Saturday, June 16, 2007

The Psychology of Lying

For the most part I have grown bored of reading the papers published at the 9/11 denial echo chamber known as the Journal of 9/11 Studies. Every once in a while though, I read something that amaze me in its idiocy, and it is worth a post. For example a psychology grad student has now written a paper describing the "psychological barriers to 9/11 truth". Apparently the problem is not that they don't have any evidence to support their claims, but that the entire country is in a state of denial.

Amazingly though, this paper manages to even lie about something as abstract as this, once again misrepresenting the poll asking people whether they thought pre-9/11 intelligence was ignored. The author, Laurie A. Manwell writes on page 19:

An Angus-Reid poll comparing responses from 2002 and 2006 found similar results, and that in 2006, only 16% of Americans believed that the government is telling the truth about the events of 9/11 [16].

The problem with this being of course, she is lying. Her footnote takes the reader to a PDF of the poll. The poll question she is referencing, number 81, does not ask people at all whether they believe the "government is telling the truth about the events of 9/11" it asks (emphasis added):

When it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States, do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?

The question is not whether they are lying about the "events of 9/11" but whether they are lying about what they knew about warnings prior to 9/11. It is even more absurd to use this as proof for 9/11 deniers when you consider that the question presupposes a foreign terrorist attack, something that they argue never occurred. This is even more apparent when you read the poll in context. The previous two questions ask whether the Bush and Clinton Administrations paid enough attention to terrorism before 9/11. 77% and 67% of those polled respectively, said that they did not pay enough attention to terrorism.