of the WTC Twin Towers:
A Review of Arguments, Evidence, and Theories
Version 0.9, Oct. 26, 2006
Many people suspected that the Twin Towers were demolished
the moment that they watched the event.
I've talked to dozens of people who say
they knew as soon as they saw the buildings come down
that they were demolised and that they story collapse story being supplied
by the news anchors was false.
At least one website published a controlled demolition scenario
within two days of the attack.
Now, more than five years later,
the question of whether the three WTC skyscrapers were subject
to controlled demolition is the subject of heated debates
spanning a wide range of arguments and claims.
Today there are numerous books, dvds, and websites and webcasts
that purport to support the demolition allegation
with a variety of evidence and claims,
but few make a systematic analysis of the evidence.
In this essay I will attempt to fairly categorize
and summarize the most salient arguments for controlled demolition
and the evidence they rest on.
I will further review some of the more common theories about
how the demolitions may have been engineered,
and explain how theories of demolition relate to arguments
for and against demolition.
- Arguments for controlled demolition
- Demolition Theories and Claims
Theories and Hypotheses
In science a hypothesis is a ---
whereas a theory is a ---
A theory is supported by more evidence than a hypothesis,
which is inverse of the vernacular use of 'theory'.
The term conspiracy theory is usually used to ridicule an idea.
Thus, describing the idea of demolition of the Twin Towers as
a hypothesis, as Steven Jones did on MSNBC's The Situation,
gives it an air of credibility.
Casting the idea as a "hypothesis to be tested"
casts it in more objective light than describing it as a theory.
The term controlled demolition conjures up images of buildings folding
in on themselves, and for those who have seen documentaries,
drilling, cutter charges, and hundreds of feet of detonation cord.
Controlled demolition really means the engineered destruction of structures,
of which buiding implosion is just one type.
The description of the Twin Towers' destruction as controlled demolitions
is dissonant because the balooning debris clouds that consumed the Towers
don't look very controlled.
However, they were very controlled in many aspects:
In regard to the fate each of the Twin Towers,
there are only two possibilities:
- The Tower underwent a gravity-driven collapse
due to plane-impact and fire damage:
it was a natural or spontaneous event.
- The Tower was destroyed through the timed destruction of structures
by explosives or other devices:
it was an engineered event.
Although there are some fanciful ideas that would challenge
this dichotomy, I maintain that it describes an essential fact:
If the falls of the Towers were not natural or spontaneous events,
then they had to be controlled demolitions.
Evidence for Controlled Demolition
The term demolition evidence is often often used loosely
without attempting to establish how it fits into specific arguments for
the demoltiion of the Twin Towers.
In this essay I'll first review and classify evidence cited
by arguments and claims for controlled demolition of the Twin Towers.
I'll defer consideration of the arguments and claims themselves to the
and in this section consider the evidence in isolation.
Evidence varies widely in its reliability.
At one extreme are multiple photographs with good resolution showing
an event from different vantage points.
At the other are isolated second-hand reports from people
claiming to have witnessed the event.
Types of Evidence
Photographs and Videos
Photographic and video recordings of the events in New York City
on 9/11/01 and their aftermath
provide a wealth of information
WTC Performance Documents
Experiments constitute a body of evidence
that is not limited to the artifacts that survived
the attack and clean-up operation.
Quality of Evidence
Applicability of Evidence
Arguments for Controlled Demolition
In this section I classify, summarize, and critique
arguments and claims that have been made for controlled
demolition of the Twin Towers.
I will review a variety of arguments that range from proofs
to flimsy claims that I grudingly designate arguments
in order to characterize them..
Inductive and Deductive Arguments
Logical arguments can be broadly dived into two categories:
inductive and deductive.
An indictive argument proceeds from specific observations
to more general conclusions
whereas a deductive argment applies general principles
to draw specific conclusions conclusions.
Scope of Arguments
Arguments can be characterized by their scope.
Arguments for controlled demolition either
cite direct evidence of the demolition
or attack the collapse theories that constitute the alternative to demolition.
General Collapse Theory
Implicit Collapse Theories
Explicit Collapse Theories
A number of theories of the collapse of the Twin Towers
are explicitly articulated by official government reports.
Column Failure Theory
The column failure theory was articulated in an
artcle in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics ASCE
just two days after the attack.
Floor Pancake Theory
The floor pancake theory was the officially accepted theory
until it was supplanted by NIST's new theory in 2005.
There are a set of arguments on observations about the history of steel-framed
buildings subjected to fires and other structural damage.
There exist a substantial number of deductive arguments for the controlled
demolition of the Twin Towers.
These show that specific features are incompatable
with the the first possibility --
that each tower was spontaneously collapsed.
Most of these arguments are applicable to both Towers
with some being specific to one Tower or the other.
The destruction of each Tower was characterized by
a high degree of radial symmetry about the Tower's vertical axis.
The thorough pulverization of the contents of the Twin Towers
is one of the most striking features of their destruction.
South Tower Top Motion
North Tower Mast Drop
Jets of Gas and Dust
Energy Flow Analysis
Demolition Theories and Claims
A number of unscientific claims
that have the effect of diluting and discrediting
the clear case for controlled demolition.
Core Attack Theory
The Basement Bombs Theory
Claims about Pre-Collapse Seismic Spikes
Claims about Pre-Collapse Ground-Level Explosions