Playing Devil's Advocate with Michael Shermer
A couple of months ago I emailed Michael Shermer. To my surprise, he responded.
I wrote him as a "concerned citizen and parent" ( I'm not a parent, btw,) wondering what he would say to someone genuinely questioning the official 9/11 narrative.
A colleague referred me to this video clip of Dr. Niels Harrit, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen. In this video he refers to a substance called "nanothermite."
"Conspiracy Theories" do not interest me. However, scientific evidence of an extremely high tech explosive in the lower Manhattan dust bothers me greatly.
Is there any validity to this claim?
No, Richard, no validity to the "microthermite" story whatsoever. None. No one found thermite or microthermite or superthermite or any other type of thermite at ground zero. And even if they did, thermite cannot do what they claim it can. This was all tested years ago.
Thank you for your reply. That eases my mind a great deal.
Would you mind telling me what Harritt is talking about? He seems adamant that "nanothermite" is a smoking gun regarding 9/11. I've researched Google Scholar and found numerous academic papers he has authored, which causes me to wonder why he is speaking out like he is. There appears to be no good reason other than him believing he has rock solid proof.
Can you direct me to a scientific study which proves his claim to be unfounded?
I would like to get to the bottom of this. Now my daughter is talking about 9/11 being an "inside job" like she's absolutely positive of it. I would love to have a scientific study to show her, proving that this whole thing is bunk.
This is the National Geographic documentary on 9/11 that includes the tests on thermite, superthermite, nanothermite, secret thermite, invisible thermite, mighty thermite, and all other thermites.
I carefully viewed the National Geographic documentary, and find it lacking as a source of credible information about 9/11.
I remain troubled by Niels Harrit's study. Is there credible research disproving his findings?
I do not want to ignore such troubling evidence if it is indeed legitimate.
Thank you for your help in this matter.
It's a moving target: the truthers claim thermite brought down the towers. When it is proven that thermite can't even burn through a thin facsimile of a WTC girder, they claim that it was super secret super nanothermite, etc. Truthers have no interest in truth. They are a political/fringe/conspiratorial movement pure and simple.
In any case, ask yourself what else would have to be true if the thermite/controlled demolition story was true? Well, for starters, hundreds of demolition experts would have needs hundreds of hours inside the WTC towers to set all those explosives, and somehow they had to do this without anyone noticing, and this inside one of the most secure buildings in NY City, given the fact that terrorists tried to blow it up in 1993 with a truck bomb in the basement parking garage. And, no, they could not have pulled this off while pretending to be working on the elevators, because that would not have given them the necessary access. And, how do you explain that the buildings began their collapse at the exact floors where the planes hit? This would mean that the demolition experts would have had to have known in advance about the plane strikes as well as the exact angle the wings would have hit the floors, which floors on which side, etcetera. Ridiculous squared.
And that's just the beginning of the Truther absurdity. They think a missile struck the Pentagon. Okay, then where is the American Airline plane and where are all the passengers?
When you ask Truthers these questions, they of course have no answers at all, with the exception of the kid who made Loose Change, who suggests that the Pentagon plane actually landed in Chicago, whereupon the passengers where exited and gassed to death. Right.
Please tell me you don't actually believe any of this, do you?
Again, thank you for your reply.
I don't "believe" anything until I have checked arguments for, arguments against, and my own perceptions, always keeping in mind that my own perceptions are not correct 100% of the time .
I've been reading the James Randi forum nanothermite thread carefully. Plenty of arguments against nanothermite existing or if it even does exist having the ability to inflict high-order damage the way Haritt et. al. claim it did.
You're saying that "Truthers have no interest in truth. They are a political/fringe/conspiratorial movement pure and simple."
Agreed that the Pentagon missile claims, whatever happened to flight 93 in Pennsylvania, the Pentagon plane's crew and passengers being unloaded and gassed in Chicago . . . sounds like serious bullshit to me. But there are still a few things that I am skeptical of: number one being how some workers knew that Building 7 was going to come down. ". . .back, up . . . back up . . . this building's about to come down. . .", and ". . .get back. . .the building's about to blow up . . ."
If uncontrolled fires caused it, workers around the building would have no idea when it would collapse. It would be wait and see.
You're also saying that it would have taken hundreds of demolition experts to load the explosives into the buildings, and that they couldn't have passed the high security, and they would not have had enough access to the columns.
I'm going to play Devil's advocate here: what if a very small number of those in charge of the World Trade Center security were somehow connected with the operation? Is that even remotely possible? I think it is at least remotely possible.
What if nano engineered incendiaries and explosives exist and can be applied by workers believing it was regular paint (maybe mixed in paint and sprayed on) without having to demolish walls? Is it possible to engineer such substances to the point that they detonate or burn powerfully, but not like high explosives? Given video evidence of what is arguably molten iron spilling out of one of the WTC towers,this possibility cannot be dismissed.
Many of the participants in the Randi discussion forums appear to be less interested in getting to the cause of these building's collapses, and very interested in insulting those who are skeptical of government agency claims,like the the NIST computer model of Building 7's collapse that does not match what we all can see on video.
I dismiss many ridiculous claims of the "truthers,"but I am not in the least convinced by official explanations of how 7 dropped for 2+ seconds (or eight floors) at free fall speed. Their report is as much BS as some of the truther claims.
From what I can see, 7 was demolished on purpose. There is no other explanation I've read that accounts for what we see. I don't know much about the other stuff like foreknowledge of the hijackings, the military exercises going on that day, or how in god's name a passenger plane or anything else could have crashed into the Pentagon more than an hour after it was known that three planes had been hijacked and one had hit the North Tower? That is absurd.
Do you believe that our national air and ground defense was incapable of defending the Pentagon more than an hour after learning that hijackers were using planes as flying bombs?
If you can offer a better explanation for World Trade Center 7 dropping for 2+ seconds at fee fall ( according the NIST) I will eagerly and happily consider it.
Michael Shermer never replied to the final letter.