Thursday, June 16, 2011

Debunking Jonathan Kay, his book Among the Truthers, and Other 'Debunkers'

Updated 6-16-11

Thanks to James Hufferd of for assisting me with some research for this article. James recently responded to Kay's book, to which Kay retorted, and this is my end-all be-all response to Kay.

In Frank Moher's review of National Post writer Jonathan Kay's new book Among the Truthers he writes, "Kay got his start on this beat when, as he reminds us, he discovered that a Liberal candidate in the 2008 federal election had six years earlier reported on some of the findings of various independent researchers into 9/11. He immediately employed the Post in a successful campaign to have her turfed as a candidate."

Professor Anthony Hall was less reserved in his description of Kay's entrance into the world of 9/11 truth when he addressed Kay at a Q&A in 2009:

Almost one month after Kay's initial hitpiece he admitted that he knew nothing about the issue before writing it, stating, "I have never bothered schooling myself in the minutiae of 911-ology — the microscopic examination of photos and videos, the comparison of melting points and mechanical properties of this or that construction material, the second-by-second timetable of U.S. Air Force activity on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001."

However, he promised to change his ways noting that he was "going to slog through the 9/11 Commission Report — and maybe even some other texts besides."

In addition to doing this Kay says that he spent "three years interviewing Truthers, reading their literature, attending their events, and surfing their discussion forums."

Here is a video showing Kay attending a lecture by Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

The true extent or thoroughness of Kay's research can not be determined from his book, because as he writes, "Debunking books don’t sell, one New York City editor explained to me when I told him my original draft of Among the Truthers contained several long chapters explaining the logical fallacies within 9/11 Truth theories." Kay instead refers his readers to other sources of information like the Popular Mechanics book Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts.

First off, the statement that "debunking books don't sell" is clearly bunk because the Popular Mechanics book and the response by David Ray Griffin, Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory are both in the top 100 September 11th books at (Debunking 9/11 Debunking is currently #36 and Debunking 9/11 Myths is #54.)

As I've stated of Griffin's book, I strongly disagree with some of his research, such as his analysis of the phone calls from the planes on 9/11, however, he does an excellent job in regard to the destruction of the WTC Towers and lack of air defense on 9/11, but I'll get back to Griffin and his work in a bit.

As Professor Hall notes in his review of Among the Truthers it would be nice to view these missing chapters of Kay's book to see just how exhaustive his research was. Hall then points to an article entitled "Hemingway and Orwell fought in the Spanish Civil War, but Jonathan Kay couldn’t handle an afternoon in the rain" by Dallas Hansen as evidence that, as Frank Moher put it, Kay wasn't "out to understand" truthers, but rather "out for their scalps." Hansen writes that Kay "showed up for some 'field research' back in September [2008] and he didn’t seem interested in talking to anyone or seeing anything at all. He seemed more concerned with checking Facebook on his Blackberry and taking phone calls from his wife... You were never Among the Truthers—rather you acted as though their ideas were a contagion from which you could stay immune only so long as you stayed in your ivory tower."

Kay indeed seems to only have taken a cursory look at the subject. At one point during a debate about his book with Richard Gage, Paul Zarembka, and Barry Zwicker, Kay states that people in the truth movement are "suggesting or... receptive to the idea that teams of hundreds of CIA agents spent months boring holes into columns inside the World Trade Center" and planting explosives. The fact of the matter is, the most prominent 9/11 researchers of the controlled demolition issue (as well as most other adherents) do not believe in this scenario. As Wikipedia notes:
Since early 2003, [Jim] Hoffman has been writing about the collapse of the World Trade Center (WTC) and other aspects of the September 11, 2001 attacks... Dr. Steven E. Jones, a physicist formerly with Brigham Young University, has credited Hoffman's website and described his work as an inspiration for conducting his own analysis of the WTC building collapses. Hoffman's book and websites are cited in Jones' essay "Why Indeed Did the WTC Buildings Collapse?". Hoffman has also been cited by author David Ray Griffin.
Hoffman has refuted the premise put forward by Kay for a very long time via FAQ links on the front page of his website 9/11 Research, noting that, "demolitions could have been controlled using wireless detonators... may have been achieved without accessing the perimeter columns... could have been disguised as or concealed within legitimate equipment... and installed by workers oblivious to their surreptitious function." In two other FAQs Hoffman further addresses the "large numbers of people" argument as well the idea raised by Kay in the debate that it's implausible to think officials would be involved in a conspiracy to kill their own people.

Kay and James Bennett of the Screw Loose Change blog have both recently proclaimed that Among the Truthers is not full of various types of ad hominem argumentation and insults.

Kay states that "again an again" truthers argue he engages "in 'name-calling' and ad hominem attacks, he writes:
Except to the extent that I use the term “conspiracy theorist” to describe people who are, well, conspiracy theorists, I reject the second accusation, as well. In fact, I am proud to have made a point of sketching 9/11 conspiracy theorists in the most affectionate possible light. In its review of my book, The Wall Street Journal pointed this out, in fact: “Reporting without mockery, Mr. Kay has a knack for making even the silliest conspiracist sound sympathetic.”
The term conspiracy theorist is just the tip of the iceberg, but as Kay himself has stated, "properly contextualized...the official version is a conspiracy theory too because you're theorizing about a conspiracy perpetrated by 19 hijackers and their supporters in Afghanistan." Only using "conspiracy theorist" to describe truthers in his book obviously invokes the negative connotation of the term.

Here is some more of the iceberg from Professor Hall's review, some of which I will explore further.
The demeaning outcome of Kay’s effort to substitute name calling for engagement in the scholarly literature of 9/11 is most evident in chapter five. Here Kay extends his Shermeresque topography of alleged deviance to demean his opponents as examples of “the damaged survivor,” “the cosmic voyageur,” “the clinical conspiracist,” “the evangelical doomsayer,” “the firebrand,” and the author’s most all-purpose put down, “the crank.”
James Bennett states, "The Truthers of course condemn him for ad hominem attacks, but in reality, he is actually rather kind to them, much kinder than I would be..."

The problem with this is that after stating Steven Jones is a "famous Brigham Young University physicist renowned for his work with cold fusion back in the 1980s," Kay soon thereafter approvingly quotes James about Jones, insinuating he's just seeking adulation: "Look at Steven Jones. He had his brush with fame with cold fusion. But it didn't pan out. And it became a miniscandal in the scientific community. He almost accomplished something. But now he's in the Truth movement. He's lauded by thousands. He gives speeches. People talk about him in the same breath as Ganhi and Jesus." Kay himself calls Jones "a celebrity Truther who pioneered the myth that the World Trade Center buildings were brought down with thermite" and as professor Hall notes "demeans the Mormonism" of Jones.

First off, citing articles Jones wrote extolling Mormonism as further evidence of his kookiness is certainly an example of rejecting an argument "on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author." Otherwise known as ad hominem.

As Jones explained in his paper "Revisiting 9/11/2001 --Applying the Scientific Method," his research is not what became a "miniscandal in the scientific community."

Wikipedia notes:
In the mid-1980s, Jones and other BYU scientists worked on what he then referred to as Cold Nuclear Fusion in a Scientific American article, but is today known as muon-catalyzed fusion to avoid confusion with the cold fusion concept of Pons and Fleischman.

A New York Times article says that while peer reviewers were quite critical of Pons and Fleishchmann's research they did not apply such criticism to Jones' much more modest, theoretically supported findings. Although critics insisted that his results likely stemmed from experimental error, most of the reviewing physicists indicated that he was a careful scientist. Later research and experiments supported the metallic cold fusion reports by Jones.
Jones writes, "It’s remarkable isn’t it? Metal-catalyzed (cold) fusion is a very unpopular field in the United States because of misunderstandings and guilt by association and so on. Yet there’s a lot of hope here at least for understanding nature -- and we may eventually get to an energy source based on fusion."

As noted on Wikipedia's article on ad hominems, "Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem fallacy if the argument attacks a source because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument."

Professor Hall decerns:
So zealously does Kay depend on the strategy of guilt-by-association, while evading simultaneously any serious engagement with the evidentiary basis of the arguments and theories he seeks to discredit, that his text comes across as a veritable caricature of smear through disinformation. Kay links, for instance, “Scientology, UFO groups, and 9/11 Truth” as united in supposed shared “hostility towards conventional medicine.” The so-called Truthers and the larger “conspiracist” culture in which Kay situates his main targets of smear are said to draw on the heritage of “Christian Identity, Aryan Pride, militant libertarianism, states’ rights, anti-Semitism, crank monetary theories, and nativist xenophobia.” The “rich soil” where “the seeds of conspiracism” are said to have put down roots is supposedly fertilized by “communism, fascism, tribalism and strident nationalism, but also more faddish intellectual pathologies such as racial identity politics, anti-Americanism, and obsessive anti-Zionism.”
And as Frank Moher writes in his review, "Kay’s tactic here is the same one used by Michael Shermer of the seriously missnamed Skeptics Society, which is, as the subtitle indicates, to mix up the 9/11 truth movement with The Protocols of Zion, holocaust denial, birtherism, moon hoaxism, etc., into one big wacky ball of racism and lunacy. And his method is as dishonest as Shermer’s as well."

Kay also lumps Steven Jones, Richard Gage (an example of "midlife crisis" according to Kay), actor Daniel Sunjata, former governor Jesse Ventura, and actor Charlie Sheen, in with Jarded Loughner, the shooter of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and Iranaian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who Kay states is "a Truther, too, naturally." The reader is reminded that Ahmadinejad "also doubts" the Holocaust as well as 9/11.

Blog contributor Scootle Royale stated of the Loughner situation at the time:
Not surprisingly, the debunkers are once again using this to demonize us. Pat Curley [also of the Screw Loose Change blog] has written a number of posts, including Truther Body Count, in which he summarizes the high-profile cases of alleged truthers murdering people...

Loughner's friend also said he enjoyed smoking Salvia Divinorum, a hallucinogenic herb recently made famous by Miley Cyrus. So using the propagandist's flawed logic, I guess that means she's a killer too!
When Ahmadinejad stated at the U.N. in September of 2010 that "most people believe the U.S. government was responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001" well known 9/11 activist John Parulis had this to say in a reply to another commenter on, "...This seems to be an ongoing line of thought in the Truth Movement...that even bad associations and ties to erroneous positions are 'good' for our movement because they keep a spotlight on 9/11 and the claims we make to an alternative view. Where is your proof that this type of negative association works?"

Of course Kay using Ahmadinejad against us is proof that there is none.

Parulis continues in another comment:
By attending a 9/11 conference in Iran, we would indeed be associating with Ahmadinejad's repressive government and any experiments or papers delivered there would be suspect. It's called "guilt by association". We must seek out and cultivate stronger moral and political supporters than this. I continue to be amazed by the gullibility of many posters here in thinking Ahmadinejad's statements will be of some, any, benefit to us.
The highest rated comment in the discussion from site administrator "LeftWright" concluded by saying:
I think if President Ahmadinejad's support of an alternate theory regarding the events of 9/11/01 is brought up, the best thing to do is simply state that everyone is entitled to an opinion and the 9/11 truth movement does not support him or any repressive regime anywhere in the world. We are about facts, physics and logic, and getting a complete and transparent investigation into the largest single day crime ever to take place on American soil.
There were also many comments (such as this excellent one from "Snow Crash") decrying Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial.

Paul Joseph Watson of the popular site wrote that Ahmadinejad is "a petty dictator and an odious character who oversees a regime of oppression and disregard for human rights," but noted that "just because Ahmadinejad discusses a certain topic doesn’t instantly discredit the basis of that issue."

That is unless you are Jonathan Kay, engaging in guilt-by-association ad hominem attacks. There is certainly not enough consensus in the truth movement that Ahmadinejad is among our accepted ranks. This is not to say that Jesse Ventura is any longer in good standing with a large portion of the movement after endorsing unpopular views on the destruction of the WTC and the Pentagon attack. And Charlie Sheen, well... messenger aside, his message has been pretty good, so I'm still in his korner. ;) Bottom line is, none of the actual active truthers on that list deserve to be associated with a would-be assassin and a man who held a holocaust denial conference featuring David Duke, former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Getting back to Steven Jones, the idea that Jones stuck to his guns in the face of a negative reaction from his community and university; ultimately leading to him losing his career, for adulation that had mostly not come yet is absurd.

For those who would still argue that Jones is seeking fame and who would point to his new controversial research into man-made earthquakes and free enery as proof of this and his incompetence, it must first be noted that Jones has stated he has found a "prosaic explanation" for the earthquake data that had him interested in the subject. In a blog entitled "Experimental Science to the Rescue: 9/11, Cold Fusion, now Alt-Energy," Jones states:
As with 9/11 and cold fusion researches, I'm trying to bring the scientific method including experiments using state-of-the-art equipment to find out what's really going on here, and to contribute if I can to the goal of achieving cheap, local clean energy. In recent months, I have done tests using advanced techniques to evaluate input and output power -- experiments that suggest there MAY be a previously-untapped source of energy here. (I still believe in the law of Conservation of Mass-Energy!) I'm trying once again to bring “rigor without rancor”.
As one of Jones' co-authors of the 2009 paper that reports to have found a nano-engineered variant of thermite known as super-thermite, or nano-thermite, in dust from the WTC, Brad Larsen, noted of Jones, "He is... an experimentalist; which should be a big part of any sound epistemology... I personally have every confidence Steve will be honest about the results regarding his researches into alternative energy sources, at the end of the period he mentioned." (Dec 31, 2011)

Jones has not jumped the gun and published his data in any papers and has made his experimental data open-source; a move that makes replication and thus confirmation or refutation much easier.

It was this same type of approach with his 9/11 studies that makes it impossible to dismiss him as simply a fame chasing purveyor of a "myth that the World Trade Center buildings were brought down with thermite"

In 2007, chemical engineer Mark Basile attended a conference by Jones where he spoke of his preliminary findings regarding the nano-thermite. Basile approached Jones afterward and offered to independently look at a sample of dust that Jones had gathered from four NYC residents to see if he could confirm his findings. Since he did replicate the results of Jones and his colleagues "debunkers" conclude that he is not independent, but the fact of the matter is, he seems to have only become a full-fledged truther after this duplication. Basile has stated that he even obtained a completely independent sample of dust from a NYC museum.

Conversely, the nano-thermite paper was published in an open-access journal over two years ago, but has yet to be refuted in similar fashion, as the paper's second author, current BYU phyics professor and lab director for TEM (TEM stands for Transmission Electron Microscopy), Dr. Jeffrey Farrer PhD., recently stated in a blog post here which he contributed to, (one of 46 posts from our archive that tear to shreds ludicrous paint claims, hypocritical peer-review arguments and conspiratorial chain of custody suggestions) "I... cannot understand why critics of our paper expect us to retract our conclusions when there has been no data put forth that leads to any other conclusion than that which we have made in the paper."

Niels Harrit, who is an expert in nano-chemistry and an Associate Professor of Chemistry at Copenhagen University in Denmark, was the first author of the nano-thermite paper. Critics often act as if Jones wrote the paper alone. As Victoria Ashley of 9/11 Research pointed out, "Niels Harrit is not in Utah and did not start off working with Steve. They have different labs and both found the same things. Harrit walks a reporter through his lab in one of the videos."

Even the facts that 9/11 family members and activist Jon Gold have brought to light were ignored by Kay because the family members are just "Truthers who fell into the damaged-survivor category" and Gold is not thinking clearly because he is blinded by their emotions.

Gold relayed the following via comments on 9/11 Truth News:
Just sent this to him… [Kay] I notice in your book you try to portray my sympathy for the families that lost someone that day, that are still seeking justice, as a bad thing. Never in a million years did I think my support for those who needed it most would ever be used against me. You are disgraceful, and a hack.

His response…

Thats not at all what I did. And its bizarre that you would characterize what I wrote that way. But I wont bother arguing with you, besides this brief statement.

My response…

Stating that “the spectacle of their grief short-circuits our intellectual faculties” is an insult. I was involved in this cause long before I saw Bob McIlvaine cry. I hope that you never have to see a loved one brutally murdered, and watch each investigation into that murder have its own version of corruption and compromise.

You completely ignored the real story. That this was started by the families.. that each investigation had its own version of compromise and corruption… that there are too many unanswered questions… that there are indications of criminality, etc… and so on. Instead… you focused primarily on the nuts… the weakest links… you latched every conspiracy theory known to man onto 9/11… portrayed us as psychologically unstable… used ad hominem attacks… and you ignored incriminating information and people.

You are disgraceful and a hack. There’s some truth for you.
As Frank Moher noted in his review, "Barrie Zwicker, a journalist of longer standing and quite a bit more distinction than Kay, becomes 'an amiable crank,' ... And David Ray Griffin, who has spent not two but eight years studying his subject and published 11 books about it, is also, simply, a crank." Kay called his use of the word crank a "term of endearment" during his debate with Richard Gage, Paul Zarembka, and Barry Zwicker who retorts that "in the context of your book it comes out as a term of abuse." Wikipedia defines crank as "a disparaging term for a person who holds an unorthodox opinion" and who showcases "cranks, crackpots, kooks, & loons on the net" seems to agree.

Kay writes:
Many come to their crankdom in middle age, or at the end of their their working lives, as they are casting about for some project to occupy their hyperactive brains. In some cases, cranks are high-functioning intellectuals frustrated by a menial profession... Many cranks have a Asperger's like-like obsession with arithmetic, flowcarts, maps, and lengthy data lists... What drives the cranks on an emotional level isn't the substance of their theories: Many of the Truther cranks I've interviewed-including David Ray Griffin, Barry Zwicker, and Paul Zarembka... treated the issue as a debating exercise, and seemed curiously detached from the profoundly disturbing implications that flow from their claims. What cranks truly crave is exhilarating sense of independence, control, and superiority that come from declaring oneself a self-sufficient intellectual force.
Many truthers "are smarter than the average person" we are told and it is this very attribute that "shields them in their own mind from criticism."

The fact that being smart and a crank are not mutually exclusive does not make it a term of endearment. As to Kay's psyciatric evaluation, professor Hall writes, "Without even a gloss of credentials in the field, Kay appoints himself as a practitioner his own school of social psychiatry. From this platform of quackery Kay diagnoses all those who do not share his worldview as victims of 'collectively experienced mental illness.'"

On the other hand, Washington's Blog notes that "many mental health professionals have concluded that the official version of 9/11 is false, and that those who believe the official version suffer from emotional problems or defense mechanisms."

Furthermore, it is not surprising that people who are still deeply involved in their working lives are far less likely to have the time and inclination to look into 9/11, and smart individuals with menial jobs may very well choose to exercise their intellectual prowess through 9/11 research. In either case, it does not mean they are doing so because they have the inherent superiority complex of crankdom that shields them "in their own mind from criticism." It is this, that makes or breaks Kay's case.

Here is what James from Screw Loose Change says in his review of Among the Truthers when defending Kay's decision to not include facts in the book:
"Kay explains rather, that 1. he really didn't have much new to add to the debunking argument (he cites several books and Internet sites, including this one, as resources for this), and 2. his editor didn't think that there was a market for such a book, because the Truthers would not believe anything he put and everyone else didn't need to be told. I agree to a certain extent, although we have done a lot of debunking over the last 5 years, I have gotten to the point where about all I discuss is the psychology of this movement, because really, is much really added by our pointing out for the 15th time that the hijackers actually were on the flight manifests?"
Well, major 9/11 truth sites have acknowledged this as fact, see here and here. Not very cranky of us.

Economics Professor Paul Zarembka, who Kay mentions in his diatribe on cranks, has recently written that the work of Mike Williams at the debunking site has caused him "to reconsider [his] prior conclusion of high probability of insider trading in put options" for American and United airlines stocks. I have previously stated that I believe the insider trading issue had been effectively debunked. Again, not very cranky of us.

[UPDATE October 2014: In this recent interview Zarembka cites new evidence that brings him and myself back to his original conclusion.]

The fact of the matter is, the best criticism of debunkers, such as that of the 9/11 fake phone calls theory of David Ray Griffin (who Kay calls the "leading crank" of the movement) has been accepted and expanded upon by many truthers. In this case and with the no plane at the Pentagon claims, many 9/11 truth activists never accepted these claims in the first place.

And while Griffin and many others still don't accept these criticisms, a possibly cranky trait, its very existence proves the movement can accept criticism and can't be pigeonholed.

Furthermore, some bad research in other books proves nothing regarding a book focused on one specific 9/11 issue (that most truthers agree upon) like David Ray Griffin's The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report About 9/11 Is Unscientific and False, which is criticism, that Kay apprently has not looked into despite him interviewing Griffin and him being "the leading crank" of the movement. (See my debunking of the only bad review of the book here.)

During his debate with Richard Gage, et al. Kay stated, "In terms of WTC 7, you don't have to go to the 9/11 Commission Report, you can go to the NIST report... done by hundreds of engineers, probably the most advanced finite-element method computer simulation done in the history of engineering... but most of the conspiracy theorists I meet have no desire to read reports like that, or if they do they discredit them because their from the government." This stems from our "nihilistic distrust of government."

First off, the heart of the matter here is valid criticism vs bunk criticism. How can we tell the difference? Michael Angier of imparts this bit of wisdom from a friend, "If one person calls you a horse, well that's just an opinion. If two people call you a horse, you may want to stop and think about it. If three people call you a horse, you may want to start shopping for a saddle."

In the case of the NIST WTC 7 report, we have prominent individuals from both sides of the 9/11 truth debate as well as a NIST whistle-blower agreeing that NIST is not operating with scientific considerations first. So, that's a start, but we'll get back there in a second.

Griffin's book certainly does not simply "discredit the report because it's from the government," but instead shows how NIST ignored and misrepresented evidence of demolition while thoroughly documenting many major flaws in the report, for example, Griffin writes:
Every aspect of NIST's theory of a fire-induced global collapse of WTC 7... depends on implausible claims and outright fabrications. Its theory of weakened floor beams depends on implausible steel temperatures, which in turn depend on implausible fire temperatures. Its theory of thermally induced girder failure depends on two cases of fraud: denying the existence of shear studs and fabricating a 'differential thermal expansion' in it computer simulation by heating the steel beams but not the floor slabs. Its theory of how thermally expanded beams wreaked havac presupposes an implausible amount of elongation.
Concerning most of this and those "hundreds of engineers" that Kay mentions:

Griffin notes that both "debunker" Dr. Frank Greening and truther chemist Kevin Ryan "have concluded... steel beams could not have reached 600 °C..." which NIST claims is the temperature reached by five floor beams that initiated the collapse.

Griffin also notes that Greening concurs that "NIST's simulated fires seem to be 300 to 400°C too hot and to have endured two or more hours too long" and that "the simulated collapse of WTC 7 looks nothing like the actual collapse." Other "debunkers," such as on the comments to the YouTube video below, point out that the models "are just showing the inner structure," but as Griffin notes, Greening demonstrates that "the internal progression of column failures would have had noticeable effects on the building's exterior."

In October 2008, Greening and three of his colleagues were published in the American Society of Civil Engineers' peer reviewed Journal of Engineering Mechanics (JEM). Their paper "What Did and Did Not Cause Collapse of WTC Twin Towers in New York" promoted the pile-driver or crush-down theory in which the tops of the Towers act as giant sledgehammers. Greening was the third author of the paper, the first being engineer Zdenek Bazant who wrote another paper also published by the JEM on 9/13/01 essentially promoting the theory.

The problem for Greening and company is that their paper has been refuted twice in the same journal it was published in by members of the truth movement.

See this article by Ryan and this interview with Greening conducted by truther Kevin Barret regarding WTC 7.

Also see this criticism of Greening regarding the nano-thermite issue and this criticism of Barret on many other issues.

Griffin writes:
We also have the testimony of a former NIST employee who had held "a supervisory scientist position at the top civil service grade" until 2001, after which he worked as a part-time contractor until 2006. Although this man wishes to remain anonymous, for fear of possible retaliation, he is known to physicist Steven Jones, who has confirmed that he is indeed who he says he is... Speaking in particular about the implications of NIST's politicization for its work on 9/11-related issues, he wrote:

When I first heard of [9/11 truth] and how the NIST "scientists" involved in 911 seemed to act in very un-scientific ways, it was not at all surprising to me. By 2001, everyone in NIST leadership had been trained to pay close heed to political pressures. There was no chance that NIST people "investigating" the 911 situation could have been acting in the true spirit of scientific independence, nor could they have operated at all without careful consideration of political impact. Everything that came from the hired guns was by then routinely filtered through the front office, and assessed for political implications before release.
While not supporting the controlled demolition theory, James Quintiere, the former chief of NIST's fire science division has also called for an independent review of the World Trade Center Investigation, stating, "I wish that there would be a peer review of this." As Griffin makes clear, this applies to WTC 7 as well.

Conversely, the nano-thermite paper was peer-reviewed and replicated. While "debunkers" have claimed these efforts were not adeqaute they have not still not answered the April 2009 challenge from Steven Jones, when he stated, "IF it is so easy to publish in Bentham Scientific journals, or if these are 'vanity publications' (note: there is no factual basis for these charges) -- then why don't the objectors write up their objections and get them peer-reviewed and published?? The fact is, it is not easy, as serious objectors will find out."

In summation: we have a prominent "debunker" and a former NIST employee essentially agreeing the NIST WTC 7 report is bunk. NIST's theory on the Towers and WTC 7 were not peer-reviewed and a prominent paper supporting the NIST report on the Towers was refuted twice by the truth movement in the same journal it was published in. Conversely, despite claims of shoddy peer-review and replication, the nano-thermite paper has not been refuted anywhere outside of blogs and forums; with no actual experiments being undertaken.

Is Kay shielding himself from this valid criticism in his own mind, ignorant of it, or feigning ignorance. If it's the first, he is doing as he says his opponents do. If it's the second, it further proves he has only taken a cursory look at 9/11 truth material. And if it's the third, he is being disingenuous.

As civil engineer Jonathan Cole recently wrote to me in an email. (Read Cole's review of Among the Truthers here.)
I called into Jonathan Kay about two weeks ago on the radio. Naturally he cut me off. But I captured it on audio. One of his big problems about us “conspiracy theorists” (i.e. people who study the details and ask legitimate questions, using the laws of physics…you know, crazy guys like Isaac Newton), is that we are difficult to debate because we know these little things called “facts”. And the “Academics” are scared to debate, because the conspiracy theorist will bring up those scary points that the academics will not know how to answer.
But as Pat Curley of Screw Loose Change advised Kay in 2008, "Don't Sweat the Details, John... ...Use the resources that are already out there, like Mike Wilson's (correction: Williams) 9-11 Myths, or Kate's Debunking 9-11 or Mark Robert's WTC 7 Lies page. Our archives contain a lot of material that you can find by using the search feature at the top left."

Pat really oughta know better. The truth is in the details, Jon

"They REALLY oughta know better" by blog contributor Adam Taylor:

Critiques of claims made by several prominent and semi-prominent 9/11 debunkers
-Joseph Nobles/boloboffin of AE911Truth.INFO-
Joseph Nobles’ claims about “free fall” shown to be false.

Mr. Nobles attempts to refute NASA engineer Dwain Deet’s website 7problemswithbuilding7. I show his claims to be false and misleading.

My critique of Mr. Nobles’ “The Big Three: Parts 1, 2 and 3.”

Mr. Nobles claims that other skyscraper fires are not comparable to the Twin Towers and Building 7. I show this assertion to be false.

My take on Mr. Nobles’ claims about thermal conductivity and the eutectic steel.

Mr. Nobles responds to my many refutations of his claims. I respond back here, here, and here.

Joseph Nobles criticizes AE911Truth and Tom Sullivan's credentials. Darcy Wearing and John-Michael Talboo respond.

My thoughts on Joseph Nobles' criticisms of the BuildingWhat? site.

Nobles claims that that the explosion in the 'Seven’s Exploding' video is fake. John-Michael Talboo shows otherwise.

-Mark "Gravy" Roberts-

My extensive critique of Mark Roberts’ video “WTC Not a Demolition.”

Honest mistakes are apparently “big news” to Mark Roberts.

Mark Roberts: 9/11 "Debunker" or just Dishonest?

Mark Roberts debates with Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth on Hardfire.

Scootle Royale and John-Michael Talboo address Mark Roberts’ assertion that the red/gray chips are primer paint.

Mark Roberts claims that “no one said the air at Ground Zero was safe to breathe."

He oughta know better: Mark Roberts and the iron spherules.

Email debates, and more about Mark Roberts.

-NASA engineer Ryan Mackey-

Jim Hoffman critiques Ryan Mackey’s essay “On Debunking 9/11 Debunking.”

Mackey insists that the initial tilt of the upper section of the North Tower explains the lack of deceleration in the North Tower. Scootle Royale and I explain why he is incorrect.

Mechanical engineer Tony Szamboti questions Ryan Mackey about claims he made during their Hardfire debate.

-Protec employee Brent Blanchard-


Blanchard constantly claims that parts of explosives such as det cord should have been found in the debris. However, a phone conversation with Dr. Steven Jones suggests otherwise.

Former Controlled Demolition Inc. explosives loader Tom Sullivan on Blanchard’s claims about finding parts of explosives in the debris.

Andrea Dreger on Blanchard’s claims about molten metal at Ground Zero. Pg. 145

-Mike Williams of

John-Michael Talboo examines Mike Williams’ claims about intercepts and the NORAD stand-down.

Forum poster Beached critiques numerous claims made by Mike Williams.*Note: I do not agree with everything on this page.

Mike Williams takes on Pakistan's ISI link to the 9/11 funding. Here’s the other side of the argument. More on this subject here.

-Physical chemist Dr. Frank Greening-

Dr. Greening makes a lazy attempt at refuting the Active Thermitic Material paper. Dr. Steven Jones responds.

Dr. Greening hypothesizes that there could have been natural thermite reactions within the WTC buildings. Mechanical engineer Gordon Ross addresses these claims.

Dr. Frank Legge addresses Dr. Greening’s criticisms of David Chandler’s analysis of WTC 1’s collapse.

David Chandler responds to Dr. Greening’s letter regarding Newton’s 3rd Law and falling buildings.

Andrea Dreger on Dr. Greening’s article “Aluminum and the World Trade Center Disaster.” Pg. 113

Dr. Greening’s theories about what caused the sulfidation of WTC steel are put to the test by civil engineer Jonathan Cole.

-Explosives expert Ron Craig-

Ron Craig debates with Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

Former explosives loader Tom Sullivan on Ron Craig’s claims about explosives causing damage to other buildings.

-Mathematician Dave Thomas-

Analysis of Dave Thomas’ debate with Richard Gage, including comments by mechanical engineer Tony Szamboti.

Further analysis of the claims made by Dave Thomas during his debate with Richard Gage.

Tony Szamboti comments on Dave Thomas’ physics model of the WTC collapse.

-Pat Curely and James B. of Screw Loose Change-

Pat Curley debates with 9/11 truth activist Jon Gold.

Pat Curley attempts to debunk the "rebunkers." John-Michael Talboo responds.

After 16 months of debunking Screw Loose Change, James B. comments on the Debunking the Debunkers blog to discuss pretty girls.

Pat Curley: the king of scientific peer-review.

Pat Curley attempts to cast doubt on the results of the Active Thermitic Material paper. John-Michael Talboo demonstrates why he is wrong.

Pat Curley claims that Steven Jones makes a strawman argument, but only exposes his own failed logic and poor research.

James B. claims that “trutherism is a mythology, not a science.” I show why he is completely wrong.

Pat Curley attempts to discredit Sibel Edmonds. John-Michael Talboo exposes his errors.

Pat Curley misrepresents the firefighter testimony and then accuses 9/11 truthers of doing the same thing.

Pat Curley attempts to use the firefighter testimony to prove WTC7 was engulfed in flames. John-Michael Talboo shows why he is wrong.

James B. and Pat Curley attempt to discredit the film Zeitgeist and 9/11 truth through association to a killer. Scootle Royal and I show why these claims are baseless.

-Dr. Zdenek Bazant-

Structural engineer Anders Bjƶrkman’s discussion of Bazant’s paper "What Did and Did not Cause Collapse of WTC Twin Towers in New York."

Chemical engineer James Gourley’s discussion of Bazant’s paper “Mechanics of Progressive Collapse: Learning from World Trade Center and Building Demolitions.”

-Physicist Manuel Garcia-

Jim Hoffman critiques Manuel Garcia’s articles on 9/11. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Dr. David Griscom addresses Dr. Manuel’s CounterPunch articles on the WTC collapses.

Francisco GonzƔlez comments on Garcia's Sept. 12, 2007 article in CounterPunch.

Dr. Crockett Grabbe on Dr. Garcia’s WTC arguments.

Kevin Ryan shows that Manuel Garcia sees physics that don’t exist.

-Dr. Keith Seffen-

Dr. Crockett Grabbe’s discussion of Dr. Seffen’s paper "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Center: A Simple Analysis."

-Joseph Welch-

Stewart Bradley responds to Joseph Welch's "15 questions 9/11 ‘truthers’ now need to answer."

Youtube debunkers

-Ryan Owens/RKOwens4-

Ryan Owens’ debunking videos refuted by my “9/11 Un-debunked” series. Version 1. Version 2.

My open letter to Ryan Owens.

My comments on Mr. Owens’ response to my open letter.

John-Michael Talboo shows Ryan Owens that controlled demolition is possible.

Ryan Owens debates with Debunking the Debunkers blog contributor Stewart Bradley.

Ryan Owens accuses me of taking money for my 9/11 videos. I inform him that he is incorrect.

Jason Bermas addresses Ryan Owens’ claims about the temperatures in the Ground Zero debris.

Mr. Owens makes numerous assertions about WTC7’s collapse. I show his claims to be wrong.

The US State Department uses one of Ryan Owens’ videos as “debunking” of 9/11 controlled demolition theories.


John-Michael Talboo refutes AlienEntity’s video “Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth: Lies and Distortions,” then debates with him on the subject.

AlienEntity claims his measurements corroborate NIST’s results. I show why he’s wrong.

-Dan Stevens/dsglop-

Dan Stevens appears in Nathan Moulten’s film “Activist.”

Dan Stevens attempts to answer Charlie Sheen’s 20 Questions to Obama. I show why his answers are nonsense.

-K.T. Penn/loosechangeexposed-

My refutation of many of K.T. Penn’s claims.

The many absurd beliefs of K.T. Penn.


Stewart Bradley addresses deRoy's video "Defusing Nanothermite: Integrity."


Stewart Bradley addresses dprjones' video "Advice and a challenge for 9/11 'truthers'"

A Journey With Jonathan