Respectful Insolence

The “logic” of 9/11 Truthers

I know, I know. Denialism.com and Screw Loose Change already posted this, but it’s just such a lovely loony example of the “logic” used by 9/11 conspiracy theorists (a.k.a. “9/11 Truthers”) that I couldn’t resist posting it too. Here, we see a 9/11 Truther “duplicating” the fall of one of the Twin Towers with stackable plastic in box trays:

The mind boggles. Be sure to watch it to the end. You just won’t believe it.

Ah, the power of the scientific method!

Comments

  1. #1 Katrina
    June 2, 2007

    I’m moving my office into one of those plastic tray thingies. They look much safer than the building I’m currently in.

  2. #2 Russell
    June 2, 2007

    Since it doesn’t happen in nature, clearly it was a miracle. God did it. ;-)

  3. #3 Coin
    June 2, 2007

    The Explanatory Filter strikes again!!!

  4. #4 Roy
    June 2, 2007

    These people crack me up, and the news media are just as bad for repeating stupidities. As a former member of United Steel Workers and former employee of the (now-defunct) Jones & Laughlin Steel Corporation, working on open hearth furnaces and Bessemer converters, I know what molten steel looks like and acts like.

    Structural steel does not have to melt to fail: it only needs to get hot enough to ruin its temper, destroying the mechanical properties that make it useful.

    You can demonstrate this yourself with a hacksaw blade (not new, please, and old and rusty is fine, as long as it’s springy) and a propane torch. When the flame gets the blade hot enough, the steel will lose its temper and droop. There will be no puddles of molten steel, trust me. When cooled, the blade will show its original surface intact, but the blade will be ruined.

    (I laughed when he used his arm to represent the plane. I doubt he has any clue how the inertia of the tower would be measured, or what the answer would be to a few orders of magnitude.)

  5. #5 decrepitoldfool
    June 2, 2007

    Hey, at least he was truthiful! “It is not possible to replicate the events of 9/11 with my simple experiment”

    In other news, it is not possible to replicate Mount St. Helens’ eruption with my Zippo lighter and a cigar, either.

  6. #6 Alison
    June 2, 2007

    The kid who disproved evolution by making stalactites had better scientific methos than this guy.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/05/another_christian_science_fair.php

  7. #7 Ahistoricality
    June 2, 2007

    Oh, that’s lovely. It’s a fantastic example of the problem of metaphorical thinking and miniature modeling.

    And it’s a good example of the anti-evolution problem as well: by trying to reduce the problem to easily comprehensible small units instead of embracing the complexity and scale of the real world, they make it impossible to get beyond “huh?”

  8. #8 Robster, FCD
    June 2, 2007

    This is one video that will not be on Mythbusters…

  9. #9 Jeb, FCD
    June 3, 2007

    Who is this dipshit?

  10. #10 Jeb, FCD
    June 3, 2007

    Who is this dipshit?

  11. #11 Chris
    June 3, 2007
  12. #12 Russ
    June 3, 2007

    I think we just witnessed Al Gore’s primary scientific consultant.

  13. #13 Uncle Dave
    June 3, 2007

    OH MY GOD!!!!!!
    We have had junior high school students tour our structures laboratories (aerospace company)with a better grasp of strength of materials and stress than this fully grown, low land gorilla. Its mind boggeling that someone would volunteer to be immortalized on film demonstrating their lack of understanding of physics and material properties.
    Has anyone caught the video of Rosie O’Donnell’s ranting on about the impossibility of the trade towers collapsing in the manner in which they actually failes? This guy must be her technical advisor. YIKES!!!!!
    I guess it’s mud huts and stone knives for all of us in the near future.

  14. #14 mathyoo
    June 3, 2007

    my favorite part was how he spent almost all of the first third of the video explaining how his model didn’t really represent the WTC towers at all, and he kept reiterating that point throughout the video, yet obviously felt that his experiment was more valid than the calculations of dozens, if not hundreds, of engineers. Can you say “cognitive dissonance”? I knew you could…

  15. #15 Bob O'H
    June 3, 2007

    Am I the only one wanting to see David Brent do this?

    Actually, I would like to try this experiment with 126 plastic box trays. And possibly Roy’s blow torch.

    Bob

  16. #16 G. Shelley
    June 3, 2007

    How do you tell the difference between parody and stupidity?

  17. #17 Graculus
    June 3, 2007

    How do you tell the difference between parody and stupidity?

    These days I do a whois. Really, when 6 year-old Onion articles are the exact same as the current news, it’s almost impossible.

  18. #18 Robster, FCD
    June 3, 2007

    The videomaker ended up getting an invite to the randi.org forums, where he received a serious schooling in model making. I have a feeling that he is rightly embarrassed, even if he isn’t convinced that the troofers are wrong.

  19. #19 coz
    June 3, 2007

    Well that was 6 minutes of my life I’m never getting back. What was his so called point anyway? I kinda tuned out halfway through.
    I even asked my husband to turn down ‘World Of Warcraft’ so I could watch it. Bugger this I’m off to kill some Undead and level to 67.

  20. #20 Brent McKee
    June 4, 2007

    I’m not a structural engineer – nor do I play one on TV – but his “demonstration” seems to be based on the so many false notions that it’s laughable, starting with the fact that while there were perimeter supporting elements the major structural element was the building’s core. Or how about the fact that when you heat a piece of steel in one place the whole thing gets hot because steel is a good conductor of heat. And we all know – sorry most of us who aren’t this guy – know that when heating steel damages it’s structural integrity. Here’s an experiment for him – heat the sides of your office trays (not just one, all of them) to the point where the plastic gets soft, then put your phone book on it and see what happens.

    Frankly I wish the people who come up with this stuff were a tenth as concerned with the health risks of the particulate debris (aka the dust cloud) that was spewed out over most of Manhattan as a result of the collapsing buildings. It has to be mind-boggling amount and some of it might even have been material which in it’s normal state but represented a health risk as particulate.

  21. #21 Chris, NJ
    June 4, 2007

    I am curious as to why you chose to post this piece. To me it seems as nothing more than a ‘hit’ piece aimed at those who question the official story of 9/11. There are indeed lots of people who speak on possible conspiracy theories that are not qualified, such as this man. But by posting this piece along with the summary you wrote it seems as if you are grouping all of those who question what happened into the same box as this man. There are legitimate questions about 9/11 that have never been answered and when asked are usually met by comparing the questioner to ‘crazy conspiracy theorists’ like this man. I understand this footage is amusing, but I think on a site called ‘Science Blogs’ one should try to avoid encouraging generalizations and discourage questioning.

    -Chris

  22. #22 Orac
    June 4, 2007

    Your comment about this guy reminds me of a comment about 9/11 Truthers trying to distance themselves from the “no plane” 9/11 conspiracy theorists: “That’s like an argument between two patients at the asylum arguing, where the man who thinks he’s Napoleon doesn’t want to be seated at the same table as the man who thinks he’s Jesus Christ because he thinks that guy is crazy.”

  23. #23 Justin Moretti
    June 4, 2007

    No, Chris; you’ve missed the point.

    It is fine to question what happened – it is NOT fine to do so in a manner that bears no relation to engineering (or any) reality, which to tell the truth is what a lot of 9/11 deniers and conspiracists are doing. The flaws in their scientific thinking mirror the flawed nature of their thinking as a whole.

    BTW, since you state it so boldly as though it were fact, what are the “legitimate questions about 9/11 that have never been answered”?

  24. #24 Coin
    June 4, 2007

    The way I’d phrase it is, the problem isn’t asking questions. The problem is asking questions, and then slamming your hands over your ears and yelling at the top of your lungs when people try to give you answers.

  25. #25 Chris
    June 6, 2007

    Indeed perhaps I did miss the point. Upon coming back to this post and video today I must agree that I seem to have overreacted. As far as legitimate questions go however, the official 9/11 report fails to make any mention of WTC7, which collapsed in the most suspicious circumstances of all. The fact that the steel from the site was shipped off to China as quick as possible to be melted down seems a bit odd as well. Also, the BBC footage which shows them reporting building 7 as collapsed about 20 minutes before it actually collapsed, and then when asked about it saying they’ve lost the tapes. I’m not saying that Bush used a remote control to fly missiles into the towers, but I think that there are questions that are inadequately or not answered.

    And Coin, I think both sides throw their hands over their ears too often when it comes to this topic.

  26. #26 Orac
    June 6, 2007

    There is no “mystery” over WTC7’s collapse. One corner of the buidling was heavily damaged, so much so that workers were afraid all day that the building was unstable and might collapse.

    It did.

  27. #27 CHris
    June 6, 2007

    One corner of WTC7 was damaged…so it collapsed straight down onto its footprint? Don’t you think it would have collapsed lopsided towards the damaged corner? Either way, don’t you think they should have at least mentioned it in the 9/11 report if only to say that it collapsed due to damage on the corner?

  28. #28 Orac
    June 6, 2007

    Oh, do get a clue, will you?

    Check out this. There was plenty of damage to WTC7 to explain its collapse, and wiring a building of that size for clandestine demolition would result in insurmountable challenges.

  29. #29 Bronze Dog
    June 6, 2007

    One corner of WTC7 was damaged…so it collapsed straight down onto its footprint?

    Last time I checked, it didn’t.

    So, care to prove the existence of hushaboom while you’re here, or perhaps the orbital R9 wave cannon is more your streak?

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