On 9-11 Truthers
***Bonus: A lesson in how to take down a 9-11 twoofer in the comments!
I posted most of these comments over at Screw Loose Change, but I wanted to expand them a bit in light of the upcoming anniversary of 9-11.
Conspiracists, particularly of the 9-11 Truther stripe, love to hide behind the flexibility of “just asking questions” and proposing “theories,” which are themselves are not proof of anything or arguments against something.
Interestingly, they fight facts and logic cited to them repeatedly, often with a ferocious tenacity, because when facts and simple logic disprove or blow holes in their carefully laid theories, they take it a personal insult. The theory that they so intelligently, so lovingly crafted in their fevered little brains, when presented with factual reality, is reduced to nothing more than the vapors of an overactive and quite frankly disturbed imagination. Therefore (in their minds), proving them irrevocably wrong is an intellectual embarrassment to a Truther - a crushing hammer blow to their personal self-esteem. After all, they’ve already positioned themselves as your intellectual superior by suggesting that YOU don’t know what you think you know about what happened on 9-11.
This inevitably leads to problems. 9-11 conspiracy theories have no internal consistency. We’ve all noticed time and time again the “leaders” of this conglomeration of fringe individuals have trouble agreeing with each other. The quarrel over details like whether or not there were planes. They disagree on which witnesses are to be trusted (even when the overwhelming majority of them vehemently disagree with any of their versions of events). They bicker over which “experts” are more credible than the others in their “movement.” They ostracize each other from their respective cliques when cognitive dissonance caused by competing theories becomes too great to bear. Egos are constantly at war. The 9-11 Truther cult is quite literally another reality in our midst.
The ongoing evolution of these “theories” is, in large part, logically what discredits them. Take, for example, the following mish-mosh of conspiracy nonsense that has evolved, devolved and otherwise slaughtered its own internal consistency as more facts are slowly (and I emphasize SLOWLY) incorporated into the theories to make them (in the minds of the Truthers) more palatable to the skeptical, rational minds of intelligent people:
There are no planes. There are planes, but they’re remote controlled from pods under their wings. Then they’re not remote controlled (although now you have the hangers-on in both camps), and they’re hijacked. There’s a possibility that space beams and lasers from underground bunkers were controlling them. There was a controlled demolition. It doesn’t matter that no explosives were seen, heard, found, or that they won’t ever be, but it LOOKED like a controlled demolition. But they weren’t hijacked by Islamists. OK- they were Islamists, but they were just the patsies. Well, maybe there were two planes who flew into WTC 1 and 2, but there was a Pentagon missile. We can prove that – ignore the hundreds of witnesses who saw a plane crash into the Pentagon, the giant whole and pieces of fuselage, and the families who heard their loved ones’ final terrified moments from the confines of phone calls – they’re just fakes. Well, maybe they’re real after hearing the NORAD tapes, but flight 93 wasn’t real. I haven’t seen the bodies, so they’re not real. Don’t listen to the coroner who examined the human remains – he’s a government worker. WTC7 was a controlled demolition – it just fell for no reason. OK – maybe fires were raging in it all day, and the debris from the Twin Towers falling on it weakened its unusual structure, but fire can’t melt steel. We know fire has never melted steel. OK – so nobody was actually claiming fire melted steel except for us, but it still isn’t possible that fire caused the for-some-reason-fireproofed steel to lose half of its strength…we have professors who disagree with the “government conspiracy” perpetrated on the sheeple, but we don’t actually agree or even know that the “official government story” is, but David Ray Griffin wrote a book that is as irrefutable as Newton’s law of gravity, etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum.It just goes on and on and on like that. The eternal game of Truther grab-ass. There is no end to it, because there is no end to the human imagination. The Truther imagination is even more fertile, because it is tinged with paranoia. No matter how many times they’re shown to be wrong and they realize it, no matter how many facts they’re shown and reluctantly (after fierce internal battles) realize that the facts trump their carefully constructed fantasies, no matter how many stupid theories they previously stood behind as if they were gospel, only to shift around later and pretend they never believed them, they will keep going.
All (certainly most) Truthers seem to agree on central, faith-based premises like “BOOSH is evil, the government lies, 9-11 was an inside job,” but they have no real coherent or consistent way to factually prove this (not to mention a limited and selective understanding of contemporary history). With no way to prove what they feel to be true, they resort to forming a belief system devoid of facts, with those empty round spaces ready to be filled with squares, stars and wavy lines feverishly distorted and hammered out of their original shapes in a desperate attempt to make them fill the holes. Quote mining, lying, selective and limited interpretations of information (eg., believing some witnesses while ignoring the majority of others), misleading statements, logical fallacies - they're all the glue holding the good ship Truther together (recently, the fissures and cracks are widening, as the heads of the cult vie for "top Truther"). It would be more amusing to watch than it already is if it wasn't so craven and disrespectful to the victims of 9-11.
And when they have to incorporate facts like (after years of denial) the hijackers were real and were Islamic terrorists, you can almost hear their hearts leap into their throats. That causes a large problem for about one half (or more) of the “movement,” in that 9-11 wasn’t just a figment of their overactive, under-informed imaginations after all.
That blob of 9-11 nutter woo woo I just threw together above is a partial approximation of an ongoing creation dating from the time the smoke was still clearing over Ground Zero until the present day. And while I single our George Bush as a popular object of derision among the Truthers, this nuttery often crosses party lines, or avoids them altogether.Just remember this. When you see screaming, bull-horn wielding minions of black-shirted automatons on the news this September 11, that theirs is a failed, lying, dishonest, struggling group of intellectually immature individuals who can’t seem to reconcile their discomfort with contemporary world events, history or politics, and who exist in many cases strictly to be contrarian to one of the most heinous crimes in history. There’s a reason their movement is populated to the hilt with Holocaust deniers, moon landing deniers, JFK conspiracists, UFO enthusiasts, disenchanted teenagers and aging black-helicopter loonies.
They want your attention, and latching onto either the most tragic or the most whacked-out occurrences in contemporary culture is their way of getting it. Refute, ridicule and push these morons off of the graves of the 9-11 dead and back to the fringes of society where they belong.
If you want to delve further into the facts, I heartily recommend reading through these sites:
James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) 9-11 conspiracy forum (a curse word among Truthers)
Screw Loose Change (great fun and lots of info)
Gravy's 9-11 Research links (the best place to start serious debunking, includes many video links)
Debunking 9-11 (great go-to site)
9-11 Myths (great go-to site)
Journal of Debunking 9-11 (papers by prominent debunkers)
Loose Change Internet Detectives (eviscerates Loose Change)