James, thank you for your rational reply concerning 9/11 conspiracy theories. As a flight attendant, the 9/11 event still evokes a deeply emotional response from me. The very first people murdered on that morning were co-workers from my airline. They were flight attendants who had their throats slashed with box cutters so that entry into the flight deck could be achieved; and so began the carnage.
I'm also sickened and disgusted by all the attempts to degrade their deaths by linking them with some vast and improbable (impossible!) government conspiracy. You're right, this website is the last place I expected to encounter touting of 9/11 conspiracy theories which have been thoroughly debunked for the past twelve years. Michael Shermer's book, The Believing Brain, explains in detail how false conspiracy theories are started and reenforced. Highly intelligent and educated people can even fall victim to conspiracy theories. Surprisingly, it's these people who can be the most adamant in their views because they can use their intellect, in a seemingly "educated" manner, to bolster and confirm their false beliefs. A big part of skepticism is, first of all, knowing the facts, but equally important is understanding how our brains process that information and also knowing that our brains naturally and continuously try to deceive us.
equally important is understanding how our brains process that information and also knowing that our brains naturally and continuously try to deceive us.
I love the idea of my brain sneaking along behind me and whispering a stream of deception into my ear.
Hearing whispering in your ear? That's a whole other topic. ;)
Seriously, Michael Shermer's book is a great read. Very insightful about how we form our beliefs first (whether right or wrong) and then search out information to back up and reenforce what we want to believe. It's our natural tendency to form our beliefs back-ass-wards. This is one of the reasons why we tenaciously cling to false beliefs despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.
I think our minds are one of the great final frontiers of exploration.
Sure ... I see 9/11 "truth" as a denial mechanism. 9/11 was a warning - Is it possible anymore to believe that the people who were responsible for 9/11 would not have, with even greater joy, exploded a nuclear bomb in a great American city?
This is a huge threat, and a large part of the population in the USA hides their heads in the sand with "truthism".
We desperately need to explore how we can create a world where people do care about each other, even others with different religious beliefs.
We need to explore why the United States is so hated and what we can do about it. I think if we (the United States) were energy independent so we had less need of forcing a military presence into a very sensitive Middle East situation, we'd be less hated; and we need to get over our very exaggerated fear of nuclear power to do this.
Anyone who really sees the world must be terrified of the future.
It's a great thing that people from all over the world can come together on this site and somewhat understand each other, unburdened from the divisiveness of religion.
@ Shawn: well, aside from The Flying Atheist's response, and the point that steel does not have to melt, it only has to soften, and the WTC buildings were not built of steel frames but trusses (conduct this experiment: take a kitchen match, and hold it under a copper pipe - which won't melt, and a piece of copper wire, which will soften and bend under its own weight).
J-100 commercial jet fuel has an auto-ignition temperature (the temperature at which a self-sustaining fire can burn) of 410 degrees F.
As for melting steel, the problem isn't one of pure temperature, it is one of HEAT CAPACITY and THERMAL CONDUCTIVITY.
"Heat capacity (usually denoted by a capital C, often with subscripts) is a measurable physical quantity that characterizes the ability of a body to store heat as it changes in temperature. It is defined as the rate of change of temperature as heat is added to a body at the given conditions and state of the body (foremost its temperature). In the International System of Units, heat capacity is expressed in units of joules per kelvin. It is termed an "extensive quantity" because it is sensitive to the size of the object (for example, a bathtub of water has a greater heat capacity than a cup of water). Dividing heat capacity by the body's mass yields a specific heat capacity (also called more properly "mass-specific heat capacity" or more loosely "specific heat"), which is an "intensive quantity," meaning it is no longer dependent on amount of material, and is now more dependent on the type of material, as well as the physical conditions of heating." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heat_capaci…
In physics, thermal conductivity, k, is the intensive property of a material that indicates its ability to conduct heat.
It is defined as the quantity of heat, Q, transmitted in time t through a thickness L, in a direction normal to a surface of area A, due to a temperature difference ΔT, under steady state conditions and when the heat transfer is dependent only on the temperature gradient.
Thermal conductivity = heat flow rate × distance / (area × temperature difference) "
So, the problem here is not strictly one of temperature, but how much heat was being pumped into the steel, versus how quickly it could conduct that heat to other areas to cool itself down. If the steel conducts heat away from the fire faster than it is being pumped into the steel, the steel remains rigid. If heat is pumped into the steel faster than it can be conducted away, the temperature of the steel RISES ABOVE THE TEMPERATURE OF THE FIRE, eventually reaching the plastic deformation (softening) temperature. At that point, the steel girders deform, and the rest is purely momemtum (mass times velocity).
The WTC buildings were built from columns supporting steel truss (much like the copper wire in the example) supporting millions of tons of concrete. Now imagine hundreds of millions of tons sitting on steel about as thick as that wire by comparison and then falling when the truss bends on the next, equally-weakened floor with kinetic energy.
Or imagine having a second person set a bowling ball on your head. Your head will support it. Now drop the bowling ball from four feet. Your head will pancake, just like the WTC.
If they had real evidence, they would not be publishing it on YouTube. They would be publishing it in peer-reviewed journals or real news services. Unless of course all the peer-reviewed journals, the news media, and all their editors and writers are in on the conspiracy too.
Note how the conspiracy theorists only show the north side of WTC7 in their videos? Because they cherry-pick the videos. There are plenty of south-side videos of WTC7 showing the massive fires in that building, the massive damage to it, and all the debris raining down from WTC1 on it, but that doesn't support their fantasies, so they never show them in such movies as "Loose Change."
Consider what you ask us to believe with no evidence:
That the government was capable of conducting a conspiracy involving the military, possibly the owners of the building, the airlines, the FAA, the news media, all involving millions of people (including foreign services such as the BBC), all who would have to keep quiet over the full course of the conspiracy to pull it off, numbering in the millions of people. The government does not have enough payoff money for all that. Just to pay off a million people $100,000 each to keep quiet would be $100Billion dollars, and more people would be required than that to do this.
Compare that to the WMD issue over the Iraq War. This same nefarious government with such vast conspiratorial powers and unlimited money to keep them quiet could not plant a couple canisters of mustard gas in a country it occupied to bolster its claims of WMDs to parade before the press.
Occam's Razor shaves quite closely. And Hurricane Katrina is a HAARP project, and FEMA mounted such a successful relief effort for that hurricane. Or perhaps the GOP used HAARP to drive Issac away from the GOP convention in Tampa. (Florida's Panhandle will thank them for that.)
That is the thing about conspiracy theories - they are so easy to rationalise a vast evil government conspiracy, yet the same theorists don't attribute those same skills to planting a couple of artillery shells in an occupied country.
I'm done debunking religion. That is not why I came to this site.