Debunking Conspiracies: Spread Some Truth On The Anniversary Of 9/11
The anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks is almost upon us, which unfortunately means the re-emergence of conspiratorial crack-pottery across social media and watering holes. Not to mention a surge in the share value of tin foil.
I’ve discovered that you can quickly separate the sceptics from mere atheists by striking up a conversation about 9/11 with the godless. You’d hope that the conversation might progress towards the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism rather than the specific melting point of steel beams, but I’d suggest lowering your expectations.
As a sceptic, I try to honour the fallen at this time of year by spreading truth and combating the many pseudo-intellectual falsehoods that those who overestimate their intelligence choose to peddle.
With this in mind, below are a select few items that I’ve found particularly informative over the years.
http://www.debunking911.com/ is an excellent resource. I’ll link to a number of takedowns of some of the most pervasive claims below:
A fantastic BBC documentary from 2012 titled ‘Conspiracy Road Trip’. Many popular conspiracy theories are shattered along the way with the help of science and common sense. Watch below:
Synopsis: ‘Comedian Andrew Maxwell takes conspiracy theorists on a road trip in an effort to tackle the truth about their beliefs’.
BBC 9.11 Conspiracy Road Trip banned episode by chris-vargas-5095
This excellent book ‘Perfect Soldiers’ by Terry McDermott is a well-sourced, unbiased look at the backgrounds of the 19 hijackers. The book details who they were and why they did what they did.
No judgements are made on religion or foreign policy – McDermott simply sticks to the factual details from the hijackers’ upbringing, education and planning including the documented surveillance and failings of the intelligence services leading up to the attacks.
Bin Laden’s letters declaring war on the USA are also included in the appendix as well as some history on the construction of the Twin Towers which goes some way to explaining the way in which they collapsed.
To mark the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks I released a discussion with the founder of The Skeptics Society, Michael Shermer. We talk about 9/11 conspiracy theories and cover some of the psychological reasons people are inclined to believe them