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.