Michael Shermer: Rebutting (Again!) the 9/11 Truthers

Presented with 11 questions by world911truth.org, Shermer compares 9/11 skepticism and inquiry to holocaust denial and creationism, only addresses questions related to the WTC destructions, and in doing so, relies on Eager's claim of pancaking (debunked by NIST), and then reposts material from the Implosion World 'debunking', previously debunked by Jim Hoffman: http://911research.wtc7.net/reviews/blanchard/index.html - loose nuke


Rebutting (Again!) the 9/11 Truthers

Like unsinkable rubber duckies, everytime you push down the fatuous arguments of the 9/11 “truthers,” who believe that the U.S. government was complicit in the attacks on that fateful day in September, they just pop back up. In response to my blog here, 9/11 Truthers Foiled by 12/25 Attack, the “truthers” have fired back with a series of questions for me, not about Al Qaeda and bin Laden taking credit for the Xmas day underwear bomber, or for 7/7, or Lisbon, or the attack on the World Trade Center buildings in the early 1990s, but on specific “anomalies” in the collapse of the WTC buildings, in the mistaken belief that if I cannot address each and every anomaly they believe they have found, then this is proof positive that Bush, Chaney, Rumsfeld, and company are guilty. Here is their challenge to me: http://911debunkers.blogspot.com/2010/01/response-to-michael-shermer.html

The belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking (that includes, in addition to Holocaust denial, creationism and crank theories of physics), and is easily refuted by noting that beliefs and theories are not built on single facts alone, but on a convergence of evidence from multiple lines of inquiry. All of the “evidence” for a 9/11 conspiracy falls under the rubric of this fallacy.

For example, on the issue of the melting temperature of steel, according to 911research.wtc7.net, steel melts at a temperature of 2,777 degrees Fahrenheit, but jet fuel burns at only 1,517 degrees Fahrenheit. No melted steel, no collapsed towers. (This claim is made by Jim Hoffman,in his book Waking Up From Our Nightmare and on his web page http://911research.wtc7.net/talks/towers/text/index.html.) Wrong. In an article in the Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, M.I.T. engineering professor Dr. Thomas Eager explains why: steel loses 50 percent of its strength at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit; 90,000 liters of jet fuel ignited other combustible materials such as rugs, curtains, furniture, and paper, which continued burning after the jet fuel was exhausted, raising temperatures above 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit and spreading the fire throughout the building; temperature differentials of hundreds of degrees across single steel horizontal trusses caused them to sag, straining and then breaking the angle clips that held them to the vertical columns; once one truss failed, others failed, and when one floor collapsed (along with the ten stories above it) onto the next floor below, that floor then gave way, creating a pancaking effect that triggered the 500,000-ton building to collapse.

Conspiricists also argue that if the buildings had collapsed due to the impact of the planes, they should have fallen over on their sides. This is also wrong. With 95 percent of each building consisting of empty space (these were office buildings after all), they could only have collapsed straight down—there simply isn’t enough structural support integrity to take an entire building down in one piece.

Conspiracy theory buffs—in direct contradiction of the above claim—also believe that the buildings fell straight down into their own footprint, which, they say, could only have happened if they had been deliberately brought down by explosive charges carefully and deliberately set ahead of time. Not true. The buildings did not fall down perfectly straight. Their collapse began on the side where the planes impacted, and so were tilted slightly toward that weakened collapse point.

Another conspiracy claim is that the buildings fell from the top down, precisely in the manner that controlled demolition buildings collapse. False. Controlled demolitions are done from the bottom up, not the top down. If you search “building demolition” on YouTube you will find hundreds of video clips of buildings collapsing by controlled demolition from the bottom up.

For our special 9/11 issue of Skeptic (https://www.skeptic.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Session_ID=c87b04f1741b6411293eee53ccfedc39&Screen=PROD&Store_Code=SS&Produ...) we consulted a demolition expert named Brent Blanchard, who is Director of Field Operations for Protec Documentation Services, a company that documents the work of building demolition contractors. Since the rise in popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories, he too has been inundated with requests to explain why the buildings appeared to have “collapsed as if by a controlled demolition.” (Blanchard’s entire analysis may be found on the Website he edits: www.implosionworld.com) Blanchard and his team of experts at Protec have worked with all major American demolition companies and many foreign ones to study the controlled demolition of over 1,000 of some of the largest and tallest buildings around the world. Their duties include engineering studies, structural analysis, vibration/air overpressure monitoring and photographic services. On September 11, 2001, Protec had portable field seismic monitoring systems operating at other sites in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Demolition specialists were hired to clean up Ground Zero and remove the remaining damaged structures, and these experts called on Blanchard’s company to document both the deconstruction and the debris removal. Here are nine of the best arguments made by 9/11 conspiracy theorists and their rebuttal by Protec:

Claim #1: The collapse of the towers looked exactly like controlled demolitions.

Protec: No they did not. The key to any demolition investigation is in finding out the “where”—the actual point at which the building failed. All photographic evidence shows World Trade Center buildings 1 and 2 failed at the point of impact. Actual implosion demolitions always start with the bottom floors. Photo evidence shows the lower floors of WTC 1 and 2 were intact until destroyed from above.

Claim #2: But they fell right down into their own footprint.

Protec: They did not. They followed the path of least resistance and there was a lot of resistance. Buildings of 20 stories or more do not topple over like trees or reinforced towers or smokestacks. Imploding demolitions fall into a footprint because lower stories are removed first. WTC debris was forced out away from the building as the falling mass encountered intact floors.

Claim #3: Explosive charges are seen shooting from several floors just prior to collapse.

Protec: No, air and debris can be seen being violently ejected from the building—a natural and predictable effect of rapid structure collapse.

Claim #4: Witnesses heard explosions.

Protec: All Seismic evidence from many independent sources on 9/11 showed none of the sudden vibration spikes that result from explosive detonations.

Claim #5: A heat generating explosive (thermite?) melted steel at ground Zero.

Protec: To a man, demolition workers do not report encountering molten steel, cut beams or any evidence of explosions. Claims of detected traces of thermite are at this time inconclusive.

Claim #6: Ground Zero debris—particularly the large steel columns from towers 1 and 2—were quickly shipped overseas to prevent scrutiny.

Protec: Not according to those who handled the steel. The chain of procession is clearly documented, first at ground Zero by Protec and later at the Fresh Kills site by Yannuzzi Demolition. The time frame (months) before it was shipped to China was normal.

Claim #7: WTC7 was intentionally “pulled down” with explosives. The building owner himself was quoted as saying he decided to “pull it.”

Protec: Building owners do not have authority over emergency personal at a disaster scene. We have never heard “pull it” used to refer to an explosive demolition. Demolition explosive experts anticipated the collapse of WTC7, and also witnessed it from a few hundred feet away and no one heard detonations.

Claim #8: Steel-frame buildings do not collapse due to fire.

Protec: Many steel-framed buildings have collapsed due to fire.

Claim #9: Anyone who denies that explosives were used is ignoring evidence.

Protec: Most of our comments apply to the differences between what people actually saw on 9/11 and what they should have seen had explosives been present. The hundreds of men and women who worked to remove debris from ground zero were some of the countries most experienced and respected demolition veterans. They of all people processed the experience and expertise to recognize evidence of controlled demolition if it existed. None of these people has come forward with suspicions that explosives were used.

Had the chance to debate Michael Shermer

... on Air America radio in Nov 2007. Here are my reflections on that debate.

Shortly after I wrote this, Shermer came out with a screaming diatribe called "9/11 'Truthers' a Pack of Liars", published at the Huffington Post. Unfortimately, "HuffPo" wasn't willing to give equal time to those questioning 9/11.

Shermer appears to be working to impose Doublethink on the public:
Skepticism means not being skeptical
War is peace
Ignorance is strength
The enemy is supremely capable and also completely irrational, supremely elusive yet they are everywhere

Meanwhile our response to "the enemy" is absolutely indistinguishable from the steps that those in power would take to protect themselves from us (if the time ever came).

I agree with you Kevin.

His approach to the 911 debate is disingenuous.

He is not seeking the truth.

By the way, Kevin, I am a big fan of you and your work.

Thanks for what you do.

Shermer was the guy...

...who claimed the towers fell so completely and at
near free-fall speed because "they consisted of 95% air".
See: http://911blogger.com/node/2955

Who in their right mind can take this individual seriously?



wait until Wednesday when I post the next article on NORAD at www.DNotice.org (the article should be up Tuesday evening). Shermer won't be rebutting the 9/11 Truth Movement, he'll have to rebut THE official source on 9/11!

This is the breakthrough the 9/11 Truth Movement has been waiting for, and it was there in plain sight. It's also a researcher's dream come true.

By the way folks, I only found this information because the new editor for Wikipedia's NORAD page removed 75% of my edits in the sections dealing with 9/11. Because of the removal, I began searching for a certain item (I can't remember now what I was searching for!), and inadvertently came upon this new (actually old) information. So we all owe a big THANKS to Wikipedia.

Dean Jackson/Editor-in-Chief DNotice.org
Washington, DC

Don't Worry Too Much About Shermer

He's made a nice career for himself denying the existence of gravity and sunlight. Good for him.

One should wonder why he is so preoccupied with 9/11 Truth in the first place. Probably for the same reason he spins skepiticism as being skeptical of skeptics.

The official story of 9/11 is a virtual unproven allegation and nearly half a dozen of Shermer's latest arguments are simply wrong.

Evolutionary Pandemic


magazines such as Skeptic never saw an assertion from the government that they were skeptical about.

Look at one of the lecture DVDs they are selling on their website, "H1N1 — The Evolution of a Deadly Virus. What Diseases Tell Us About Evolution":


Now I'm not referring here to Evolution, I'm referring to the H1N1 scam that is now being investigated by the Council of Europe Health Committee:


Looks like Skeptic Magazine not only shot itself in the foot with accepting, at face value, the H1N1 scare ( I knew it was a scare last Spring when WHO declared a Pandemic when there wasn't any indications of a Pandemic!), but also inadvertently damaged the theory of evolution in the process!

Dean Jackson/Editor-in-Chief DNotice.org
Washington, DC

Shermer is either naive or spinning the data to maintain the lie

Michael Shermer makes the simplistic argument that the steel didn't have to melt to weaken and cause collapse. However he fails to mention that out of the little steel from the towers that the NIST did get they found essentially no evidence of high temperatures being experienced by the steel. He also fails to mention the destruction of the steel evidence from all three buildings prior to a forensic analysis being performed on it by a legitimate investigation. He is not addressing the totality of the data when he does this and his argument is thus fallacious.

Shermer also does not seem to want to address the most poignant arguments for controlled demolition of the towers. They would be

- the total lack of deceleration in the measured fall of the upper section of WTC 1
- the freefall acceleration of WTC 7 for eight stories
- the extremely high temperatures and molten metal seen in the rubble of the three collapsed buildings
- the iron microspheres found in the dust
- the red/gray chips found in the dust which have turned out to be unignited nano-thermite.

Shermer is also wrong that the buildings failed at the sides where the planes impacted. WTC 1's failure according to the NIST started at the south wall opposite the side of impact which was the north wall. I am sure he also wouldn't attempt to address how one wall failure could propagate across the entire building in 0.7 seconds or if it was even possible, which calculations actually show it wasn't.

Michael, if you are reading this you need to be told that it is clear to those of us who have looked hard at those collapses that at best you have a lot to learn, and at worst you are intentionally spinning the data to help maintain the present official lie on how those buildings actually came down.

Mike Shermer

is dead to me & most of the World.

Shermer's most likely PAID to do this.

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

I could not agree more about Shermer.

There is a huge and obvious difference between a legitmate debate with a person who disagrees with you and a talk with a person like Shermer. You can spot the differences easily if you know what to look for. One of the characteristics of the Shermer types is the way they employ tactics to avoid key issues, confuse the issue, and goad and taunt opponents with abrasive or rude remarks. An honest opponent will directly respond to your points with what he or she regards as a valid counter argument while the Shermer's of the world will not, they will use these various techniques to avoid addressing your points altogether or they will grossly distort what you said creating a straw man and then knock it down. The old saying "you will know the tree by the fruit it bears" applies perfectly in determining who is an honest opponent and who has another agenda far afield from honest debate.

naive vs. spin

I'm gonna come down on the side of "spin".

The so-called torch bearer of skepticism and rationality spends far too much time on ad hominem attacks and misdirection.

Let's not waste another second of our good lives

on that loser.

Michael Shermer: Not interested in 9/11

It is obvious from Michael Shermer's scant writings and a few of his debates on 9/11 that he is simply not interested in the topic.. Anyone interested in a subject will naturally acquire more knowledge and information over time. Michael Shermer still seems to be stuck in a time warp, circa 2005, 2006 regarding 9/11. His arguments are the same then as they are now.

Michael Shermer: "Wrong. In an article in the Journal of the Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society, M.I.T. engineering professor Dr. Thomas Eager explains why: steel loses 50 percent of its strength at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit; 90,000 liters of jet fuel ignited other combustible materials such as rugs, curtains, furniture, and paper, which continued burning after the jet fuel was exhausted, raising temperatures above 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit..."

As Tony Szamboti pointed out, there is no evidence that the steel reached any of these temperatures. As well, Shermer seems to be confusing the temperatures of the steel with the gas temperatures of the fire.

Michael Shermer: "that floor then gave way, creating a pancaking effect that triggered the 500,000-ton building to collapse."

NIST has disavowed the pancake collapse hypothesis. "NIST’s findings do not support the “pancake theory” of collapse, which is premised on a progressive failure of the floor systems in the WTC towers...Thus, the floors did not fail progressively to cause a pancaking phenomenon."
NIST FAQ August 30, 2006.

This document is over 3 years old. The fact that Michael Shermer can't even put forth the effort to do a simple Google search shows how completely uninterested he is in the topic.

Michael Shermer: "The belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking."

By what standard is the official explanation a well-established theory? To say that the 9/11 Truth movement has only discovered a few anomalies in the official theory, is liking saying Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and modern images of the Solar System have only uncovered a few anomalies in the Geocentric Hypothesis of Ptolemy. Nonsense. Every aspect of the destruction of WTC1,2 and 7 can be explained by the demolition hypothesis. Not a single aspect can be explained by the official story.

Skeptics and scientific rationalists should ask themselves why they should continue to pay tribute to a man who is less intellectually curious than George W. Bush.

"The greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth, but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth."
- Aldous Huxley -

Love the analogy

'To say that the 9/11 Truth movement has only discovered a few anomalies in the official theory, is liking saying Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler and modern images of the Solar System have only uncovered a few anomalies in the Geocentric Hypothesis of Ptolemy. '


Yes, that was a great post,

Yes, that was a great post, tanabear.

You also said "Michael Shermer still seems to be stuck in a time warp, circa 2005, 2006 regarding 9/11. His arguments are the same then as they are now." I couldn't agree more. Not only are the arguments the same, his current article is in some places an exact cut-and-paste job from the 2006 Popular Mechanics article.

yes indeed.

It's the same old shit and it always will be. I think debunker's have reached a saturation point with their arguments. Sure, Scientific American may do something someday, but it will be the same old shit, too. What we're gonna see is changes in the styles of the ad hominem attacks, cuz that's all they've got to work with. Let's keep away from THAT!

Shermer is lying.

Shermer says:
"Actual implosion demolitions always start with the bottom floors."

That's like saying, "Cars drive down the right side of the road."

As if it's physically impossible for them to do otherwise.

As if controlled demolitions are controlled by some sort of cosmic will or natural constraint and not planned and performed by the human agency of demolition engineers.

Of course cars *can* drive on the left side of the road, if they are steered to do so by a human driver.
And, of course, "actual" implosion demolitions can begin wherever the engineers detonate the first charges.

Shermer has a PhD. He knows this. There is no doubt.

What this argument demonstrates is:

a) An insurmountable hubris. It declares, "I can make specious arguments and remain untouchable". This is likely a sign of psychosis.

b) Total contempt for his readership. He does not believe that his readers are smart enough to figure out this simple, stupid deception. He appears to be largely correct in this assessment.

c) Total dishonesty. There is no hope of "bringing him around", or reasoning with him. Shermer probably knows that 9/11 was an inside job and has now decided to become an accessory after the fact.

Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
~George Orwell


You say:
“There is no hope of "bringing him around", or reasoning with him. “
I must disagree. All you have to do is pay him more money than he makes dispensing lies, misinformation and ad hominem attacks.
Pay him handsomely and it will make your head spin how quickly he comes to recognize the truth.

You may have something there.

That reminds me, whit. I need to remember to look into who's funding his non-profit Skeptics foundation. Because that's something I'm very Skeptical about.
Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows.
~George Orwell

JREF is funded by an "anonymous" donor from DC.


“THE FOUNDATION IS IN BUSINESS! It is my great pleasure to announce the creation of the James Randi Educational Foundation. This is a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational foundation under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, incorporated in the State of Delaware. The Foundation is generously funded by a sponsor in Washington D.C. who wishes, at this point in time, to remain anonymous.”


Dr. Philip Cary Plait (a.k.a. The Bad Astronomer) is an astronomer and skeptic who runs the website BadAstronomy.com. He formerly worked at the physics and astronomy department at Sonoma State University. In early 2007, he resigned from his job to write Death from the Skies. On August 4, 2008, he became President of the James Randi Educational Foundation. Plait grew up in the Washington, D.C. area. He received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Virginia

Notice the connections to both Washington DC and the University of Virginia (home of the spooks in training)

How unbelievably ignorant. I

How unbelievably ignorant. I love how he speaks in incredibly general terms throughout the article to conceal evidence, such as how he says "All evidence for thermite is thus far inconclusive" without elaborating on said evidence. He doesn't mention the red/gray chips with explosive tendencies and identical chemical signatures. He just says "it's inconclusive". Regardless, pretty much all of his rebuttals have been refuted at some point or another already. This is just more of the same.


Why is this article even being posted here?

I don't understand...

Why is this article even being posted here? Is Shermer's junk-science something we need to read?

I mean, it has certainly got a lot of comments from us; but aren't we just using up a lot of our precious time? To prove something to ourselves that we obviously already agree on?

I'm confused.

As activists

it's good to know what is being put out by the msm so that we are better prepared to counter it when educating the public.

As for all the comments, it is a relatively benign way of releasing anger and frustration at obviously corrupt individuals.

Mr. Shermer's willful ignorance is truly amazing, isn't it?

(and the man calls himself a skeptic...talk about chutzpuh)

The truth shall set us free. Love is the only way forward.

Yes, the debate is

Yes, the debate is educational and important. People may use him as an authority.