On Scientific Expertise versus Psychological Denial and the "Big Lie"

And a good subtitle for this blog entry might be "And On Sincere Denial versus Paid Agents."

At the AIA convention in DC last week, the reaction from architects was, for the most part, overwhelmingly positive. But I thought it might be enlightening to share my experience of a couple exceptions.

It is staggering how much propaganda, fear of the sinister, and the psychological power of "the big lie" can trump over reason and intellect. I will give several examples of this phenomenon from the AIA Convention in DC last week.

On Thursday, the day after the booth was taken down, there were individual seminars and presentations in some of the smaller conference rooms at the DC Convention Center. AE911truth occupied one such room where the 30 minute version of Blueprint for Truth was played every hour, on the hour, followed by questions and answers.

During the last hour, which I attended, we heard a question which seems inexplicable for someone with the scientific expertise. This woman, and I don't think she was an agent, was, like Richard Gage, an architect and registered member of the AIA.

Her question:

"But.... weren't those buildings designed to implode?"

Think of how this question defies logic. First of all, I personally possess nothing more than an 8th grade education in physics (at my high school we were required only to take biology and chemistry, physics was optional during senior year and I didn't take it so I could focus on preparing for entrance auditions to music schools). But even with a mere 8th grade physics education, I can understand the nature of those WTC collapses and see that the official explanation is false.

By contrast, the woman who asked the above question possesses collegiate level knowledge in the field of architecture, which by definition involves taking a multitude of physics courses.

Surely, the rational side of her MUST know that controlled demolition is a fine art that only a few companies in the world possess the skill and expertise to carry out. Why bother with such a fine art if buildings can be "designed to implode" with no explosives?

Furthermore, even if magical physics did indeed exist, why would anyone want to "design a building to implode?" Does she seriously believe that buildings are designed to "implode" or fall down, as opposed to STAY STANDING in the event of a catastrophic incident? Has she seriously not read and heard the testimony from the building designers that the towers were designed to withstand multiple airplane crashes, and that the structure was overly redundant?

This example proves that psychological denial is an immensely powerful thing, to the point where credentialed experts will attempt to latch on to a completely pseudo-scientific idea to defend their version of reality.

Another example: At the booth in the main convention Wednesday, I personally spoke to two architects who still believed claims that even the government's own agencies no longer try and defend: that (1) the jet fuel "melted" the steel and (2) that the floors "pancaked on down."

These two people actually did listen to us and did leave with a flier and DVD. These were people who simply hadn't looked into it and did appear genuinely interested.

Then there were a few people whose motives were suspect; they seemed to operate right out of the JREF playbook. The above examples were not agents, imo, but sincere people living in ignorance. Now that you've read the above examples, compare those to the following examples, from people I very strongly suspect were some kind of organized opposition.

There was a lovely young lady showed up when Russia Today was filming and she was furious. She accused us of being traitors, of siding with the enemy, Russia, and helping them destroy our country. An ae911truth team member moved away from our booth for this conversation.

He responded with something like this: "That is what is in question here. Who is the enemy? I would say that whoever brought those buildings down is the enemy. I don't care who they are, but I want them stopped. If they are in our own military, intelligence agencies and government, then they are the traitors, not us for exposing them." He also went into speculation regarding how it had to be a U.S. military operation because the Pentagon is the most highly defended building on the planet and how no planes were intercepted despite 67 successful intercepts in the year prior and that there had to be a great deal of complicity in government, law enforcement and media for it to happen in the first place and then to try to cover it up and how 9/11 has trashed our Constitution and wrecked our economy and how all of that is what is destroying our nation and so on and on. Our team member said that the Russian media was coming to the aid of the American people by doing the job that our media is not doing. As he rattled off this logic, she calmed down and started looking a little bewildered and frightened. As a closer, he put his hand very gently on her shoulder, with sincere compassion, and said something like, "If you look at and understand the evidence, you'll understand that we are right and this is the right thing to do, no matter what the consequences are."

She had no response.

There was quite a bit more to it than that, but it's hard to relate everything. When he first said, "Who is the enemy?"
She interrupted to say- "RUSSIA!!!! They've got all those nukes!!!" He responded with something like, "Only one nation has ever used nukes, and that was against civilians. Who was that again?" This made her slow down a bit.

There was another questionable young lady also. She had a booth not far from ours, and she came over and challenged Richard Gage with some very JREF-like assertions. Such as: when the video of WTC7 was playing, with the dust emerging from the base of the building as it collapses, she said, "See, heat CAN do this to a building!" (Pointing at the dust) "That is extremely hot smoke from the fires!" She also tried to suggest that the failure of a single column can collapse an entire building. She also used the debunker tactic of "Where's your evidence?" When presented with the Bentham paper, she kind of backed off, and as she was walking away, a member of our team said "Look into the science" and she replied "I have looked at the science."

Hard to tell about the motives of the two young women; I suspect they were sent in, but I also do believe many architects and engineers simply haven't taken the time to look. What was staggering was the number of architects who had never heard of WTC7, and who seemed genuinely startled when they watched the video. While our goal was to get as many a's and e's to sign the petition right there at the convention, many more took a DVD with interest and likely will sign online.

All in all it was a great experience. There's nothing like watching someone wake up. And the denialists prove to be a very educational insight into human nature.


Excellent work. Some truly 'breakthrough' moments with the two women objectors.

Most people who react that way are so full of fear; it's cognitive dissonance in action.

Thank You Adam for Sharing Anecdotes & Insights

I would like to learn more about the ae911truth meetings with lawmakers.

If Not Me? Who? If Not Now? When?

Dumbed Down

Thank you Adam for excellent coverage. Thank you North Texas for your interest in contacting your representatives.

Unfortunately, I do not find the "buildings designed to implode" to be all that outrageous. We the American People have been dumbed down beyond belief. I have continually encountered staggering ignorance and stupidity throughout my adult life. To be fair, this is not true of everyone in our society. Obviously, there are many people who are really on the ball. And, everyone is capable of making really dumb mistakes, including me. But, this widespread dumbing down is something we must keep in mind. It makes our job much more difficult and may require more emotional and less rational approaches at times.

Here's one of my favorite true stories. When I was a river guide, it was not all that uncommon to come across passengers who thought that the river flowed in a circle, like a ride at disney land. Not only that, but keep in mind that these were nearly 100% very successful people in this society. The vast majority had been to college and had well paying jobs and lots of nice things, a big house, fine cars, money in the bank, etc.

After working in education, I am quite sure that this dumbing down has been intentional and systematic. Just something to keep in mind.

Vincit Omnia Veritas

cognitive dissonance

I have just bought myself a 10 year old book on the theory and research of Leon Festinger's ideas on how new information can impact on a person's behaviour.