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 multiply all those odds together 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.


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

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

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 17:40, 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 17:48, 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.


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 21:31, 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 21:54, Blogger Alex said...


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

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 nes718 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 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 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 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 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 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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