The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

July 13, 2005

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Wed, 13 Jul 2005 02:40:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Fahrenheit 2777 -  9/11 has generated the mother of all conspiracy

Fahrenheit 2777

9/11 has generated the mother of all conspiracy

By Michael Shermer

Scientific American - June 2005 issue


Noted French left-wing activist Thierry Meyssan's 9/11
conspiracy book, L'Effroyable Imposture, became a best-
seller in 2002. But I never imagined such an "appalling
deception" would ever find a voice in America. At a
recent public lecture I was buttonholed by a Michael
Moore-wannabe filmmaker who breathlessly explained that
9/11 was orchestrated by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and the
Central Intelligence Agency as part of their plan for
global domination and a New World Order. That goal was
to be financed by G.O.D. (Gold, Oil, Drugs) and
launched by a Pearl Harbor-like attack on the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon, thereby providing the
justification for war. The evidence was there in the
details, he explained, handing me a faux dollar bill
(with "9-11" replacing the "1," a picture of Bush
supplanting that of Washington) chockablock with Web

In fact, if you type "World Trade Center" and
"conspiracy" into Google, you'll get more than 250,000
hits. From these sites, you will discover that some
people think the Pentagon was hit by a missile; that
U.S. Air Force jets were ordered to "stand down" and
not intercept Flights 11 and 175, the ones that struck
the twin towers; that the towers themselves were razed
by demolition explosives timed to go off soon after the
impact of the planes; that a mysterious white jet shot
down Flight 93 over Pennsylvania; and that New York
Jews were ordered to stay home that day (Zionists and
other pro-Israeli factions, of course, were involved).
Books also abound, including Inside Job, by Jim Marrs;
The New Pearl Harbor, by David Ray Griffin; and 9/11:
The Great Illusion, by George Humphrey. The single best
debunking of this conspiratorial codswallop is in the
March issue of Popular Mechanics, which provides an
exhaustive point-by-point analysis of the most
prevalent claims.

The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained
anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies
at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking (as well as
creationism, Holocaust denial and the various crank
theories of physics). All the "evidence" for a 9/11
conspiracy falls under the rubric of this fallacy. Such
notions are easily refuted by noting that scientific
theories are not built on single facts alone but on a
convergence of evidence assembled from multiple lines
of inquiry.

For example, according to,
steel melts at a temperature of 2,777 degrees
Fahrenheit, but jet fuel burns at only 1,517 degrees F.
No melted steel, no collapsed towers. "The planes did
not bring those towers down; bombs did," says Wrong. In an article in the
Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society
and in subsequent interviews, Thomas Eagar, an
engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology, explains why: steel loses 50 percent of its
strength at 1,200 degrees F; 90,000 liters of jet fuel
ignited other combustible materials such as rugs,
curtains, furniture and paper, which continued burning
after the jet fuel was exhausted, raising temperatures
above 1,400 degrees F and spreading the inferno
throughout each building. Temperature differentials of
hundreds of degrees across single steel horizontal
trusses caused them to sag--straining and then breaking
the angle clips that held the beams to the vertical
columns. Once one truss failed, others followed. When
one floor collapsed onto the next floor below, that
floor subsequently gave way, creating a pancaking
effect that triggered each 500,000-ton structure to
crumble. Conspiricists argue that the buildings should
have fallen over on their sides, but with 95 percent of
each building consisting of air, they could only have
collapsed straight down.

All the 9/11 conspiracy claims are this easily refuted.
On the Pentagon "missile strike," for example, I
queried the would-be filmmaker about what happened to
Flight 77, which disappeared at the same time. "The
plane was destroyed, and the passengers were murdered
by Bush operatives," he solemnly revealed. "Do you mean
to tell me that not one of the thousands of
conspirators needed to pull all this off," I retorted,
"is a whistle-blower who would go on TV or write a
tell-all book?" My rejoinder was met with the same grim
response I get from UFOlogists when I ask them for
concrete evidence: Men in Black silence witnesses, and
dead men tell no tales.

[Michael Shermer is publisher of Skeptic
( His latest book is Science

portside (the left side in nautical parlance) is a news,
discussion and debate service of the Committees of
Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. It aims to
provide varied material of interest to people on the

For answers to frequently asked questions:

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change settings:

To submit material, paste into an email and send to:
<> (postings are moderated)

For assistance with your account:

To search the portside archive:

an accident waiting to happen
a hospitable call for help

the analog vibration meter responds to perhaps .1 hz through 1000 hz.
the wall is scarred with crashes

black rubber designates histories of pain and suffering
the convulsive body flees the automobile

the world is a silent film
only you know how to make it speak
you are making yourself speak
i am tired of saying this


Generated by Mnemosyne 0.12.