Sunday, September 11, 2011

Occam's Razor and the Attacks of September 11.

On the tenth anniversary of the horrific attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, upon the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan, many reflections occur: mostly somber and troubling, with perhaps a few faint rays of hope.

My starting point is Occam's razor: a principle in logic used to guide the choice between competing explanations of a given phenomenon: namely, the admonition to choose the explanation which requires apriori the fewest hypothetical assumptions.  Even in applying this principle to an examination of the World Trade Center attacks, one is forced upon a bifurcation: we have on the one hand the physical question -- based upon the  available evidence and the known laws of physics, of what caused the collapses of three buildings i.e. the Twin Towers and 'Building Seven;' and on the other hand, we have the (essentially) political  question: who engineered and carried out the attack, and for what purpose?

Of the two, the laws of physics are far simpler to approach, and yield (in my view) a far simpler answer.  The simplest explanation for the collapse of the buildings is (as I will later explain) that they were blown up, imploded, by explosive charges placed by demolition experts.  That is, Occam rejects the official explanation, as promulgated by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), formerly the National Bureau of Standards.

However, the official account of who planned and executed the attacks -- a group of fundamentalist terrorists supported by Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden -- is clearly simpler, and more favorable to Occam, than any of the elaborate conspiracy theories which  must be constructed to justify the conclusion that the buildings were in fact demolished with explosives.

Reasonable people may disagree in weighing the merits and demerits of the alternate conclusions; since my training and professional experience lie in the physical sciences, I much prefer to establish the principle in which physics guides.  In the words of the late Nobel Laureate physicist, Richard Feynmann, "You can't fool Mother Nature."  Beyond that, I believe that history shows that the human race is eminently prone to being fooled, so I will by and large avoid the political question of who and why.  What is important is simply to establish what physics does and does not allow.

I will state at the outset the three simple facts caused me to arrive at my current viewpoint.    First, that all of Southern Manhattan was enveloped in enormous cloud of dense dust and smoke, consisting of pulverized debris.   Second, that Building Seven, which, on the afternoon of Sept. 11 2001,  collapsed as if demolished, had not been struck by an airplane. Third, that three buildings all collapsed, according to eyewitnesses and reporters on the scene, as if they were controlled demolitions.

My ordering must seem eccentric, but it was the dust cloud that first alerted me: there could simply not be enough potential energy liberated in the collapse to pulverize the wreckage, and re-launch it sky-ward.  A straightforward calculation using the bond energy of Portland Cement, and comparing the energy required to convert a kilogram of same into particles of 20 micron diameter, shows that with perfect conversion, a free fall of 300 meters has four times the required energy.  However, the entire mass of concrete did not fall 300 meters, and much energy must be lost in collisions during the fall with structural elements in the path of any falling fragment; furthermore, a comparable amount of energy is required to re-launch the dust into the enormous cloud.  Furthermore, and most damningly, much of the pulverization appears to have occurred in mid-air.

Next we have the case of Building Seven, which was not struck by an airplane, but which nonetheless suffered collateral damage, including the outbreak of several fires.  The anomalies abound here, but I will focus on the official explanation, that office fires weakened a specific structural column, whose failure triggered the collapse of the entire structure.  This defies credulity.  The collapse is quite symmetrical; the failure of one column cannot lead to the simultaneous and symmetric collapse of structural elements remote from the failure.  There would be a torque, and a listing, and the building would have to fall towards the weakened side.

Finally we have the fact that three buildings suffered asymmetrical damage, but all collapsed in largely symmetrical fashion -- that is, straight down into their own footprints, on a single day.

I have marshalled but a tiny fragment of the available evidence. The most complete, and to my mind, reputable effort to make the case for controlled demolition has been put forth by the architect Richard Gage, through his organization Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth.  I leave it to the interested reader to look up their website, if he so desires.  I can only caution the reader that the web contains a vast amount of crack-pot posting on these subjects, but pro and contra the opinions I have expressed.


As for who perpetrated this crime and why, I will not venture my opinions.  I will only state that readers of this weblog are well aware of my belief that the resultant Global War on Terror has been essentially an exercise in promoting a police state at home, and military adventurism abroad.

I do not think it extreme to say that America has in effect suffered a coup d'etat.  The so-called progressive left in this country, as exemplified by my blog-roll has absolutely proscribed any discussion of 9-11 truth or conspiracy -- largely, I believe, to protect themselves from the jeers of the political right wing.  This is a grave error in my view.

America will never be healed until the truth of is known of September 11, 2001.

1 comment:

  1. I can see the reasoning behind the hypothesis that the towers went down due to charges placed inside the building. I saw the Kingdom implode years ago in Seattle, there were certainly a huge cloud of dust like what we saw in New York 10 years ago. But beyond the impact of the jets, wouldn't the jet fuel on board played a role here as well, as some have speculated?

    How much do you think it would cost to build a model big enough to simulate this, like 1 billion dollars? I wonder if that is actually easier than to uncover any hidden truth behind this.