Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science Skeptic: Examining Extraordinary Claims and Promoting Science

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Wednesday, September 7th, 2011 | ISSN 1556-5696

eSkeptic: the email newsletter of the Skeptics Society

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Ground Zero, New York City, N.Y. (Sept. 17, 2001)

Is there any scientific validity to the claims of 9/11 controlled demolition conspiracists about the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings?

This Sunday marks the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center Buildings. 9/11 conspiracists such as Richard Gage (a member of the American Institute of Architects and founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth) continue to assert that WTC7 was brought down by controlled demolition. In this week’s eSkeptic, we present Chris Mohr’s thorough analysis of the controlled demolition theory, based on his debate with Richard Gage earlier this year.

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9/11 and the Science
of Controlled Demolitions

by Chris Mohr

With the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks upon us, a group of 9/11 conspiracists are working hard to publicize their claims of scientific validity to the conjecture that the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed through controlled demolition. The architect Richard Gage is the founder of the nonprofit organization Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, which focuses on the controlled demolition theory. So outraged was I by the Bush administration’s justification for the war in Iraq based on faulty WMD intelligence information that I initially thought that Gage might be on to something, until I examined his science carefully and engaged him in a spirited debate on March 6, 2011 in front of 250 people in Boulder, Colorado. (Listen to the debate audio.) The video of that debate is not being released (his own website admitted that twice as many people changed their minds in my direction as his during the debate), so I created 20 short videos on YouTube that present detailed rebuttals of each of Gage’s claims.

What follows is a brief summary of Gage’s points and my rebuttals to them.

UA Flight 175 hits WTC south tower 9-11 (photo by Flickr user TheMachineStops at http://www.flickr.com/photos/themachinestops) used under Creative Commons license Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the World Trace Center complex in New York City during the September 11 attacks. A controlled demolition couldn’t have been created at the same site where a plane impact and a raging jet fuel fire would have obliterated the demolition rigging. (Click any image in this article to enlarge it.)

1 EXPLOSIVE DEVICES WERE CAREFULLY AND SECRETLY PLANTED IN THE WTC BUILDINGS. You cannot secretly prepare a controlled demolition of the two World Trade Center buildings containing 50,000 workers, plus extensive security systems and guards, working round the clock, without anyone noticing anything unusual. Instead, we should accept at face value what we all witnessed: two massive jets that slammed into the buildings, damaging the structures and setting off raging fires and igniting more than 40,000 square feet of office space per floor in a matter of seconds, igniting furniture, carpeting, desks, paper, etc. You cannot control the area around such a raging fire to start a demolition.1

Plumes of smoke billow from the World Trade Center towers, September 11 (photo by Flickr user Michael Foran at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixorama/ used under Creative Commons license Attribution 2.0 Generic

Plumes of smoke billow from the World Trade Center towers in New York City after a Boeing 767 hits each tower during the September 11 attacks. Was architect and 9/11 conspiracy theorist Richard Gage kidding when he said the fires in the Towers were almost out shortly before their collapses?

2 NO TALL STEEL FRAME BUILDING EVER COLLAPSED BEFORE 9/11 DUE TO FIRE. Though it is true that no tall steel frame buildings ever collapsed due to fire alone prior to 9/11, since then, other tall steel framed buildings have. On May 13, 2008, a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint. Gravity increases the force of a falling object by a factor of 30 for a single collapsing floor, and collapsing buildings have nowhere to go but straight down. Other types of steel frame structures have collapsed due to fire.2

3 WHAT ABOUT THE ALMOST FREE-FALL COLLAPSE OF THE TWIN TOWERS? The key is the “almost” modifier. If I told you I was making almost $100,000 and you found out I was making only $67,000, you’d say I was exaggerating. So stop exaggerating the collapse speed of the WTC Towers! The 80,000 tons of structural steel slowed down the collapses of the Twin Towers to about ⅔ (two-thirds) of free-fall.3 And the core collapsed at about 40% of free-fall speed, coming down last.4 According to Richard Gage: “To bring a building symmetrically down, what we have to do is remove the core columns.” But on 9/11 the stronger core columns came down last, which violates this supposed most fundamental rule of controlled demolition.

Beam from the World Trade Center lodged in a nearby building (photo by Michael Rieger, FEMA News. As works of the U.S. federal government, all FEMA images are in the public domain.

On 9/11, massive steel objects smashed into neighboring buildings accompanied by winds at speeds up to 482mph. Shown here a heavy beam from the World Trade Center hangs from a nearby building.

4 WHAT ABOUT THOSE EXPLOSIVE SQUIBS TWENTY STORIES BELOW THE COLLAPSE POINT, AND THOSE HEAVY METAL OBJECTS FLYING HUNDREDS OF FEET THROUGH THE AIR? During the collapse, one half million cubic feet of air per floor was pushed outwards at the rate of twelve floors per second, creating a “hurricane wind” in the building as reported by survivors, and blowing out windows, and with them the smoke from the fires and other objects.5

5 WHAT ABOUT THOSE BILLIONS OF IRON MICROSPHERES THAT R.J. LEE FOUND IN A DUST ANALYSIS THAT PROVES THE THEORY THAT THE IRON IN THE BUILDINGS WAS MELTED BY THERMITE? Thermite would leave tons of formerly melted iron blobs, not just microspheres. But in the 1970s, while workers welded thousands of steel beams together, hot microspheres were splattered everywhere. Concrete has fly ash in it, and I have a photo of iron-rich spheres in Tolk fly ash in my YouTube video response. Even if the microspheres were created in the fires on 9/11, the R.J. Lee dust study said, “Considering the high temperatures reached during the destruction of the WTC … Iron-rich spheres … would be expected to be present in the Dust.”6

6 WHAT ABOUT THE SULFIDIZED STEEL THAT MELTED AND THAT FEMA FOUND BUT WHICH NIST IGNORED IN THEIR REPORT? NIST didn’t ignore it. Jonathan Barnett at FEMA studied two pieces of sulfidized steel, which is not enough to explain the collapse. NIST determined that neither piece came from a supporting column in the collapse zone so it couldn’t have contributed to the collapse.7 Sulfidized steel melts at temperatures 1000° lower than regular steel so it could have “melted” in a regular office fire. And the “intergranular melting” FEMA discovered is not like melting as we know it anyway; it’s more like corrosion on an almost microscopic scale occurring along the boundaries between the crystals or grains of a metal. The technical description for what happened is “intergranular melting, high temperature corrosion via sulphidation, oxidation, and decarburisation leading to a liquid Iron Oxide Suflur mix from grain boundary melting.” And while Jonathan Barnett would like to see more research on this, he does not support the controlled demolition theory.

7 WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE UNIGNITED NANOTHERMITES THEY FOUND IN THE DUST SAMPLES IN THAT EXPERIMENT? Niels Harritt, Steven Jones and other 9/11 controlled demolition theorists claim to have found nanothermite particles in dust samples from the World Trade Center. They made sure the dust samples were untainted, and used advanced instruments to measure what happened when these tiny red-grey chips were heated up.

Thermites reach temperatures of around 4500° and have their own oxygen supply when they burn, so they can burn underwater. Harritt, Jones, et. al. therefore should have heated up the chips in a nitrogen or argon atmosphere to eliminate the possibility that regular hydrocarbons were burning. They also failed to take the carbon-based products out of the mix, so what we may well be seeing is some kind of carbon-based product burning in oxygen. They compared the sudden energy spike of their burning chips with the spikes of known nanothermites, and found that their chips ignited at around 150° C. lower than the known nanothermites, and the energy release was off between their chips and the nanothermites by a factor of at least two. Yet they called this a match for nanothermite!

Attempts to independently replicate this experiment have been dismal. Mark Basile, who appeared in the acknowledgments of the original study, burned the chips in air, replicating the error of the original experiment and not even measuring the energy released. A chemist named Frédéric Henry-Couannier got another dust sample from the original experimenters and wrote, “Eventually the presence of nanothermite could not be confirmed.” The R.J. Lee Company did a 2003 study on the dust and didn’t find thermitic material.

WTC7 on fire (photo creidt: Anonymous. Courtesy of the Prints and Photographs Division. Library of Congress.

Major fires on most floors of World Trade Centre Building 7 were much worse on the side facing the Twin Towers’ collapses.

8 WHAT ABOUT ALL THOSE BIG FIRES IN TALL BUILDINGS THAT DON’T CAUSE COLLAPSE, AND THE LITTLE FIRES IN BUILDING 7? Richard Gage and other 9/11 controlled demolition conspiracists like to show an NYPD photograph of small fires on the north face of Building 7. That’s not the side where tons of flaming debris from the towers smashed into the south face, creating huge gashes and fires on multiple floors. In our debate Gage claimed that the videos I played showed smoke but no fire. When the fires first started on the southwest corner of Building 7, the dust was blocking the view. NIST reported that many fires burned themselves out in 20-40 minutes and then moved on. The fires left behind not only burned out areas, but structurally weakened areas as the beams and columns expanded, sagged, and contracted again. Then the fires started moving to the interior of the building. Is he suggesting that all that smoke wasn’t evidence of fire, or that burned out areas went back to full structural strength?

WTC7 engulfed in debris (photo from NIST Report Executive Summary 2008)

No plane hit WTC Building 7. Instead, it was engulfed in hundreds of feet of flaming debris smashing into it.

9 WHAT ABOUT JANE STANDLEY, THAT BBC REPORTER WHO ANNOUNCED THAT BUILDING 7 HAD ALREADY FALLEN WHEN IT WAS STILL STANDING RIGHT BEHIND HER? This one is irritating to a guy like me who’s been in radio for over 30 years. Reporters make mistakes! What possible value could there be in letting the BBC in on the “conspiracy”? Here’s what probably happened: Deputy Chief Peter Hayden of the New York Fire Department recalled: “We had our special operations people set up surveying instruments to monitor, and see if there was any movement of [WTC 7]. We were concerned of the possibility of collapse of the building… One particular engineer there, we asked him, if we allowed it to burn could we anticipate a collapse, and if so, how soon?… And it turned out that he was pretty much right on the money, that he said, ‘In its current state, you have about five hours.’” Other errors in reporting show the chaos of the day, not a well-oiled conspiratorial machine at work. To wit:

CNN Reported at 11:07 am that Building 7 had collapsed at 10:45, or 15 minutes after the second tower collapse at around 10:30. CNN got their misinformation from the respected news agency Reuters, which picked up an incorrect report. They have issued this statement: “On 11 September 2001 Reuters incorrectly reported that one of the buildings at the New York World Trade Center, 7WTC, had collapsed before it actually did. The report was picked up from a local news story and was withdrawn as soon as it emerged that the building had not fallen.”

On 9/11, reporters also said that Camp David had been hit by a plane. Forbes magazine reported that “A car bomb exploded outside the State Department, according to State Department sources.” CBS News reported that as many as eight planes have been hijacked and only four have been accounted for.

It is not hard to imagine how such mistakes could be made, especially when there is no time to sift through and analyze fast-moving information. As NIST reported, “The large dust clouds generated by the collapse of WTC 1 hid the lower portions of WTC 7 from view for over 20 min following the collapse.” So firefighters on the ground saw only dust where Building 7 was until around 10:50 am and may have thought it had come down.

Cover of Skeptic magazine issue 12.4

Issue 12.4 of Skeptic magazine presented Phil Molé’s assessment of the 9/11 Truth Movement. Though this issue is sold out, you can read our cover story in eSkeptic, our free, weekly email newsletter.

10 WHAT CAUSED BUILDING 7 TO COLLAPSE? Many firefighters reported seeing structural deformations of Building 7 hours before its collapse, including the top FDNY fire Chief Daniel Nigro, who stated, “I feared a collapse of Building 7 (as did many on my staff). The collapse of WTC 1 damaged portions of the lower floors of 7. Building 7 was built on a small number of large columns providing an open Atrium on the lower levels. Fires on many floors of WTC 7 burned without sufficient water supply to attack them. For these reasons I made the decision (without consulting the owner, the mayor or anyone else—as ranking fire officer, that decision was my responsibility) to clear a collapse zone surrounding the building and to stop all activity within that zone. Approximately three hours after … WTC 7 collapsed. Conspiracy theories abound and I believe firmly that all of them are without merit.”

In a World Trade Centre Task Force Interview, FDNY Lieutenant Rudolph Weindler said: “So we left 7 World Trade Center… and Captain Varriale told Chief Coloe and myself that 7 World Trade Center was badly damaged on the south side and definitely in danger of collapse. Chief Coloe said we were going to evacuate the collapse zone around 7 World Trade Center, which we did.”

And Deputy Chief Peter Hayden said: “We saw a bulge in the southwest corner between floors 10 and 13, and we had put a transit on that, and we were pretty sure she was going to collapse.”

Another Building 7 eyewitness was Michael Hess, Mayor Giuliani’s chief lawyer. He and fellow city worker Barry Jennings got caught in Building 7 and barely escaped with their lives. Michael Hess said that he heard and felt the building shake like an earthquake for 5–10 seconds prior to the collapse of either tower. But in 2007, he too changed his story, claiming in a BBC interview that he got his timing wrong and that the 10-second-long earthquake sound was most likely caused by tower debris hitting the building later in the morning. “There were no explosions. That was caused by the north half of #1 falling onto the southern half of our building.” He compared what he heard to a loud rumbling earthquake, not the staccato blasts of explosions.

11 WHAT ABOUT THOSE ACCOUNTS OF EXPLOSIONS IN THE TWIN TOWERS? I read 50 randomly selected accounts out of some 118 or so accounts from firefighters of explosions from the New York Times. None were of explosions before the actual collapse. Those accounts Gage found concentrated around the core and the basement where explosions from the jet fuel traveling down the elevator shafts caused several explosions and fireballs. Out of 5000 former and current FDNY 9/11 employees, only ten have come out and said they believe bombs were placed in these buildings. Further, firefighters have personally told me that explosions in office fires are not uncommon. Here is a list of a few things that explode in an office fire:

  • HVAC equipment including condensers and compressors
  • Cleaning supplies
  • CRT type TV’s and computer monitors.
  • Large motors that have an oil reservoir for lube. (Elevator lift motors)
  • Hydraulic pistons found in office chairs.
  • Tires in vehicles
  • Steam explosions when water hits a hot fire or molten aluminum
  • Propane tanks

If bombs were going off to create a precise controlled demolition, then there would be a pattern. Eyewitness accounts of explosions were random: fireballs, mere flashes of light, ground shaking with no other apparent effect. This is consistent with the kinds of random effects of fires spreading through buildings and down the elevator shaft. Eyewitness Philip Morell talked of explosive sounds like bombs in a 9/11 Mysteries video clip, but I went back to the complete original interview. The director cut out the part where he then explained that he ran over to the noise and discovered that the explosive sounds were actually from a crashing freight elevator, which did indeed create a tremendous crashing thud felt throughout the basement.

12 WHAT ABOUT THE FREE-FALL COLLAPSE OF BUILDING 7? That is the silver bullet that proves controlled demolition! NIST studied the collapse of one face of the 47-story Building 7 and found that indeed, on that one face, it collapsed “at gravitational acceleration” for eight stories over 2.25 seconds. The rest of that collapse was at considerably less than free-fall. After the internal supports collapsed, the perimeter walls were pulled inward. Every time a column snapped like a stick, it shifted its load at the speed of sound to other columns, and the collapse “gradually” accelerated over about two seconds. In phase two, the building was indeed collapsing at free-fall acceleration.

Free-fall collapse speed does not mean no resistance, it means no net resistance. Those collapsing beams still clinging to the walls functioned as levers. So there were three forces at work on Building 7 during its collapse, and the sum of these three forces varied with time: the constant downward force of gravity, the variable upward force of residual structural resistance, and variable leveraged downward forces due to connections to other parts of the building. The leveraging forces may have briefly accelerated parts of Building 7 at greater than 1G, and in fact the NIST Report shows very slightly faster than free-fall for a second or so, though that could just be the margin of error.

“What about” vs. “If… then”

The 9/11 controlled demolition theorists seem to like the “what about…” challenge. They know that even the most intelligent layperson can’t answer all their questions, and even if you can answer five “what about” questions in a row, then they’ll give you a real zinger, like this one from Richard Gage: “What about the EPA’s Erik Swartz who said they found 1,3-diphenylpropane at levels ‘that dwarfed all others. We’ve never observed it in any sampling we’ve ever done.” Unless you’ve checked, you won’t know that Gage edited out the next sentence of the Times Union article where that first appeared, which continues, “He also said it was most likely produced by the plastic of tens of thousands of burning computers.” Gage thinks 1,3-diphenylpropane was used for the sol-gel solution for safe storage of nanothermites. The patent lists pharmacological uses such as treating complications associated with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, diabetes, dyslipidemias, atherosclerosis, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, hypertension, inflammatory diseases, neurodegenerative pathologies, Alzheimers, or cancers but never mentions thermites or even plastic computer parts.

Instead of the “What about” game these conspiracy theorists play, I prefer the “if … then” approach:

Sun streams over WTC wreckage (Photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA News Photo, taken on 09-13-2001. As works of the U.S. federal government, all FEMA images are in the public domain.)

If 4500 degree thermitics had been used to pulverize almost every inch of every concrete floor, then firefighters could not have walked on top of the debris pile that was left behind after the collapse. This photo shows that large parts of the buildings were left intact and not pulverized.

  • If 4500 degree nanothermites were used to pulverize almost every inch of every concrete floor, then how could there have been millions of sheets of paper with an ignition temperature of only 451° raining down on the sidewalks?
  • If 4500 degree nanothermites were used extensively even at the top to cause a supposed upward explosion, then why were first responders able to walk over the wreckage less than an hour after the Tower collapses?
  • If there were 2800 degree rivers of molten steel in the debris, then why do NASA thermal images show maximum temperatures in the rubble of only 1400°?
  • If the debris pile had 2800 degree temperatures, then why were firefighters able to pour millions of gallons of water all over it and not trigger the deadly thermal explosions that are caused when water comes in contact with molten steel or iron?
  • If nanothermites pulverized everything, then why did the debris pile include a 13-story high facade?
  • If classic controlled demolitions create minimal damage to adjacent structures, then why did the Verizon Building suffer $1.4 billion in damages?
  • If the lateral ejection of beams were caused by explosive nanothermites, then there would have been deafening 140 db sounds that can’t be muffled by more than a few db or you lose the explosive force of the shock wave itself.
  • If the South Tower tilted 22° at first, then controlled demolition experts could not have righted it mid-collapse.
  • If nanothermites were used, then they would have spontaneously detonated at well under 1000° F. and would not have been controllable; no signal receiving device could have survived the fires and continued to receive the destruct command.
  • If there had been large explosions prior to the collapse, then they would have been a part of the seismic record, and they were not.

You get the idea. My YouTube videos offer 235 reasons for natural collapse just like these, along with abundant videos and photos. Investigate a little deeper and you’ll find that the science just doesn’t support the views of the Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. The truth is out there and we know what it is.

About the Author

Chris Mohr is a lifelong science hobbyist, the former publisher and editor of the classical radio publication On The Air Magazine, and composer of the opera From The Realm of the Shadow on Naxos Records. He has hiked up 1000 mountains, bicycles 2000 miles per year, enjoys scuba diving and is a classical music and opera fanatic. He has hosted a prison meditation program for 16 years.

References
  1. Shermer, M. 2005. “Fahrenheit 2777: 9/11 has generated the mother of all conspiracy theories.” ScientificAmerican.com.
  2. Meacham, Brian. Fire and Collapse, Faculty of Architecture Building, Delft University of Technology: Data Collection and Preliminary Analyses.
  3. Eagar, Thomas W. and Christopher Musso. 2001. “Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering, and SpeculationJOM, 53 (12) (2001), pp. 8–11.
  4. NIST NCSTAR1 Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation of the World Trade Center Disaster. 2005. Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers
  5. Zdeněk P. Bažant, Jia-Liang Le, Frank R. Greening and David B. 2008. “What Did and Did not Cause Collapse of WTC Twin Towers in New York.” Journal of Engineering Mechanics ASCE, Vol. 134
  6. RJ LeeGroup Inc. 2003. Damage Assessment 130 Liberty Street Property Report. WTC Dust Signature Report: Composition and Morphology Summary Report.
  7. World Trade Center Disaster Study. 2002. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). www.nist.gov

Skeptical perspectives on 9/11 conspiracy theories…
9/11 The 9/11 Truth Movement in Perspective

On the 5th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center, Phil Molé takes a look at the “9/11 Truth Movement” and shares with us his experience attending a weekend conference held in Chicago, organized by 911truth.org. Read the article.

WTC south tower collapsing How Skeptics Confronted 9/11 Denialism

Blogger John Ray, a science major active in the 9/11 debate for many years, celebrates the triumph of skepticism over 9/11 conspiracy theorists. His work, including his critiques of the documentary Loose Change, has been featured by skeptics on several sites including the JREF forum. Read the article.

Glenn Beck photo Shermer on CNN’s Glenn Beck show
on 9/11 Conspiracy Theories

Back in October 2007, Bill Maher’s HBO series was disrupted by a gaggle of obnoxiously loud 9/11 conspiracy theory “truthers” (as they like to call themselves), resulting in Bill charging up the aisle himself to throw them out of the studio. A few days later, Michael Shermer appeared on CNN’s Glenn Beck show to discuss and debunk the situation. Watch the show on YouTube.

Michael Shermer photo 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction

Produced in 2007, this series of six videos exhaustively examines some of the most persistent of 9/11 conspiracy theories: that the World Trade Center was brought down by a controlled demolition; that a missile, not a commercial airliner, hit the Pentagon; and that members of the U.S. government orchestrated the attacks in hopes of creating a war in the Middle East. Each conspiracy argument is countered by a variety of experts in the fields of engineering, intelligence and the military. The program also delves into the anatomy of such conspiracies and how they grow on the Internet. Among those commenting are James Miegs, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics and Michael Shermer Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine.
Watch the series on MichaelShermer.com

Fahrenheit 2777: 9/11—the mother of all conspiracy theories

The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking (as well as creationism, Holocaust denial and the various crank theories of physics). All the “evidence” for a 9/11 conspiracy falls under the rubric of this fallacy. Such notions are easily refuted by noting that scientific theories are not built on single facts alone but on a convergence of evidence assembled from multiple lines of inquiry… In this Skeptic column from Scientific American’s June 2005 issue, Michael Shermer explains why 9/11 has generated the mother of all conspiracy theories. Read the article from Scientific American on MichaelShermer.com

Paranoia Strikes Deep: Why people believe in conspiracies

The mother of all conspiracy theories—that 9/11 was an inside job orchestrated by the Bush administration—finds its members following Michael Shermer around on a book tour back in 2008.. Read the article and watch several videos from the book tour on MichaelShermer.com

9/11 “Truthers” Harass Shermer on Book Tour

Conspiracies do happen, of course. Abraham Lincoln was the victim of an assassination conspiracy, as was Austrian archduke Franz Ferdinand, gunned down by the Serbian secret society called Black Hand. The attack on Pearl Harbor was a Japanese conspiracy (although some conspiracists think Franklin Roosevelt was in on it). Watergate was a conspiracy (that Richard Nixon was in on). How can we tell the difference between information and disinformation?… In this Skeptic column from Scientific American’s September 2009 issue, Michael Shermer explains why people believe in highly improbable conspiracies. Read the article from Scientific American on MichaelShermer.com


Follow Michael Shermer on Twitter, Facebook, and Skepticblog

NEW ON MICHAELSHERMER.COM
What is Pseudoscience?

Distinguishing between science and pseudoscience is problematic. In the September “Skeptic” column in Scientific American, Michael Shermer discusses the demarcation problem of finding a criterion to distinguish between empirical science (such as the successful 1919 test of Einstein’s general theory of relativity) and pseudoscience (such as Freud’s theories, whose adherents sought only confirming evidence while ignoring disconfirming cases).

READ THE COLUMN

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Follow Daniel Loxton on Twitter, Facebook, and Skepticblog.

NEW ON SKEPTICBLOG.ORG
The Memory of Expertise

In this week’s Skepticblog, Daniel visits the Saanich Fair, and reflects on his faded, former expertise about sheep. Whether about sheep or skepticism or science, expertise is ephemeral: hard to gain, and easy to lose.

READ THE POST

FOLLOW DANIEL LOXTON ON TWITTERFACEBOOKSKEPTICBLOG

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In this episode of MonsterTalk we discuss Ghouls and their real world counterpart: cannibals. The hosts are joined by Carole A. Travis-Henikoff, author of Dinner With A Cannibal: The Complete History of Mankind’s Oldest Taboo. This episode also features guest MonsterTalker Adam Levenstein, a long-time friend of the show whose background combines anthropology and skepticism.



Mr. Deity and the Believing Brain (with guest actor Michael Shermer)

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WATCH THIS EPISODE | DONATE | NEWSLETTER | FACEBOOK | MrDeity.com


Lecture this Sunday: Dr. Nancy Segal

Dr. Nancy Segal
Someone Else’s Twin:
The True Story of Babies Switched at Birth

Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 2 pm
Baxter Lecture Hall, Caltech

IN THIS FASCINATING STORY, Dr. Nancy Segal, Professor of Psychology at California State University, Fullerton (and herself a twin and an expert on twin research) describes the consequences of unintentional separation of identical twins. She considers not only the effects on separated twins, but the implications for questions concerning identity, familial bonds, nature-nurture, and the law. Based on her extensive research into the psychology of twins and interviews with family members, Dr. Segal explores many questions of universal human significance: How do mothers know who their biological children are? How much does our family contribute to our sense of self? Are we more like the people who raised us or the people we are born to? Dr. Segal also examines custodial decisions concerning children who are the result of donated sperm or eggs by individuals outside the rearing family. She further elucidates the benefits to children from adoption.

Ticket information

Tickets are first come first served at the door. Seating is limited. $8 for Skeptics Society members and the JPL/Caltech community, $10 for nonmembers. Your admission fee is a donation that pays for our lecture expenses.

100 Comments »

100 Comments

  1. Bob Pease says:

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with conspiracy believers?

    Dr. Sidethink seems to think that “the CON” folks are TRUE BELIEVERS , and that an attempt to communicate on this issue is proof that the questioner either stupid or “Close -minded” i.e. closed – minded.

    According to “common sense”, questioning a person’s fundamental beliefs is the same thing as questioning their value as a human being, and the reaction is that the questioner is really a person who is attacking them at a deep personal level.

    I used to think that logical positivism was a good way to approach intellectual skirmish. But I quickly found out that the reaction is “what you are saying is that my beliefs are not EVEN bullshit, and that really pisses me off, so git outta here.”

    Dr. S

  2. Alex V says:

    Excellent piece, and much more detailed than many articles on the subject. There’s a tendency for the mainstream to dismiss conspiracy theorists out of hand, but I think letting such rumours survive among activists and on the internet for years is incredibly unhealthy for society. And the only way to deal with them, boring as it sometimes is, is point by point, issue by issue, question by question.

    As I’m sure Chris knows, his twelve points here will be countered by scores of points on the internet exploring yet more anomalies or misunderstandings around the event. But with up to 25% of young people surveyed in the UK and US still believing 9/11 was an inside job, countering these myriad claims is about as far as you can get from a pointless task.

    • NotAtAll says:

      “Excellent piece, and much more detailed than many articles on the subject.”

      Not at all an excellent piece! Not at all detailed! Not at all scientific!

      Dear Alex V, Dear Reader!
      Have a look at

      http://www.jeremyrhammond.com/2011/09/16/911-and-skeptic-magazines-science-of-controlled-demolitions/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JeremyRHammond+(Jeremy+R.+Hammond)

      and decide youself what is scientific, detailed excellent and what is not!

      Excellent, detailed and scientific info is also available at http://www.ae911truth.org

      • Tim says:

        The linked article appears to be a response only to this written article, which is a short summary of some of the key points covered in far greater detail in the author’s video series.

        • NotAtAll says:

          Ah, so you think that undetailed and im large parts plain wrong blog posts (see link above), and some “video pseudo science” are more scientific and trustworthy than detailed analysis in peer-reviewed scientific papers and clear statements from very experienced and reputable experts in all relevant areas?

          Did you look in the detailed papers? Please do it now! http://www.ae911truth.org/

          BTW: If you consider somebody that had a deeper look at the evidence on 911 controlled demolition, one could separate two possibilities:

          1. he acknowledges the evidence
          2. he does not acknowledge the evidence

          There a perhaps 3 reasons for option 2:

          1. he is not capable of understanding the facts
          2. he would able to understand the facts but he isn’t capable of handling the massive amount of brain-rebuilding, so he will deny the evidence to preserve his mental stability.
          3. he sees and understands the evidence but he does not acknowledge it in public because of social pressures or personal profits.

          • Tim says:

            What “detailed analysis in peer-reviewed scientific papers” are you referring to? The only one that remotely fits that description to my knowledge is the extremely flawed Harritt et al paper on thermite which appeared in a “pay-to-publish” open journal, not a true peer reviewed scientific journal. Jeremy Hammond in the above linked article completely ignores the many criticisms of this study which Mr. Mohr levels in the video series. Further, I’ve noticed that comments on that article have been cleaned up and closed, with numerous critical comments from engineering professionals excised.

            Or maybe you’re referring to the “Journal for 9/11 Studies”, about which the less said the better, in terms of its scientific credibility.

            Can you accept that intelligent people have looked at the evidence for controlled demolition and found it thoroughly unconvincing?

            Allow me to pose a fourth reason for option 2: The so-called “evidence” is pure, unadulterated nonsense. Mr. Mohr gives it far more respect than it actually merits.

  3. Rob says:

    Larry Silverstein: “Pull it.” And just after insuring the building. His backtracking explanation was laughable.

    • WhoDatMan says:

      The idea that you think a building of that size was previously uninsured is what is laughable.

      • Bill Coffin says:

        Indeed…Silverstein had the entire complex insured from the moment he signed the lease. But because he did not have an actual signed policy in hand at the time of the attack (it is common for large business policies to go up to a year without final contracts ever getting into the insured’s hands). The upshot of this is without a contract in hand, any kind of insurance claim would be open to interpretation and contest on the part of the insurer. So to say that Silverstein gave the call to abandon the building just so he could file an insurance claim overlooks the fact that at that moment, any such claim would not necessarily be in his best interest. That said, Silverstein *did* try to double down on his insurance for WTC 1 and 2 by claiming they were separate events and therefore separately insurable losses, but he lost that battle in court.

        • Pat Curley says:

          One minor correction; some of the insurance companies were required to pay double in the court case. At issue was whether the Wilprop language or the Travelers language applied; the courts found that the insurers using the Wilprop language were liable only for the one occurence, while those using the Travelers language were on the hook for double damages.

        • Jaseph Howard says:

          Bill, you are ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT that Silverstein lost his “double down” claim. He won. It was $3.5 Billion PER terrorist attack. He successfully litigated the interpretation that it was 2 separate attacks–(which is reasonable to me, but whatever).

          So his total insurance take was around $7,000,000,000 on the terrorist attacks.

          • Jaseph Howard says:

            Actually, I’m ABSOLUTELY INCORRECT.

            Here’s the Wikipedia entry:

            “The jury was unable to reach a verdict on one insurer, Swiss Reinsurance, at that time, but did so several days later on May 3, 2004, finding that this company was also subject to the “one occurrence” interpretation.[22] Silverstein appealed the Swiss Re decision, but lost that appeal on October 19, 2006.[23] The second trial resulted in a verdict on December 6, 2004, that 9 insurers were subject to the “two occurrences” interpretation and, therefore, liable for a maximum of double the face value of those particular policies ($2.2 billion).[24] The total potential payout, therefore, was capped at $4.577 billion for buildings 1, 2, 4, and 5″

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_Silverstein#Insurance_dispute

            At any rate, Silverstein made out like a champ.

  4. Doc says:

    I have three pictures taken off of CBS news of the diagonal cuts made on the support columns right in front of me. Please explain how that happened. Its obvious the columns were cut by something. You can plainly see the melted steel on all the diagonal cuts. Apparently Mr. Mohr thinks our government is benevolent. If he does I invite him to participate in one of our wars. How much did they pay you Mr. Mohr???

    • Dave S says:

      @Doc

      The diagonal cuts were made by iron workers during clean up. They cut the beams down in order to move them to the Fresh Kills Landfill in which they were investigated by FEMA and teams of forensic experts. http://www.debunking911.com/thermite.htm

      “Apparently Mr. Mohr thinks our government is benevolent.”

      He started off his article by mentioning the WMD lie and that he originally thought there was something to the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

      “Point #2 is a complete lie. Look it up on YouTube. You can see it for yourself: the building did not suffer global collapse. It’s obvious. Look it up. Just do it. Consider your hit piece discredited.”

      He didn’t claim it was a global collapse. He said a large part of the building collapsed due to fire. There are examples of steel framed building completely collapsing from fire like the Kader Toy factories. But this merely illustrates the point that steel structures can collapse from fire. Both the Delft collapse and the Kader Toy factories show what can happen if a fire gets large or hot enough. It can cause either a partial or global collapse.

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Hi Doc and others,

      I was paid nothing and spent around $400 for tech help getting my YouTube videos online. Richard Gage gets paid over $70,000 a year plus expenses to promote 9/11 Truth. So what? He works hard for it. I don’t begrudge him his money, I just disagree completely with his science.

      The Larry Silverstein “pull it” quote is inaccurate because Larry Silverstein did not have a say in deciding to pull firefighters away from Building 7 (which is what he was referring to). He was informed about the decision. Watch Part 16 of my YouTube series to see what Fire Chief Nigro had to say about your theory. He alone made the decision to pull the firefighters out of the collapse zone. As for Silverstein’s insurance money, I remember on 9/11 Bush declaring the 9/11 attacks an act of war. The insurance companies initially told Silverstein he would not get his insurance money because acts of war are not covered, but eventually relented under public and legal pressure. They were looking for reasons not to pay his claim; if they thought this quote were evidence of Silverstein deciding to “pull” his own building down, they would have used that to save themselves hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance payouts.

      Someone mentioned diagonal cuts they saw in the steel beams in the debris, with melted steel on the end. Look at Part 8 of my YouTube video series 10:12 in. You’ll see a photo of those diagonal cuts followed by a video of Demolition Dave explaining how he and his team of welders cuts through these columns using diagonal cuts, melting the steel at the ends (obviously) with welding torches.

      Do these answers make you wonder about the accuracy of your position? What would it take to satisfy you that natural collapse explains the destruction of the WTC Buildings?

      • Jaseph Howard says:

        Chris,

        The reason I don’t buy the official story is that it must categorize several bodies of evidence as “unreal”. Otherwise, it is at best incomplete.

        In contrast to Occam’s razor, the “best” theory is not “usually” the simplest. Sometimes it is, but the real standard is explanatory power. The MOST POWERFUL theory is the one that can explain the most phenomena and ignore or dismiss the least. Simplicity is most definitely a useful standard to apply to novel phenomena, but it should not be applied to the detriment of EXPLANATORY POWER.

        The official theory must assume all molten metal is aluminum. There is no solid evidence of that. Yet there is evidence of molten steel:

        The Worchester Poly steel is largely ignored–the only thing said about it is that it probably occurred in the rubble pile–DESPITE the fact that no one can reproduce the results in a rubble pile test.

        The iron microspheres cannot be dismissed as leftovers from construction because they were not welding IRON or using IRON welding rods. These microspheres are inconsistent with welding by-products. Combined with the indisputable fact that they comprise over 5% of the dust by weight, this makes for a very large amount of unexplained molten iron.

        The metal waterfall that came off the North Tower before it fell has also been dismissed as aluminum by proponents of the official theory, yet no confirmatory experiments have been conducted by NIST or UL. Steven Jones documented an experiment attempting to verify NIST’s claim that it was aluminum mixed with various office substances (carpet, paper, wood, etc.), but never produced anything that remotely looked like the stuff that poured out of WTC1 before it fell.

        All accounts of explosions must be dismissed as something “other” than a demolition explosion. This is one of the strangest claims of official conspiracy apologists because you admit people heard explosions, but without ANY confirmation and in the face of corroborative evidence of demolitions, you categorically rule out explosives. That’s an argument from ignorance because you’re making positive knowledge claims from a LACK of evidence. We can both say “we don’t know what those loud noises were,” and see what fits best with the rest of the evidence.

        And then there’s the issues of gas temperatures versus materials temperatures. The Official Theory (by means of T. Eagar and others) must claim that the fires could not have gotten much hotter than about 1100F at any given location. Indeed, this is verified by the office fire tests conducted by UL. They found that the most influential factor of the HEAT RELEASE RATE by the available materials was whether it was in a pile or undisturbed. In any case, the hottest it got was about 1100F for about 10 minutes. This is nowhere NEAR hot enough for long enough to weaken the steel in question, much less produce massive conglomerates of concrete and steel or create the effects seen in the Worchester Poly steel.

        Therefore, those forensic data sets are simply ignored or dismissed as “mysterious” but not relevant.

        So I ask: by what criteria can these data sets all be dismissed as irrelevant?
        Answer: The Official Conspiracy Theory

        It appears some of us would rather make the evidence fit the theory. But that’s not good science. The history of science is flush with examples of powerful institutions desperate to hold on to its cherished notions–ignoring evidence, redoing the math to fit, categorizing phenomena as “anomalous” or “irrelevant” when in fact, the theory was just wrong.

        We are no doubt, watching history repeat as we speak.

        http://murderformoney.wordpress.com/2011/04/22/skeptics-and-conspiracies/

  5. Will says:

    Point #2 is a complete lie. Look it up on YouTube. You can see it for yourself: the building did not suffer global collapse. It’s obvious. Look it up. Just do it.

    Consider your hit piece discredited.

  6. Dave S says:

    “How much did they pay you Mr. Mohr???”

    Haha. If someone reasonably disagrees with you on the internet and provides plenty of valid arguments, the only explanation is that he was paid by the government to lie to everyone. Of course! In all seriousness, If Mr. Mohr is wrong, you guys should show where he goes wrong instead of just dismissing the evidence and testimony out of hand that contradicts your pet conspiracy theory. And also consider the fact that you too are human and capable of deluding yourself. You should really carefully reevaluate the scientific claims and put your political beliefs aside.

  7. Dave S says:

    “Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to deal with conspiracy believers?”

    The first thing would be to ask them if there could in principle be any dis-confirmatory evidence. What would convince you otherwise? If they can’t even offer a hypothetical example, you should point out that they are not making scientific arguments.

    The second thing I would try is to ask if they are familiar with young earth creationism. It seems like most hardcore conspiracy theorists are unfamiliar with other kinds of pseudoscience, and so when they hear something that sounds superficially plausible and happens to agree with their political beliefs, they accept it and begin to “connect the dots.”

    I’ve observed that there are just some people who cannot be persuaded otherwise no matter what evidence is presented or how valid the arguments are. In my opinion, those are the people (once you spot them) that should be ignored. I’m giving the posters above the benefit of a doubt for now, but something tells me they’ll just keep asking questions. Thank goodness they seem to only live in 9/11 related comments sections or web forums. They’re probably more annoying than young earth creationists in person.

  8. Will says:

    I’m not sure what people have against enquiry. It seems all the “debunking” rhetoric is obsessed with trying to convince people to stop thinking.

  9. Dave S says:

    “I’m not sure what people have against enquiry. It seems all the “debunking” rhetoric is obsessed with trying to convince people to stop thinking.”

    Not at all. Debunking is part of the scientific process. If someone makes a scientific claim, it should be treated like anything else. It should be independently verifiable and falsifiable. Just because it’s a claim about a government you or I don’t like, doesn’t mean we should accept any of these sciency-sounding factoids at face value. After carefully looking through the arguments on both sides, I’ve concluded the consensus view on 9/11 is correct. (fire caused the collapses of 3 1/2 buildings) To just dismiss any attempts at refuting a theory you believe to be true is not critical thinking, it’s the exact opposite.

    • Will says:

      To lump everything 9/11 into one thing is patently un-scientific.

      • Dave S says:

        “To lump everything 9/11 into one thing is patently un-scientific.”

        I think I made it clear I am talking about the science or lack thereof behind the controlled demolition theory. I’ve found that the other 9/11 conspiracy theories (pentagon, shanksville) suffer the same problems, but you are correct that they shouldn’t all be lumped together.

  10. Dave S says:

    “Larry Silverstein: “Pull it.” And just after insuring the building. His backtracking explanation was laughable.”

    So Silverstein was talking about he made the decision (as if there was an option to just leave the explosives undetonated) to blow up WTC 7 on a PBS documentary? This doesn’t seem plausible to me at all. Numerous firefighters were pulled back or pulled away from the building, after structural deformations in the building were observed. There are plenty of other problems with this claim.

    • Bob Pease says:

      This reminds me of the (apocrophal?) story of the two Boulder CO hippies who chucked a tear gas grenade into the Boulder police station so they could enjoy the resulting Keystone Cops melange.

      When the grenade did not go off…..
      Hippy #1 sez
      Well.. I guess we better just leave..
      Hippy #2 says
      “Uncool, dude, because our Fingerprints are on it !!!”

      you can supply the rest of the Laurel and Hardy scene yourself…

      Dr. S

  11. winston says:

    None of these ‘explanations’ are satisfactory to someone who has looked closely at the facts of 9/11 and knows them better than they’re strung together for us in the media. Or than you, apparently.

    Please address the facts raised (ad nauseam) in string of posts this past week or two on jref. These issues are at the heart of 9-11 truth: http://forums.randi.org/search.php?searchid=223090

    I dont see that you even mentioned the 99 day fires underground -w/astonishing temps a week of rain and FDNY fire hoses later of 2800f (recorded by Bechtel), the 1100 missing bodies, Ignored overwhelming evidence of explosions and molten metal. It goes on

    Not addressing these things makes this post (and your critique of 911 Truth in general) look terribly weak because these things are at the heart of the issue. And calling the squibs ‘air from the pancaking floors above’ or the ‘tops acted like pile drivers’ the thermitic red/gray chips paint, and column 79’s demise somehow mysteriously resulted in a “new phenomena,-NIST,” is not a satisfactory explanation and anyone who says it either has not looked closely enough or is not thinking clearly. I know that sounds arrogant. But that’s how overwhelming the facts are.

    NIST claims WTC7 collapse was a completely unprecedented event; ‘a new phenomena they called it. From office fires. Never before seen in the history of engineering. They completely ignored the fema BPAT APP C http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/metallurgy/WTC_apndxC.htm)

    NIST cannot even get a computer model to mimic what WTC7’s collapse looked like! What does that tell you? How can it be said to have even existed if it cant be reproduced in a model like that? And what they did come up with they refuse to release the input parameters for so we have no clue what they did. Is that right? Is that how science is really done??

    And what you call “considerably less than free-fall” was 40% slower. or next to nothing for a building that was just standing and has no reason to into freefall collapse/

    No, this nonsense (im sorry to have to call it) is only going to convince someone who hasn’t actually looked at this stuff carefully or already has this disposition – Someone who knows just enough to know nothing.

    PLEASE Keep an open mind, look at the facts and you will see why millions of people all over the world support Real 911 truth. (not most the crap online that pretends to be 9/11 truth like alex jones or video fakery etc)

    Say,, maybe I missed where you address these disturbing unexplained facts.
    I am tired..

    Ill double-check soon. best

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Hi Winston,

      You threw a lot of stuff into your letter, the kind of “what about…” tactic that overwhelms most people. I did answer almost all of the what abouts you raise in my video series, and I at least touched on the most important ones in my article above.

      The fires underground for three months? Got it covered in Part 8 at 7:53 in where I bring forth new testimony by a real 9/11 hero, a firefighter who fought the fires for those three months. Fires CAN last three months, as he told me, if oxygen can get in and there is stuff that can still burn (thermites burn up in 40 seconds or so and could not fuel a fire that long anyway).

      I didn’t mention the missing 1100 bodies out of respect for the dead, but another 9/11 FDNY firefighter I interviewed told me personally that because about 25 floors total in the Twin Towers were aflame (that’s 12–14 stories per building, 25 acres of office space), many bodies trapped underground during those hellish three months would have been completely incinerated. I’m sorry to have to mention this grisly fact around the 10th anniversary of 9/11 but there’s your answer.

      If I ever said the tops acted like pile drivers, please show me. That would be a mistake and I would thank you for the correction. I did say there was up to 180,000,000 pounds of mass coming down at over 100 mph onto each floor, overwhelming any resistance. I stand by that.

      As I said in Part 10 of my videos and in this article, NIST did not ignore the sulfidized steel found in Appendix C. Since one piece was found on the 53rd floor and wasn’t even a supporting column and the second piece came from an unknown source, they determined that it did not contribute to the actual collapse. Your standard line of 9/11 Truth researchers is simply untrue.

      Hope this helps. I have always been skeptical but openminded. If new data comes in to support the controlled demolition theory, I would change my mind. Most importantly, if Niels Harritt, Steven Jones, Keein Ryan and others would release their WTC dust samples for a simple inexpensive lab test by a truly independent laboratory and if they got validation that thermites were in the dust, I would change my tune. But they refuse to do this and so far have not responded to my direct requests to do it. This drastically reduces their credibility in my mind.

      • zalm says:

        Not like I have much experience with this kind of thing, but in my neighbourhood, an old stone church burned down a few years ago. It took the FD three days to put out the fire. What burned in that old stone church after all the wood in the pews, the roof trusses and the decorations in the chancery were charcoal in the first three hours? The lime in the mortar and the concrete floor in the basement, as well as the dissimmilar metals in the heating and plumbing systems. Being just two blocks away from it, I got in the habit of talking to the fire crew playing water on the building for those three days. The fire prevention investigator told the crew that this was not unusual for concrete buildings – apparently in the 1960s there was a fire in a US missile silo that burned for more than a month, mostly the metals and the lime in the concrete. The fire investigator told the crew they might be there a week, so they were pleased when it was cool enough to walk around in after only three days.

        The interesting thing was that this building then had to be demolished. Just because the lime had been burned out from the mortar didn’t mean the building fell down – it didn’t. And roughly 10,000 tonnes of stone had to be brought safely down to ground level in a residential neighbourhood, which meant that workers had to work from huge man-lifts parked more than 40 feet away from the tower (in case the tower fell over – you can bet the workers compensation board was all over that site) and remove that building stone by stone with jackhammers and slings and hoists. What they found was that the lime hadn’t burned out above 15 feet or so above ground – the fire was still working its way up into the tower and the altar wall when the firefighters were finally able to cool it enough to put it out.

        So demolition had to be done from the top-down where the mortar was still very secure and unburned, and it wasn’t until they got the tower down to about 15 feet abov the ground that the stones began to fall out of the wall as soon as they touched them. At that point, they dropped the manlifts, brought in the backhoes and demolished the remaining walls easily. Apparently the demolition and cleanup from that little church fire cost more than a million dollars and occupied more than three months.

        So I can see the science behind your comments Chris – certainly a lot easier than I can see the “science” behind the conspiracy. And no, I don’t believe in the least that any of our governments are here to help us.

  12. Dave S says:

    @ Winston

    Chris Mohr addresses almost every one of your additional claims in his video series, which he linked to.

    “NIST cannot even get a computer model to mimic what WTC7’s collapse looked like! What does that tell you? How can it be said to have even existed if it cant be reproduced in a model like that? And what they did come up with they refuse to release the input parameters for so we have no clue what they did. Is that right? Is that how science is really done??”

    Given that the computer model shows a probable collapse scenario that took inside the building, who is to say other than engineers who have studied the collapses what they looked like? We only say the last part of the collapse which was the outer shell left unsupported. Other independent scientists have done their own simulations of the WTC collapses (Astaheh) to find that the buildings in their simulations collapsed just like they did on 9/11. I don’t see why this would be impossible for WTC 7. If the collapse couldn’t have happened, maybe the truth movement should get their engineers to make their own. One major flaw with this whole claim is that if NIST was in on it, or faked the data, why would they make a phony simulation that didn’t resemble the collapse? Think about that for a second.

    Your JREF link didn’t work, but there are plenty of engineers and scientists there who can answer your questions much better than I.

    “column 79′s demise somehow mysteriously resulted in a “new phenomena,-NIST,””

    Their theory says it underwent thermal expansion, which is not a new phenomenon. It was the first time a tall building collapsed from thermal expansion but the phenomenon is not new. Note that NIST could be wrong, as other engineering firms such as ARUP have offered their own variants of collapse initiation.

    “No, this nonsense (im sorry to have to call it) is only going to convince someone who hasn’t actually looked at this stuff carefully or already has this disposition – Someone who knows just enough to know nothing.”

    This is essentially an ad hominem attack mixed with a bare assertion. Your saying that anyone who agrees with Mr. Mohr’s analysis or disagrees with you is lacking some other critical knowledge or are just dumb. You leave out the other option that maybe it is you who needs to do his homework. I already know what other claims you are probably referring to as I have read three 9/11 truth books, including 2 by Griffin. The thing is, he gets all of his science wrong which has been outlined in plain talk by Nasa scientist Ryan Mackey in his white paper. To this date no one in the truth movement has refuted Mackey’s paper and most have simply not read it. I challenge you to read it in it’s entirety and point out what he got wrong. And there’s not just Mackey’s refutation there are plenty of websites that fact check every truther claim.

    “PLEASE Keep an open mind, look at the facts and you will see why millions of people all over the world support Real 911 truth.”

    It’s important to keep an open mind, but not too open that your brain falls out. This is also somewhat of an appeal to popularity, even though the movement is pretty much dead…

  13. Rachel says:

    Well, Canada’s top selling national newspaper is giving truthers a platform (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/september-11/for-truthers-911-was-an-inside-job/article2157340/). While the Globe presents this as a conspiracy, they do not present any arguments to counter the nonesense in the article. So frustrating!!!

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Somebody needs to write a letter to the editor to the Globe and Mail and let them know about this skeptic.com article (and my YouTubes)! Hey, I’m respectful and fact-based and a fellow journalist after all…

  14. danny101 says:

    What did this to the towers?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eilY1GRjyeo

    Fires?
    Thermate?
    Mini Nukes?
    Undergound nuclear demolition?

    “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth”

    Examine the evidence and You decide: http://911crimescene.weebly.com/

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Perhaps 180,000,000 pounds of building top crashing down at over 100 mph? That’s a lot of momentum behind a lot of mass.

      • danny101 says:

        The chicken and the egg argument ..

        The upper part has been “crashing” down the lower part since the early 70s without any problems at all.

        The question at hand is – what caused it to crash through the center of most Resistance on 9/11/2001 violating Newton Third law of motion ,at near freefall speed, turning 2/3 thirds of the tower mass into microscopic dust in thin air even before it hits the ground ?

        The evidence completely contradicts the presence of steel melting/weakening Fires as shown in the 911CrimeScene link

        • Scolopendra says:

          No, they’ve not been “crashing” down for years. Momentum, lad, that’s key. A moving object has more momentum than a static one; that’s why statics and dynamics are different disciplines in structural science!

          • Michael Fullerton says:

            Yes but momentum has to be conserved. When a speeding car hits a stationary car does the speeding car continue at the same rate? No, there is a jolt or rapid deceleration as momentum transfers to the other car. There was no jolt when the upper block of both towers hit the lower building. A clear violation of the Law of Conservation of Momentum. This fact alone falsifies (refutes) the official hypothesis Mohr is defending. Mohr is supporting a falsified hypothesis with as much scientific credibility as flat Earth theory.

  15. Tony C. says:

    The problem with this type of rebuttal is that no effort is made to solicit comments and criticism from those who remain skeptical of the official narrative.

    There are many architects and engineers who question the narrative, and they are in a position to answer the above assertions in a sophisticated manner.

    If Chris Mohr is truly confident is his “debunking”, then why not invite some of the many professional specialists who obviously take a different view to respond to his conclusions?

    • Tim says:

      I had to respond to this particular charge.

      Did the writer of the comment notice that the author engaged in a lengthy debate with Richard Gage on the issue? The audio of this debate is linked at the top of the article.

      I would also note that the comment section of this article is open, and the author himself has proven willing to respond to criticism of his work.

  16. Lawrence says:

    I would really love an explanation as to how debris from flt 93 could be scattered over 8-9 miles if it crashed in Shanksville, PA? A debris field that large suggests the plane blowing up at a much higher altitude than smacking head first into the ground, even the 9/11 Commission says a 9 ton engine bounced a mile and a half, how’s that even possible?? Here’s a clip, as reported on Sept. 11th. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RJOlwcJ6OkA&feature=related this video states a 3-4 mile radius.

  17. Mike Smullin says:

    what Richard Gage, the families of the victims, and the 9/11 truth movement want is an independent investigation. ever since moments after incident the federal government has been working to clean up and control the facts. because the evidence left behind is overwhelming, and people won’t “go away”, now the criminals are working hard to co-opt the annual sept 11 event, and rewrite the history books with white-wash hit pieces like this. obama’s ‘lets remember 9/11 with community service’, the terrorist threat to nyc during the event so they could have cops with machine guns on the street to intimidate peaceful activists, and of course dick cheney’s memoir which retells the tale with obvious exaggerations that even his own peers dispute. the federal government will not allow a new investigation, and has only released the details they sought to classify after thorough time to modify them. this article is an example. notice how the whole message of the 9/11 “debunking” rhetoric is obsessed with trying to convince people to stop thinking about it. there have been similar messages such as we have ‘turned the corner’ and to continue thinking about it is ‘letting the terrorists win’. total double-think.

    • Avery says:

      Isn’t this blog post an independent investigation? We investigated the physics and it checks out. Problem solved.

  18. Mike Smullin says:

    to stop questioning authority is to become a sheeple. i am for government transparency. if the government has nothing to hide it should be complicit in the investigation. i don’t know what you get out of mocking the thousands of educated professionals who have risked their career reputations by supporting this investigation despite government tampering of evidence, because of what they have seen with their own eyes and hands. if all you could find was this dude’s blog post, maybe you should look further:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW6mJOqRDI4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIOC1J44RYw
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZEvA8BCoBw

    the allegations are serious. not to be scoffed at as incredulous. it may be the crime of the century. you can’t call it science when you are deprived of the evidence.

    ‎* hire body of scientists
    * provide tampered evidence
    * profit

    its not forensic science when the defendant has power to move, hide, destroy, and tamper with evidence.

    its not science when the only evidence allowed is evidence that is approved or endorsed.

    this is sophistry, and organizations like NIST and NCDC are no better than Pharoh’s Magicians. the official story is not a principal, or a theory, or a hypothesis–it is chicanery and deception. Just like Climategate.

  19. Mike Smullin says:

    1. There were numerous opportunities for planting bombs. Bomb-sniffing dogs were inexplicably removed from the Twin Towers five days before 9-11. The Twin Towers had been evacuated a number of times in the weeks preceding 9/11. There was a power down in the Twin Towers on the weekend before 9/11, security cameras were shut down, and many workers ran around busily doing things unobserved. A tenant of the World Trade Center hired a “sprinkler repairman” shortly before 9/11, and gave him access to 6 underground levels at World Trade Center building 1. And — as an interesting coincidence — a Bush-linked company ran security at the trade centers, thus giving it free reign to the buildings

    http://www.infowars.com/people-could-have-planted-bombs-in-the-world-trade-center/

  20. Mike Smullin says:

    2. “mostly into its own footprint?” lets see the video. this is not the same at all. in your example, “all building occupants evacuated safely” and thats because it took over _8 hours_ for it to collapse. The South Tower of the World Trade Center begins to collapse only 56 minutes and 2 seconds after the impact of Flight 175! the twin towers were damaged asymmetrically, yet they went into their own footprint. gravity increases but so does resistance–especially about half way down.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collapse_of_the_World_Trade_Center

  21. Mike Smullin says:

    3. omg you are quoting NIST. this is why we want an independent investigation. we don’t believe NIST report is accurate. what NIST did was come up with a model that would support their hypothesis. these are the same people who say thermite is unsuited to demolition, and that nanothermite does not exist. they work for bush, and they have a conflict of interest that is glaringly obvious in their omissions. they tried to say they did not find thermite in the samples they took, but when pressed, they admitted it was because they never tested for it. complete sophistry.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7465849608574246153

  22. Mike Smullin says:

    4. again, “A meticulous investigation of unprecedented scope and detail, conducted by S. Shyam Sunder’s team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST 2005), supports this explanation.” riiiight. see my response to point 3 above. but i noticed how you were careful to describe them as unidentified flying objects. in fact, they were Steel I-Beams. Do you know how much those weigh? In the U.S., 22 lb/ft. and they weren’t just laying on the ground for air to blow them away. they were covered, dare i say somewhat aerodynamic. and not only that, they were attached to OTHER Steel I beams. Steel is what we use to hurricane-proof buildings, so your hurricane winds guess doesn’t convince me that the air ripped them off and hurled them at other buildings. you are guessing.

    http://www.reidsteel.com/information/hurricane_resistant_building.htm#hurricaneproofbuildings

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Hi Mike
      Maybe I was wrong about the “wind” theory of lateral ejection. A scientist has recently shown me that there may have been no “lateral ejection” of steel beams at all. Check out this picture and explanation of the outer perimeter wall collapsing some 600 feet or more and some of the top beams from that collapsing wall beams actually smashing directly into the other buildings without ever being ejected at all!!!!
      Check this out: http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=7555708&postcount=2782
      Amazing how science can evolve as new information comes along, isn’t it? Does this change your opinion as it did mine or do you cling to your own theory?

  23. Mike Smullin says:

    5, 6, and 7. office fires dont burn hot enough to melt steel. office fires could not have spread to the majority of the building in 1 hour. use your example from 2. multiple people did find nanothermite. like Jonathan Barnett, all everyone wants is a new independent investigation–even those who believe it was a controlled demolition. i don’t see why this is beyond question. and you never mentioned Larry Silverstein’s interview. He used the words “Pull it”. explain that. and explain about the insurance policy.

    • Bill Coffin says:

      Silverstein’s insurance policy had yet to be finalized at the time of the attack. That is a large reason why there was such a contentious legal battle between him and his insurers over the proper insured values of WTC 1 and 2. To say that Silverstein gave the order to destroy WTC 7 so he could collect insurance money overlooks something anybody in commercial P&C insurance knows only too well: without contract certainty, any kind of loss will produce a difficult and uncertain claims process. While I cannot profess to know what was in Silverstein’s head exactly, I doubt very much that it was a plot to destroy a building just so he could collect some insurance on it, especially when the insurers themselves would be sure to scrutinize the loss as closely as they could before paying out. Given the insured loss values involved, no insurer was eager to simply write a check over this.

  24. Mike Smullin says:

    8. you only answered the second part of your question. On the night of February 12, 2005, a fire started in the Windsor building in Madrid, Spain, a 32-story tower framed in steel-reinforced concrete. At its peak, the fire, which burned for almost a day, completely engulfed the upper ten stories of the building. More than 100 firefighters battled to prevent the uncontrollable blaze from spreading to other buildings… it never collapsed.

    http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/analysis/compare/windsor.html

  25. Mike Smullin says:

    The Windsor only had partial collapse events, spread over several hours. Contrast that with the implosion of WTC Building 7 in 7 seconds, and the total explosive collapses of each of the Twin Towers in under 17 seconds.

  26. Mike Smullin says:

    9. don’t dismiss this as one individual’s slip of the tongue. Multiple people had foreknowledge of the towers collapse, not just media, and its on record.

    Media: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kL6N66vPCAs

  27. Mike Smullin says:

    NYC Mayor Giuliani: In an ABC News interview, Giuliani states that he was “told that the World Trade Center was gonna’ collapse,” and that it did collapse, referring to the 9:59 destruction of the South Towers, and implies that the warning was not well in advance of the event.

    http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/attack/giuliani.html

  28. Mike Smullin says:

    Police (NYPD officers): “This builiding is about to blow up. Move it back.”

    Firefighters (NYFD personnel): “Keep your eye on that building. It’s going to blow up.”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU_43SwWD9A

  29. Mike Smullin says:

    And not to mention the political leaders who had foreknowledge and were preparing for the event. Including NORAD’s command to “stand down”. And the NORAD execrise for the EXACT SAME SCENARIO that was taking place AT THE EXACT SAME TIME, providing a smoke screen of confusion.

    9/11 Flight Controller: “Is this real world or exercise?”

    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/9-11_exercises.html

  30. Mike Smullin says:

    10. that’s an interesting quote from the FDNY fire Chief where he says he did not consult the owner, because Larry Silverstein says during his interview that the he got a call from him, and instructed him to “pull it”.

    Anyway this is the primary question A&E for 911 Truth are interested in researching. But the Federal Government and lackees like you who mock and scorn have some problem with letting them do that. I don’t understand why. Maybe you can answer that, instead.

  31. Mike Smullin says:

    11. At least Obama signed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010 into law, January 2, 2011. Those first responders have suffered through hundreds of thousands of dollars in self-funded medical bills these past 10 years. Better late than never, I guess. Too bad an NYPD officer had to die before first responders got the attention they deserve.

    But of those 10 firefighters who believe it was bombs, are you counting the living or the dead? Also, are you counting people who were in the building when the explosions were happening, or off-duty officers too?

    Anyway, your argument here may hold a little water about the elevator shaft and any propane tanks, but as with point 4 your guess is as good as anybody’s. Well actually the people who were in the building and are still alive probably have a better guess–like that Barry Jennings black gentlemen who made it down the stairwell in time. He was actually in the freight elevators, too.

    On September 11th, 2001, he saw and heard explosions BEFORE the Twin Towers fell.

    He testified multiple times and his life was ended unexpectedly. Nobody knows the cause of his death, but because his personal story leads to the conclusion that the destruction of the 9/11 towers was planned, and because of his official status as the Deputy Director of the Emergency Services Department, many believe it was a murder to silence him. I guess you didn’t hear about that…

    http://jenningsmystery.com/

  32. Mike Smullin says:

    12. How is this different from 3? See my answer to 3 above.

  33. Mike Smullin says:

    summary: your several posts on 9/11 seem to be a NIST white-wash. i read and researched your points. now do me the same favor. i challenge you to review:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW6mJOqRDI4

    http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?board=18.0

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Mike,

      My article here is only a short summary rebuttal to common 9/11 myths. I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and preparing 20 YouTube videos that answer 235 questions about the three WTC buildings:

    • Neil says:

      Mr Smullin
      Regarding point 3 in your remarkable rebuttal, I’ve taken the time to watch Mr Mohr’s excellent presentations. They are certainly well researched. One of your concerns is:

      “omg you are quoting NIST. this is why we want an independent investigation.”

      I’ve no doubt that you will be pleased to know that I.C.E. (the Institution of Civil Engineers) the majr professional body for civil and structural engineers in the UK has done a lot of work on the NIST report (we are as concerned about tall building collapse here in the UK as anywhere, and many ICE Chartered Engineers work in the Gulf States and Hong Kong where many very tall building are being constructed.

      You can read dozens of articles by professional civil engineers at nce.co.uk, however, here are two quotes for you:

      “Before 9/11 the Americans didn’t even have the concept of progressive collapse. Now it is very much in the vocabulary.”

      “There is a much greater industry understanding of the impact of floor systems on the resilience of a building.”

      Please be assured that professional engineers in the UK have no desire to participate in a cover up for a US governement which was widely despised across Europe. The French, certainly, would pounce on any real evidence of wrongdoing by the Bush regime.

      Mr Mohr,

      If you are looking for other incidents of “progresive collapse” you might want to search for Ronan Point. That tower block partially collapsed in the 1960’s and out building design standards were strengthened because of it.

  34. WAyne1954 says:

    Mr. Smullin: Thanks for trying to tell the accurate version of what happened on 9/11 instead of the fraudulent version.

  35. Russell says:

    Your wording is designed to change or rephrase the various conspiracy theories in ways that allow you to dismiss them instead of dealing with them on their own terms. You are attempting to win the debate by controlling the language of the debate.

    You have failed to even address some of the primary issues at all. This is the typical tact of 9/11 conspiracy debunkers. Instead of answering why did building 7 fall at all, you discuss the minutae of how fast it fell. WHY DID IT FALL AT ALL?

    No one said that an ENTIRE BUILDING WAS PULVERIZED WITH NANO THERMITE. They simply imply that some quantity of it was used at crucial locations.

    NASA photos. U r kidding? If type premise is government conspiracy is doesn’t take a genius to work out that NASA is a government enterprise.

    People are going to believe what they want to believe and if it makes u feel safe and secure to image some EVIL BAD TERRORISTS did this so they could screw virgins in heaven as demeaning and stupid as that is, as racist and completely culturally ignorant as that is compared to the likely hood of yet another major fraud perpetrated by the MONEY people, well go for your life. You deserve to be fooled.

    FOLLOW THE MONEY.

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Hi Russell,

      Actually, David Chandler told me personally in an email that “Building 7 was overkill,” and he does in fact believe that thermate was used in incredibly high quantities to destroy every support instantly. Why Building 7 fell at all is covered pretty well in Part 13 of my YouTube video, a summary of the NIST explanation with some minor variations as proposed by the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, ARUP, etc. These theories make sense to me. I also personally talked with a 9/11 hero, a firefighter who used those NASA images every day to determine where his men could walk and where to focus their firefighting efforts. He said those images saved lives and helped immeasurably in giving a reality-based view of what was happening under the debris pile (see part 8 of my YouTube videos). Was this mid-level firefighter in on the conspiracy? I call him a hero, and those NASA images were not debating points… he staked his life on the accuracy of what they were showing him every day for three months.

      • Jeremy R. Hammond says:

        In your video, you parrot NIST’s claim of thermal expansion of 13th floor beams due to 12th floor fires to the northeast. But you don’t address the fact that NIST’s own analysis from the photographic and video evidence showed that the fires had burned out in that area long before the collapse, or NIST’s fraud in inputting its worst-case fires with fire raging in the NE on 12 at the time of collapse. You also don’t address the fact that if you use NIST’s own equation to calculate how much the beams would lengthen, even giving them their assumptions of no thermal gradient, no shear studs, and no bowing, you can’t get the 5.5. in. of displacement necessary to push the girder off its seat.

        You parrot NIST’s claim that all the core columns failed progressively, east to west, which is happened with their model, but you don’t address the fact that this is not what is observed. Following the initial collapse of the east penthouse, the roofline of the remaining center-west penthouse shows no signs of this supposed progressive core failure. It isn’t until the moment global collapse begins (when the entire building began to move downward “as a single unit”) that the remaining core also begins to collapse, with its roofline remaining parallel to the horizon. In your video, you say this progressive core failure isn’t visible. But that’s nothing more than an obfuscation of the fact that this progressive core failure all the way to the west visibly did not occur!

  36. Chris Mohr says:

    Today, on 9/11, I want to assure 9/11 Truth activists that I am not trying to get you to stop thinking or stop questioning or “to go back to sleep,” as one of my critics recently said. I am inviting you to wake up from what Richard Gage calls “the nightmare that is 9/11.” Watch my videos and see if your controlled demolition theory is true:

    Most 9/11 Truth activists have a passion for truth and social justice, are willing to take unpopular stands and devote their energy to try to make the world a better place. So do I. I just want to be sure you have the information you need to know your energies are going in the right direction. If you conclude there is no scientific basis for controlled demolition, it might free you up to 1) let go of the disempowering view of a world controlled by implacably evil men possessed of demonic genius and 2) devote your energies to making sure our political leaders don’t take us into unnecessary wars or erode our freedoms with such odious laws as the Patriot Act etc etc etc. People have accused me of being unwilling to face the truth. The truth is not the worst possible thing we can imagine. It’s just what it is, and using rationality and scientific inquiry, we can understand more and more of what’s real and what is an old belief system we can free ourselves from. On 9/11/11 my heart goes out to the 9/11 victims, the brave first responders I have talked with, the soldiers who have died, suffered injuries or brain damage and made other sacrifices, and a world sorely in need of peace-loving leaders. Wishing you all well regardless of your beliefs…

  37. pjcz says:

    Let’s see… You, or the people here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW6mJOqRDI4

    Yeah, I’ll go with them thanks.

  38. Bill Coffin says:

    Outstanding article. As a journalist who has covered the insurance industry for nearly 20 years, I find much of the 9/11 conspiracy theory, especially those regarding the collapse of the Twin Towers, laughable. What I never see addressed is the incredible insurance loss of the 9/11 attacks. This is an industry that I can assure you has no love for the federal government whatsoever, and would never be part of a plot to destroy government and private property it had an insurable interest in. To suggest otherwise is to ignore the fundamental motivation and character of the insurance industry. Insurers have examined the collapse of WTC 1, 2 and 7 and were satisfied with what they saw there as not being part of a controlled demolition conspiracy – which they would never have paid out on. Something to keep in mind.

  39. Chris Mohr says:

    Hi Bill,

    I hadn’t fully thought of that; good point. We’re talking about billions of dollars in lost insurance money and no doubt some major insurance investigations were going on to be sure the claims were legit. I mention this in my YouTube Part 17 Rebuttal when I rebut the claim that Larry SIlverstein the owner of Building 7 supposedly admitted he brought down the building when he said “pull it.” If this were true, there is no way he would have gotten his insurance money. But you take it a step further and show that insurance companies were investigating EVERYTHING around those enormous insurance claims… including, I believe, the famous RJ Lee dust study.

  40. IammindControlled says:

    How many are you who were paid to tackle conspiracy theories on the net?

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Don’t know how many of us get paid. I’m not one of them. Richard Gage gets paid a full time living but I did my work for free. So what? Why do you care about this more than the facts I lined up in the article?

  41. Dallas says:

    why do terroist bomb the us but canada has always been clean!

  42. Subliminal says:

    Your Point 2 rebuttal on:

    “…the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint.”

    IF…..THEN

    IF it collapsed “NEARLY” straight-down mostly into its own footprint , THEN why was the building was still standing the next day after the fire

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lxGanbE-Vg&feature=related

    IF it collapsed, THEN why was it DEMOLISHED

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwPD0HF3GPM&feature=related

    We do not really care, what really happened on the buildings or if Mr. Gage was right or wrong, Terrorist or Cover up or Demolished or Conspiracies….There were INNOCENT VICTIMS and most were New Yorkers…the GUILT is on the PERPETRATORS (Terrorist or Cover ups)…TRUTH hurts..

    • Chris Mohr says:

      It’s true that the Delft collapse was not of the entire building. The part that DID collapse, however, came down fast, mostly straight down, and into its own footprint. While most steel-framed structures survive fire, some do not. This is info I got directly from fire safety experts… the lives of firefighters depend on knowing that even the most fire-resistant buildings can collapse. Many top firefighters and engineers predicted the collapse of Building 7 that terrible day based on putting transits on it and measuring patterns of leaning, weakening, etc in the structure.

  43. Jay says:

    Hi Chris, thanks again for this post. I have one point though about point 4. You see the big part of the perimeter column sticking out of WFC 3. I figured out how that came there and made a video explaining that.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GIxWjWA3Ec

    The picture i used in the video is this one.

    http://www.debunking911.com/columnd.jpg

    With kind regards,
    Jay

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Thanks Jay,
      Point 4 was my rebuttal of the alleged “lateral ejection” of large steel beams which were then lodged into nearby buildings, especially WFC3. When I wrote the article for skeptic.com several weeks ago, I was aware of three hypothetical explanations: winds of 482 mph (four times the speed of hurricane winds) hurling objects outward when 1/2 million cubic feet of air was being pushed out per floor, 12 floors per second. Two other hypotheses: ricocheting of steel against steel causing objects to fly like pinballs at an angle, and inward-bowing columns snapping back during collapse creating a bow-and-arrow effect. I mentioned only the wind hypothesis due to space considerations.

      I was recently exposed to your observation that in the case of WFC3, a perimeter column peeled away and the top part actually hit the building. No lateral ejection. Your video is the best proof I’ve seen of this theory, which I now believe is the best one. Science changes with new information, and so had I written this article now I would have used this, the best available theory (because the evidence is strongest). I hope my 9/11 Truth friends change their views as they get exposed to new information. And some have.

  44. Michael Fullerton says:

    Jeremy Hammond at the Foreign Policy Journal did a terrific job of exposing the logical fallacies and horrifically bad science of this shameful article.

    http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/09/16/911-and-skeptic-magazines-science-of-controlled-demolitions/

    • Tim says:

      The author seems to have ignored the far more detailed presentation of Mohr’s video series. This is only a summary.

      “Logical fallacies and horrifically bad science” are what he’s exposing in the video series.

    • Chris Mohr says:

      Jeremy was right about my weak reference in my article re the NIST Report and sulfidized steel. For a short article it seemed unnecesary to go into this detail, but here is proof that NIST mentions both samples. Sample 2 had clearly no bearing on the collapse (was located no higher than the 53rd floor) and was in the prone position during the corrosive attack.

      “Single Column K-16″ on page 229 to page 233) (PDF page 279 –
      283)

      “Finally, as this piece was clearly in a prone position during the corrosive attack and was located no higher than the 53rd floor of the building, this degradation phenomenon had no bearing on the weakening of the steel structure or the collapse of the building.”

      NIST also mentions sample 1 and why it was not used the the WTC 7 report

      1. There’s no direct evidence that Sample 1 came from Building 7 at all
      2. If it did, there’s no indication where Sample 1 was in the structure
      3. It can’t be said with certainty if the corrosive attack happened before the collapse or after

      More to come

      • Jeremy R. Hammond says:

        Richard Gage is correct to say NIST ignored the steel sample from WTC 7, and Chris Mohr is wrong to say they did not. Mohr’s claim that “NIST mentions both samples” is FALSE.

        NCSTAR1-3 C states explicitly: “WTC 7 steel was not evaluated in this study of the tower damage and failure modes.” You can’t ignore something much more than to deny its existence.

        Contrary to Mohr’s assertion, NIST did NOT mention sample 1. The best that can be said is that they possibly allude to it. Turning to NCSTAR 1-3 B, they say: “Steel samples were removed from the site before the NIST investigation began. In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, debris was removed rapidly from the site to aid in recovery efforts and facilitate emergency responders’ efforts to work around the site. Once it was removed from the scene, the steel from WTC 7 could not be clearly identified. Unlike the pieces of steel from WTC 1 and WTC 2, which were painted red and contained distinguishing markings, WTC 7 steel did not contain such identifying characteristics.”

        But the sample from WTC 7 had already been identified! And if NIST felt it had possibly been misidentified, they offer no discussion of how and why they thought so. NIST’s explanation for its failure to examine any physical evidence is patently illogical and totally insufficient. The WTC complex was the scene of a search and rescue operation, but that should not have precluded the debris from WTC 7 from being hauled away and stored separately in the first place, as criminal investigative procedures for the preservation of evidence would have necessitated (had they been followed). Even assuming the debris from WTC 7 was simply tossed together with the rest of the debris from the other buildings, naturally, if the steel from WTC 1 and 2 contained identifying characteristics, then it could be reasonably concluded that any steel without such characteristics would most likely have come from WTC 7. Those steel members could then have been compared to the design drawings for WTC 7 and their known dimensions—which ipso facto are identifying characteristics—in order to make a final determination as to their origin.

  45. Chris Mohr says:

    More responses to Jeremy Hammond’s article:

    A large part of the Delft Building did collapse, even if it wasn’t global or even 50% of the buiulding. You can see that in the photos Jeremy provides. As I said, the collapse was fast, mostly straight down, and the strong steel-concrete supports were not strong enough to stop a gravity-powered collapse from fire alone. In my YouTube series part 3, history of fire collapses, there are many other examples of other steel structures collapsing due to fire.

    The iron microsphere issue is covered in my YouTube rebuttal series part 9. RJ Lee’s study was very large in scope, and they found the iron-rich microspheres and weren’t surprised to find them. Why not? And why didn’t this dust study turn up thernitic materials?

    You’ll see in my video that in a personal email Barnett gives several possible causes of the sulfidized steel but does NOT suggest thermate and does NOT support the controlled demolition theory.

    You can get more details of my free-fall collapse of Building 7 explanation at part 18 Building 7 freefall collapse.
    Jeremy is right, it is a departure from NIST, whose scientists told me personally that once the collapse initiates, “gravity takes care of it.” I researched a more detailed explanation with the help of several physicists, engineers and fire safety experts. It’s the first time it’s been explained at a layman’s level. It is complex, but I assure you it is not convoluted, Jeremy’s misrepresentations and mockeries notwithstanding.

    As for Jeremy’s responses to my if…then rebuttals, most of them are dealt with in much more detail in my YouTube rebuttals.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond says:

      TALL BUILDING COLLAPSE

      “A large part of the Delft Building did collapse, even if it wasn’t global or even 50% of the buiulding.”

      Suggesting half the building collapsed is extremely generous. The point is that it was disingenuous not to disclose this fact to your readers. You imply by omission of this fact that it was, like, WTC 7, a complete collapse of a tall steel-framed building. Your YouTube video also contains the same FALSE claim that the Delft University building was a steel-framed building. It was not. It was a reinforced concrete building. I don’t know if you were being deliberately dishonest about that in your video and article, or if you just didn’t know the difference, but a correction on these points is in order on your article at Skeptic.

      If you have any examples of a tall building–not reinforced concrete, not “steel structures”, not amphitheaters designed to have large open areas with few or no columns, etc., but a steel-framed high rise building–collapsing symmetrically and completely into its own footprint, please produce them.

      The fact remains, as Richard Gage said, “no tall steel frame building has ever collapsed due to fire”. It had not ever happened before, and it has never happened since.

      I look forward to you correcting your factual error in the above article.

      IRON-RICH MICROSPHERES

      “RJ Lee’s study was very large in scope, and they found the iron-rich microspheres and weren’t surprised to find them. Why not? And why didn’t this dust study turn up thernitic materials?”

      I already addressed both the the implication of your first question and your second question here in the article, and you are simply repeating the same errors, ignoring the fact that RJ Lee’s explanation that they were the result of fires in the buildings cannot be true, because it requires 1500+ C fires to melt iron/steel, and the fires didn’t get anywhere near that hot, and ignoring the fact that RJ Lee didn’t test to see whether any of the materials they found were thermitic. Like NIST, you can’t find what you don’t look for. Your video repeats the FALSE assertion that office fires could produce the temperatures required to melt iron/steel and produce the microspheres.

      It behooves you to inform your readers at Skeptic that office fires cannot produce the temperatures required to melt iron/steel and produce the microspheres found in the dust.

      FREE-FALL

      “Jeremy’s misrepresentations and mockeries notwithstanding.”

      The claim that in addition to the force of gravity, the building itself was doing the extra work of throwing itself to the ground, providing the additional energy required to overcome resistance and thus achieve free fall, makes a mockery of itself and hardly needs any help from me. If I misrepresented your argument, you are free to correct me and explain. I would simply observe the fact that you make no attempt to do so in your comment.

      Turning to your video, you suggest only part of the building collapsed at free fall, and imply it was only the north face that did so, which is false, and observably so. As NIST explains, from the onset of global collapse, the building fell “as a single unit”, which you can see in the videos, and achieved gravitational acceleration for 2.25 seconds, 8 stories, 105 ft., which you can measure as David Chandler, NIST, and others have done. You rely upon NIST’s false claim of a “Stage 1″ of collapse (see article above, and the link). You falsely claim NIST used a video “looking straight at the north perimeter wall” and show a different video than the one NIST used, thus misleading your viewers to think this was the same video. In fact, the next video you show, from street level to the northwest, is the one NIST used. This false assertion is relevant to NIST’s fraud regarding “Stage 1″, which your argument depends upon.

      You state in the video, “this was an asymmetrical interior collapse followed by an [symmetrical] exterior collapse”, then, after having just so described a classic implosion, state that it did not resemble a controlled demolition! What can explain this cognitive dissonance? You point to the fact that it tilted southward as it met resistance in order to argue that it was not symmetrical and thus didn’t resemble a controlled demolition, but, 1) the collapse was symmetrical from the onset and through the period of free-fall, and 2) surely you must know that CD experts can and do intentionally cause buildings to tilt in the same way, in order to prevent damage to neighboring buildings.

      For your “lever” drawing the follows, you narrate that the loads from the failed interior columns under the east penthouse were shifted to neighboring columns. But the column failure (according to the hypothesis) was caused by cascading floor failures. A column can’t bear the load of a floor that isn’t there because the connections have failed and it has collapsed. You talk about the kink, but make the same error as NIST in suggesting this was downward displacement (again, see article and link above, regarding “Stage 1″ fraud). You argue that with increased load, perimeter columns buckled. But sudden onset of free-fall means there was no energy available to do the work of buckling the columns (we’ll come to your “lever” argument). You repeat the fallacy that only the north perimeter wall was in free-fall, when in fact the building was collapsing “as a single unit”. Your argument depends upon this fallacy. You state:

      “Those collapsing beams still clinging to the wall functioned as levers. If the left end of the beam is momentarily held in place or even slowed down in its fall, the left side becomes the pivot for the lever. If the right side is still grabbing onto the wall and some kind of weight is also yanking the beam down, that weight is leveraged, and the lever overcomes residual resistance from the buckling columns and THROWS the facade down at free fall or maybe faster than free fall acceleration.” (Your emphasis)

      This is gibberish. Where to begin? There can be no “pivot”, for starters, when any pivot point itself was collapsing at free-fall as the building fell “as a single unit”. And that’s that, nothing more need be said about this nonsense. Except perhaps to add that David Chandler in the video he links above does a good job of identifying your ignorance on the subject matter, which led you to conclude by looking at data points above the linear regression mean the collapse was GREATER than free-fall acceleration at certain stages. I’m a layman like you, but I did my homework and researched this subject for years before ever writing about it. I respectfully suggest that you take more time to study and be able to get your facts straight before you put pen to paper, because if you are truly interested in the truth, you do yourself and your readers a disservice by spreading your misinformation and falsehoods.

      • Tim says:

        quote: “If you have any examples of a tall building–not reinforced concrete, not “steel structures”, not amphitheaters designed to have large open areas with few or no columns, etc., but a steel-framed high rise building–collapsing symmetrically and completely into its own footprint, please produce them.”

        The collapse of WTC7 was neither symmetrical (East penthouse collapsing first, visible off center kink in roofline prior to north facade collapse) nor completely into its own footprint (extensive damage was done to surrounding buildings). Why is this claim repeated?

        • Jeremy R. Hammond says:

          Tim, when I say WTC 7 collapsed symmetrically, I am referring to the global collapse. Notwithstanding the fact that the east penthouse collapsed before the onset of global collapse, it was a symmetrical collapse. Also to clarify: WTC 7 collapsed completely. WTC 7 collapsed into its own footprint.

  46. Chris Mohr says:

    An interesting correction… In point two, the Delft Tower was actually a tall, steel-reinforced concrete building. In Brian Meachum’s initial study of the collapse he wrote, “The fire and subsequent collapse of a substantial portion of the Faculty of Architectural Building at the Delft University of Technology is significant in that fire-related collapse of structures is rare, with collapse of reinforced concrete structures even more so.” I interpret this to mean that reinforced concrete is even more fire-resistant than steel-framed structures with only spray-on fireproofing. So my example of a tall building collapse due to fire is of a building that is even tougher in its construction than the WTC buildings.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond says:

      “I interpret this to mean that reinforced concrete is even more fire-resistant than steel-framed structures with only spray-on fireproofing.”

      Fallacy. Collapse of reinforced concrete buildings may be “rare”, but collapse of tall steel-framed buildings has NEVER occurred. So that should rather lead one to the opposite conclusion.

      “So my example of a tall building collapse due to fire is of a building that is even tougher in its construction than the WTC buildings.”

      Prima facie nonsense.

  47. Matthew Genoese says:

    MISSED IT! To me at least. Why is the major point of this argument and its ramifications being looked over by the details.

    The main point is some people think our government is capable of incurring a great disaster on it’s own people to do what…go to war for oil/ energy security?

    We did go to war after this. The war was not directly related to this incident. We did secure a major player in the Middle East Oil Axis. SO. OK.

    Has our government ever allowed an attack on it’s own people to provoke a country wide response resulting in the involvement in war? Supposedly yes. Pearl Harbor.

    SO. OK.

    Is it possible that our government allowed, attacks on our own citizens to motivate the country into a war. Yes. Is it likely. No.

    If I were a smart conspirator I would leave the door open to attack from afar. Not get my hands even close to the blood. That would be stupid to come even close to it. Would the tragedy of the buildings falling or not falling really have changed the fact that planes were flown into them and may people died. No. Any less of a contribution to us going to war. Most likely not.

    I conclude that there is no reason to force the issue of an inside job on 9/11. But is it possible that we let it happen. Yes.

    So the issue is, some people believe the government is capable of this and has done it while other believe that they are both not capable and didn’t or are capable and didn’t….maybe even more are just plainly looking at the evidence outside of context…hopefully the folks in the science.

    Me. I think it is possible. Is there much of anything I can do. No. Did the people in charge at the time have a pretty violent thirst for military action. Yes. Does the rhetoric of those ideologues suggest a very hierarchical view on the value of life/who deserves. Yes. Who on a hunting party with friends of Presidential stature shoots another man in the head on accident?. Dick Cheney. An accident is the kennedy borthers playing foot ball while skiing and accidentally hitting a tree and dying. Cheney a man I believe can justify some mean means to an end.

    It is possible that Cheney, who developed his own secrecy level while VP. Arguably the most influential acting VP in history. Had his own supposed “death squads”. Was highly influential in the planning/execution of desert storm. Was the big push for President Bush to believe WMD’s were in Iraq and Iraq was linked to the Al Qaeda hence forth 9/11. But would this relatively violent secretive man be apart of allowing a such a disaster and not have any body else know? That I think is a plausible question at the heart of the possible conspiracy to allow an attack. Just wikipedia Cheney, and learn how he doesn’t currently even have a heart beat “more machine then man”. Maybe he was satisfying his own agenda but as an opportunist and not the conspirator. Still f’d up in my opinion.

    I know this speculation is outside the scope of the 9/11 topic but I thought it necessary to point out some of what I thought to be important contextual realities I can’t ignore.

  48. Tim says:

    I find it ironic that Mr. Hammond is going on and on about the inexact nature of Mr. Mohr’s Delft Building analogy, while none of the other building fires that AE911Truth poses as points of comparison to WTC7 are in buildings similarly constructed to WTC7. Certainly not the Windsor tower or the Mandarin Oriental.

    The fact is, “first time in history” proves nothing. Every one of these buildings is designed differently, the fires burned differently in every case. Every firefighting professional in the world knows that steel structures are capable of collapsing as a result of fire. In my view, thermal expansion is a plausible explanation for the collapse of WTC7, and controlled demolition is not, given the total lack of legitimate evidence in the face of the extreme logistical challenges that such a project would have posed.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond says:

      No, Tim, thermal expansion is not a plausible explanation for the collapse of WTC 7, for numerous reasons, beginning with the fact that free-fall acceleration means that all of the building’s potential energy was converted to kinetic energy, which means there was no energy available to do the work of buckling columns, as required by the fire-induced progressive collapse hypothesis. There is also the fact that NIST’s own analysis of the photographic and video evidence of fires showed that the fires in the northeast on the 12th floor had already burnt out long before the collapse, which is also fatal to its hypothesis; it dealt with this by ignoring its own evidence and inputting fraudulent data into its computer fire simulations. There is also the fact that even if there had been fires in that area, they could not have produced the hypothesized failure. It’s claim of no shear studs on the key girder is contradicted by its own interim report and design drawings (Salvarinas 1986). Even assuming the requisite high temperatures, no shear studs, no differential between the steel beams and the concrete slabs, no thermal gradient within the beams, no bowing, etc., the beams could not have expanded enough to have caused the key girder to have come off its seat (in addition, it was constrained by the flange of key Column 79). The fire-induced progressive collapse hypothesis fails at every point, and cannot account for free-fall, the eutectic steel sample recovered from WTC 7, the molten steel witnessed in the rubble, or the nano-thermite and iron-rich microspheres found in the dust. The fire-induced progressive collapse hypothesis is no longer is no longer a plausible hypothesis, and a real investigation is required to look at the only existing alternative. Anyone can sign this petition: http://www2.ae911truth.org/signpetition.php.

      • Tim says:

        Jeremy, will you speak to the issue of the many examples of building fires AE911Truth presents which are in structures with very different construction to WTC7, in particular the Mandarin Oriental fire which was built post 9/11 applying the lessons learned from those events?

        Since you are so concerned with the inexact nature of Mr. Mohr’s Delft example, surely you can apply the same rigor to the examples provided by the group which promotes your theory.

  49. Jeremy R. Hammond says:

    Tim, if anyone from AE911Truth has misinformed/lied about other examples of fires, as Mohr has (see above), you are welcome to state your case. I have no knowledge that anyone has done so. The point in observing that never before or since has a tall steel-framed building collapsed due to fire is simply that this just doesn’t happen. Fires just don’t cause tall steel-framed buildings to collapse suddenly, completely, and at free-fall acceleration into their own footprint. That each example is with regards to a different construction design certainly goes without saying. We could discuss the WTC 7 design and the NIST hypothesis and its many fatal problems further if you like. I would agree with you that comparing 7 to fires in other buildings is of limited use, beyond the above observation, so let’s look at 7, specifically, if you like. I’ve already summarized a few of the more glaring problems with the fire-induced collapse hypothesis above.

  50. ger says:

    is there an issue of the american government having prior knowledge of the attack?
    cheney ordering a relaxing of security during the period the attack took place

  51. Sebastiaan Veldman says:

    I still fail to see a motive for any agency to use explosives on the WTC after already hitting it with planes, it adds no real value to the act and only makes it more likely to be discovered, if a big conspiracy was capable of engineering such a feat, they wouldn’t be dumb enough to go through with it (why risk exposing evidence at no additional benefit?)

    Remember the concept of causality, truthers are so busy with proving the “effect” that they completely ignore the “cause” and until they make it plausible that someone thought it was a good enough idea to blow up the WTC after hitting it with airplanes to actually go through with it, the whole idea of proving demolition’s is pointless (putting the wagon in front of the horse?)

    For clarity’s sake I’ll ask it again: What is the point of applying explosives to the WTC after crashing airplanes into it.

    Remember here, you’re accusing an agency (the government?) of being able to calculate the effects of a plane impacting the WTC to such a degree that they decide it wouldn’t collapse without help from explosives, then also being aware enough to know exactly how to apply the explosives and having a motive for doing so (causing complete collapse) in addition to having airplanes fly into the buildings.

    • Jaseph Howard says:

      You complicate beyond necessity, Sebastiaan.

      There is no need, in backward engineering of a plausible hypothesis, to assume that only one group or entity would be capable (or even want control) of all aspects of an internal conspiracy here. What I mean is this: we can all conceive of Cheney or some aspect of the administration being “lax” on security and organizing war games of a very suspicious nature that day. Easy.

      However, the theory becomes more convoluted when we start talking about planting explosives. Now, without doubt, there was the opportunity. In a crazy busy building like the the WTC complex, maintenance crews don’t draw a lot of attention. But WHO would want to take that kind of risk? AND who would have the resources to hire a highly specialized crew like that? It certainly couldn’t be cheap.

      The obvious choice would be Silverstein or someone he’s closely associated with. If he had but one close contact in the high-end security industry, then the rest of it is just a matter of who’s who. He did get a $4.77 BILLION settlement for his investment of, I believe $250M on the complex. Not a bad deal.

      Bottom line: forces within our own government are most certainly suspect in allowing this opportunity to progress with relative ease. However, civilian agents with military contractors (who hold high security clearances) would most likely fill the role of wiring the actual buildings.

      And to be clear, whoever wired the buildings likely had no idea about the Pentagon or the short-selling on the airlines or the many other aspects that cry “FOUL PLAY!”.

      This set of events looks like one thing, from a historical perspective, however, it had and has many moving parts involving many different people. Most of these people probably never met.

  52. Sebastiaan Veldman says:

    Also, I forgot to mention why its so unlikely that the government was aware enough of the effects of the plane impact prior to it happening.

    Think about it, all this discussion and conspiracy theorising is exactly because after 10 years a large number of scientists and a great deal of research still hasn’t provided conclusive evidence on the effects of the crash (so how did the government know in such detail BEFORE it even happened? If they are THAT powerful and omniscient they would have no reason do so something as foolish as what the truthers accuse them of)

  53. lewis h says:

    I just got done with the first half of the debate and I have 2 observations.

    1) This is a very strange format for a debate. I’ve never listened / seen one with such a short opening statement fallowed by Q&A.

    2) It seems that the debate was done in a way that was supposed to favor the truth movement i.e. the Q&A portion gave real questions to Mohr and gave B.S. questions to Gage.

    I’m happy to hear that despite the cards being stacked against you, you still managed to sway more people over to your side.

    Cheers,
    Lewis

  54. Larry Brewer says:

    This article begins with the supposed Bush lie about WMD and the justification to invade Iraq, leading the author to initially believe in 911 conspiracy.

    However disjointed that rationalization may be, since 911 lead to the invasion of Afghanistan not Iraq.

    I’ll just accept that tortured logic and go on to ask… if they could fake a 911 size attack, couldn’t they just hid some WMDs and find them later to complete the ruse? I mean, how hard could that be during a war to just hid a few gas canisters, bio-weapon components, or Chinese nuke parts? Truthers never stop to think what makes sense and what sounds like BS.

    I used to argue with these lame people, today I just laugh and ignore them. Losers.

  55. Mike says:

    9/11 and Skeptic Magazine’s ‘Science’ of Controlled Demolitions
    by Jeremy R. Hammond, Foreign Policy Journal, 11/16/11

    http://ae911truth.org/en/news-section/44-press-items/584-911-and-skeptic-magazines-science-of-controlled-demolitions.html

    Chris Mohr at Skeptic magazine writes that “conspiracists are working hard to publicize their claims of scientific validity to the conjecture that the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed through controlled demolition.” He mentions a debate he had with Richard Gage, the founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, where more than 1,500 professional architects and engineers who question the official explanation for the collapse of the three World Trade Center buildings have signed a petition calling for a new—that is to say, a real—investigation. “I thought initially that Gage might be on to something,” Mohr writes, “until I examined his science carefully” and debated him. In his article, he lists his responses to the controlled-demolition hypothesis. Sticking to the question of World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7), let’s examine Mohr’s arguments against the science behind the controlled-demolition hypothesis and in favor of the fire-induced collapse hypothesis. If you’re unfamiliar with WTC 7, you can watch it collapsing on 9/11 in the video below.

    Mohr begins his case with the argument that “You cannot secretly prepare a controlled demolition of the two World Trade Center buildings … without anyone noticing anything unusual.” He does not mention it, but we may presume he thinks it would be just as impossible in the case of WTC 7, the third WTC building to collapse completely on 9/11. The main point to be made about this assertion is that it is not a scientific argument, but speculation. It, for starters, assumes that nobody noticed anything unusual in the days, weeks, and months before 9/11. But is that true? Since this possibility was never actually investigated, and thus building workers were never interviewed and asked whether they noticed any suspicious activity going on, we don’t really know. Also, while it may seem unlikely that this could be done, if the actual scientific evidence disproves the fire-induced collapse hypothesis and proves the alternative, then one has a priori knowledge that, however unlikely, this must have occurred. So we must turn to the science, which Mohr does get to, eventually, as we shall see.

    Mohr writes, “Though it is true that no tall steel frame buildings ever collapsed due to fire alone prior to 9/11, since then, other tall steel framed buildings have.” He is referring, of course, to WTC 7, which wasn’t hit by a plane. It did suffer significant debris impact damage from the collapse of the North Tower, but the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the government agency responsible for the investigation into the building’s collapse, acknowledged that the damage was neither an initiating nor determinative factor in the collapse. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) noted in its initial report, “Prior to September 11, 2001, there was little, if any, record of fire-induced collapse of large fire-protected steel buildings.” Following up on FEMA’s preliminary investigation, NIST noted in its final report that the collapse of WTC 7 “was the first known instance of the total collapse of a tall building primarily due to fires.” Richard Gage has observed that in every instance where a tall building (that is, a steel-framed skyscraper) has collapsed with characteristics like those of WTC 7, it was a known controlled demolition.

    But Mohr says that it has since occurred that “other tall steel framed buildings have” “collapsed due to fire alone.” His example? “On May 13, 2008, a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint.” The first problem with Mohr’s example is that a reinforced concrete building is not a steel-framed building. Mohr is obviously unaware of the distinction between a building constructed with steel columns and beams (steel-framed) and a building constructed with concrete poured around reinforcing steel, or rebar (reinforced concrete). But let’s have a closer look anyway, just for fun. Below is an image from the FEMA report showing what WTC 7 looked like after its collapse.

    Now here’s what the 13-story reinforced-concrete Faculty of Architecture building at Delft University looked like before it caught fire.

    And here is what it looked like after what Mohr describes as its “very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint.”

    The first thing you just might possibly have noticed, if you were paying close attention, is that most of the building actually remained standing. The attentive viewer may have picked up on the fact that this doesn’t at all resemble the debris pile of WTC 7. So, to review Mohr’s record on this count, he falsely claims the Faculty of Architecture building was a steel-framed building before stating, oblivious to the distinction, that it was actually not. And then, by implication and by omission, he would have his readers believe the Faculty of Architecture building, like WTC 7, had collapsed completely and into its own footprint, when in fact, it was just a partial collapse and most of the building remained standing. While Mohr asserted that “other tall steel framed buildings”, plural, have since collapsed from fire, presuming this is his best example—or non-example, rather—we may dismiss his false claim and move on. It remains true that this had never happened before 9/11, and it has never happened since.

    Mohr next addresses the “billions of iron microspheres” found in the dust from the collapse of the buildings. He gets a bit ahead of himself here, addressing the iron-rich microspheres before addressing the finding of unreacted thermitic material in the dust, which he arrives at later. But what the reader needs to understand here is that such microspheres are a natural by-product of the thermitic reaction (which we’ll come to). Mohr simply dismisses the microspheres by asserting that if thermite and/or nano-thermite was used to attack the steel structure to bring the building down, it “would leave tons of formerly melted iron blobs, not just microspheres.” What is his basis for this statement? He doesn’t say, but just leaves it at that. In fact, melted steel was recovered from WTC 7, which Mohr comes to next and we’ll get to momentarily.

    But before we come to that, Mohr suggests two possible sources for the microspheres. When the buildings were built in the 1970s and “workers welded thousands of steel beams together, hot microspheres were splattered everywhere.” So, maybe the workers didn’t sweep up at the end of the day. And either the building janitors did a very lousy job of cleaning up over many decades, or all of these billions of microspheres were hidden away inside the walls, which, to be fair, is perfectly plausible. But Steven E. Jones, Jeffrey Farrer, Gregory S. Jenkins, Frank Legge, James Gourley, Kevin Ryan, Daniel Farnsworth, and Crockett Grabbe studied the “high-iron, relatively low oxygen spheres” found in the WTC dust and found that they “are unlike spheres gathered from cutting structural steel with an oxyacetylene torch.”

    The second possibility Mohr suggests is that the fires in the buildings on 9/11 created the microspheres. He quotes a report from the R.J. Lee Group, Inc., which characterized the microspheres as being part of the “signature” of the WTC dust. Unlike Mohr, R.J. Lee did not suggest they were leftovers from the construction in the 1970s, but were created on 9/11, offering the following explanation, quoting Mohr’s citation: “Considering the high temperatures reached during the destruction of the WTC … Iron-rich spheres … would be expected to be present in the Dust.” Mohr actually cites the wrong R.J. Lee report, but R.J. Lee did suggest in another report that the fires in the buildings on 9/11 were the cause of the spheres. This is a significant error in that report, however, and apparently Mohr is as unaware as the report’s authors that the melting point of iron is about 1535 °C, similar to that of structural steel at about 1538 °C, while, according to NIST’s own estimation, the maximum temperature of any of the fires in any of the WTC buildings was about 1,000 °C, and of the steel samples it studied that had been exposed to the fires, NIST found “no evidence of exposure to temperatures above 600 °C for any significant time.” Doh!
    Even though office fires cannot cause the sulfidation and intergranular melting of structural steel, Mohr stated that the melted WTC steel found at Ground Zero was irrelevant

    “What about the sulfidized steel that melted and that FEMA found but which NIST ignored in their report?” Mohr next asks. He answers, “NIST didn’t ignore it.” Rather, “NIST determined that neither piece came from a supporting column in the collapse zone so it couldn’t have contributed to the collapse.” Mohr offers his readers a link to World Trade Center Disaster Study page of the NIST website, leaving his readers to search for this supposed information among the many thousands of pages from the many dozens of individual reports it produced that collectively make up this study.

    But it’s an obvious non-sequitur, whether coming from NIST or not, given the fact that beams, girders, and floor trusses, in fact, played a significant role in the collapses of the three buildings, according to NIST’s own hypotheses for each. So all Mohr really offers is evidence of a cover-up and scientific fraud (more of which we’ll also come to).

    Mohr also fails to explain that, of the two steel samples referred to, one came from one of the Twin Towers, but the other came from WTC 7. So, what did NIST have to say about the steel sample recovered from WTC 7? Why, contrary to Mohr’s false assertion, NIST simply ignored it, claiming that “no steel was recovered from WTC 7” (NCSTAR 1-3, pp. iii, xliv, 115)! Doh!

    Mohr adds that “sulfidized steel melts at temperatures 1000° lower than regular steel so it could have ‘melted’ in a regular office fire.” Mohr would apparently have his readers believe that the steel used to build WTC 7 was “sulfidized steel” with a lower melting point than “regular steel”, by which he presumably means structural steel. But this was structural steel. What Mohr is really talking about is the finding of Barnett’s team at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute, included as Appendix C of the FEMA report, that there had been “a severe high temperature corrosion attack on the steel, including oxidation and sulfidation with subsequent intergranular melting.” At temperatures approaching 1,000 °C, “which is substantially lower than would be expected for melting this steel,” a “eutectic mixture of iron, oxygen, and sulfur” was formed that “liquefied the steel.” Office fires just don’t do that to structural steel.

    What was this eutectic mixture that melted the steel, and where did the sulfur come from? Mohr doesn’t trouble himself to actually offer any kind of explanation. Barnett’s team noted, “No clear explanation for the source of the sulfur has been identified.” The New York Times called these findings, “perhaps the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation.” So, did the sulfur come from the gypsum wallboard that is used to provide fire resistance to the building? That question answers itself. Sulfur in gypsum is in the form of calcium sulfate (CaSO4•2H2O) and not iron sulfide (FeS), so one would have to explain how the gypsum could have reacted with other materials at high temperatures in order to free the sulfur to produce iron sulfide. To date, there remains no explanation for this “deepest mystery” that is consistent with the fire-induced collapse hypothesis.

    Stephen E. Jones and others have observed, however, that sulfur can be added to thermite to produce thermate, with the addition of sulfur effectively lowering the melting point of the steel. Jonathan H. Cole, P.E., performed a series of experiments with thermate and was able to reproduce similar results as observed with the WTC 7 sample.

    Mohr next comes to the unreacted thermitic material found in the dust, where he addresses the findings of a team of scientists led by Dr. Niels Harrit of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, which were published in the peer-reviewed Open Chemical Physics Journal. (Mohr forgot to provide a link for his readers to go and read the paper for themselves, so here you go). Mohr doesn’t actually address most of the findings of Harrit, et al. He never tried to reproduce their experiments to verify or falsify their findings. Instead, he simply suggests that they should have also done additional experiments that they didn’t do. We could get into these other tests Mohr thinks should have been done, but it isn’t necessary: it suffices to observe that Mohr also didn’t perform these additional experiments he thinks would be required to be absolutely certain that the substance found in the dust is nanothermite. Instead, he simply seems to presume that if these additional tests were conducted, they would falsify their findings. But that is not science. (It should also be pointed out that Harrit, et al, stated explicitly that further studies should be conducted to better understand the nature of these materials, but found that those tests they did perform were sufficient to conclude with reasonable certainty that the material was nano-thermite.)

    Mohr’s best effort to challenge their actual findings is to say that “They compared the sudden energy spike of their burning chips with the spikes of known nanothermites, and found that their chips ignited at around 150° C. [sic] lower than the known nanothermites, and the energy release was off between their chips and the nanothermites by a factor of at least two. Yet they called this a match for nanothermite!” Turning to their paper, Harrit, et al, found that “the red/gray chips from different WTC samples all ignited in the range of 415-435 °C,” when thermal analysis was conducted by heating the chips using a differential scanning calorimeter. They stated that “Ordinary thermite ignites at a much higher temperature (about 900 °C or above) … than super-thermite [a.k.a. nano-thermite].” Mohr doesn’t say where he gets his information for the temperature at which nanothermite ignites, but turning to the source provided by Harrit, et al, for the statement just quoted, we find that “The ignition point of the traditional thermite material is ~325 °C higher than that for the nanocomposite.” Thus, we may deduce that nano-thermite ignites at about 575 °C. This is presumably where Mohr gets his “around 150 °C” difference between the ignition point of the chips found in the dust and “known nanothermites.”

    One problem here is that Harrit, et al, were dealing with an apparently theretofore unknown nano-thermite with a different composition from the “known” source. But the main point to take away from this, as the source cited states, is “that the nanostructured energetics … are much easier to ignite and burn much more rapidly than the conventional thermite composites.” Thus, ultimately, Mohr’s observation only serves to reinforce the finding of Harrit, et al, that the thermitic material found was not conventional thermite, but some kind of nano-thermite.

    Mohr also doesn’t provide a source for his assertion about the energy yield of nano-thermite, but as to his assertion that the material found in the dust was off “by a factor of at least two,” turning to the Harrit, et al, paper, they state that the energy release for each sample varied, with the yields “estimated to be approximately 1.5, 3, 6, and 7.5 kJ/g, respectively.” They explain this by noting, “Variations in peak height as well as yield estimates are not surprising, since the mass used to determine the scale of the signal … included the gray layer,” which “was found to consist mostly of iron oxide so that it probably does not contribute to the exotherm, and yet this layer varies greatly in mass from chip to chip.” They also noted that these reactions produce iron-rich microspheres like those that are part of the “signature” of the WTC dust.

    Mohr suggests that attempts to replicate the findings of Harrit, et al, have been “dismal.” He says Mark Basile made the same “error” of not performing the additional experiments Mohr thinks would be required to prove beyond any doubt the material is nano-thermite, and that he didn’t measure the energy released. And yet, Basile was nevertheless able to replicate their principle findings that from which it could be reasonably determined that the chips were unreacted thermitic material. Mohr writes that a “chemist named Frédéric Henry-Couannier got another dust sample from the original experimenters and wrote, ‘Eventually the presence of nanothermite could not be confirmed.’” Yet, Henry-Couannier also noted, the “chemical composition of layers” of the red/gray chips found in the dust was “roughly confirmed” by his own study and was “Compatible with the nanothermite hypothesis.” He was not able to ignite any of his chips, however.

    He concluded that there were two possibilities: that either the chips “are from nanothermite that were deactivated in all my samples” or that Harrit, et al, were deceived or disinformation agents whose work is intended “to protect the secrecy of the genuine destruction technology at the origins of red chips and up to thousand tons of molten iron in the dust [sic].” Whoa. What was that? He continues: “The numerous metallic microspheres at the surface of some of these chips point toward an obvious link with a high power density process hence certainly related to the destruction technology employed to bring down the towers.” Whoa.

    Note that Mohr doesn’t disclose that Henry-Couannier is a conspiracy theorist who seems to think that some kind of directed energy beam weapon, some “new highly powerful weapons” developed by the U.S. Department of Defense, was used to destroy the WTC buildings. Moreover, while Henry-Couannier on one hand says he could not get the chips to ignite, and that there was “no evidence of molten iron production” when he heated them, he also suggests that the “red-red chips” he studied didn’t ignite because they “are just fragments originating from red-grey chips that already reacted at the WTC and for this reason cannot react anymore,” and then seemingly contradicts himself by stating that the chips “can even burst [sic] when heated and expel iron rich particles, even microspheres which often seem to appear at their surface.” Whew! Little wonder Mohr doesn’t want to go there.

    Mohr lastly states that the R.J. Lee Group “didn’t find thermitic material.” But what he really means to say is that R.J. Lee never tested any of the material it found in the dust to determine whether any of it was thermitic or not. NIST, incidentally, also has admitted that it never looked for evidence of thermitic materials, offering as explanation the logic that since it was “unlikely” any such evidence existed, there was no point in looking for it. (No, really. No kidding. You couldn’t make this stuff up.)

    So now we come to some more really fun stuff. Mohr next address the fires in WTC 7, saying that “conspiracists like to show an NYPD photograph of small fires on the north face of Building 7.” His point is not exactly clear, but presumably he means to say that “conspiracy theorists” argue that the fires in WTC 7 were not that significant. Let us stipulate there were very serious fires in WTC 7. Mohr writes, “NIST reported that many fires burned themselves out in 20-40 minutes and then moved on. The fires left behind not only burned out areas, but structurally weakened areas as the beams and columns expanded, sagged, and contracted again.” Okay, so what’s his point? Well, essentially, that fire did the trick of bringing down WTC 7 in the manner in which it came down. The problem with this argument is that it is false.

    We’ll come to free-fall shortly, but the fundamental point Mohr fails to address is that NIST’s fire-induced collapse hypothesis requires—bear with me here—that there be fires burning in the northeast corner of the twelfth floor in order to cause the thermal expansion of 13th floor beams, which pushed a girder off of its seat at critical Column 79, causing a series of cascading floor failures that caused Column 79 to buckle and fail due to the lack of lateral support, which led to a progressive series of column failures that resulted in a “global collapse” where the entire structure fell “as a single unit.” Got that? There are numerous problems with this hypothesis, but when it comes to the fires in WTC 7, there’s one problem in particular that stands out, which is that according to NIST’s own analysis of the available photographic and video evidence, the fire on the 12th floor had already burned through the northwest area and had moved on to the western end of the building by the time of its collapse at 5:20 p.m. (NCSTAR 1-9 Vol. 1, Chapter 5).

    So how did NIST deal with this little problem? Simple! They ignored their own evidence and falsified the data they input into their computer model by inserting raging fires in the northeast area of the 12th floor at the time of collapse. Mohr makes no effort to address this fatal flaw in the fire-induced collapse hypothesis or the evidence off scientific fraud on the part of NIST.

    Mohr next discusses the fact that BBC reporter Jane Standley announced that WTC 7 had collapsed before it had yet done so and while it was visible still standing right behind her. CNN and Reuters also reported the collapse before it had actually occurred. Mohr addresses this by chalking it up to reporter error and saying, “It is not hard to imagine how such mistakes could be made, especially when there is no time to sift through and analyze fast-moving information.” Fair enough. No doubt, particularly imaginative readers may well be able to come up with a plausible explanation for how a 47-story skyscraper could mistakenly be reported by numerous news agencies to have collapsed before it actually had collapsed.

    Mohr next quotes firefighters who said they thought that WTC 7 would collapse due to the debris impact damage it sustained and from the fires. Yet, again, NIST itself acknowledged that the impact damage was neither an initiating nor determinative factor in the collapse, and its own photographic and video evidence showing that the fire had already burned out in the northeast area of the 12th floor is fatal to its fire-induced collapse hypothesis.
    Instead of denying that WTC7 collapsed at free-fall acceleration, Mohr claims that it fell faster than the rate of free-fall – a theory that violates the laws of physics

    Finally, Mohr comes to the free-fall collapse of WTC 7. He saved the best for last, and we can have some real fun with this one. He notes that NIST acknowledged that WTC 7 “collapsed ‘at gravitational acceleration’ for eight stories over 2.25 seconds.” So, how does Mohr deal with free-fall? He offers a convoluted explanation that in part relies on NIST, but which also departs from their findings. This requires a bit of background information and explanation, but briefly: Where he relies upon NIST is their finding that over the first 18 stories, the “global collapse”—that is, the collapse of the entire building “as a single unit,” which occurs after an initial collapse within the core as indicated by the east penthouse falling below the visible roofline—occurred in three stages. However, NIST’s “Stage 1”, the first 1.75 seconds of global collapse, never really happened. What NIST was measuring to create the illusion of a “Stage 1” of collapse was observed movement towards the center of the roofline on the north face of the building, from a video shot from street level and looking upward at the building. After the penthouse begins to descend, movement of the roofline is visible. However, this movement is not indicative of the onset of global collapse, but rather due to the fact that as the core collapsed under the east penthouse, the northern façade was pulled inward. The observed movement of the roofline was not indicative of downward, but of lateral displacement of the roofline. In truth, global collapse began with a sudden onset of free-fall, NIST’s “Stage 2” of collapse. During Stage 3, WTC 7 was at near free-fall as it encountered resistance from the structure below.

    Translated into meaningful terms, Mohr effectively argues that as the core columns collapsed, it pulled the perimeter columns inward, so that they “snapped like a stick,” and as each perimeter column “snapped”, the load it was carrying shifted to other columns. This all occurred “over about two seconds,” he says, alluding to NIST’s false claim of a 1.75 second “Stage 1” of collapse. Mohr departs from NIST when he comes to the 2.25 seconds of free-fall.

    He acknowledges that free-fall occurred, but says, “Free-fall collapse speed [sic] does not mean no resistance, it means no net resistance.” What he means is that in addition to the downward force of gravity and the upward force of resistance offered by the load-bearing steel columns, there was also the “variable leveraged downward forces due to connections to other parts of the building.” Got that? So what he is saying is the connections between the perimeter columns and the interior of the building provided a downward force additional to the force of gravity. Got that? So, gravity plus the downward force provided by the connections between the perimeter columns and the interior.

    Thus, according to this argument, if the core of the building was collapsing at the acceleration of gravity, the beams connecting the core to perimeter columns would provide a downward force additional to the force of gravity, so that the perimeter columns would collapse at a rate of acceleration even greater than free-fall. That is to say, that the beams were doing work as they collapsed. Of course, Mohr argues that since there was no controlled demolition, the perimeter columns did offer resistance to the collapse, but that the beams connecting the core to the perimeter columns “functioned as levers,” providing a force additional to the force of gravity upon the columns, so that the net resistance was zero. If that doesn’t make any sense to you, don’t worry, that’s not an indication that Mohr’s knowledge of physics is vastly superior to yours, but that you just recognize how ridiculous this argument is. Mohr is essentially saying that the building threw itself downward with forces additional to the force of gravity.

    So, how did the beams do this work? What force was applied to them to cause them to act as “levers?” Where did this energy come from? Further, a lever requires a fulcrum, so what was the fulcrum in this case? And remember that a lever works by providing force at one end so that it applies force on the other end in the opposite direction. How does a “lever” that is accelerating downward at one end apply a force at the other end so that it accelerates downward at an even greater rate?

    Setting aside the asinine nonsense, what does free-fall acceleration actually mean for WTC 7? Turning to Newton’s laws of motion and the law of conservation of energy, what it means is that all of the building’s potential energy was converted to kinetic energy, which means that there was no energy available to do the work of buckling columns (that is, overcoming the resistance of the columns) as required by the fire-induced collapse hypothesis. That is to say that free-fall absolutely disproves the official explanation for the collapse of WTC 7. For free-fall to occur, all of the buildings load-bearing columns had to have offered zero resistance to the force of gravity, which means they had to have been cut, and there are no two ways about it.

    Mohr ends by asking a bunch of “If … then ….” questions. Most seem directed at the Twin Towers, but addressing those with some relevance also to the collapse of WTC 7:

    • If 4500 degree nanothermites were used to pulverize almost every inch of every concrete floor, then how could there have been millions of sheets of paper with an ignition temperature of only 451° raining down on the sidewalks?

    This is a strawman argument. To my knowledge, nobody has suggested that nano-thermite was used “to pulverize almost every inch of every concrete floor.” To bring the building down, the steel load-bearing columns would have to be cut and gravity would do the rest. No nano-thermite or explosives would be used on the floors at all. Any use of nano-thermite would be targeted at the connections or the columns themselves.

    • If 4500 degree nanothermites were used extensively even at the top to cause a supposed upward explosion, then why were first responders able to walk over the wreckage less than an hour after the Tower collapses?

    This refers to the Twin Towers and not WTC 7, but it should be noted that the debris was so hot in some places that the soles of workers’ boots melted and steel toes would heat up to unbearable temperatures. Doh!

    • If there were 2800 degree rivers of molten steel in the debris, then why do NASA thermal images show maximum temperatures in the rubble of only 1400°?

    NASA’s thermal images only recorded surface temperatures, implying significantly higher temperatures under the debris. Mohr doesn’t mention it, but there are also numerous credible eyewitness reports as well as photographic evidence of molten steel in the debris piles. And, as Mohr already acknowledged, samples of steel that had been melted were, in fact, recovered from the debris.

    • If the debris pile had 2800 degree temperatures, then why were firefighters able to pour millions of gallons of water all over it and not trigger the deadly thermal explosions that are caused when water comes in contact with molten steel or iron?

    In fact, firefighters did have to take care in their efforts because there was indeed a danger “that applying water to cool the steel could cause a steam explosion that would propel nearby objects with deadly force,” as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety & Health Administration noted in a report on the dangers of the Ground Zero worksite. Doh! The real question is: How, if firefighters poured millions of gallons of water, as well as the chemical fire suppressant Pyrocool, in addition to several rainfalls, did fires continue to burn within the debris piles for months?

    • If the lateral ejection of beams were caused by explosive nanothermites, then there would have been deafening 140 db sounds that can’t be muffled by more than a few db or you lose the explosive force of the shock wave itself.

    This is again with reference to the Twin Towers, but still relevant, if nano-thermite was used in WTC 7. Mohr offers no source for his claim that nano-thermite would create “deafening 140 db sounds,” when ignited. But the clue here is his reference to “the explosive force of the shock wave itself.” With conventional explosives used in controlled demolitions, like RDX, it is the pressure of the explosion that cuts through steel columns. With thermitic materials, however, it isn’t a high-pressure “shock wave,” but the exothermic reaction that melts through the steel. One patented device designed to employ thermitic materials for applications including demolition notes that a “primary disadvantage” of conventional demolition charges “is that they generate excessive noise and debris upon detonation,” while “Thermite-based cutting devices, which employ a cutting flame, produce relatively little over pressure.” While regular thermite is an incendiary, as the Department of Defense points out, nano-thermite has the potential for uses in “high-power, high-energy composite explosives.” But nano-thermite is “explosive” because of the great amount of energy it releases, not via high pressure “shock waves,” but via the even more energetic and more rapid exothermic reaction compared to regular thermite.

    • If there had been large explosions prior to the collapse, then they would have been a part of the seismic record, and they were not.

    This is a non-sequitur. Mohr repeats the same fallacy, apparently assuming thermitic materials would “explode” in the sense that they would create a high-pressure “shock wave.” If conventional explosives were also used in conjunction with thermite, fewer would be required. And the fact is that there were explosions taking place that were documented on video. Many eyewitnesses reported explosions, explosions were captured on the audio of a number of videos, news reporters talked about explosions taking place well after the collapse of the Twin Towers, and there was speculation by some reporters live on air that these were cars exploding after having caught fire as a result of the collapses. It may be that there was some other such source of the explosions, but one can hardly deny that they took place. Two distinct explosions can be heard in the audio track of one video of WTC 7 immediately prior to the observable collapse of the east penthouse.

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