| The magazine purports to value the scientific method but omits or distorts the vast body of scientific forensic evidence available in the aftermath of the destruction of the WTC Towers.
For 35 years, Skeptical Inquirer has fought the good fight. The bimonthly magazine publication of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry seeks to “criticize claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience,” promote “a balanced view of science in the mass media” and “teach critical thinking in schools,” according to CSI founder Paul Kurtz. Despite this noble mission, Skeptical Inquirer recently delivered what its author probably believed was a fiery smack-down to the 9/11 Truth movement.
Rutgers sociology professor Ted Goertzel’s double-length cover story in the January/February 2011 issue, “The Conspiracy Meme – Why Conspiracy Theories Appeal and Persist,” lumps the 9/11 Truth movement in with the “faked Moon landing,” and “AIDS was a government plot to kill gay people.” While Goertzel does some analysis and draws conclusions regarding the “conspiracy mindset,” when it comes to 9/11, he ignores the most important evidence. He indulges himself in ad hominems and other fallacies that, in particular he should know about, given how he and the periodical for which he is writing have positioned and marketed themselves. He’s dismissive and even derisive – in violation of the magazine’s stated policies. To his credit, it appears Goertzel did watch Loose Change: An American Coup, but that seems to be about the extent of his actual 9/11 research:
“Loose Change raises a long series of questions illustrated by tendentious information, such as the fact that the fires in the World Trade Center were not hot enough to melt steel. But no one claimed that the steel had melted, only that it had gotten hot enough to weaken and collapse, which it did.”
Perhaps Mr. Goertzel should have done some actual skeptical inquiry of his own. If he had, he surely would have found numerous quotes making precisely the false claim that office and jet fuel fires can melt structural steel:
Stanford University Professor Steven Block: “The intense heat could have melted the buildings’ cores, allowing for the collapses, he suggested.”
Structural engineer Chris Wise: “It was the fire that killed the buildings. There’s nothing on earth that could survive those temperatures with that amount of fuel burning. The columns would have melted, the floors would have melted and eventually they would have collapsed one on top of each other.”
Engineer Hyman Brown: “Structural steel is fireproofed to last between one and two hours, which it did, and then steel melts.”
Structural engineer Richard Ebeltoft: “Richard Ebeltoft, a structural engineer and University of Arizona architecture lecturer, speculated that flames fueled by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel melted the building’s [sic] steel supports.”
NewScientist.com: “Eventually raging fires melted the supporting steel struts, but the time delay allowed hundreds of people to escape.”
Reasonable diligence would also have revealed numerous eyewitness accounts of “pools of molten steel” – which of course does not imply that jet fuel or office fires were the cause. FDNY firefighter Joseph O’Toole reported beams being lifted from the catacombs of ground zero “dripping with molten steel.” Or the reports by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey, the engineering firm RJLee Group, and physics professor Steven Jones, all of whom found and described iron-rich microspheres, which could only have been formed by being molten as they fell through the air during the destruction of the WTC twin towers. What witnesses naturally thought was molten steel turns out to be molten iron, the reaction product of the incendiary thermite, which can cut through structural steel like a hot knife through butter. All this is only one example of the vast body of evidence ignored by Goertzel – evidence of the controlled demolition of all three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.
According to Goertzel, “The more vast and powerful the alleged conspiracy, the less likely that it could have remained undiscovered.” He thus feels that it is highly unlikely that the Moon landing could have been a hoax, since it would entail “the complicity of thousands,” whereas claims of a conspiracy such as Watergate are far more plausible and worth investigating since only a small handful of personnel were involved.
However, this theory falls to the ground when one notes that massive secret projects have succeeded, such as the Manhattan Project – surely familiar to Goertzel – and Operation Gladio, which involved undeniable terrorist acts, planned and executed against European citizens at the behest of NATO governments for more than three decades, which nonetheless remained unknown and unreported until years later, and still remains virtually unknown in the United States.
Further, Goertzel misses that the deception known as 9/11 has been exposed by hundreds of researchers, validated by the 1,400 architects and engineers who have signed the AE911Truth petition calling on Congress for a new investigation. These researcher/activists have been assiduously ignored and lambasted by the US corporate and alternative media.
Perhaps Mr. Goertzel is to be forgiven for not knowing that hundreds of whistleblowers and first responders have also been crying foul for a decade about other aspects of the official account. A majority of the 9/11 Commissioners have publicly stated that they were repeatedly lied to by the Bush administration, the CIA, FBI and NORAD, their investigation efforts blocked. Whatever is behind the cover-up, for Goertzel to deny that there has even been a cover-up is irresponsible.
In 2009, I contacted CSI Executive Director Barry Karr about running a piece on the evidence that has been uncovered by 9/11 researchers. This was his response:
CSI/Skeptical Inquirer is, for the most part, a volunteer organization. We do not have a staff of writers that we can assign certain topics. In the broadest sense we act as kind of a clearinghouse of information. I think we do a good service to the public disseminating a good deal of information on a wide variety of topics. The problem is, however, that sometimes it is difficult for us to have material on topics of specific interest to individuals if one of our outside volunteers hasn’t looked into it. I cannot tell you then, when and if this particular subject will be covered in the Skeptical Inquirer.”
This means that Goertzel, who has been investigating the “conspiracy theory mindset” for two decades wrote his piece “on spec”. This also means that we now have an opportunity to respond in kind. To its credit, Skeptical Inquirer is known for allowing responses from those criticized in the magazine. Stay tuned for an official response from AE911Truth. In the meantime, feel free to write polite letters to Skeptical Inquirer’s editor Kendrick Frazier saying while you support their mission, they missed the boat on this one.
Let’s turn this feeble smack-down into an effective opportunity.
Jim Cirile is a screenwriter living in Los Angeles.