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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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