Attack of the Truthers!

By Chris Mooney | May 28, 2011 2:30 pm

Over on the Point of Inquiry forum thread for discussion of the show with Jonathan Kay, 9-11 Truther madness has descended. I also got a ticked off email from a Truther just now. Having never really dealt with them before, they are not making a good first impression. If you want to see an example of the capacity of human reasoning to go off the rails check this out:

Actually I think WTC7 is so obviously a demolition that it is boring. The obvious give away is how the roof line came down so simultaneously and remained so straight all of the way across the building. How could damage from the “collapse” of WTC1 create such ideal behavior? How could fire do it? It’s ridiculous to think such random phenomenon could cause such a precise result.

At least airliners smashing into skyscrapers is interesting.

OH yeah jet fuel. Sometimes known as kerosene. There were 34 tons of it. FEMA says about 50% of it was used up in the initial explosion. But how much mass are we talking about in the vicinity of the impact? They never tell us how much a complete floor assembly weighed. But it is easy to compute the weight of a concrete floor slab on the basis of dimensions and density. One concrete slab outside the core weighed 600 tons. How much all of the trusses and corrugated pans weighed I have never seen. I am guessing around 200 tons. There were 236 perimeter columns and 47 core columns. But we are completely missing data on the horizontal beams in the core.

Now with each level 12 feet tall that means there were 564 feet of vertical steel in the core on each level. But the cores were 86 feet by 136 feet. Now the columns were not in an evenly spaced 6 by 8 grid with one missing. I have never seen the layout of the horizontal beams specified. But the length of horizontal steel should be about 8 * 86 + 6 * 136 or 1504 feet of steel. Much more than double the length of vertical steel. So how are we supposed to analyze whatever happened when we don’t even know the tons of steel on each level inside the core?

Give us more data! So that we can twist it and come up with new questions!

Oh, and then there’s this:

So which part of the CIA do you work for young Chris?

Yes, these people really do exist, and there is some woodwork somewhere that they come out of. And the worst part of it is, according to surveys they are more likely than not to share my own political persuasion!

Blogging about conspiracies is not exactly an uplifting experience, folks. Not that I’m really surprised or anything…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: point of inquiry

Comments (7)

  1. adkay

    I was afraid that was going to happen. I’ve had run-ins with Truthers since 2005, and they were some of the most mind-boggling exchanges I’ve ever had in my life. This is one conspiracy where the illogical, paranoid far left and the illogical, paranoid far right have somehow ended up in the same space. The ones I interacted with have so little experience in any kind of construction trade (or in building anything for that matter), that they can’t recognize the absurdity of most of the Truther claims.

  2. Anybody else up for reframing the “truthers” simply as liars?? Actually, saying that,it is interesting to think about the distinction between speaking the actual truth and the truth you choose to believe.. if we believe it to be true, does that make it not a lie… is it a lie only when we know it to be false…how about the “deniers” as liars….ugh, my head hurts, and that’s the real truth.

  3. muraydog

    Truthers aren’t liars, but they aren’t looking for the truth either. They search for anything that supports their currently held beliefs. Anything that can’t immediately be explained is proof of their conspiracy, and anyone who can show evidence against it, is obviously a conspirator.
    I’ve had Truthers tell me they’ve done “years” of research, yet when I ask for their best evidence, I can do a Google search on it with the word ‘skeptic’, and am easily able to disprove it with reliable and legitimate sources.

  4. solitha

    @3, muraydog…
    Oh, but you know those reliable and legitimate sources are all part of the conspiracy, don’t you? At least, that’s what you get in return if you try to use those sources.

  5. MartyM

    This is the same as a creationist argument. The building couldn’t have been demolished from debris from the other WTC towers…. so therefore my preconceived idea with no hard evidence has to be true.

  6. The folks who think WTC was a controlled demolition have never studied their explosives. They don’t think that someone would walk into the office and ask “why are there all these holes smashed in the drywall against the support beams, and what are those big sandbags wrapped around them, for? And all the wires…” Never mind that it takes a company like Controlled Demolition, Inc., weeks to prepare and lay the charges to drop a building, and tons of gear. I’m sure they blew the building up using super secret stealth explosives. Or maybe invisible unicorn farts. Gotta love conspiracy nuts: the world looks a lot simpler if you’re really ignorant about most of it.

  7. TTT

    One Troofer complaint that doesn’t get ridiculed enough–probably because it gets lost amidst the juicier targets of hologram planes with disappearing passengers–is their battlecry of how strange it is that the towers “collapsed at freefall speed into their own footprints.”

    Neither notion means the slightest thing. All objects fall at freefall unless they feature sources of added thrust or drag, which the towers did not. And since the towers weren’t initially 16 acres wide–which is the area of the wreckage heap they produced–“footprint” here is really just a synonym for “down,” as opposed to, oh, toppling over sideways like a domino.

    It’s just student-essay-paddingese for “they fell down.” Which is supposed to be impossible because, well, because because.

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About Chris Mooney

Chris is a science and political journalist and commentator and the author of three books, including the New York Times bestselling The Republican War on Science--dubbed "a landmark in contemporary political reporting" by Salon.com and a "well-researched, closely argued and amply referenced indictment of the right wing's assault on science and scientists" by Scientific American--Storm World, and Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future, co-authored by Sheril Kirshenbaum. They also write "The Intersection" blog together for Discover blogs. For a longer bio and contact information, see here.

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