Wednesday, August 29, 2007

World-renowned scientist wants new 9/11 investigation, but unfortunately appears to be adding to conspiracy thinking

Now, Lynn Margulis is a biologist, not a structural engineer. But, she’s also a world-class scientist not given to non-scientific thinking, including conspiracy theories. So, should her call for a new 9/11 investigation should be taken at least somewhat seriously?

“I suggest that those of us aware and concerned demand that the glaringly erroneous official account of 9/11 be dismissed as a fraud and a new, thorough, and impartial investigation be undertaken.”

But, her call shouldn’t be taken too seriously. She immediately shoots herself in the foot:
(Margulis) compared 9/11 to several self-inflicted attacks that had been used in the past to arouse people's fear and hatred and justify war, including the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, the Reichstag Fire, and Operation Himmler, which Germany used to justify the invasion of Poland, the trigger for World War II.

First, the verdict of history on the Maine is pretty damn clear: accidental explosion. The verdict on the Reichstag fire is almost as clear: the Communists started it, although the Nazis apparently hindered firemen from immediately dousing it.

Update/note regarding first posted comment: Marinus van der Lubbe was himself a Communist. The claim that he was a "nutball" was started by German Communists to distance themselves from him. I refer you to his Wiki bio and the Wiki entry onthe Reichstag fire. It’s true that van der Lubbe may well have acted alone; nonetheless, he clearly acted out of Communist political belief.

The fact that she’s also influenced by David Ray Griffin’s book “The New Pearl Harbor” (which I assume starts from the idea that FDR knew in advance of the original Pearl Harbor), a book endorsed a by a certain post-9/11 conspiracy-minded slice of liberalism, is more disquieting. Griffin, who is a professor of philosophy, relies heavily on the thoroughly debunked “The Big Lie” of French writer Thierry Meyssan. (A full 80 percent of non-five star reviews at Amazon one-star Griffin’s book for its conspiracy thought.)

Far more sober was the call for further study by British war correspondent/investigative journalist Robert Fisk, who specifically separated himself from conspiratorial thinkers a few days ago. (Fisk’s questions of disbelief about how the jet fuel could have burned hot enough have already been refuted multiple times; at the easily accessible popular level, the magazine Popular Mechanics had an excellent conspiracy debunking about two years ago.)

Beyond that, the best counterthought for this being a government conspiracy?

It’s the same one mentioned by Fisk. The government of George W. Bush has shown itself to be too inept to pull off such a thing.

I hope that a change in administrations in 2009 doesn’t prompt the next Congress to indulge itself in following this type of thinking.