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Official Iranian media promote truthism

One of the conspiracy theories studied in the Stephan Lewandowsky's fraudulent paper claiming to establish that the climate skepticism is correlated with the belief in conspiracy theories was the so-called truthism, i.e. the belief system that the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks.

On the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, the official state-owned Iranian media corporation, Press TV, offered us a rather bizarre piece of anecdotal evidence that the correlation goes the other way around.

Press TV is systematically offering climate alarmist stories; see those 170+ examples. Today, it also printed a rather incredible piece by Kevin Barrett, an American Arabist-Islamologist, titled:

11 years on, more people believe 9/11 was “inside job”
The article claims that almost everyone in 2012, including 3/4 of the Muslims and, even more shockingly, 89% of the Germans, believes that truthers are right. The German figure is particularly shocking - or, given its obvious falsehood, amusing – but is follows from a "scientific poll", we learn.

So explosives and not airplanes were behind the collapse of the World Trade Center as well as the Pentagon, we're told. In fact, if an airplane were able to cause the damage observed at the Pentagon, it would have to silently walk along a complicated curve resembling a PacMan trying to find a way out of the maze: the author describes many details of this hypothetical path.

I can't understand these people. It's just so insane. The very idea that an aircraft – such as a Boeing 767, the model sent to each of the two towers in NYC – isn't possibly capable of demolishing a building seems like a sign of complete inexperience. Everyone who has ever tried to build a high enough tower from cubes or other building blocks for children must know that it's not easy to make sure that it's stable and that it becomes unstable when perturbed.

Now, take this big aircraft, fill it with lots of fuel that burns and that is enough to move this aircraft by thousands of miles, speed it up to hundreds of meters per second, and send it to the middle of an unnaturally thin tower. Now, how stupid and prejudiced does someone have to be to be "certain" that nothing wrong can happen to the building?

Moreover, how obsessed with ad hoc and unnaturally contrived theories do you have to be to believe that this collision with an aircraft isn't enough so that explosives had to be added to the "plan"? Even if you are a truther, why don't you simply believe that the attack proceeded just like in the official story except that the planners and hijackers were U.S. agents? This would be so much simpler and more physically acceptable. It would still be insane because it requires a degree of coverup that is impossible to achieve in an intelligence service of a democratic country.

However, if your alternative theory requires both a focused aircraft as well as explosives prepared to destroy the building as well as the coverup for both parts of this plan, it's clearly even much less plausible.

Or take the Pentagon. How much biased towards implausible explanations do you have to be to think that the hole above wouldn't be caused by a collision of an aircraft? Could you please draw a picture how an affected building of this sort should look like without explosives, only with an aircraft? It would look exactly as above.

Or take the timing of the falling floors of the World Trade Center. How hard it is to find out that with a nearly elastic model, the time of the fall may be as short as sqrt(2) times the time of the free fall, in agreement with observations? And physics offers explanations for a possibly even faster fall – the pressure from the hot air in between the floors (and burning fuel) may bring the lower floors into motion before the elastic collision. And so on and so on.

I think that I don't have to convince most readers. Most of such crazy beliefs are wonderfully covered by Penn & Teller's Bullshit; conspiracy theories (including JFK- and 9/11-related ones) are no exception:

I surely recommend you all 89 episodes (per 30 minutes) of this wonderful show. Up to at most 4 exceptions, I have watched all of them. You may mostly find them on YouTube.

They make fun out of the crazy people. However, they also offer you lots of very valuable explanations (from both sides, if you wish, but with a clear explanation what they believe) and lots of data and analyses. For example, they also kindly say that some ordinary people tend to believe conspiracy theories because they find it hard to imagine that some powerful people or objects – e.g. JFK or the Twin Towers – could be liquidated by an incomparably "smaller", mundane counter-force, such as a crazy random assassin or a group of stupid Islamic bigots. They just find it incommunserable. However, there's no law of physics that would say that everyone can only be killed by his true peer. Presidents, skyscrapers, and all of us are vulnerable to some "lowly threats", too.

Note that Penn and Teller are kind of climate hysteria skeptics, too – well, they're mixed in some cases. Several episodes were directed against environmentalist cults and one of them was specifically against carbon indulgences (they also succeeded in forcing the green activists to sign the famous petition against water). The episodes funnily criticize both things that are believed and practised by "highly decoupled lowly and apparently crazy mavericks" as well as "institutions painting themselves to be as official as you can get"; the show is highly balanced in this respect. They're fellows of the CATO Institute. Still, they belong among the most prominent, visible, and influential American fighters against paranormal beliefs and conspiracy theories. Have you heard of them, Mr Lewandowsky?

The article printed by Press TV is billycock and so is the opinion that most of the citizens of civilized nations are truthers and that truthers are right. Lewandowsky's claim that climate skepticism is a variation of conspiracy theorists' belief system is billycock, too.

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snail feedback (22) :

reader physicsnut said...

on 9-11 i turned on the short wave and heard some nut saying that the tower collapsed from the bottom - but watching it on TV - and it fell from the impact point. The nuts are out there. And they say it deliberately.

reader Synchronize said...

Does your return to blogging indicate that your health is improving? I hope so.

reader Casper said...

I was generally a non-believer in 9-11 conspiracy theories until I read the paper by Harrit et al on the presence of material which appears to be unreacted thermite in WTC dust. This paper is not perfect but the total proof for me is the presence of large amounts of iron micro-spheres (5.6%) in WTC dust, plus the fact that the tested material on combustion was shown to also produce the same or similar iron micro-spheres.

The presence of unreacted thermite is also highly consistent with the extreme temperatures found in the rubble pile which persisted for several months. Over 20 reputable witnesses observed molten iron in the rubble pile. It is presumed that these otherwise unexplainable temperatures are therefore was due to unreacted thermite burning off over time in the pile.

If you look closely at the videos of the collapse they do seem pretty strange. If the buildings were going to collapse due to internal damage they would have done so immediately upon being hit by the planes. Its clear that the amount of localized heat available had to be theoretically increased substantially to make any case for the weakening of the structure by this means.

Other issues I have are:

1. The top parts of the buildings disintegrate upwards into dust along with the bottom part, even though the top part is no longer banging into the bottom part.

2. The center columns were built in three different sizes to handle the weight of the building above. The bottom third of the columns were designed to take weight of the whole building and thus were very large. As the building collapses, it disintegrates into dust thrown mainly sideways. Thus, as the collapse approaches the bottom the load on these columns appears to be much much less than the load they were designed for. In my opinion if the collapse was 'natural', the collapse would have stopped at the onset of these heavy bottom columns.

Most of the American truthers sadly appear to be a fairly nutty crew but Harrit, a Dane, is good value in my opinion. I'd like to see any rational rebuttal of his paper that doesn't avoid the issues.

reader David said...

What about Building 7? The official explanation seems absurd. How can a fire on one side of a building fueled by building materials, paper, and furniture cause a steel framed skyscraper to collapse into its own foot print?

reader Pepa said...

I love Iranians - there are about 60 000 living in one part of the city I moved out from. Have never seen a group of people who will look you in the eyes and lie as if there were no tomorrow.. Fcuk them all

reader anna Sonata said...

Nice article, thanks for the information.
Anna @

reader HenryBowman419 said...

on Sept. 11, 2001 I was working at a large scientific laboratory. I heard the news about an airplane "crashing" into the WTC while on the way to work. I was watching a live TV feed, along with several other colleagues, when the second plane hit.

My most vivid recollection of the event actually occurred later when a colleague of mine who specialized in structural calculations and cratering turned to me and calmly stated, "you know, those buildings are going to collapse". I asked him why he thought so, and he explained how he was sure the steel would get hot enough that its reduced shear strength wouldn't be sufficient to support the loads.

Five minutes later, the first tower fell.

I think of this this whenever I hear airheads such as Rosie O'Donnell explain how it just wasn't possible.

reader Mephisto said...

I sometimes enjoy watching some conspiracy theory documentaries. It is often more entertaining than bad hollywood sci-fi. The last thing I watched was this one, pretty entertaining.

reader FineReader said...

This building almost certainly was demolished by owners. The attack on the other two could be real.

reader HenryBowman419 said...

BTW, I think the 2nd aircraft that hit the WTC was a Boeing 757, which is capable of substantially higher speeds than the 767. I saw an analysis once that indicated that the aircraft was perhaps exceeding 500 mph when it hit the tower (much higher than the design speed for that especially low altitude).

reader papertiger0 said...

Other issues I have are:
1. The top parts of the buildings disintegrate upwards into dust along with the bottom part, even though the top part is no longer banging into the bottom part.

Is that the industry term, description of gravity?

reader papertiger0 said...

I remember distinctly a movie (true life recreation of the survival of a few policemen from the port authority) where their lives are saved by heavy bottom columns deflecting away some of the falling crap.

Starred Nicholas Cage and Micheal Pena. Directed by Oliver Stone.
It was called um World Trade Center.

Hard to believe that a good value Dane would have missed it.

reader EricBaum said...

I just got interested in this, and I have a question. It seems to me
the real question is WTC 7 for which

Jones says the free fall time for a rock from the roof was 6 seconds
and that the building fell in 6.6 seconds. This is well within the
elastic model result above if I understand it and is thus perhaps
very hard to understand.

It seems to me the twin towers themselves do not provide as clear an
example because both hypotheses, standard/plane and
truther/thermite, agree (if I understand the competing models) that
the girders are taken out at the level where the planes struck,
(although they disagree on the cause for the girders being taken out
there) which in either case is near the top of the building. So both
sides agree that the fall from there down is due to pancaking, and
since that is a big constant term added on to the time for fall, it
obscures the test of the models. WTC 7 is a much clearer test case,
and it is unclear to me whether any physical model that doesn't
involve thermite or some such taking out the beams on or near the
ground floor at the start can account for the fall times, assuming
Jones is right in the figures he quotes.

If you can address this Lubos, I would be grateful.

reader EricBaum said...

Lubos, I think its worth pointing out to you that the Truthers also have another technical physical argument against the possibility that the buildings could have fallen down just from the planes and ensuing fires. It is claimed that office fires won't burn nearly hot enough to weaken steel even when primed with jet fuel and thus that nobody has ever proposed a believable mechanism by which the planes could have brought down the buildings, and especially not WTC7 which had no jet fuel.

It is said NIST didn't even actually claim to have a mechanism by which such temperatures could have been reached, if you read the fine print. And the situation is admittedly worse because the fires were manifestly oxygen starved as shown by black smoke coming out of the building, and NIST's measurements of the steel it recovered don't show any steel that did in fact reach a temperature at which it could weaken. I might add, particularly if much of the steel wasn't weakened, so that parts of it were still structurally sound, in accord with NIST's actual measurements, it becomes very hard to picture how WTC 7 would fall so symmetrically.

I am finding this from the book Debunking 9/11 Debunking where it makes a fairly compelling case along these lines.

reader Shooter said...

Fire can bend steel. If the fire isn't put out, it can weaken the structure enough to make it collapse.

reader Peter F. said...

I know Penn & Teller as the TV show where those two relatively famous and mature partnership of magicians are challenged by lesser known ones to figure out how they do their tricks. It really is a fun show!

reader Michael Gersh said...

Right - heard it, read it - fire can not melt steel. I guess we will have to repeal the entire industrial revolution if we believe this crap.

reader Michael Gersh said...

I remember when the plans for the construction for the WTC were released. I was taking high school physics at the time, in the best of all American high schools, Stuyvesant. Our instructor was a PhD. We took up the innovative design as a class project for a week. At the end of the week we were all horrified as we had learned that the design was a tragedy waiting to happen. The alarm was raised in other quarters too, at that time, but the politicians and the developer ganged up and put the design through. That kerfuffle has been dropped down the memory hole, as is so much malfeasance by politicians on the take.

reader MikeN said...

While I agree with what you say, it is also the case that the planes are not that sturdy either. They are made for flying over air, not flying into buildings.
This is why nuclear power plants are considered stable against a plane attack.

reader GoCanucks!!! said...

The debris from the Towers hit bldg # 7 and destroyed one corner of the building up to ~ 10 stories. Do some research! Try the Internet. Look for the pictures.

reader GoCanucks!!! said...

"Could be real?" Thanks for the info, bro.

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