Wednesday, August 29, 2007

World-renowned scientist wants new 9/11 investigation, but unfortunately appears to be adding to conspiracy thinking

Now, Lynn Margulis is a biologist, not a structural engineer. But, she’s also a world-class scientist whom I think would not be given to non-scientific thinking, including conspiracy theories. So, should her call for a new 9/11 investigation should be taken at least somewhat seriously?
“I suggest that those of us aware and concerned demand that the glaringly erroneous official account of 9/11 be dismissed as a fraud and a new, thorough, and impartial investigation be undertaken.”

But, no, her call shouldn’t be taken too seriously. She immediately shoots herself in the foot:
(Margulis) compared 9/11 to several self-inflicted attacks that had been used in the past to arouse people's fear and hatred and justify war, including the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, the Reichstag Fire, and Operation Himmler, which Germany used to justify the invasion of Poland, the trigger for World War II.

First, the verdict of history on the Maine is pretty damn clear: accidental explosion. The verdict on the Reichstag fire is almost as clear: the Communists started it, although the Nazis apparently hindered firemen from immediately dousing it.

She then goes on to further plunge headlong into, you guessed it — conspiracy theories.

The fact that she’s also influenced by David Ray Griffin’s book “The New Pearl Harbor” (which I assume starts from the idea that FDR knew in advance of the original Pearl Harbor), a book endorsed a by a certain post-9/11 conspiracy-minded slice of liberalism, is more disquieting. Griffin, who is a professor of philosophy, relies heavily on the thoroughly debunked “The Big Lie” of French writer Thierry Meyssan. (A full 80 percent of non-five star reviews at Amazon one-star Griffin’s book for its conspiracy thought.)

Far more sober was the call for further study by British war correspondent/investigative journalist Robert Fisk, who specifically separated himself from conspiratorial thinkers a few days ago. (Fisk’s questions of disbelief about how the jet fuel could have burned hot enough have already been refuted multiple times; at the easily accessible popular level, the magazine Popular Mechanics had an excellent conspiracy debunking about two years ago.)

Beyond that, the best counterthought for this being a government conspiracy?

It’s the same one mentioned by Fisk. The government of George W. Bush has shown itself to be too inept to pull off such a thing.

On the bonus side, fellow skeptics, I haven’t seen such a clear illustration of the fallacy of appeal to authority (should anybody cite Margulis as a reason to open a new, “we did it” 9/11 investigation) in a long time.

Update: A blogger acquaintance informs me that Margulis has also jumped on the bandwagon of deniers that HIV causes AIDS, with the certain amount of conspiracy thinking that goes with that, as well.


Anonymous said...

You know that the official 9/11 account is a conspiracy theory aswell. Furthermore there is almost no evidence to back it up.
There are much more facts that indicate a involvment of the government.

By the way, the Reichstagsbrand was investigated by the "Spiegel" after the secound world war. In the "Spiegel" editorship were old Nazis whose informer on this topic was the old investigator of this crime (who was chief investigator in the SS).
The public opinion about this incident is heavily influenced by this "Spiegel"-investigation.
There is evidence suggesting that it was a secret terror group of nazis who are responsible for this arson.

I'm sorry for shattering your world, but goverments manipulated their people for thousands of years.

Gadfly said...

You haven't shattered my world, because, of course, you're wrong.

On the Reichstag fire, you're wrong too. The Nazis may have hindered the fire once it started, but nope, they didn't start it.

The government didn't cause 9/11.

Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

There's no conspiracy at Newtown/Sandy Hook, either, just in case you're that nutbar.


On 9/11, there's plenty of evidence to back it up. Popular Science, as I know you know, demolished people like you, but you choose not to believe it.

That's right ... you have a belief system, a religion.