August 7, 2006


9/11 conspiracy theorists energized: Five years later, purveyors claim academic momentum (AP, 8/06/06)

Kevin Barrett believes the U.S. government might have destroyed the World Trade Center. Steven Jones is researching what he calls evidence that the twin towers were brought down by explosives detonated inside them, not by hijacked airliners.

These men aren't uneducated junk scientists: Barrett will teach a class on Islam at the University of Wisconsin this fall, over the protests of more than 60 state legislators. Jones is a tenured physicist at Brigham Young University whose mainstream academic job has made him a hero to conspiracy theorists.

Five years after the terrorist attacks, a community that believes widely discredited ideas about what happened on September 11, 2001, persists and even thrives. Members trade their ideas on the Internet and in self-published papers and in books. About 500 of them attended a recent conference in Chicago, Illinois.

The movement claims to be drawing fresh energy and credibility from a recently formed group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth. [...]

Members of the conspiracy community "practically worship the ground [Jones] walks on because he's seen as a scientist who is preaching to their side," said FR Greening, a Canadian chemist who has written several papers rebutting the science used by September 11 conspiracy theorists.

"It's science, but it's politically motivated. It's science with an ax to grind, and therefore it's not really science."

Of course, apply that standard and they'd be down to just the Chemistry department.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 7, 2006 7:53 AM

That's nothing. The Rocky Mountain News, earlier last week, had its corporate parent commission a poll stating that 36% of people polled believe that the Feds either failed to prevent or instigated 9/11. Then the Rocky has an editorial over the weekend accusing those polled of harboring dark thoughts!

You know, I seem to remember that at some time last decade, close to a majority of those polled believed the Feds fired on the Branch Davidians first. Conspiracy mongering is nothing new.

Posted by: Brad S at August 7, 2006 9:14 AM

these men aren't uneducated junk scientists

Yes they are. One is a professor of African folklore, the other a physicist discredited for his fake work on cold fusion. Neither has any education in engineering. Anyone with free time and money can get a PhD, even uneducated junk scientists.

Posted by: Shelton at August 7, 2006 9:33 AM

Then there's this editorial piece disguised as reporting: Half of America believes it: The enduring faith in "Saddam's WMDs".

So we're fools to believe the worst from Saddam, and fools for not believing the worst about our own gov't. Yep, that's "progressive" thinking for you.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 7, 2006 4:47 PM

When the other side setts you up with such an easy target, and so easy a way to get out in front on the sane side of the issue, especially when you're planning to run for president, how can you not take advantage of it (especially if you can go around promoting this, while by comparison Al Gore is running around pushing his global warming theories at the same time).

Posted by: John at August 7, 2006 9:59 PM