Debunking Conspiracies: Spread Some Truth On The Anniversary Of 9/11


The anniversary of the 9/11 terror 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.

Website is an excellent resource. I’ll link to a number of take-downs of some of the most pervasive claims below:

“The collapse of building seven proves a controlled demolition”

“Thermite brought down the towers and was found in the rubble”

“Jet fuel cannot melt steel beams!”

“The towers fell at free fall speed, proving a controlled demolition”

“Bush did 9/11!”


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.

Synopsis: ‘Comedian Andrew Maxwell takes conspiracy theorists on a road trip in an effort to tackle the truth about their beliefs’.

Watch below:

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

Stephen Knight is host of The #GSPodcast. You can listen to The Godless Spellchecker Podcast here, and support it by becoming a patron here.


  • I will to donate enough to cover the copious amount of whisky you will need to wade through the shit you will get for this.

  • I’m hosting a 911 conspiracy theory panel discussion on monday night for Glasgow Skeptics. I predict chaos. Great article btw

  • I can only assume from your debunking of so called conspiracy theories that you’ve yet to be acquainted with the “aircraft were holograms projected by an NSA black ops team situated on the empire state building”. A credible theory that accounts for the anomolous behavior of both the aircraft flight characteristics and the towers collapse.

    The holographic technology was more advanced version of that used to project the Saturn 5 rockets that purportedly sent men to the moon.

  • To honor the fallen, people should be pushing the establishment for the dislosure of the pages that potentially incriminate Saudi for the atrocity, and if proven guilty, Saudi must be dealt with.

    • At least stay informed. The 28 pages were released weeks ago; and Congress is considering legislation to enable the families of their loved ones who were murdered, to claim from SA.

  • I feel a bit of a twat for wondering why nobody was talking about this on Friday the 9th. Then I realised my mistake and also realised November should have come into my date logic if I was thinking like that. To be honest with 7/7, I always think that happened in 2007. I need date help.

  • I had a chuckle about the holographic technology comment. The thousands of photographs and videos of Saturn V launches and the destruction of the WTC, taken from every angle possible all tricked by a super technology that remains hidden from the best optical and computer science engineers of today. Extreme tin foil hattery.

  • Wow, that BBC Doc really shows how un-falsifiable some people’s beliefs are, eh?

    One element of the 9/11 conspiracy movement has always stuck me as particularly stupid: Those who believe that the Pentagon was struck by a missile presumably do accept that it was planes that hit the World Trade Center. Thus, they believe that the government (or whatever unknown forces they blame) did have the ability to use planes for the attack, but decided to just fire a missile at the Pentagon instead of using a plane, for no apparent reason.

  • I can’t reach any longer. Shut down by US government? 😉

  • Pingback: The European Scientific Journal Didn’t Conclude 9/11 ‘Controlled Demolition’ | Godless Spellchecker's Blog

  • Thank you for taking the time and putting in the effort to help bring sanity and rationality to this issue. I’ve never been remotely convinced that any of the conspiracy theories put forth (some by people with less than altruistic motivations) are valid for one reason. Simple as it might sound, those theories are all so bloated with complexity that as they unfold, credulity is strained. Occam’s razor indeed.

    One thing that isn’t often mentioned by those who are just positive that the entire event was a government job is whether they feel the same way about the first attack on WTC in 1993. If so, it’s a much less vocal crowd. But it was the ’93 bombing informed the 2001 attack from the air. Ramzi Yousef’s bomb was detonated with the goal of knocking the North Tower into the South Tower resulting in both being destroyed. Despite six fatalities and over a thousand injuries, his goal was not realized. But they learned. Less than a decade later, Yousef’s maternal uncle KSM came up with the plan carried out on September 11th.

    This narrative requires nothing fantastical. It’s a fairly straightforward timeline to a horrendous day. Asking questions is natural. Creating complicated conspiracies that would have required thousands of people to pull off highly improbable events is something altogether different. We should reject the latter and learn from the former. Doing so will make preventing future attacks more likely. Wasting time on fiction just slows such efforts.

  • One thing that has fed a lot of these conspiracy theories has been the idea of a ‘stand down’ by NORAD , under the direction of Dick Cheney. The evidence presented for this has been the account given by Norman Mineta the transport secretary at the time who said he was in the Whitehouse bunker as American Airlines Flight 77 was approaching Washington, the plane that then hit the Pentagon. This is an account that he has given for years and one that he obviously believes but is patently not true.
    Around the recent 15th anniversary he has done more interviews giving this account yet again , both to MSNBC and also on a Dept of Transportation ‘oral history’ interview for the 50th anniversary of the founding of the DOT. I am just wondering when someone is going to interview Norman Mineta and point out that his account is wrong. The 911 Commission even contradicted his account but yet he seems to be blissfully unaware that there is even any controversy about it and he goes and does interviews again and again repeating the same account , with those interviewing him not seeming to realise that what he is saying is simply not true. Watching the DOT interview especially they accept his account as accurate and correct and this is supposed to be an ‘oral history’ , official type on-the-record interview by the Dept. of Transportation. When is someone going to iron out this anomaly and set Mr. Mineta straight? He is getting on in years and surely this is something that should be sorted out before even more time passes.

What do you think? Leave some comments!