesis and the “observer-created universe” hypothesis. But, as far as I am aware, no physicist has ever been able to devise an experiment to determine which of these interpretations is correct.

Those are admittedly extreme examples.

(P.S., 12/9/2007: For some not-so-extreme examples, see this comment.)

Anyhow, my point is certainly NOT that we should just blindly accept the official story. Nevertheless, there are some specific issues on which, if we’re honest with ourselves, we cannot know the answer immediately, but will need to wait and see. For more about this, see my more recent post Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses, especially the section titled What this does and does not mean.

I apologize for how this may sound, focussing on Mistakes. Please accept my assurance that I do not intend any personal attack in this at all. I found with gladness that in the opinions you’ve expressed online on various 9/11 related themes you’ve often made a point of promoting progressive – even Leftist – views, and countering Right wing ideology among us. It’s one of the reasons why I felt that we can rely on the long-standing tradition of the Left to expand and improve each others’ work through critiques and further explorations – anything that sounds “negative” in here should be seen in that light.

I understand and agree.

Mistakes of Neglect

1. Distortions of Consciousness

Ignoring the prime significance of how individual and collective consciousness is intentionally manipulated by those in power through the method that Casseia calls a “traumatizing mindfuck”, leaves the entire work exposed (vulnerable) to valid questioning on process.

Distortions of consciousness need to be accounted for before one takes into account the “beliefs” of scientists, observers, witnesses, Truthers, debunkers, analysts, etc, and one’s own mental~emotional processes must be inoculated (made immune) against those distortions before engaging into re-examination of Reality and of one’s reflections of it.

“Distortions of consciousness” aren’t caused just by intentional manipulation. More about this below.

2. Epistemology: physical evidence and “scientific” thinking

The issue of Epistemology came up very early in the Comments responding to the article, and it was ignored.

Risking the danger of sounding like Donald Rumsfeld here, I’d like to note that Epistemology is the exploration of “how do I know what I know?”, or “do I really know what I think I know?”, or “what is the nature of knowledge?” “What, exactly, is the quality of knowing?”

Many of the fine and solid syllogisms explored in Diane’s weblog where she initially states her case, here, Demolition of WTC: Let’s not overstate the case, please, are all based on assumptions made by her and by many other authors whose technical and scientific papers she reviews: assumptions that are supposedly self-evident. But most of them rely on two elements which have not been proven or validated at all in the article: physical evidence, and “scientific” thinking.

On physical evidence:
For every single claim one makes based on evidence, the chain of custody of that particular piece of evidence must be known, validated, accepted by all who are engaged in that conversation or analysis. Otherwise, the entire case rests on unprovable claims. If it’s video evidence, we need to know where it came from. If it’s a chemical sample of dust; a photograph; a seismograph’s printout; a person’s testimony; a piece of steel or concrete …whatever it is, the chain of custody, the sources of the evidence, are integral parts of the evaluation.

For example, if I trust the claim by Prof. Steven Jones (I do, actually) that his source of dust sample from the WTC satisfies his sense of scientific prerequisites for a valid test, I’ll accept his findings. If I don’t, I won’t accept his findings. If I accept that a videographer is a reliable source then a particular piece of video evidence from that source showing explosions at the WTC is acceptable to me as evidence. Otherwise, what we see, what we weigh, measure, analyse, evaluate is meaningless.

True. If I were writing a detailed article about, for example, Steven Jones’s findings, I would most likely include some discussion of this issue. However, the purpose of my post was more general. It wasn’t intended to be a detailed evaluation of anyone’s research.

Reliability of the evidence is essential.

Agreed.

In that respect, if my evidence is reliable, and if my thought process is immune from distortions

I don’t think anyone’s thought process is immune to distortions. That’s the reason why double-blind tests are standard in medical science, for example.

Judging by what you say further down on the page, you apparently are not find of modern medicine either. Modern medicine does leave a lot to be desired, I agree, but, in my opinion, the problems with modern medicine are not in the scientific methodology, but in the delivery of health care (and, to some extent, in scientific research priorities, as distinct from methodology). Now, if we could just combine the science of mainstream modern medicine with the wholistic personal attentiveness of most forms of alternative medicine, we’d have a really great system, in my opinion. But I digress.

On “scientific” thinking:
There’s a vast difference between science and scientificism. The latter is an “-ism”. It means “sounding, or appearing scientific without necessarily being so”. It is a special case of sophism.

This phrase from Diane’s article is an example of scientificism:
“But then again, there’s also the question of how the debris pile fires managed to get so extremely hot without the presence of an incendiary. While one might expect the pile fires to get hotter than the building fires in at least some places, should we expect them to get that much hotter?”
Thermite (or Thermate) – good so far, though not conclusive

For what reason might anyone “expect the pile fires to get hotter than the building fires in at least some places”?

For one thing, the pile fires lasted a much longer period of time than the building fires. Thus they had more time to heat up their surroundings. Anyhow, note that I used the word “might” rather than “would.” I wasn’t making any actual claim about what the temperature of the pile fires should have been, other than to say that, without the presence of an incendiary like thermite, I wouldn’t expect them to get hot enough to melt steel.

Anyhow, what does this have to do with “scientificism” as opposed to “science”?

By what process would the oxygen in the air be burning concrete and steel in the pile at the foot of the WTC?

The oxygen could perhaps have come from subway tunnels, PATH train tunnels, etc. I don’t know this for a fact, since I have not really studied the pile fires. I’m just making an assumption for the sake of argument. The point I’m trying to make is simply that even if the pile fires were as hot as we can possibly reasonably imagine, they still, most likely, could not have been hot enough to melt steel.

Why am I still using the word “likely” here, rather than “definitely”? Because I haven’t studied the pile fires in detail, so there isn’t much that I can say definitely about them. (Who knows, maybe one of the WTC’s tenants was storing a large amount of some as-yet-unknown chemical that burns exceedingly hot, and maybe, after the towers fell, this stuff spewed all over, causing pile fires hot enough to melt steel. I don’t think this is at all likely in an office building, as distinct from a chemical factory, but, without a thorough study of who the tenants were and what they were using their offices for, I can’t absolutely rule it out.)

The sentence is entirely irrational. It serves only to “set the mood” for a certain style of argument that relies on presenting some things as “likely” and some things as “unlikely” without any real science underlying the “likelihood” of this or that.

The point is to make an argument by making assumptions as generous to the other side as possible, and then to show that the other side’s conclusion is still not warranted (or, at the very least, unlikely to be warrranted). That’s a standard and valid technique of argument. You yourself use a similar “even if” technique below.

Here’s another example from Diane:
“For more about this issue, see the September 11 archives page on the Progressive Review site, including a synopsis of a 1976 book by New York City Fire Commissioner John O’Hagan, High Rise Fire and Life Safety, in which O’Hagan worried about the possibility of the Twin Towers collapsing due to fire.
Whether or not these worries were in fact justified on the grounds given, it would seem that the hypothetical possibility of a steel high-rise building collapsing was not totally unheard of among fire fighters or among fire safety experts before 2001.
We can still argue that such a collapse is unlikely, given the WTC buildings’ highly redundant design, and given the history of more-severe and longer-lasting fires in similarly constructed buildings that did not collapse.”
“Foreknowledge” by NYC officials – a bad argument

The thing is, even if one assumes that by some miracle the fire from jet fuel went as far as melting several of the steel components of the core, even went as far as extensively melting the steel components of the core within all the consecutive storeys involved in the plane crashes,

No knowledgeable person is claiming that the jet fuel, or the subsequent office fires, were hot enough to melt any of the steel. The official story claims that the steel was only softened, not melted. Any melting of steel would be evidence of the presence of something unusual, like maybe thermite.

and even if by some miracle everything above those storeys was made to crash and fall over, and maybe even if all of the floors of both towers had “pancaked” and come down …it’s still impossible for the cores of the buildings to have collapsed. There is no mechanism for it. Even if they were stripped of floors and walls by the collapse, the cores of the buildings should have been left standing at least up to the height of the storeys where the planes had hit.

The assumption here is that the impact of the falling top parts of the towers could not have been sufficient to smash the core. And indeed that’s a strong intuitive argument. Just look at the core columns, and the core beams, in this construction photo, for example. However, to prove things in science, you need more than just intuition. Quantitative questions require quantitative analysis.

But Diane writes,
“…the hypothetical possibility of a steel high-rise building collapsing was not totally unheard of among fire fighters or among fire safety experts before 2001. We can still argue that such a collapse is unlikely…”

It sounds “scientific” to say that. But neither scientists nor technologists have been able to come up with a mechanism to account for the collapse of the cores of the towers in the “damage by fire” scenario.

The alleged mechanism is basically that the cores got smashed, along with the rest of the building. (In a quantitative analysis, one might need to consider a variety of different ways that the cores might conceivably have gotten smashed, supposedly.)

That scenario is still in the realm of science fiction.

Indeed I certainly don’t think it has been proven, and I would agree that too many people have been too quick to accept it as an alleged scientific fact. However, this issue is not a true “known known” for either side. Again, see my more recent post Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses, especially the section titled What this does and does not mean.

Actual science and technology provide plentifully, neatly, and with clarity a plausible and valid explanation: the only method known capable of destroying the cores of those buildings is Demolition. We know this with certainty. It’s part of the “known knowns”,

If this were truly a “known knowm,” then many more scientists and engineers would be publicly agreeing with us by now at least in other parts of the world, if not here in the U.S.A.

The whole question of when and under what circumstances “progressive collapse” can or can’t happen is still very much a reasearch area, not a “known known.” (See, for example, The science of how buildings fall down by Colin Nickerson, Boston Globe, December 3, 2007.)

1. Mistake in cultivating a dependency on the concept of “Likely”

Several passages of Diane’s article exhibit a “rephrasing strategy”, promoting the notion that we can just say the words “unlikely” and “likely” on some issues, thereby avoiding responsibility for “overstating” our case”.

Since her paper focuses a lot on scientific presentation and analysis of technical ideas, we need to see the use of that concept in that context. Usage of the concept of “likelihood” of events is inevitably linked with statistical probabilities. But linking the notion of scientific certainty with “chances”, “probabilities” and “likelihood” of events is a blow to anyone who seeks to attain clarity on the Truth about 9/11.

Sorry it feels like a “blow.” Yes, many people crave certainty. However, in my opinion, the aim of the 9/11 Truth movement shouldn’t be to claim that we already know exactly what did or didn’t happen (when in fact a lot of us have jumped to premature conclusions). Our aim should be to get a new and truly independent investigation. Our aim should be to demand that the truth be exposed, not to claim that we already have the whole truth.

The case of the Truth movement does not rely on percentages of probabilities. Exploring it from that angle, using language that’s reserved for probabilities (used to analyse events such as a throw of the dice), demolishes any clarity we’ve achieved so far. All we need is for prominent “Truthers” to say “this event is highly unlikely”, and the Debunkers will respond, “yes, but even so, that remote one-in-a-million probability actually occurred”

On the contrary, by ceasing to claim certainty on matters we can’t justifiably be certain of, we will thereby enhance our credibility at least in the eyes of the most intelligent and best-educated people thereby increasing our chances of winning a new and truly independent investigation.

And the US Government’s case comes our smelling “scientific”, bolstered by “statistical analysis”.

No. When demanding a new investigation, all we need is “probable cause.” Besides, many other strange things happened on 9/11 besides just the apparent demolitions. There is no need to tie our case to an alleged certainty about any one particular thing. And we should be very careful that any claims of certainty do not exceed our evidence.

For example, Diane “critiques” a paper by Zdenek P. Bazant and Yong Zhou – in their paper, Bazant and Zhou postulate a “mechanism” to explain the US Government’s version of events, here:
Bazant and Zhou paper (PDF)

No, I didn’t really critique Bazant’s paper. As I said, I’m not qualified to critique Bazant, at least not all by myself. The most I can do is to suggest possible lines of attack, as I did, for example, in the comment thread starting here.

Anyhow, I’ve been invited to help error-check a scientific paper that someone else is writing, which actually does critique Bazant. Although I’m no structural engineer or even a mechanical engineer, I’m reasonably good at catching things like math errors and misapplications of basic laws of physics, so I can probably be of some help with this person’s paper.

Regarding Bazant’s hypothesis:

Of course it’s all hogwash, because the two key events required for this to take place never occurred. They said:
“The vertical impact of the mass of the upper part onto the lower part applies enormous vertical dynamic load on the underlying structure…”
This never occurred, because all of that upper storey mass was already pulverized before it hit the structures below.

No, it wasn’t completely pulverized yet, though it was certainly starting to pulverize. For a discussion about the effects of this pulverization on Bazant’s hypothetical “pile dirver,” see the comment thread starting here.

No Diane. A “rephrasing strategy” that utilizes probability terms harms our case. People who are not yet sure of what happened will read your paper and become confused, not empowered to put forth “our case” in clearer terms. We’re cutting our own throats with this statistical rephrasing strategy.

Perhaps this depends on who your target audience is. My target audience is the scientists, engineers, and scholars that we desperately need more of in our movement, if it is ever going to get anywhere. Scientists and scholars in general are far more apt to take seriously a person with a careful, cautious approach.

Apparently you disagree about the need for more scientists, as you state later. I’ll reply to you on that issue when we get to it.

I would also say that a careful, cautious approach is needed for the sake of sheer honesty with ourselves.

Admittedly, a careful and cautious approach might not have the best propagandistic value when talking to people of average or below-average intelligence or education. However, this would be more than compensated for by the added credibility we could get by attracting more scientists.

The mechanism postulated by Bazant and Zhou is entirely outside the realm of reality. In fact, if the mechanism were within the realm of the Possible, it would have been utilized by every Demolition company in the world as a much cheaper and less fussy alternative.

No way would any demolition company want to imitate the WTC collapses. The Towers spewed debris all over the place. One of the aims of a standard controlled demolition is to prevent that. Even WTC 7 caused quite a bit of damage to surrounding buildings, one of which (Fiterman Hall at 30 West Broadway) was damaged beyond repair.

2. Mistake in stating the need for “More Scientists”

In discussing how the Truth movement puts forth its case, the author, in my opinion overstates the need for “More Scientists” on our side:
“…And, in my opinion, we need more scientists, engineers, and other scholars on our side. And they are more likely to be won over by a cautious, detail-oriented approach….”
Truth Action forum

What she wrote sounds good but, coming from a person who supposedly is a Left activist, it must be critiqued through those lenses: the phrase “we need more scientists” by-passes a tremendous chunk of reality. We can’t skip over it with our eyes closed.

It’s about this: we already have Science and Scientists on our side.

We have some scientists on our side. Not very many yet, and definitely not enough. Not even enough, yet, for fully adequate peer review within our own ranks, for example. So, yes, we do need more scientists.

Most of “the case” that is being put forth by the Truth movement rests solidly on well-established general scientific and technical ground, plus on new research and investigations specific to the case. The important thing is HOW is it that the thousands of other scientists in the country are so mesmerized and hypnotized, how is it that they accept a lie that is so contrary to everything they know? HOW did they happen to fall outside of the boundaries of Science?

The scientific issues are not nearly as clear-cut as you think. But I would argue that those scientists who believe the official story have made a similar error in leaping to premature conclusions. Bazant’s hypothesis is, at best, an unproven hypothesis. (Again, see my post Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses.) And there is, of course, plenty of reason to question Bazant’s hypothesis.

There is no way to by-pass the significance of Authoritarianism in dominating the thought processes of the population.

True.

The people are trained to rely on “experts”, but how do we account for the blindness exhibited by the experts themselves? For example, to this day, there has been no refutation of Prof. Steven Jones’ peer-reviewed work on the WTC collapse.

There have been various attempts to refute it. Besides the ones mentioned in my post’s section on Thermite (or Thermate) – good so far, though not conclusive, there’s also this page by Henry62, which I might critique sometime later. For now I’ll just note that it, like most attempts to refute Jones’s hypothesis, doesn’t deal with Jones’s strongest evidence, namely the iron spherules, which were found by the U.S. Geological Survey as well as by Jones. The latter is acknowledged even by at least one of the better-informed official-story defenders, e.g. Frank Greening a.k.a. “Apollo20,” in this post in the JREF forum and in another post quoted here. (Note that Greening has some disagreements with NIST and refers disparagingly to “NISTians,” but basically supports the official story in other ways, such as by being a co-author of the most recent Bazant paper.)

I would say that Jones’s research is good so far, but not yet conclusive. For example, as far as I am aware, there has not yet been sufficient exploration of the question of where else the iron spherules could possibly have come from. As far as I’m aware, official-story defenders have avoided this issue for the most part, which, in one way, is a good sign. But it would be better if they would try to attack it by suggesting other possible sources of the iron spherules, so that Jones could then rule out those possibilities. Jones’s hypothesis would then be on much surer ground. (If anyone here has seen any critiques along these lines, other than just complaints that Steven Jones has not yet ruled out other as-yet-unspecified possibilities, please let me know.)

Where is the scientific ability to reflect, to evaluate events, to think critically?

One problem may be that the single most relevant field, namely structural engineering, has for the most part been less scientific in its methodology than most other kinds of engineering, as one official-story defender all but admitted to me recently. (Again, see Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses.)

If we ignore Casseia’s Comment about the “traumatizing mindfuck” technique, there’s no other way to understand the behaviour of either the population or the scientific community

I wouldn’t say there’s no other way to understand it. The traumatic nature of the events is probably an important factor for many people, but there are other factors too.

Here in New York at least, I suspect that many of the staunchest opponents of the 9/11 Truth movement are Jews who are terrified of the possibility that, if 9/11 were to turn out to be an inside job, then Israel might be inplicated somehow, and that such a revelation might, in turn, lead to a Nazi-like backlash against all Jews. At the very least they’re scared of the possibility that a belief that 9/11 is an inside job could lead to a Nazi-like backlash against all Jews. To counteract this, we need to show that we care about opposing all bigotry, including bigotry against Jews. (See Taking responsibility for counteracting bigotry in our midst.)

Among leftist opponents of the 9/11 Truth movement, I think a major motive is a sincere fear of “conspiracism” a la Chip Berlet, because full-blown “conspiracism” is so often intertwined with various kinds of bigotry. (See my posts Chip Berlet and “Conspiracism” and The recent growth of anti-Illuminism: Dreadful ideology about the dreaded Illuminati.) I believe that this fear is in many cases sincere, because I can relate to it. (See The 9/11 Truth movement and me.)

Among conservative opponents of the 9/11 Truth movement, I suspect that a major motive is simply a belief that it is “unpatriotic” to believe that high officials in the U.S. government could be capable of such atrocities.

Asking for “more scientists” while ignoring how the scientific and technical world is currently in a state of mind-numbed paralysis, stuck in a hazy fog, is missing the point. So what if we had a hundred scientists on our side? Who wants them, if they are not going to bring their knowledge, their expertise, their unfettered minds to the effort?

If they are to be “on our side” and simply mouthing slogans as they do now for the US Government side, they would be hurting us instead of helping us.

I wouldn’t want them to be “simply mouthing slogans” of any kind. What we need is more scientists willing and able to do the work necessary to prove our case.

In order for them to be motivated to do that work, they (and we) must first recognize that their work is necessary. But no such work would be necessary if our case were already completely proven which it isn’t.

The work is necessary, and I intend to do what I can to help. If nothing else, I can help in the reviewing and proofreading of scientific papers.

Everything revolves around OUR understanding of how the minds of both the population and its scientists have become chained to the forces of the Irrational.

I maintain that illusions of premature certainty are irrational, both on the part of defenders of the official story and on our own part as well.

Right now we have a need that’s a lot more pressing than “more scientists” on our side. We need to find better methods of restorative and healing treatments for the mental~emotional shock procedure that was used to embed elements of the Irrational within the psyche of most scientists and non-scientific community. A better understanding of the substratum on which the “traumatizing mindfuck technique” acted within people will help us to treat the injuries so that our scientists may again be receptive to the Truth, restored with the ability to believe their own eyes and trust their own knowledge of how the world operates. Both in scientific and non-scientific terms.

Recasting the work in these terms requires us to see it as something way beyond the level of debate and arguments, way beyond the petty points of “pro” and “con” positions – the nature of the 9/11 Truth Puzzle requires us to treat it as a special and highly sensitive project of the Liberation Movement. Nothing less than the whole enchilada of personal, sexual, social, political and spiritual global Liberation efforts – and their accompanying histories, science, mobilizations, campaigns, etc – all of that and nothing less are essential parts of the puzzle in defining, explaining, understanding and setting free …not just the minds of those involved, but our entire Being, our individual and collective Beings together.

Sounds like a huge undertaking. The scientific work of actually proving our case should not and need not wait for this.

We can bring in more scientists with well-reasoned arguments and an awareness of scientific methodology. (Note: scientific methodology, not just alleged “scientific facts.”)

About your “south pole” example: No disagreement there.

Now to your discussion about the Michelson-Morley experiment, “ether,” etc.

Related to all this is the Michelson~Morley experiment and it’s significance as “proof” that Ether does not exist.

Ether is one of the elemental qualities of the Universe which is found in the Science and Cosmology of all the major traditional and ancient sciences. Three main branches of human Science dating back from millennia ago up to today, Chinese Cosmology, Sankhya (Hindu~Vedic) Cosmology, and that of the Hellenic (greek)~Western Alchemist Cosmology all include the concept of Ether built into their understanding of how the Universe is structured and functions.

One problem here is that the words “ether” and “science” are both being used in at least two different senses. “Ether” in the sense disproven by the Michelson-Morely experiment was merely an alleged stationary physical medium for conducting light and other electromagnetic radiation. This need not be the exact same thing as “Ether” in a more mystical, non-physical sense, or in any traditional cosmological sense. Also, “science” in the sense of “traditional body of lore” is not the same thing as “science” in the more modern sense of that term.

Anyhow, you then attempt to map ancient cosmologies onto modern scientific findings, e.g. as follows:

The other four elements, Air, Fire, Water, Earth, can be readily seen as corresponding to the four most commonly perceived States of Matter: Gas, Plasma/Fire, Liquid, Solid.

With this I do not agree. Are you a mystic, occultist, or Pagan of some kind? If so, when you do a ritual, would you substitute oil for water, just because oil happens to be a liquid?

The idea of the “four elements” as cosmic elements is based on outdated chemistry.

To the extent that the “Four Elements” still have any real physical meaning, that meaning is, in my opinion, not cosmological, but (planet) Earth-based. The “Four Elements” are not “elements” of matter in general, and they are not “elements” in a chemical sense, but they certainly are “elements” of what is required to sustain life here on (planet) Earth. We humans, and all kindred lifeforms, need water, “fire” (sunlight plus cellular respiration), air, and soil, in the proper balance, in order to exist.

Thus I do think that the “Four Elements” can have a valid role in spirituality, at least if one’s spirituality happens to involve reverence for Mother Earth. However, to the extent that any of today’s Pagans and occultists still insist on seeing the “four elements” in physical cosmological terms, I think that’s just a manifestation of the human tendency to overgeneralize.

In any case, spirituality is a very different matter from science (in the modern sense).

Hence, to the extent that some concept of “Ether” plays a role in one’s spirituality, it need not be tied to the “ether” of 19th-century physics.

Let’s restate this: in order for the Michelson~Morley experiment to determine whether light emanating from a source that “moves through the Ether” actually creates an interference pattern, it was required that they find a way for themselves or their equipment to move through the Ether at a rate slower or faster than the stream of Time, or at least to be able to make their measurements from a point that does not move with the stream of Time, or is outside of it. Did they do that?

Of course not. But why should this be necessary, if the “ether” is stationary?

The victory of the “Ah don’t see it therefore it don’t exist” mentality, is a victory of crude and distorted “common sense” over millennia of Scientific refinement.

“Ah don’t see it therefore it don’t exist” is a crude distortion of modern scientific methodology. Modern science deals with a lot of things we can’t see. It just is (or, at least, is supposed to be) very careful about making inferences about those things.

It was a required victory over civilization if Capital were to become enabled to take over the administration of Science so as to place the Technology of Merchandise above it (it now governs that invaded and occupied country named Science as a collaborationist occupation regime, like the one currently ruling over occupied Iraq).

“Merchandise” can be said to “rule over” science to the extent that research priorities are determined by the availability of funding. But this does not affect the validity of modern scientific methodology. If anything, modern scientific methodology – to the extent that it is actually applied – is supposed to serve as a check and balance against imposed biases. Scientists may be tempted to fake their results in order to please their funding sources, but, if they do, they run a high risk of getting caught eventually.

In order for the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Corporations to control Medicine, for example, it was necessary to destroy any scientific understanding of Ether and of the other elementals: they are the foundations of the Humour-based Theory of Medicine. Hippocratic, Ayurvedic, and Chinese Medicine are meaningless without it.

If traditional “science” really were superior as science, then it would be in no one’s best interests to abandon it. If the “Humour-based Theory of Medicine” had any real validity on a biochemical level, then the Chemical and Pharmaceutical Corporations could make even more money by inventing new and improved drugs based on that model than they could by ignoring it.

(I suspect that the “Humour-based Theory of Medicine” might indeed map to something with real validity in the development of psychological or neurological aids to healing, as distinct from the development of drugs, but that would be a whole other area of research – and, obviously, not as lucrative as the development of new drugs, which is probably why such research doesn’t get much if any funding.)

Ideas and concepts can not be easily classified as being “within” the Realm of Mass and Energy, “within” the Physical world. Maybe the closest thing we can say about them is that they are perceived by sentient entities within the Physical world, but perhaps do not “reside” in it. Essentially, abstractions are not physical entities, they are inhabitants of the Metaphysical planes.

Depends how you define “metaphysical.” (See the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy‘s article about the history of meanings of the word metaphysics.) Personally I’m inclined to use the word “metaphysics” to mean a person’s beliefs about the nature of the cosmos as a whole, including both the physical world and anything nonphysical that the person believes in. So, what you call “metaphysical,” I would call “non-physical.”

In the “map of the Universe” Ether resides exactly on the threshold between the Physical and the Metaphysical. The qualities of which it is woven, Time, Space and Consciousness, render Ether to that unique position constituting the threshold, the Veil beyond which lies the Ineffable.

I see no reason to equate this concept of “Ether” with the “ether” of 19th-century physics.

Trying to “measure” some imaginary perturbations of Ether in order to prove whether it exists or not, is more ridiculous than trying to “prove” that the number Pi (3,14…ad infinitum) “does not exist”.

It you define “ether” as a physical medium which conducts electromagnetic waves, then the properties of those waves can indeed be used to measure and deduce qualities of the ether. On the other hand, if you define “Ether” as something more mystical, then you can’t measure it.

It is something between a blunder and a shame for a Truther to be dropping the phrase “Michelson~Morley experiment” in order to confer validity to an opinion, or to make it “sound scientific”.

Only if you define a “Truther” as a believer in certain alleged eternal cosmic truths, rather than as a seeker of new truths. I’m the latter.

If you’re not yet convinced, please answer me this: Electromagnetism exists as a wave. What is the medium through which it travels?

There isn’t one. That’s what is meant by saying there’s no “ether” (in the physical sense). Furthermore, it’s an oversimplification to say that “electromagneticism exists as a wave,” now that the particle/wave duality has been discovered.

The nature of Electromagnetism, like the Laws of Thermodynamics (below), is the elephant in the room. The majority of mainstream scientists choose to ignore it – in fact, it is by training themselves to constantly ignore the most basic and essential facts and questions in the Universe that they become able to swallow entire volumes of hogwash or to accept lies issuing from the Voice of Authority at face value, unchallenged.

If you’re going to claim superior knowledge of electromagnetism and thermodynamics superior over what today’s science has to offer then there should be some way for you to demonstrate this superior knowledge. For example, if you had enough money and resources, would you be able to invent some technology beyond the capabilities of today’s technology, based on your knowledge of traditional cosmologies?

If not, then your knowledge of traditional cosmologies may still have spiritual value, but please don’t claim that it gives you a superior understanding of the physical world.

Truthers (and our Science) can not afford to imitate that pseudo-scientific approach. Associating ourselves or our position papers with the distortions of truth that were embedded within Science in previous conflicts does no one any good.

If that is what you think, then you and I have a very fundamental philosophical disagreement. Offhand, I don’t see any way to bridge it.

4. Mistake in articulating “the case” in regard to the Speed of Collapse and Laws of gravity

Regarding this section: The “Newton’s laws” argument: Incomplete without some details:

The Truth movement is not claiming that supposedly “the sheer speed of collapse inherently violates Newton’s laws.” What we are saying is that IF there was a pancake collapse (which is what the US Government is claiming), then the near free-fall speed of collapse WOULD be a violation of the laws of gravity.

The latter point is precisely what I meant to say is not inherently true, if you assume that the towers’ resistance to being crushed is somehow “negligible” compared to the downward force of what’s alleged to be crushing it. If you assme the latter, then the collapses do not violate the law of gravity, or any of Newton’s other laws.

So, the quantitative question that needs to be explored is whether the resistance of the towers to being crushed is indeed “negligible.” Intuitively, it would seem that it isn’t. But that needs to be proven.

What we are saying is that the claim by the US Government is in violation of the laws of Nature.

It may indeed be in violation of the laws of Nature, but not in the obvious and fundamental ways that many people in the 9/11 Truth movement have alleged. If modeled as a series of inelastic collisions with “negligible” resistance to column-breaking, then it does not violate the law of conservation of momentum, nor the law of gravity, nor the law of conservation of energy. What does seem to me to be highly questionable, of course, is the allegedly “negligible” resistance to column-breaking.

5. Mistakes regarding the significance of the Laws of Thermodynamics

I’d like to posit the idea that it is impossible to “convince” anyone, especially scientists, if we are not familiar with the Why and How the thought process of those scientists might be distorted.

We must begin with the assumption that there is a distortion there, or else they’d be able to see the Truth right away, even faster and more clearly than the non-scientific public, right?

And yet, most scientists do not. They just accept the Impossible, the Irrational, as scientifically endorsed “reality”.

One problem is that many scientists tend to think in terms of their own narrow specialty, which is the only thing they really bother to examine, relying on the authority of scientists in other specialties for everything else. Thus, for example, scientists who aren’t structural engineers rely on the authority of Bazant, not even realizing how scientifically underdeveloped the field of structural engineering actually seems to be (as I am now starting to discover). If they realized this, then they might be more inclined to suspect that Bazant could be wrong. As for structural engineers themselves, one structural engineer, who is a defender of the official story, has all but outright admitted to me that their methods are far less scientific than those of most other kinds of engineers. (See Engineers were surprised by the WTC collapses, especially the section titled What this does and does not mean.)

Another big problem is that most scientists are dependent on either government or corporate grants. Indeed, at many universities, tenure and promotions are based largely on a professor’s ability to get research grants. That creates pressure on scientists not to rock the boat politically.

The latter being the case, I think it would be helpful to try to attract more scientists in countries overseas.

Some of the most fundamental qualities of Nature are entirely invisible to most scientists.

Such as?

First Law

An example of a Major blind spot embedded in the world-view of most scientists is related to the First Law of Thermodynamics.

Scientists hold their “academic” garden barbecue parties every weekend and never think twice – no worries! – that while cooking the burgers the kerosene flames might melt the steel barbecue assembly.

Again, no knowledgeable defender of the official story claims that jet fuel melted the steel. Neither lighter fluid nor the subsequent charcoal fire can melt a steel grill, although it might perhaps soften the grill just a teeny bit. But this doesn’t matter if all you’re using the grill for is to cook hamburgers. No one in their right mind would either drop or store any heavy objects on top of a barbecue grill, especially while the fire is lit.

Similar remarks apply to your other example.

when the US Government says that kerosene jet fuel burned for twenty minutes and melted the structural steel of the WTC

None of the official reports said the jet fuel melted the steel. Some people did say this during the first few days after 9/11, but neither the FEMA report nor the NIST report said that, nor any knowledgeable scientists. Indeed, Thomas Eagar’s December 2001 paper specifically pointed out that the jet fuel could not have melted the steel.

Even the simplest and most visible phenomenon of the WTC Collapse leaves them without wonder: how could a block consisting of about 30 upper storeys of each building structure fall and impart crushing energy to the storeys below, enough to pulverize everything, and yet not decelerate while doing so?

Good questions, but they are quantitative questions, requiring quantitative analysis. Scientists outside the field of structural engineering just assume that the structural engineers, following Bazant, know what they are talking about.

Elementary (my dear Watson), right? So why won’t the thousands of scientists who saw the events on television, who heard the “official story” from the US Government invest one minute to think about it in their own terms, in scientific terms? By what mechanism can this event have taken place?

They were indeed surprised. But then Bazant wrote his first quick explanation two days later. Since he happens to be one of the world’s leading structural engineers, almost everyone believed him.

Regarding Steven Jones:

While several hundred architects, engineers, plus some scientists were able to appreciate and embrace its meaning after it was published, in truth we are faced with a tremendous behavioural Puzzle in regard to this paper: Prof. Jones’ work is peer-reviewed, several colleagues have endorsed it, not a single refutation of the paper has been issued by any scientist in the whole world, and yet the result of his thorough scientific investigation into The Defining Event of the 21st Century is …he was thrown out of the University!

Unfortunately, universities are subject to political pressures, which is getting to be a worse and worse problem these days, as university administrators think more and more like corporate managers.

So, who among the Truthers is going to “appeal” to the scientific community’s “deep” understanding of the First Law of Thermodynamics and “get them on our side”? If what we are seeing is a victory of the Irrational, is it not also irrational to believe that “restating” or “understating” our case is going to “prove it to the scientists?”

We need to reach out to those scientists whom we can. And yes we are most likely to reach them with a careful and cautious approach. If you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand scientific methodology.

Second Law

Another example of Major blind spots embedded in most scientists’ world-view concerns the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Many Truthers are also victims of the same Major blind spots.

Sometimes the Second Law is discussed in relation to the characteristic of the WTC Collapse that we term “Controlled” – the collapses of the buildings straight down along the path of most resistance, causing them to fall directly “on their own footprints” is an indication of carefully calculated Demolition. In this respect, the Second Law of Thermodynamics is discussed in relation to how human beings interact with natural processes to “decrease Entropy” by organizing events and structures.

Indeed the straight-down, vertical, almost perfectly symmetrical collapse of WTC 7 is a strong piece of evidence, although I think there are better ways to argue this point than by using the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Most scientists will shake their heads and say “you don’t understand physics”, or “this is quackery”, or emphasize and re-emphasize your lack of credentials if you bring this up.

In order to use a physical law to prove something quantitative to a physicist, you need to be able to do the relevant calculations, or at least show that you understand what the relevant calculations would need to be. One problem with “Second Law of Thermodynamics” arguments is that there are a lot of people who use them but who have only a vague intuitive understanding of what “entropy” is, without the foggiest clue as to how to compute it, let alone how to compute changes in entropy.

Definitely, enforced unity achieved under threat of starvation or poverty, or under threat of terror and violence is impressive. But the Unity achieved by people who freely chose to assemble in collective entities and projects is far superior. The criminal entities of the Corporate State will only be transcended when humanity is capable of Organizing itself on the basis of less crude, more refined principles of Unity.

That I agree with.

A proper application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics can lead the way to exploring the WTC Collapse as a controlled demolition, as an organized event that flowed in the direction opposite than would be expected by the natural direction of Entropy. Most scientists are unable – or unwilling – to see it.

Can you actually compute entropy? If not, then please don’t claim to have a superior understanding of what a “proper application of the Second Law of Thermodynamics” is. That’s no way to appeal to scientists; you’re just going to turn most of them off, even more than they were turned off already.

If we want dogmatic and self-blinding scientists on our side, yes, then we “need more scientists” – with them on our side, mouthing our slogans and adding to the prestige of our claims, we might influence more people. But what is the quality of that kind of endorsement?

As I said earlier, we need scientists who will do much more than just “mouth slogans.” We need them to do research.

Some “details”

Free-fall
In investigating the near free-fall collapse of the WTC we often forget that the “regulation” free-fall speed that we find “on the books” is for objects falling in a vacuum, not for objects falling through the air. Air resistance is a tremendous factor when it comes to comparing the “free fall” of dust clouds to that of cement blocks or steel beams. That’s the reason why in most elementary physics textbooks, the concept is taught by showing pictures of a feather and a cannon ball falling together in a vacuum jar.

This concept was brought up in a Comment, here:
Truth Action forum
Its ramifications are tremendous. It was ignored.

Air resistance is negligible for sufficiently heavy and compact objects.

It might nevertheless be important if I were doing a detailed quantitative analysis, but I’m not qualified to do that anyway, at least not all by myself.

The ramifications are also connected to all the video evidence which shows that in both collapses, the buildings (concrete floors, steel core structures, walls) are falling at the same speed as the dust cloud next to them.

The dust clouds are expanding, which means that different parts of the dust clouds would have to be “falling” at different rates.

Demolition
Controlled Demolition is a special case, a special type of “Demolition in general”. Most Demolitions are not controlled (for example military applications).
Explosive Demolition is another special case of Demolition. The two are not synonymous. Many Demolitions are not explosive (for example the Demolition of an Electricity Transmission Tower – a Pylon – by cutting the base with blowtorch or acid and allowing the wind to topple it, or having someone “pull it” by tractor).
– Thermate and Thermite are not explosives. They can be used for Cutting and Melting tools in another special case of Demolition, different from Explosive Demolition, and different from Controlled Demolition (for example the cutting of railroad tracks, or trusses of a bridge).

Good points.

Thermate and Thermite are not capable of pulverizing concrete or ejecting masses of structural material from the buildings.

By themselves they can’t. However, if used in enough places to trigger a collapse, the resulting collapse (of such very tall buildings) might be capable of pulverzing concrete and ejecting stuff all over the place. I’m not sure to what extent this is true. That’s another one of those pesky quantitative questions.

Unfortunately, even though Diane’s article is an exploration of whether “we are overstating the case for Demolition” it makes no distinction whatsoever in the meaning of the above words and phrases, or the mechanisms involved in each type of Demolition. “The case” that is supposedly being overstated, must be at least stated before we worry about overstating it.

Not necessarily. Weeding out unsound approaches can be a vital step toward developing a much sounder approach. The latter is my aim. If you explore the rest of my blog, you’ll see that it does contain arguments for idea that the WTC buildings were demolished, especially WTC 7. I haven’t gotten it all organized into a fully coherent case yet, but that’s certainly a goal. If you’re interested, just re-visit my blog now and then.

Pancake Collapse
Photo of a real pancake collapse:
photo on Cyprus Indymedia

The building in the above photograph collapsed after being air-bombed by a US Government-supplied Turkish Air Force “Phantom” in Cyprus. The location is about three miles from Othello’s castle in the city of Ammohostos (Magusa /Famagusta), in 1974. Even though air bombing is the most “messy” type of Explosive Demolition, you can still see the pancaked concrete floors of each storey piled on top of each other.

Thanks for posting this. It would be useful to see more examples of the effects of bombings on different kinds of buildings.

However, the building does not seem to have been extremely tall. Looks like maybe only 8 to 10 floors. A taller building would come down with much more force, enough to chop the building up into smaller pieces, though I’m not sure how much smaller.

P.S., 12/9/2007: See my Truth Action post My recent debates with OCT defenders for a brief summary of some of the debates I’ve been involved in lately here on this blog.

P.S., 6/22/2008: At the time I wrote the above post, I believed that explosive demolition of at least WTC 7 was a likely possibility. I no longer believe that. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of some kind of secondary arson, e.g. with thermite, but I now don’t strongly believe in that possibility either. See subsequent posts here on this blog.

Advertisements

9 Comments »

  1. “Those are admittedly extreme examples.”
    Both examples touch on the edge (and exceed) the scope of Newtonian Physics, in the case of the collapse of the WTC structures, the argument ‘size matters’ does not apply, unless you can cite a moderate example.

    Comment by imgstacke — December 9, 2007 @ 8:44 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks for taking the time to respond to this, Diane. I would suggest that to the extent possible and as you have time, you re-read it and try to discern the places in which your underlying assumptions may have caused you to entirely miss some of the points.

    Comment by casseia — December 9, 2007 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  3. To casseia:

    Would you mind telling me, at least in a general way, what specific points you think I’ve entirely missed, and what specific “underlying assumptions” you are referring to?

    To imgstacke:

    I’ll try to think of some good human-scale examples and post them later.

    Comment by Diane — December 9, 2007 @ 9:50 pm | Reply

  4. For a human-scale example of how size matters, consider the differences between a tornado and an ordinary whirlwind.

    For some human-scale examples to illustrate the point that common sense is often not enough:

    1) If you know any computer programmers, ask then when was the last time they wrote a program in which everything worked right the first time. Their answer will most likely be “never.” No matter how carefully a program is written, there is almost always something wrong that needs to be debugged. Likewise ask any electronig engineer, or any automotive engineer, etc., when was the last time they built a prototype in which everything worked right the first time. In electronic engineering in particular, especially if it involves any part that’s “analog,” there’s usually some oddball physical effect that the engineer didn’t think of at first. Determining what the problem is can sometimes be quite difficult, although sometimes it is easy. As I used to say, back in the days when I worked as an electronic engineer, Mother Nature does not provide tech support.

    2) Perhaps the most relevant examples have to do with buildings and other structures collapsing or otherwise failing. In the comment thread following my post about Fire temperatures and steel temperatures, we discussed the Broadgate fire, in which a building was expected to collapse but didn’t, and the subsequent Cardington experiments, in which a building was built and deliberately set on fire. (For more about this, see the section on The Cardington and Broadgate Fires in Susan Lamont’s PhD Thesis, a copy of which is part of the Nerdcities/Guardian mirror on Jim Hoffman’s site.) Sometimes the opposite happens too, where something is expected not to collapse or otherwise fall apart, but does. Well-known examples include the Titanic, which was supposed to be unsinkable but wasn’t, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which collapsed due to wind in 1940.

    3) Now for an example outside the realm of physical science and technology, but in the realm of human culture instead: To many people, it is “common sense” that polyamory can’t possibly work. But there are plenty of people who do make it work. (Petros can probably relate to this example, judging by this Yahoo group post by Petros Evdokas.)

    Anyhow, I have a strong hunch that a bunch of the scientists and engineers in the 9/11 Truth movement, working together, will eventually be able to come up with scientifically sound disproof of Bazant’s hypothesis. But it will take work. Many of the simplistic arguments that have been made thus far are not sufficient to be solid proof, and some of these arguments are downright wrong.

    Comment by Diane — December 10, 2007 @ 12:26 am | Reply

  5. (This comment is an edited pingback.)

    The post linked below was written in response to Casseia’s and Petros Evdokas’s mention of a “traumatic mindfuck” (as quoted in my post above). Thinking about this some more, I wonder how many people were actually traumatized by the events of 9/11/2001.

    -Diane

    Pingback by What happened in my life on 9/11/2001 « New York City activist — December 10, 2007 @ 2:49 am | Reply

  6. Diane,
    Thanks for taking the time to review and to share some more thoughts.

    I’ve got plenty more to say on the subjects, of course. I’ll be returning to some of these themes in the next few days.

    Thanks!
    Petros
    ttetpos@yahoo.com

    Comment by petrosevdokas — December 10, 2007 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

  7. I am not sure whether I am helping you by complimenting this post, but you’ve done a terrific job of analysis here. A couple things I would add:

    1. The “pancake collapse” is no longer the operative theory.

    http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006.htm

    “NIST’s findings do not support the “pancake theory” of collapse…”

    2. The core columns of both buildings remained standing briefly (maybe 10-15 seconds) after the collapses; many films show them. I think one of the “spires” was as tall as 60 stories. They did not remain standing for long.

    3. I wish people would stop claiming that Steven Jones’ paper was peer-reviewed. It was first published not in a Physics Journal, nor a Structural Engineering Journal, nor even in JONES (Journal Of Nine-Eleven Studies), but in a Marxist Journal of Political Economy. Even if we accept that it was peer-reviewed prior to publication in JONES, so was the infamous “Elephant Plane” article which was also published in the inaugural issue of that journal; that article proved so embarrassing that a retraction was eventually published.

    Comment by patslc — December 10, 2007 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

  8. patslc (Pat Curley) wrote:

    1. The “pancake collapse” is no longer the operative theory.

    http://wtc.nist.gov/pubs/factsheets/faqs_8_2006.htm

    “NIST’s findings do not support the “pancake theory” of collapse…”

    Right, the NIST theory features column failure as a result of columns being pulled on by sagging floors.

    2. The core columns of both buildings remained standing briefly (maybe 10-15 seconds) after the collapses; many films show them. I think one of the “spires” was as tall as 60 stories. They did not remain standing for long.

    Did these “spires” include all the core columns or just most of them? I’m under the latter impression, but could be wrong.

    Gordon Ross’s page about How the Towers were Demolished has some interesting things to say about how what happened to the cores. I haven’t yet examined his demolition hypothesis in detail, but I would be interested in your comments on the following description in particular (and the accompanying photos).

    Gordon Ross wrote:

    Most notable and revealing aspect of the survival of the core until this late stage of the collapse lies in how they behaved when they did fall. The columns fell independently of each other showing that all of the horizontal bracing which previously connected them had been severed.

    Disassociation of the core structure

    Look at the arc described by the falling core sections in this photograph. The centre of rotation is not at ground level which shows that failures have taken place at a level which is above ground level. Note also that the core columns are falling independently of each other and this has been made possible by the disassociation of the horizontal bracing.

    Appearance of the ends of failed columns

    The ends of these relatively straight column sections have a luminous appearance and they emit and trail smoke as they fall. This is a sign of thermal activity and this appearance would not be caused by a purely mechanical failure.

    patslc (Pat Curley) wrote:

    3. I wish people would stop claiming that Steven Jones’ paper was peer-reviewed. It was first published not in a Physics Journal, nor a Structural Engineering Journal, nor even in JONES (Journal Of Nine-Eleven Studies), but in a Marxist Journal of Political Economy.

    Would you happen to know which specific Marxist journal? Searching the web a bit to try to find out, I was unable to find a page that mentioned the specific journal.

    Comment by Diane — December 10, 2007 @ 9:54 pm | Reply

  9. Those screen caps are certainly interesting; I had only seen the tips of the spires before. I did not see any evidence that they were glowing. I think everybody agrees they left some residue behind in the air as they fell; most likely dust particles. That’s the sort of stuff Judy Wood claims is “dustification” which proves her Star Wars beam weapon.

    Apparently Jones’ paper was accepted for but not published in the Journal of Political Economy V23 by Paul Zarembka.

    http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka/

    It was then published in 9-11 and Empire by DRG and Peter Dale Scott, and of course in JONES.

    Comment by patslc — December 12, 2007 @ 5:54 pm | Reply


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: