9/11 and conspiracies

Today is September the 11th, which means for an awful lot of people there’s an awful lot of mourning to do, or there’s people hiding behind the attacks to use ‘patriotism’ to further their cause and of course, it’s the day when conspiracy theorists come crawling out the woodwork to reveal how watching some 15 year old’s vlog on Youtube shows how it was an inside job, and that Bush and Blair were reptilian morphing aliens intent on creating a New World Order.

The problem is that most conspiracy theories focus on one incident, or something that can be endlessly dissected til in effect, it’s proof of a larger conspiracy by virtue of the smaller incident being ‘proved’ .

So for example, take this picture.



It’s an Oasis bottle in a lump of grass. Looking at this picture you’re going to think it’s on the side of a motorway, or that it’s somewhere in an inner city or anything to ‘prove’ what you think when you see the picture for the first time. You might not be an expert in discarded drinks bottles, or grass but you’ve looked at it and it backs your opinion.




You don’t especially notice the bigger picture until you pan back.




The bigger picture is irrelevant though because before you’ve informed yourself of it you’ve made your mind up based upon whatever limited information you have, not to mention what limited experience in fields which often taken the sort of scientific understanding that laymen can’t pick up quickly.

So you get a mix of confirmation bias, ignorance, misinformation or just enough science to make it seem sensible, but ask yourself how many of these theories have been peer reviewed by actual experts with years, if not decades in a field? How many stand up to more than two minutes of actual scrutiny?

As pointed out in this excellent Scientific American article, the word ‘theory’ in  this context does not mean the same thing as a scientific theory.

a conspiracy theory is not, of course, a theory in the scientific sense of the word. In science, a theory is an explanation of a phenomenon that has been substantiated through experiments and testing and has become accepted by most experts in the relevant field—the theory of relativity, say, or the theory of evolution. Conspiracy theorists propose, without having collected rigorous data to support their case, that powerful people or groups are secretly plotting to accomplish some sinister goal.


Of course these stories help ties up world events in a nice, cost knot and simplifies real world events in a way that creates an easy to grasp, even an exciting narrative. It’s always about finding the smoking gun, or some new bit of information as to who was on the Grassy Knoll that day nearly 50 years ago, or what type of knife Jack the Ripper used to carve up Mary Kelly and on and on.

This isn’t to say secret things happen that bleed into the open. They do, but things like the various conspiracies around 9/11 trivialise the loss of life, and some genuinely insult any decent person to the point of anger, but the fact is that 19 people flew planes into buildings which caused over 3000 people to die. No aliens. No government plots to fly holographic photon torpedoes into buildings. No hiding of victims in an island paradise. Just 19 people who had this one astonishing plan which worked for a variety of reasons, including the incompetence of an American government but not their complicity.

Thing is what’s a greater horror? That of a massive international conspiracy involving tens of thousands or 19 people with box cutters flying planes full of terrified innocent people into buildings? The former involves this building of a mythology to make sense of it, while the latter, the truth, is simply so fucking scary it beggars belief but thinking the former is true comforts some people while giving them an escape route from reality which is depressingly scary in it’s own right.

The world is often an amazingly complicated place, so that when we don’t understand it we often endeavour to simplify it in order to avoid asking questions which often don’t have an answer, or avoid the grim reality of what actually happened because fantasy is easier to explain than reality.

9 thoughts on “9/11 and conspiracies

  1. The problem with anti-truthers is that you don’t have the evidence on your side. No one ever said that there was a conspiracy of “thousands” of people. That’s called a strawman.

    All of the evidence has been out for over half a decade, you just refuse to look at it. WTC7. The Pentagon. The eyewitnesses. The thermite found in the dust.

    You like the conspiracy theory of 19 hijackers with boxcutters blowing up three buildings in Manhattan with two planes, because that’s easy to keep track of.


  2. You proved my point. You create a strawman about “aliens” and “holographic photon torpedoes” – which no one ever seriously suggested – then refuse to look at the actual evidence.

    I know it’s hard, two different things happened. Airplanes crashed into the buildings, then, the buildings were blown up in a controlled demolition.

    Again, the truthers have the evidence (see Dr Steven Jones of Brigham Young University and Dr. Neils Harritt of Copenhagen University, Steven King of MIT, and dozens of others) and you have nothing, no evidence, and refuse to look. But you hardly need to be a PhD physicist, high school physics spells it out pretty clearly. As in, stuff most people learn by 12th grade.

    Some of us are members of the reality based community. Facts and evidence matter.


  3. It was something called ‘hyperbole’ or basically, taking the piss.and yes, you do need to be a proper physicist, or actually to have studied the particular field you’re talking about and be able to understand the larger picture without focusing on one part of the story and use that as evidence of the entire thing.

    So again, how many peer reviewed papers on the subject have Truthers published? How many expert (rather than watching some videos on Youtube and thinking NEW WORLD ORDER) testimonies have Truthers published?

    You claim you support ‘facts and evidence’ but you suggest no real evidence. No proof. It’s supposition based upon a limited knowledge of a section of the facts. It’s dishonesty and suggesting a secondary school level of understanding of science is all that’s needed is exactly the sort of obtuse shite that frankly depresses the hell out of me.


  4. You will probably want to check out the Bentham Open Chemical Journal, the Journal of 9/11 Studies, AE911Truth, along with the professors I mentioned previously. This stuff has been out for a half a decade now. Some of it has even been shown on TV!

    You drag some irrelevant strawman about “the New World Order” again.

    The demolition of World Trade Center 7 – not hit by a plane – is something that only needs high school physics to figure out. Did you even look at the evidence, at all?

    You’re slandering people based on your own ignorance.


  5. I’m doing fuck all like that. How many peer reviewed journals have been published? One? Two? Three? None?

    Do you get the idea of taking the piss, or the fact that the point I was making that people like yourself are only interested in THE TRUTH from those who confirm your point of view.

    It’s insulting bollocks basically. It’s especially insulting to those who died, and it avoids dealing with the realities of the world.


  6. It wouldn’t matter if it was 10,000, because you still wouldn’t look at the evidence, as you are a believer in your favorite conspiracy theory.

    “Insulting to those who died” – that’s a pant load. The 9/11 Truth movement was STARTED by the families of the victims. Ever heard of the Jersey Girls? Bob McIlvaine? They started the 9/11 Truth movement. There wouldn’t even have been a 9/11 Commission if it wasn’t for them.

    You are insulting the families – the wives, husbands, and fathers and mothers of the people that died.


  7. So the answer is there’s been zero peer reviewed journals. And yes, you are insulting the dead because by creating this huge mythology around 911 that there was a huge tenticular conspiracy involving thousands (because logically there would have to be that number) rather than the basic truth.

    See, the American government lied and fucked up over 911. It didn’t conspire to kill 3000 people. It did kill over 100k elsewhere, and it did use 911 and still does use 911 to justify it’s wars.

    The problem is that believing a conspiracy happened to destroy those buildings through ‘controlled’ demolition, etc is a fantasy because as said all those people use is small snippets of ‘evidence’ taken in isolation that confirms their bias, If any of them want to put their works forward for peer review I’d be happy to take them seriously, but until then the ‘Truth’ movement is a slightly sad and paranoid group that does the world an injustice.


  8. Pingback: Back, and to the Left-50 Years of JFK | My Little Underground

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