True skepticism is vitally important to real science. Skepticism involves meticulously questioning beliefs or facts. Ideally, every scientist then is a true skeptic. To the scientist, all theories can never be proven true, only proven to be false. All observations must be rigorously verified before they are accepted as fact. All hypotheses must be supported by sound observations. Any one observation that a hypothesis does not predict results in the rejection of that hypothesis. Skeptopathy, or pathological skepticism, on the other hand is not a logical rational pursuit. Skeptopathy is the irrational belief that a theory or a piece evidence is false merely because it is unusual, goes against conventional wisdom, or is simply too difficult to imagine. Skeptopathy then involves an irrational unsupported belief that something is untrue. Skeptopathy involves not fact and scientific rigor but blind faith that an unpleasant notion is false.
In particular, we can see that skeptopathy is rampant in relation to the events of September 11, 2001. Perhaps, the most salient example of this pathological skepticism can be seen in proponents of the official story on how WTC 7 collapsed. 7 World Trade Center (WTC 7) was a 47-story building that fell on 9/11 despite not being hit by a plane. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) attempted to officially explain how WTC 7 fell. Their explanation is documented in the report entitled Final Report of the Collapse of Building 7. This report states that WTC 7 fell solely due to the effects of ordinary office fires. The most dumb-founding aspect of NIST’s theory is that it actually explains absolutely nothing about the WTC 7 collapse, from a purely scientific standpoint. The pronouncements contained within their report are completely unsupported by any facts or legitimate experiments. In fact, NIST’s own analysis actually refutes their own theory. The only experiment they performed supports this refutation. To understand this we need to examine their work under the microscope of falsifiability.
Since Karl Popper, falsifiability is seen as the most important and necessary criteria for determining the scientific validity of a theory. The physicist Steven Hawking gives a good explanation of falsifiability: “A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions which can be tested. If the predictions agree with the observations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proven to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify that theory. (At least that is what is supposed to happen. In practice we often question the accuracy of the observations and the reliability and moral character of those making the observations.)” According to Popper: “If observation shows that the predicted effect is definitely absent, then the theory is simply refuted.”
Does the NIST theory pass the falsification test? Well, due to the law of conservation of energy (first law of thermodynamics), the second law of thermodynamics (entropy) and the law of conservation of momentum, the NIST theory predicts that there can be no free fall at any time if WTC 7 fell solely due to the damage caused by the slow or non-simultaneous effects of fire. A slowly damaged steel-framed building will always have lower resisting structure to slow the rate of acceleration. Free fall however, requires negligible resisting structure. There is neither energy nor momentum available to both remove the considerable structure in the way and to accelerate downward at the rate of gravity. Energy and momentum must be conserved. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Now, think how fast a cast-iron frying pan’s handle heats up. This is entropy, the second law of thermodynamics in action. Slowly heated steel will result in dispersement of the heat throughout a skyscraper’s interconnected steel skeleton since heat always moves from the hotter region to the colder region. Heat does not move towards itself. It will only move away from itself, resulting in cooling. This dispersement will prevent major localized and simultaneous heat-related failures due to normal office fires.
By the notion of falsifiability, then, the fact that free fall occurred for at least 2.25 seconds shows that the NIST theory has been completely refuted by this single observation of free fall alone. In fact, the only experiment NIST performed to validate their hypothesis, a 22-million dollar computer simulation of the WTC 7 fall, also shows no free fall period. NIST’s own experiments support the prediction that there will be no free fall period in a fire-initiated skyscraper collapse. So the NIST theory is obviously falsified or refuted. It is just plain wrong. Basic high school-level science concepts are telling us the NIST WTC 7 theory is false.
Note that falsifiability also plays an important part in the official NIST theory for the collapse of the towers, WTC 1 and WTC 2. A 2009 paper showed that the NIST theory predicts a massive jolt when the upper blocks of the towers hit the lower portions. If you have ever been unfortunate enough to be in a car accident, even a minor one, you will remember the sickening jolt when your car hit another object. When your car hit the object, momentum transferred to the other object resulting in a deceleration or jolt. In each tower, though, there was no significant deceleration observed when the upper block hit the lower block. The fact that no jolt is seen in either WTC tower collapse refutes or falsifies this theory as well. The observation predicted by the hypothesis is not observed. By the notion of falsifiability then, the hypothesis is false.
The much maligned competing theory to the NIST WTC 7 theory is the controlled demolition theory. This theory predicts free fall for eight stories is possible in a skyscraper collapse if all columns are cleanly cut on every floor for eight stories. Can explosive shaped charges cut support columns cleanly? Yes. How about much quieter thermate cutter charges? Yes, as experiments from the engineer Jonathan Cole show. The thermate controlled demolition theory also predicts that a plethora of iron-rich micro-spheres would be produced, as would pools of molten iron and eutectic formations causing intergranular melting of some of the WTC steel. Cole’s experiments confirm these predictions, as do observations obtained elsewhere. The USGS found such iron-rich spheres as did a set of reports prepared for Deutshe Bank by the RJ LeeGroup. Several highly credible eyewitnesses report seeing pools of molten metal. Eutectic formations causing intergranular melting were found on WTC 7 steel.
So we have two theories of the WTC 7 collapse. One theory, the official NIST theory, is completely refuted. It does not explain a single observation. It predicts observations that do not occur. This theory is unscientific in every conceivable sense of the word. The other theory, the controlled demolition theory, appears to explain all known facts of the WTC 7 collapse and all experiments conducted thus far support its predictions. Skyscraper controlled demolition has decades of historical supporting observations. The controlled demolition theory appears to match all criteria of a scientific theory, whereas the NIST theory conforms to not one single criteria for a scientific theory. From the outset, the mainstream media has championed the unscientific official theory and ridiculed the only scientific alternative. Most educated people accept evolution over creationism. They accept round Earth theory over flat Earth theory. They accept the notion of a sun-centric solar system over an Earth-centric solar system. Why then do so many people continue to believe the official theory of 9/11? Conversely why do so few scientists publicly refute the NIST theory when its falsity is so blatantly obvious?
Skeptics regularly scoff at proponents of creationism. Such people are often characterized as extremely unintelligent and irrational. But as shown earlier, the official theory of the WTC 7 collapse has as much scientific merit as does creationism, flat Earth theory or an Earth-centric Universe. James Randi for one believes in the official story of 9/11, as does Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine. These are two of some of the names many people think of when they think of science and critical reasoning. I myself accepted the official theory of 9/11 until 2006. I initially supported the invasion of Afghanistan. I had always considered myself a man of science and a hard-core skeptic. Yet I succumbed to a deception based completely on lies. Instead of questioning an explanation as per my scientific training I simply accepted it without nary a thought. Why?
Why do presumably rational intelligent scientists and otherwise critical thinkers reject science and fact when the subject area is too uncomfortable? The answer is skeptopathy, pathological skepticism. Skeptopathy involves rejecting facts and hypotheses not because they have been refuted or are improbable, but because they are simply too unpleasant to accept as being true. Scientists are people, after all, and subject to basic human irrationality and selfishness. Like many people, some scientists engage in denial. If reality is too difficult to face they will simply ignore it. Like many people too, some scientists are largely self-serving. Despite privately acknowledging the scientific truth, they will pretend that a disturbing hypothesis is false in order to protect or further their funding, careers, or reputation.
The official story of 9/11 is a shaky house of cards. The official story of WTC 7 is the load-bearing card. When you pull out this card, the whole official story of 9/11 comes crashing down. It is time for human society to grow up. It is time to put away childish things. We can no longer blindly trust those in authority over us. Every pronouncement must be accompanied by solid support and not simply be believed in without question. We need to take control over the information we accept and not simply be spoon fed pap from the corporate media. Lastly, we all need to recognize the phenomena of skeptopathy to prevent succumbing to it again. 9/11 may have happened 10 years ago but it is still affecting us. The massive military expenditures are incurring monumental debt. We are the ones paying the interest on this ballooning debt as will our children and our children’s children. We are the ones steadily losing our freedoms. Every new innocent killed in the never-ending “war on terror” adds to our collective blood-soaked guilt. It’s time to think of the comfort of others and not just our own. It’s time to stand up and say no.
2 NIST NCSTAR 1A, Final Report of the Collapse of Building 7 http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201A.pdf
3 Steven Hawking, The Universe in a Nutshell, pg. 31, prgh. 3
4 Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, London: Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1963, pp. 33-39; from Theodore Schick, ed., Readings in the Philosophy of Science, Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2000, pp. 9-13.
5 NIST NCSTAR 1A, Final Report of the Collapse of Building 7, pg. 45. http://wtc.nist.gov/NCSTAR1/PDF/NCSTAR%201A.pdf
6 Prof. Graeme MacQueen and Tony Szamboti, “The Missing Jolt: A Simple Refutation of the NIST-Bazant Collapse Hypothesis,” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 24 – January 2009 http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2008/TheMissingJolt7.pdf
9 Particle Atlas of World Trade Center Dust, pubs.USGS.gov, 2005, http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1165/table_1.html
10 Signature Assessment 130 Liberty Street Property, RJ LeeGroup, Inc., 12/2003, http://www.nyenvirolaw.org/WTC/130%20Liberty%20Street/Mike%20Davis%20LMDC%20130%20Liberty%20Documents/Signature%20of%20WTC%20dust/WTCDustSignature_ExpertReport.051304.1646.mp.pdf
11 Dr. Steven E. Jones, “Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Completely Collapse?” Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 3 – September 2006, http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200609/Why_Indeed_Did_the_WTC_Buildings_Completely_Collapse_Jones_Thermite_World_Trade_Center.pdf
12 Barnett, J. R., Biederman, R.R. and R.D. Sisson, Jr., “An Initial Microstructural Analysis of A36 Steel from WTC Building 7,” Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, 53/12:18 (2001).
14 Michael Shermer, “Fahrenheit 2777”, Scientific American, June 2005. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=fahrenheit-2777