Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Dumbest Argument Against the Official Story?

Here's a lamebrained effort by one of the "Scholars for Truth". This article is highlighted on the front page of their website.

The probability of a compound event to have occurred is the product of all sub-events necessary to accomplish the compound event. The underlying assumption is that the probability of each sub-event is independent of the probability of another sub-event. The following sub-events appear independent of each other. All of them have a low to extremly low probability. In order to simplify the demonstration, we arbitrarily assigned a probability of 0.1 (or 10 percent) to each of the following selected propositions which underpin the official account. Skeptics may try other combinations of probabilities, higher or lower, in order to test the methodology.

1. Four young, healthy and educated Muslims who possess large chunks of cash and like to party, can be expected to prepare for many months to sacrifice their lives in a murderous hijacking operation.

2. Four groups of Muslims can be expected to board four different aircraft in the United States on the same day without raising suspicion.

3. Young muslim men, known to have been in Afghanistan, would be expected to receive a visa to the United States in order to learn to fly.


(intervening assumptions taken out to summarize):

21. A high rise steel building can be expected to collapse on its own footprint after a raging fire.

22. Debris from a crashed plane can be expected to be found many miles from the crash site.

The compound probability of the above events is the product of the individual probabilities or 0.1**22 (0.1 in the 22 exponential). The actual figure is so small that it practically nears zero.

If one accepts the above propositions (even by increasing their probability of occurrence to 0,5), it follows that their compound probability is near zero. In fact, it suffices that a subset of the above propositions be shown to have a compound probability of near zero, to invalidate the official account on 9/11.


This is of course an absurd way to look at 9-11, as a simple analogy will prove.

Suppose we have a baseball team. What are the odds that our shortstop will hit .324 and score exactly 127 runs? My guess is that only 1 shortstop in 1,000 has had that exact line.

What are the odds that our second baseman will score 117 runs? Let's peg that one at 1 in 500.

A third baseman that hits .300 with 98 runs batted in? Preposterous, no better than 1 in 800.

That our pitching staff will have one guy who wins 20 games, another with 18 wins, and a third with 16? Probably no better than 1 in 100.

That the team will win 114 games in the regular season? No way, Jose--1 in 1000 at best.

So we add all those odds up and what do we get? There is only 1 chance in 40 trillion that this team could actually exist. And yet it did; it's the 1998 New York Yankees.

This is the problem with his analysis. You cannot start with something that has already happened and assign probabilities to each aspect of the event and think that you've proven that it could not have taken place. What are the chances that Bill and Hillary would meet at Yale? You can start out with the slim odds that either of them would be born (millions of sperm cells racing to fertilize the egg), add in the relative rareness of boys from Arkansas being accepted to do undergrad work at Georgetown and then to move on to Yale Law, the chances that they would meet up that one day in the library, the chances that Hillary wouldn't already have a boyfriend, or that Bill wouldn't have fallen for somebody with bigger hair... you get the point.

45 Comments:

At 24 May, 2006 15:43, Blogger Rousseau said...

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At 24 May, 2006 16:08, Blogger ScottSl said...

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At 24 May, 2006 16:29, Blogger Rousseau said...

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At 24 May, 2006 16:30, Blogger Rousseau said...

As a student of politics I am cosistently amazed at how flawlessly the indoctrination process operates. Let's just acept the movie's notions are completley unfounded and rediculous as claimed on this site, an extensive and well thought out site dedicated to debunking it is also ridiculous. True or not, the sheer revulsion to the claims provides sound evidence of well trainded minds fine tuned by the American education system. If I made a movie claiming that the world was flat, would a web site be needed to debunk it? I don't know if the guys are totally right but my studies in politics makes me far more atuned to the claim that individuals can and do act with a reckless abandoned to achieve what thay felt would validate them personally, for whatever reason. It as if you all beleive that our leaders are some kind of special people not prone to the destruction, lies, and folly that permeates that records of political leaders thoughout the ages. It is important to note that Machiavelli (a great theoriticain of power) noted that essence of power is in its absence.
He advised the Prince to take advantage of humans' natural inclination to want to believe their government is good and proper. He felt that this passion could be readily manipulated and harnassed at the discretion of the ruler for his advantage. All of the speculation on both sides results in the "market failure" due to the assymetry of information. Machiavelli, hundreds of years ago was atuned to this very crucial fact, that ambivalence resulting from incomplete information will generally lead to docile aquiessence. In sum, this whole process involves psychology as much as the "material facts" invoked by both sides. We're all lost and each side is on a scavenger hunt for truth that remains elusive to all of us, the writer included. That is the point, so long as no one really knows, no one really knows, may be even our leaders....

 
At 24 May, 2006 16:37, Blogger BG said...

A link to an article counter to rousseau's comments
("It Can't Happen Here" Edition

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:26, Blogger Proud Kaffir said...

This is is a joke, right?


1. Four young, healthy and educated Muslims who possess large chunks of cash and like to party, can be expected to prepare for many months to sacrifice their lives in a murderous hijacking operation.

Healthy Muslim men blow themselves up everyday. They call it martyrdom and believe it will lead straight to paradise. In al Qaeda training manuals, they are instructed to "party" in order to conceal themselves better in the West.

Where did the large chunks of cash come from, anyway?


2. Four groups of Muslims can be expected to board four different aircraft in the United States on the same day without raising suspicion.

So we should have profiling? There are millions of Muslims living in the US. The overwhelming majority are not religious extremists and are not dangerous.


3. Young muslim men, known to have been in Afghanistan, would be expected to receive a visa to the United States in order to learn to fly.

They were residing in Germany before coming to the US. I agree that immigration is much too lax in allowing people to enter the country even today, but that is a different issue all together.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:28, Blogger shawn said...

Rosseu, the very fact that the movie has to be debunked shows how flawed our education system is. They don't understand very basic logical fallacies, of which the movie (and the theorists at large), use extensively. People are also too lazy to do their own research, so they take the movie's claims at face value. Same with the film JFK.

It has nothing to do with thinking the government is inherently good (as a quasi-libertarian I think large governments are terrible things). It has to do with the use of logic, reasoning, and fact. But spin it any way you want.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:30, Blogger Proud Kaffir said...

If I made a movie claiming that the world was flat, would a web site be needed to debunk it?

It would be sad if a website was needed to debunk it but we have this government conspiracy to make people believe that the world is, like, round.

The fact that people invent or believe in absurd and paranoid conspiracy theories is a sad part of life.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:40, Blogger shawn said...

If I made a movie claiming that the world was flat, would a web site be needed to debunk it?

Also, if people bought into said theory, yes. Scientists write articles in mags like Skeptic to debunk creationism, because people believe such bullshit.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:46, Blogger roger_sq said...

The fact of the matter is, simply, if Dick Cheney showed up on Fox News and announced that Lee Harvey Oswald faked his death in 1963 and was, in fact, the 20th hijacker on 9/11, you schmucks would fall in line and accept it as unequivocal fact, and laugh at anyone who didn't believe it.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:48, Blogger shawn said...

The fact of the matter is, simply, if Dick Cheney showed up on Fox News and announced that Lee Harvey Oswald faked his death in 1963 and was, in fact, the 20th hijacker on 9/11, you schmucks would fall in line and accept it as unequivocal fact, and laugh at anyone who didn't believe it.

Since I'm pretty sure not everyone on here is a Republican or neocon (I'm not either), your point is moot and is ad hominem logical fallacy.

But facts and logic obviously aren't your friend, you're close to nesnyc in absolutely ignorance of actual facts.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:51, Blogger shawn said...

roger, I'll argue how you do, ok?

If Alex Jones told you that reptilian aliens traveled to Earth, rigged the 2000 and 2004 elections for Bush, used holograms/brainwashing machines to fake the videos of 9/11, and Dick Cheney is their emissary on Earth you'd swallow it hook, line, and sinker, and call anyone who didn't buy into in tools of the neocon regime.

 
At 24 May, 2006 17:51, Blogger shawn said...

For the record, I don't think you're that stupid, but it's identical to what you were saying.

 
At 24 May, 2006 18:03, Blogger Chad said...

Was that supposed to be "wit" Roger?

It was really funny if it was. Thankfully, Dick Cheney showed up just before I read that comment of yours and suggested I go pee first. Otherwise, I'm sure I would've wet myself.

Keep up the good work.

 
At 24 May, 2006 18:04, Blogger shawn said...

Thankfully, Dick Cheney showed up just before I read that comment of yours and suggested I go pee first. Otherwise, I'm sure I would've wet myself.

laffo

 
At 24 May, 2006 19:36, Blogger srice555 said...

Let's you the same standard for your baseball as used for the story:

In order to simplify the demonstration, we arbitrarily assigned a probability of 0.1 (or 10 percent) to each of the following selected propositions which underpin the official account.

You list 12 factors. That mean the probability is 0.1*12, or one in one trillion. But baseball is a game of probability.

What's listed in the demonstration are failures and abnormalityes that shouldn't happen. In a game, there is unlimit probability because there are so many factors. For example, never again in all of time will there be a game like the Yanks vs Red Socks in 1968. You can pick any thing from any sports and say "what are the chances of this happening!" Well, not much because that is the nature of sports.

Now, how many times has a passport made of papar made through a huge fireball, yet a black box did not?

And how many times has debris from a crashed plane rammed into the ground at over 500 mph found many miles from the crash site?

Those two event alone never happened.

 
At 24 May, 2006 19:40, Blogger shawn said...

There's also an unlimited factors in life.

 
At 24 May, 2006 19:52, Blogger shawn said...

also unlimited*

 
At 24 May, 2006 20:19, Blogger Alex said...

Using that logic, the Titanic must have been sunk by the Zionists too. After all, how many times has a ship hit an iceberg on it's first voyage? How many times has an iceberg scraped a massive hole in the side of a ship? How many times have multiple bulkheads been breached simultaneously? Etc, etc, etc. Just because something is improbable doesn't mean it won't happen. Such an argument displays total ignorance of the theory behind finite mathematics.

 
At 24 May, 2006 20:23, Blogger Alex said...

Besides which, most of your examples are flawed. For example, most aircraft DO NOT crash into the ground at 500 mph. Any competent pilot who has an engine failiure or other in-flight problems will attempt to reduce his airspeed as much as possible and attempt to bring the aircraft in for a crash-landing. Most crash sites that you see on the news are the result of a failed attempt to crash land, meaning the aicraft would have been flying at just barely above stall speed when it hit the ground. I can't think of a single incident, other than flight 93, where an aircraft plowed into the ground at full speed.

 
At 24 May, 2006 21:06, Blogger srice555 said...

Hey Alex,

DATABASE OF SHIP COLLISIONS WITH ICEBERGS

http://www.icedata.ca/icedb/ice/bergs2_01e.html

Now over 560 incidents.....

And for air plane crashes... look here and tell me if you found one where a plane crash into the ground and the wreackage was spread over miles.

http://www.planecrashinfo.com/

 
At 24 May, 2006 21:31, Blogger James B. said...

Loose Change claims United 93 never crashed, and there was no wreckage spread over any distance, so what difference does it make?

 
At 24 May, 2006 21:41, Blogger srice555 said...

Hey Alex, it took a while but I found one wreackage of a airplane that went into the ground at 600 MPH: Payne Stewart's Learjet. And looky, AIR PLANE PARTS!

http://www.planecrashinfo.com/w991025.htm

 
At 24 May, 2006 21:54, Blogger Alex said...

"DATABASE OF SHIP COLLISIONS WITH ICEBERGS

http://www.icedata.ca/icedb/ice/bergs2_01e.html

Now over 560 incidents.....

And for air plane crashes... look here and tell me if you found one where a plane crash into the ground and the wreackage was spread over miles."


Well, how about you first look at the iceberg database site, and tell me how many ships hit one on their first voyage, had multiple bulkheads damaged, and then sank? I'm telling you man, it was Da JOOOOOZ that sank the Titanic!

"Hey Alex, it took a while but I found one wreackage of a airplane that went into the ground at 600 MPH: Payne Stewart's Learjet. And looky, AIR PLANE PARTS!"

Really? You don't say! Wow. Oh, wait, what have we got here?

Flight 93
Airplane
Parts

The existance of parts was never at question. What YOU were saying is that there has never been a flight which hit at 500mph and spread parts over such a large area. Which is bullshit, and which you certainly haven't proven with your picture of Payne's learjet.

 
At 24 May, 2006 23:15, Blogger nesNYC said...

The fact that people invent or believe in absurd and paranoid conspiracy theories is a sad part of life.

Especially when it comes right from the US government.

 
At 25 May, 2006 04:22, Blogger Chad said...

Especially when it comes right from the US government.

... with no evidence or proof whatsoever.

(It's okay nesnyc. I'll finish your thoughts for you. I'm sure you just forgot to tack on that last bit.)

 
At 25 May, 2006 06:58, Blogger ELC said...

Once an event has occurred, antecedent probablity is irrelevant.

 
At 25 May, 2006 11:13, Blogger Jujigatami said...

it was Da JOOOOOZ that sank the Titanic!

Iceberg, Greenberg... what's the difference? :)

 
At 25 May, 2006 13:31, Blogger shawn said...

Once an event has occurred, antecedent probablity is irrelevant.

I wish the conspiracy idiots understood that.

An event happened. It doesn't matter how often that event occurred previous to that, or the chances of that event occurring. Which doesn't even matter here because when's the last time a plane purposely ran into a skyscraper?

 
At 25 May, 2006 17:53, Blogger srice555 said...

I wish the brainwashed progoivernment morons would realize that passport made of paper don't make it through a hug fire ball or a complete failure of the American defence system don't happen by chance.

Thanks for the photo btw. A photo of the plane number would be nice, but we'll never get that. It's just a damn shame the government has felt it's necessary to limit access evidence of 9/11. Why is that?

 
At 25 May, 2006 18:37, Blogger Alex said...

Yeah, eh? And while we're at it, I really wish those brainwashed progoivernment morons would realize that it's impossible to land a man on the moon. And all that nonsense about the world being round too! It's all a plot by Da JOOOOOOZZZZ I tells ya.

Buddy, unless you can recreate the exact steps through which that passport went before beign recovered, you're just talking out of your ass. Saying that "everyone knows that fire burns paper" doesn't count as a proper analysis of the circumstances.

 
At 25 May, 2006 20:05, Blogger undense said...

Compound event theory applied to us would imply we are imposible to exist. The chance of the basic chemistry of life coming together in the first place are astronomical, let alone a sentient being arising on a planet subject to so many different types of catastrophes.

Let's all face it. We don't really exist. Neither the CTs or the OSs are true and 9/11 never happened. That passport is simply a figment of the imagination of those who don't exist. Calculations devised by the elite of the non-existant have proven that to be true without a doubt.

 
At 25 May, 2006 20:33, Blogger srice555 said...

Alex, why don't you tell me how the passport managed to surive and the black box didn't.

WEait, nevermind, you don't have to because you bought the goverment story. That alone tells me enough about you way of thinking. Or the lack of.

 
At 25 May, 2006 21:08, Blogger srice555 said...

The use sarcasm is a person's way of admitting their own weaknesses, and admitting that they cannot look at them.

 
At 25 May, 2006 21:28, Blogger undense said...

The use sarcasm is a person's way of admitting their own weaknesses, and admitting that they cannot look at them.

It's actually not sarcasm to any great extent. Another poster in here already stated:

Once an event has occurred, antecedent probablity is irrelevant.

It's kind of like saying "Hindsight is 20/20." We already know from chaos theory that unexpected/unlikely events will occur. Not only will they occur, they must occur. Anyone with any experience in life realizes that. You cannot place a senslible calculation on the likelihood of events because they are subject to chaos. More specifically, you can make a calculation but it's ultimately meaningless because one of the most profound things ever stated in this world is "Shit happens."

 
At 25 May, 2006 22:33, Blogger srice555 said...

Undense, my prevoius comment was directed more to Alex then anyone else who has used sarcasm to attack me.

I must ask you, when does it stop being the "choas thoery" and start becoming "somebody on the inside wanted this to happen so badly they allow the attack to take place"?

There are 22 events listed in the artical, of those there were 6 items that were questionable actions of the government which is beyond the "choas thoery" and goes into the CT releams.

There are:

8. US military authorities can be expected to schedule, for exactly the date of the murderous events, war games and exercises including simulated plane hijackings and planes crashing on government buildings.

11. The US air force could be expected to bungle its attempts to intercept the hijacked planes.

12. No plans could have existed at the Pentagon to protect US government buildings against the risk of an accidental or malicious plane crash.

13. Neither the CIA nor the FBI could have any prior knowledge of the identities and whereabouts of the alleged hijackers before 9/11.

14. A law enforcement authority, such as the FBI, could be expected to show little interest in investigating mass murder.

15. A government would be expected to oppose an investigation of a terrorist attack against its own country.


Those reasons, the PNAC, the Northwoods document, the movements of air crafts, the training mission of that day, and the whole secertly of 9/11 is why I can't buy the offical story.

The crap, and that is, that Pat nitpicks are distractions from the real story: The government wanted 9/11 to wage war. That is the pain and simple truth. If we lose focus of that, then we are hopelessly lost and nothing more then pawns.

The question you should really be asking is: Would your government stage the attack to wage war for oil?

You better bet you ass they would.

The rest of this crap Pat and other like to nitpick about is crap design to distact from the truth: the government allowed an attack to wage war for oil and to take the freedom we all hold dare.

Attack me on that, else you are all a bunch of f'ing pawns.

 
At 26 May, 2006 07:28, Blogger undense said...

I must ask you, when does it stop being the "choas thoery" and start becoming "somebody on the inside wanted this to happen so badly they allow the attack to take place"?

It never becomes that because you have ommitted the other possibility, that it wasn't an "inside" job. And unless one wants to go through a ton of mental gyrations to explain how it was a vast inside conspiarcy instead of a small group of Islamic fanatics who used planning and a little bit of luck, it doesn't pan out. Despite all the wildly speculative claims about how or why our government was involved, not a single iota of verifiable proof has been produced. Not a memo, no e-mail, no contracts, nothing. For CTs, that problem goes back through JFK, Pearl Harbor, and all the way to the USS Maine.

You can make references to unrelated documents (Northwoods was decades before) or speculatively cite coincidences (Hey, did you know Kennedy's secretary was named Lincoln and Lincoln's secretary was named Kennedy...) but none of that is any sort of proof whatsoever.

Nor can this be about the oil because after going into Iraq we don't have any more control over Iraqi oil than we did when Saddam was there. In fact, control of the Iraqi oil was one of the very first things turned over to the Iraqis.

 
At 26 May, 2006 08:49, Blogger Alex said...

"Alex, why don't you tell me how the passport managed to surive and the black box didn't. "

Hey, asshole, how many times do I have to say it? A QUESTION DOES NOT CONSTITUTE EVIDENCE. IF you can prove that the passport was planted, THAT would be evidence. But you can't. Otherwise you wouldn't be asking such assenine questions.

 
At 26 May, 2006 13:53, Blogger srice555 said...

Undense, using that logic, I could create documents and memos detailing plans how to commit arson for personal gains, gwet a group of goons lead all by a person that I had some distant connection with to burn down my house and as long as there was no direct connection to me, and I didn't email, memo'ed, wrote notes, had no written contract with, put ads on craig list ("need house burnt; pays well"), or other wise didn't leave a trail behind contecting me to my goon leader or his goons, then I'm off the hook. But then again why would I do those things? But in realty, I'm the guilty mastermind. My goon leader and his goons are my rooks and bishops, the system is my pawn, and I'm just the helpless king.

See, undense, you can't see the connection between the neocon, bin laden, his goons, the events of 9/11, and the war in iraq because you not looking at the bigger picture. Look past the minor detail of how the tower fell, what hit the pentgon, and what happened to united 93, and look at the bigger picture. Look at who was to gain and who had the resources. Look at the connections. Pierce them together and they will lead you to the mastermind behind the plot. Look past the event that are infront of you and look at what is behind them.

And, Alex, did you forgot your pills today? It really doesn't matter how the passport made it out of the plane. That's minor details. What does matter is the black box didn't. How does a passport make it and the black don't? The fact is, and you won't admit this, you are just as preplexed by the question as I am. I choose to look beyold the question at the bigger picture and you have chose to attack the one who asks.

BTW, that's Mr. Asshole.

 
At 26 May, 2006 15:01, Blogger undense said...

srice,

Maybe you could operate that way in your personal life. The government doesn't. I also doubt it would require a cast of hundreds or thousands to torch your home. If it did, well, you have some issues.

 
At 26 May, 2006 15:29, Blogger srice555 said...

it wouldn;t take that many people. A few high ups that are able to quiet the one below in key departments ( the CIA, FBI, and NSA). A goon suppiled and funded by the government (CIA and Bin Laden). High ups to cripple NORAD by have mock terroist attack and moving aircrafts away (Clock and Confuse). The rest of the pawn will follow because they don't want to go against what the offical story is. Why not? Because they will be ridicule, mocked, ascoffed, discredited, dishonored, shamed, humiliated, made fun of, degraded, treated as an embarrassment, might lose their jobs, and their lives would be come a wreck.

Do you know what doublethink is? It's accepting an idea in face of gross contradictions and falsehoods that is a technique of self-indoctrination. People will doublethink an idea to avoid what I laid out above. Be brave, undense, and face the fear of being an outsider.

 
At 26 May, 2006 16:16, Blogger shawn said...

it wouldn;t take that many people.

It would take the entire cabinet of the United States. It would take the clean-up crews. It would take hundreds upon thousands of eyewitnesses. It would take the people faking the phone calls. It would take the people running the airports where the planes left (which would include my dad).

The most conservative estimate for people involved would be in the hundreds, and more realistically in the thousands.

 
At 26 May, 2006 16:19, Blogger shawn said...

It's accepting an idea in face of gross contradictions and falsehoods that is a technique of self-indoctrination.

Do any of you understand the concept of irony?

You pretty much described you and nesnyc. At the most basic level the conspiracy theories don't make sense (Occam's Razor is very powerful). Even ignoring that they don't make sense on their face, none of the facts add up in their favor. You can't prove a negative, so you can't prove it wasn't al-Qaeda, but you could (hypothetically speaking, of course) that the government did it. However, the facts are not there, and until they are, I will "believe" the official story.

You psuedoskeptics disgust me, you give us real skeptics a bad name.

 
At 26 May, 2006 18:33, Blogger srice555 said...

Shawn, discribe how many ideas don't make sense and I will listen to them.

First, I don't have the details on who flew the planes, so I don't know if it was al-Qaeda or not. However, it's leader was trained by the CIA to help fight the Russians to protect the oil intrest in afghanistan. I know the US sent money to the guy in the mid 90's. I also know the US was friendly to the taliban until they went against the US intrest of building a pipe line. I also know the american people would not allow the government to attack iraq if it wasn't for 9/11. I know that because they tried in 1998 and couldn't; not enough public support.

You tell me what facts I'm ignoring and how my ideas don't make sense, I I'll listen to them. But, I'm not intrested in battling out details we can only guess about.

 
At 27 May, 2006 08:48, Blogger shawn said...

However, it's leader was trained by the CIA to help fight the Russians to protect the oil intrest in afghanistan

Myth. Bin Laden was never funded by the CIA, but other holy warriors were. Bin Laden funded al-Qaeda himself.


We didn't fight the war to protect oil interests, it was a proxy war in the Cold War. Surprising (not really) that you didn't get that.

I also know the american people would not allow the government to attack iraq if it wasn't for 9/11

Easy there, Bozo. They supported it fully in '91 when Saddam invaded a country none of them had ever heard of.

Shawn, discribe how many ideas don't make sense and I will listen to them.

Here's why it doesn't make sense: 9/11 was too big. If you're going to fake an attack to justify war, you only need to blow up a building, and doesn't require a massive death toll.

And I don't want to repeat all the facts in our favor. There's no evidence for a controlled demolition, the 19 men who participated in the hijackings no longer exist, nobody in the government has yet come forward about the attack (would've happened by now, what with all the leaks in the CIA and FBI). how Occam's Razor works is you subscribe to the idea that takes the least jumps in logic, which would be the official story. Beyond that, you subscribe to the idea with the most evidence in its favor, again the official story.

 

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