Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Neighbourhood Irrationalist

'Neighborhood Rationalist' has tried to debunk me over at "the official blog for the growing Facebook group, '9/11 conspiracy theories are BS'", a facebook group with 1,217 members (we have more than that just in Ae911truth!). As I pointed out recently, people who call themselves 'rationalists', usually aren't. Unless you define 'rationalist' to mean someone who tries to rationalize everything into their world view. 'Neighborhood Rationalist' is a perfect example of this.

While repeatedly calling us '9/11 deniers', 'wannabes' and 'cargo-cult skeptics', and mocking me for quoting more of Shermer than I needed to, NR oversimplifies my arguments and engages in the usual fact-free straw man attacks.

I accept that the 330 degree downward turn Hani Hanjour supposedly pulled off is not impossible, it is what we're told he did after that is really difficult to explain. In my guide to failing GCSE English (which JM linked to and NR obviously didn't read), I described Hani Hanjour's alleged maneuvers in detail to emphasize the difficulty of the official flight path ...

"Hani Hanjour, a man who was incompetant in a single engine Cessna, then executed a complex 330 degree downward turn, descending 6000 feet in two and a half minutes. He then entered a steep dive and descended a further 2000 feet in 40 seconds, pulled out of this steep dive at 500mph, overcame enormous G-Forces and knocked down five light poles in less than a second while maintaining the perfect trajectory required to hit the ground floor of a conveniently reinforced section of the Pentagon without touching the lawn. And he accomplished all this without being caught on any of the eighty plus cameras surrounding the Pentagon and without attracting the attention of the US air defence"

Now I accept the official story that Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon. My argument is not that the official story is aeronautically impossible, it is that it is inconceivable how a flight school dropout - or any human for that matter - could accomplish such a feat. My belief is that the plane was controlled remotely.

Next, NR simplifies my improbability argument to ...
"Skeptics don't bother to run the numbers... I didn't bother to run the numbers, but they'd probably get some kinda CRAZY number!"
He's right, I haven't run the numbers ... but someone has ...

But of course, NR is a 'rationalist', and rationalists seem to be unable to comprehend improbabilities - most of them after all religiously believe that this originated on Earth from nothing purely by chance - so I expect basing my argument on improbability is a lost cause.

So what about hard facts then? In order to refute my claim that debunkers "[refuse] to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth", NR trots out the usual thermite denialism. We have repeatedly addressed thermite denialism on this blog, in detailed, simple, and very simple rebuttals. NR's denial of the evidence for thermite only supports my original claim.

So who are the real 'wannabes', 'deniers' and 'cargo-cult skeptics' in this debate?