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Monday, February 11, 2013

Do I Know How to Reference?

It’s come to my attention that a Facebook poster by the name of “Hung K Lui” has commented on my recent debate with Myles Power. He disputes one reference in my lengthy rebuttal to Mr. Power, and believes it does not back up what I say. I’ll respond to these objections and see if they hold any merit. Below is his entire criticism, with my comments added in red.

Sorry, late in the game and with a little insomnia, so I thought I’d eleborate [sic] on one of the points in these comments. I also like to apologize in advance for this long comment, but bear with me. Specifically, I wanted to examine Adam Taylor’s claim that he knows how to reference. I tried to read Mr. Taylor’s blogpost but had to stop after checking just one reference he used. It was just too time consuming. His first real reference (number 2 as number 1 was Myles’ video) seeked to support the claim that Leslie Robertson was not the ‘chief engineer’ for the WTC, but it was in fact John Skilling. Mr. Taylor’s reference for this claim was a truther’s website ( which may be dubious. First note that he uses an ad hominem against my source, suspecting it to be “dubious” only because it’s a “truther site.” This is nothing but a character statement meant to cast doubt on the validity of my source. However, I’ll give it leeway as it was actually just a link to a pdf transcript of a radio debate between Mr Robertson and Steven Jones. However, I can’t ascertain the validity of this transcript as it didn’t specifically say that it was created by the radio station. The introduction to the transcript appeared to be written by the truther website and not by the radio station. In addition, a cursory review of the references in the transcript (why do transcripts need references? Oh, it’s for the annotated remarks.) didn’t provide a link to listen to an audio recording of the debate if there was one available. Actually it does, however the link appears to be broken. But the full debate can be listened to on YouTube. Mr. Lui is welcome to “ascertain the validity of [the] transcript” based on this. But this was a moot point anyway since the host of the debate introduced Mr. Robertson as the “chief engineer of the World Trade Center Project.” Bad reference, I suppose. I guess Mr. Taylor was actually referring to the annotated remarks included in the transcript written by Gregg Roberts, an associate editor the [sic] truther website that had the transcript, as his proof. Yes, that’s why when I referenced Gregg Roberts’ paper I cited a specific page number. Please ask again if I know how to reference. Okay, sort of odd to use the remarks and not the actual document as a reference since I don’t know how that falls into primary or secondary sources. It would technically fall in the category of a secondary source. I provided Gregg Roberts’ paper referencing the sources, since they were already there conveniently in one place. But let’s examine that as I want to get to the truth. In Mr. Roberts [sic] (not to be confused with Robertson) remarks, he cites three references (Really? I have to check even more references for this one little claim.): a Seattle Times article written in 1993, a 1964 Engineer News-Record article, and the book City in the Sky by James Glanz and Eric Lipton. He actually cites four references, including the book Men of Steel: The Story of the Family That Built the World Trade Center. I was able to locate the Seatle [sic] article online and the book was available on Google as a preview. The Seattle Times article about the 1993 WTC bombing did have the words ‘head structural engineer’ and John Skilling, just not in the same sentence as World Trace [sic] Center. It did say that Skilling was responsible for the World Trade Center which was a far cry from chief engineer of WTC. Please read the passage from the article yourself and decide what you think it implies:
Engineers had to consider every peril they could imagine when they designed the World Trade Center three decades ago because, at the time, the twin towers were of unprecedented size for structures made of steel and glass. 
“We looked at every possible thing we could think of that could happen to the buildings, even to the extent of an airplane hitting the side,” said John Skilling, head structural engineer. “However, back in those days people didn’t think about terrorists very much.” 
Skilling, based in Seattle, is among the world’s top structural engineers. He is responsible for much of Seattle’s downtown skyline and for several of the world’s tallest structures, including the Trade Center. (emphasis added)
Anyone coming to the conclusion that this article implies anything else is clearly seeing something they want to see. Anyway, I still don’t understand why this article was bought up in the first place. Perhaps to show that John Skilling was the lead engineer on the project? You know, the claim Gregg Roberts is specifically making in his paper? The book not [sic] available online, but Google had a preview which conveniently enough had the very quote that Mr. Roberts (not to be confused with Mr. Robertson) used in his remarks. However, the limited preview goes to on to list in the very same paragraph the many ways that Mr. Robertson (not to be confused with Mr. Roberts) was ‘behind the scenes’, an ‘intense presence’ behind WTC design vice Skilling. It clearly illustrated how Mr. [Robertson] was fundamental in the design while Skilling was seen as ‘salesman’. This “salesman” remark comes from Robertson. Robertson’s honesty regarding other aspects of 9/11 has been highly disputed as of late. It even stated Mr. Robertson wasn’t even listed in the ‘splashy articles’ written in the 60s concerning the WTC design. This is important to note as Mr. Roberts stated in his remarks in the transcript that Mr. Robertson was not mentioned in the 1964 article. So, given that, I didn’t even try to look up the 1964 article. One reference that doesn’t support the claim, but has three other references embedded that also at the minimum is irrelevant or outright contradicted the claim. How is this considered a good refence? [sic] And if I have to wade through all that for just the first one, what chance do I have as a layman with a BS in Math going to understand and accept any future claims. [sic] I believe this is why Wesley said Adam Taylor doesn’t know how to reference correctly.

I don’t know about you, but methinks the man doth protest too much. All this fuss over one of my references, which DOES back up what I say in my post. For the record, here is what Gregg Roberts wrote in regards to this debate over who was actually the lead WTC engineer:
The last sentence might be incorrect and is certainly misleading, given the lack of any mention of John Skilling, who hired Robertson and is described in media accounts and books as the “lead,” “head,” or “chief” structural engineer on the World Trade Center project. In a 1993 Seattle Times article, Skilling was described as the head structural engineer. Robertson was not mentioned there, nor in an article in the Engineering News-Record that discussed the design in 1964. In City in the Sky, Robertson is called the “rising young engineer with Skilling's firm” (p. 159). In Men of Steel, Robertson is referred to during the design phase as “one of the up-and-coming engineers on [Skilling’s] staff,” Skilling’s “young associate,” whom Skilling “assigned… to help him prepare a proposal” to the Port Authority’s board. Skilling’s firm was named Worthington, Skilling, Helle, and Jackson. Clearly, Skilling was a senior partner at the firm and Robertson was his subordinate. The tallest building his firm had designed before then was 22 stories tall. It hardly seems likely that he sat back and smoked cigars while the 34-year-old Robertson – who at the beginning of the project had a bachelor's only in science and not in engineering – went off and designed the Towers without supervision. The project would clearly have had Skilling’s full attention. (pg. 3)
Rather than address any of the other hard facts presented in my post, this person evidently feels that dismissing one reference is grounds to dismiss the whole thing. And so what if you have to “wade through” references to get to the truth? As I pointed out in my initial response to Mr. Power, debunkers have heavily criticized people in the Movement for supposedly not providing enough reference material. Now they complain there is too much. There’s just no way to make these people happy, is there? But the bottom line is that I DO know how to reference, and I make sure my references back up what I say. I’ve taken several writing courses at my university, and have excelled in all of them. And as a business major, I’ve had to write several technical articles that required extensive research and source citing. None of my professors have ever criticized my source citations in any paper I’ve ever written. I’ve already had to point out to Mr. Power that he was wrong in saying that I reference my claims incorrectly. One hopes that Mr. Lui chooses not to follow Mr. Power’s example.

So yeah, I know how to reference, but these people don’t know how to respond.

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