Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Procrastination, not Conspiracy

Apparently I'm being gagged, according to the anti-9/11 truth tabloid masquerading as a skeptical website, ScrewLooseChange. Last month, I accidentally prematurely published a draft post I was working on (still not used to this new blogger), and even though it was only up for like a minute, someone was able to take a screen grab and share it with the JREF community. In the leaked draft post I express my concerns about AE911Truth promoting the red/gray chips as a key piece of evidence in their film. My silence since that post was leaked has led Pat Curley and many SLC commenters to suspect that I am being gagged by John-Michael and Adam. I love it when debunkers engage in conspiracy theorizing!

First of all, JM at least (not sure about Adam) actually shares my concerns. He is currently in the process of writing a post about the red-gray chips that addresses Millette's report and outlines an upcoming, blind study of the WTC dust commissioned by Mark Basile.

Second, the reason I never finished the "Red chips or Blue Pills" post and haven't responded to the leak until now is simple: procrastination. I've been suffering from blogger burnout recently and keep starting posts and never finishing them. On my other blog, Skeptic Denialism, I haven't published anything since December and have unfinished posts going back to last August! I was also going to write about Basile's study in my Blue Pills post and wanted to wait until it was officially going ahead before I finished it.

Last month, I spent two weeks writing a lengthy response to Adam Savage's comments at the Reason Rally in March, in which I outlined various 9/11 "myths" the MythBusters could easily test (from both truthers and debunkers) and basically told Savage to do a 9/11 episode or shut up. When I finally finished, I hit publish and for some reason only the first two paragraphs were published while the rest of the post was memory holed into oblivion and I ended up losing all my work. Since then I've been even more fed up with blogging.

You gotta love debunkers. When Sibel Edmonds gets officially, federally gagged, it's no big deal. When I don't blog for a month, it's a conspiracy!

So where do I stand now on the nanothermite issue? The last three years, I've emphasized the red-gray chips as a key piece of evidence in most of my YouTube videos[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] - even my song[8] - and have uploaded both videos of chip ignitions to my channel[9] [10] and devoted entire videos to debunking paint claims[11] [12]. On this blog, Adam, JM and myself have written over fifty articles defending the work of Harrit et al against debunker criticisms. We've all invested a lot of time into promoting and defending this work, and I doubt you'll find more passionate endorsers of it than us. But since reading Millette's report and some of Oystein's JREF posts, doubts have formed in my mind. I haven't switched sides just yet, but I am more neutral. I think Oystein makes an interesting point about the similarity in composition to LaClede primer...

And I can see what people are saying when they say the Al/Si/O plate-like particles look more like Kaolin than nanoaluminum...


But I still think the chemical behaviour is key. Even super JREFers Oystein and Ivan Kminek have admitted that they don't know why primer paint would produce iron-rich spheres when burned.

My main frustration is lack of data. I keep hearing how Harrit, Farrer et al have a lot more data than what was published in the Active Thermitic Material... paper, including TEM images, FTIR plots and XEDS spectra of chips (a)-(d) prior to washing, data that allegedly undermines certain debunker criticisms (such as Oystein's contamination denial). Great, let's see it! I've also been told that early drafts of the Active Thermitic Material... paper were several times longer with such data included but the authors were told by peer-reviewers to cut the length down. I just wonder why they didn't make all the data they had to take out available on the Journal of 9/11 Studies website as supplementary material or something.

For me, it all comes down to Basile's study. Whichever side is 2-1 up after that is the one I'll side with. JM says the same. If we feel the conclusions of Harrit et al have been refuted, we'll say so. We'll write a blog post announcing that we've changed our views and we'll put a disclaimer on every blog we've ever written about the red/gray chips linking readers to that announcement, and I'll put annotations on all my YouTube videos saying the work of Harrit et al has been debunked. We may have invested a lot of time into defending it, but don't worry, unlike debunkers, we don't let emotional investments and cognitive dissonance cloud our rational judgement!

Again, my big concern is what a refutation of Harrit et al will mean for AE911Truth and their movie. No amount of thermite debunking will convince me that the collapse explanations offered by NIST and Bazant are in any way consistent with the laws of physics, so I'll defend the 1700 individual A&Es to the death, but the organization itself is pissing me off a little. If the chips do turn out to be LaClede primer, then this could be used to completely discredit "Experts Speak Out", AE911Truth and 9/11 Truth as a whole.

Comment from John-Michael:

I agree with you that ae911 should have waited to see how things panned out with Millette before releasing their film, but the claim by Pat that Experts Speak Out "relies heavily on the nanothermite claim" is an overstatement. In the final edition, the thermite related evidence section takes up approximately 18 minutes of a roughly 96 minute film. The majority of time is devoted to the undebunkable physical evidence I cited in my Millette article, which will soon to be updated with a short reply to Oystein. Couple this with the fact that the 9/11 truth movement survived the early versions of Loose Change and I think things will be just fine no matter what.

Also, Pat says he has "been rather critical of the folks over at the rebunking 9-11 blog." In reality, he has mostly avoided our rather substantial criticism of him as well as our rebuttals to the small amount of criticism he has levied at us (example).