Fighting Back

Skeptical Inquirer Attacks 9/11 Truth Movement, Avoids Vast Body of Scientific Evidence

by Jim Cirile, AE911T

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.” “Eventually raging fires melted the supporting steel struts, but the time delay allowed hundreds of people to escape.”
Reasonable diligence would also have revealed numerous eyewitness accounts of “pools of molten steel” – which of course does not imply that jet fuel or office fires were the cause. FDNY firefighter Joseph O’Toole reported beams being lifted from the catacombs of ground zero “dripping with molten steel.” Or the reports by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the United States Geological Survey, the engineering firm RJLee Group, and physics professor Steven Jones, all of whom found and described iron-rich microspheres, which could only have been formed by being molten as they fell through the air during the destruction of the WTC twin towers. What witnesses naturally thought was molten steel turns out to be molten iron, the reaction product of the incendiary thermite, which can cut through structural steel like a hot knife through butter. All this is only one example of the vast body of evidence ignored by Goertzel – evidence of the controlled demolition of all three World Trade Center skyscrapers on 9/11.

According to Goertzel, “The more vast and powerful the alleged conspiracy, the less likely that it could have remained undiscovered.” He thus feels that it is highly unlikely that the Moon landing could have been a hoax, since it would entail “the complicity of thousands,” whereas claims of a conspiracy such as Watergate are far more plausible and worth investigating since only a small handful of personnel were involved.

However, this theory falls to the ground when one notes that massive secret projects have succeeded, such as the Manhattan Project – surely familiar to Goertzel – and Operation Gladio, which involved undeniable terrorist acts, planned and executed against European citizens at the behest of NATO governments for more than three decades, which nonetheless remained unknown and unreported until years later, and still remains virtually unknown in the United States.

Further, Goertzel misses that the deception known as 9/11 has been exposed by hundreds of researchers, validated by the 1,400 architects and engineers who have signed the AE911Truth petition calling on Congress for a new investigation. These researcher/activists have been assiduously ignored and lambasted by the US corporate and alternative media.

Perhaps Mr. Goertzel is to be forgiven for not knowing that hundreds of whistleblowers and first responders have also been crying foul for a decade about other aspects of the official account. A majority of the 9/11 Commissioners havepublicly stated that they were repeatedly lied to by the Bush administration, the CIA, FBI and NORAD, their investigation efforts blocked. Whatever is behind the cover-up, for Goertzel to deny that there has even been a cover-up is irresponsible.

In 2009, I contacted CSI Executive Director Barry Karr about running a piece on the evidence that has been uncovered by 9/11 researchers. This was his response:

CSI/Skeptical Inquirer is, for the most part, a volunteer organization. We do not have a staff of writers that we can assign certain topics. In the broadest sense we act as kind of a clearinghouse of information. I think we do a good service to the public disseminating a good deal of information on a wide variety of topics. The problem is, however, that sometimes it is difficult for us to have material on topics of specific interest to individuals if one of our outside volunteers hasn’t looked into it. I cannot tell you then, when and if this particular subject will be covered in the Skeptical Inquirer.”

This means that Goertzel, who has been investigating the “conspiracy theory mindset” for two decades wrote his piece “on spec”. This also means that we now have an opportunity to respond in kind. To its credit, Skeptical Inquirer is known for allowing responses from those criticized in the magazine. Stay tuned for an official response from AE911Truth. In the meantime, feel free to write polite letters toSkeptical Inquirer’s editor Kendrick Frazier saying while you support their mission, they missed the boat on this one.

Let’s turn this feeble smack-down into an effective opportunity.


Militant Libertarian

Site owner, philosopher, certified genius, and general pain in the establishment's ass.



Skeptical Inquirer has embarrassed themselves by publishing this piece. Somebody needs to get “Skeptical” about the 9/11 Commission Report. We have more than enough evidence to prove that the Official Story is a pack of lies


True that.

Jim Osburn

To the Editor:

The recent violence in Tucson is a tragedy of many dimensions. One is that it reveals to ourselves what we have become.
It would be easy to place all the guilt on the deranged person who pulled the trigger. It would be easy, but inadequate. We might reasonably place a lot of blame on right wing hate mongers who, despite their claims of innocence, have used their easy access to the media to encourage such violence. But that also is not the whole story. And gun control is neither the problem nor the solution.
We are dealing with a revolutionary anger toward government that is abroad in our land. We have never seen anything like it before. Congress recently registered the lowest approval rating in history, with only a 13 percent favorable rating. That reveals an anti-government hostility that is neither conservative nor liberal, but almost universal.
What happened? How did the government of the people come to be perceived as a government against its people? Or is it more than a matter of perception? Has our government actually become the enemy of the people?
Ronald Reagan launched the first major assault when he sarcastically said that the most frightening words one could hear were “I’m from the government and I am here to help.” That demonized thousands of dedicated government workers. He followed that with a deliberate campaign to dismantle government and turn its functions over to political cronies who were more interested in profit than in public service. It was not long until government was every bit as bad as his self-fulfilling prophesy.
Regulatory agencies that were supposed to protect the public interest were turned over to the industries they were supposed to regulate. Unions were destroyed to bring industry cheap labor. The flow of jobs to other countries was begun.
We now find ourselves involved in multiple wars with nobody benefitting but Halliburton. We are not only killing many thousands of people in the Middle East, but – even worse – we are training our youth to be killers and torturers.
Rightly or wrongly, about half of our population believes that our government was somehow complicit in the events of 9/11 that killed over 3000 of our citizens to justify our Middle East wars – but neither the Congress nor the main stream media will give us an honest investigation, or even a discussion.
We have record breaking unemployment, caused by the greed of madcap financing schemes running wild with no regulation. The rich are getting obscenely richer, while the rest of us are losing our jobs, our homes, and our hopes for the future. We are rightfully blaming the Congress that caused it, and the media that allowed it to happen.
It is not surprising that we have developed an almost universal hostility toward government, or that many who can’t cope with that hostility feel the need for violence. But violence won’t help. No nation can survive when its citizens are at war with their government.
We still have the most effective force we have ever had for dealing with such problems – the ballot box. If there ever was a time to use it, it is now.
We must start by purging the promoters of war, hate and violence. We must make our representatives understand that their job is to make government work for all of us, not just the elite and the campaign contributors.
It won’t be easy. It may be the most difficult period in our history. But if we are not willing to do it, then we can expect a future loaded down with events like Tucson.

Jim Osburn
13813 N 97th Ave
Sun City AZ 85351

Jim Osburn

The Conspiracy Debunker Detector

How to tell the difference between a conspiracy theorist and an arbitrary debunker.

In response to Michael Shermer’s column (December 2010), I would like to offer the following aids to those who wish to be able to detect arbitrary debunkers of conspiracies.
1. Debunkers are inclined to ignore evidence and resort to social commentary about conspiracy theorists in general. This has a snob appeal for those who do not wish to dirty their hands with details.
2. The theorist selected for description is always from the radical fringe, and never from the thoughtful, intelligent people who have studied the evidence. This is the straw man syndrome.
3. The radicals are described in terms like “nutty”, “breathless”, and “idiotic”. This implies that all supporters of the conspiracy are equally off balance,
4. The debunker will route the discussion from the subject conspiracy to encompass all other supposed conspiracies, thus belittling them all in a class action tactic.
5. The debunker is usually in a position where intellectual honesty on an unpopular subject would be hazardous to his professional reputation or academic position. Television personalities and print columnists are examples.
6. The debunker either cannot or will not separate the ranting of those would “poison the well” with tales about little green men from the careful reasoning of the legitimate theorist.
7. The debunker will reluctantly admit that conspiracies like false flag incidents do sometimes happen – never here and now, but sometime long ago and somewhere far away.
8. The debunker will not accept a conspiracy theory that consists only of unanswered questions. The theory must be complete in every detail in order to merit consideration.
9. The debunker harbors a silent faith in authority that is not unlike a religious dogma. “My government would never do a thing like that!”
10. The force of denial of a conspiracy is directly proportional to its presumed consequences if true. There are many who cannot accept the terrible implications of government complicity in the events of 9/11. These people will arbitrarily reject the conspiracy theory.

Jim Osburn
13813 N. 97th Ave
Sun City AZ 85351


The new issue of Skeptical Inquirer pretty much sums up the 9/11 conspiracy theories. But of course no amount of reason will dissuade the people that have little better to do.
From reading the posts it is clear that true critical thinking has escaped most people. Intellectual honesty is clearly lacking in most of the theory supporting posts I read.
Loose change is bunk, of course. And all the experts claiming special knowledge of how 9/11 could not have happened except by controlled demolition or what not are overwhelmed by more reasonable and knowledgeable people. Time and time again reasonable explanations are ignored for just plain stupidity.


Douglas, you should have read Jim Osburn’s list before commenting. Your comment hits at least four points on is list. AE911Truth is ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS for 9/11 Truth. It includes people with varied backgrounds in science, structural mechanics, etc.

Of course, with Skeptical Inquirer, their job (like NIST before them) is to gloss over the competition and make them appear invalid.

If you want to be honest with yourself, Douglas, go to and read their evidence first hand. Instead of relying on biased publications like SI.

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