Gordon Ross is pretty sure he exists.
Apparently, I do not exist. According to a thread on the JREF forum, no one by the name of Gordon Ross has been born in Dundee since the latter part of the 19th Century. This came as quite a shock to me and no doubt will also surprise my father, who it seems has laboured for all his life under the delusion that he is also called Gordon Ross and was born in Dundee. My Great Uncle Gordon passed away several years ago and has thus been spared the trauma of discovering that he also did not exist.
In this article I will deal with some of the responses to my work as presented on this web site and elsewhere. At the end I will, in time, list some of the favourable comments, but firstly I will deal with the criticisms. Please forgive me for dealing with the easy ones first, but when such inviting targets present themselves, it is difficult not to take advantage, and they do provide some very welcome light relief. The JREF forum, a scary Twilight Zone kind of place where some strange fictions pass for facts, takes the prize for the most ludicrous assertions available. The "fact" presented there regarding the absence of any Gordon Ross in Dundee's register of births, would make me at least 120 years old, and I must admit that as I read through the site, I did begin to feel every day of that extended life span. So what was their explanation for my existence, or more correctly, my non-existence? According to the evidence presented there, I am actually Professor Jones masquerading as someone else.
And we are the conspiracy theorists?
Luckily my new found nameless status has been remedied by several people across the internet, who have provided ample name calling to give me recompense. In retrospect I did prefer Gordon Ross to some of the replacements but I just can't argue with cold hard facts. No Gordon Ross has been born in Dundee since the 1880's and that must be an end to it. So let's work through some of the proferred alternatives to see if we can find a suitable replacement.
David B. Benson has called me a fool and a liar. But let us put this into context. This is the character who only a few days earlier had made the bold assertion that plastic deformation was not permanent bending, when in fact they are two names for exactly the same phenomenon. Perhaps it is unfair to point out his total lack of any advanced level of technical expertise or understanding, since he has never claimed to have any advanced engineering knowledge nor has he shown any evidence of this knowledge. So, thanks for your advice, David, but I will take it under advisement.
In the same vein, we have Mark Ferran offering an article which purports to explain the collapse of the WTC towers. I did spend some time following this individual around the net in an attempt to respond to his rantings and ravings, before I realised that he was doing a fine job of discrediting himself without my assistance. The time that I did spend on him was just a part of my life that was pointlessly used up. It is hard work wading through his diatribe, sifting for facts which can be discussed, but if you make the effort you will find that his explanation for the collapse involves the steel in the towers' superstructure catching fire and burning. I'll repeat that, in case anyone has difficulty. According to Mark, the steel caught fire and burned, hence the collapses and elevated temperatures in the debris piles. You may find it hard to believe that someone would put this forward as a plausible explanation and that I must be deliberately misunderstanding or embellishing his statement so please read the article yourself. There are sites on the net which have reproduced his article and offer it for consumption without a health warning. I couldn't make this stuff up.
Back at the JREF forum we have R. Mackey providing a wealth of entertainment. He seems to assume that involvement in the discussion requires both a supercillious attitude and a modicum of relevant knowledge. This is not an unusual or unfounded assumption given the prevalence of these characteristics among the supporters of the official conspiracy theory, but although he has got the attitude off pat, he does fall down a little on the second stricture, the modicum of knowledge. According to him the towers' cores had no horizontal or diagonal bracing. Flying in the face of the available historical photographs of the build, and the videographic evidence of the collapse, R. Mackey maligns the ability and expertise of the original designers. This careful selection of some facts while ignoring others is not confined to this JREF contributor however, but rather seems to flow throughout the thinking of all the NIST cheerleaders. I shall expand on this shortly, but first let's move on to the meat.
The star of the show among the official conspiracy theory supporters is undoubtedly Dr. Greening. He has thoughtfully provided me with a wide selection of alternative names to replace my recently lost title. Most notable among these was, "plagiarist". This was contained in a response to my article "How the Towers were Demolished". Unfortunately this contained no critique or discussion of the facts and arguments presented but rather concentrated on where the various pieces of the argument had originated. I will let you decide for yourself why that was the case, but I will point out that Dr. Greening's extensive research obviously did not extend to the home page of the very site that he was setting out to criticise. On this page he would have found a very detailed disclaimer which indisputedly gives credit to those individuals who have contributed to the discussion and states clearly that credit lies with them and not myself. It is still there in its original form, so I will let you be the judge. But then again, Dr. Greening is not renowned for allowing facts to stand in the way of his arguments. Let us examine some of his utterances.
Dr. Greening is, I believe, a chemist so it is only fair to look at this field of study first of all. One of his most well known arguments is that there could have been natural thermite reactions within the tower fires. He lists those ingredients which are necessary for this natural thermite and shows that all of these ingredients were present, so his argument follows that a natural thermite reaction could have taken place. Now I will never claim to be good at chemistry but I know that if I leave margarine, flour, sugar and fruit in a cupboard, when I next open the cupboard I will not find a fruit crumble. Some mechanism is required to convert the ingredients. Similarly, if I take these same ingredients, set them alight and throw them out the window, I still will not get my fruit crumble. The mechanism must have some order. Dr. Greening fails to provide any explanation or narrative for these required mechanisms but rather relies on simply ticking off the ingredients and falling back on the unfailing support of his accolytes. It came as an enormous surprise to me that some educated people have been taken in by this, most notably and recently was Manuel Garcia, in his Counterpunch article. What we are being asked to swallow in place of our absent fruit crumble, is that the tonnes of aluminium aircraft parts were powderised upon impact, thoroughly mixed with tonnes of rust from the towers steel superstructure in exactly the required proportion to form tonnes of thermite, which then hung around for about an hour before distributing itself to key structural points throughout the tower, then igniting in a complex sequence to cause the towers' collapse. It is granted that a good imagination is a requirement for a good scientist, but this just abuses the privilege. Perhaps the name for this natural thermite should instead be intelligent thermite, or intelligent malevolent thermite.
Then we have his explanation for the molten metal which was seen to pour from the towers. Dr. Greening postulates that the enormous levels of heat required to melt a section of steel columns could have been allowed by the presence of oxygen from the tanks and generators in the aircraft. On this occasion he goes into some creditable research and detail of the mechanisms which would be required for this oxygen to become available and concentrated in the area of the observed molten metal. However, he fails to realise, or perhaps simply ignores the simple fact that a fire requires fuel as well as oxygen. Although he may have posed an explanation for the continuous supply of oxygen to a concentrated discrete spot, he makes no mention and poses no explanation for the continuous supply of fuel to the same concentrated discrete spot. In the absence of such a supply we would not have a fire and there would be no heat input. On the contrary, the expansion of the oxygen would cause a drop in temperature. So we have the situation that Dr. Greening in attempting to find an explanation for the hot spot from whence we see the molten metal, has actually inadvertently stumbled across a far more plausible explanation for the cold spot, identified by NIST, in the same general area.
How much more wrong is it possible to be?
When he steps outside his own area of expertise he enters the realms of fantasy. His work is riddled with errors too numerous for me to be bothered to expand upon in detail, but let us examine a few of his major errors. Please read on, because, believe me, this is a cracker. He examines the energy balance within the collapse and noted that the towers were caused to collapse with very little resistance being offered by the lower structure. He makes several assumptions which are false, but more importantly he knows them to be false. These have been pointed out to him by myself and others, yet his flawed analysis remains unaltered.
He assumes that each storey of the towers has the same mass, and when enlightened to the fact that if this false assumption was removed, his conclusion would be reversed, does he incorporate this information?
He uses the full mass of the falling upper section of the tower in his analysis, and when it is pointed out that the mass which falls outside the towers footprint could not contribute to the progression of the collapse and that if this factor is taken into account his conclusion would be reversed, does he alter his report?
His published statement argues that all of the available energy of the collapse would be concentrated on crushing only one storey at a time, but later he himself acknowledges that "we suggest that,.......... a maximum of four floors would have shown any significant downward movement after impact of the upper block of floors." Does he alter his analysis to reflect this new change in thinking?
He assumes that the upper tower section remains totally intact and undamaged throughout its fall, causing the total destruction of all of the lower sections' heavier columns and floors, before then itself collapsing at full gravitational acceleration. When it is pointed out that this flies in the face of all that is known about collisions, does he alter his report?
But the real gem contained in his thinking, the argument that would have even an ardent science fiction fan throwing his arms in the air in disbelief comes from his explanation of why the towers' lower structures offered such low resistance to the collapse. In this case I will quote him directly. On March 11th he stated,
"About the picture of the fractured bolts... Has anyone considered the possibility that some bolts were never installed! That picture shows plastic deformation of the holes on the lower right, but at least two holes on the upper left look pristine - I would say they never had any bolts in them.
I have wondered about this on other photos showing failed splices on perimeter columns. Could it be the WTC collapsed so easily because it was jerry-built?"
Now this could be excused as simply an argument put forward for discussion, or maybe it was a bit of fun after arriving home from a night out at the local pub, if it was not repeated on several occasions. The very next day, when he should have sobered up, he continues thrashing in the mire of his own muddy thinking.
"I say the Twin Towers were slapped together with plaster walls, where there should have been CONCRETE. To make matters worse only the very lowest core columns were encased in concrete. And, perhaps, 1/2 the number of bolts needed to patch the thing together were used."
Then again on June 11th we have, "The pristine nature of some bolt holes seen in photos of exposed column end plates found in the WTC debris field, leads me to believe the "missing" bolts were NEVER INSTALLED in these holes."
So this is what it comes down to. After all the analysis and discussion, the towers fell because the bolts were not included in the original build. This is a disgraceful slur on the steelworkers, inspectors, and engineers involved in the construction of the towers, and displays an astonishing display of naivete, and a definite air of desperation. Now I don't know about you, but if I was involved in the construction of a structure which was going to rise some 400 metres into the sky I would make absolutely sure that it was being built correctly to the best of my ability. If I was on this job where the integrity of the lower sections had a massive bearing on my life expectancy, and found out that the construction was proceeding with only "half the number of bolts needed" I would leave the building at a speed as close to free fall as I could possibly muster.
He also casts doubt upon the integrity of the core columns when he states, ".... the core columns failed at their weakest point - their splices which were mostly only TACK WELDED!"
Now let us combine some of these wilder utterances which have issued from the official conspiracy theorists camp. We have a structure which was;
1/ Held together with only half the required fasteners
2/ Welding which was not fully seamed but only tacked
3/ The structure was so rusty it could provide tonnes of rust to the intelligent thermite from only the area impacted by the aircraft.
4/ The core had no horizontal or diagonal bracing
5/ No lateral support to the columns except that provided by the floors
6/ A steel superstructure which was likely to burst into flames at a moments notice
7/ A designed safety factor of only 2.
Bearing these in mind, the mystery moves on from why the towers collapsed to why they ever stayed up in the first place.
How does Dr. Greening justify his blunderings through the world of engineering? Well it seems that we are just not up to the job according to Dr. Greening. Again I quote several statements directly from his pen,
"You know most engineers cannot even imagine an electron as a wave, a chemical bond, a free radical reaction or an activation energy. Believe me, I worked with nuclear, mechanical and chemical engineers for 25 years!"
"The one thing engineers are good at, though, is flaunting their very large egos! "
"I WORKED TWENTY YEARS FOR ENGINEERS
THAT'S WHY MY LIFE IS FILLED WITH TEARS "
"You must be an engineer to want to go along with such nonsense.......... "
Not content with all the better known prejudices available to bigots throughout the world, Dr. Greening bypasses the more common routes of rascism, sexism and anti-semitism in favour of his very own brand of sweeping generalisation; jobism. What can excuse this? Was he beaten by an engineer when he was a child? Let me be clear that I have nothing against chemists, and if its not too much of a cliche, one of my friends in Scotland, Ally, is a chemist. But it does remind me of the time when Ally was getting a bit cheesed off at being continually ribbed for being not quite the full shilling, and decided to go into town to remedy the situation. He asked for a copy of every available book on Mechanics of Materials, Mechanics of Machines, Thermodynamics, Fluid Dynamics, Material Science, Tribology, Production Techniques and Control and any other relevant topics. The woman in the shop looked at him quizzically for a few seconds before confidently stating, "You're a chemist, aren't you"
Ally was astonished, "How do you know that?" he asked.
"Because this is a dress shop," she replied.
Am I being a little hard on Dr. Greening? Well, he was the individual who was responsible for the attack on those people who are dissatisfied with the line being fed by the authorities such as NIST. He is quoted as saying we are junk scientists. And to paraphrase Bob Marley, "I don't want to wait in vain" for an apology for his patently false plagiarism accusation. But perhaps the most telling quotation that I can give to you is one from Dr. Greening in response to what was to me a perfectly reasonable request to view his calculations, by a fellow forum contributor. The request was, "You have quoted figures and unsubstantiated and questionable assertions without reference, without workings, without any detail of their derivation or assumptions made and these are demonstrably false even within the confines of your own analysis."
His response was, "You want me to produce my calculations! Why? So you can scrutinize them and pick at them like a vulture attacking a carcass..." apr13
Well the simple answer is "Yes". I'm sure you will understand that in light of his known form, many people would be very reluctant to simply accept his bald statements without further examination. But it would appear that this is a perfectly acceptable course of action for his accolytes and even to more respected individuals such as Manuel Garcia. So I can ask you now to answer the question, "Who are the real junk scientists?"
There have been one or two other people who have responded to my article with criticism. There was one individual who was standing in the US elections who promised faithfully to forward my work, "How the Towers were Demolished", to two of the best debunking sites. That was nearly three months ago and I haven't heard a cheep from them or him in all of that intervening period. Does this mean that my article is "undebunkable"? No. If you examine the individuals responsible for these debunking sites you will find mostly anonymous individuals who are clearly ill-equipped for the task that was set to them. I would ask again that if anyone has any criticism or question, or would like to put forward an alternative theory then they should do exactly that. If you cannot debunk it but still feel reluctant to accept the theories and arguments that I have put forward then please feel free to refer my work to any individual, anywhere in the world who does have the necessary ability. I would welcome any such critique. If you do respond but fear that you will be included in this article, please accept my assurance that if you reply politely I will do exactly the same. If you are unsure what to call me, don't worry. Call me whatever you like. Call me a cab. Call me Ishmael, even. I really don't care, but be warned that although doubt has been cast on my birthplace, I am still confident that based on the evidence of my accent I am from somewhere in Scotland, where sarcasm has been elevated to its rightful position as an art form. Gordon Ross has been fine for all my life so far, so I think I will just stick to that. Unless someone, somewhere shows a little more imagination than those who have already made alternative suggestions.
If you have responded to me with criticism and are disappointed to see that you have not been included in this article, it is almost certainly because you and your criticisms are totally irrelevant. Within this group are the two individuals who argued that the towers' columns were annealled by the fire and thus lost all their load carrying abilities and fell down. They did provide one or two alternative names to replace the one that I used before the JREF forum informed me of my non-existence, but these were rather unimaginative.
You may at this stage be wondering about the title of this article, "Sorry Dr. Greening et al." You should bear in mind that this is not an apology.
It is a description.
(Therefore I am)
6 December 2006