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Blogs - Clock - Anatomy of a "Debate" With a Global Warming Denier and 9/11 Truther (Part II).

Author: Clock (Show other entries)
Date: Jun 28, 2013 at 15:07

This is a post from Clock's Muertos Blog on Skeptic Project. If you have any questions, check out the Disclaimer

By Muertos

Back to my "debate" with a global warming denier and conspiracy theorist on Twitter.

So now I know I have not only an AGW denier, but a 9/11 Truther on the hook. I probably shouldn't have changed the subject but I couldn't resist.

RT @[Name Withheld]

Get a clue

<-Ironic statement coming from someone who believes 9/11 is an inside job. You tinfoil hatters are all alike.

I actually kind of regret that last bit, because it did sort of poison the well. Nothing gets a CT madder faster than mentioning tinfoil hats. So, [Name Withheld], sorry about that.


Before she responded to my 9/11 Truth jab, she posted this link to an anti-AGW story from Newsbusters, which is a conservative "news" website devoted to tearing down mainstream media and hyping the whole Tea Party movement. This site loves to find critics of conservative policy and expose them for "outrageous" statements. Sorry, that's not very persuasive.

@muertos 911 was an inside job I am sorry that you like being a puppet for the new world order.

Yes! Now we're getting at it! First off, she admits she's a Truther. Most CTers, even if they are Truthers, tend to try to avoid that label if they're debating something other than 9/11, because it makes people crazy. (I can't imagine why! Disrespecting 3,000 Americans who died on 9/11--not a single one of whose families, I might add, supports their movement--should never be cause for disdain!) Furthermore, we now have our second invocation of "New World Order," and the accusation that I'm a "puppet." Anyone who disagrees with CT'ers is one of these things: puppet, shill, sheeple, disinformation, CIA plant, or brainwashed. Remember that.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this, so I decide to have a little fun with her. Again going for the RT, I'm curious exactly how nutty this Truther is, so I mention the latest silly theories to see if she'll bite:

RT @[Name Withheld] @muertos 911 was an inside job

<-Let me guess...exploding paint? Beam weapons? The planes were holographic projections?

"Exploding paint" refers to a bizarre theory by noted 9/11 Truther Steven Jones, a sometime physicist fired from BYU staff for promoting his lunacy and who is tenaciously clung to by deniers as an example of a "scientist" who believes in 9/11 conspiracies. Jones's obsession is an imaginary substance called "nanothermate" which he claims is a super-explosive that must have been used in the WTC disaster. How did it get there? He hypothesizes paint containing this super-duper explosive was applied to WTC structural beams sometime before 9/11, though when, how or by whom he can't quite say. Jones wrote a "peer-reviewed" paper (more on that later) claiming he analyzed some WTC debris, for which there was no proper chain of evidence, and discovered spherical structures he swears are consistent with "nanothermate." Evidence? Um...well, we'll get back to you on that...

"Space beams" is another wacky 9/11 theory, championed by Judy Wood, who says that the failure to find any trace of explosives in the WTC wreckage must be because the gubbermint used some kind of spooky beam weapon to destroy the towers. Mr. Chekov, please analyze said theory and report to me on the bridge of the Enterprise.

"Holographic projections" is a reference to an early 9/11 theory, now not widely held even among CTs, that there were no planes at all, despite hundreds of thousands of eyewitnesses. Dylan Avery, director of the conspiracist Internet film Loose Change, was once a "no-planer" but seems to have changed his position, probably because he realized people think it's ridiculous. Nowdays the CW among CTs is that the "no-plane" theory was trumped up by skeptics--you know, those sleeping sheeple like me who spread disinformation on the Internet--so it could be easily debunked and discredit the 9/11 Truth movement.

@muertos Physics do not lie. You are being fooled. Look into history and our monetary system and economics. Authority is NOT truth

@muertos its called nano thermite look it up ! and all the other stuff you mentioned is utter nonsense.

"Physics do not lie." Yes, but Steven Jones does; his theories have been debunked many times and yet he continues to push them as if they have a shred of truth. At least she admits space beams and no planes are nonsense, but she evidently accepts the exploding paint theory. I still can't get my head around it. Exploding paint, people! Do you see how far off in la-la land these conspiracists are? And to think, this all started with a discussion about global warming!

@[Name Withheld] "Nanothermate" is the exploding paint theory. Steven Jones is a liar. No scientific basis for it whatsoever.

@muertos thats ridiculous 1,000 scientist and 1,000 architects support his theory. He is not a liar.

Like those nice round 1,000 numbers? She's referring to the "Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth," an organization founded by San Francisco architect Richard Gage to desperately try to drum up a few experts who ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence (such as the NIST report) as to why the Towers collapsed. Gage embarked on a well-publicized quest to get 1,000 people to support him and try to get a petition drive going. He did eventually, but some 2 and a half years after he said he would, and most of the architects on its list have questionable credentials--such as the guy who claims to have designed the Transamerica Pyramid when records show he was a college undergraduate at the time. Yeah right, like college undergrads regularly get gigs designing skyscrapers.

And, for the record, Jones maintains that his articles on superdupernanothermite/thermate are "peer reviewed." They are not. The "peer review" process to which he supposedly subjects his papers is nothing more than review by fellow CTs, not the scientific community (which will not publish him). Claiming that this is peer review is simply a lie. Ergo, Steven Jones is a liar.

9/11 nuttery is not the first brush Steven Jones has had with weird theories. In the late 1980s he was the only scientist who claimed that "cold fusion" could and did work, in his laboratory. He could not replicate the experiment that he said did it, which led all other respectable scientists to the conclusion that the experiment he was referring to either did not take place (in which case Jones is a liar) or was badly misconstrued by him (in which case he's not a very good scientist). Either way, Jones's grasp of physics is extremely questionable.

@[Name Withheld] Ah yes, the nut brigade known as "Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth"...or should I say "Twoof"...

The link is to a good debunkers blog, Screw Loose Change, rounding up some of the looniest news on AE911. Click it if you dare, but prepare to laugh (or cry). "Twoof" is a name debunkers often call 9/11 CTs, and it refers to fringe or "woo" beliefs, such as the ludicrous notion that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition.

@muertos I suppose your one of those "the government couldnt possibly do this to us!" types right?

This is setting me up to be called "sheeple."

@muertos A&E 4 9/11Truth have put their careers on the line to support something greater then you obviously r capable of being able 2 fathom

Yeah, right. I'm sure there's an NWO hit squad out there ready to take down these idiots. Why bother? Just expose their lack of credentials and no one will believe them anyway. Wait, no one does believe who's career is on the line anyway? Steven Jones? His career was toast in 2006 when he started this supernanothermite nonsense in the first place. He has no career left to destroy, which is why he's out there on the conspiracy circuit.

@[Name Withheld] Why cant I fathom it? Let me guess, I'm "sheeple"...I've been brainwashed by CNN and fluoridated water. Typical Twoofer crap.

She didn't respond to this, and then turned back to AGW denial with the usual spurious links:

@muertos Run Al Gore Run! Former student claims Climategate University 'often' falsified data. #global warming

Link to an anti-AGW site screeching about the CRU emails. Remember I said we'd get to those later? I'm not even going to bother explaining why two hacked emails are supposed to (in CT eyes) negate over 20 years of scientific study, I'll post a link a bit later on that summarizes the "controversy" neatly.

@muertos Climategate: This time its NASA #global warming

This link is to a tiresome article on The American Spectator, another conservative blog dedicated to throwing poo at President Obama, blaming ACORN for everything and hyping the Tea Party movement. Jeez, these CTs always go over old ground.

@muertos Study Al Gore doesn't want you to see. Most "global warming" not due to man

Link is to World Climate Report, another anti-AGW blog run by conservatives. The scientific arguments are easily refuted in various pages on this, one of the blogs">I linked her to earlier.

@[Name Withheld] "Climategate" emails don't say what deniers, conspiracy nuts want you to believe they mean:

This link is to an article that explains why the CRU emails are not what AGW deniers hoped they were. The whole thing was newsworthy because of a "dog bites man" quality: evidence coming to light that humans are causing global warming is so commonplace that it doesn't make news, but, oh boy, find something to the contrary and it's front page news. The CRU is not the only source of climate change information, and AGW deniers themselves implicitly acknowledge this whenever they switch from waving around the emails as "proof" that AGW is a hoax, to throwing poo at Al Gore who in the next minute is the source of all information on climate change.

I'm still on about Steven Jones, though, so here's my last shot:

@[Name Withheld] Of course anyone (Twoofers) who thinks Steven Jones is a reputable scientist has a pretty low bar where science is concerned.

[Name Withheld] takes her toys and goes home with this pithy comment:

@muertos that shows what you even know about history and science in the first place

Of course not. I have a degree in history (and am going for another one), so I know nothing about history; I don't credit the "scientific" conclusions of oil industry funded front groups and a fired physicist who believes in cold fusion and exploding paint, so I know nothing about science. The sneer "You don't know anything!" is another variation on CTers famous conversation-enders, calling someone "sheeple" or "brainwashed." Anyone who disagrees with lunatic theories gets this treatment, and I'm used to it by now. Always, as it did in this case, it ends the discussion on the note that the CT is no longer going to waste her time on you because you're so far gone into the clutches of the New World Order that you can't possibly be brought back over to reason.

You may think all of this has been a waste of time, and to some extent you're right; conspiracists, trained as they are to ignore evidence, twist arguments and cherry-pick quotes, usually can't be dissuaded from their quasi-religious beliefs that the whole world is out to get them and if we would only listen to them peace, love light and harmony would shower down upon us like manna from Heaven. However, although it's a waste of time to convert them, conspiracists have a virtual monopoly on the Internet, because no one on the Internet actually checks sources and most information there tends to be believed as truth, which is why the idiocy of AGW denial has gotten such traction in popular culture. I think it's important to let people know, people who may not yet be taken in by Alex Jones and the conspiracy underground, that they do not have a monopoly on the truth; far from it. [Name Withheld] may be a lost cause, but if so much as one person comes away from this thinking, hey, you know, global warming might not be a hoax, or those crazy Truthers and their exploding paint and beam weapons might just be fruitcakes after all, the time I spent debating her (and writing this blog) is well worth it.