Friday, June 16, 2006

Logical Fallacies of Loose Change

Pat has already touched on this, but I figured I would add to it. There are certain patterns to the way the Loose Change boys, and conspiracy theorists in general, make their arguments, they don't come up with their theories through random chance, but through willful dishonesty and manipulation, this is why I created my "Rules of Conspracy Theories".

These are the most common logical fallacies they use in an attempt to disinform their audience.

1. Quote mining:This is defined in Wikipedia as "... used pejoratively to accuse the "quote miner" of cherry picking and misquotation, where favorable positions are amplified or falsely suggested, and unfavorable positions in the same text are excluded or otherwise obscured." this technique is used so often in Loose Change that we have dedicated an entire series of posts to it. You can browse through some of them from here.

2. False pretense of authority: This is where you get an "expert" to back up your viewpoint, who... isn't really as expert as you would like. My favorite is of course, "Karl Schwarz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Patmos Nanotechnologies LLC and I-nets Security Systems". The reports that he is so ridiculous that even the Loose Change boys are going to remove him from the next edition are very disturbing. Come on boys, stick with Karl! Other examples are Kevin Ryan, waterboy, and of course the entire "Scholars" for 9/11 "Truth"

3. "All witnesses are the same" fallacy: As everyone knows, in any event you will get slightly different versions of what happened. What Loose Change does though, is ignore the overwhelming majority of the reports, and grab on to the one outlier. If 100 people saw a large commercial jetliner, and one person thought it was a smaller commuter plane, then it simply becomes "some people" saw one, and "some people" saw the other, as if they were equal in weight.

4. Ignore evidence that contradicts you: This is the one that drives me nuts. In this case, the Loosers do things like look at one picture, in which the hole in the side of the Pentagon is obscured by smoke and the firefighters, and proclaim it is only 16 feet wide, while ignoring other pictures which clearly show it is much larger.

5. Unexplained tainted evidence: If some piece of evidence contradicts your theory, then just make some vague comment about how there must be something wrong with it. You don't have to explain what it is, or how it got there, just make it sound ominous. For example, the light poles. Apparently they do believe in the light pole fairies.

6. If you make enough accusations eventually one of them will stick (otherwise known as the "we are just asking questions fallacy"): It was a commuter plane, no it was an A-3 Skyhawk, no it was a C-130, no it was a cruise missile. No, it doesn't matter because we are just asking questions.

7. The "implied connection" fallacy: If you mention two completely unrelated items in sequence, eventually people will make the connection. For example, say that Marvin Bush was on the board of directors for a company that managed some security at the WTC, then say that bomb sniffing dogs were pulled from the WTC (not really but for simplicity's sake let's assume they were), therefore Marvin Bush ordered the bomb sniffing dogs removed.

8. The unexplained sinister assertion: The most hilarious example of this is when Controlled Demolitions Inc. blew up some storage tanks months before 9/11. It has absolutely nothing to do with anything, it just sounds ominous.

9. The presence of a technology proves its use: The fact that something can be done, proves that it was done. It is possible to control a plane remotely, therefore that must have happened on 9/11. Someone came up with the idea of faking a plane shootdown in Operation Northwood, therefore that must be what they did 40 years later.

Go ahead and add your own logical fallacies, there are more out there!

35 Comments:

At 16 June, 2006 13:05, Blogger JoanBasil said...

You could go through the official version and the media coverage and find lots of such deductive reasoning that could be total baloney. The whole "Flight 93 heroes" story is just that, the conclusion that it "must have" happened. And my Lord, talk about "quote mining," how many times were you told that the 19 hijackers did it to get 72 virgins in paradise but where did that come from? Nobody left a note saying "We're doing this to get 72 virgins in paradise."

(And isn't that the way that the 9/11 commissions reasons the WTC collapses, what "must have" happened as opposed to proof that only those mechanisms could have caused the collapses?)

And talk about ignoring the evidence that contradicts you!!! Building 7! Building 7! Building 7!

 
At 16 June, 2006 13:13, Blogger MarkyX said...

Um the official story didn't call them "Flight 93 heroes", the media did. The official report didn't even say that they took over the plane.

And how many times do I need to point out about WTC7 that there was fire all over the place and fire fighters bailed out because they knew it was going to fall down?

Stop ignoring evidence, kthx.

 
At 16 June, 2006 13:35, Blogger James B. said...

Huh? Please list one example of quote mining that any of us on this blog has ever used.

The 72 virgins thing has nothing to do with quote mining, it is merely talking about the motivations of Islamic terrorists.

There are literally entire books (the Koran among them) written on jihad and martyrdom, this is not something that is derived from taking one quote out of context.

 
At 16 June, 2006 13:42, Blogger telescopemerc said...

how many times were you told that the 19 hijackers did it to get 72 virgins in paradise but where did that come from? Nobody left a note saying "We're doing this to get 72 virgins in paradise."

That's been a staple of Islam pretty much since its inception. Fanatic soldiers walk into curtains of Greek Fire at the seige of Malta nearly 500 years ago 'knowing' that they would go to paradise. That's just one example, but flying a plane into a building is a piece of cake by comparison.

And talk about ignoring the evidence that contradicts you!!! Building 7! Building 7! Building 7!

Building 7 has been covered so many time from so many locations it isn't even funny to claim its being ignored. 911myths has a whole section devoted to it. There's no mystery here: Fire can bring down buildings, especially if it is not fought by firefighters.

 
At 16 June, 2006 14:17, Blogger Alex said...

"You could go through the official version and the media coverage and find lots of such deductive reasoning that could be total baloney. "

Really Joan? Then by all means, please, go pick up the official government report, and show me an example of this "baloney" you speak of.

The media version you're absolutely correct about. But then again, the media has a tendancy to publish "news" based on anonymous sources, which later turns out to be totaly incorrect. Look at some of the crap they've been writing about the US soldiers in Iraq. If they're willing to report some villiage rumours which a goat-hearder told them, why is it surprising that they got many of the facts behind 9/11 wrong?

Lave the media out of it. Go get yourself a copy of the official report and educate yourself a bit. If you can find any logical falacies in that report, I'd be more than happy to look at them. I certainly didn't see any.

 
At 16 June, 2006 14:22, Blogger nesNYC said...

That's been a staple of Islam pretty much since its inception.

I always felt this was either Zionist propaganda or quotes taken out of context from the Islamic holy book. Either way, the "virgins in heaven" is a fairy tale not supported in reality. Atta and company attended strip clubs, got high and always caused a scene wherever they went. That's hardly the mark of an "Islamic fundamentalists" and brings into question the whole notion that if they were fanatical enough to die for their cause, they wouldn't be living it up days before 9/11.

Also, there are a lot of quotes from the Talmud that makes Jews out to be psychopathic killers of Christians. Many hate groups have been caught taking passages from the Talmud to justify their hatred of the Jews. I assume the same methodology can be applied to Islam by those who hate them most, namely, the ZIONISTS!

 
At 16 June, 2006 14:36, Blogger ScottSl said...

All this talk of 72 virgins made me think of this Onion article. LOL!!

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/38673

 
At 16 June, 2006 14:50, Blogger CHF said...

joan,

you are a perfect example of point #4: Ignore evidence that contradicts you.

WTC7 was hammered by WTC tower debris. You ignore this.

WTC7 has a 20-story gash in its south side. You ignore this.

It burned, unchallenged for hours. You ignore this.

Firefighters reported that it was structurally unstable. You ignore this.

Eyewitnesses could tell the building was leaning. You ignore this.

Instead you pretend that it just fell down for no reason at all!

It doesn't matter how many times these things are pointed out to you CTers: it's all in one ear and out the other.

I'd like to add another point to the list, if I may:

10. Shift the burden of proof. This when CTers make a completely unproven charge and demand that the rest of us prove it wrong. For example: "prove that it's NOT possible for 12,000 charged could be planted in a WTC tower without anyone noticing!" even though they don't explain how it IS possible because they can't.

Imagine if the police arrested someone and said: "you're a child molester! Prove us wrong."

That's CT logic!

"Ummm...what evidence do you have that I AM a child molester?"

"All the evidence is being covered up; that's how we know you did it."

Oh how I would love to see 9/11 CTs go to court....

 
At 16 June, 2006 15:20, Blogger Conspiracy Smasher said...

Trust nesnyc to get it wrong....again....

Salafi jihadists believe in the literal interpretation of the koran and view any muslim who dies in the cause of islam to be a martyr - and and they believe that martyrs get serviced by 72 virgins after they expire.

Yes, it's stupid, but that's what many of them believe.

 
At 16 June, 2006 16:01, Blogger undense said...

I always felt this was either Zionist propaganda or quotes taken out of context from the Islamic holy book. Either way, the "virgins in heaven" is a fairy tale not supported in reality. Atta and company attended strip clubs, got high and always caused a scene wherever they went. That's hardly the mark of an "Islamic fundamentalists" and brings into question the whole notion that if they were fanatical enough to die for their cause, they wouldn't be living it up days before 9/11.

The "virgins in heaven" has been proven to be absolutely true.

Maybe if you looked at the evidence instead of dismissing it based on what you feel, you'd truly discover some of the truth you claim to be seeking?

Simply dismissing it out of hand or wildly proclaiming it to be Zionist propaganda only demonstrates that you have no real penchant for searching out what is truth and what is not.

 
At 16 June, 2006 17:32, Blogger shawn said...

And my Lord, talk about "quote mining," how many times were you told that the 19 hijackers did it to get 72 virgins in paradise but where did that come from?

You know nothing of Islam, am I right here?

In the Quran, those who destroy the infidels are promised Paradise stocked with virgins (although I'd rather have women who knew what they were doing).

Building 7! Building 7! Building 7!

No, hun, you ignore the evidence.

what "must have" happened as opposed to proof that only those mechanisms could have caused the collapses

Hmm planes hit them and then fires raged which comprimised structural integrity? Oh, it must be a controlled demolition.

I always felt this was either Zionist propaganda or quotes taken out of context from the Islamic holy book.

READ THE QURAN YOU MORON. There's your word shielding you from anti-semitism again. IT's not propoganda it's what the book says.

Also, there are a lot of quotes from the Talmud that makes Jews out to be psychopathic killers of Christians. Many hate groups have been caught taking passages from the Talmud to justify their hatred of the Jews. I assume the same methodology can be applied to Islam by those who hate them most, namely, the ZIONISTS!

First, quote. Second, no Jews currently follow those tenants (if they exist at all). There are large groups of Muslims today who take the Quran to be the inerrant word of God, and that they can still go to paradise and be rewarded with virgins. Never seen a suicide bomber's tape? (Oh, is that 'Zionist' [read: Jewish] propaganda, too, moron?)



I've never run into a group of people so consistently wrong who continue arguing.

 
At 16 June, 2006 17:33, Blogger shawn said...

Nesnyc, all's you do is "feel". Stop using your heart, pal, and use that (up till now) useless chunk of grey matter the good Lord gave you.

 
At 16 June, 2006 17:35, Blogger shawn said...

False pretense of authority

That one is just 'appeal to authority'.

(False pretense is a redunant phrase, as well. A pretense, by definition, is false. Sorry, just one of my biggest pet peeves.)

 
At 16 June, 2006 19:11, Blogger JoanBasil said...

Good article posted on 911blogger and on point with this discussion

http://bohemian.com/bohemian/06.14.06/david-ray-griffin-0624.html

"How did the Commission deal with this apparent contradiction? Like just about every other piece of testimony that conflicted with the official story, Griffin avers, they ignored it."

 
At 16 June, 2006 19:16, Blogger default.xbe said...

yes, very much on point, griffin, a theology professor, fits the "appeal to authority" catagory quite nicely

 
At 16 June, 2006 20:06, Blogger shawn said...

"How did the Commission deal with this apparent contradiction? Like just about every other piece of testimony that conflicted with the official story, Griffin avers, they ignored it."

You do realize it's perfectly alright to ignore something when it's pointless, right?

 
At 16 June, 2006 20:40, Blogger jackhanyes said...

WTC7 was hammered by WTC tower debris. You ignore this.

Hardly. There was the gash which took out the corner, damage at the roof 5 to 10 story down “extent not known” and a large hole at the 14th floor. *From NIST report.

WTC7 has a 20-story gash in its south side. You ignore this.

Wrong. It was from the 8th to the 20th floors *From NIST report

It burned, unchallenged for hours. You ignore this.

A building Spain burned for many more hours unchallenged, as greater temps, and it didn't collapsed.

Firefighters reported that it was structurally unstable. You ignore this.

They also reported the fires to be small, but the fire marshal didn't want anyone to go inside. Heck it's not like they just lost 300+ firefighter or anything.

Eyewitnesses could tell the building was leaning. You ignore this.

Of course he did! The NYPD aviation who said it was leaning was talking about WTC1.

10:20 a.m. NYPD aviation unit reports that the top of the tower might be leaning. (NYPD SOD Radio Channel)
10:21 a.m. NYPD aviation unit reports that the north tower is buckling on the southwest corner and leaning to the south. (NYPD SOD Radio Channel)


Instead you pretend that it just fell down for no reason at all!

No, I bet he think it feel because it was CD. And BTW, you should tell FEMA how it fell because they said this:

“The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time.”

 
At 16 June, 2006 20:46, Blogger default.xbe said...

Hardly. There was the gash which took out the corner, damage at the roof 5 to 10 story down “extent not known” and a large hole at the 14th floor. *From NIST report.

Wrong. It was from the 8th to the 20th floors *From NIST report

last i check the NIST report for WTC7 wasnt out yet

A building Spain burned for many more hours unchallenged, as greater temps, and it didn't collapsed.
1: it wasnt hit by falling debris from WTC1

2: it was constructed differently (most of the load-bearing structure was concrete, not steel)

3: it was shorter than WTC7 (so less weight bearing down on it)

4: the steel portion of the structure DID collapse (leaving only the concrete core standing)

 
At 16 June, 2006 20:50, Blogger default.xbe said...

Captain Chris Boyle
Engine 94 - 18 years

Boyle: ...on the north and east side of 7 it didn’t look like there was any damage at all, but then you looked on the south side of 7 there had to be a hole 20 stories tall in the building, with fire on several floors. Debris was falling down on the building and it didn’t look good.

Firehouse: When you looked at the south side, how close were you to the base of that side?

Boyle: I was standing right next to the building, probably right next to it.

Firehouse: When you had fire on the 20 floors, was it in one window or many?

Boyle: There was a huge gaping hole and it was scattered throughout there. It was a huge hole. I would say it was probably about a third of it, right in the middle of it. And so after Visconti came down and said nobody goes in 7, we said all right, we’ll head back to the command post. We lost touch with him. I never saw him again that day.
http://www.firehouse.com/terrorist/911/magazine/gz/boyle.html

 
At 16 June, 2006 20:52, Blogger shawn said...

A building Spain burned for many more hours unchallenged, as greater temps, and it didn't collapsed.

The steel portion did collapse. No major structural damage before the fire broke out. This logical fallacy is called "false analogy". You're comparing two completely different structures under different ciscumstances.

 
At 16 June, 2006 22:39, Blogger ScottSl said...

http://bohemian.com/bohemian/06.14.06/david-ray-griffin-0624.html

"How did the Commission deal with this apparent contradiction? Like just about every other piece of testimony that conflicted with the official story, Griffin avers, they ignored it."

If you read Myers full testimony he wasn't very sure early on.
He even said in an early interview: "The time I do not know is when NORAD responded with fighter aircraft. I don't know that time."
http://www.911myths.com/html/myers_and_timeline_1.html

But anyway, this is yet another uber dishonest article.
FAA told NEADS at 0921, there was some confusion.
The fighters were notified to scramble for "flight 77" (mistakenly called 11 by FAA) at 9:24 and took off at 9:30 toward D.C

Norad states this (9:24/9:30), the 9/11 commision states this (pg24), the transcript of MINETA/Scott states this. Langley's operations officer states this.
Radar shows scrambling at 9:30
If the conversation took place around 9:25 or 9:26am then more than likely the order was to verify a scramble on the fighters. Although I can't say for sure what it was.
http://www.9-11commission.gov/archive/hearing2/9-11Commission_Hearing_2003-05-23.htm

http://mckinneysucks.blogspot.com/2002_06_01_mckinneysucks_archive.html#77997492

http://www.gpoaccess.gov/911/pdf/sec1.pdf

http://www.csmonitor.com/2002/0416/p01s04-usmi.htm

 
At 16 June, 2006 23:56, Blogger jackhanyes said...

You're comparing two completely different structures under different ciscumstances.

I am? Yeah I am. One one hand there is concrete/steel got a building burning for 24 hours lighting up hte whole city and only the outer steel collapses. And a building with just a few isolated fires buring for a few hours.

So let's look at One Meridian Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

The building frame is structural steel with concrete floors poured over metal decks. All structural steel and floor assemblies were protected with spray-on fireproofing material.

A fire on the 22nd floor of the 38-story Meridian Bank Building, also known as One Meridian Plaza, was reported to the Philadelphia Fire Department on February 23, 1991 at approximately 2040 hours and burned for more than 19 hours.

It was the largest high-rise office building fire in modern American history -- completely consuming eight floors of the building -- and was controlled only when it reached a floor that was protected by automatic sprinklers. A table summarizing the key aspects of the fire is presented on the following pages.

Prior to deciding to evacuate the building, firefighters noticed significant structural displacement occurring in the stair enclosures. A command officer indicated that cracks large enough to place a man’s fist through developed at one point. One of the granite exterior wall panels on the east stair enclosure was dislodged by the thermal expansion of the steel framing behind it. After the fire, there was evident significant structural damage to horizontal steel members and floor sections on most of the fire damaged floors. Beams and girders sagged and twisted -- some as much as three feet --under severe fire exposures, and fissures developed in the reinforced concrete floor assemblies in many places. Despite this extraordinary exposure, the columns continued to support their loads without obvious damage

http://www.iklimnet.com/hotelfires/meridienplaza.html


Of course, the WTC 7 was damaged and fell like a house of cards when a column on the 7th failed causing a "horizontal progression of failures leading to the collapse of all of the building's 27 core columns, precipitating a total collapse.

But then you have that blasted "pull it" comment. Which, ww all know, refers to withdrawing firefighters from the building. But then again there wasn't any firefigher in the building, ever, now was there? Right chf?

 
At 17 June, 2006 05:05, Blogger MarkyX said...


Of course, the WTC 7 was damaged and fell like a house of cards when a column on the 7th failed


It didn't fall on it's own footprint and unlike the mandrid building, there wasn't gas canisters in the building. What started the building fire in Mandrid was an electric explosion (and surprise, molten steel and other explosions were also in the mandrid building)

Chunks of the WTC7 also went out.


But then again there wasn't any firefigher in the building, ever, now was there? Right chf?


So I guess all those fire fighters were leaving when they said they were ordered not to approuch the building because the fire has spread too far out of control and head to leave because they expected a collapse (hence no casualities).

 
At 17 June, 2006 05:06, Blogger MarkyX said...

leaving = lying.

 
At 17 June, 2006 06:06, Blogger telescopemerc said...

So let's look at One Meridian Plaza Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Yes, let's.

1) Its a completely different structural design (concrete over steel. Which gave its structure much greater fire resistance.

2) Firefighters fought the fire for 11 hours internally, and when they gave up internal firefighting they still had a firehose spray the fire from the outisde. By comparison, WTC7 had no firefighting efforts at all.

3) Meridian started from a pile of oily rags and spread. WTC's fire was started most likely from falling debris and likely started in mulitple locations.

4) WTC7 had obvious structural damage from falling debris. Meridian had none.

5) Meridian had a sprinkler system on its higher floors, WTC7's firefighting systems failed from the collpase of the twin towers.

Even with these massive differences betwen the two buildings, ones often hand-waved away by CTs this was the fate of Meridian:

1) Internal firefighting efforts were abandoned because of the fear of pancake collapse, as

2) Once the fire ended, the building was reenforced, covered with a massive sleeve, and had acess extremely limited.

3) Meridian was eventually brought down by a slow mechanical process. Steps were constantly taken during the process to ensure that collapse did not result from the unbuilding process.

Meridian did not collapse, but it came damn close. It had several major advantages over WTC7 and those likely made the difference. Comparing the two is nonsense, they are apples and oranges.

 
At 17 June, 2006 07:55, Blogger Alex said...

The CIA planted the apples! And blew up the oranges!

 
At 17 June, 2006 08:41, Blogger shawn said...

So jack answers a false analogy with a false analogy...brilliant.

 
At 17 June, 2006 15:24, Blogger CHF said...

jack,

"pull it" = "pull the mission."

I never said firefighters were IN the building.

Have any of you CTers ever thought to ASK Silverstein what he meant?

That's what I'd do.

 
At 17 June, 2006 18:22, Blogger CHF said...

OH MY GOD! EVERYONE HAS TO READ THIS!

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/37398

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/46228

It's them - 100%

 
At 17 June, 2006 18:39, Blogger ScottSl said...

CHF
The 2004 NIST report states there were firefighters in the building at 12:10-12:15pm

Firefighters found people on floors 7 and 8 and led them out of the building
See page L-18
http://wtc.nist.gov/progress_report_june04/appendixl.pdf

 
At 18 June, 2006 08:38, Blogger Alex said...

It's deffinitely time to ban this cocksucker.

 
At 18 June, 2006 12:59, Blogger James B. said...

Inside, you can post opinions, but quit the spamming.

 
At 18 June, 2006 16:19, Blogger insidejob said...

It's deffinitely time to ban this cocksucker.

you would love to shut me up, rather than actually engage with the real evidence, wouldn't you?

James, I didn't intend to copy and paste that anymore anyway. the general response seems to be to simply say "that's already been debunked," without giving any evidence to back up this claim. so henceforth I'll just go one at a time, thus preempting the possibility of anyone simply saying "all that's been debunked already."

 
At 18 June, 2006 19:04, Blogger shawn said...

the general response seems to be to simply say "that's already been debunked," without giving any evidence to back up this claim.

We don't have to continue to debunk the same points over and over again. It's your job to go and read all the posts before you jump in.

 
At 09 November, 2010 14:55, Blogger AlphaCharlieTwoZero said...

Joan, you're ridiculous, James B., can i marry you please? you're amazing.

 

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