Wednesday, April 30, 2014

9/11 and the Academy

Professor Kurtis Hagen has written an article that was re-published at 911blogger.com, that I thought was worth re-publishing in its entirety here, as well.  The original can be accessed at http://undercurrents.webs.com/ 


 September 11th and the Academy
By Kurtis Hagen                          


According to the website
PatriotsQuestion911.com, hundreds of professors
have publicly questioned the official story
of September 11, 2001. (Disclosure: I’m on that
list.) Also, two thousand architects and engineers
have signed a petition calling for a new investigation
into the destruction of the Twin Towers and
Building 7. Further, David Ray Griffin, a very
accomplished scholar, has written ten books challenging
the official 9/11 account. His books, full
of extensive and rigorous argumentation and clear
presentation of evidence, have been endorsed by
a long list of significant people, including Howard
Zinn. In addition, Peter Dale Scott’s Road to
9/11, published by the University of California
Press, is a meticulously documented analysis of
the “deep state” aspect of 9/11. And, technical
scientific papers challenging key elements of the
official story have appeared in peer-reviewed scientific
journals. (For a list of select academic articles see:
http://911inacademia.com/journal-papers/.)


Nevertheless, on campus, it is as if none of this
has happened. Textbooks that address issues of war,
torture, international relations, or any other subject to
which the events of 9/11 are relevant, treat the official
story as an unquestioned fact. And the great majority
of academics, likewise, simply assume the standard
account is true, and reason on that basis. They make
no effort to deal with critiques of the official story in
any serious way. This is not because they are armed
with robust evidence against such critiques. On the
contrary, they are largely ignorant of the pertinent
details. And they don’t seem at all troubled by that.


It’s strange. After all, academics seem to enjoy
engaging with other subjects, even when they are of
relatively little practical significance. But, when it
comes to the defining event of this century, the justification
for war abroad and the continuing degradation
of rights at home, there is no curiosity.


Perhaps academics think there is no need for them
to discuss 9/11, or to think too hard about it.
Presumably they trust that others have already
objectively and exhaustively considered these issues,
and have judiciously concluded that the evidence
overwhelmingly supports the official story.


Unfortunately, in fact, there has never been a rigorous,
independent academic validation of the official
story. As mentioned above, there have been substantial
academic critiques. But where are the authoritative
academic responses to these critiques? One book that
is often cited is Debunking 9/11 Myths, produced
by Popular Mechanics. But is that it? It hardly even
counts. (See David Ray Griffin’s Debunking 9/11 Debunking
for a rebuttal to Popular Mechanics.)


Perhaps the reason academics shun critical study
of 9/11 is that they fear, no matter how reasonably
they conduct themselves, they will be stigmatized as a
“conspiracy theorist”. If so, that is unfortunate, because
all serious attempts to justify a dismissive attitude toward
conspiracy theories have failed. (See the work of
David Coady, Charles Pigden, and Lance DeHaven-
Smith.)


Cass Sunstein and Adrian Vermeule’s article,
“Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures”, provides a
good example of a failed attempt to justify marginalizing
so-called “conspiracy theorists”. The work was so
shoddy that when Sunstein was asked if he stood by it,
he simply claimed not to remember it very well. (My
review of David Ray Griffin’s book-length refutation
of the article in question can be found at:
http://philosophy.cah.ucf.edu/fpr/files/11_1/hagen.pdf.)


For more on the relevant academic climate, see the
following documentaries: Hypothesis, by Brett Smith,
and 9/11 in the Academic Community, by Adnan Zuberi.
For the best evidence against the official story, see
The Toronto Hearings, available in book form and as a
5-hour set of video presentations (accessible online).


Saturday, April 26, 2014

An Hypothesis for Understanding Noam Chomsky: Fear of the Extraordinary?

I was first introduced to Noam Chomsky way back in the early 80s.  I had to write a paper for a philosophy of language class, and I was having a heck of hard time understanding why "Snow is white" and "Schnee ist weiss" (or whatever the correct spelling for "snow is white" in German is supposed to be) is philosophically interesting.  I told my professor I couldn't think of anything to write about.  He recommended reading Noam Chomsky's views on language.  I found a collection of essays on the philosophy of language (edited by John Searle) that included one by Chomsky.  He argued that we had an innate knowledge of grammar that enabled us to learn language.  What an absolutely fascinating idea!   So I took an incomplete and spent the next year reading Chomsky's books on language and also what his critics had to say about them.  I thought Chomsky's arguments were the stronger and wrote up a paper on the topic and passed with a "B."

The one thing that I was curious about was how Chomsky thought we came to have this innate knowledge.  I learned later that he was skeptical that a Darwinian account of our innate language learning ability could be provided.  So did he think this innate "universal grammar" had been purposely designed?  Heavens no!  So what did he think the historical account was?  Apparently he was willing to remain agnostic about it, though I read something recently where he seemed to think that eventually a Darwinian account might be found for it.

Fast forward to the last couple of years, where Chomsky has said some rather interesting things about the 9/11 Truth movement.  Perhaps the most interesting thing he said is that even if it were proven that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition, then the most likely culprit would still be al Qaeda.

Now there seems to be a similarity of some sort between these two disparate topics.  In the first case, Chomsky discovered something seemingly extraordinary about human beings - an innate universal grammar - but was unwilling to hypothesize an extraordinary explanation for it, such as intelligent design.  In the second case, he has said that even if an extraordinary explanation - controlled demolition - for the collapses of the WTC buildings is discovered, there is no reason to think there was an extraordinary explanation for the controlled demolitions.

It's almost as if Chomsky is willing to draw a line in the sand and say, "This far and no further.  I may have discovered something extraordinary, but that is no reason to think it needs an extraordinary explanation.  There may be something extraordinary about the collapses of the WTC towers, but that is no reason to think there is an extraordinary explanation for that."

I should add that the fact that we have an innate universal grammar fit very well into Chomsky's political philosophy.  To him this proved that we were not just tabula rasa, blank slates, that could be molded however the state wanted to mold us.  We were somehow incorrigibly made in a certain way that guaranteed individual dignity.

However, it is not as clear to me that 9/11 "Truth" would fit as well into Chomsky's views.  But then, I haven't studied his political philosophy.














Sunday, April 20, 2014

How it was done: 9/11 and the "science" of Building Demolition

Interesting article which offers some of the details of how the WTC Towers could have been brought down by controlled demolition.

Here

I put scare quotes around "science," since all that is presented is a hypothesis with some supporting data.  Before we call it "science" in the usual sense, I think we would want quite a few more experiments and peer-review.  True, most of the physical evidence was destroyed before it could be examined, but we do have some of the dust from the WTC Towers.  One peer-reviewed paper examining the dust has been done, suggesting that thermitic material was present in the buildings. And a second paper hypothesizes the presence of energetic materials in the dust.  Further, Kevin Ryan has indicated that he has done further tests on the dust, which  is awaiting peer-review.

What 9/11 researchers are ignoring is the preliminary work done by FEMA on samples of corroded steel found at both WTC1 or 2 and WTC7.  Civil engineer Jonathan Cole did what I think was an excellent experiment testing the hypothesis that the steel was corroded by gypsum wallboard and fires.  At the macroscopic level, it certainly looks like he falsified that hypothesis.  But what would have made the experiment more convincing would be to do the same metallurgical analysis that FEMA had carried out.  Cole also did some  excellent experiments showing that thermate could have cut steel columnns. At the end of the experiments Cole ended up with a piece of steel that looked very similar to the corroded steel that FEMA found. Unfortunately, once again Cole did not perform a metallurgical analysis to see how closely it resembled the corroded steel at the microscopic level, or what the chemical content was.  So here we have FEMA having done some very important scientific work that 9/11 researchers are largely ignoring.  Why?  And why not try to get the experiments they have done peer-reviewed?



Friday, April 18, 2014

Turkey's False Flag Plot to Invade Syria Exposed. Solution: Shut Down Youtube

Interesting piece by that lunatic 9/11 conspiracy theorist, Abby Martin:

Turkey's Insane False Flag Plot to Start a War with Syria



So if our media won't even mention a false flag plot of another country, why should we think they would be willing to report a false flag plot by our country?

UPDATE:  JDB provided a link to an article by journalist Seymour Hersh, which relayed intelligence information that showed the sarin gas attack in Syria last year was probably carried out by the rebels (with technical aid from Turkey), not the Syrian government.  Late in the article it also included this paragraph:

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdo─čan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

If SETI is Science, then so is ID.

The argument:

I.  SETI (the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is founded on the following premises

A.  If we discovered a narrow-band radio emission from outer space, this would be evidence of an Intelligence.  

1. There is no known natural (non-intelligent) process that produces narrow-band radio emissions. 
2. There is a known intelligent process that produces narrow-band radio emissions:  human beings who have produced radio transmitters. 
3.  We understand why intelligent beings would produce narrow-band radio emissions:  the narrower the band signal, the less power is needed to transmit it, and there would be more room on the radio-band for other signals.  We transmit radio signals as a means of communicating.  
4. Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that if we found a narrow-band radio emission from outer space, it was produced by an extraterrestrial being for the purposes of communicating. 

B.  Finding a complex mathematical patterns (such as the prime number sequence from 2 to 101) would provide further grounds for believing the narrow-band radio emission was produced by an intelligent being. 

1. There is no known natural (non-intelligent) process that produces long complex mathematical patterns. 
2.  Intelligent beings can produce long complex mathematical patterns. 
3.  An intelligent being that can produce a radio transmitter would most likely be able to recognize a long complex mathematical pattern, and recognize that it was probably produced by an intelligent being.  Thus it would serve as a universal language, a way of communicating, "This was produced by an intelligent being."  
4.  Therefore, if we found a narrow-band radio emission with a long, complex mathematical pattern, we would have further grounds for believing it was produced by an intelligent being. 

C.  It is generally assumed that discovering such radio emission would most likely be produced by an Extraterrestrial Intelligence (as opposed say to a Supernatural Intelligence, though it is not clear that we can definitely rule out a Supernatural source for such a radio emission).  

II.  Applying Similar Premises to the Biochemistry of Life Yields a Similar Belief that the Origin of Life was Intelligently Produced. 

A.  Finding Proteins or Nucleotides would be evidence of an intelligence. 

1.  There is no known natural (non-intelligent, non-biological) process that produces Proteins or Nucleotides (the material that DNA and RNA are composed of). 
2.  Living cells are composed of Proteins and Nucleotides, and are able to produce Proteins and Nucleotides.  However, given that there would have been no living cells prior to the origin of life, this would not explain how the original Proteins and Nucleotides came into existence. 
3.  Intelligent (human) beings are able to produce (synthesize) Proteins and Nucleotides. 
4.  We understand why we produce Proteins and Nucleotides:  To better understand how living organisms function, and with the hope of someday being able to create living cells ourselves. 
5.  Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that the original Proteins and Nucleotides were produced by an Intelligence. 

B.  Finding long strands of RNA would provide further grounds for believing that it was produced by an intelligence. 
1. There is no known natural (non-intelligent, non-biological) process for producing a long strand (say, 100 nucleotides) of RNA. 
2.  Most origin of life researchers think that life began with a long strand of RNA that could replicate and evolve. 
3.  There is a known intelligent process for producing long strands of RNA:  we can. 
4.  Therefore, if we have found long strands of RNA, we have further grounds for thinking the origin of life was intelligently produced. 

C.   It is generally assumed that if the origin of life was intelligently produced, that it was by a Supernatural Intelligence (as opposed to a Natural Intelligence, though it is not clear that we can definitely rule out a Natural Intelligent Source for the origin of life). 

III.  Therefore, If SETI is science, then so is ID (Intelligent Design). 

A.  The grounds for believing ID are the same as the grounds for believing that ETI exists, should a narrow-band radio emission from outer space be discovered. 
B.  If people believe that SETI is a scientific enterprise, then they should believe that ID is a scientific enterprise. 

IV.   IF SETI is founded on reasonable premises, then so is ID. 

A.  Even if we reject SETI as a scientific enterprise, most people think it is founded on reasonable premises.  
B.  Those same premises would result in belief in ID.  
C.  Therefore, even if it is not Science, ID is a reasonable belief. 















Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Passover

It was a time when the God of the Universe showed that he cared more about the poor and oppressed than he did about the rich and powerful.

May His kingdom come soon and His will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.

God Save the People

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.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Good Reference Book on Holocaust Denial

There in my public library was Denying History:  Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why do They Say It?, by professional skeptic Michael Shermer and historian Alex Grobman.  It was published in 2000, but from what I can tell, it's still up to date.  Depressing but necessary reading, at least for me.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Holocaust Denier Nicholas Kollerstrom's Auschwitz

From the man that people such as Kevin Barrett and Jim Fetzer look up to:

Here:

"Let us hope the schoolchildren visitors are properly taught about the elegant swimming-pool at Auschwitz, built by the inmates who watched the water-polo matches [6]; and were shown paintings from its art class, which still exist; and told about the camp library which had some forty-five thousand volumes for inmates to choose from, plus a range of periodicals; and the six camp orchestras at Auschwitz/Birkenau, its the theatrical performances, including a children's opera, the weekly camp cinema, and even the special brothel established there. Let's hope they are shown postcards written from Auschwitz, some of which still exist, where the postman would collect the mail twice-weekly. Thus the past may not always be quite, as we were told."

Holocaust Denial and 9/11 Truthers

Kevin Ryan wrote what I thought was a very good article, The Holocaust, Mind Control, and 9/11, part of it about the friendship he and his wife developed with a Holocaust survivor, and the other about a rather shadowy character who had been involved in carrying out government mind control experiments and now seems to be trying to infiltrate the 9/11 Truth Movement.   But then in the combox, we get to hear from a 9/11 Truther, Kevin Barrett, who has become a Holocaust denier.  And then while doing a little exploring on the internet I found out that another 9/11 Truther, Jim Fetzer, has also become a Holocaust denier.

Now I wish I could say that both Barrett and Fetzer are not real 9/11 Truthers, and that they just pretend to be.  I'm pretty sure that they occupy the fringe of the 9/11 Truth Movement (when you're in the fringe of the fringe, that can be pretty fringey.)   I know Fetzer, at least for a while, fancied Judy Wood's Directed Energy Weapons hypothesis.  And I heard part of an interview in which Barrett referred to Judy Wood with respect.  So maybe Holocaust Denial only appeals to people who are ready to accept really whacko theories like Wood's.

But what if it appeals to other, "mainstream" 9/11 Truthers, also?  For quite a while now I've just sort of glossed over the many anti-Israel, anti-Zionist comments at 9/11 Blogger, thinking it was just a few of the liberals from the Noam Chomsky camp who were willing to buck his authority, think for themselves, and become 9/11 Truthers.  But what if they start spouting Holocaust Denial?

So when anti-9/11 Truthers paint us with the broad brush of anti-Semitism or Holocaust Denial,  can I honestly say that the overwhelming majority of us are really good, and that it's only a few bad apples that are spoiling it?  To be honest, I don't know.

If  the 9/11 Truth Movement is or becomes merely another tool for anti-Semitism, then I certainly wish to leave it behind.  There are more important Truths that need looking after.

Meanwhile, I think President Eisenhower told us who to suspect for things like 9/11:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A_II0H7X5O4