Mar 08 2011

New 9/11 Footage

Video footage from a police helicopter circling the Twin Towers on 9/11 has been released through a freedom of information (FOI) request – it was originally given to NIST for their investigation. Some of this footage has now found it’s way onto YouTube. (Here’s a more condensed version.) Even after 10 years watching the footage is a powerful reminders of the emotions of that day.

While having an aerial perspective of the devastation of the first tower to fall is compelling video, the video does not provide any new information that impacts the claims of 9/11 truthers. Unfortunately, the camera was not on the tower at the moment it fell. The helicopter had rotated the window that the camera operator was filming through away from the towers. It appears that when the tower fell the camera operator reacted by pointing the camera back at the towers through a different window. But the tower is already down by that time.

As if often the case, perhaps more interesting than the video itself are the comments to the video. It is filled, not surprisingly, with paranoid conspiracy mongering.

The most recent poll I could find on American attitudes about 9/11 being an inside job is the oft-quoted Scrippes News poll from 2006.

Thirty-six percent of respondents overall said it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them “because they wanted the United States to go to war in the Middle East.”

This poll is the source of the statement that 1/3 of Americans believe 9/11 was an “inside job,” but that’s not really what the poll says. Of note only 16% of those polled said they believed that explosives were used to bring down the towers, and only 12% believe that a missile, rather than a jet, crashed into the pentagon. With these additional numbers, it seems that only about 16% at the high end believe the 9/11 truther version of events – that 9/11 was actually carried out by the US government. The other 20% in that 36% (if they don’t believe in bombs or missiles) probably believe something closer to the notion that the US government did not orchestrate 9/11 but did not do everything they could to stop it because they thought it could be exploited.

I could not find a more recent similar survey. If anyone knows of one, please put it in the comments. I would like to see if these numbers have changed at all. I suspect that the 16% of hardcore truthers has not diminished much.

Reading the comments it is clear that the conspiracy theorists continue to commit the same fallacies. They look at this video and are struck by what it does not show – why is the moment of collapse not captured on this video? To them, the absence of evidence is evidence of a conspiracy. This is the inherent weakness of many conspiracy theories – they are premised on a lack of evidence.

Lack of evidence, however, is an inherently weak argument. It is not entirely worthless – when evidence should be present if a hypothesis is correct, then it’s absence can be telling. But it is never definitive. Further, the absence of evidence for one hypothesis should not be treated as positive evidence for any competing hypothesis. It’s just a lack of evidence. In this case, the lack of video during the moment of collapse is not evidence for anything, because it is easily the result of random chaos.

There are many videos of the towers burning on that day. Some of them captured the collapse, and many did not. It makes sense that at the moment of collapse, many cameras would be focused back onto the towers. So we should expect to see many videos that turn to the towers just after the collapse. The fact that this video falls into that category is not evidence for anything.

In addition to faulty logic, the comments give insight into the emotions of the typical conspiracy theorist. In a word – they are smug. Everyone who does not accept their raving paranoia is naive or idiotic, part of the “sheeple.” Anything short of the maximally cynical interpretation of every piece of evidence, in their view, is naive. Conspiracy thinking is pattern recognition and hyperactive agency detection gone wild, sometimes unhinged by impaired reality testing. At the milder end of the spectrum there are those who simply employ flawed logic – who have fallen down the rabbit hole of conspiracy thinking.

In the end, this video is nothing new. It does not add much to the overall evidence of what happened on 9/11. But we’re likely to get another round of conspiracy mongering out of it.

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76 responses so far

76 Responses to “New 9/11 Footage”

  1. chaos4zapon 08 Mar 2011 at 8:24 am

    Their condescending arrogance is something that always bothers me. They are always saying things like “you need to open your mind” or “you’re mind has not yet awakened”. My first point when dealing with these people is to make one simple point. Before you even get into the details of what happened that day, they have to answer one question, why did the terrorist take credit for the attack? If they wanted to create chaos and panic in America, what better way than to point out that this was perpetrated by our own government? Every now and then I get the response of “we were working with them”. This would mean that the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are all a continuation of the ruse? Nothing more than an elaborate cover-up? No matter what, the conversation usually ends there. Either they don’ t have a response and don’t want to continue the conversation, or they make the comment listed above and, at that point, I will walk away because there is no point having a conversation with someone that is so hopelessly dishonest or just doesn’t care about the “truth”.

  2. Skeptical Atheiston 08 Mar 2011 at 9:00 am

    9/11 truthers, my blood boils when I hear that word. My people were killed that day and Osama Bin Laden and all those other bastards are still happily plotting to destroy my country and way of life, no one ever puts any pressure on the Muslim world to get rid of those Al Qaida scumbags. Christians, Jewish, Hindus, Buddhists and Atheists won’t even be allowed to talk about their faith in the middle east, but they want to build a mosque where one of the worst events in the name of Islam happened.
    The 9/11 truth movement is destructive because of them the world is going to sympathize with Al Qaida.
    There is no place in the world for Islam, Islam divides and encourages hatred. Islam will have us believe that only Muslims will go to heaven. BALONEY.
    Heaven is a place of Love.
    There is no love in Religion, Love can only be found in spirituality.
    Religion wants us to believe that we are sinners, but Spirituality tells us that we are eternal spiritual beings having a human experience. Death is an illusion, Love is the only reality.
    We won’t get 72 virgins in heaven, that’s nonsense.

    We will be embraced by the light and meet all our loved ones again.
    You think of yourselves as humans searching for a spiritual awakening, when in fact you are spiritual beings attempting to cope with a human awakening. Seeing yourselves from the perspective of the spirit within will help you to remember why you came here and what you came here to do.
    Love and Peace

  3. Steven Novellaon 08 Mar 2011 at 9:07 am

    Meeting 72 virgins in heaven is nonsense, but meeting all our deceased loved-ones is not?

    This is a good example of – other people’s magical beliefs are silly, but mine are self-evidence Truth.

  4. Dorkmanon 08 Mar 2011 at 9:33 am

    That’s an impressive amount of contradictions and nonsense for such a short comment, Skeptical Atheist (something tells me you’re neither).

    Question: if we all get to see our loved ones again in heaven, why should the deaths on 9/11 upset you? Didn’t those people get to go to a place of love? Aren’t the people they left behind going to join them in said place of love? If you truly believe this, why is 9/11 a source of anger for you?

  5. shaneon 08 Mar 2011 at 9:39 am

    I found out a few months ago that a couple of my work colleagues (this is in Australia BTW) were honest to goodness “truthers”. One was of Lebanese muslim extraction and chose to believe the conspiracies because it fit his world view – the Israel/USA kill all the muslims conspiracy. The other was an Australian/American who seemed to believe the Rothschild Jewish One World Order conspiracy.
    Both intelligent highly educated and, on the whole, reasonable people. Except when it came to things like 9/11. No amount of evidence would suffice to sway them. All evidence to the contrary of their beliefs was fabricated – no matter the source. All “evidence” that fit their conspiracy was accepted unquestionably.
    Their obstinate refusal to accept any evidence was frustrating to say the least.
    It made me realise what we’re up against.

    I did have some success sowing the seeds of doubt about the Powerband Magic bracelets with one of the guys, even though he was suspicious of the motives of our consumer advocacy organisation in Australia, Choice, who had done an expose/test of the magic bracelets here.

  6. mrwilson41on 08 Mar 2011 at 10:12 am

    Lack of Evidence = Conspiracy Thinking Gold. I believe that conspiracy theorist main logical fallacy is that they don’t agree with Occam’s razor. This allows them to create any fantasy world, no matter how remote the probability. I would more likely believe in an inept federal government than one that is so smart to hide the “truth.”

  7. Skeptical Atheiston 08 Mar 2011 at 10:14 am

    Dorkman, 9/11 hurts me deeply because of the amount of suffering and pain inflicted on innocent Americans, those were my people that died, my own people, my whole world crumbled on that day. Yes we will see our loved ones again, but life in the physical world should not be degraded, the physical world is a beautiful place, we should appreciate it and love it and preserve it.
    I have nothing but the deepest amount of hate for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida. Day and night I fantasize them being torn to bits by a clan of hyenas. I want nothing more than to see him suffer in pain.
    I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.

  8. cuervoon 08 Mar 2011 at 10:31 am

    @Skeptical Atheist
    May I suggest that one could simply turn one’s other cheek?

  9. Dorkmanon 08 Mar 2011 at 10:43 am

    “I have nothing but the deepest amount of hate for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida. Day and night I fantasize them being torn to bits by a clan of hyenas. I want nothing more than to see him suffer in pain.
    I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.”

    Now quick, tell me again how you’ve eschewed the hatred found in religion in favor of the love found in spirituality.

  10. mikerattlesnakeon 08 Mar 2011 at 11:06 am

    @Skeptical Atheist

    Did any muslims die in 9/11? Are they “your people”?

  11. Karl Withakayon 08 Mar 2011 at 11:37 am

    I thought that when we died, we went to a big farm with vast fields where we could run and play and chase rabbits all day long…no, wait, that’s where my dog went when I was a kid.

    KRYTEN: “He’s an android. His brain could not handle the concept of there being no silicon heaven.”
    LISTER: “So how come yours can?”
    KRYTEN: “Because I knew something he didn’t.”
    LISTER: “What?”
    KRYTEN: “I knew that I was lying. Seriously, sir. ‘No silicon heaven’? Where would all of the calculators go?”

  12. Nicolason 08 Mar 2011 at 11:40 am

    “Christians, Jewish, Hindus, Buddhists and Atheists won’t even be allowed to talk about their faith in the middle east, but they want to build a mosque where one of the worst events in the name of Islam happened.”
    Because some muslims on the middle east discriminate against you, you should discriminate against all of them here?
    Also, the muslims that would worship on this mosque had nothing to do with 9/11, why should they have to pay for what others did?

    “The 9/11 truth movement is destructive because of them the world is going to sympathize with Al Qaida.”
    I fail to see how that would unfold

    “There is no place in the world for Islam, Islam divides and encourages hatred.”
    So loving and peaceful.

  13. chaos4zapon 08 Mar 2011 at 12:29 pm

    @ Skeptical Athiest

    I’m assuming you are skeptical OF atheist? If you fancy yourself a critical thinker, then for these posts, you check the logic at the door and failed to bring it along. Instead of a pointless conversation that goes nowhere, how about addressing some of the questions already brought up in the above comments?
    1. Define Spirituality
    2. Is this notion of spirituality in any way based more on logic or evidence than Islam or Christianity? (see special pleading)
    3. What does “heaven is a place of love” even mean and how do you define love and why do you think love is only possible via spirituality?
    4. How did we get here and what exactly are we here to do? (can’t wait to finally have this old nut cracked)

    Ironic how Steve mentions comments to the video and the faulty logic and his post on said faulty logic is commented on with faulty logic. This is the song that never ends, yes it goes on and on my friends!!

  14. chaos4zapon 08 Mar 2011 at 12:33 pm

    On a completely unrelated note, does anyone think that AOL buying the Huff Po will restore any amount of integrity to their writing on science and health?

  15. locutusbrgon 08 Mar 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I am very willing to hear SA’s arguments about why his/her god is better than their god? Please enlighten me.

  16. gr8googlymooglyon 08 Mar 2011 at 1:35 pm

    SA says “Love can only be found in spirituality.”.

    Not true. I am not at all spiritual, and I love lots of people. So, SA, are you flat-out lying? Or merely ignorant?

  17. SARAon 08 Mar 2011 at 2:01 pm

    An amazing amount of correlation between Religion Believers and Conspiracy Believers.
    The biggest intersection being Belief.

    For some reason humans defend belief rather than examine it. Ideas on the other hand are open to change when evidence is brought to light.

    I find its better to avoid belief in anything and just relegate such things to ideas. It makes for a far more rational life.

    Ideas allow for a great deal more compassion, since beliefs often require shunning of people who don’t accept the belief.

    Ideas are for people whose minds are willing work. They are for people who are brave enough to face ambiguity and contradiction. They are for people who are curious. They are not for the lazy.

  18. Watcheron 08 Mar 2011 at 2:01 pm

    He’s so fluffy!!!!!!

  19. mindmeon 08 Mar 2011 at 2:03 pm

    “There is no place in the world for Islam…

    8< snip

    Love and Peace"

    Errr.

  20. shawmutton 08 Mar 2011 at 2:57 pm

    Ugh, took the bait and had to leave a comment of my own on that video. They are disgusting, the lot of them. I would wager that the only way most of them saw the World Trade Center in New York was as part of a nondescript landmark in a movie.

    I try, I really do, to see their point of view. This layman spent a long time considering all the available evidence. My only conclusion: The scale of what happened that day is almost incomprehensible, and perhaps some folk’s minds can’t handle the facts of what happened that day. So they look for a way to control it, find the patterns, find the anamolies.

    “A small group of terrorists? That’s impossible!” they say to themselves. “This must be something bigger!”

    Unfortunately this results in ignoring any evidence contrary to their position, and apparently turning into a giant Dick who needs to search out every youtube video, forum post, blog entry, etc. and flood them with comments.

    My two experiences with tr*thers were not good ones. In the first, a guy came to my monthly Freethinker meeting, obviously confusing “Freethinking” with “Batshit crazy thinking”. Most of the folks in the group really didn’t know what to do with him. I raked his ass across the coals. I think by the end of our–lively–discussion he was convinced he was part of the REAL conspiracy. (As we all know, conspiracies are like onions–many layers. One thing that makes the sheep more compliant are the existence of the “crazy conspiracy theorists”. I had him going good on that one.)

    In my second, I was on my way back from D.C. a couple months ago, and on one of the Metro stops was a girl handing out tr*ther fliers. I asked her how old she was–she was 15. I asked if she even saw the event when it happened, laughed at her and walked away.

  21. Brian Bon 08 Mar 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Great post, Steven.

    Although it’s not precisely an updated poll of the percentage of Americans who believe 9/11 conspiracy theories, there was an article relating to an interesting study along the same lines recently in Skeptic. Here’s the issue info:

    Skeptic Vol. 16 No. 2 2011
    “Who Still Believes in 9/11 Conspiracies?: An Empirical Study on Political Affiliation and Conspiratorial Thinking”

  22. CivilUnreston 08 Mar 2011 at 9:14 pm

    chaos4zap,

    I doubt the AOL acquisition will increase the integrity of the site at all. Arianna Huffington still remains at the helm:

    “AOL buys Huffington Post; Arianna to control content”
    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/business&id=7943380

  23. CivilUnreston 08 Mar 2011 at 9:18 pm

    shawmutt,

    Feeling like the world is “out of control” is one of the most frightening things imaginable. I think you are correct — when people face down the possibility that the entire course of American history was altered by a small group of angry radicals with pilot’s licenses & box cutters…well, some of them just can’t handle it.

    In a world where the US government planned the attacks, everything feels safer. At least in that world, someone is still in charge.

  24. xeison 09 Mar 2011 at 4:21 am

    The phrasing of the statement was (imo) designed to generate a favourable response, if they had asked :

    “The US Administration wanted a war in the middle east, therefore a concerted effort by federal employees was undertaken to facilitate the 9/11 attacks.”

    I honestly believe you would be looking at 95% disagree or Strongly disagree.

    BTW @Skeptical Atheist it is not fair to carry out such a blanket attack on Islam, anyone can lay claim to a belief system. My people were killed by terrorists as they drank in Birmingham, I don’t blame Catholics, Irish or Noraid as a collective group.

  25. SteveAon 09 Mar 2011 at 7:25 am

    SA: “I have nothing but the deepest amount of hate for Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida. Day and night I fantasize them being torn to bits by a clan of hyenas. I want nothing more than to see him suffer in pain. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them.”

    This is starting to sound like a South Park script. (Anyone remember Saddam being gored to death by a wild boar?)

    I think SA’s posts are best viewed as an ongoing practical joke.

  26. SteveAon 09 Mar 2011 at 7:31 am

    CivilUnrest: “At least in that world, someone is still in charge.”

    I agree , many people seem to long for the hand of control, even if it’s guided by an evil intelligence.

    As SARA pointed out, it’s also the basis of most religious belief.

  27. Skeptical Atheiston 09 Mar 2011 at 8:22 am

    This nation, my nation, The United States of America is the most loving country in the world. We feed the poor, we heal the sick, we help all countries, when there is a disaster anywhere we are the first to respond, we ended racism in South Africa, we are the first nation in the western world that treated women with respect, we are the ones that are going to end Malaria and AIDS and hunger. The 9/11 truth movement has the audacity to blame my loving nation for orchestrating 9/11. Ungrateful morons.
    This is America, we are a spiritual nation, there is no place here for divisive ideologies like Islam, I have nothing against Arab-Americans, but they have to give up their bogus religion and I want to hear them criticize Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida, the Muslim world is suspiciously silent when it comes to criticizing terorrism. . Allah doesn’t exist. There is no sky daddy watching over us.
    We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience, there is a force a force of Love. Love is all there is. Love is the force that greets us when we leave our Physical bodies and enter our true home. Love is the force that spins the planets around the Sun.
    If Islam has it’s way in America they will ban all New Age Spiritual books and poor Psychics that help us connect with the Spiritual world would be beaten up and degraded by them.
    There are genuine Psychics that really do have a connection with the Spirit World, I am not talking about that bogus Sylvia Browne. Watch this, this is an example of a genuine Psychic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgbALQzZl-s&feature=related

    Conclusion: America is a spiritual nation, our founding fathers were Spiritual not religious, they believed in a Spiritual force of Love that survives death.
    Islam is not suitable for the United States.
    The 9/11 truth movement is ungrateful.
    The United States government is the most loving government in the world, we don’t tolerate corruption and we are focused on ending suffering and bringing peace and love.
    We want people in every country to live happy, healthy lives while in the Physical World.
    Death is not the End. Life/Love is eternal.
    We will meet our loved ones and loved pets again.
    Love and Peace :)

  28. cwfongon 09 Mar 2011 at 11:38 am

    “If Islam has it’s way in America they will ban all New Age Spiritual books and poor Psychics that help us connect with the Spiritual world would be beaten up and degraded by them.”

    Best argument for Islam to have its way here yet.

  29. eeanon 09 Mar 2011 at 12:49 pm

    all new evidence clearly points to a conspiracy and if it doesn’t then its part of the conspiracy. huzzah :D

    and lol @ SA. now SA says there isn’t a god? I guess I lost track wtf SA’s deal was.

  30. cervanteson 09 Mar 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Well, yeah everybody but . . .

    The 9/11 attack was in fact a conspiracy, so it seems rather silly to deride “conspiracy theories” regarding the event. The argument is over the nature of the conspiracy and who was involved.

    It is incontrovertible that Mohammed Atta and associates of his, with financing from al Qaeda via Khalid Sheik Mohammed, hijacked the airplanes and flew them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, causing the collapse of the WTC towers. People who deny those well established facts may fairly be called nutty.

    On the other hand, we don’t necessarily know the full extent of the conspiracy. There are some legitimate questions out there, such as unexplained large scale shorting of airline stocks just before the event; the curious indifference of GW Bush and his cronies to intelligence warnings about al Qaeda; and administration reluctance to cooperate with the 9/11 commission. The Commission report did not benefit from full disclosure of intelligence info, they were not allowed to interview GWB alone (remember?) and we are not likely to get a trial, certainly not a public trial, of KSM. So it’s not surprising that a lot of people aren’t satisfied that we know the whole story.

    I don’t speculate about any of this or make up crazy stories of my own to fill the gaps. I just don’t think we have all the answers, and why should it be considered the skeptical or sensible position to think that we do? I think it’s reasonable to ask questions.

  31. BillyJoe7on 09 Mar 2011 at 3:34 pm

    “I guess I lost track wtf SA’s deal was.”

    As Hitchens says, if you can make things up out of thin air, then anything is possible.

    For example, there may be an afterlife but it might be ruled by a god who rewards evil with heaven and good with hell, or by a god who capriciously sends every second person to hell, or, worst of all, a god who demands you worship him for all of eternity (and let the true impact of that word “eternity” sink in because it’s more than just a friggin’ long time).

  32. TheBlackCaton 09 Mar 2011 at 4:28 pm

    when there is a disaster anywhere we are the first to respond,

    Often not true

    we are the first nation in the western world that treated women with respect,

    That is, frankly, utter nonsense. Lots of western countries were decades ahead of the U.S. in womens’ rights.

    we are the ones that are going to end Malaria and AIDS and hunger.

    Right, because no other countries are at all involved in those things.

    The 9/11 truth movement has the audacity to blame my loving nation for orchestrating 9/11. Ungrateful morons.

    So, if I am understanding you correctly, the U.S. is perfect and criticizing it is unacceptable?

    there is no place here for divisive ideologies like Islam,

    But you have no problem with divisive ideologies like Christianity, I take it.

    I have nothing against Arab-Americans, but they have to give up their bogus religion

    “I have nothing against Arab-Americans, I just want to deny them equal rights and think the rights guaranteed under the constitution do not apply to them”.

    I want to hear them criticize Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida, the Muslim world is suspiciously silent when it comes to criticizing terorrism.

    Of course they seem silent when you don’t listen.

    Allah doesn’t exist. There is no sky daddy watching over us.

    And this a problem specific to Islam how, exactly?

    If Islam has it’s way in America they will ban all New Age Spiritual books and poor Psychics that help us connect with the Spiritual world would be beaten up and degraded by them.

    No, if Christian, Muslim, or Jewish fundamentalists had their way those things would be banned. Don’t forget it is often the Christians doing the witch hunts in Africa right now.

    America is a spiritual nation, our founding fathers were Spiritual not religious, they believed in a Spiritual force of Love that survives death.

    Some did, some didn’t. Some were Christian, some were Unitarian, some were Deist. The founding fathers were not a homogenous group, they were about as wide a variety of rich white men as you could imagine, they had a wide variety of view on just about any imaginable subject.

    Islam is not suitable for the United States.

    All of the arguments you provided for this apply equally well to Christianity. There is also that pesky first amendment you would have to do away with.

    The United States government is the most loving government in the world, we don’t tolerate corruption and we are focused on ending suffering and bringing peace and love.

    Tell that to Halliburtun.

    We want people in every country to live happy, healthy lives while in the Physical World.

    Except when they refuse to cooperate with us economically, in which case we overthrow their government, and install a brutal dictatorship to control them and force them to do what is in our best interest no matter how much it hurts them.

    We will meet our loved ones and loved pets again.

    [citation needed]

  33. CivilUnreston 09 Mar 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Skeptical Atheist,

    I watched your psychic video (I would urge other members of this board to LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE!!) and was pretty unimpressed.

    I don’t mean I was unimpressed with the psychic or the production quality of “America’s Psychic Challenge” — although neither of the two seemed all that polished. Rather, I was unimpressed with you. If you’re going to spend your free time harassing a bunch of skeptics, could you at least be a little more creative about it?

    You could try:
    *Posting a hilarious video that has nothing to do with the absurd point you’re trying to make (so, for proof of psychic powers, post a video about puppies attacking toy bicycles: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP8QWZeUr1A)

    *Randomly post links to celebrities making silly faces (for instance: http://tinyurl.com/4znpzxk)

    *Occasionally make a totally coherent argument before slipping back into your whole “peace, love, destroy Islam” shtick

    *Pretend to channel a different spirit animal each week (ie: a penguin’s perspective on the afterlife: “What do I care? I’m a penguin and have no soul….gimme some fish”)

    What I’m saying is that, if you’re going to slum around this message board, you could at least do everyone (including yourself!) a favor and mix it up a little. We live in a fast-changing world, and you’ve gotta evolve to stay relevant!

  34. CivilUnreston 09 Mar 2011 at 4:41 pm

    TheBlackCat,

    I hope you don’t mind if I start posting your quote about the founding fathers being the most diverse group of rich white men possible. That’s good stuff.

    How should I attribute it to you?

  35. TheBlackCaton 09 Mar 2011 at 4:47 pm

    @ CivilUnrest: Thanks! Just calling me The Black Cat is fine.

  36. titmouseon 09 Mar 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Skeptical Atheist,

    You have some self-talk about love and spirituality that makes you feel good and you imagine that sharing your thoughts with others will cause them to feel similarly. Is this correct?

    Do you understand the difference between two people laying in the same bed masturbatng and two people having sex with each other?

    Can you tell the difference between two people giving sequential monologues verses two people having a dialog?

    Do you understand the difference between feeling love toward someone and actually loving someone?

    Is the narcissism you exhibit the result of some cult involvement or just your own thing?

  37. Karl Withakayon 09 Mar 2011 at 5:27 pm

    BlackCat quote about founding fathers now added to my Random Quote page.

    http://blog.cordialdeconstruction.com/random-quotes/

    titmouse comment also brilliant; I’ll have to consider adding that as well, but the individual lines work better when you see them in context.

  38. HHCon 09 Mar 2011 at 6:36 pm

    9/11 appeals to apocalyptic thinkers. They are fascinated with the “end of the world”. concept. Their internal mental world is toppled by repeated threats to their rigid mental categories. Pressured chaotic thinking leads to chaotic behavior, especially if substance abuse is added to flame the mental fire, as in opium users. In order to cope with their perceptions, they attempt to control everyone and everything around them. They live in the autocracy of America. instead of the democracy.

  39. CivilUnreston 09 Mar 2011 at 7:45 pm

    HHC,

    I gotta say that I’m totally confused by your post — are you arguing that apocalyptic thinkers are all deranged and so they’re obsessed with 9/11 — or that all people obsessed with 9/11 are apocalyptic thinkers?

    Any way you cut it, I’ll have to disagree. I consider myself an apocalyptic thinker — I even have an End Of The World Booklist on Amazon (cheggitout: http://tinyurl.com/4qhuy3r) and I have used a few psychoactive substances in my day. I in NO WAY give credence to 9/11 conspiracy drivel.

    Admittedly, thinking about the potential for an apocalypse is more of an interest for me than a lifestyle (there is some FANTASTIC post-apocalyptic fiction out there), and I’ve never actually been addicted to anything — so maybe your comment wasn’t directed at me. Then again, I’m still not sure what your drift was….

  40. ccbowerson 09 Mar 2011 at 7:49 pm

    I thought that this “skeptical atheist” character was some type of elaborate prank since I can’t believe that anyone could actually believe what s/he says, but this has gone on long enough… reveal yourself so we can all have a nice laugh.

    You assert that allah and 72 virgins are “nonsense”, but that we will get a hug from “light” and we will see dead people. I’m not sure which part of the sentence is more nonsensical… it’s a wash.

  41. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 1:31 am

    Civilunrest and all my other Atheist friends now that all of you have brought it up, I am going to mention it.
    Yes there is a world beyond this, a beautiful world of pure light.
    Animals are highly evolved beings. There are higher realms where the great White Tiger watches over us and Black Unicorns neigh in love as the planets revolve around the sun.
    There are worlds where unicorns live in large flowers as homes, they are beings of pure love.
    Please, please don’t think I am joking here. We have to keep our hearts pure and full with love to stay connected with those beautiful beings and worlds.
    Animals are highly evolved, they are beings of love.
    Our job in the physical world is to protect the animal kingdom.
    Stay connected with the great Spirit, stop killing and eating animals.
    Breathe love into people and trees as you pass them.
    And always remember Death is not the End.
    Life/Love is eternal.
    we will be embraced by the light and meet all our loved ones again.
    This is not a joke, I have a degree in Physics.
    I swear I am not joking, please trust me.
    Love and Peace :)

  42. TheBlackCaton 10 Mar 2011 at 1:58 am

    Animals are highly evolved beings.

    Uh, yeah, by definition.

    There are higher realms where the great White Tiger watches over us and Black Unicorns neigh in love as the planets revolve around the sun.

    I thought you said invisible sky daddies were bad. How is that any different from “the great White TIger” who watches over us?

    There are worlds where unicorns live in large flowers as homes, they are beings of pure love.

    You don’t know much about unicorns, do you? They have been portrayed as kind and gentle animals in the last few decades, but traditionally they were described as amongst the most vicious, bloodthirsty, and cruel creatures on the planet, killing almost indiscriminately.

    Animals are highly evolved, they are beings of love.

    Yes, I am sure a grasshopper that has been paralyzed by a wasp so it can be eaten alive by wasp larvae feels really loved. I am sure the fish that is being suffocated by hagfish slime while its gills are eaten feels really loved.

    This is not a joke, I have a degree in Physics.

    I forget who said it, but “having a degree is not proof of sanity”.

    I swear I am not joking, please trust me.

    Why should we trust you? You have thrown out dozens of baseless claims and ignored repeated requests to explain where you got any of this. You have proven to be ignorant, bigoted, and hypocritical. What should any of use believe anything you say?

  43. TheBlackCaton 10 Mar 2011 at 1:59 am

    Block quote fail

  44. shawmutton 10 Mar 2011 at 2:09 am

    Now I know you’re full of it SA. Everyone knows that unicorns are pink.

  45. BillyJoe7on 10 Mar 2011 at 3:34 am

    For those who missed it in a previous post: SA is a female.
    …not that that explains anything. :)

  46. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 6:06 am

    My dear friend TheBlackCat, you seem to be a bit annoyed with me. All I am saying is that we are not merely mechanical beings, we are spiritual beings that are here for a purpose and our purpose is to grow into love and oneness. Animals are spiritual beings, in fact they are highly evolved spiritual beings, we have to align ourselves with love and kindness, breathe love into the animals and the trees. All of us should become vegetarians, Y as killing animals to sustain ourselves shows a terrible lack of awareness and self-indulgence.
    The Animals love us, all of us come from a special place of love.
    The Religions of the world mistakenly worship a mythical figure they don’t realize that the Force of Love is already here.
    It’s in the trees, it’s in the animals, it’s in the lovely cows that Muslims slaughter without mercy every year to feed their big stomachs.
    Love and Light is all there is, everything else is just an illusion.
    Love and Peace to all of you :)

  47. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 6:48 am

    This my wonderful friends will help you understand more about your spiritual evolution. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyG8Xh-xo24&feature=related ( The Spiritual Evolution of Dogs) and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5b4mIFclm6E ( The Love of Trees) both by the great spiritual teacher Stuart Wilde.

    You can choose to be like the 9/11 truth movement and Islam, full of hate, anger and violence or you can choose to embrace love and spirituality.
    Use your precious time while on earth spreading love and peace, don’t use it praying to a fake sky daddy, and killing cows, and praying to walls, and preaching hate and separation.
    You are an eternal being, you don’t have to beg anyone to get you to heaven, Islam and Christianity and every other religion are just myths. There is no hell. Hell is when you hate in your heart.
    Love and Peace to all my bitter Atheist friends :)

  48. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 6:50 am

    Correction to my spelling mistake above: There is no hell, Heaven/Love is all there is.
    Hell is when you have hate in your hearts.

  49. Happy Camperon 10 Mar 2011 at 7:30 am

    I have to call a poe here!

    “Poe’s Law- …it’s difficult to distinguish between parodies of religious fundamentalism (or, more generally, parodies of any crackpot or extremist belief) and genuine proponents of religious fundamentalism, since both seem equally insane.”- from Rational Wiki

    For SA

    SOUL-”…If ever there were an entity invented for human wish-fulfillment, the soul is that entity. As Thomas Hobbes pointed out, the concept of a non-substantial substance is a contradiction. It is not possible to imagine a non-physical entity having life and perception.”…
    (from the Skeptic’s Dictionary http://www.skepdic.com/soul.html )

    LOVE- “is an emotion of strong affection and personal attachment”
    Love is basically the electrochemical workings of the brain and the interactions of hormones with the body. Ergo, no brain/no body no love.

    SPIRITUALLY- This is nothing but the same old worn out New Age claptrap. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Spirituality

    HIGHLY EVOLVED- A meaningless term showing a profound misunderstanding of evolution.

    “This is not a joke, I have a degree in Physics. I swear I am not joking, please trust me.”
    and you make the statement “Love is the force that spins the planets around the Sun.” WOW.

    This makes at least two (2) postings you have managed to derail in a row. You were warned about the canned love bombing by Steve Novella and insist on continuing. What is your malfunction? What medications are you taking?

    You are a fluke of the universe.
    You have no right to be here.
    Whether you can hear it or not,
    The universe is laughing behind your back (from the Deteriorata)

  50. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 8:37 am

    Happy Camper, why are you trying to get me out of here, I have followed Dr.Novellas instructions, I am not spamming around, we were having a discussion about the 9/11 truth movement, what’s your problem.
    You are a mean spirited, bitter person, when I said that animals are highly evolved I meant spiritually.
    Even in the sense of Darwinian evolution animals have been blessed with a sharper vision, much more powerful sense of smell, the ability to jump, and run super fast. So what is your damn point.
    I was talking about Animals being more highly evolved than human beings. I was speaking about the love of animals that transcends death.
    I can’t understand why you have a deep sense of hatred for me.
    I am not on any drugs by the way, not that I have to justify anything to you.
    No Love and Peace to you, I can sense ghoulish energy from you.
    I hope you clean up your heart and learn to embrace love and kindness.

  51. shaneon 10 Mar 2011 at 9:17 am

    Oh SA. At first I thought you an unfunny Poe. Now I think you’re hilarious. :-)
    But. “the ability to jump”. Well, except for worms. And elephants. Except for them that is. And sloths maybe. Otherwise you may be correct. And Rhinos. I don’t think Rhinos can jump either. And white men can’t jump. Saw a movie about that once.

  52. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 9:27 am

    Who told you White man can’t jump?, it must be a racist movie :)
    Just kidding, I love Black people, except for Louis Farrakhan and maybe Malcom X, I was sad he embraced Islam and got angry with America, but don’t get me wrong I love Black People, but rap music is annoying. But I love Jazz, the Blues and Gospel music.
    Please don’t get me wrong I love and respect Black people.

  53. Happy Camperon 10 Mar 2011 at 9:31 am

    @SA

    “Happy Camper, why are you trying to get me out of here?” I’m not.

    “I have followed Dr.Novellas instructions” No you haven’t.

    “I am not spamming around” By definition you are. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_%28Internet%29

    “we were having a discussion about the 9/11 truth movement” Not everybody thanks to you.

    “what’s your problem” I don’t suffer fools.

    “You are a mean spirited, bitter person” You don’t even know me so you are making a value judgment from ignorance.

    “I said that animals are highly evolved I meant spiritually” again
    see…. http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Spirituality

    “evolution animals have been blessed” BLESSED? What kind of claptrap is that?

    “So what is your damn point” You have no idea what you are talking about!

    “I was talking about Animals being more highly evolved than human beings” Again, a meaningless statement showing a profound misunderstanding about evolution. Got any proof?

    “love of animals that transcends death” Do you have ANY credible source for that assertion?

    “I can’t understand why you have a deep sense of hatred for me” Again I don’t, I just don’t suffer fools. (take the hint) Besides NeuroLogica has been part of my morning cup of coffee for a long time and I don’t care to have that cup urinated in!

    “I am not on any drugs by the way” Could have fooled me.

    “No Love and Peace to you” aaaahhhh a hypocrite, as if I really care.

    “ghoulish energy from you” What energy is that prey tell? After all you said you gave a degree in physics.

    “I hope you clean up your heart and learn to embrace love and kindness” Again the LOVE bomb!

    James Randi has one million dollars for you.

  54. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 9:34 am

    @Happy Camper: Stop trying to imply that I am a creationist, I have a degree in Science, I don’t need you to teach me critical thinking. I understand evolution very well, thank you very much.

  55. tmac57on 10 Mar 2011 at 9:34 am

    Looks like NeuroLogica has been turned into the SA sideshow. :(

  56. Happy Camperon 10 Mar 2011 at 9:36 am

    “Please don’t get me wrong I love and respect Black people”

    Do you have ANY idea how insincere and condescending that appears?

  57. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 9:39 am

    Here you go again, now you are implying that I am a racist, for the last time, I respect African-Americans, my neighbour is a wonderful Black family, what are you trying to say?
    I don’t like rap music because it encourages violence, those young kids should be learning Science and Arts and Geography instead of singing nonsensical lyrics.

  58. Happy Camperon 10 Mar 2011 at 9:42 am

    “Stop trying to imply that I am a creationist” I’m not, in fact that idea never even entered my mind.

    “I have a degree in Science” You couldn’t prove it by your replies.

    ” I don’t need you to teach me critical thinking” Somebody does.

    “I understand evolution very well” Again you couldn’t prove it from your replies.

    “thank you very much”

    Your welcome

  59. Happy Camperon 10 Mar 2011 at 9:47 am

    AGAIN

    Do you have ANY idea how insincere and condescending that appears?

    Really. Please, quit while you are behind. You are just making a bigger fool of yourself.

  60. TheBlackCaton 10 Mar 2011 at 9:57 am

    My dear friend TheBlackCat, you seem to be a bit annoyed with me.

    No, I am amused. I will be getting annoyed soon, though, if you continue to ignore my questions and points. You have an entire post ostensibly addressed to me but that does not even come close to dealing with any of the questions or points I brought up.

    You can choose to be like the 9/11 truth movement and Islam, full of hate, anger and violence or you can choose to embrace love and spirituality.

    Looking at your comments on Islam, the one full of hate, anger, and violence is you. You hate an entire religion, want to deny its members equal rights, and blame ordinary people

    don’t use it praying to a fake sky daddy,

    You mean like your “great white tiger”.

    Happy Camper, why are you trying to get me out of here, I have followed Dr.Novellas instructions, I am not spamming around, we were having a discussion about the 9/11 truth movement, what’s your problem.

    If we were having a discussion about the 9/11 truthers, you would not be talking about “the great White Tiger” and unicorns living in giant flowers. Those sorts of things are completely off-topic.

    and preaching hate and separation.

    Like denying equal rights to the second largest religion in the world?

    So what is your damn point.

    You sound pretty “mean-spirited and bitter”. What happened to the love you are supposed to be spreading?

    @Happy Camper: Stop trying to imply that I am a creationist, I have a degree in Science, I don’t need you to teach me critical thinking. I understand evolution very well, thank you very much.

    You are sounding pretty annoyed. Where’s the love?

    Here you go again, now you are implying that I am a racist, for the last time, I respect African-Americans, my neighbour is a wonderful Black family, what are you trying to say?

    Even more annoyed.

  61. Skeptical Atheiston 10 Mar 2011 at 10:09 am

    I am sorry I shouldn’t have said Happy Camper doesn’t deserve Love and Peace and I didn’t mean that Muslims don’t have right, I am sorry If I sounded hateful.
    Love and Peace :)

  62. TheBlackCaton 10 Mar 2011 at 10:42 am

    This is America, we are a spiritual nation, there is no place here for divisive ideologies like Islam, I have nothing against Arab-Americans, but they have to give up their bogus religion…

    How can this be read as anything other than a claim that Muslims do not have a right to hold their religion in the U.S.?

  63. titmouseon 10 Mar 2011 at 10:24 pm

    SkepticalAtheist,

    Are you one of the Best Friends?

  64. Dianeon 11 Mar 2011 at 8:21 am

    @Skeptical Atheist

    “I love Black people, except for Louis Farrakhan and maybe Malcom X, I was sad he embraced Islam and got angry with America, but don’t get me wrong I love Black People, but rap music is annoying. But I love Jazz, the Blues and Gospel music.”

    As a black person, can I just say, Thank You. This is one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a while. I have shown this and other of your comments to some other black people and the consensus is that you are one of the most charming racists we have ever encountered.

    And for everyone else on the board, I honestly think Skeptical Atheist must be about 14 years old. She seems to be operating from a position of profound ignorance rather than malice (except towards Islam, but even that seems to be founded on a lot of misinformation). Let’s leave her alone to grow up a bit.

  65. Skeptical Atheiston 11 Mar 2011 at 9:30 am

    @Diane: I am upset you think I am a racist, I made it clear that I am not a racist. I don’t like Louis Farakhan because he is a hateful, angry man, instead of preaching love he preaches hate.
    There are people dying of hunger, disease, poverty, life is already difficult as it is, we don’t need loonies like Louis Farrakhan to cause hatred and fear and make life harder for everyone.
    Don’t get me wrong I absolutely hate the KKK and other White Supremacist groups.
    And I am not 14 years old, I am old enough that I have a degree in Theoretical Physicst, I study Black Holes for a living.
    And I don’t mind positive rap music, it’s negative rap music that annoys me. And they shouldn’t be encouraging young people to admire guns. And I wish they were more friendly, yes young people that try to emulate rappers are not friendly at all, they never smile, they think the world owes them a living.
    But Black people are wonderful. I respect all of them.
    Love and Peace :)

  66. BillyJoe7on 11 Mar 2011 at 3:18 pm

    Well, I still think she’s cute.
    Please, Steven, don’t ban her.
    My kitten died recently and, well, this is just the closest thing…

  67. HHCon 11 Mar 2011 at 5:00 pm

    CivilUnrest, Your book will come in handy today. There was a 8.9 earthquake in Japan and a tsunami in the Pacific Ocean impacting Santa Cruz. Check that insurance policy, these natural disasters can be classified as an Act of God.

  68. geeboy30on 11 Mar 2011 at 6:28 pm

    Come on Steven come clean. You have taught me as much about scepticism as anyone
    I just know that this skeptical atheist person is Rebecca Watson or some other skeptic.
    You just can’t be that stupid and he is so stupid it is actually quite clever how he encourages debate on your blog.

  69. Dianeon 11 Mar 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Skeptical Atheist, you talk about black people as if we were a rather badly behaved pet. Please stop.

  70. Skeptical Atheiston 11 Mar 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Diane, you are making me look very bad, in what way did I ever imply that Black Americans were badly behaved pets, please tell me.
    Are you saying that it is racism to criticize anyone that is Black, my criticism of Louis Farakhan has nothing to do with his race, he is a racist old man just like David Duke. Why are you being hyper sensitive. In what way did I hurt your feelings?
    Is criticizing rappers racism? WOW
    Please don’t be like Islam and Muslims, they think that their religion needs to specially respected and is immune from criticism, I was not even criticizing African-Americans.
    I am depressed that you think I am a racist.

  71. Skeptical Atheiston 11 Mar 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Dear Billyjoe7 I am sorry to hear about the transition of your kitten, please don’t worry, keep the memory of her alive and remember you will see her again.
    Love and Peace :)

  72. Mlemaon 11 Mar 2011 at 9:22 pm

    @SA

    It’s impossible here to make you see how your comments regarding Blacks are racist, please just accept this well-meant advise: refrain from saying anything more about Blacks, Muslims, or ANY PEOPLE for that matter – you don’t yet understand or respect the commonality of man.
    I trust that someday you will. Til then – peace and love :-)

  73. Skeptical Atheiston 11 Mar 2011 at 10:11 pm

    I am so sorry if I offended anyone, please forgive me Diane if I came across as rude. And Mlema I really don’t know what did I do that is so offensive. And please don’t associate Black Americans with Islam.
    Islam has nothing to do with Black Christian Spirituality, the Black American slaves in the 18th and 19th century were not Muslims in any way, they were strong, pious, spiritual people and their spirituality helped them cope and overcome their sufferings. They had a strong love for Jesus.
    And my criticism of Islam doesn’t meant that I don’t like ordinary Muslims.
    Islam is a danger and a threat to the modern world, did you know that the goal of Islam is to get the whole world to convert and embrace their stupid religion, until then war is ok.
    Don’t pretend like as if Islam is a benign religion, just because you know one or two American Muslims who go out of their way to lie and say that their religion is a religion of peace, please don’t fall for that baloney.
    Imagine a world without Islam, imagine if ordinary Muslims gave up Islam. There would be no war, no hatred, no anger, Arabs can build universities and educate their young people instead of getting them indoctrinated by their loony Ulamas or whatever.

  74. BillyJoe7on 12 Mar 2011 at 12:21 am

    SA,

    “Dear Billyjoe7 I am sorry to hear about the transition of your kitten, please don’t worry, keep the memory of her alive and remember you will see her again.”

    Dear, SA, my kitten didn’t die. But, if she did, I’d be happy to have the equivalent right here on this blog.
    I hope you understand.

    “I really don’t know what did I do that is so offensive”

    Specifically mentioning “black people” in a situation where such specific singling out is unwarranted.

    “Imagine a world without Islam”

    Imagine no religion.

    “Islam is a danger and a threat to the modern world”

    I think you mean Fundamentalist Islam.
    Ditto Fundamentalist Christianity.

  75. Skeptical Atheiston 12 Mar 2011 at 2:39 am

    Thank you Billyjoe7 for pointing that out :)

  76. Three Dogs Fon 19 Apr 2011 at 3:58 am

    Steven Novella excellent blog…my new favorite work procrastinating tool. KUDOS!!!

    What is the saying…? When you are at a poker table and you can’t tell who the mark is, it’s probably you. Or if you are in a hole stop digging…. Skeptical Atheist you might want to take this advice to heart… or whatever highly evolved spirit creatures use to process information

    I must say this discussion board has been extremely entertaining I actually had to clean up the coffee from my desk when the Unicorn comment came out… There has got to be an equivalent to Godwin’s Law when a skeptic comment board digresses to Unicorns

    TheBlackCat, though a dog person myself with a couple cats, I must ask too: May I too borrow a few of your quotes… brilliant

    CivilUnrest was going to join this discussion heeding your advice spiriting some spirit animal in SA’s defense cause I was convinced SA was a ruse and add to the comedy but sometimes reality is stranger and funnier than fiction

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