Written by Jim Cirile
January 7, 2011
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth

For 35 years, Skeptical Inquirer has fought the good fight. The bimonthly magazine publication of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry seeks to “criticize claims of the paranormal and pseudoscience,” promote “a balanced view of science in the mass media” and “teach critical thinking in schools,” according to CSI founder Paul Kurtz. Despite this noble mission, Skeptical Inquirer recently delivered what its author probably believed was a fiery smack-down to the 9/11 Truth movement.

Rutgers sociology professor Ted Goertzel’s double-length cover story in the January/February 2011 issue, “The Conspiracy Meme – Why Conspiracy Theories Appeal and Persist,” lumps the 9/11 Truth movement in with the “faked Moon landing,” and “AIDS was a government plot to kill gay people.” While Goertzel does some analysis and draws conclusions regarding the “conspiracy mindset,” when it comes to 9/11, he ignores the most important evidence. He indulges himself in ad hominems and other fallacies that, in particular he should know about, given how he and the periodical for which he is writing have positioned and marketed themselves. He’s dismissive and even derisive – in violation of the magazine’s stated policies. To his credit, it appears Goertzel did watch Loose Change: An American Coup, but that seems to be about the extent of his actual 9/11 research:

“Loose Change raises a long series of questions illustrated by tendentious information, such as the fact that the fires in the World Trade Center were not hot enough to melt steel. But no one claimed that the steel had melted, only that it had gotten hot enough to weaken and collapse, which it did.”

Perhaps Mr. Goertzel should have done some actual skeptical inquiry of his own. If he had, he surely would have found numerous quotes making precisely the false claim that office and jet fuel fires can melt structural steel:

Stanford University Professor Steven Block: “The intense heat could have melted the buildings’ cores, allowing for the collapses, he suggested.”

Structural engineer Chris Wise: “It was the fire that killed the buildings. There’s nothing on earth that could survive those temperatures with that amount of fuel burning. The columns would have melted, the floors would have melted and eventually they would have collapsed one on top of each other.”

Engineer Hyman Brown: “Structural steel is fireproofed to last between one and two hours, which it did, and then steel melts.”

Structural engineer Richard Ebeltoft: “Richard Ebeltoft, a structural engineer and University of Arizona architecture lecturer, speculated that flames fueled by thousands of gallons of aviation fuel melted the building’s [sic] steel supports.”

NewScientist.com: “Eventually raging fires melted the supporting steel struts, but the time delay allowed hundreds of people to escape.”

For the rest of the article Skeptical Inquirer Attacks 9/11 Truth Movement, Avoids Vast Body of Scientific Evidence