Jun 30 2014

9/11 Conspiracy Debate – Part III

This is the third of a four part written debate between myself and Michael Fullerton, who believes that the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11 was not due to the official story of damage from the impact of commercial jets, but rather the result of a controlled demolition. His initial post is here. My first response is here. Next week I will give my final rebuttal.
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Part III: Rebuttal to Steven Novella

by Michael Fullerton

Dr. Novella’s response to my initial arguments consists mainly of the weak arguments I had already dispensed with in Part I. He claims an initial event is evidence for a following event (post hoc ergo propter hoc); he claims I provided no evidence for controlled demolition (CD); he claims CD requires explosions and he claims that I claimed that a scientific explanation requires precedence. It’s as if he completely ignored parts of my writing that conflicted with his beliefs. He keeps repeating these false arguments because he has nothing else of any significance to offer.

Novella states that he accepts “the consensus of expert opinion that the collapse of the towers was due to the structural damage and weakening of the steel supports caused by the impact of the jets, the burning of the jet fuel, and the subsequent fires that burned through the buildings.” In science, a consensus opinion means that the majority of people in the field agree with a particular explanation for a phenomena. How has Novella determined consensus? He provided no evidence of consensus just the NIST report and a statement from 25 ASCE civil engineers. No poll has been conducted to provide evidence to support this statement. The fact that 2200+ architects and engineers question the official 9/11 story[1] seems to throw cold water on this “consensus”.

Note that Novella’s consensus argument is precariously close to committing two fallacies here: appeal to the masses (AKA appeal to consensus) and appeal to authority. The appeal to the masses fallacy occurs whenever a conclusion is deemed true because the majority of a particular group believe it is true. The appeal to authority occurs whenever a conclusion is deemed true simply because one or more experts believe it is true. Claiming therefore that something is true because a majority of experts in the field believe it is true is a false argument. In fact, even using a consensus argument to claim one explanation is more likely than another is baseless. We know this because countless times in the history of science, the consensus has often been very wrong. Since Novella is hinting that the explanation is more likely rather than that it is true, I’m not going to call it fallacious even though it could easily be argued as such.

Novella falsely claims that I dismiss the official story evidence for collapse initiation. I don’t dismiss it. I am merely saying it does not in any way constitute evidence for the rest of the collapse. Bizarrely, Novella actually claims that evidence for collapse initiation of the Twin Towers is evidence of how they fell. As I stated in Part I, arguing that a preceding event caused a following event involves the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. He does not deny that it is a logical fallacy or explain how a fallacy could in any way constitute evidence. Let me give an example. Suppose an airline pilot describes icing conditions on the wings and windshield. Shortly thereafter the plane crashes killing all on board. Without investigating further, experts proclaim that these icing conditions resulted in the crash. Later, eyewitnesses come forward reporting that they saw an explosion right before the plane came down. This evidence was rejected because it went against the expert consensus. After much pressure by the victim’s family members, the eyewitnesses and other concerned people, an investigation was finally conducted which found a missile strike actually caused the fall. As we see, evidence of a preceding event is not necessarily evidence for a following event. Novella would be one of those that believed the icing was evidence for the crash. So once again, no evidence whatsoever is provided for the actual falls of the towers. The only “evidence” he has for the official story is a logical fallacy, a false argument! The official story believers and CD denialists really need to wrap their heads around this.

Let’s look at this argument another way. Assume official story believers do have evidence to explain collapse initiation, i.e. that the plane and fire damage caused each upper block to fall. They absolutely do not have evidence that the falling upper block of each tower demolished the lower building. In spite of this lack of evidence they claim that it happened. They are saying “We have evidence that fire and plane damage caused the upper blocks to fall. We have no evidence that this first event caused the second event so the first event must have caused the second event”. This is an appeal to ignorance fallacy. They are drawing a conclusion based on lack of evidence without entertaining all possibilities. This is a bit similar to the god of the gaps argument where gaps in scientific knowledge are interpreted as proof of God’s existence. Instead of God though, official story believers are using the fire and plane caused damage as proof that the upper blocks destroyed the lower building. Either way, these believers have only the sophistry of logical fallacies to support their purely faith-based beliefs.

Novella claims that CD would require explosives and because no explosions were heard, this calls into question that any CD took place. Again, this is an argument dealt with in Part I. CD does not require explosives. But in fact there were extremely credible eyewitness reports of explosions in the Twin Towers before collapse.[2] This evidence also supports the CD hypothesis.

Speaking of conspicuous lack of evidence, the Twin Tower collapses show no jolt when each upper portion hits the lower building.[3][4] How will Novella counter a violation of the law of conservation of momentum? The surest way to expose a crackpot theory is to show how it violates the laws of physics.

I presented the argument for CD precedence for collapses like the Twin Towers as evidence for CD in Part I. In his rebuttal, Novella commits the hasty generalization fallacy by claiming that I believe precedence is always required for a scientific explanation. I was only presenting a precedence explanation for one example not for all explanations throughout human history! Again, this flawed argument was already dealt with in Part I. Note that a great deal of observational support for the theory of evolution comes from precedence, the patterns found in the fossil record. Since Novella claims that I have produced no real evidence despite producing this evidence of precedence, does Novella consider the patterns in the fossil record to not be real evidence as well?

His argument is also a straw man. He distorts my argument and then attacks it with a mass extinction due to asteroid counterexample. Note that in the asteroid hypothesis, they first looked at the available data. They found evidence of a mass extinction. They also found evidence of a massive asteroid impact. They then and only then put the two together to propose a possible explanation. The official Twin Tower collapse story has absolutely no supporting evidence to this day and certainly had none when it was first concocted on the day of the disaster. Again, fabricating an explanation without having evidence and ignoring evidence that calls into question that explanation is the hallmark of pseudo-science.

Novella tries to argue that my claim rests entirely on the fact that the Twin Towers look similar to other successful CDs. My actual claim is that the CD hypothesis for the Twin tower falls is the only scientific explanation because only it has supporting evidence. To keep things simple I have only presented one piece of evidence in Part I, the rapid and symmetrical nature of the falls, because all I need is one piece to best the official story which has zero evidence. Using the wiggle word “seems” Novella is attempting to deflect another accusation of the use of a straw man fallacy.

He then trots out the red herring that in order for evidence to be considered it must be operationally defined. An operational definition however, is used to distinguish an object from its background of empirical experience. Since no steel-framed building in the history of civilization has ever ever fallen as quickly and as symmetrically as the twin Towers without it being a CD, there is no relevant competing background empirical experience and thus no rigorous operational definition and no hard numbers are required. An adequate operational definition is already implied: any building that comes down as fast the slowest CD collapse and as symmetrically as the most asymmetrical straight-down CD is a CD. All Novella needs to refute this definition is any example of a total natural collapse that was as fast and as symmetrical as any known successful straight-down CD collapse.

By the way, where is Novella’s operational definition that a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy or appeal to ignorance fallacy can count as evidence? Where is his operational definition that an entirely unsupported hypothesis can count as evidence? Where is his operational definition that an explanation with no evidence whatsoever is more scientific than an explanation with evidence? Why is it that I must have rigorous operational definitions for my evidence but he doesn’t? The answer is special pleading. Novella demands the application of high standards to my evidence but his “evidence” is exempt.

Again, Novella claims that the South Tower was not symmetrical because it “collapsed on one side and the upper tower fell significantly to that side”. This is the same nirvana fallacy I dealt with in Part I. The fact that the initiating event was not symmetrical is irrelevant to the rest of the collapse which was extremely symmetrical. Whether a less symmetric event happens at collapse start or collapse end is irrelevant. All straight-down CDs have a similar degree of symmetry that natural collapses have never ever exhibited. Also, the upper portion looks more like it is involved in a roll at its initiation rather than a fall to one side. A fall to one side would have the upper portion falling off the building not rolling within the building’s footprint. Rolls are fairly common in CDs and very easy to do for those experienced in the trade. Such complex rolls have never ever been witnessed in natural collapses. This roll then would be further evidence of CD.

We’ll note that Novella states about this roll that:

“This, of course, initiated a full collapse – once one part of the structure gave way, the load that was being distributed to the rest of the structure greatly exceeded tolerance levels and collapse was inevitable.”

and

“Once the full collapse of the tower was under way, of course it is going to fall straight down. A structure of that size and nature would not have the strength to fall to the side (beyond what we see with the initial collapse). Once the structure failed there was nothing keeping the upper part of that building up. It would have to fall straight down, forcing the collapse of anything below it.”

No evidence whatsoever if given to support these claims. Unsupported pronouncements like these are called bare assertion fallacies. Such a claim is also what is referred to as the fallacy of retrospective determinism. He is saying that because the upper block fell, it was inevitable that the lower structure would be destroyed. No evidence is given, just bare assertions and the audience is expected to take this on faith. Again though, because such events have never ever happened before with natural collapses, he is making extraordinary claims without providing any evidence whatsoever.

Novella references the Bazant Zhou paper[5] to support the claim that the towers could have achieved near freefall acceleration. He also uses this paper as evidence for how the falling upper blocks destroyed the lower buildings. This paper however is purely theoretical with zero evidence to support it! Novella is using an entirely unsupported explanation as evidence for another entirely unsupported explanation! The Bazant paper has also been soundly criticised.[6][7][8] Note also that Novella claims that I said the Towers did not descend at free fall. I did not say this. What I said is that I did not say that they descended in free fall. Simply not stating something is not the same thing as stating the inverse!

Novella states that the evidence I provided to support the use of CD actually weakened the case for CD. He is I’m sure referring to the last demolition in the Vérinage video I referenced.[9] He is implying that because this particular CD started near the top, the WTC Towers could have been natural examples of Vérinage. The devastatingly fatal problem with this argument is that Vérinage has only ever been used with buildings having load bearing walls, not steel-framed skyscrapers with thick central columns like the Towers were. Further, the lack of any observable deceleration when the upper blocks hit the lower buildings below proves conclusively that no Vérinage-like techniques were used on the Twin Towers.[10]

Novella attempts to refute my statement that no computer model has ever been made which shows that the falling top portion of each building was able to completely demolish the building below. Incredibly, he does this by referencing the computer model used in the NIST Twin Tower report that only modelled the collapse initiation! Why would he interpret my obvious request for a model showing the upper blocks destroying the lower building for a model of collapse initiation? Was this a simple comprehension error or is he under the delusion that the start of an event is identical to the rest of the event?

Novella introduces an appeal to incredulity by implying that it would be impossible for a CD to initiate right where the planes impacted and not activate prematurely due to the fire. In fact it is entirely possible that wireless CD devices were positioned all over the building and controlled with a computer program that could be easily reconfigured in a very short time frame to start where the planes hit. Anyway, if a pilot could easily perform the insanely complex maneuver of hitting the Pentagon why couldn’t they also hit pre-determined positions of the Twin Towers? Also, explosives can be engineered to withstand extreme heat or encased in protective shields.[11] Other technologies like energetic nanocomposites could also have been used for example. Even if some of these thermitic devices did ignite, their reactions would go largely unnoticed as such reactions produce only heat, white smoke and molten iron.[12] The documented presence of such thick white smoke and molten metal the color of molten iron is further evidence of CD.

Conclusion

A big problem for me is that I am at a disadvantage in this debate. It is a disadvantage of social psychology though, not science generally. This event is taking place on my opponent’s blog with copious posting of puerile sophistry from his unwavering uncritically thinking followers. This creates an atmosphere thick with groupthink and driven by confirmation bias. Despite the fact that we agreed no fallacies would be used in this debate, Novella continues to rely heavily on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy while creating straw men and spewing bare assertions, red herrings and other obscure fallacies. At any rate, like all other official story believers before him, Novella provides no evidence for the Twin Tower falls. He did help introduce and provide additional evidence for CD: eyewitness testimony of explosions, the missing jolts, the South Tower roll, copious thick white smoke and molten iron. Again, no evidence for the official story and growing evidence for CD. This shows that the controlled demolition explanation is currently the most and only scientific explanation available for explaining the Twin Tower collapses.

Every attempt to reject this undeniable fact involves what is known as special pleading. All the evidence favoring the CD explanation is ignored and their irrational belief in the official story is propped up with sophomoric logical fallacies, i.e. uncritical thinking. Because their circumstance is unique, it’s too difficult for them to believe controlled demolition could have happened. They believe the rules of science and logic apply to others but don’t apply to them.

I asked the readers in Part I if they were smarter than a fifth grade science student. Which explanation has more evidence? The official story with only logical fallacies to support it or the CD hypothesis that actually has real scientific evidence? Which explanation involved gathering data first before producing a hypothesis? The official story which was pronounced immediately and which never ever had any supporting evidence or the CD hypothesis which was promoted only after evidence was found that the official story could not explain? Which explanation can explain all available evidence with actual scientific support as opposed to entirely unsupported pronouncements and other logical fallacies? Which explanation does not ignore evidence it cannot account for? If you can honestly answer all these questions with the controlled demolition hypothesis you too can be as smart as a fifth grade science student.

Notes

1. http://www.ae911truth.org/

2. http://911research.wtc7.net/wtc/evidence/oralhistories/explosions.html

3. http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2008/TheMissingJolt7.pdf

4. http://journalof911studies.com/volume/2010/ChandlerDownwardAccelerationOfWTC1.pdf

5. http://www.civil.northwestern.edu/people/bazant/PDFs/Papers/405.pdf

6. 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 (section 9)
7. Gordon Ross, ME, “NIST and Dr. Bazant – Simultaneous Failure”, Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 11 – May 2007

http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/200704/NISTandDrBazant-SimultaneousFailure-WTCCollapseAnalysis2.pdf

8. Crockett Grabbe, “Discussion of ‘Why the Observed Motion History of World Trade Center Towers is Smooth’ by Jia-Liang Le and Z.P. Bazant,” Journal of Engineering Mechanics, October 2012. http://www.sealane.org/writings/Bazantrpy.html

9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwFHEoiUZ7o

10. http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news/41-articles/403-lack-of-deceleration-of-north-towers-upper-section-proves-use-of-explosives.html

11. http://911research.wtc7.net/faq/demolition.html#positioning

12. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPs25Jj8_As

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384 responses so far

384 Responses to “9/11 Conspiracy Debate – Part III”

  1. mumadaddon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:03 am

    Unsupported pronouncements like these are called bare assertion fallacies.

    Oh. How about this:

    The official Twin Tower collapse story has absolutely no supporting evidence to this day and certainly had none when it was first concocted on the day of the disaster.

    Further, the lack of any observable deceleration when the upper blocks hit the lower buildings below proves conclusively that no Vérinage-like techniques were used on the Twin Towers.[10]

    So let me get this straight: in part one you argue that the collapse was a controlled demolition because it looked like a controlled demolition, linking to videos of verinage demolitions to back this up. Verinage was, I believe the only demolition technique you mentioned by name:

    The Vérinage technique used in France, for example, typically removes a single floor of support about half way down the building.[3]

    Are you now disavowing yourself of that position?

  2. Ori Vandewalleon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:07 am

    Yeah, Fullerton ignored one of Novella’s main arguments, which is that Fullerton needs to show why rapid, symmetric falls are indicative of controlled demolition (and not indicative of other types of falls). Without doing this, he has essentially no evidence in favor of a controlled demolition.

    Additionally, his theory (like most conspiracy theories) falls prey to Occam’s razor. Occam’s razor doesn’t say anything about what’s more likely to be true, but it does tell us where the burden of proof lies.

    The “official” theory posits that the planes hit the towers and caused the collapse of the towers. To support such a theory, there must be evidence demonstrating that such an impact could cause such a collapse. That’s it.

    The controlled demolition theory, on the other hand, needs evidence demonstrating that explosives (or some other controlled demolition device) were placed, that such devices could produce the fall observed, that such devices could survive the plane impact, that such devices could be installed (possibly throughout the entire building) without anyone noticing, etc. (And this doesn’t even touch on why the conspirators would fly planes into the building at all if they could just demolish the buildings with explosives.)

    The point here (and the point of bringing up Occam’s razor) is that the controlled demolition theory needlessly introduces a wide range of assumptions which need to be justified in order to give plausibility to the controlled demolition theory. Thus, the burden of proof is on Fullerton to demonstrate that his theory is more likely to be true. He cannot simply provide a single piece of evidence; his evidence must be extraordinary.

  3. Bruceon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:10 am

    Sorry,

    I had to stop reading just after he claimed to have over 2200 experts compared to the NIST report and a statement from 25 ASCE civil engineers and THEN he says Steve is committing an “appeal to the masses (AKA appeal to consensus) and appeal to authority”.

    Wait… do you have more experts or does Steve? If you have more experts is your fallacy bigger than Steve’s or is it simply how you use your fallacy that matters?

  4. The Other John Mcon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:12 am

    Some advice:

    You need you look up what it means for something to be “operationally-defined” you seem to completely misunderstand this concept, and what it implies for science beyond 5th grade levels.

    You need to consider “evidence” outside of your own bubble (i.e., not just Journal of 9/11 studies, and YouTube).

    Don’t whine & bitch about your supposed “disadvantages” in this debate, it makes you look petty and childish. Scientific debates, when they occur at levels beyond 5th grade, are interested in the evidence.

    You ARE at a disadvantage, because you are making extraordinary claims with basically no evidence in support of your theory not explainable by other interpretations. Any bomb residue? Any actual compelling data of explosions initiating collapse? Any eye witnesses who saw the bombs being planted? Anyone who was in on the conspiracy come forward? Any evidence at all?

  5. dudeon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:17 am

    I don’t know why I enjoy watching/listening/reading debates so much when I feel I have heard the arguments from both sides and have come to a conclusion that is not likely to change (but I am always open to new information). In these debates it is true that the side I agree with, to my eye is clearly shown to be correct.

    This however is not always the case, some people just don’t make good debaters or happen to lose the audience in a noticeable way. What I am trying to say is I think I can at least in part remove myself and try and judge a debate on the arguments rather than injecting how I feel (though not always the case, I can’t stand watching William Lane Craig and Dinesh D’Souza repeating lies they have already been called on). Having said all that I think I will be echoing a lot of peoples opinion when I say I can not in any way, shape or form understand how someone could read the three posts as they stand and think Michael Fullerton has even come up with the basics of an argument. For someone mentioning evidence and demanding it a lot he hasn’t even started to present any.

    I look forward to what I am sure will be a fantastic final post from Steve, it might even make for a fun segment of ‘Name that Logical fallacy’ or a fun guessing game of how many logical fallacies can you fit in one post. But how many people at this point feel that there has been anything said that needs addressing?

  6. jasontimothyjoneson 30 Jun 2014 at 9:32 am

    @Bruce I stopped at the exact same point as you, them went back to it and could not go any further than the “this isn’t fair because its on my opponents playground”

    Also for anyone thats interested (Mr Fullerton) in post hoc ergo propter hoc, a plane hitting a building and the building falls down is not ‘post hoc’ unless you consider a paper plane hitting a building, and the building falling down 10 years later. The classic example of Post Hoc is the rooster crows just before sun-up therefor the rooster makes the sun come up (also roosters crow all day long)

    Its true that correlation does not mean causation, but if I throw a ball at a window, and the window brakes, the window broke because I threw a ball at it you cant claim post hoc ergo propter hoc, I can argue that I didnt brake the window, the ball did, but the actions are relational, as much as if a plane hits a building and the building catches fire and is demolished as a result.

  7. Tafferon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:43 am

    So, I’m genuinely confused, with all this “only explains the initial collapse” business.
    Is he saying that planes hit building damaging the building+fire rages for hours, building sags as supports weaken and cause the top of the towers to fall, as supported by the computer model he himself agrees shows that, and THEN at that exact moment the buildings were deliberately demolished with explosives (or no explosives? is that what hes arguing?)

    Is it just me thats kinda confused as to what his version of events actually is?
    Did the tops fall because the planes, or not?
    Were there explosives? (he mentioned one of Steves weak points is that he assumes CD can only be done with explosives, but then also goes on to talk about how people say they heard explosions)
    If so, where were they and how did they get there? (does he ever say that?)
    If not, what was used?

    And this is just kinda my own musing, flying hijacked planes into very high profile buildings in a spectacular way and killing a bunch of people in the collision and inevitable huge inferno is pretty much really bad all on its own, and the main fear generated has been about air travel (as you assume it might, apart from people in other high profile sky-scrapers) and would have been enough on its own to do everything everyone later used 9/11 to justify…so assuming conspiracy, why did they even need to fully destroy the towers at all? Why not just not bother with any CD no the towers at all, and just have the planes do the work without risk having the massive operation to demolish the towers being revealed?

  8. pdeboeron 30 Jun 2014 at 10:00 am

    Cry me a fucking river! Just because the commenters are not on your side does not put you at a disadvantage in a debate.

    I know this is a rebuttal, but Fullerton is on the defensive even more so than his first post. His defense consists mostly of picking apart the official story’s evidence.

    When your explanation is the odd and improbable one, you should be the one providing valuable evidence and defending it.

    Eye witness accounts are significantly out weighed when there is tons of video/audio recording that don’t agree.

  9. Davdoodleson 30 Jun 2014 at 10:07 am

    “They absolutely do not have evidence that the falling upper block of each tower demolished the lower building. In spite of this lack of evidence they claim that it happened.”

    Um, dozens videos, taken from multiple different vantage points ALL show exactly that happening.

    There is no serious doubt that the portion of the building above the ‘plane impact site fell and pancaked each subsequent floor.

    Or are there really people that believe each floor individually, all the way down, was carefully timed to disintegrate, each a millisecond after the other, to flawlessly simulate precisely what would have happened anyway?

    The conspiracy theory assertion (as I understand it) is simply (blurgh) that the integrity of the structure at the impact site was as a result of controlled demolition, and not from the impacts and fires. No?
    .

  10. tmac57on 30 Jun 2014 at 10:14 am

    You know when a kid hands you one of those cheesy ,novelty cans of ‘Peanuts’ that rattle but feels light,and you are thinking to yourself “Oh great ! There’s a fake spring ‘snake’ in here,and they expect me to be scared and surprised when I open this”. But you think “Okay,I’ll play along just for fun…cause…you know…a kid”
    You kind of expect the snake will come violently jumping out,and by reflex you will be at least a little startled,so you brace yourself…then opennnnn….and the can turns out to be too old,and the snake has lost it’s tension,the cloth around it is tattered and falling apart,and the thing just drops limply to the floor…sigh!
    Everyone involved has wasted their time and energy on a dud :(

    Yeah..it’s kinda like that…

  11. jasontimothyjoneson 30 Jun 2014 at 10:16 am

    This is actually a genuine question, has anyone actually given a remotely credible reason, or any reason as to why there would have been explosives in the towers to begin with? Or was it just good luck that the planes hit a pre wired building

  12. jwadamsonon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:17 am

    The paragraph rebuttal of Steve is silly. Starts by saying steve claims that Controlled Demolition (CD) needs explosions and “rebuts” this by asserting it doesn’t always. Thereby ignoring all the other critiques raised (invisible, unrecorded, coordinated with the impact site and timing of other structural failure). Then goes on to state this was in fact a case of CD with explosives without trying to redress the other problems.

    I think this demonstrates how he fundamentally lacks of a concrete position. We are to believe it was a CD, but not a the Vérinage. If there was a better fitting demonstration of CD, he would have used that in the first part.

    I found the point of the Verinage to be not the specific style, but that a tall building will collapse symmetricallish and at near free-fall solely from an upper floor failure without any special preparation or effort. If the NIST report is convincing that initiation can be accounted for by the impact+fire, then we don’t need any other factors to achieve an symetricish quickish total collapse of the towers.
    “Novella falsely claims that I dismiss the official story evidence for collapse initiation. I don’t dismiss it. I am merely saying it does not in any way constitute evidence for the rest of the collapse.”

  13. regexpon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:25 am

    A 5th grade science student would demand more evidence in your rebuttal than what has been provided here.

  14. Phil Newboldon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:54 am

    I imagine Michael Fullerton having read a book on logical fallacies, just misunderstood pretty much all of them and not learnt more than their basic definitions, then trying to name as many as he could without understanding the actual characteristics of, or learning how to properly identify any of the logical fallacies he read about. He also seems to have no understanding of the difference between a formal and informal logical fallacy.

  15. jsterritton 30 Jun 2014 at 11:21 am

    Fullerton’s Wiki crash-course in logical fallacies is both galling and entertaining. He doesn’t command even a basic understanding of what appeals to authority, consensus, popularity, and ignorance mean; or how post hoc is constructed; or what the words, “I will not use logical fallacies” mean. The word “irony” is noticeably missing from his meagre playbook as well. Maybe it’s because I’m a “puerile sophist,” but I also take issue with having the lexicon of critical thinkers and skeptics co-opted. Fullerton calls us “denialists” and our beliefs “faith-based;” he challenges Novella on his belief in evolution, and accuses him of using God-of-the-gaps fallacious reasoning.

    Fullerton is making extraordinary claims, yet laments, “Why is it that I must have rigorous operational definitions for my evidence but [Novella] doesn’t?” Then he upbraids Novella for the offense of special pleading. Irony meter=fried. I said it before, I’ll say it again: If Fullerton intends to disprove the theory of gravity, he’s going to need impressive, airtight, and overwhelming proof. Novella just has to drop a pencil.

    Fullerton’s overarching debating point is his line in the sand from incredulity. From there, he shifts all burden of proof to Novella — not just proof against Fullerton’s arguments, but proof that will convince Fullerton that his unshakable conviction about 9/11 if wrong. If Novella cannot accomplish this impossible task, Fullerton will have no other choice but to count this debate a win for himself, a crushing defeat for Novella. What an a**hole (ad hominem, sorry).

  16. daviddb1on 30 Jun 2014 at 11:23 am

    The planes on their own would have been enough. A CD of the occupied buildings would have been enough. Why both? If you could enter these buildings, set up a CD and later initiate the CD, why would you bother with the planes? So many people were able to evacuate the towers and surrounding areas prior to their fall due to the planes. If you set up a CD, you could have initiated the event and have killed far more people. Far, far more effective as a terrorist event in my opinion. You still had flight 93 and the Pentagon to make people worry about transportation (Airlines/Airports). Imagine if the towers had been brought down with a CD minus the planes? Holy Shit that would have really freaked us all out! Who knows how much worse things would be now!

  17. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:28 am

    Fullerton seems to be engaging in the OJ defense. I don’t have to prove my position, I don’t even have to disprove your position. What I need to do is throw as many superficial specters of doubt on your position as possible, even if many of those specters are mutually exclusive or don’t hold up under close examination.

    Fullerton hasn’t provided a consistent, coherent hypothesis for what brought the towers towers down beyond the simple claim of controlled demolition.

    He also seems to feel that sprinkling claims of logical fallacies regularly throughout his response is equivalent to throwing trump cards on the tricks. ‘I win this paragraph because I played the Red Herring trump card; it’s irrelevant whether or not it actually applies here.’

    He has made some ridiculous assertions, too many to call them all out, but here’s one gem:

    “Anyway, if a pilot could easily perform the insanely complex maneuver of hitting the Pentagon why couldn’t they also hit pre-determined positions of the Twin Towers? Also, explosives can be engineered to withstand extreme heat or encased in protective shields.[11] ”

    Why was it “insanely complex” to hit some part of one of the world’s largest buildings (spans 28.7 acres) with an airplane. I’m not a pilot, and I could be wrong, but it seems to me that this was the easiest building to hit. Hitting a 110 story building in precisely the right spot to coincide with the placement of explosives is entirely different. Once you have a visual on the tower, the GPS wouldn’t really make a difference. It wouldn’t help you spot the right floor, and it wouldn’t help you maneuver to hit where you wanted. Good luck hitting a specific floor.

    Yes, there are insensitive explosives that can withstand fire and impact, but you’d also have to protect the detonation infrastructure from damage.

    Regarding controlled demolitions, those who claim CD completely ignore the massive amount of prep work required for controlled demolitions: The striping away of interior walls and insulation to expose the supports, the drilling into the concrete to plant the explosives, the wiring runs, the weakening of key steel with torches, etc.

    I’m still waiting on the details of what technique was used to perform the controlled demolition and how it was able to be done without anyone noticing all the explosive and wires all over the place or the prep work done to set it all up.

  18. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:30 am

    To clarify, when I said “one of the world’s largest buildings (spans 28.7 acres)” and “this was the easiest building to hit”, I was talking about The Pentagon.

  19. Vendetta88on 30 Jun 2014 at 11:35 am

    Ifound it odd that he pointed out that they had agreed to not use logical fallacies in part 1. I figured that it should be implied that logical fallacies should not be used. It is the same as claiming you are going to have a swimming race on a river and that you have agreed that you are not allowed to run down the bank of the river to the finish line. That rule is implied, or else it isn’t a swimming contest.

    Is there a situation where logical fallacies would enhance the debate?

    The purpose of that statement is quite obvious now, Mr. Fullerton was trying to preempt all of Dr. Novella’s arguments by calling them fallacies before he presented them. He was trying to rig the game so he could focus on calling out perceived fallacies rather than proving his own assertions.

    His rebuttal is nothing but tu quoque and, forgive me if there is a fancier term for this, fallacy fallacies, that is claiming fallacy where none exists, which is a variation of a straw man argument if you ask me.

  20. Belgarathon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:10 pm

    “Anyway, if a pilot could easily perform the insanely complex maneuver of hitting the Pentagon why couldn’t they also hit pre-determined positions of the Twin Towers?”

    Hitting the Pentagon with a plane isn’t insanely complex. It’s quite simple. I’ve trained many hundreds of pilots to land airplanes. Pilots routinely, even with almost no training whatsoever, can line up an airplane to land on a runway that is between 100 and 200 feet wide (on average). The World Trade Center buildings were about 208 feet on a side. If my goal was to get a pilot to hit a runway once and not care about the outcome, one could train any reader of this to do so within the first 20 minutes of getting in an airplane.

    Hitting the pentagon is a trivial matter for any pilot with even minimal training. Hitting the pentagon is similar to driving a car at high speed into a tunnel. It’s insanely complex to do so, yet humans do it every day.

    It really appears to me based on Mr. Fullerton’s statements around this that he is STARTING with the idea that WTC was a controlled demolition and then just filling in new assertions to fit the facts. ‘Oh, It would have been HARD to fly a plane into the pentagon, therefore pilots could have been trained to fly the plane into a specific floor where the demo charges were placed’

  21. Belgarathon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:12 pm

    @Karl Withakay

    It’s not insanely complex, it’s quite trivial. We just never see it being done because the vast majority of people flying airplanes aren’t intent on committing a mass murder suicide.

  22. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:19 pm

    0 for 2.

    Also, if anyone hasn’t noticed, pointing out the error-laden logical fallacy fetish to fullerm, is pointless…

    It is, however, bemusing to behold and amusing to giggle about.

  23. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:21 pm

    Maybe it’s performance art. A Canadian Andy Kaufman.

  24. Stepituppa2on 30 Jun 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Is this a debate or a fallacy defining contest? You can always tell when a person doesn’t quite know what they’re talking about, or just isn’t quite smart enough to engage in a high level debate when they keep trying to “sound” more educated than the other person by using all kinds of flowery language but they can’t effectively address a simple request with anything resembling a straight forward answer.

  25. mumadaddon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I know the ‘logic’ in Fullerton’s first post has been picked apart already, but seeing as he’s added nothing new here…

    I just looked up a list of formal fallacies and realised that his whole argument is a formal fallacy: affirming the consequent.

    1. If P (controlled demolition) then Q (symmetrical, vertical building collapse)
    2. Q
    3. Therefore P

    Oh very dear.

  26. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Belgarath, you’re a pilot (I know this from the SGU forums). Didn’t the hijackers follow the Potomac until I-395, where they executed the turn/dive into the Pentagon?

    Complex? Meh. More like a few hours in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Kind of hard not to miss.

  27. Bronze Dogon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:36 pm

    The paragraph rebuttal of Steve is silly. Starts by saying steve claims that Controlled Demolition (CD) needs explosions and “rebuts” this by asserting it doesn’t always. Thereby ignoring all the other critiques raised (invisible, unrecorded, coordinated with the impact site and timing of other structural failure). Then goes on to state this was in fact a case of CD with explosives without trying to redress the other problems.
    I think this demonstrates how he fundamentally lacks of a concrete position. We are to believe it was a CD, but not a the Vérinage. If there was a better fitting demonstration of CD, he would have used that in the first part.

    Conspiracy woos seem to apply a rhetorical version of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle: The more you examine the direction they’re trying to take the argument, the less certain you can be about their position.

  28. deltaVon 30 Jun 2014 at 12:39 pm

    ” In fact it is entirely possible that wireless CD devices were positioned all over the building and controlled with a computer program that could be easily reconfigured in a very short time frame to start where the planes hit. Anyway, if a pilot could easily perform the insanely complex maneuver of hitting the Pentagon why couldn’t they also hit pre-determined positions of the Twin Towers? Also, explosives can be engineered to withstand extreme heat or encased in protective shields.[11] Other technologies like energetic nanocomposites could also have been used for example.”

    Um…. Does that sound like special pleading to anyone else?

  29. cloudskimmeron 30 Jun 2014 at 12:40 pm

    You say that anyone with a fifth grade education would agree with you. Unfortunately for you, Dr. Novella has far more than a fifth grade education, and also has an interest in skepticism and logic that far exceeds your own. Your arguments are not coherently stated. Nor are they supported by anything like adequate evidence.

    “Anyway, if a pilot could easily perform the insanely complex maneuver of hitting the Pentagon why couldn’t they also hit pre-determined positions of the Twin Towers?”

    At last you inadvertently stumble into my area of professional expertise. Just look at the widely varying levels struck by the two airplanes on the WTC towers. That alone is good evidence that there was no precision in the level chosen for the attack. Hitting the Pentagon was certainly not insanely complex. It is well within the abilities of an average private pilot, particularly if one has trained only with the intent of conductIng this attack. You can also see that the second airplane doesn’t hit the tower straight on, but instead strikes the corner of the building. This left one stairwell intact, allowed some people to escape from above the impact level, and caused the top of the tower to fall at a significant angle, not a symmetrical collapse.

    In any event, you present no evidence for your guesses, and don’t link to good source material. You can’t even summarize your guesses in a coherent way. You don’t appear to have any experience in engineering, physics, or any aspect of aviation. You have squandered your opportunities to present your case. Instead you wasted your time with name calling, and one logical fallacy after another. And you wasted the time of anyone who reads your screed. Your statements will only appeal to the minority of people who are predisposed to believe your paranoid rants. Overall you did a terrible job of presenting your case. Is that because you lack the ability to present a coherent argument, or because you have no evidence to support your contentions? Both, I’d say.

  30. cloudskimmeron 30 Jun 2014 at 12:52 pm

    And by the way, posting a picture repeatedly showing the top of the south tower falling sideways doesn’t help your case either.

  31. wood757on 30 Jun 2014 at 1:01 pm

    Mark Hoofnagle’s Denialism Blog covers quite nicely what Michael Fullerton has been doing. The blog’s byline says it all:

    “Don’t Mistake Denialism for Debate”

  32. BBBlueon 30 Jun 2014 at 1:03 pm

    A big problem for me is that I am at a disadvantage in this debate.

    Bingo! And your disadvantage is the fact that you have not offered credible evidence.

    We do have physical evidence of planes crashing and burning, and the effect of the temperatures produced by burning jet fuel on the strength of structural steel is well understood. No evidence of similar quality has been offered in support of the CD theory. That theory dies two deaths; one because of lack of evidence and the other because of implausibility.

  33. jsterritton 30 Jun 2014 at 1:29 pm

    DGB: He does indeed have a “fallacy fetish.” Good stuff.

    Vendetta88: a very good summary of the absurdity with which Fullerton has constructed his debate, from his first breath as it were. As others have pointed out here, Fullerton has only a passing familiarity with what logical fallacies are. He speaks like someone who has only (very) recently learned what they are. Impressed with the novelty, he seems intent on three things: first, using as many as possible (without noticing); second, attempting to shoehorn Dr Novella’s statements into them; while, third, decrying their use from his opening paragraph. All of this hews to the “argument from the sixth grade” tenor of Fullerton’s debating style: in addition to sounding like a 6th grader explaining where babies come from to some 4th graders (and getting it entirely wrong), when he gets called out for being wrong he reverts to cries of “unfair!” or “nuh-uh!” or that gem of the schoolyard, “you’re all a bunch of puerile sophists!”

  34. steve12on 30 Jun 2014 at 1:43 pm

    So, so, so many problems, as everyone’s pointing out. This is a good example of the simple lack of rigor in evaluating evidence and composing arguments:

    “Novella states that the evidence I provided to support the use of CD actually weakened the case for CD. He is I’m sure referring to the last demolition in the Vérinage video I referenced.[9] He is implying that because this particular CD started near the top, the WTC Towers could have been natural examples of Vérinage. The devastatingly fatal problem with this argument is that Vérinage has only ever been used with buildings having load bearing walls, not steel-framed skyscrapers with thick central columns like the Towers were.”

    IF Fullerton wasn’t simply a believer, he would be able to see why including the verinage vids was a mistake from the get-go. They’re evidence in the opposite direction, but a believer always sees the same conclusions, evidence be damned.

    But NOW, he’s saying that the CD videos that HE put forth as models for the collapse of the towers are in fact bad models for the collapse of the towers. How embarrassing!

    A little intellectual rigor – even just playing devil’s advocate with yourself – can save you from a mistake this simple. But his arguments are formed in a conspiratorial echo chamber, where everything is evidence for what you want to believe.

  35. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 1:48 pm

    jsterritt. I say we coin it. The new fallacy; Fullerton’s Fallacy or the argument from sixth grade. It needs to include the sophomoric comprehension (formal and informal) AND trigger happy zeal of declaring the world a fallacy of fallacy fallacies. Also, the relentless assertions, repeated ad nauseum, of “oppisite-day” word games. Literally, an argument from sixth grade.

    Or, eh… Maybe this unlettered and insufferable dolt doesn’t deserve the privilege of having something named after him, however derp it is.

  36. hammyrexon 30 Jun 2014 at 1:53 pm

    While the logical errors are somewhat disparate, it seems the overarching issue with Mr. Fullerton’s analysis is he neglected to provide evidence in support of CD, and instead only provides anomalies present with the “standard” story. However, the easy part of almost any scientific discussion is finding a problem with a given explanation; the hard part is actually building a new case that accounts for all evidence the previous theory did successfully, the evidence it failed to explain, and does not add any more assumptions. Based on the arguments presented, the CD hypothesis does not meet any of this criteria.

    I also strongly recommend Mr. Fullerton work on his prose. While a debate doesn’t have to necessarrily (and in my opinion should not) be a dry academic paper intended for publication, it also shouldn’t read like a rant.

  37. cloudskimmeron 30 Jun 2014 at 2:26 pm

    Karl Withakay:
    Sorry, I didn’t see your comments. I was so ticked off by Fullerton’s idiocy, I scrolled down to type my comments. You are absolutely right that the crashes weren’t hard to execute. The problem beginning pilots have is controlling their pitch (nose up/down) and making gradual changes to achieve a smooth touchdown. Pointing the nose at a target, making small pitch corrections to maintain your aim at the point you want to destructively impact is not terribly difficult, even for a low-time pilot. And some of the pilots had at enough experience to rent airplanes. If I recall correctly, there is some indication they had GPS receivers to help them navigate to their targets. In any event, there’s no indication that they had any great piloting ability; just enough to perform their destructive task. In terms of supporting the conspiracy theory, the WTC impacts were on different levels, which seems to indicate that there was no specific floor targeted. The gyrations the conspiracy theorists have to perform to justify both the airplane impacts and a controlled demolition are ludicrous. When it is stated that the wiring would be knocked out had the planes impacted the levels where the explosives were installed, they say “wireless detonators,” and of course they ignore the fact that teams of people would have been inside, punching holes in walls, fastening equipment to support columns, evidently throughout the building.

    And if the towers were rigged for a controlled demolition, why did the south tower fall sideways while the North Tower fell pretty much vertically. This is well-explained by the fact that the North Tower jet hit close to the center of the building side, impacting the core columns, while the South Tower jet hit the corner, causing the top to topple sideways towards the damaged corner.

    What about the timing? The south tower was hit second but fell first. Structural engineers explain that this was because it was hit lower, with more weight above the damage, causing more force on the weakening steel columns, so it fell earlier. The North Tower had less mass above, so the bowing of the steel due to weakening by fires took longer to cause a collapse. Again, in engineering terms, this all makes sense, whereas the CD guess is ludicrously unsupported by any evidence. It was early and lots of people hadn’t come to work yet. Those on their way did not enter the north tower. Many of them worked on the affected floors, and none have reported the extensive activity indicative of placement of explosives in the building. The CD theory is just nuts, with no supporting evidence. That’s why the truthers have been so interested in building 7, where they can look at photos of the undamaged side, ignore extensive fires burning inside, and claim that an undamaged building fell–it must’ve been a CD! What rubbish!

    This “debate” has been pointless, except that it demonstrates the utter failure of the conspiracy-buffs. It’s a lot like the evolution/creation “debates” where the creationists claim there is no evidence for evolution, therefore they win. Fullerton claims that the evidence supports his guesses, but presents no evidence, just empty assertions and a few nut jobs who have abandoned any training they may have to proclaim that they have THE answers. Fullerton is immune to reasoning and evidence.

    I wonder why he doesn’t show up in the comments to respond. Was there an agreement that the parties to the debate would not comment? It might be interesting if they did. Although what Dr. Novella writes stands up well and needs no clarification, I suppose Fullerton won’t try to actually reason with us anyway–it seems beyond his capacity. And his misuse of logic certainly shows a lack of critical thinking capability.

    His contributions failed to show us his concept of the attacks. Were there four airlines hijacked that day by Al Qaida extremists? Who was responsible for the attacks? Why would they rig the buildings for controlled demolition AND fly airplanes into them? And what about he fourth airplane? It presumably had a target that was not struck. That building should have had explosives planted in it to conduct a demolition. All you have to do is find that building, and find those planted explosives. Some people think the Capitol Building was a likely target, so were there explosives planted inside? Why weren’t they set off anyway to show off the power of the conspirators? C’mon, you have all the answers. Where is that fourth building rigged to detonate?

  38. mumadaddon 30 Jun 2014 at 2:57 pm

    To keep things simple I have only presented one piece of evidence in Part I, the rapid and symmetrical nature of the falls, because all I need is one piece to best the official story which has zero evidence.

    Ahah! So not presenting evidence is a debating tactic. Got it.

  39. mumadaddon 30 Jun 2014 at 2:58 pm

    ‘Logical fallacy’ – You keep using this phrase but it does not mean what you think it means.

    Claiming therefore that something is true because a majority of experts in the field believe it is true is a false argument. In fact, even using a consensus argument to claim one explanation is more likely than another is baseless.

    As I stated in Part I, arguing that a preceding event caused a following event involves the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    They are saying “We have evidence that fire and plane damage caused the upper blocks to fall. We have no evidence that this first event caused the second event so the first event must have caused the second event”. This is an appeal to ignorance fallacy.

    This is a bit similar to the god of the gaps argument where gaps in scientific knowledge are interpreted as proof of God’s existence.

    He then trots out the red herring that in order for evidence to be considered it must be operationally defined.

    Why is it that I must have rigorous operational definitions for my evidence but he doesn’t? The answer is special pleading.

    Again, Novella claims that the South Tower was not symmetrical because it “collapsed on one side and the upper tower fell significantly to that side”. This is the same nirvana fallacy I dealt with in Part I.

    In most of these examples, it’s clear he’s not properly understood the fallacies he’s referencing, never mind correctly identified them in Steve’s post. This is some weird abuse of skeptic lingo reminiscent of leo100 and Scepcop’s attack on ‘psuedoskeptics’ (in fact, Fullerton has coined his own term, ‘pathological skepticism’).

  40. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:00 pm

    the devils gummy bear & jsterritt:

    I was thinking of the term Cargo Cult Skepticism. Going through the motions of superficially mimicking skepticism and critical thinking without really understanding or practicing any of the concepts of critical thinking or skepticism.

  41. fullermon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:08 pm

    Debate proposal

    I will debate any one of the delusional blowhards here that have falsely claimed that I have committed any logical fallacies in this debate (including false accusations of fallacy). It’s easy to spout BS but not so easy to back up your statements.

    Rules

    Select one person. That person must use his real name and have some sort of science degree. He can consult with any other people he wishes but only the selected person addresses me. I’m willing to do it here if Dr. N. sets up a new post or we can do it on skeptopathy.com. Time to put up or shut up.

  42. DanDanNoodleson 30 Jun 2014 at 3:17 pm

    In the post:

    This event is taking place on my opponent’s blog with copious posting of puerile sophistry from his unwavering uncritically thinking followers.

    And then, in the comments:

    I will debate any one of the delusional blowhards here that have falsely claimed that I have committed any logical fallacies in this debate

    Michael, please look up “argumentum ad hominem” and see if it qualifies in your mind as a logical fallacy.

  43. steve12on 30 Jun 2014 at 3:21 pm

    “I will debate any one of the delusional blowhards…”

    Oh boy…

    Why don’t you just answer some of the posts?

    Or how’s this: you finish your debate with Steve first. He’s doing a fine job, and you’re making almost no sense whatsoever. Think about your arguments a little more. Have a friend look it over.

    “that person must use his real name and have some sort of science degree.”

    Why on either count? What do names or degrees matter? It’s a debate.

  44. Gallenodon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:22 pm

    “CD does not require explosives.”

    dem·o·li·tion [dem-uh-lish-uhn, dee-muh-]
    noun
    1. an act or instance of demolishing.
    2. the state of being demolished; destruction.
    3. destruction or demolishment by explosives.
    4. demolitions, explosives, especially as used in war.
    adjective
    5. of, pertaining to, or working with explosives: A demolition squad attempted to blow up the bridge before the enemy captured it.
    6. of or pertaining to tearing down or demolishing: Demolition work had begun on the old building.

    So according to the definition above it is technically possible to demolish something by some means other than the use of explosives. Since he is apparently arguing that the absence of explosions just as the towers collapsed is not an impediment to his theory, perhaps Mr. Fullerton could strengthen his case by explaining just how the Twin Towers could have been demolished without explosives discharging at the time of and triggering the collapse other than as a result of being crashed into by jets and set afire. Maybe there were Gremlins inside with little copies of Mjolnir striking all the support beams in the proper sequence?

    This is looking a lot like the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate. Nothing will get through the True Believer’s internal Reality Distortion Field and all the debate does is give Mr. Fullerton a platform for his nonsense and fodder for his “everyone’s trying to cover up the truth, so it must be true” rantings.

    “You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”
    – Harlan Ellison

  45. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:27 pm

    cloudskimmer

    “And what about he fourth airplane? It presumably had a target that was not struck. That building should have had explosives planted in it to conduct a demolition. All you have to do is find that building, and find those planted explosives. ”

    Even if you invoke special pleading and insist that plane was a smokescreen that was always intended to crash as it did and thus was never targeted for any building, what if the hijacking of either one of the two tower targeted planes had failed or been aborted in a similar fashion? How would you deal with those undetonated explosives? What if one of Fullerton’s special fire/explosion/ concussion resistant black box explosives failed to detonate and had been found/ detected in the rubble? What if enough key explosives failed and the tower stayed up with the remaining explosives intact?

    If it was a controlled demolition, why not crash the planes into lower parts of the buildings so people like Fullerton would consider the official story more plausible?

    Of course we’re still waiting for a detailed description as to how the controlled demolitions were done that produced the results observed, and why such a method was chosen considering how easily people like Fullerton have debunked the official story from watching YouTube videos.

    It’s the OJ defense. The destruction of the towers were skillfully executed controlled demolitions carried out by top experts who couldn’t figure out a more convincing way to bring down the buildings that wouldn’t be easily debunked by an average fifth grade with access to Google and YouTube.

  46. Bruceon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:28 pm

    “It’s easy to spout BS but not so easy to back up your statements.”

    You have proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt Mr Fullerton.

  47. Gallenodon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:29 pm

    And now that I’ve seen Mr. Fullerton’s one post challenging a single “scientist” that he will respond to, I will admit that I’m not a scientist. However, I did work in military munitions units for six years and I’ve seen my share of explosives and explosions. I submit that my Gremlims with hammers theory is a more credible, coherent explanation of how the towers fell than anything he’s submitted so far.

    Dale Long, Major (ret), USAF

  48. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:37 pm

    “I will debate any one of the delusional blowhards here that have falsely claimed that I have committed any logical fallacies in this debate (including false accusations of fallacy)”

    How about Steven Novella? No wait, it’s a trick; since nobody here has FALSELY claimed fullerm has committed any logical fallacies, it’s impossible to find anyone that meets the criteria for his invitation.

    Also since the people rightly pointing out fullerm’s actual logical fallacies aren’t, to the best of my knowledge, delusional blowhards, it is doubly impossible to find anyone that meets the criteria for his invitation.

    Why don’t you stick to the debate you’re currently in before you open another front?

  49. Enzoon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I just don’t understand how Mr. Fullerton distinguishes between

    1. Plane hit building –> structural damage –> collapse

    and

    2. Plane hit building –> not enough damage –> controlled demolition triggered –> collapse

    What about a controlled demolition makes it so special that structural damage by a plane cannot cause a similar collapse? Especially when we consider the criteria for what a controlled collapse “looks” like is so open (i.e. we do not have experimentally meaningful numbers or parameters).

  50. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:38 pm

    ” It’s easy to spout BS but not so easy to back up your statements. ”

    Most unintentionally ironic comment of the whole thread.

  51. steve12on 30 Jun 2014 at 3:42 pm

    “I will admit that I’m not a scientist.”

    Don’t worry – neither is he! You have to be a scientist to debate a guy with a BS?

    Again – credentials do not mean shit in a debate. But the notion that he fancies himself a scientist and demands a scientist to debate with really reflects a delusional level of hubris with this guy.

  52. steve12on 30 Jun 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Enzo:

    “What about a controlled demolition makes it so special that structural damage by a plane cannot cause a similar collapse?”

    Because all of the previous instances of buildings going down in a similar manner were demolition, so this one must be demolition. Ot at least, we must assume that.

    It’s just this:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affirming_the_consequent

    And that’s his big gun. It actually goes downhill from there.

  53. MikeHon 30 Jun 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Don’t worry everyone I’m almost certain this is a super belated April fools joke. You almost had me Dr.Novella! No one would willingly drown themselves in bullshit like this. This stuff is George Lopez funny. I Can’t wait for part iv.

  54. Hosson 30 Jun 2014 at 4:12 pm

    “Rules
    Select one person. That person must use his real name and have some sort of science degree. He can consult with any other people he wishes but only the selected person addresses me. I’m willing to do it here if Dr. N. sets up a new post or we can do it on skeptopathy.com. Time to put up or shut up.”

    I’m kind of surprised the rules aren’t, “Whoever links to the most youtube videos supporting their position – WINS!!!”

    If you want to engage the people in this forum, I’d suggest using this forum. You could start by engaging individual arguments, but it seems you rather assert your correctness.

  55. cloudskimmeron 30 Jun 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Wow, I love the name of your blog: skeptopathy. Is that “pathy” as in “patho-” meaning disease or suffering, as in a diseased form of skepticism, or as in “pathetic”, meaning “evoking pity” and (my favorite) “miserably inadequate”?

    I am also reminded of Robert Todd Carroll’s summary of the truthers: “Ask disturbing questions, ignore the actual evidence, speculate about possible answers, assume the worst-case scenario, and then draw up your indictment. Once you’ve made up your mind, it is quite easy to find confirmation for just about any belief, no matter how farfetched or implausible.”

    Mr. Fuller: Do you accept that four planes were hijacked by 19 terrorists on the morning of September 11? Do you deny that they flew into prominent buildings? Why conduct the hijackings if the buildings were already rigged to explode that day?

    If the question was the initiation of the collapse, why does a CD, the setup of which was completely undetected by people working in the buildings, provide the best explanation, rather than the airplane crashes and subsequent fires, and the deformation of the visible surface of the towers which agrees with the engineering explanation? Have you seen the good explanation on PBS’s “Nova” program, “Why the Towers Fell”? You can watch it on the internet; it could be a good learning experience for you.

    And when you insist that you will only debate someone with a degree in science, does that disqualify you? After all, your degree, according to you, is in psychology and “computer science,” which isn’t really relevant to the issues of this debate. You really ought to be an engineer, and a structural engineer at that. Some knowledge of physics would also be helpful and keep you from thinking that the collapse of each floor would bring the entire upper mass to a complete stop before continuing. It is also necessary to bring actual evidence of your contentions to a debate. Thus far all I’ve seen is the argument from incredulity: you can’t imagine how a building constructed in the manner of the WTC towers falling except from a CD, therefore it was a CD, and anyone who shows evidence to the contrary is wrong. Ridiculous. Surely you can do better than that.

    And along the way, it would be helpful if you would give us a brief account of what happened on 9/11. It seems that you accept that planes hit the towers and started large fires, but that you cannot accept that steel softens at those temperatures, and their weight compromised the structural integrity until a collapse ensued. Do you say that the entire building was rigged with explosives? If not, how many floors were involved? When was the work carried out and who observed it? Who planted all those tons of explosives?

  56. Enzoon 30 Jun 2014 at 4:13 pm

    @steve12

    “…all of the previous instances of buildings going down in a similar manner were demolition…”

    I understand this, as unconvincing as it is to me. But what I would like to know what is it specifically about the collapse that rules out planes as a cause. Why can a demolition rig up cause the collapse while damage from a plane cannot?

    Mr. Fullerton seems to acknowledge that the WTC towers had structural features for which there is no upper floor demolition (Vérinage-like technique) example (not sure if that is even true):

    The devastatingly fatal problem with this argument is that Vérinage has only ever been used with buildings having load bearing walls, not steel-framed skyscrapers with thick central columns like the Towers were.”

    So how do we know what a steel-frame skyscraper would look like collapse from a “natural” Vérinage-like technique collapse? Especially a very atypical one caused by planes smashing and baking in jet fuel.

    Further, the lack of any observable deceleration when the upper blocks hit the lower buildings below proves conclusively that no Vérinage-like techniques were used on the Twin Towers.

    So Fullerton is here suggesting that a novel technique for top-floor-rigged demolition was used? Because presumably he believes the demolition triggers hidden within the towers were in proximity to the plane crash sites and still managed to cause a controlled demolition. With this, we can say Fullerton proposes there is SOME way to cause the collapse of the towers in the manner in which they fell…But that way cannot possibly be by plane –> structural damage? Why one way but not the other?

    I hope this is where the debate goes because honestly the other stuff is tiresome.

  57. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 4:23 pm

    It’s easy to spout BS but not so easy to back up your statements.

    Michael, you owe me and everyone on the internet a replacement irony meter. You’re in a league of your own. We’ll work through your astonishingly silly BS in our own time, thanks.

    Pro tip: you could start by participating in these comments, you know, and address proper criticisms like a grown person before you go off making idiotic declarations or throwing down more debate gauntlets (they’re not going well for you) and demanding “rules”. Or, keep up this bad-mannered “fifth grade” school-child schtick of yours- It is impossibly amusing (completely at your expense of course).

  58. DanDanNoodleson 30 Jun 2014 at 4:24 pm

    One thing about Ref #2. From what I can tell, an important crux of your argument that a CD took place was that there were “extremely credible eyewitness reports” of explosions. Let’s take a look at this.

    First of all, adding the descriptive phrase “extremely credible” does nothing to strengthen your argument; in fact it sounds like confirmation bias. How do you know the reports were “extremely credible”? Why, because they agree with your theory, of course!

    Second, I read a bunch of those reports on the page you linked to, and virtually none of them say what you imply they say. Some of them, in fact, explicitly say the opposite, like this one:

    Then a large explosion took place. In my estimation that was the tower coming down, but at that time I did not know what that was.

    And this one:

    I looked up, and the building exploded, the building that we were very close to, which was one tower. The whole top came off like a volcano. [...] So now both towers have been hit by a plane. The north tower was burning. So the explosion, what I realized later, had to be the start of the collapse.

    And this one:

    my initial reaction was there was a secondary explosion, and the entire floor area, a ring right around the building blew out. I later realized that the building had started to collapse already and this was the air being compressed and that is the floor that let go.

    Even the ones that don’t explicitly say “the sound I heard was the building coming down” mostly say something like “I heard a loud sound, like an explosion”. Your mistake, Michael, is in believing that “explosion” means the same thing as “explosives”. The towers buckling and coming down would obviously create a lot of noise, which it would be entirely reasonable to call an “explosion”. That’s probably how I would have described the sound, had I been there. But that doesn’t mean that explosives were used. It just means there was a loud sound, which people generally associate with explosives.

    “Explosion” is very commonly used in a descriptive but completely non-literal way. “The room exploded with sound”, “he exploded with anger”, “there was an explosion of activity”, and on and on and on. Taking the fact that these people said the world “explosion” to mean the literally saying there was explosives detonated is just silly.

  59. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 4:30 pm

    Select one person. That person must use his real name and have some sort of science degree. He can consult with any other people he wishes but only the selected person addresses me. I’m willing to do it here if Dr. N. sets up a new post or we can do it on skeptopathy.com. Time to put up or shut up.

    Actually, on SGU, Steve and the rouges called it; the lug was going to try to expand the debate somehow. Funny.

    As for put or shut up… I’d pay good money to see you do either.

  60. jsterritton 30 Jun 2014 at 4:37 pm

    DGB: no props to Fullerton, no matter how dubious, so we mint the, “Argument From The Sixth Grade,” where an argument is made with all the gravity, certitude, arrogance, and condescension of a sixth grader explaining to some fourth graders where babies come from (and getting it entirely wrong). I think we should also consider minting the, “Appeal to Puerile Sophistry” fallacy: basically a tu quoque ad hominem, but with even bigger words.

  61. steve12on 30 Jun 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Enzo:

    Re: all of the Verinage comparisons, remember – he’s the one that brought them to the debate (I talk about this above) as a model for what controlled demolition “looks like” – noting the similarity to the WTC towers.

    So we can conclude on the basis of similar appearance that this was demolition, BUT not the kind where you weaken one floor (say by smashing a plane into it) to bring it down. He wants the buildings as models for what happens once demolition is initiated, but NOT as models for what initiated it.

    That said, I doubt seriously he will say what that novel demolition technique is. This entire “logical” construction exists to make controlled demolition the null hypothesis, so he’ll simply say he doesn’t know what that technique was, but we have to assume it’s demolition based on how things looks previously.

    It’s a stunningly piss-poor argument. I think a few shandies and a night to prepare and I could come up with something better to make his case for him…

  62. steve12on 30 Jun 2014 at 4:40 pm

    “Michael, you owe me and everyone on the internet a replacement irony meter.”

    Simply outstanding…

  63. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 4:47 pm

    I don’t know if the animated image at the top is Fullerton’s choice or Steven’s, but over and over again, I see a lopsided, asymmetrical collapse.

  64. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Fullerton + Fallacies = Sideshow Bob + Rakes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbd4t-ua-WQ

  65. jsterritton 30 Jun 2014 at 5:39 pm

    Karl Withakay…I like your idea, but do not ‘get’ the cult cargo reference (perhaps you can elucidate).

    What Fullerton is exhibiting is some kind of False Authority Syndrome, Fake Skeptic Brain Disorder (entirely made-up), Zelig-syndrome (our fault for letting him hang around with actual critical thinkers), or some inverted perversion of The Impostor Syndrome (wherein someone is unable to internalize their accomplishments and, despite external evidence of their competence, remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved). To wit, Fullerton is unable to internalize his failings. Despite external evidence of his incompetence, he remains convinced of his authority and that he deserves to win a debate of ideas despite failing to make a cogent or logically sound argument.

    Fullerton’s relationship with fallacies of logic is pretty much Side Show Bob’s with rakes. Only Fullerton is like, I’ll show you…I just need more rakes!!!!”

    C’mon, Fullerton, call me a blowhard again — it’s downright Pickwickian.

  66. Steve Crosson 30 Jun 2014 at 5:52 pm

    Free advice for Michael Fullerton:

    You will NEVER be a genuine skeptic until you learn to be skeptical of your own conclusions. Every single word you have written has been from the perspective of a “true believer”. You have not listened to ANY of the arguments or valid questions presented by Steve and numerous commenters, and you certainly haven’t addressed any of them.

    Rather, you have done nothing but search (in vain) for any slim germ of a concept which you attempt to twist into a “gotcha” by egregiously misunderstanding and abusing almost every logical fallacy in existence.

    For starters, you have utterly failed to address the single most obvious question — WHY DO BOTH????
    i.e. CD and crashing planes into the buildings.

    Your own “evidence” proves that if “something” sufficiently weakens the center portion of a building, it WILL come crashing down. And don’t give me any crap about different construction methods. Actual engineers have done simulations showing exactly how the damage from the planes caused the towers to fall.

    Unless YOU personally have the knowledge and experience to design and engineer a similar structure, you have absolutely no basis on which to make any claims on what could or could not cause the collapse.

  67. Karl Withakayon 30 Jun 2014 at 6:06 pm

    jsterritt,

    The origins of the term cargo cult refers to when certain tribal societies come into contact with Western civilization.

    From a speech/book by Richard Feynman quoted on Wikipedia:

    “In the South Seas there is a cargo cult of people. During the war they saw airplanes land with lots of good materials, and they want the same thing to happen now. So they’ve arranged to imitate things like runways, to put fires along the sides of the runways, to make a wooden hut for a man to sit in, with two wooden pieces on his head like headphones and bars of bamboo sticking out like antennas–he’s the controller–and they wait for the airplanes to land. They’re doing everything right. The form is perfect. It looks exactly the way it looked before. But it doesn’t work. No airplanes land.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult_science

  68. wood757on 30 Jun 2014 at 6:08 pm

    Like many 9/11 Truthers, Michael Fullerton seems to fit this profile:

    “Psychologists To Study Growing Apantophobia Within 9/11 Truth Movement”

    http://911booger.blogspot.com/2007/05/psychologists-to-study-growing.html

  69. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 6:10 pm

    jsterritt, cargo cults: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/watkins/cargocult.htm

    Cargo-skeptisism, by analogy, would be (this one at hand at least) Fullerton invoking “fallacies” and fallacy sounding things he doesn’t understand, in order to imbue his idiot declarations with what he thinks are science-y sounding things, thereby making his declarations scienc-y/logic-y.

    It’s basically mimicry.

  70. tmac57on 30 Jun 2014 at 6:17 pm

    Michael,do you have a germ phobia? Because I think you might have inhaled too much hand sanitizer.

    No wait! I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have gone there.

    Please accept my apology for my Purell comment.

  71. Vendetta88on 30 Jun 2014 at 6:58 pm

    DGB:The Argument From Sixth Grade. Hilariously accurate. Way better than Fullerton’s Fallacy.

    I chcukled about that the whole way home from work.

  72. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 7:18 pm

    Vendetta88, jsterritt gets credit for Argument From Sixth Grade.

  73. jsterritton 30 Jun 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Karl Withakay…

    That’s like the “Scientific People” in Alfred Bester’s “The Stars My Destination” who intone quasi-scientific ramblings, concluding each with, “quant suff!” (for quantity sufficient).

    Fullerton’s is much like the science of Gilligan’s Island, where things made out of coconuts vaguely resemble the ideas and mechanics of science, and work, because *magic*. Coincidentally, Gilligan’s Island was an inside job.

  74. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Come on all you fourth graders, WTC number seven, a 54 story structure fell a free fall speed and was not hit by an aircraft.
    No steel framed skyscraper has fallen due to any fire and many have had severe fires. The Empire State building was hit by a B25 and the subsequent fire was extinguished. The building did not fall.
    There was no investigation into the responsibility of the WTC architect and engineers of such catastrophic failures for buildings designed to stand the impact of multiple aircraft. You people have got to get a clue.

  75. MikeBon 30 Jun 2014 at 8:09 pm

    How disappointing to find this on Neurologica.

  76. BBBlueon 30 Jun 2014 at 8:37 pm

    Hi fullerm,

    “I will debate any one of the delusional blowhards…”

    I guess we can add ad hominem to your ever-growing list of fallacies.

  77. tmac57on 30 Jun 2014 at 8:40 pm

    jsterritt- Since my teen years,I have been ‘just asking questions’ about Gilligan’s island.
    Let’s look at the facts:
    1. The mate was a mighty sailing man.
    2. The skipper? Brave and sure.
    3. They were ‘lost’ on a three hour tour. A three hour tour!!!!???

    Any 5th grader could calculate the speed of a tiny ship (tiny ships usually do not have much speed capability, (especially with 2 crew and 5 passengers) and draw a radius of a three hour range,thus limiting the potential search area. Large? To be sure,BUT not so large as to prevent a search team from eventually locating them in a reasonable amount time. Where were they for those 2 1/2 years?
    All but two of the people involved have died under mysterious circumstances,and the remaining two are said to be in hiding.
    Interestingly, the ship that they set sail on that day,was named The Minnow. A Google search led me to a site that details the DARPA project Operation Minnow! They are said to have created the Microwave Infrarsound Nearfield Nano Override for Weather!
    Just what DID cause “the weather started getting rough” that day? Coincidence? Just ask the ‘Professor’ ! Oh…that’s right…he’s dead!
    The Sheeple will wake up some day,but I am afraid it will be too late.By then there will be:
    No phone…
    No lights…
    No motor cars (maybe bicycles though)…
    Not a SINGLE LUXURY PEOPLE!!!
    We will all be living like (sic) Robinson Crusoe. As primitive…as…can…be…God help us all!

  78. jlowderon 30 Jun 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Mr Fullerton,

    Given your evidence has pointed towards a CD for these buildings, have you any pointers as to who was responsible for it?

    The American public have the right to this information, and your detailed forensic must have turned up some very real pointers as precisely who it was.

  79. Bronze Dogon 30 Jun 2014 at 8:55 pm

    wmmalo:

    Do you even know what the consensus on WTC7 is?

    Define “severe fire.” How much energy was involved in those fires you’re referencing? How high did the temperature get? Did these fires involve an impact that compromised the building’s fire proofing?

    How does that B25 impact compare with the WTC impacts in terms of energy? I expect math.

  80. theclimateguyon 30 Jun 2014 at 8:57 pm

    This debate almost seems like a joke. Unfortunately, I couldn’t even get through the first third of this argument. The fact that you can name a fallacy doesn’t mean the fallacy has been committed. If that were the case then I could say every explanation uses the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. Every event follows some previous event, to include the cause of said event. We point out fallacies when the weight of the argument relies on the fallacious condition, not when the evidence necessarily leads to the conclusion.

    Also, I may have made it 1 paragraph further in this article if the third paragraph didn’t waste space. “Since Novella is hinting that the explanation is more likely rather than that it is true, I’m not going to call it fallacious even though it could easily be argued as such.” Then why write about it at all? Didn’t you commit these fallacies in your previous paragraph: “The fact that 2200+ architects and engineers question the official 9/11 story[1] seems to throw cold water on this ‘consensus’.”?

  81. BBBlueon 30 Jun 2014 at 8:59 pm

    MikeB,

    “How disappointing to find this on Neurologica.”

    On the contrary, I like a change of pace now and again, and this feeding frenzy is certainly that. It also gives greenhorn skeptics a chance to practice on a truly easy target.

  82. tmac57on 30 Jun 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Bronze Dog- My guess is that wmmalo’s comment is a Poe.
    If not..then facepalm!

  83. roadfoodon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I think Enzo cut to the heart of the matter when he wrote:

    I just don’t understand how Mr. Fullerton distinguishes between

    1. Plane hit building –> structural damage –> collapse

    and

    2. Plane hit building –> not enough damage –> controlled demolition triggered –> collapse

    What about a controlled demolition makes it so special that structural damage by a plane cannot cause a similar collapse?

    What I see is this: Fullerton sees that the way the buildings fell is consistent with controlled demolition. I think we can even grant him that point, the collapses were consistent with CD.

    What he fails to show, however, is that the collapses were INconsistent with the buildings failing because of the combination of damage from a jet liner impact and structural weakening from the high-temperature fires.

    We have evidence for the consistency with CD; Fullerton has repeated this ad nauseam. Many buildings have been brought down via a CD.

    However, no other building before the Twin Towers was ever brought down because of a jet liner impact. So we don’t know what that would look like. So Fullerton has no evidence to support the hypothesis that the way the towers fell is in any way not consistent with a collapse caused solely by a jet liner impact.

  84. Bronze Dogon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:25 pm

    I once had to mock some twoofers who suggested the planes were holograms and that towers came down because of a satellite-based laser, complete with more physics-savvy skeptics having fun calculating the ridiculous amount of energy such a weapon would require and how visible the satellite would be to the naked eye, defeating any possibility of being a stealth satellite.

    There’s a reason Poe’s Law exists, after all.

  85. Greg Mayon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:44 pm

    “At any rate, like all other official story believers before him, Novella provides no evidence for the Twin Tower falls”

    There’s one piece of evidence that has been ignored here… Multiple Cameras filmed both planes crashing into the buildings. If the building’s “naturally” collapsed without obvious cause then maybe this would be a different debate, but we have a clear and undeniable origin for the collapse. That’s a huge chunk of evidence for the “official story”.

  86. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I guess it really helps when an individual possesses the intellect, intelligence, aptitude, education, or whatever it take s to be able to visualize and subsequently discern and thereby identify the physics of a building falling down from a building being blown to shtteree, and then be able to hold’ with that personal assessment. Obviously, most comments here suggest that this ‘conceptual capacity’ is sadly absent.

  87. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 9:59 pm

    Let me see, the Empire State Building was built in 1931, a 103 steel framed structure. It was hit by a Mitchell Bomber lost in the fog and there were fuel fires. The accident did not compromise the building’s structural integrity, but it did cause fourteen deaths. Of course we don’t build like we used to, so a plane will not only knock down these later, deficient structures at will. With that in mind, how safe do you feel on the eightieth floor?

  88. tmac57on 30 Jun 2014 at 10:04 pm

    It is worth noting that with all the discussion about how even a single story being taken out could conceivably cause the collapse of the twin towers,that the fires and destruction spanned 5 stories in one tower,and six stories in the other.Thus it is likely that although the initiation of each collapse probably started at a discrete floor level,that once it began,it most likely was 5 and 6 stories together that collapsed,greatly adding to the momentum than what would have resulted from a mere single floor collapse,which in itself,should probably have been enough to bring them down.

  89. tmac57on 30 Jun 2014 at 10:13 pm

    wmmalo-Are you trying to sneak one past us? I am sure that you have seen the rebuttal for this right? Those two situations are not even close:

    http://www.911myths.com/html/empire_state_b-25.html

  90. the devils gummy bearon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:20 pm

    @jsterritt, you get a million high fives for bringing up the cargo cult in Stars My Destination.

    Actually, the Gilligan’s Island coconut tech is funny when you put it into the cargo cult context (I never thought I’d live to see the day where I put the word “funny” in the same sentence with “GIlligan’s Island”).

  91. willthepeopleon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:31 pm

    My God, Steve is going to have field day with this.

    I can’t understand what Truthers have to gain by disagreeing with the accepted explanation. Why don’t they simply claim that the government/NWO/whatever trained and financed the hijackers who then successfully completed their mission?

  92. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:43 pm

    What one must understand when wrestling with this ‘issue’, both the theory and the history, the debate and the conspiracy ‘truther’ bias, is that the event was witnessed by billions, and the consensus was fed to them by the American media. The first impression, the videos, had a soundtrack. Whoever you trusted then, to provide an accurate account of what you saw, echoes still in our psyche.
    All the comments here, and more importantly, the debaters arguments are woefully caught up by the mainstream, unconscious, accepted fabrication initiated September 11, 2001.
    Science and reason are sliced and diced to the point this forum has become mute. No one is listening, and even worse, no one can see.

  93. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:47 pm

    The most recent example of a spectacular skyscraper fire was the burning of the Hotel Mandarin Oriental starting on February 9, 2009. The nearly completed 520-foot-tall skyscraper in Beijing caught fire around 8:00 pm, was engulfed within 20 minutes, and burned for at least 3 hours until midnight. Despite the fact that the fire extended across all of the floors for a period of time and burned out of control for hours, no large portion of the structure collapsed.

  94. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:48 pm

    The First Interstate Bank Building is a 62-story skyscraper in Los Angeles that suffered the worst high-rise fire in the city’s history. From the late evening of May 4, 1988 through the early morning of the next day, 64 fire companies battled the blaze, which lasted for 3 1/2 hours. The fire caused extensive window breakage, which complicated firefighting efforts. Large flames jutted out of the building during the blaze. Firefighting efforts resulted in massive water damage to floors below the fire, and the fire gutted offices from the 12th to the 16th floor, and caused extensive smoke damage to floors above. The fire caused an estimated $200 million in direct property loss. It did not fall down.

  95. jsterritton 30 Jun 2014 at 10:55 pm

    roadfood…

    You have encapsulated Fullerton’s “logic” completely. The fallacy is major (fallacy of the undistributed middle):

    -All CDs fall rapidly & symmetrically.
    -Towers fell rapidly & symmetrically.
    -Therefore, the towers were CDs.

    The fallacy doesn’t necessarily invalidate the conclusion, but it fails to support it even a little. And since he keeps harping on it and relying on it as his sole argument, he fails to demonstrate a valid conclusion/result. We can also call this “affirming the consequent,” “begging the question,” “argument from ignorance,” special pleading,” “false cause,” and “being a dick.”

    It is simple math. We keep pointing it out. Yet it eludes him. He justs keeps getting up off the ground, threatening to kick our asses some more.

  96. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 10:55 pm

    The only reason I spend my time pushing the ‘truther’ bullshit is the pleasant reality that the number of comments slump when someone figures out three buildings did not fall down.

  97. kubushon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:00 pm

    This kid doesn’t even know how to apply basic fallacies. It is not a fallacy to appeal to a consensus and authority if they are an actual authority.

    And how do you conclude that any molten metal must be iron? What about aluminum or other metals that were in the building???

  98. wmmaloon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:00 pm

    We discuss, or argue for only two reasons; to prove a point or to listen and maybe even learn.

  99. kubushon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:03 pm

    The reported sounds of “explosions” were the elevators that came crashing down the shafts. Oh but apparently this kid couldn’t think of this as a possible explanation because it goes against his conspiracy theory. Durrr.

  100. kubushon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:07 pm

    “The First Interstate Bank Building is a 62-story skyscraper in Los Angeles that suffered the worst high-rise fire in the city’s history….The fire caused an estimated $200 million in direct property loss. It did not fall down.”

    Was the plane hit by a huge flying metal tube? No? Then how is it comparable???

  101. kubushon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:09 pm

    “No one is listening, and even worse, no one can see.”

    Right, blame the world. Everyone else is blind but the special few including you. It never crossed your immature mind that you may be blind yourself, which is why nobody buys your BS.

  102. kubushon 30 Jun 2014 at 11:14 pm

    Building 7 was hit by large chunks of debris which you seem to ignore. The building was structurally compromised as was attested by the firefighters on the ground BEFORE the collapse. Please explain that.

  103. laelon 01 Jul 2014 at 12:06 am

    wmmaloon,

    I had not heard about the Hotel Mandarin Oriental or First Interstate Bank Building fires before. To make sure we’re note comparing apples to oranges here, though, can you clarify what types of planes collided with those buildings?

  104. melisslynon 01 Jul 2014 at 12:56 am

    You’ve accused the readers here of discrimination due to ‘groupthink and driven by confirmation bias’. But sometimes discrimination means good judgement.

    Perhaps agreeing to a debate on this forum was an example of self-handicapping. But this ranting pathos over logos rebuttal really doesn’t help the cause, in my humble opinion.

    Before debating any of us ‘delusional blowhards’ I humbly suggest that you first consider the following social psychology terms: Frustration-Aggression Principle, false-consensus effect, and the overconfidence barrier.

    Note
    1. http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4lgGZ1NFubw

  105. falloonacyon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:04 am

    “The only reason I spend my time pushing the ‘truther’ bullshit is the pleasant reality that the number of comments slump when someone figures out three buildings did not fall down.”

    Three buildings didn’t fall down, therefore three more shouldn’t have, either?

  106. Robneyon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:31 am

    I just want to say, all your claims that Fullerton is identifying logically fallacies fallaciously, are falicious.

    This is, of course, the old ‘fallacy fallacy fallacy’.

    Now, I know what you’re going to say ‘That’s just a fallacy fallacy fallacy fallacy’.

    Well, unless you are a scientist, don’t even bother trying to understand or refute my logic.

    I got your back, Mr Fullerton.

  107. Robneyon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:35 am

    These are my first post so hello everyone.

    Just want to pick up on a couple of Fullerton’s semantic arguments.

    Fullerton says;

    ‘Novella falsely claims that I dismiss the official story evidence for collapse initiation. I don’t dismiss it. I am merely saying it does not in any way constitute evidence for the rest of the collapse’

    So…he doesn’t dismiss it but thinks it ‘in no way constitutes evidence’ so he does kind of dismiss it in the sense that he….totally dismisses it.

    Fullerton says;

    ‘Novella tries to argue that my claim rests entirely on the fact that the Twin Towers look similar to other successful CDs. My actual claim is that the CD hypothesis for the Twin tower falls is the only scientific explanation because only it has supporting evidence’

    But the only evidence he presents is that they look similar to controlled demolitions! He bangs on about symmetry and free fall speeds etc but because he doesn’t operationally define these criteria (and apparently feel no needs to) all we are left with his his subjective interpretation that they look like controlled demolitions.

    and if the structural damage and fire had the same effect as a demolition removing a supporting floor wouldn’t the resulting collapse be the same in either case. So Fullerton’s claims about symmetry and free fall speeds are….red herrings!

  108. swesley_perthon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:36 am

    Explosion testimony? Please…

    Many times I’ve heard people on news describing a nearby car crash like “an explosion”.

    People reported the poor people that jumped from 80 storeys landing like “an explosion”.

    How many events in a falling building would sound like “an explosion”?

  109. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:54 am

    I couldn’t read more than a paragraph or two. Fullerton is convinced his argument – keep in mind these are arguments that were made immediately after 9/11 happened and have since been deconstructed so thoroughly it’s mind boggling he hasn’t even got as ‘sophisticated’ as other truthers.

    For kicks I decided to log his mentions of fallacy/fallacies throughout his article:

    “He keeps repeating these false arguments because he has nothing else of any significance to offer.

    Note that Novella’s consensus argument is precariously close to committing two fallacies here: appeal to the masses (AKA appeal to consensus) and appeal to authority

    Claiming therefore that something is true because a majority of experts in the field believe it is true is a false argument.

    As I stated in Part I, arguing that a preceding event caused a following event involves the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

    The only “evidence” he has for the official story is a logical fallacy, a false argument

    This is an appeal to ignorance fallacy.

    Either way, these believers have only the sophistry of logical fallacies to support their purely faith-based beliefs.

    In his rebuttal, Novella commits the hasty generalization fallacy
    His argument is also a straw man.

    Using the wiggle word “seems” Novella is attempting to deflect another accusation of the use of a straw man fallacy.

    He then trots out the red herring

    By the way, where is Novella’s operational definition that a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy or appeal to ignorance fallacy can count as evidence?

    The answer is special pleading.

    This is the same nirvana fallacy I dealt with in Part I.

    Unsupported pronouncements like these are called bare assertion fallacies

    Such a claim is also what is referred to as the fallacy of retrospective determinism.

    Novella introduces an appeal to incredulity

    This creates an atmosphere thick with groupthink and driven by confirmation bias.

    Despite the fact that we agreed no fallacies would be used in this debate, Novella continues to rely heavily on the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy while creating straw men and spewing bare assertions, red herrings and other obscure fallacies

    Every attempt to reject this undeniable fact involves what is known as special pleading.

    the official story is propped up with sophomoric logical fallacies, i.e. uncritical thinking

    The official story with only logical fallacies to support it

    Which explanation can explain all available evidence with actual scientific support as opposed to entirely unsupported pronouncements and other logical fallacies?”

    He has a horrible grasp on how informal logical fallacies work but he certainly loves to invoke them. My theory here is that he’s been a truther so long, and been so utterly destroyed by a better understanding of logical fallacies that he’s attempted to try to turn it around on his decriers.

  110. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:58 am

    @Fullerton

    Where the hell is the evidence for any of your claims? You’re what 3 posts into this already and haven’t provided a lick of it. All you’ve done is very poorly attack Dr. Novellas arguments.

  111. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:00 am

    @dude

    “But how many people at this point feel that there has been anything said that needs addressing?”

    I think this has become less about debating 9/11 – because apparently only Dr. Novella is here to do that – and more about looking at how to build an argument and how to better understand logical fallacies.

  112. MaoJinon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:05 am

    There are some major ignorant statements in here.

    Since I just replied to one conspiracy theorist on the topic I might as well post responses here to the same claims made but I will not bother going through all of it again:

    Why was no jolt apparent?
    These buildings are arguably in large part empty space and most office materials disintegrate on collapse with ease and provide no resistance to collapse. So I wouldn’t say the WTC buildings “should have” jolted (or appeared to). The upper compartments arguably were too heavy for any jolt to be apparent also.

    It appears Fullerton also doesn’t grasp induction like the domino effect.
    I reckon it wasn’t expected in the 70s that large sections of steel columns (especially the central support columns) would be subject to thousand degree temperatures (instantaneously). Something we know – given steel rigidity and the actual footage – will bend columns (inward according to footage) and cause collapse of upper compartments which triggers domino effect.

    As for the AE911 that Fullerton cites I’ve already looked at their assumptions and also the 20 references they provided which doesn’t support their assertions.
    And almost none of these “professionals” are members of AIA which has over 80’000 members who accept the official NIST report and reject affiliation with AE911 [1]. Then there’s SEI/ASCE with 140’000 members that support the findings as well and every other major scientific body in the field like ASME with 120’000 members, IEEE with 370’000 members, AIChE with 40’000 members, AIAA with 35’000 members, and NFPA with 65’000 members that accept the official report. [2][3] This along with SFPA, AISC, SGH, CTBUH, SEAoNY, etc. that have assisted in the official NIST report as well.

    But that’s mostly just in the US and AE911 is an international petition gatherer. On that scale it’s practically expected by chance and the scientific community generally rejects the controlled demolition conspiracy hypothesis as stated by several experts. [4][5]

    Also to make the conspiracy more suspicious there’s no evidence to suggest that these supposed 2000+ are genuine signatures. In fact the signature process is rather deeply questionable [6] and it seems they may allow fake signatures as well. [7]

    But despite of that they have published nothing. They’ve only been marketing their DVDs, shirts, coffee, etc. for money thus far. [8] Why not use this money to conduct a study? Hundreds that are independent of NIST have already been done, even though the NIST report takes into account far more than anything proposed.

    A list of a few dozen other studies looking into the collapse:[9][10][11][12] And NIST responses to conspiracies: [13]

    [1] http://books.google.com.br/books?id=s7YbPRRrRwkC&pg=PA126#v=onepage&q&f=false
    [2] http://www.civil.northwestern.edu/people/bazant/PDFs/Papers/466.pdf
    [3] http://www.nfpa.org/newsandpublications/nfpa-journal/2011/september-october-2011/features/a-decade-of-difference
    [4] http://web.archive.org/web/20070809030224/http://www.civil.northwestern.edu/people/bazant/PDFs/Papers/466.pdf

    “As generally accepted by the community of specialists in structural mechanics and structural engineering (though not by a few outsiders claiming a conspiracy with planted explosives), the failure scenario was as follows: [continues with a four-part scenario of progressive structural failure].”

    [5] http://www.civil.northwestern.edu/people/bazant/PDFs/Papers/00%20WTC%20Collapse%20-%20What%20Did%20%26%20Did%20Not%20Cause%20It.pdf

    “Universally though has the foregoing explanation of collapse been accepted by the communities of structural engineers and structural mechanics researchers, some outside critics have nevertheless exploited various unexplained observations to disseminate allegations of controlled demolition.”

    [6] http://www.ae911truth.org/newsletter/2009/12/index.php
    [7] http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?p=4900092#post4900092
    [8] http://www.shop.ae911truth.org/main.sc

    [9] http://www-math.mit.edu/~bazant/WTC/WTC-asce.pdf
    [10] http://ascelibrary.org/doi/abs/10.1061/%28ASCE%290733-9399%282007%29133%3A3%28308%29
    [11] https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/1842/1216/1/WTCpaper.pdf
    [12] http://forums.randi.org/showpost.php?p=4355078&postcount=165
    [13] http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/engineering/architecture/4278927

  113. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:06 am

    @Karl Withkay

    “He also seems to feel that sprinkling claims of logical fallacies regularly throughout his response is equivalent to throwing trump cards on the tricks.”

    I got the same impressions. Every time he pulled one out of the hat it felt like he really was saying see, he’s wrong and I’m right because I got words!

  114. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:28 am

    @Vendetta88

    “I found it odd that he pointed out that they had agreed to not use logical fallacies in part 1. I figured that it should be implied that logical fallacies should not be used”

    I think some of us pretty much called this from the get go. He came out swinging basically setting up his terrible argument by pointing out this agreement – because it’s his point of attack. He also set it up by making the 5th grader reference so later, as he did in this article, indicate that basically if you don’t get his points you’re not smarter than a 5th grader.

    @Karl Withkay

    “I was thinking of the term Cargo Cult Skepticism. Going through the motions of superficially mimicking skepticism and critical thinking without really understanding or practicing any of the concepts of critical thinking or skepticism.”

    This is actually a great example of this. Fullerton works very hard to make himself sound like a skeptic does but fails to understand the claims he’s making. If you didn’t know what you were talking about – say you hadn’t made it past 4th grade yet – then you might think he’s on to something. But even skimming Wikipedia should provide enough guidance as to where he went wrong.

    @Fullerton

    “Attention grabbing proposal”

    FTFY

    @steve12

    “Why don’t you just answer some of the posts?”

    Exactly, he knows he can’t argue well against ONE skeptic, much less a gaggle (a murder maybe?) of them. It’s why he won’t respond to posts in the comments too much weight stacked against him.

  115. the devils gummy bearon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:28 am

    grabula,

    “…and been so utterly destroyed by a better understanding of logical fallacies that he’s attempted to try to turn it around on his decriers.”

    Indeed… Indeed. Cargo-skepticism. If you can’t beat ‘em, squawk about making noises that sound like ‘em.

    Changing for a moment; Yahoo! just saved Community tonight…. This is… HUGE! And really rather weird and unexpected and completely crazy…. Which is Community in nutshell. #sixseasonandamovie guys.

  116. Robneyon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:28 am

    Another point

    Fullerton claims that;

    ‘The Twin Tower collapses show no jolt when each upper portion hits the lower building.[3][4] How will Novella counter a violation of the law of conservation of momentum? The surest way to expose a crackpot theory is to show how it violates the laws of physics’.

    But as already mentioned, the lower floors only slowed the collapse by 6% (each floor). With the fidelity, resolution and frame rate of the video recordings (particularly compressed video on Youtube) of the event, would such minute jolting even be observable? I highly doubt it. And even if it was established that there was no jolting, what exactly is he proposing; each floor was demolished micro seconds before the impact from the falling floors above?

    Oh no, that last paragraph could tenuously be construed as a ‘straw man’ since Fullerton never explicitly claimed what I attributed to him. I take it all back. It was a cabal of Jewish space lizard illuminati with lasers what done it (that was the ‘bad attempt at humour fallacy’ in case anyone was wondering).

  117. the devils gummy bearon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:29 am

    *Changing the subject for a…

  118. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:29 am

    @Fullerton

    Please present you evidence here instead of demanding some sort of one on one debate. Bring all the friends you like or want. You already have kyleb and wmmalo, a few more should make you comfortable.

    More so, please PLEASE try your fallacy accusations here…PLEASE!

  119. christopherasharpon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:43 am

    This is worth a read:

    http://www.ae911truth.org/images/articles/2014/06/Wayne_Chicago_Ethics/IEEEPoster_12.pdf

    Comment?

  120. the devils gummy bearon 01 Jul 2014 at 3:11 am

    Eh, he lacks courage, grabula (empty praises of courage are his boilerplate openings, in this little debate club in his head).

  121. grabulaon 01 Jul 2014 at 4:04 am

    I don’t expect him to step up. His argument is vacuous and appears to ride mostly on him accusing his opponents of logical fallacies. I think he chooses to battle one at a time because he knows he’d get crushed under the weight of reason in an open format.

  122. Godmilon 01 Jul 2014 at 6:14 am

    I’m loving this article. Never before would I have thought that I could dismiss something like Quantum Theory as just an “appeal to the masses” and an “appeal to authority”.
    A whole world of crazy new ideas await me. Thank you Fullerton :D

  123. Cognogginon 01 Jul 2014 at 6:42 am

    You guys keep making the same mistake:

    This isn’t about him being right, this is about developing a career selling books/doing shows/radio/tv.

    It’s about making a living.

    It’s. About. Making. A. Buck.

    So yes, you are 100% right on every logical level.

    I’m also 100% convinced the guy will continue, and I’m at least 99% convinced he doesn’t believe what he’s saying any more than you do!

  124. pablo escargoton 01 Jul 2014 at 7:28 am

    Agreed, I’m not sure I get the point of this. It’s obvious from reading his (Fullerton’s) explanation of how he named his blog skeptopathy, a phrase he coined defending the validity of cold fusion, that you will not be engaging in a discussion about the validity of the evidence.

    About the only thing he convinces me of, is that he doesn’t understand the difference between “post hoc ergo propter hoc” and “cause and effect”.

    I worry that all that is achieved here is 1) more attention than their websites usually receive by being referenced on a wildly more popular blog, and 2) Further muddying the waters for non initiated critical thinkers who may find this and give Fullerton’s position more credibility than it deserves.

    Fullerton was never going to convince sophisticated critical thinkers, but he uses (or rather misuses) enough of the skeptical communities language and arguments to appear as credible to the untrained eye… and this gives him a bigger platform than he usually has access to.

    Not convinced this is a savvy move Dr

  125. SteveAon 01 Jul 2014 at 7:50 am

    wmmaloon: “The most recent example of a spectacular skyscraper fire was the burning of the Hotel Mandarin Oriental starting on February 9, 2009. The nearly completed 520-foot-tall skyscraper in Beijing caught fire around 8:00 pm, was engulfed within 20 minutes, and burned for at least 3 hours until midnight. Despite the fact that the fire extended across all of the floors for a period of time and burned out of control for hours, no large portion of the structure collapsed.”

    Can you remind us of the make and model of the aircraft that crashed into the Hotel Madarin Oriental?

    “The First Interstate Bank Building is a 62-story skyscraper in Los Angeles that suffered the worst high-rise fire in the city’s history. From the late evening of May 4, 1988 through the early morning of the next day, 64 fire companies battled the blaze, which lasted for 3 1/2 hours. The fire caused extensive window breakage, which complicated firefighting efforts. Large flames jutted out of the building during the blaze. Firefighting efforts resulted in massive water damage to floors below the fire, and the fire gutted offices from the 12th to the 16th floor, and caused extensive smoke damage to floors above. The fire caused an estimated $200 million in direct property loss. It did not fall down.”

    Same with this one. Make, model, speed, fuel load, pilot’s favourite colour…anything you have.

  126. mumadaddon 01 Jul 2014 at 7:58 am

    I agree with so many comments here that it would take forever to be specific, and my apologies if I’m repeating something that’s already been said. My summation of Fullerton is that he’s spent a long time arguing with skeptics, and has decided to try beat us at our own game. What he’s completely failed to do though, is subject his own conclusions to any kind of skeptical analysis.

    As I, and several other posters have pointed out, his main argument is one giant exercise in affirming the consequent. His rebuttal is just a list of poorly understood and poorly applied logical fallacy accusations. In each case of him levelling one of these he’s either completely off the mark or his missed some subtlety in application.

    Eg:

    Claiming therefore that something is true because a majority of experts in the field believe it is true is a false argument. In fact, even using a consensus argument to claim one explanation is more likely than another is baseless.

    Deference to consensus of expert opinion in a field which is not your own is not an argument from popularity, or an argument from authority, it’s what should be the default position for any non-expert.

    I’m what you might call a ‘green’ skeptic; I only started posting here a month or two ago, but what’s amazing (and somewhat gratifying, if I’m honest) is how much true believers of all stripes seem to conform exactly to what I’ve been led to believe by listening to the SGU and other skeptical sources. It’s uncanny, seriously.

  127. mindmeon 01 Jul 2014 at 8:37 am

    Huh? Citing voluminousness amounts of peer reviewed research that has been vouched for by major technical societies relevant to the debate is an improper appeal to authority fallacy?

  128. Gallenodon 01 Jul 2014 at 9:51 am

    “Deference to consensus of expert opinion in a field which is not your own is not an argument from popularity, or an argument from authority, it’s what should be the default position for any non-expert.”

    mumadadd, that is brilliant.

    Steve, I nominate that quote for Skeptical Quote of the Week. :)

  129. BillyJoe7on 01 Jul 2014 at 9:55 am

    The appeal to authority fallacy occurs when:
    - the authority is speaking outside his area of expertise.
    - the authority is speaking inside his area of expertise but is not presenting the consensus view in that area of expertise.

  130. stimpyvanon 01 Jul 2014 at 10:42 am

    I’m disappointed that Mr. Fullerton was unable to produce even the tiniest piece of evidence for controlled demoltion.

    I was going to write a long post about the rescuers that spent the following days searching for victims in the debris piles failing to find even one unexploded demolition charge and the unlikeliness of every single charge detonating when and how it was supposed to, but…

    This conspiracy is so fucking stupid and so fucking farfetched, I’m not going to waste my time.

  131. Eliot89on 01 Jul 2014 at 10:56 am

    Steve,

    First I’m going to second Gallenod’s nomination for SQOTW. Really good one there mumadadd!

    Second, I think the only way you are going to get through to Fullerton, or any vehement reader on the denier’s side, is to do a Gorski level detailed primer on the nuances of logical fallacies. Fullerton’s entire argument is using logical fallacies as a bludgeon of truth. He seems to have absolutely no understanding of the subtle nature of a fallacious argument, nor the context in which statements that seem fallacious are perfectly valid conclusions (a question I asked out of legitimate misunderstanding myself that was graciously clarified in EP 459). In your first post you presented the full range of evidence (a word Fullerton used over 100 times in this post and yet has shown none and claims there is none for supporting your case). In your second we need a slog through the marsh pit that is the atrocious thinking of your debater, pointing out every little moss growth and every steamy puddle of boisterous claims with 0 intellectual backing. I’m really appalled at how closely his language mimics Skeptics’ speaking skeptically about popularly held beliefs without the smallest sliver of understanding of why the reasoning we plod through to reach a likely true conclusion is in every way different from making claims of truth because of a prior belief all the while SOUNDING as if you are using reason. Give us justice next Monday. Do us proud.

  132. fullermon 01 Jul 2014 at 11:04 am

    So no one here can debate me on the logical fallacies I’ve supposedly committed because either: 1) none of the blowhards here have a science degree or 2) they’re too frightened to use their real name or 3) ?

    Well if you’re claims are not idiotic driveling shite Dr. N. should include them in his rebuttal. Funny he mentioned none in round 2. Maybe he’s just smarter than you all put together.

    Fallacies 101

    If I present an argument and instead of attacking the argument you call me a moron you’re committing a fallacy. If I call you a moron for committing a fallacy I’m stating a fact not committing a fallacy.

  133. mumadaddon 01 Jul 2014 at 11:13 am

    Gallenod, Eliot89,

    Thanks for the compliment! If Jay Novella read out an original quote by me on the SGU, and shouted, “MUM-ADADD!!!” I think I’d die happy. It’d be all my future birthday and xmas presents rolled into one, and I’d dine on it for years.

  134. mumadaddon 01 Jul 2014 at 11:14 am

    …not that I’m any any way suggesting that he would, or should, by the way.

  135. The Other John Mcon 01 Jul 2014 at 11:20 am

    Seriously fullerm? you aren’t going to address any of the hundreds of criticisms brought up in this and the other parts’ comments sections? Just some vague blathering about Fallacies 101? You’ve got an opportunity here to convince a lot of people of your case, but you need to make your case first….we are still waiting…

    By the way, I’ve got a science degree (do you?), and yes I am much too frightened to use my real name in exchanges with you. You seem to be a whole other level of crazy that I am not interested in having drive by my house at night, yelling about fallacies 101 and 5th grade science, and you are spectacularly belligerent during what should be a straightforward exchange of ideas.

  136. mumadaddon 01 Jul 2014 at 11:30 am

    FullerM,

    Why not just try taking on a single one of our objections? The biggy, in my opinion (and other may disagree) is that your main (well, only, so far) argument is the formal fallacy of affirming the consequent:

    1. If P (controlled demolition) then Q (symmetrical, vertical building collapse)
    2. Q
    3. Therefore P

    Oopsie!

    Can you deal with this? Offer some explanation as to why it’s inappropriate, some mitigating factor or evidence? Or even just acknowledge it and move on to some other argument. You do have some, don’t you?

    It seems evident that you aren’t able to counter any of our objections, as evidenced by your increasingly aggressive tone in your rare appearances in the comments section. Commenters here aren’t dismissing your challenge to a debate because they are afraid, or because they don’t fit your bizarrely arbitrary criteria, but because it wouldn’t be interesting, or a worthwhile use of time.

  137. wmmaloon 01 Jul 2014 at 11:53 am

    This forum is, as most, a a gaggle of babbling goons, unreasonable and often rude. Your overlord Jay Novella leads this pack of pseudonymed non intellectuals through a convoluted web of non sequiturs.
    All the factual information is now buried under a groping attack on the principals of debate – all content lost.
    Physics cannot be argued, only recognized. The forces at work on 9/11 were not gravitational alone. Sixty columns of tensiled structural iron, standing a hundred stories in space do not disappear. Concrete does not turn into dust. Iron does not melt from fuel oil or building furniture.- to remain detectable as molten and at the temperatures it was documented below the debris field would mean it had to achieve a high initial temperature, around 5000 F to stay detectable as it cooled. Only a thermitic reaction can achieve this.
    You either get it or you comment here.
    Bring it on, more drivel.

  138. steve12on 01 Jul 2014 at 11:58 am

    Michael Fullerton:

    Let’s move past the name calling and respond

    Myself, Mumadadd, et all. have called out your argument for committing the fallacy of Affirming the Consequent.

    This is not name calling, and our degrees / identities DO NOT MATTER.

    How do you respond?

  139. steve12on 01 Jul 2014 at 12:00 pm

    “This forum is, as most, a a gaggle of babbling goons”

    Again, enough with the insults and nonsense.

    Michael Fullerton’s argument is fallacious because it is simply affirming the consequent.

    RESPONSE?

  140. Bruceon 01 Jul 2014 at 12:14 pm

    “Well if you’re claims are not idiotic driveling shite Dr. N. should include them in his rebuttal. Funny he mentioned none in round 2. Maybe he’s just smarter than you all put together.”

    In this thread we addressing the fallacies you have committed in part 3… how could he address them in part 2 when he had not seen part 3 yet?

    Do you understand the concept of time? Or perhaps you think The Doctor (Novella) is some kind of time travelling lord intent on not stopping world catastrophes but instead aiding in covering them up by debating random internet people…?

    (PS it is “your”)

  141. Newcoasteron 01 Jul 2014 at 12:30 pm

    The “big disadvantage” you have in this debate is that you appear to have no understanding of logical fallacies, despite your hubris in attempting to explain them to the readers of this blog in your first post.

    You provide no convincing evidence and seem to be unaware of the weakness and contradictions in your own “argument”, which has been very patiently pointed out by Dr Novella. You address none of the scientific and engineering arguments other than with magical hand waving and including them the conspiracy as well.

    Conspiracy theory appears to be a type of dementia to me. The person suffering from it is unaware that they have a disease that is obvious to others.

    I applaud Dr Novella for attempting to engage in a polite and public way, and providing a primer on to talk with a conspiracy theorist, but your contributions have been a huge waste of time.

  142. jsterritton 01 Jul 2014 at 12:47 pm

    Wow, have you got it backward, fullerm: everybody here already IS debating you. They’re winning the debate, because you refuse to (or cannot) present a sound logical argument or participate in a cogent discussion of a topic of your choosing. You can call us names (“blowhards,” “morons”), defame our remarks (“idiotic driveling shite”) and characters (that we’re “too frightened” of you), but these ad hominem attacks in lieu of answering or conceding to any of the many, many challenges and criticisms made of your argument are growing tired and offensive. So either have the debate or stop setting up ever more straw men to bully on your playground. And please stop making demands. Your negotiating tactics as poor as your debating skills. Moreover, you have no leverage, nothing we want from you. Pretty soon, we’ll all just start ignoring you and I get the feeling you’ll really hate that.

  143. Bronze Dogon 01 Jul 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Here’s the other thing that makes it stupid to whine that the commentator arguments weren’t in part 2:

    Steve chose certain points to focus on to provide a clear challenge on the major points and make it a bit harder to get sidetracked.

    We’re eager to talk about anything that comes to mind, however. That’s a thing about arguing on the internet: It’s easy for a topic to balloon up when the details and subtopics are elaborated on, and it makes it easy for someone to avoid confrontation on major issues by changing the subject to minor issues and irrelevancies.

    And yeah, I’ll vote in favor of emphasizing that Fullerton is affirming the consequent.

    Not only is he doing that, he’s shirking something that should be vital to the twoofer movement: Coming up with a better, coherent hypothesis. Even if there was something horribly wrong with the consensus, that’d only lead me to ‘I don’t know’ at the absolute most. He has to show us it was an inside job with controlled demolition. He has to show us lines of physical evidence pointing at people planting physics-obeying demolition devices in the building. He has to specify what those devices are and how they could be reliably triggered despite the extreme conditions of the building at the time. He has to show us a plausible logistical scheme that would allow the conspirators to plant those devices in the building without being noticed and caught. He has to show us how they could corrupt the investigation and the judgement of architects and engineers from all over the world.

    I don’t see anything extraordinary in the consensus hypothesis. Every material involved has known physical properties. Given how those materials were arranged and interacted with each other, including the volume of energy involved in the impact and the burning fuel, collapse seems like the most obvious outcome I’d expect. That’s the precedent that matters to me.

  144. JDunhamon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:11 pm

    “Was this a simple comprehension error or is he under the delusion that the start of an event is identical to the rest of the event?”

    Well, there’s your problem. You seem to think the beginning and end of one event (collapse) can count as two separate events and that it is a “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy to link them. But that fallacy applies to separate events that are temporally linked, not two portions of one event that is continuous. Steve correctly observed the evidence for the collapse initiation is evidence for the collapse, because it is a single event.

    Let me provide an example of the ridiculousness of your position here. Your argument is akin to saying “the steering and brakes in this car failed and it started careening towards the edge of the road; it went off the road and crashed into a tree. I don’t dispute the mechanical problem, but the collision with the tree must have been drunk driving because we have evidence that the mechanical failures caused the car to go out of control, but no evidence that they caused the collision.”

    Michael, the major fallacy here is your motivated reasoning.

  145. the devils gummy bearon 01 Jul 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Affirming the consequent.

    He’s also arguing a non or anti-science position, i.e. NO evidence, and lacks any kind of hypothesis anyway (calling your belief/notion a “hypothesis” does not make it one, it must be a proper scientific hypothesis). Pure pseudo-science tactics. And unless Fullerton can answer to logic or elementary science, he’s preemptively lost every debate he’s reckoning he can have. The fact that he won’t respond to the most basic criticisms is revealing.

  146. steve12on 01 Jul 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Fullerton is right – I’m just a scared blowhard moron professing idiotic driveling shite ad him arguments.

    That said, I’d still LOVE to hear how Mikey responds to that whole affirming the consequent thing…

  147. steve12on 01 Jul 2014 at 1:40 pm

    ad HOM….pretty much ruined the joke.

  148. wood757on 01 Jul 2014 at 2:10 pm

    fullerm,

    It’s really very straightforward: in the almosrt-13 years since 9/11, not one piece of POSITIVE evidence has ever surfaced for any kind of intentional demolition by anyone. You have illustrated that you cannot do so either.

    Your attempt to shift the burden of proof from your shoulders is no different than any other 9/11 Truther’s attempts in the last 13 years.

    You really need to get a grip on the subject mater and your fallacious reasoning.

  149. jonathanjbell27on 01 Jul 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Fullerton is so insulting it’s getting on my nerves.

  150. roadfoodon 01 Jul 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Mr. Fullerton, I say let’s forget all this distraction about logical fallacies. The real bottom line is that you do not enhance your credibility when you respond with emotion and name-calling.

    You started out the debate talking about evidence. So I’d like to hear some evidence about one direct question, the one I asked above: Point me to one thing, anything, about the collapse of the Twin Towers, either at initiation of the fall or later, that is inconsistent with the hypothesis that there was no controlled demolition of any kind, and that the collapse was due entirely to the collision of the airplane and the resultant structural damage and weakening from the fires.

    I genuinely want to know if there is anything at all that can be construed as inconsistent with that hypothesis.

    I’ll say this again: I totally grant you that everything we see in the collapse is consistent with a CD. A CD would cause the sudden removal of structural support at the point(s) of the CD. After that, I’m assuming you agree, gravity causes everything above that removed support to fall.

    However, if we hypothesize that instead of the cause of the removal of the structural support being a CD, it is instead the sudden buckling of those support structures due to damage from the collision and weakening from the fires, it would also be the case that gravity would cause everything above that removed support to fall.

    Heck, I’ll make it even easier. Forget about pointing to actual evidence, how about presenting a hypothetical way that, given the evidence we have, those two scenarios (structural support suddenly removed via CD, vs. structural support suddenly removed due to damage from collision and weakening from fires) could be differentiated.

  151. jsterritton 01 Jul 2014 at 3:24 pm

    wood757 nails it. Fullerton has nothing. For the “debate” (or “controversy”) to continue, Fullerton must make noise somehow. In these pages, he has shifted his burden of proof to others, set up multiple straw men, argued from incredulity, treated his critics with scorn and derision, claimed special knowledge, demanded special treatment, and of course, begged the question by affirming the consequent.

  152. Robneyon 01 Jul 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Fullerton writes;

    ‘Fallacies 101

    If I present an argument and instead of attacking the argument you call me a moron you’re committing a fallacy. If I call you a moron for committing a fallacy I’m stating a fact not committing a fallacy.’

    haha, he even gets this wrong. Its not a fallacy, its just an insult. Its only fallacious if we say you’re wrong because you are a moron. I don’t think anyone is really doing that. Oh my god he’s committing a straw man!

  153. Robneyon 01 Jul 2014 at 3:52 pm

    By the way, I don’t committing a fallacy automatically makes one a moron since we are all prone to fallacious think. So calling people morons for using fallacies is a fallacy (non sequitor).

  154. Karl Withakayon 01 Jul 2014 at 3:55 pm

    Additionally, it seems fairly obvious that a key strategy for Fullerton from the start was to divert the debate away from any burden of proof on his part by accusing Steven of using logical fallacies.

    His strategy was almost comically transparent (in hind sight, at the very least) with in his opening paragraph “We have both agreed that no logical fallacies are to be used in this debate.” and by including his 10 Commandments of Logic.

    Fullerton presumably studied up on Steven and was determined to use Steven’s own tools, tactics, and reasoning against him and show he was following the rules of logic better than Steven. Instead Fullerton has only displayed his severely superficial of understanding of logical fallacies, skepticism, and critical thinking with his cargo cult skepticism.

  155. Karl Withakayon 01 Jul 2014 at 4:05 pm

    to Fullerton:

    I can’t imagine why anyone would even need to mention that Steven Novella had agreed to not use logical fallacies in any context unless they intended to later accuse him of doing so.

    Really, Steven agreed not to use logical fallacies? How hard did you have to twist his arm to get him to agree to that?

    Why mention logical fallacies at all unless you were laying some ground work/ land mines? You don’t need to promise not to use them, just don’t’ do it. It’s not like if Steven did actually use logical fallacies, we’d all give him a break because he never explicitly agreed not to do so. Your over-eagerness regarding your plan pretty much gave it away.

  156. laserfloydon 01 Jul 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Not even sure where to start, let alone say what’s probably already been said in the comments. I’ll focus on the initiation of collapse part.

    Fullerton says that explosives aren’t required for CD then says that extremely credible eyewitnesses reported explosions. What? Were there or weren’t there explosions? I need to be more specific on what I’m asking about. Explosion is a vague definition to a lot of people. You have differing types of explosives based on how powerful they are.

    I’ve personally never witnessed a controlled demolition but they’re fun to watch on TV or YouTube. One thing they all have in common is the unmistakably loud sound of a detonation. You also see/hear them going off sometimes several seconds before a collapse.

    Eyewitness accounts are only good to a point because we’re notoriously bad at remembering exactly what we saw or heard in stressful situations. We do have a crap ton of video footage though and that’s invaluable because I’ve never, in any of the, heard anything that remotely sounded like a detonation. I heard the plane impacts and the collapse itself but no series of timed detonations. One might argue the size of the building and the collapse itself would drown that out. I’d have to disagree. A detonation produces a shockwave. It’s basically a sonic boom. Several of them would be damn near impossible to miss, twice.

    If you ask me, thermite is out simply because of the nature of the thermite itself. Not sure if anyone noticed but those buildings were raging infernos. Thermite in the vicinity of those fires would likely have ignited. Thermite is not explosive in nature but the chemical reaction is extremely exothermic. Keeping what I’d have to imagine to be thousands of pounds (if not more) from igniting at the point of impact would be a monumental and likely impossible task.

    One might argue that the thermite was set off upon impact on purpose. I can’t get behind that because you had people evacuating the building near the site of impact. If you were anywhere near a thermite reaction, you’d know it. A collective group of witnesses would say they saw at least something of that nature. I know, I said witnesses are the most credible in these situations but a few dozen saying “I saw a pool of glowing metal blocking an exit” or something to that degree would be pretty believable since they’d be face to face with it.

    So, to sum up, no distinct ‘bang’ of detonations and the difficult task of keeping thermite from prematurely igniting.

    I don’t know why we’re still having this debate over a decade later. The opponents of the official story just dig in deeper it seems. *sigh*

  157. steve12on 01 Jul 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Karl –

    “it seems fairly obvious that a key strategy for Fullerton from the start was to divert the debate away from any burden of proof on his part by accusing Steven of using logical fallacies.”

    Yeah, I agree. H