Quoting Janet Holmes "My problem with people who admit to being religious is that they have conclusively proved their inability to think straight”. (See under “Origin of Atheist Pride”, page 3 of 6, dated 25 May 2009):

Janet is right. How can people be relied upon to make independent, logical, responsible, well-founded judgements in other matters too? This can be important in all fields but is especially significant for local, national and world government.

How sad it is that Earth's greatest evolutionary success is afflicted thus.

How long will it be before the world's majority are atheist, and the religious universally recognised for the aberrants that they are?

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What I am saying is that a godless world is likely to be the true state of the universe, while god-based views are aberrations from reality----i.e. fictions invented by humanity.
Gods exist only inside human heads; religion is its outward manifestation.
The worst book of fiction ever written: the Bible states that man was made by "God". The reality is that "God" was made in the mind of man./
The implication here is that atheists are all capable of making independent, logical, responsible, well-founded judgements. It is fallacious to assume we're any less susceptible to the cognitive biases underlying some forms of religious thought.
Re Mark's points
the certainty is that all godbots demonstrate by their acceptance of groundless faiths that they do not "think straight" as regards religious analysis.
There is no implication that ALL atheists are capable of making "independent, logical, responsible, well-founded judgements"---but some are. At least atheists, in expressing non-belief in fictitious gods, do not expose the fallacious spiritual thinking that theists do.
That atheists express non-belief in fictitious gods says nothing about our beliefs regarding more immediate concerns. You're supposing, on the basis of a lack of fallacious spiritual thinking, that atheists don't possess other forms of fallacious thinking in similar measure.

I will happily retract my argument if I see some data demonstrating that atheists in general are consistently and significantly more logical thinkers when it comes to important issues. Until then various pieces of evidence suggest that we're not (unless you assume the results are mostly contributed by theists, but that assumption would also require substantiation). For example: http://yudkowsky.net/rational/cognitive-biases
You rock, Mark!

As an example of "more immediate concerns", I am astounded with the cognitive biases and fallacious thinking displayed by so many individuals that post comments on the blogs found on finance.yahoo.com and similar sites. If we were to discuss economic philosophy (which I would like to try elsewhere in the A-Nexus), it would become quickly apparent how divisive and irrational some atheists can be (although it would always be relative to those who hold the opposite views).
Actually, in my experience most atheists have very shallow, almost comic-book understandings of theism, which is reflected by their frequent attacks of what are in fact straw men. Interestingly too, most atheists I have known are crypto-supernaturalists, who can say things such as Man is "Earth's greatest evolutionary success" without realizing that it is meaningless by their own (claimed) logic.
Good way of explaining it. Thanks.
Some very interesting thoughts. I'm not sure I completely understand what you're saying here:

"slip from the drugged side of reality to desparity." - ( I couldn't find the word desparity) If the religious do, by mistake, slip to despairity (despondency), does that mean they have reached the place that atheists already inhabit?

"compensate their lack of spiritual strength" - this seems to say that religious people are lacking something that atheists have: "spiritual strength". Could this be expressed as "emotional fortitude in the face of reality the way it is"?

Can atheists be guilty of using chemical substances to temporarily alter their conscious perception of "reality the way it is" using the rationalization that it brings them pleasure, therefore it is rational to do so?
I think the religious are indeed aberrants in that they labor against the survival of the human being. Witness the recent accounting of Roman Catholic Orphanage molestations perpetrated by clergy for decades. The degree of religious aberration is undenyable!
Actually, regardless of the truth of atheism, theism is and was the social norm--- statistically, and in terms of "common sense" throughout human history; exceedingly brilliant minds--- for example Newton, or my namesake, Cicero--- were, and can still be, relied on for their "independent, logical, responsible, well-founded judgements in other matters too..."; the proper contrast is "atheism vs theism", or "areligious vs religious", and not "atheism vs religion"; local, national, and world government have been run just fine, thank you, by theists such a Washington, Wilson, the Roosevelts, Churchhill, Carter, Clemeneau, Guliani, etc, compared with infamous atheists such as Stalin or Pol Pot; "evolutionary success" is predicated on an external standard of the good, else it is internally, personally proclaimed and thus relativistic, ie meaningless--- how does one smuggle in a universal good via a random, blind mechanism?... certainly not a logical, well-founded judgement.

I could go on. Do not mistake your opinion, even though it may be correct in one area of analysis, with generalizations about all human endeavors. Linear, and ultimately ideological, approaches to the wide, rich diversity of human exploration and thought are unbecoming of an otherwise commendable intellectual.
"...and world government have been run just fine, thank you, by theists such a Washington, Wilson, the Roosevelts, Churchhill, Carter, Clemeneau, Guliani, etc, compared with infamous atheists such as Stalin or Pol Pot;"
Rudolph Guliani will never be rehabilitated for president of this theocratically run republic after building 7 fell.. and neither of the past Presidents Bush were secularists! That's my opinion!!

Explosives Found in
World Trade Center Dust
Scientists Discover Both Residues
And Unignited Fragments
Of Nano-Engineered Thermitic Pyrotechnics
In Debris From the Twin Towers
Jim Hoffman
Version 1.0, April 3, 2009
Version 1.01, April 9, 2009

The scientific paper Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe conclusively shows the presence of unignited aluminothermic explosives in dust samples from the Twin Towers, whose chemical signature matches previously documented aluminothermic residues found in the same dust samples. The present review of the paper and related research is intended to summarize those findings for the non-technical reader. To that end, I first provide a short introduction to the subject of aluminothermic explosives, then outline the methods and results of analysis of the dust samples, and finally explore the significance of these findings.

* Introduction
* Aluminothermics 101
o Composition
o Reaction Rate
o Energy Density and Power Density
o Energetic Nanocomposites
* Aluminothermics at the WTC
o Aluminothermic Residues: Iron-Rich Spheroids
o Unignited Aluminothermics: Bi-Layered Chips
+ Provenance of the Samples
+ Physical Structure of the Chips
+ Chemical Composition of the Chips
+ Thermal Behavior of the Chips
+ Ignition Residue Analysis
+ Conclusions
* Discussion
o FAQ: Controlled Demolition With Aluminothermics
+ How Could Thermite, an Incendiary, Demolish the Towers, When Buildings Are Normally Demolished Using High-Explosive Cutter Charges?
+ Why Weren't Demolition Charges Triggered by the Plane Crashes or the Subsequent Fires?
+ How Could the Demolition Equipment Have Been Installed in the Twin Towers Without Tenants Noticing?
* Glossary of Analytical Methods
* References

Aluminothermics 101
Image from AmazingRust.com of a simple thermite reaction involving iron oxide and aluminum. This video shows thermite melting through a car.

Aluminothermic reactions are a class of energy-releasing oxidation-reduction chemical reactions in which aluminum reduces the oxide of metal such as iron (stealing its oxygen). Aluminothermics range from low-tech preparations that take seconds to react and therefore release nearly all their energy as heat and light, to advanced engineered materials with accelerated reaction rates that yield explosive powers similar to conventional high explosives.

Backers of the official account of 9/11, including NIST officials, have dismissed evidence that aluminothermics were used to destroy the World Trade Center skyscrapers, claiming that thermite's slow reaction rate makes it an unsuitable tool for demolishing buildings. Despite repeated requests by scientists and researchers to address the potential role of advanced aluminothermics with high explosive power, officials have refused to acknowledge such materials.

2 Al + Fe2O3 → Al2O3 + 2 Fe

The canonical thermite reaction is simple, lacks the aromatic hydrocarbons and nitrogen found in conventional high explosives, and is highly exothermic.

The most familiar aluminothermic material is thermite, a mixture of a powdered metallic fuel such as aluminum, and a powdered oxide of another metal such as iron or copper. The thermite reaction involves the transfer of oxygen from the oxidizer (metal oxide) to the fuel (metal).

Because oxygen atoms bind more tightly to aluminum atoms than to iron or copper atoms, the reaction releases large amounts of energy and is described as highly exothermic. Whereas primitive thermite preparations release most of their energy as heat, modern preparations, such as found in munitions employed by the US military in recent decades, produce a targeted mix of heat and pressure through an accelerated but controlled reaction rate.
Relationship of particle size to reaction rate (above) and of reaction rate to the form of energy released (below)
Reaction Rate

The reaction rate of a thermitic material determines how quickly the metal fuel and oxidizer react, and therefore how quickly the energy is released. Whereas the energy density of an explosive is determined by its chemistry, its power density is determined by its reaction rate, which, in the case of a thermitic material, is determined by its physical characteristics. Specifically, the reaction rate increases with the fineness with which the metal and oxide powders are milled, and the uniformity with which they are mixed.

Because the reactants of thermite must be milled very finely to attain explosive reaction rates, such thermites are often referred to as nano-thermites. Such nano- or "super-thermites" typically have particle diameters on the order of a few hundred nanometers. The reaction rate in turn determines the destructive character of the material. Whereas a cup of conventional thermite will melt a hole clear through a car's engine block, the same quantity of nano-thermite will blow the car apart.
Energy Density and Power Density
material energy density
by mass:
MJ/KG by volume:
aluminothermic incendiaries
(Al + Fe2O3) 4.13 18.40
Copper Thermite
(Al + CuO) 4.00 20.90
nitro-aromatic explosives
(Trinitrotoluene) 4.61 6.92

In terms of energy density, thermite is roughly comparable to TNT, packing slightly less energy per unit of mass but about three times as much energy per unit of volume. In terms of power density, thermitic preparations range across a wide spectrum, whose upper end appears to be comparable to conventional high explosives. 1 2

Because thermites have historically had much lower power densities than conventional high explosives, they are classified as incendiaries rather than explosives -- a classification that has been exploited to conceal the use of aluminothermics in the World Trade Center attack. Despite the fact that high-tech aluminothermics have existed and been used by the military since the mid-1990s or earlier, methods of identifying explosive residues at crime scenes are frequently limited to analysis of nitro-aromatic explosives. 3
Energetic Nanocomposites

There is much more to the technology of aluminothermic weapons than milling and homogenizing metal and metal oxide powders. Energetic materials designed for the military -- which are used in applications spanning propellants, armor-piercing munitions, and reactive armor -- are required to fulfill a range of requirements including: "high density, good mechanical properties, low sensitiveness, good stability, low cost, ease of manufacturing, and environmental acceptability." 4 To achieve these requirements, scientists developing advanced aluminothermic materials have learned to embed the fine powders in a carbon- and silicon-rich matrix. Kevin Ryan explains:

The mixing [of ultra fine grain (UFG) aluminum and UFG metal oxides] is accomplished by adding these reactants to a liquid solution where they form what are called "sols", and then adding a gelling agent that captures these tiny reactive combinations in their intimately mixed state (LLNL 2000). The resulting "sol-gel" is then dried to form a porous reactive material that can be ignited in a number of ways. 5

Graphic from a DTIC (Defense Technical Information Center) Review publication on advanced energetic materials.

Energetic materials such as aluminothermic sol-gels have been an active area of research in the US national labs since the mid-1990s or earlier, including under the auspices of NIST itself -- a fact documented by Kevin Ryan in his extensively footnoted article The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites. Also called "metastable intermolecular composites", "energetic nano-composites", "nano-structured energetic materials", or just "nanoenergetics", these materials have been the subject of numerous conferences, research papers, and patents in the past two decades. 6 7 8 9 10 11 It's also not difficult to find published papers on methods of reliably igniting such materials with minute low-power devices -- techniques which could be exploited in an all-wireless implementation of a controlled demolition. 12
Aluminothermics at the WTC

The discovery of unexploded super-thermite in the WTC dust augments a large body of evidence pointing to the use of aluminothermic materials in the destruction of the skyscrapers. The present review looks only at the evidence of explosives found in the dust and debris expelled from the Twin Towers.

Even before WTC dust was subjected to the kind of microscopic scrutiny described in Active Thermitic Material Discovered, several features of the dust analysis published by the USGS pointed to the use of aluminothermics. For example, the USGS data shows high levels of barium -- a fact that is difficult to explain, barring pyrotechnics. The high levels of iron and aluminum in the dust -- each ranging from 1.3 to 4.1 percent of the dust samples by weight -- also appears anomalous, although prosaic sources of the metals can be imagined.
Aluminothermic Residues: Iron-Rich Spheroids

Micro-spheroidal particles in WTC dust consisting mostly of iron were documented in at least two scientific reports by 2005: a compilation of data by the USGS and a report for the owners of a skyscraper adjacent to the World Trade Center complex that sustained heavy damage in the attack. 13

Two images of iron-rich spheroids from the USGS Particle Atlas of World Trade Center Dust. 14
Illustration from a damage assessment report prepared for Deutsche Bank, the owners of a skyscraper severely damaged by projectiles from the South Tower. The report was commissioned, in part, to determine the nature and extent of contamination of the building, which is slated for demolition.

Although it may be overlooked, the significance of these nearly microscopic iron-rich droplets is not difficult to grasp. Molten iron is one of the two principal products of the thermite reaction, the other being aluminum oxide, which tends to dissipate as an aerosol. The molten iron condenses and solidifies into particles whose size is a function of the thermite's reaction rate. Fast-acting super-thermites produce tiny droplets that become very nearly spherical due to surface tension.

The inescapable fact is that these spheroidal droplets in the WTC dust look exactly like the products of the combustion of nano-thermite explosives, and their discovery in consistently substantial concentrations in diverse samples of dust from the day of the attack weighs heavily against theories that they were generated by something other than the Twin Towers' destruction. Elemental analysis of these droplets described below would show that they are dead ringers for known aluminothermic residues.

In a 2007 paper, Steven Jones described the importance of the iron-rich microspheres. 15
Dr. Steven E. Jones describing molten metal seen at Ground Zero.

As usual, we search for possible prosaic explanations for these metallic spherules in the WTC dust. The most obvious possible source is the melting of large quantities of steel in the buildings followed somehow by formation of tiny droplets of molten steel. As discussed above, however, steel melts at about 1538ºC (2800ºF) – and the temperatures in the buildings were no where near [sic] hot enough to melt steel, and certainly not in large quantities required for the amounts seen in the dust (and pouring out of the South Tower before collapse). Furthermore, we have looked at the chemical compositions of a number of iron-rich spherules as well as that of steel, and the compositions are not the same at all. It should not be surprising, however, as we analyze more spherules to find some that are steel-like in composition, assuming that thermite cutter-charges were in fact used to cut through steel. We should then find both steel- and thermite-residue spherules.

Could these droplets be due to molten aluminum alloy (from the jets) striking rusty steel and/or other office materials to somehow generate the iron-rich spheres? We performed experiments with molten aluminum poured onto rusty steel, then onto crushed gypsum and concrete (on the rusty steel) – and observed no formation of iron-rich droplets at all nor any sign of vigorous chemical reactions.

After addressing arguments that the iron-rich droplets could have been produced by the rubble pile or clean-up operation -- the dust samples were collected too early and were too distant from the site to have been thus contaminated -- Jones makes a rough estimate of the total quantities of reactants involved in the attack based on the fraction of the dust comprising the iron-rich spheres.

One can estimate the implied amount of thermite needed to generate so many iron-rich spheres in the WTC dust. In a sample of 32.1 grams of WTC dust, I observed with the unaided eye two metallic-looking spheres, in addition to the micron-sized spherules collected using a magnet. The mm-size spheres proved to be iron-aluminum rich. The mass of these two larger spheres (0.012g) found in this sample can be used to provide a crude estimate of the fraction of iron-rich spheres in the dust: 0.012g/32.1g = 0.04%. If the mass of the WTC dust was about 30,000 tons, then the iron-rich spherule content would be of the order of ten tons. This is a very rough estimate based on one small sample, and is only provided to give an idea of the amount of thermite-type reactants and products which may be involved here. An investigation well beyond the scope of this paper would look for purchases of aluminum and iron-oxide powders (and sulfur) in multi-ton-quantities prior to 9/11/2001.

A paper published a year earlier than Active Thermitic Material Discovered showed that metal-rich spheroids in WTC dust had iron-to-oxygen ratios indicating abundant elemental iron, such as found in thermite residues. It also pointed out several other features of WTC remains that indicated exposure to temperatures far above what could be produced by fires burning jet fuel and office contents, including: iron-rich and silicate spherules, volatilized lead, a molybdenum spherule, and materials with a "Swiss-cheese appearance". 16 Molybdenum has a very high melting point of 2617ºC.
Unignited Aluminothermics: Bi-Layered Chips

If finding aluminothermic residues in the form of spheroidal micro-droplets was like finding fired bullets at a crime scene, then the discoveries presented in Active Thermitic Material Discovered are like finding the gun loaded with several rounds of unspent ammunition that match the fired bullets.
Fig. 2 from Active Thermitic Material Discovered showing chips from the four different dust samples.
Map of Lower Manhattan showing locations of the four samples (blue points) and the Twin Towers (red points).

First described by Steven Jones in late 2007, distinctive chips found in the dust samples had red and gray layers, were weakly attracted to a magnet, and were composed mostly of iron, oxygen, aluminum, silicon, and carbon. Jones and his colleagues subsequently subjected the chips to detailed analysis using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray energy-dispersive spectroscopy (XEDS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), and published their results in the Open Chemical Physics Journal.
Provenance of the Samples

The paper's findings are based primarily on the analysis of particles derived from four separate samples of dust generated by the destruction of the Twin Towers, samples whose provenance the paper describes in detail. Each of the samples was collected by a different individual who has described the time, place, and methods of collecting and storing their sample. Each individual collected dust that had settled directly after the fall of one of the Twin Towers, with the one exception, Janette MacKinlay, who collected dust when allowed to re-enter her apartment a week after it was carpeted with shovel-fulls of dust and debris from the South Tower.
Physical Structure of the Chips

Chips having distinctive and similar physical features were found in all four of the dust samples, ranging in length from from about 0.2 to 3 mm. Each chip has stratified layers of two types: a red layer and a lighter gray layer, where each layer is between roughly 10 and 100 microns in thickness. Despite their small size, the chips are readily visible in the samples because of their flat shapes, distinctive color, and layered structure. The chips are tough despite being as thin as eggshells. (The article continues, look it up; google the Collapse of Building 7 World Trade Center)




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