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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Welcome

[This is the permanent top post. Scroll down for newer ones.]

Welcome to my blog. I have always felt hesitant about starting one of my own, but I finally decided that I needed a place to discuss all of my views in a more open manner. So, for my very first post, I guess I should explain who I am and why I started this blog in the first place. Who am I? My name is Adam Taylor. I've recently turned 21 (as of writing this), and I have a strong interest in world issues. Namely, issues regarding religion, politics, science (and what I consider pseudo-science), what some people may refer to as "conspiracy theories," and (as I say at the top of this site) whatever else I can think of. My views are often perceived by people I know and don't know as strange. I've always sorta been that way. But I can safely say that everything I believe has always had basis and fact behind it. I know some might consider that my own opinion, but I would counter by saying that it is merely your opinion that what I believe is based on opinion. Got it? :) Even though I may believe some strange things, I'm not really strange myself. I'm very normal. I've just seen and heard a lot of very strange things. So what are my main interests these days?


9/11

Anyone with access to the internet knows about the debates about what really happened on September 11th, 2001. People who question the official narrative of what happened are labeled "conspiracy theorists." However, I would say that I don't fit this category, since I don't place blame on any particular person or persons. I really don't know who carried out the attacks. Why do I research this topic? I initially was very skeptical of the alternative theories surrounding the attacks, and didn't give them any real notice. Then in late 2007, after seeing a documentary on the History Channel regarding these theories, I decided to look into it more. After years of research, I believe that we have not been told the full truth about what happened that day. Although I have studied the attacks as a whole, my main focus of study has been the destruction of the Twin Towers and WTC 7. I believe the official reports on their collapses are flawed, and that they were most likely destroyed through controlled demolition. I've written extensively on this issue over at the Debunking the Debunkers blog, which is an excellent site full of resources to study the attacks. Here's some of my best posts and other writings on the subject:

On the WTC building collapses:
Debunking the Debunkers' Free Fall Fallacies
The Physics of WTC 7
Collapse Rates of the WTC Consistent With Controlled Demolition
Distorted Tilt Confirmed
2/25/11 Answers from NIST to Questions by Chris Mohr, Journalist

Responses to Debunkers:
Debunking Joseph Nobles: Freefall Speed
Debunking Joseph Nobles: 7 Problems With 7 Responses (Part 2)
Debunking Joseph Nobles: Other Buildings (Part 2)
An Open Letter To Ryan Owens (Part 2)
The World Trade Center WAS a Controlled Demolition
9/11 Truth Movement RIP?
Feeding a troll
Building 7 Explained?
Why AlienEntity's Measurements Continue to Misrepresent WTC7's Fall Rate
K.T. Penn Exposed
The Reading Comprehension of Debunkers...

Articles posted on AE911Truth.org:
FAQ #2: What about the planes that slammed into the Twin Towers? Wouldn’t they have disturbed the demolition devices?
FAQ #8: What Is Nanothermite? Could It Have Been Used To Demolish The WTC Skyscrapers?
Debunking the REAL 9/11 Myths: Why Popular Mechanics Can't Face Up to Reality

PDF articles:
A Critical Review of the 9/11 Mysteries Viewer's Guide
Other Collapses in Perspective: An Examination of Steel Structures Collapsing due to Fire and their Relation to the WTC

For more on why I started researching 9/11 and why I believe what I believe today, listen to my radio interview on PumpItOut Radio with researcher Jeff Hill and Debunking the Debunkers blog founder John-Michael Talboo.



Religion

I am an atheist. But I wasn't always one. Growing up I was raised a Methodist and attended church at least every other Sunday. But when I stopped going to church I began to question the claims of the religiously faithful. Part of what motivated me to start researching religion was watching the internet film Zeitgeist. The film talked about the history of religion, and showed a lot of evidence that indicated all religions, especially Christianity, appeared to be false. I wasn't sure what to think after watching the film. I then listened to what several debunkers had to say about the film, and all of them seemed to think that the movie got virtually everything wrong.

Of course I already knew that the debunkers were wrong in regards to the 9/11 section, but I wasn't sure about the religion section. I decided that I needed to look into this further. So I decided to read D.M. Murdock's book Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection, which I had heard was the book she had written essentially in response to the Zeitgeist debunkers. After reading her amazing book, I realized right away how the debunkers were twisting her arguments and making outright false claims. Contrary to what many believe, the arguments presented in Zeitgeist are indeed backed up by strong scholarship and primary sources. Though I have not written much on the subject of religion and atheism due to my commitment to the 9/11 Truth Movement, I plan on posting much more on the subject now that I have started this separate blog. My one major writing on religion is a paper I wrote last year in college. In it, I argue that Jesus Christ likely never existed as a historical person on earth. My paper is provided in the link below.

Again, contrary to what many believe, there is sufficient reason to believe that the figure we know as Jesus never actually existed. I also have posted from time to time on the FreeThoughNation forum under the handle "S.T.F." The forum is a great place for researching the history of Christianity, and also does a fantastic job of defending the claims made in Zeitgeist. Though my intention is certainly not to offend anyone, I do believe we need to look past all these ridiculous taboos about not questioning religion. Whether we like it or not, there is probably no God. No one created us or the universe. But that does not mean we can't live a life of happiness and fulfillment. With enough time and research, I am confident that one day humanity will see that the same spiritual fulfillment found in religion can be also be found in science, which is what actually has improved our society throughout history. But please don't just take my word for. Do the research yourself. Question everything that deserves questioning. I firmly believe that every system that can be researched and tested should be researched and tested.

If you're interested in learning about what is and isn't true about religion, in addition to the book previously mentioned, here are some other books that have helped me get to where I am now:

Also be sure to check out the links I have posted in the atheism/religion section of this site.


My goals

Over the years I have gained a deep desire to discover as much truth about the world as I can. I've devoted myself to letting the evidence take me wherever is might go, regardless of whether or not I like the truth I find. The truth really does set us free, which might be one of the only useful things the Bible has taught us.

I believe that we have not been told the full truth about what happened on September 11th, 2001. I've tried to contribute to the great work being done in the 9/11 Truth Movement as much as I can. I was at the 9/11 Truth demonstration in New York for the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Being there in New York, it was more obvious than ever that we need to have a new investigation into the attacks to find out what really happened that terrible day.

I also believe that the religions of the world have done more to cripple our progress in society than to help it. Not only does the evidence overwhelmingly indicate that there is no God, but there is simply no need for him or for religion. We can find happiness and purpose with a completely naturalistic worldview. The time has come for us to except one true reality: that from the very beginning, God has only existed in our imagination.

My goal is to spread these truths to as many as possible. I wish to educate others so that we can make this world as sustanible and enjoyable as possible. I wish to encourage others to us emprical evidence and critical thinking in establishing their worldviews. Most of all, I hope you find some amount of value in what I say and write about. Even if you disagree with me, just the fact that you have taken the time to look into these matters is an accomplishment. It is only when we learn to work together and communicate with one another that will we finally have an ideal world. But we have to take that first step. This is our world, and we all have a duty to protect it.

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Benefits of Accepting Reality

For those of you unfamiliar with PragerU (and lucky SOBs you are if that's the case), it's a... ahem... "university," dedicated to "promoting knowledge and clarity on life's biggest and most interesting topics." Well, that'd be all well and good, if it was an actual university and not just some web-series promoting conservative Christian propaganda. The site's YouTube channel has produced a plethora of lol-inducing responses from others, which I highly recommend you spend an afternoon watching. Recently a friend of mine mentioned a new video they've posted, and no surprise at all it's as cringingly-bad as I expected.

This one is presented by a Prager regular; Peter Kreeft, a Catholic apologist who has previously argued that the reason God let's so much evil exist in the world is basically because "God knows better than we do." And in this video, Kreeft wants to argue not so much that God exists (which he's done before, and failed miserably), but that belief in God gives you a much better life. And to back this up he lists off a number of points which contrast a god-reality with a godless one. This of course is a pretty common tactic used by theists, which is to play on the emotions of others and make them want to believe in God because it will make them feel better. They also want to highlight how miserable our lives would be if there was no god in it. I get particularly annoyed at this tactic, since it's just a classic "appeal to emotion" fallacy that really should have no place in discussions like these. Even granting everything Kreeft says about a godless reality is true, that doesn't change whatever the nature of reality actually is. There's no reason for us to expect whatever the ultimate truth about reality turns out to be will make us happy. But that doesn't stop it from being the truth. And I'd rather live my life believing as many true things as possible, and disbelieving as many false things as possible. But what points does Kreeft make? And do they have any merit. Turns out, no. Here's the points he brings about how a god-filled reality is just so dang better than a godless one.

If God exists, the presence of evil makes sense.

Here Kreeft roles out the usual talk about why God allows evil to exist in the world; to allow us to exercise our free will. Setting aside the fact that it isn't even established that free will exists (a point even Christians can't seem to agree on), I've never heard any rational reason why allowing us free will in an evil world would be a better option than not allowing free will in a good world. What does it benefit us to exercise our free will if that means we're going to experience so much pain and suffering in the world? Personally, if having free will 
guarantees that others will suffer so much in this life, then I'd rather not have it. But Kreeft thinks the other benefit to this is that with the existence of God also comes the existence of real justice. As he says, "God will reconcile all injustices in the end." Except that on 
Christian theism, there is no guarantee that those who have committed truly horrible 
atrocities will pay any sort of price. Jesus himself says he'll forgive any sin as long as one repents and believes in him (except apostates; e.g. Mt 12:31-32, Mark 3:28-29, Luke 12:9-10). On theism, the atheist who's never harmed anyone in his/her life has a better chance of ending up in hell than the serial murderer who gives their life to Christ before they die. Does that sound like justice? 

Kreeft also says that if there's no God, "life is one big crapshoot." Not at all. If there's no God, life is what we make of it and can be happy in that knowledge. But Kreeft disagrees in his following points.

If God exists, morality is a real, objective fact about the world.

We then get the talk about how God serves as the basis for real objective morality, and that without God "morality is just the rules we make up for this little game of life that we play." As opposed to the rules God himself has made up for us to play in this life. Because by "objec-tive," what Kreeft really means is "the arbitrary whims of a subjective agent who is just making us do whatever he wants us to do." Christians have long had this problem pointed out to them before; that if morality is really grounded in God, then it follows that morality is just arbitrary and entirely non-objective. The standard response has become to simply say that God's actions and commands are good because he himself is good, in accordance 
with his nature. But the problem here is, how have we concluded his nature is good? Because at the end of the day, whatever judgements we make about the actions and nature of God are, by definition, our judgements. Whether God imbues morality through his commands or through us in some telepathic way, we're always the ones reaching the conclusions about what we think about it. As Hector Avalos has put it:
If one says something is moral because God says so, then this still renders us the judge of morality, for we are the ones making the judgement that "whatever God calls good is what shall be called good." Even if one says that God planted our sense of goodness in us, we must still judge that something God planted in us is good. There is no way to escape this circle. [Hector Avalos, Fighting Words: The Origins of Religious Violence, p. 351]
Of course, it's entirely possible that people like Kreeft are not making a judgment at all about God's actions and commands. He could just be accepting of God's actions no matter what he does. If so, then I think Dr. Kreeft needs to stop saying he's following God's objective morality, and just acknowledge what he's really doing; he's just following God's commands. Not moral commands, just commands. He's just doing whatever God tells him to do. And there's nothing "objective" about that. And contrary to what Kreeft asserts about morality without God just reducing to "rules we make up," the fact of the matter is the absence of God changes nothing about the objective nature of the world we currently live in. There are objective facts about what hurts us, what's good for us, and what ultimately allows us to live better lives. And a morality based on that is entirely demonstrable and objective, as objective as something can get. (See the demonstration of this in Richard Carrier, "Moral Facts Naturally Exist (and Science Could Find Them)," published in The End of Christianity, ed. John Loftus, pp. 333-58, 420-29.)

If God Exists, Love is the Nature of an Eternal Reality.

Kreeft's next point is a weird one; that the existence of God apparently makes the love we feel for others more meaningful, as opposed to a godless reality where "love is just a fleeting feeling," and that it's "no more than a bunch of chemical and neurological interactions." What we see here is another example of Christians committing what is known as the modo hoc fallacy; the idea that the material makeup of something matters more than the arrangement of said material. Even if there's nothing more to love than just neurological and chemical processes in our brains, why is that a bad thing? Kreeft never says, nor have I heard any other Christian explain why either. Whether caused by purely material phenomena, or caused by the existence of some kind supernatural woo inside me, the fact that I can love at all is a wonderful thing, regardless of whatever's the cause of it. 

Furthermore, there's no explanation on Kreeft's part about why God's existence makes love any more valuable. After all, nothing about God's supposed existence seems to keep people loving each other "eternally." People fall in and out of love all the time in this life. It very much can be a "fleeting feeling," even if God does exist. And even if they somehow still end up loving each other in an afterlife, there's nothing to guarantee they will even end up together. One may end up in heaven, and one may end up in hell

If God Exists, You are of Infinite Value.

This one could pretty much sum up Kreeft's entire video; our lives are utterly pointless and insignificant if there's no God. But with God, "he knows you, as a parent knows his child." Again, Kreeft never explains how God's existence gives our lives any meaning whatsoever. How does God existing give my life value? My life's valuable because God says so? So what? How does God saying that make it so? These are questions theists simply have no answers to. What exactly does it say about my value and worth that I apparently need such things ultimately bestowed upon me by someone else? The idea that I've gone out in life and given my life meaning and value matters so much more to me. The sense of accom-plishment I feel in the knowledge that I created my own meaning and purpose, rather than having it handed down to me by someone else, fills me with a real, actual sense of value. What meaning could my life possibly have if I did nothing to make more of it, even if a God said there was meaning to it? None that I can see.

For even Kreeft must accept that meaning and purpose must eventually reduce to whatever one makes of it. After all, Christians don't seem to have a problem with the notion that God himself had no creator, yet his life has value. In other words, there are no other gods around to bestow meaning and value upon God's life, so even his worth must ultimately be self-bestowed. But if God can find meaning and purpose without having it given to him by others, then so to can humans. 

Humans are not "as insignificant as a rock on an unknown planet." We are significant to each other, because we, as social animals, have evolved brains that care about other humans, which in turn is the result of observing that things work out better for us if we do care about the others around us. Even if we ultimately end up creating our meaning and value, nothing about that renders it any less fulfilling or significant. There may not be a meaning of life, but there is meaning in life.

If God Exists, Death is Conquered.

Here we get into the talk about how we will have life even after our bodies die, and that with God "there is a reality outside of space and time." Supposing that's true, there's still the question of exactly what the nature of that reality is. Because according to Christians, one half of that reality may be an eternal bliss, but the other half is perpetual torment and despair. And as we've seen, such torment could be given to those whose greatest crime is that they didn't believe that a dead Jewish man came back to life. It may be the case that "everyone [I] love" will be "consigned to oblivion." But I would much rather my loved ones simply stopped existing and experienced nothing than have them potentially be tortured for all of eternity in a lake of fire.

Still, according to Kreeft we should really like the idea of an afterlife, since if there isn't one then "there is nothing immortal" and therefore "life is pointless." First of all, it isn't even clear to me how important Christians think the duration of our lives is in regards to how much meaning our lives have. For example, even William Lane Craig has argued that even if we could live forever, our lives would still be pointless if God didn't exist (see William Lane Craig, On Guard, pp. 32-33). For him, it seems that any value we might have ultimately rests on God's existence. Of course, like Kreeft, Craig never justifies how God's existence 
gives us any sort of ultimate meaning. 

The error committed by Kreeft is the assumption that life having only finite significance 
equates to life having no significance whatsoever. For him, it's either all or nothing. Either life has eternal significance, or it has none. There's no middle-ground. This is about as black-and-white thinking as one can get. Yes, it may be true that my life will eventually come to a permanent end, and that I will no longer exist in any relevant way. And sure, I'd love for me and my loved ones to live longer (other atheists have said as much; e.g. David 
Silverman, Fighting God, p. 1). It's a bummer that I won't get to live longer. However, nothing about that fact diminishes the value of the life that I have now. If anything, that fact makes my life even more valuable, since I know it's so limited. Ever since I became an atheist, I've valued my life far more than when I believed in God. I'm grateful for every moment I have left on earth. Kreeft and others like him may want their lives to have eternal significance, but in doing so I think they take focus away from the lives they currently have, which is the one that we can be sure actually does exist. 

Why God Doesn't Give us Proof

All of this emotional appeal would ultimately be unnecessary if God made it plainly clear that he exists. But according to Kreeft, the reason God doesn't give us absolute proof of his existence is "so that we're free to choose or not to choose to believe in him." Um, excuse me? How does that make any sense? If the point is about believing that God exists, I don't see how that really comes down to a "choice." In other words, I don't see belief as 
necessarily a matter of choice. I believe what I believe based on whatever information I'm given, not what I want to be the case. If God hasn't provided me with the necessary 
information to allow me to infer his existence, then it's really the case that I can't help but lack a belief in him. My reason for not believing in God is the same reason anyone ever has for when they don't believe something; I don't have sufficient evidence to believe. If the information's not there, there's nothing I can do about it, and that would really be God's fault and no one else's. 

Furthermore, if the point is that God withholds proof of his existence so that we were free to choose whether or not to follow him (rather than just believe in his existence), then this is no better. After all, the only way it seems anyone can ever make a rational, fully-informed decision is to be, well, fully informed. And this would have nothing to do with restricting our choices in the matter. If God made himself and his wishes plainly clear to us, we could still choose not to follow him, but would at least be aware of all the relevant information in making a decision like that. So whichever way you slice it, our being free to choose to believe in God offers no sound reason for God's apparent refusal to give us absolute proof.

Kreeft asks us if we at least "hope there is a good God." And to that, I say sure. And as I've indicated earlier, other atheists would like that too (e.g. Silverman, Fighting God, p. 1; Richard Carrier, Sense and Goodness without God, pp. 253-55). But there is an important
distinction to make, and Kreeft himself may even know what that is. Note that he is careful to add the qualifier that a "good" god is what people hope for. Yes, if there existed a god who was truly good and was the sort of person worth worshiping, you'd get no objections from me. But there's no justification that whatever gods exist are even good in the first place. Certainly even Kreeft would admit that he wouldn't want to worship a god who was actually evil. Yet atheists have been making the case for years that that's exactly the sort of god Christians appear to be worshiping. The Old Testament God certainly appears that way. And even Jesus may not have been the pillar or morality and ethics that he's usually 
championed to be. So I would ask any Christian this: if it could be demonstrated that the god you believe in actually was evil, would you still want to continue following him?

You'll Lose Nothing, and Gain Everything

In what I can only call a last-ditch effort to sway the viewer, Kreeft throws out a Pascal's Wager-style appeal to the notion that there's no downside to acting as though God exists, since "you'll lose nothing, and you gain everything." Except that this isn't even remotely true. Kreeft tries to make the case that believers are "happier, live longer, and are more 
charitable," to which I can only respond: wrong, wrong, wrong. There is no support for the assertion that believers live their lives any better than nonbelievers. Likewise, there is support for the idea that religion, by its very nature, inherently produces violence by means of constantly keeping everyone fighting over whose religion is actually true. In that sense, we very much do have things to potentially lose. 

And to finish up his presentation, Kreeft asks all the unbelievers watching to "say the skeptic's prayer," so that God may enter their lives and make real believers out of them. Setting aside the fact that many atheists and agnostics already tried this when they were believers (and no god came answering; example, example, example, example), I've always found it odd why God would need anyone to ask him to make his presence known. Why should we have to pray to God to get him to come into our lives? Even if Kreeft wants to go the route of many Christians and just assume atheists are "hard-hearted" and aren't trying to reach out to God, why should that matter? Is my will so powerful that I can even block God out of my mind? Or if God just chooses not to make himself known because of us supposedly stubborn atheists, that just makes God so absurdly petty that it really says more about him than it does us. I simply go where the evidence takes me. If it ends up taking me to God, fine. But to date it never has. And if God has the ability to make himself known to me in a direct and obvious way, then that falls on him and no one else. I have no interest in receiving "the gift of faith," as Kreeft says we'll get from God, since I have no interest in basing my worldview on belief without evidence.

In conclusion, Kreeft's presentation amounts to little more than just a marketing ploy, 
advertising how great a life with God would be compared to a life without him. But as we've seen, there's a whole lot of fine-print Kreeft leaves out, showing that even a life with God is no guarantee of a good life. And as I've said already, any supposed benefits from a 
theistic worldview says nothing about the factual accuracy of that worldview. But I say not only is a purely naturalistic worldview more likely to be correct, it is also one that can be purposeful and rewarding, filled with meaning and joy. Once we work out what the nature of reality actually is, we can work to make that reality as joyous and purposeful as we want. No god needed. 

"Without God, are we nothing? Tell that to those millions of good people... It is true there is no purpose of life. Nor should we want there to be a purpose of life. If there is a purpose of life, that cheapens life. That makes us less.... If there is a god we are subservient in the universe. We are secondary. We are children. We are slaves. If there is a god, we are truly nothing." -Dan Barker

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Craig McKee Still Lying about the Pentagon

Sigh. It seems that Craig McKee just can't get past this little problem he has about lying over and over again about what happened at the Pentagon. Please believe me when I say I'm as sick of this as anyone can get, but lying about the events of 9/11 is something I can't let go unchecked (hell, that's why I joined the Truth Movement in the first place). Recently I had the chance to visit ol' Craig on Facebook in a discussion thread, where topics about the Pentagon got brought up. Craig of course piped in to give his two cents, insisting for the umteen-thousandth time the no plane hit the building. And lookie what he just happened to post today.


In case you were wondering, the article he links to is this one, one that he wrote, and who's claims I've rebutted not once, but twice now. A rebuttal that Craig is well aware of. There's just no other conclusion I can reach at this point; Craig McKee is a provable liar who has no problem repeating false claims. Need more proof? After calling him out on this, Craig responded with this:


That middle section bears repeating: "You claim that the white object on the right of one of the frames is smoke, not the tip of the plane. But I don't talk about that in my article, so why do you keep claiming that I do?" From the very article Craig wrote and continues to cite:
In the image, we see what appears to be the dark tail of a plane sticking up, but most of what would be the plane is blocked from view by a concrete barrier at the entrance to the parking area, just a few feet from the camera. The alleged shape of the plane is followed by a white trail, generally believed to be smoke from the plane. The following frame shows a large fireball and black smoke billowing from the facade of the building; we don’t actually see any impact at all.... Frame 23 in the film’s comparative analysis is clearly and irreconcilably different. In the second video sequence, with the concrete barrier no longer blocking the view of the alleged plane, we now see that the shape that appeared to be the plane’s tail is simply gone, and now the white “smoke” trail is what appears to be the plane just coming into frame. In fact, the analysis shows that the white blur in the second video is actually present in the first one, but it appears a whole section has been added to it. I know this is not easy to picture, so I strongly recommend that you watch this section of Mazzucco’s film – the section on the Pentagon surveillance videos starts at the 17-minute mark of DVD 2.
Ok, now take your hands off you face and come to your own conclusions about what we're to make of this. IMO, lying. I can't see any other way to describe it. But Craig has the chance to prove me wrong. After pointing these things out to Craig AGAIN, I posed three questions to him that he can answer and explain himself. When (or if) he responds, I'll post his answers and see if they're satisfactory. Until then, ball's in your court Craig.
1. Do you or do you not agree with the film's characterization of how the footage was supposedly doctored? (As your articles keep implying you do support its point.) 
2. If you do not agree with the film's characterization, are you going to amend your articles with a disclaimer that the film is wrong on the point it is making?  
3. If you think the footage has been altered in a different way than how the film describes, explain exactly what you think has been altered. You say I'm misrepresenting you, but all you do is reference the film when claiming the footage has been altered. What else am I supposed to think?

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Craig McKee: Liar for 9/11 Truth

One thing I'd hope we'd be done with at this point in the 9/11 Truth Movement is the bickering over what really happened at the Pentagon. For me, the evidence is clear that a plane really did hit the building, and that it was Flight 77. But some people just won't let this topic die, and insist the ludicrous idea that no plane hit. One of those people is Craig McKee, a "researcher" in the movement who recently posted another long rambling complaint over why people think he's full of shit. Like most Pentagon no-planers (or just no-planers in general), Craig is fond of pretending that anyone who disagrees with him is out to get him and push some sort of agenda. Of some of these people he writes:
The team of researchers I mentioned – which includes Chandler, Jenkins, Frank Legge, John Wyndham, Jonathan Cole, Jim Hoffman, Victoria Ashley, and others – keeps repackaging the same discredited ideas about the Pentagon into one “scholarly paper” after another. They repeat frequently how they are using “the scientific method” while those who disagree are suffering from “confirmation bias” (which means favoring information that confirms existing beliefs).
Personally, I suspect folks like Hoffman, Legge, Cole, Chandler, etc. are probably just getting bored with this issue at this point. So am I. Craig goes over what fantastic evidence he has that no plane hit the Pentagon, but has he done anything with this evidence? That is, is he ever going to try and use this "evidence" to help get us a new investigation, or just post his ramblings on his blog and and pretend like he's beaten everyone else in a debate? I'm not holding my breath. 

Craig brings up ten questions that MUST be answered to show a plane hit the building. I'll put aside the fact that these questions have doubtlessly been answered before, but let's be nice and give it another go.
  • Why would more than a dozen highly credible witnesses describe a virtually identical north of Citgo flight path unless this is what they saw?
I don't know, why would eyewitnesses say the Titanic split in two as it sank, but others say it sank in one piece? Why would thousands of people say they saw the sun zig-zag throughout the sky, when no one else in the world saw that? Could it possibly be because eyewitness evidence is known to be unreliable? Craig wants to put so much emphasis on the type of evidence that is literally the leading cause of most wrongful convictions. Besides, other eyewitnesses contradict these dozen or so witnesses, and the vast majority of them--even the ones cited by Craig--say they saw the plane hit the building.
  • Since we know the wings did not penetrate, why weren’t they lying on the lawn? Same for the tail section and horizontal stabilizers.
I would honestly like any Pentagon no-planer to explain to me what airplane wings should look like after they've hit a reinforced masonry building at over 500 mph. How big do you think the pieces should be? Care to calculate how much force will be applied to the wings and work out what sort of state they'd be in afterwards? Please, draw it out for me if you need to. I'm fine accepting the idea that maybe, just maybe aluminum wings are not going to stand up very well to a building like the Pentagon at over 500 mph.
  • How could the plane have entered through a hole much smaller than required without leaving large pieces of wreckage outside?
It didn't enter a hole "much smaller than required." Perhaps you missed the fact that there was a plane-shaped hole in the wall after the plane hit.


As for this "no large pieces" claim, please buy a decent pair of glasses Mr. McKee, and then look at this, this, this, this, this, this, and this.
  • Why was there no significant damage to the wall or even to windows that would have been hit by the tail and stabilizers?
Guess you might have missed this too.


Seriously Craig, glasses aren't that expensive these days. Oh, and if you think that's not enough damage, maybe remember the Pentagon was built to be a wee bit stronger than a normal building.
  • How could the fuselage penetrate 310 feet into the building if the wings and tail section were turned to confetti on impact?
Because there's more fuselage than wing mass and tail mass. Yes, the front of the fuselage may not be able to do much, but there's tons more plane behind it coming in. And the Pentagon had quite a bit of open space, so once it got through the front wall there wasn't much left to stop it.
  • How could the tiny amount of unidentified debris around the helipad possibly represent thousands of pounds of aircraft wreckage?
Who said it was "thousands of pounds" of debris outside? Again, pretty sure much of the larger, heavier debris found its way inside the building. That's what we should expect to happen. Small debris outside, large debris inside. Repeat that and maybe it will sink in eventually.
  • What happened to the virtually indestructible engine cores, and why didn’t they create two exit holes?
You know Craig, Google is a thing that exists. Here, let me show you
  • Given that the plane would have completely lost structural integrity halfway to the rounded C ring hole, what can account for the hole?
Gee, couldn't possibly be all that plane debris right in front of the hole, could it?



The hole might look odd at first, but it's consistent with damage from a plane strike.
  • Why were all synchronized frames from the two camera views identical except for the single frame that is supposed to show a plane?
  • Why would the government fake video of the crash if an actual crash took place?
I'm including these last two together for a reason. You might have wondered why I titled this post calling Craig a liar. Well, his last bit of "evidence", like all the rest, is wrong, but the fact is that he knows it's wrong. And he knows it's wrong because I pointed out to him that it's wrong. The point about the two video frames being out of sync is in reference to this point Craig made earlier in his post:
In September 11: The New Pearl Harbor we see video frames from two Pentagon cameras that were synchronized using a “multiplexer” system. About 100 frames were common to both sets and matched each other perfectly as confirmed by comparing the shape of the smoke cloud. http://luogocomune.net/site/modules/sections/index.php?op=viewarticle&artid=167 All except one. Just one of these 100 frames does not match, and that is “frame 23,” the very one that allegedly shows a 757 crossing the Pentagon lawn. There is no doubt that frame 23 was doctored either in one set of frames or both.
I wrote about this before, but apparently I have to go over this again. What is claimed in the film is that the two frames featured below are out of sync and that one camera shows the whole plane and the other shows only "the tip of the plane."


First camera image.

Second camera image. 
Note the film claims that where the arrow
 is pointing is "the tip of the plane."

What the film says is the tip of the plane is actually the leading edge of the smoke trail left by one of the plane's engines.



The fact that this video shows a plane is all the more clear when higher resolution images are used. Of course, some will probably say this is "enhanced" or "manipulated footage" (as I was accused of using by some of Mr. McKee's ilk). However, a recent study by David Chandler and Nathan Flach uses video footage from the original sources, and they are also of high quality and show the plane.

Now I pointed this out in my previously mentioned post, and a second time to Craig over Facebook. How did he respond?


That's right, with more denial. The frames are clearly not out of sync, and the film is wrong to call that the tip of the plane. To my knowledge, Craig has never acknowledged this. And I'm willing to bet he never will. Craig spends some time talking about confirmation bias, but if there ever was someone to have it, it's him. He basically gives the whole game away when he answers the question "Can’t it be an inside job even if we support an impact?" by saying this:
Yes, but when we discard some of the most powerful evidence we have, the case against the official story is much weaker.
A translation for those who might not have gotten it: Yes, we might be wrong about this, but it's more important for us to use this to make our case, rather than being factually accurate.

The ends justify the means. This tells me Craig really doesn't care if this is factually correct or not. He just wants to prove 9/11 was an inside job, and since this would really convince people, he's just gonna run with it. This is standard religious apologetic logic, not objective research. I am convinced more and more that Craig is just willing to lie if he thinks that will get us a new investigation. So Craig, I've now told you not once, not twice, but THREE times the film is wrong about this. Are you ever going to admit this? You've "responded" twice, and I'm giving you one more shot. But strike three and you're out pal. What's it gonna be? Oh, and don't bother trying to edit your post to save face, because as we all know, the internet never forgets

Continue to peddle this disinfo, and I'm forced to conclude that you are simply a pathological liar. But then, your post shows you're apparently a fan of Erich von Däniken, another pathological liar. Like teacher like student, eh?

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Myles Power's Review of "Where Did the Towers Go?": Not Fantastic, but OK

I feel no shame in admitting that I haven't read Judy Wood's book Where Did the Towers Go?. Nor do I feel shame in admitting that I'm likely never going to read it. I've said as much before. I made it crystal clear to her followers that if there's some new ground-breaking information in her book that proves DEWs were used to "dustify" the Towers, then maybe I'd take a look. But since her book came out they've been trotting out the same claims we've heard for years, which are all easily refutable

Still, I've always felt it would be useful to have a comprehensive critique of the book that I can point people towards when they mention it to me. And last year it seemed like maybe my wish would be granted by none other than my 9/11 interlocutor Myles Power. As some of you know, Myles Power is the chemist and science blogger who made a series of debunking videos on 9/11 a few years ago, to which I wrote my own rebuttals in response. Last year he turned his attention to Judy Wood's book, after repeatedly being pestered by her followers, telling him to read it. So lo and behold, he bought it, and made the decision to actually sit down and read the thing, FSM help him.

Before really getting into what I want to talk about, I should make it clear from the start that, despite our disagreements on this particular issue, I have no personal grudge towards Myles at all. He seems like a nice enough fellow, and I'm sure that were we to meet socially, we'd get along just fine. And I admit that I've enjoyed quite a few of his science videos (e.g. this and this are two of my favorites).

Furthermore, he's done an fantastic job at debunking a whole host of genuine pseudo-science and crazy drivel. This much should be obvious from some the reactions he's received to his debunking, such as being DMCAed by AIDs deniers and anti-vaxers, and thrown out of psychic readings by the actual psychic. In my book, anyone who can annoy charlatans like these to that extant must be doing something right. 

That being said, there's a few things I felt were in need of critical assessment in regards to his review of Judy Wood's book. You can see everything he's said or written about the book by following this link. From the start, it's obvious this isn't the comprehensive, point-by-point refutation that I was hoping for, but that's sort of understandable when you consider what exactly he's working with here. His reviews demonstrate that, despite its size, the book contains an enormous amount of padding, filled with large pictures and irrelevant material. He describes it as basically an "adult picture book," and from what I've seen so far that seems like an accurate assessment. There probably just isn't as much to go on as the book's size suggests, so I shouldn't be that surprised that his critiques are fairly short. That's probably all it takes to debunk her anyway.

As it turns out, there actually is some material in the book I hadn't heard previously, as Myles' review demonstrates. Unfortunately for the DEWers, it's some of the most pathetic (and frankly cringe-worthy) "evidence" I've ever heard. Basically, Dr. Wood argues that images of people falling out of the Towers and appearing to shed their clothing is evidence of a DEW being used at the WTC. No, that doesn't make any sense, and Myles does a great job explaining why. She also repeats an often heard claim by those who haven't ade-quately studied the Towers' collapses, that WTC1 and WTC2 collapsed in 11 and 9 seconds, respectively. This claim has been debunked by people both inside and outside the Truth Movement repeatedly, so it really needs no further rebuttal. (For a more accurate look at the Towers' collapse times, see: Kenneth Kuttler, "Collapse Time Calculations for WTC 1".)

Myles also does a decent job of explaining why Wood's claims about the Towers being "dustified" is total bollocks. Wood apparently presents this photo of Ground Zero to demonstrate the supposed lack of steel debris at the site. Myles counters by pointing out that Wood never spoke with a single first-responder or member of the clean-up crew. This is a very significant point I've been making for years: neither Dr. Wood nor her followers have, or ever will, talk with the hundreds of workers who spent months clearing out the tonnes of steel that was present at GZ. I do think Myles could have rebutted this claim a bit more thoroughly had he shown other photos of GZ, rather than just the one aerial shot presented by Wood. The photographic record indisputably shows large sections of steel everywhere at GZ, which should be all the rebuttal one needs to show the steel wasn't "dustified." By all means, review the photos yourself. (And if you want to see a massive picture book that is worth buying, I highly recommend Joel Meyerowitz's Aftermath. Anyone who can look through that book and still believe the Towers were turned to dust is deluded beyond any hope.)

The one part in his review I disagree with thus far also just happens to be the section of Dr. Wood's book he somewhat agrees with. This is Wood's attempt to debunk arguments for more conventional demolition theories involving explosives and/or thermite. Myles admittedly says that Dr. Wood's debunking of this idea is "not fantastic, but OK," but still maintains she's right about this overall. But she's not. And Myles ought to know she's wrong about what she says. Granted, he should know this just based on my review of his video series, but one claim he agrees with left me shocked and somewhat disappointed with him. Myles says:
Perhaps the most fascinating section in this chapter is Wood’s rebuttal to those who say that thermite was used to bring the towers down. In my opinion, this is one of the more popular theories and is based on the paper published by Bentham Open journals, who have been heavily criticised in the scientific community for claiming to be peer reviewed, but accepting and publishing a fake paper generated using SCIgen. The paper the conspiracy is based on is called ‘Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 Word Trade Centre Catastrophe’ and claims that in the dust following the attacks, they were able to isolate and identify thermitic material that may have been used to bring the towers down. Wood, however, does not agree and points out the impracticality of using thermite and that the authors of the paper never found thermite in the first place. Instead, they found the ingredients of thermite which are very common – which Wood clumsily rebuts by saying that if we were to find “chocolate, sugar, and nano-wheat (flour) in the dust that would not prove that chocolate-chip cookies turned the buildings to dust”.
Several points to consider here. First, the claim that the ATM paper has been "heavily criticized" by the scientific community is not the same as saying the paper's findings have been rebutted. To date only one (non-peer reviewed) counter-study has been published, and that study has been found to contain a multitude of problems. As for this claim about the journal "accepting and publishing a fake paper," that is exactly what didn't happen. According to Bentham's director of publications, the paper was only accepted in order to determine the true identity of the author. The paper was never published. Even the author of the hoax paper acknowledged that:
From this one case, we cannot conclude that Bentham Science journals practice no peer review, only that it is inconsistently applied. Earlier this year, I reported on a case in which a nonsensical article submitted to another Bentham Science journal was rejected after going through peer review.
For anyone who thinks the ATM was not peer-reviewed, take Dr. Steve Jones' comments into consideration.
This paper was thoroughly peer-reviewed with several pages of tough comments that required of our team MONTHS of additional experiments and studies. It was the toughest peer-review I've ever had, including THREE papers for which I was first author in NATURE. [Source]
Further, our paper was reviewed prior to publication by the Physics dept. chair at BYU -- and he approved it for publication. His peer-review was NOT under the auspices of Bentham. (This peer-review was done because two of the authors are from this dept. at BYU... and Dr. Farrer requested the review.) [Source]
But the claim that really left me shocked and disappointed was Myles' insistence that "they found the ingredients of thermite which are very common." He also says that "the data that was put forward... doesn't prove that thermite was found in the dust. Basically it looks for certain elements... but it doesn't necessarily mean that these [elements] are combined together to make a certain compound..." I'm at a loss to understand how Myles reaches this conclusion. From the paper itself (p. 15):
From these data, it is determined that the red/gray chips from different WTC dust samples are extremely similar in their chemical and structural makeup. It is also shown that within the red layer there is an intimate mixing of the Fe-rich grains and Al/Si plate-like particles and that these particles are embedded in a carbon-rich matrix.
Myles also presents this quote from Dr. Wood's book.


The ATM paper makes it clear that these elements were not merely found in the dust, but that they were chemically combined together. As a chemist, Myles should be able to recognize this fact. He may dispute exactly what compound these elements make up, but I don't see how he can claim they aren't combined chemically. Again, he should know better, and Dr. Wood definitely should too.

Another point Myles raises, which is apparently also a point made by Dr. Wood, is that bomb-sniffing dogs would have detected explosives in the WTC buildings. The problem with this argument is that bomb-sniffing dogs are not trained to detect nanothermite or other formulations of thermite. Furthermore, as I stated in my review of the "9/11 Mysteries Viewer's Guide" (p. 112):
A bomb-sniffing dog expert and trainer was contacted and asked about what the dogs are trained to smell. He stated that LackLand AFB lists the explosives that the military trains their dogs on, so ultimately anyone with intelligence connections could get that list, and know how to get around it. He also stated that bomb-sniffing dogs are not trained to detect every type of possible explosive, as there are countless possible formulations.
The expert in question stated, "There are hundreds of thousands of explosives, and quite honestly we do about sixteen."

Dr. Wood and Myles also raise the point about how "witnesses reported hearing explosions. But the sound of an explosion does not necessarily mean that a bomb was detonated. Everything that goes “boom” is not necessarily a bomb." Been there, done that. It's not just the sounds we rely on. We've got the physical effects and the chemical composition of explosives in evidence as well.

In conclusion, Myles' review of Judy Wood's book is decent, but not the slam-dunk refutation I would prefer it to be. In other words (Myles' words in fact), it's not fantastic, but it's OK. Despite the points I've disputed above, I still enjoy and appreciate Myles' review, and would definitely recommend it to people who consider the book to have any sort of credibility. What other sorts of insanity dwell within its pages? If Myles reviews more of the book, we may just find out. Stay tuned.