SUBJECT: Ryan Mackey taking on the 9/11 conspiracy theories promoted by David Ray Griffin
I know this is an iffy subject but at the same time it provides a prime example for how to deal with pseudo science: Jet Propulsion lab scientist Ryan Mackey has produced a 200 page report in which he demolishes 9/11 prophet David Ray Griffin’s new book “Debunking 9/11 Debunking”. It’s available free on the internet (actually, I tried to convince him to make a bound copy available for sale but he fears being accused of having a profit motive and getting into legal problems for extensive quoting).
Mackey goes through Griffin’s book chapter by chapter, and at the end ties it all in with recourse to Carl Sagan’s Baloney detection kit. I came across Mackey’s work because I’m currently trying to silence some 9/11 proselytizers in my local UU church who peddle their falsehoods every Sunday. My point is, their position is not a political one - in which case it would be protected freedom of speech - but that they are making demonstrably false factual claims which are not easy for regular folks to identify as such. Their whole modeus operandi consists of making people suspicious by dishing out loads of socalled ‘9/11 facts’ that on the surface appear to point to a conspiracy. However, if looked at one by one they all fall apart. Problem is: who takes the time? Answer: very few - the rest may get infected.
Mackey’s long argument has a number of shorter points which are capable of decapitating the 9/1 conspiracies by themself. One point I like is that conspiracy fans have not provided a single peer reviewed article in a science or engineering journal, ever. In other words, they have nothing to show for but rumours and vague allegations, and do not have a case. This may appear like a bland argument, and yet I wish this key point about what can be considered scientifically relevant and what not had more tractions within society.
The other, more specific argument should also be a show stopper: If Griffin claims the buildings WTC 1, 2 & 7 must have been exploded, why is there no seismic record? The site was covered by several monitors which show the impacts and collapses clearly, but they do not show detonations. Since such seismic evidence cannot be hidden (I inquired with a nuclear proliferation physicist and a seismic geologist about this) the proper conclusion is that detonations did not occur, end of story (on site witnesses with the ability to tell detonations from collapse noises alse report not hearing and sensing the telltale noise and sights and tremors).
Mackey’s volume is a fascinating read (I got sucked in last week and finally finished it at 4am…) I only wish it could be placed in every library next to the book it takes apart.
Anyway, the rebuttal book is online at http://911myths.com/drg_nist_review_1_1.pdf ; the site, http://911myths.com , is also a good entry into debunking the cooky garbage that’s out there.
Here is Mackey’s Conclusion:
A sequential analysis of Dr. Griffin’s claims reveals that, without exception, his
claims are unfounded. Sources of error in his claims include (a) quotes taken out
of context, (b) reliance on statements from non-experts, (c) reliance on flawed
scientific reasoning produced by others in the Truth Movement, (d) incorrect and
incomplete reading of the NIST Report itself, and in rare cases (e) fabrication of
factual claims. Taken in total, Dr. Griffin fails to provide a single legitimate
complaint about the NIST Report anywhere in his new book.
Careful analysis of Dr. Griffin’s claims produces no coherent alternate hypothesis.
Dr. Griffin outlines two seemingly incompatible ideas – those of explosives
destroying the structures, and incendiaries merely weakening them to collapse –
but upon review, his claims actually require both effects simultaneously. The
amount of explosives and incendiaries required by Dr. Griffin is implausibly
large, totaling roughly 60 tons of explosives alone at minimum per tower, if we
have understood his vague implications correctly. This analysis is severely
hampered by Dr. Griffin’s refusal, either here or in any of his other writings, to
clearly articulate his hypothesis, if indeed he has one.
Comparison of Dr. Griffin’s approach to the Scientific Method reveals substantial
and irreconcilable deviations. These include the failure to articulate a hypothesis,
persistent arguments from ignorance and incredulity, total reliance upon other
researchers who have yet to produce a single peer-reviewed result and whose
work is easily falsified, rejection of reviewed and verifiable results from genuine
experts, and simple factual error in his presentation. In contrast, Dr. Griffin’s
method is found to be entirely consistent with typical characteristics of
The NIST Report itself bears up well in comparison to the Scientific Method, as it
provides a concise and quantified hypothesis, is supported by evidence as well as
experiments, draws upon a large body of researchers and independent validation,
and has been supported in many parts by peer-reviewed papers and others still in
A brief review of current investigations reveals a considerable body of legitimate
criticism, and follow-up on the NIST Report taking place in the scientific
community, contrary to Dr. Griffin’s assertions that the NIST Report is nothing
more than an element of an ongoing cover-up. Equally important and revealing is
the fact that none of these critiques suggests that explosives were used, or that the
Towers would not be expected to collapse after the impact and fires alone.
None of these findings should come as a surprise. In arguing against the NIST
hypothesis, Dr. Griffin is automatically at a disadvantage, simply because there is no
body of scientific work supporting his position, and no expectation for one in the future.