Sunday, April 13, 2014

List of Peer-reviewed Papers supporting 9/11 Truther Position

I think this would be most of them.

UPDATE:  What I just noticed was the earliest one dates to 2006, which happens to be the year that there was over a 500% increase in funding from the defense department for research at universities and colleges.  Mere coincidence?

Well, actually more like a 470% increase, from 2005 to 2006.

This paper from the Journal of 9/11 Studies provides what is probably a comprehensive list of peer-reviewed papers both for and against the official explanations of the collapses of the WTC buildings.  It includes papers from the Journal of 9/11 Studies claiming that they also are peer-reviewed, which I suggest that one take with a grain of salt...or two, and also from the Journal of Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories, which journal also claims that its papers are peer-reviewed, which I also suggest taking with a couple of grains of salt.

22 comments:

JDB said...

What do you mean by "9/11 Truther Position"? The claim on the site itself is simply that the list includes papers that approach 9/11 from "a critical perspective." But that phrase is quite different from yours, as it is even consistent with denying, say, (i) the inside job thesis, (ii) the controlled demolition thesis, and even (iii) the NIST screwed up thesis.

(I would note that their phrase - "a critical perspective" - borders on pure meaningless rhetoric, so it's not necessarily a bad thing that you evidently disagree with them about the proper title for their own list...)

Bilbo said...

I guess I would defend my description by first pointing out that they do no list any peer-reviewed papers that would support the official position on any part of 9/11. Second, from my cursory perusal of at least the abstracts, or sometimes the conclusions, I think it's clear that the listed papers support Truther positions.

And yes, "a critical perspective" could border on "meaningless rhetoric." But perhaps by "critical" they mean critical of the official accounts?

Meanwhile, do you think that it's that the dramatic increase in DoD R&D grants to colleges and universities in 2006 was just coincidental?

JDB said...

"I would defend my description by first pointing out that they do no list any peer-reviewed papers that would support the official position on any part of 9/11"

Not very striking if some of the pieces are consistent with the official engineering position. In any case, "Not supporting the official position" is distinct from "supporting the Truther position." In any case, I was curious about what you meant by "9/11 Truther position." I suppose now I'm also curious about what you mean by "the official position."

"...my cursory perusal..."

Ok - never mind then. We had better drop this - you know how I get with this sort of thing! I better stop while I'm still... only somewhat behind.

"Meanwhile, do you think that it's that the dramatic increase in DoD R&D grants to colleges and universities in 2006 was just coincidental?"

Well, I'm not yet convinced you yourself have even accurately found and identified and correctly understood the relevant numbers (especially in light of your correction), but let's say you have. This so massively under-determines the thesis you're trying to insinuate that I don't have anything interesting to say about it.

Our epistemic practices are so different in some areas that it's hard for us to communicate effectively. Maybe I can at least express my feelings by asking the following (basically rhetorical) question in this cumbersome way: How could the fact that a non-specialist blogger has found second-hand uncontextualized numbers on a pdf from a graduate student online possibly justify me one way or the other on the insinuation that there is a causal relationship between DoD funding and (...the beginning of?) academic research ... excuse me... "critical" academic research... into 9/11?

Bilbo said...

I posted the link to the paper that claims to provide a complete list of papers supporting the official position (fire-induced progressive collapse) and papers supporting criticizing it or supporting the controlled demolition hypothesis before I saw your latest comment. But now I think I've succeeded in demonstrating what a complete list of papers on the issue would look like. Obviously the first list isn't anywhere nearly as complete. So then, how should we describe the first list? From what I can tell, they are papers that are critical of the official position, either on the building collapses, or other issues.

Meanwhile, I haven't been able to find anything more official regarding the numbers for DoD monies to colleges and universities. How about you humor me? Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the paper linked to is accurate. Would you think the dramatic increase (damn, only 470%, not 500%. How could i have been so careless?) was just coincidental?

JDB said...

I appreciate the link to the paper - it has the extra advantages of beginning in 2001 and being almost up-to-date. So this makes sense to me as something that could fall under your post's title.

The original claim that the first link includes "most" of the peer-reviewed papers "supporting 9/11 Truther Position" still seems odd to me for precisely the reasons I mentioned and asked about (e.g., what is the "9/11 Truther position" or the "official position"? and, surely several of the papers are consistent with at least the official engineering position?). But as I mentioned, your "cursory perusal" would invite only very bad e-behavior from me, and I should avoid going down that route! I'm trying to change. I think the new link should close the issue.

"Meanwhile, I haven't been able to find anything more official regarding the numbers for DoD monies to colleges and universities. How about you humor me?"

I can't humor you because I haven't even attempted to look it up - you amazingly expected me to make a judgment on this issue based on that single pdf; this is what I mean by the wide gulf in our epistemic practices. What would be required for me to have a justified position on this matter (again, one way or the other) would be contextualizing the numbers relative to kinds of support, other periods of war, other potential reasons for the increase, ultimate uses of the money, testimony from researchers about government pressure, a specific look at 9/11 inquiry in particular, and so on. This would just be the standard procedure for, say, an undergraduate research paper on the matter - not hyperbole, it's literally what I would advise an undergrad to do, if s/he were interested in the question. (And by the way, I think it's a perfectly interesting question; I don't mean to belittle the basic idea.)

"Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the paper linked to is accurate. Would you think the dramatic increase ... was just coincidental?"

First, I was assuming the paper was accurate as far it goes. But I think my immediately prior reply gives some sense of what I would need to do to make any causal inferences one way or the other. But I suppose here I'll add that even the sense of "just coincidental" needs to be specified. So for instance, it's possible that the increase in funding and the alleged increase in critical 9/11 research have a common cause, namely, something having to do with the minor matters of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. So you have to specify exactly what sort of non-coincidence you're alleging.

"(damn, only 470%, not 500%. How could i have been so careless?)"
I confess that my criticism here was cheap and somewhat juvenile.

I should add that one prior reason I would actually be surprised by a causal connection between 9/11 research and DoD funding is that, as far as I can tell, the Truther movement is a benefit to U.S. foreign policy. It seems to very effectively keep large numbers of people from effecting change or challenging current government policy. So it seems to me that the government ought to want more Truther research, not less.

Bilbo said...

I had a chance to think about it overnight and realized that I had background knowledge about the website that I linked to that I was unconsciously assuming others would know, and that this assumption is unfounded. The website centers around (and I'm guessing was set up because of) a documentary about the lack of critical ("skeptical" might be a better word) inquiry in the academic world of the official positions on 9/11 (which would include the NIST reports and the 9/11 Commission Report, and probably Bazant's work). Thus, their list of papers would be papers that take a skeptical point of view of those official positions. If we define "Truther position" as one that is skeptical in significant respects to the official positions, then these papers would be in support of the "Truther position."

Now what's particularly interesting is that papers with this point of view don't start showing up until 2006. I suspect that this is in large part because of Youtube's creation in 2005, which allowed for videos of the collapse of WTC7 to go viral. In AE911Truth's second video, many of the people interviewed mention that it was seeing videos of the collapse of WTC7 that made them rethink 9/11. i suspect this is a large part of the impetus within the academic community for skeptical papers of the official position.

Given this background, the sudden increase in DoD funding in 2006 becomes interesting. Was this a response from the military to curb academic inquiry into 9/11? If one is a Truther, I think the "gut" reaction is that very probably it was. Certainly if I wanted to make this into a serious claim about the motives of the DoD increase, much more research would be needed.

But what I'm curious about is what your non-Truther "gut" reaction would be.

Meanwhile, regarding your last claim, "I should add that one prior reason I would actually be surprised by a causal connection between 9/11 research and DoD funding is that, as far as I can tell, the Truther movement is a benefit to U.S. foreign policy. It seems to very effectively keep large numbers of people from effecting change or challenging current government policy. So it seems to me that the government ought to want more Truther research, not less."....now there's a claim that would a lot more research (before it should be taken seriously) than I suspect you have put into it.

Bilbo said...

I guess I should add that the documentary was made in Canada, and is largely interviews of Canadian academics. This would add to my suspicions that the DoD increase was more than just coincidental.

JDB said...

"the lack of critical ("skeptical" might be a better word) inquiry in the academic world of the official positions on 9/11"

Again, for the term not to be worthless self-serving rhetoric, it has to be better defined. Several non-Truthers, for example, reject the dominant "official story" vis-a-vis the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and the motives of Islamist groups. This is "critical" scholarship in the sense of "critical" as it appears in the English language, but is undoubtedly not what the website has in mind...

"If we define "Truther position" as one that is skeptical in significant respects to the official positions, then these papers would be in support of the "Truther position.""

But if this is how we define "Truther position," then being a Truther is consistent with not believing that 9/11 was an "inside job," and therefore the list of papers is woefully incomplete.

"Now what's particularly interesting is that papers with this point of view don't start showing up until 2006."

I've taken this for granted up until this point, but are you just assuming this based on when this list starts? The proper time to make literature claims is after one conducts a literature review. Arguably the paper you posted later has done this, and begins before 2006 (since the focus of that paper is more narrow, it's all the more damning for the claim of the website, or the importance you attach to the 2006 marker.)

"Given this background, the sudden increase in DoD funding in 2006 becomes interesting. ... But what I'm curious about is what your non-Truther "gut" reaction would be."

You already know the answer, though you seem to think it's an evasion of some kind. My gut reaction is: this single datum radically under-determines the thesis you're asking me to evaluate. I've described above the sorts of questions I'd want to research before making any reaction at all. That being said, I do find the apparently sudden increase in funding striking, if it turns out not to be confounded by some obvious detail (like maybe it went to a single place because they made some institute or something). Certainly it's worthy of inquiry. The best first option would probably be to find the contact info for this Bogart fellow and email him.

"Meanwhile, regarding your last claim ... now there's a claim that would a lot more research (before it should be taken seriously) than I suspect you have put into it."

Fortunately I included a philosopher's fudge phrase: "as far as I can tell." But I'm basing this on the general dual observations over time that (1) those I have seen effect policy changes have not been truthers (and in the past, have not been their equivalents, say people who reject the official Kennedy assassination story) and (2) major truther organizations have utterly failed to gain headway in either the political or the scholarly worlds (instead devoting a huge amount of time to the one building whose collapse didn't kill anyone or even figure into the justifications for the wars). Moreover, at least one Truther has explicitly said that one effect of becoming a Truther was that he felt liberated from caring about politics, because it's hopeless. Unfortunately I cannot find the reference for this right now, but he knows who he is...

JDB said...

Chag pesach sameach, btw.

Bilbo said...

JDB: "Again, for the term not to be worthless self-serving rhetoric, it has to be better defined. Several non-Truthers, for example, reject the dominant "official story" vis-a-vis the relationship between U.S. foreign policy and the motives of Islamist groups. This is "critical" scholarship in the sense of "critical" as it appears in the English language, but is undoubtedly not what the website has in mind..."

What the website has in mind is what actually happened on 9/11. Thus someone who doubts the official explanation of the 19 hijackers' or Al Qaeda's motives wouldn't quality. For example, prior to coming to believe that 9/11 was an inside job, David Ray Griffin was going to write a book about 9/11 being a result of "blowback" to U.S. foreign policy, which would certainly have disagreed with the official explanation. What would distinguish Griffin's pre- and post- views would be a significant difference from the official position on what happened on 9/11. Of course, this may or may not feed back into understanding the motives of the 19 hijackers.

Me: "Now what's particularly interesting is that papers with this point of view don't start showing up until 2006."

I've taken this for granted up until this point, but are you just assuming this based on when this list starts? The proper time to make literature claims is after one conducts a literature review. Arguably the paper you posted later has done this, and begins before 2006 (since the focus of that paper is more narrow, it's all the more damning for the claim of the website, or the importance you attach to the 2006 marker.)

From the paper:

• We note that in the early years, from 2001 to 2005, essentially all published papers supported the official narrative of some type of progressive collapse mechanism. Subsequent years, however, have generated numerous papers challenging the official narrative, and a substantial number of peer-reviewed papers were published concluding that the failures were due to demolition.

"Given this background, the sudden increase in DoD funding in 2006 becomes interesting. ... But what I'm curious about is what your non-Truther "gut" reaction would be."

That being said, I do find the apparently sudden increase in funding striking, if it turns out not to be confounded by some obvious detail (like maybe it went to a single place because they made some institute or something). Certainly it's worthy of inquiry. The best first option would probably be to find the contact info for this Bogart fellow and email him.

I thinking "striking" is a satisfactory gut reaction. Yes, trying to contacting the author is a good suggestion.

Fortunately I included a philosopher's fudge phrase: "as far as I can tell." But I'm basing this on the general dual observations over time that (1) those I have seen effect policy changes have not been truthers (and in the past, have not been their equivalents, say people who reject the official Kennedy assassination story)

To know this you would need to know that "9/11 Truthers" or "JFK Truthers" were not part of the overall peace movement. We were certainly part of the campaign to elect Obama the first time, not just because we hoped he would re-open an investigation into 9/11, but because we hoped he would end both wars. Unrealistic hopes on both counts.

Bilbo said...


JDB: and (2) major truther organizations have utterly failed to gain headway in either the political or the scholarly worlds (instead devoting a huge amount of time to the one building whose collapse didn't kill anyone or even figure into the justifications for the wars).

But if my thesis is correct, then it was WTC7 that made academic scientists willing to rethink 9/11. Had the media done its job, WTC7 would have been a well-known event in September, 2001. Given that hypothetical scenario, academic doubt about what actually happened on 9/11 would have been much more profound and widespread. Bush's ability to start a war in Afghanistan would have been challenged much more forcefully. So I would contend that at this late date, the only movement that has the potential to alter radically U.S. foreign policy is the 9/11 Truth movement. For should it succeed, there would be a public outcry not only for justice against the actual perpetrators of 9/11, but also for radically changing U.S. foreign policy. Otherwise, let's face it. As long as the American body bag count remains low, chances of changing U.S. foreign policy also remain low.

wars). Moreover, at least one Truther has explicitly said that one effect of becoming a Truther was that he felt liberated from caring about politics, because it's hopeless. Unfortunately I cannot find the reference for this right now, but he knows who he is....

I didn't give up on politics just because Obama didn't re-open 9/11. There were plenty of other reasons: Failure to end both wars, close Guantanamo, and bowing to pharmaceutical and health insurance companies being chief among them. Had he done these, and not re-opened 9/11, dayenu. I would have voted for him the second time and maybe even campaigned for him. What 9/11 Truth did was open my eyes to why all my hopes in Obama or any politician were unrealistic.

Bilbo said...

And a Happy Passover to you and yours.

JDB said...

"We note that in the early years, from 2001 to 2005, essentially all published papers supported the official narrative of some type of progressive collapse mechanism. Subsequent years, however, have generated numerous papers challenging the official narrative, and a substantial number of peer-reviewed papers were published concluding that the failures were due to demolition."

I admit that this is a good example of me failing to exercise my normal adult reading skills.

To know this you would need to know that "9/11 Truthers" or "JFK Truthers" were not part of the overall peace movement.

I definitely had in mind people who played more influential roles - something close to 100% of independently politically respectable people with track records in activism don't seem to overlap trutherism. But certainly you're right that I don't have any reason to claim that truthers haven't participated in this or that. Certainly, insofar as individuals decrease in effective influence, the probability of their being truthers increases. (Of course there are ways for a truther to incorporate even this fact into his evidence.)

We were certainly part of the campaign to elect Obama the first time, not just because we hoped he would re-open an investigation into 9/11, but because we hoped he would end both wars. Unrealistic hopes on both counts.

Including your own case, this is, of course, a (relatively small) part of the evidence to me that something epistemically aberrant is going on with truthers and people like them. Commentary and analysis I tend to follow, and I myself, generally thought that such proposition weren't even remotely plausible. (I like sources that have good track records of confirmed accuracy in multiple areas.)

Had the media done its job, WTC7 would have been a well-known event in September, 2001.

It certainly would have been better-known, but probably not "well-known," since zero people died as a result from this collapse. The collapse of WTC7 is of largely scientific interest (and of course science is naturally of some public interest).

Given that hypothetical scenario, academic doubt about what actually happened on 9/11 would have been much more profound and widespread.

This seems unlikely to me, given that even now it seems virtually impossible for the truther community to make headway in the research world - and it was harder, not easier, to push non-official lines right after 9/11. And of course in a serious thought experiment you have to add the counterweight of those who would have simply become reflective non-truthers at an earlier time even with more coverage of the victimless collapse of WTC7.

JDB said...

So I would contend that at this late date, the only movement that has the potential to alter radically U.S. foreign policy is the 9/11 Truth movement.

Again, it seems to me that the truth movement has made virtually no headway in research or political activist circles, whether by standard academic or non-standard means, and as such is virtually guaranteed to do something like the opposite of what you describe. (That being said, I don't think anyone really has the potential to "alter radically" U.S. foreign policy in the short-term, because that's just not how I see institutional change as happening, for independent reasons.)

Otherwise, let's face it. As long as the American body bag count remains low, chances of changing U.S. foreign policy also remain low.

I don't think there's any reason for superficial or cynical defeatism on these matters, though in my experience such attitudes are common among truthers. U.S. foreign policy has changed radically - but very, very slowly - over time due to any number of influences. For instance, it's now much more difficult to effect brazen incursions into Latin America. Arguably the 3rd world solidarity movement and dissident media contributed to this, as well as various global pressures outside domestic control. It is not surprising to me that the most admirable (activist and analytic) contributors to such movements somehow avoided becoming JFK conspiracists, truthers, etc. (No, I haven't done a systematic study of such individuals to verify that there aren't secret super-independently-respectable truther activists that somehow no one has mentioned yet, but I'd bet money on the results of such a study. Ok, not very much money... because I'm trying to pay off student loans...)

What 9/11 Truth did was open my eyes to why all my hopes in Obama or any politician were unrealistic.

See my above remark on epistemically aberrant dispositions!

Bilbo said...

JDB: This seems unlikely to me, given that even now it seems virtually impossible for the truther community to make headway in the research world - and it was harder, not easier, to push non-official lines right after 9/11. And of course in a serious thought experiment you have to add the counterweight of those who would have simply become reflective non-truthers at an earlier time even with more coverage of the victimless collapse of WTC7.

As the link at the beginning of this post showed, Truthers have made headway in the research world. If my thesis is correct, then this headway happened largely because video of WTC7 went viral starting in 2005. And if that is correct, then had knowledge of WTC7's collapse been much sooner, then reflection on not only why WTC7 but also WTC1 and 2 collapsed would have happened much sooner, with a concomitant increase in academic research into the questions, increased skepticism regarding the official accounts of 9/11, and resistance to starting any wars.

As to why it is "virtually impossible" for Truthers to make headway in the academic world, if my second hypothesis is correct, huge amounts of funding from the military establishment plays a huge role as an explanation.

As to our change of policy in South America, I'm too ignorant to do more than offer a couple of speculative thoughts: globalization has made South America less important as a source of cheap labor, and as long as the CIA gets its share of profits from the drug market, our government will be happy. Should the need for cheap labor from South America become important, or should the drug market shrink too much, I would expect to see an up tick in coups.

Yes, only Truthers hoped that Obama would end the wars. (Don't miss the sarcasm).

JDB said...

In fact I enjoy the sarcasm!

JDB said...

As the link at the beginning of this post showed, Truthers have made headway in the research world.

That link contains a bunch of papers that aren't even directly supporting the CD thesis in particular, or the inside job thesis generally. And the subsequent sources in the (more serious) paper you posted notes that most of the non-official views come from a single journal that lacks respectability in the relevant (...or any?) academic disciplines. So it's hard for me to see this as headway. It is technically some headway, but that's why I said earlier "virtually no headway." I'm strategic with my fudge words...

if my second hypothesis is correct, huge amounts of funding from the military establishment plays a huge role as an explanation.

I don't remember you offering a second hypothesis - at least not a hypothesis stated in a non-innuendo way such that it could be meaningfully inquired into, via standard methods. You have certainly noted a correlation, but for all you've said and certainly shown the correlation could just as well be interpreted as coincidental, or even supportive of 9/11 research, since there was an increase in the same period. What would be more interesting is a surge of research that is then cut off shortly after the initiation of a surge of government funding.

Yes, only Truthers hoped that Obama would end the wars.

Fair enough. But in my opinion it was a very irrational belief, and it's very confirmatory for me that some of my preferred sources were more clearheaded about it. I wonder what the track records are of verified political and scientific insight of truther leaders. They seem to say a lot of stupid things all the time about non-911 related things at least, e.g. the Snowden case.

And the idea that Obama - a wholly establishment candidate with zero record of doing anything comparable - would re-open investigation into 9/11 is in some ways beyond the pale to me. I just don't know what it would be like to see the world in that way. Maybe it could be explained to me.

Bilbo said...

That link contains a bunch of papers that aren't even directly supporting the CD thesis in particular, or the inside job thesis generally.

But they are critiquing the official explanation of the WTC collapses.

It is technically some headway, but that's why I said earlier "virtually no headway." I'm strategic with my fudge words...

Yes you are. I think I counted a total of 11 papers dealing with technical aspects of collapses. 5 from 2006-2010. 6 since 2011. 3 of those from Canadian engineering academics, with emeritus professor Robert Korol being involved. If he doesn't die in a car accident, I expect he'll write more.

I don't remember you offering a second hypothesis - at least not a hypothesis stated in a non-innuendo way

You fudge, I innuendo.

What would be more interesting is a surge of research that is then cut off shortly after the initiation of a surge of government funding.

Unless the DoD is smart enough to cut off research before it starts. I expect them to find ways to cut off research in Canada.

They seem to say a lot of stupid things all the time about non-911 related things at least, e.g. the Snowden case.

But at least they haven't said that if the Towers were brought down by demolitions, then al Qaeda must have done it.

And the idea that Obama - a wholly establishment candidate with zero record of doing anything comparable - would re-open investigation into 9/11 is in some ways beyond the pale to me. I just don't know what it would be like to see the world in that way. Maybe it could be explained to me.

One hopes that reality will eventually match the ideal. For example, I kept hoping that while he was giving his inaugural address Obama would call for the sergeant of arms to arrest Bush and Cheney for war crimes committed by invading Iraq. But let's take a more mundane example: how politically risky would it be for Obama to order NIST to release the computer data used to create the model of the collapse of WTC7?

Bilbo said...

Daniel Ellsberg seemed to feel equally betrayed by Obama. I don't think he's a 9/11 Truther.

Bilbo said...

Two of the technical papers are by Dr. Gregory Szuladzinski, who is located in Australia. So that's five of the last six that are not from the U.S. Earlier, Dr. Steven Jones did three and was forced to retire from BYU. Neils Harrit was forced to retire from his university in Denmark.

Bilbo said...

By the way, I framed my innuendo as an actual hypothesis in the combox at this place.

I find it interesting that Dr. Hagen thought it could be risky to one's career to do research on this question.

Strigoi said...

This is the most comprehensive page I've seen. It includes the link in your post and links to many other papers not found there.

Peer-reviewed 9/11 Truth

http://911debunkers.blogspot.com/2008/08/controlled-demolition-theories-have.html