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Friday, September 18th, 2009 08:06 pm
I deeply resent the way this administration makes me feel like a nutbar conspiracy theorist. - Teresa Nielsen Hayden.


You don't know me, I expect - I'm an intermittent (manic-depressive, really) reader of Less Wrong, a website on which [personal profile] woozle has posted a few times, and this is in fact where I encountered this individual. On that site, we had a moderately animated conversation about 9/11 wherein [personal profile] woozle explained the grounds of his suspicions and I explained the grounds of my dismissal of his suspicions. At the end of our conversation we suggested that this community might be a reasonable venue for a discussion of the matter.

That said, I by no means claim the sort of personal investment in this discussion that [personal profile] woozle has - I have never spent much time being concerned with the chronology of the September 11th, 2001 hijackings - so I cannot promise to be well-researched in my remarks. My hope is merely to do the following small things:

First. Assert the official story as I understand it, noting a few elements which are subject to controversy. It will be much like woozle's telling, of course, but there are a few points on which we differ.

Second. Establish a working definition of conspiracy theories and the problems thereof, paying especial attention to well-known general principles.

Third. Justify skepticism towards the deliberate-enablement story and towards the controlled-demolition story in the context of these first two points.

I am sympathetic towards [personal profile] woozle's position, you must understand - I included the above cute little quotation from a moderately-famous Internet personality for this very reason. But in the interests of sanity, recognizing that most stories aren't true, I think it important that the newcomer begin from a position of wariness. And while skepticism for the official story is present in his account, skepticism for contrarian accounts is absent.

I expect each of the three aforementioned points will require a post in and of itself.

(For the record, on woozle's scale, I am inclined toward B, but have no reasonable objections to the positions described by A through E.)
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Sunday, July 19th, 2009 08:46 am
I'm aware that most rational people have apparently decided that the events of 9/11 are more or less as described in the government accounts and popular media.

This baffles me greatly, having spent a fair amount of time studying the available evidence. Even if you don't buy the alternative explanations, to say that the official story is essentially accurate and complete is overlooking some very serious contradictions -- and there is a great deal of evidence that it is not only wrong, but systematically and deliberately wrong.

A rational examination of the situation seems in order, then.

I started to make this one long post, but I'm realizing now that it might be more readable (and ensuing conversation less tangled) in several parts. So we'll start with the official story, and then look at the various positions on the accuracy of that story. I'll add links here as each part is posted.


Terminology

I'll use "official" to mean what has been stated in a government-sanctioned report (e.g. the 9/11 Commission, the NIST study, possibly other documents), "popular" to mean what most people seem to believe and/or what is generally claimed in the popular media, and "contrarian" to mean any position disagreeing with both of those stances.

Although the popular stance is largely based on the official story, my understanding is that the official story leaves a lot of gaps which have been "filled in" by the media and the public without any real evidence, and that there may even be some contradictions between popular and official views.
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