Saturday, April 19, 2008

Steven Jones Gets His Paper Published

I know Pat already mentioned this briefly, but this subject is just too bizarre not to talk about further. After years of hype they finally get something published somewhere other than their own website, and they had to water it down so much that the title of the article was "Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction". Wow, after 3 years, all they could come up with was the stuff that they agree with other people on. This has got to be the biggest letdown since Geraldo broke into that vault, or the release of Loose Change Final Cut for that matter.

Jones is, of course, going on like he won the Pulitzer:

With publication in an established civil engineering journal, the discussion has reached a new level – JREF’ers and others may attack, but unless they can also get published in a peer-reviewed journal, those attacks do not carry nearly the weight of a peer-reviewed paper. It may be that debunkers will try to avoid the fourteen issues we raise in the Letter, by attacking the author(s) or even the journal rather than addressing the science – that would not surprise me.

Why would anyone attack the "14 issues"? The only issues they brought up were items that people were largely on agreement with, such stunners as:

8. WTC Fires Did Not Melt Steel

Of course if you read the footnotes, you will notice that the number one source is Jones' own Journal of 9/11 Studies, without noting that this journal is run by the very people who are writing the paper itself. Undoubtedly, future JONES papers will now reference this paper, in an incestuous cross reference, pretending that this is actually open debate.

I could not help but think of this quote from, A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America by Michael Barkun, which I am currently in the process of reading.

At the same time that stigmatization is employed as a virtual guarantee of truth, the literature of stigmatized knowledge enthusiastically mimics mainstream scholarship. It does so by appropriating the apparatus of scholarship in the form of elaborate citations and bibliographies. The most common manifestation of pedantry is a fondness for reciprocal citation, in which the authors obligingly cite one another. The result is that the same sources are repeated over and over, which produces a kind of pseudoconfirmation. If a source is cited many times, it must be true. Because the claims made by conspiracy theorists are usually nonfalsifiable, the multiplication of sources may leave the impression of validation without actually putting any propositions to the test of evidence.

Update: This is what I am talking about as far as their incestous self-referential claims. Let's take this paragraph from their "peer review" paper.

Published papers have argued that this negligence by NIST (leaving the near-free-fall speeds unexplained) is a major flaw in their analysis [13, 14].

Well, this has been argued in "published papers" so there must be some legitimacy to this claim to back up their argument, right? They were published after all.

Well let's look at the footnotes:

[13] S. E. Jones, “Why indeed did the WTC buildings completely collapse?”, Journal of 9/11 Studies, vol. 3, pp. 1-47, September 2006. [Online]. Available: [Accessed March 17, 2008].

[14] F. Legge and T. Szamboti, “9/11 and the twin towers: Sudden collapse initiation was impossible”, Journal of 9/11 Studies, vol. 18, pp. 1-3, December 2007. [Online]. Available: www. Accessed March 17, 2008].

Well, these papers were published by Jones, Legge, and Szamboti, who were 3 of the 5 authors of this paper in the first place, and it was published in the Journal of 9/11 Studies, which Jones founded, and whose editors are, you guessed it, Steven Jones and Frank Legge!