The Open Civil Engineering Journal's
Appeals to Authority,
and the WTC Collapse Theory
Version 0.8, Apr. 29, 2008
In the first issue of its second volume,
The Open Civil Engineering Review
Fourteen Points of Agreement with Official Government Reports
on the World Trade Center Destruction
The article's title doesn't convey its full significance:
Two of its five authors, Steven E. Jones, and Kevin R. Ryan,
are accomplished scientists who were forced to leave long-term career positions
because of their courageous work
challenging the official account of the 9/11 attack.
The article stands as a counter-example to
a frequently-cited defense of the official account
of the destruction of the World Trade Center --
the assertion that there are no
peer-reviewed independent articles in scientific or engineering
journals challenging the premise that the three skyscrapers
collapsed due to structural and fire damage stemming from the
In this essay I will
underscore the significance of this publication
by suggesting that appeals to authority are a pillar
of the official story,
and that peer-reviewed articles such as
Fourteen Points of Agreement ...
can go a long way toward
disabusing people of the notion that
the collapse theory is scientific simply because the
mainstream scientific and engineering journals
had heretofore failed to point out its fallacies.
Appeals to Authority
Appeals to authority
are logical fallacies in which the speaker
cites a purported authority or expert as proof of an assertion.
Appeals to authority,
along with other logical fallacies such as
appeals to common belief,
appeals to ridicule, and
straw man arguments
are cornerstones of the official account of the
The most-often-cited works attacking alternative views of the 9/11/01 events,
rely on such fallacies,
and those truly needing reassurance can read
essays hundreds of pages long that repeatedly invoke appeals to authority,
Ryan Mackey's defense of NIST's investigation,
which he implies has the support of
"literally tens of thousands of professionals
in virtually every category".
Appeals to authority are critical to maintaining the
official or "consensus view" that Arab extremists
destroyed the World Trade Center
because so many people
recognize that the destruction of those buildings
exhibit the characteristics of controlled demolitions.
I suspect that this tension between what is obvious to people
on the basis of common sense,
and what is endorsed by opinion leaders and the "experts",
is a key component of the psychological operation of 9/11,
by functioning as a disincentive to critical thinking.
Emanuel Sferios articulated this view in 2006:
What is important to remember here is that propaganda of this sort
is not designed to fool critical thinkers, but to provide conforming
individuals with a reason not to start thinking critically.
Thus the total destruction of the World Trade Center in such
a dramatic yet obvious way was, in my opinion, an essential,
psychological component of the operation.
9/11 Five Years Later: What Have We Accomplished?
in the context of scientific or technical journals
is the process of refereeing articles submitted for publication
by subjecting them to reviews by experts in appropriate fields.
although peer review is
neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition for for the exercise of the
it has been a useful tool for enforcing it,
and it's difficult to deny the effectiveness of the scientific method.
TO BE CONTINUED