Today would have been the 75th birthday of the renowned scientist and paradigm-shifter Lynn Margulis (1938-2011). In honor of her ferocious intelligence, fearless inquiring spirit, and extraordinary generosity, I am re-publishing her essay on 9/11 which is included in the new book Lynn Margulis: The Life and Legacy of a Scientific Rebel, edited by her son, Dorion Sagan. The essay was originally published in the Rock Creek Free Press.
I interviewed Dorion Sagan, one of our greatest science writers, on my radio show today. Read the announcement here, and listen to the show here.
“Two Hit, Three Down – the Biggest Lie”
by Lynn Margulis, Rock Creek Free Press
I comment here on the nanotechnology aspect of Jerry Mazza’s masterful review (Rock Creek Free Press, January 2010, page 6) of David Ray Griffin’s extraordinary 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False.
By the time we (Dorion Sagan – my eldest son and Sciencewriters partner – and I) met David Griffin in 2003 in his native habitat at the Center for Process Studies (which is on the campus of the Claremont School of Theology in southern California), he had written over two dozen books, none of which I had ever read or even heard of. We immensely enjoyed a three-day scientific-philosophical meeting on the Darwinian-evolutionary view of life that had been organized by Griffin’s sage mentor, the sweet-tempered but razor sharp, Jimmy Carter-sounding, octogenarian professor emeritus and director, John B. Cobb, Jr. The results of this fascinating meeting have since been published (Cobb, ed. 2008).
At that meeting, Griffin’s talk was sober, academic, competent, scholarly – and entirely new to me: Christian theology in a much broader philosophical context than any to which I had ever been exposed. The science-friendly philosophical outlook Griffin espoused apparently was developed by Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), the English mathematician-philosopher who became a Harvard professor, or by Cobb. Why would I have known anything about this theological-philosophical work? My own expertise after all is in protoctist and organellar genetics. With close colleagues I reconstruct the origin and evolution of nucleated cells in the Proterozoic Eon. Where I understood DRG’s talk at all, he made clear to me his honesty. Truth, especially scientifically/empirically established truth, seemed intrinsic to his Christianity. As a typical agnostic scientist overtly critical of organized, and even disorganized, religion, I was surprised by the scientific commitment to approaching empirical truth in a religious context rather than the usual authority-pleasing consensus.
Griffin went on to elaborate that, although as a Whiteheadian he embraces the methods and results of science, he is critical of the entire international scientific enterprise as generally practiced today. Not only do scientists extrapolate their intrinsically specialized empirical knowledge into intellectual territory where it does not belong, but they don’t heed Whitehead’s recognition that, after all, scientists –like all people – have an emotional life and an inner spirit. The acclaimed “objectivity of science,” on close scholarly inspection (by, say, Cobb, Griffin and other Whiteheadians), often translates into tribalism, jingoism, naiveté, denial of obvious truths, uncritical service to The State, and other forms of profoundly dangerous ignorance. Scientists, as do all groups of people, share unstated philosophical assumptions. For example, they not only have faith in the consistency and “knowability” of the real world, but they often assume that the concrete particulars of the world are adequately described by the abstractions that have proved useful for limited purposes in their own disciplines – an assumption that Whitehead called the “fallacy of misplaced concreteness.”
On the return trip east from this meeting, I read, non-stop, DRG’s seminal book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor. Since then I have watched the “aging theologian” (his self-description as quipped in the excellent video-graphed lecture “9/11 and Nationalist Faith” (or was it 9/11: Let’s Get Empirical? Both are highly recommended) metamorphose from a compelling, careful scholar to a brave and extraordinary orator (but still careful scholar). Griffin has become a superb politician with a single agenda item: We must re-open public inquiry into the events of September 11, 2001, especially the collapse of the World Trade Center.
I had personal reasons to be interested in this issue: I had watched a member of our Geosciences Department (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) realize that morning that his beloved brother was on the doomed Boston-to-LA “hijacked plane.” Two of my sons and both of their mates were on Manhattan Island on 9/11. My grandson, Tonio Sagan, the Problemaddicts hiphop lyricist and leader, was released from his Springfield probationary status to me that evening. Like everyone else close to the action, my global consciousness was instantly and permanently altered on that date. But I happily remained an academic evolutionist. So, I ask here, what happened to the “aging theologian” to cause such a radical shift in his personal and professional life: from ivory tower scholar expert in theology and philosophy to detective, orator, and political activist?
I will not try to answer this question, but will simply state: Griffin has become a scientist, in my view, and even more a science educator. He has undertaken the search for the solution to a relatively trivial scientific problem and has found it in the literature and through discussions with experts. Along with solving the scientific problem, however, he has burdened his life with a colossal science-education problem.
In spite of his authorship of eight excellent books on the subject, he is not winning the education skirmish. This is not surprising, because science education battles – I can tell you this from chronic painful experience – are far more intrinsically difficult to win than those of mere science. I illustrate this point with regard to the destruction of the World Trade Center.
The scientific problem:
Why did three World Trade Center buildings (#1,#2 and #7) collapse on 9/11, after two (and only two) of them were hit by “hijacked airplanes”?
The scientific answer:
Because all three buildings were destroyed by carefully planned, orchestrated and executed controlled demolition. Ignited by incendiaries (such as thermate) and high explosives (including nanothermite), the steel columns were selectively melted in a brilliantly-timed controlled demolition. Two 110-story buildings (towers 1&2), plus one 47-floor building (WTC 7), were induced to collapse at gravitationally accelerated rates in an operation planned and carried out by insiders. The apparent hijacking of airliners and the crashing of them into the Twin Towers were intrinsic parts of the operation, which together provided a basis for claiming that the buildings were brought down by Muslim terrorists. The buildings’ steel columns, which would have provided irrefutable physical evidence of the use of explosives, were quickly removed from the scene of the crime.
Impeccable logic and addiction to reading inspire this truth-seeker. With his practiced scientific mind (he has organized professional philosophy-of-science conferences and published several books on this theme) coupled with investigation of evidence from not only us scientists but from witnesses, documentary film-makers, scholars, architects and engineers et al., he concludes that the virtuall free-fall collapse of the three (not two) World Trade Center buildings in 2001 was a premeditated, exquisitely executed operation. He recognized this “tragic publicity stunt” (my claim) was likely intended to provide the “new Pearl Harbor” desired by radical neoconservatives, some of whom had become members of the Bush administration (see Ch. 6 of Griffin’s 2006 book, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11).
The far-more-difficult science-education problem:
The persistent problem is how to wake up public awareness, especially in the global scientifically literate public, of the overwhelming evidence that the three buildings collapsed by controlled demolition. (Much has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, see Ch. 4 of The Mysterious Collapse). We, on the basis of hard evidence, must conclude that the petroleum fires related to the aircraft crashes were irrelevant (except perhaps as a cover story).We citizens of Earth within and beyond the boundaries of the United States who demand detailed evidence for extraordinary claims agree with Griffin: the rapid destruction of New York skyscrapers on September 11, 2001 was planned and executed by people inside the US government.
Griffin’s eight books about 9/11 (listed below) are his call to his kind of truly patriotic action. They show in appropriate detail, accurately documented, that the official government conspiracy theory can not be correct journalistically, scientifically, and morally. Muslim airline hijackers, in short, never triggered the collapse of high-rise steel-framed buildings at gravitational acceleration into neat removable pieces. They didn’t remove the remaining steel girders before they could be studied as evidence for a huge crime. They were not described in telephone calls by passengers and crew members from the four airliners –all the evidence for al Qaeda hijackers on the planes dissipates under close inspection (for example, even the FBI now admits that the reported cell phone calls from 25,000 to 40,000 feet never happened).
And to me the most compelling and obviously incorrect accusation is that Muslim hijackers caused the pulverization of cement high-rise office buildings into tons of dust that contain crystalline thermate and other minute metallic particles not found in the usual charred remains of fire rubble. Minute iron-aluminum-molybdenum rich spheres, steel perforated with swiss-cheese type holes and large quantities of unreacted nanothermite are not components of petroleum office fires. Besides the fact that building fire temperatures, even if fed by jet-fuel, could not have risen beyond 1,800°F, and hence they would be nowhere close to the of 2,800°F needed to melt iron (or for molybdenum that melts at 4,753°F). The facile appeal to the presence of gypsum (calcium sulfate) in the office wall-board fails to explain why sulfur was found in the intergranular structure of pieces of steel. (There was no detection of calcium!) The New York Times, in a rare example of honest reporting about the WTC collapses, called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation”).
Nor could “Muslim terrorists” have accessed and then planted in these buildings huge quantities of nanothermite. This recently developed high explosive was developed mainly in secrecy by professional scientists and engineers who enjoy government grant support for “nanotechnology” by the military. Significant quantities of red-gray crystals of nanothermite have been found in several independently collected samples of WTC dust studied by a team headed by physicist Steven Jones, formerly of Brigham Young University. Niels Harrit, a University of Copenhagen professor of chemistry who specializes in nanochemistry, is the first author of a peer-reviewed paper reporting this team’s results.
The two mutually exclusive “9/11-conspiracy theories”, the patently and nefariously absurd tale our government imposes on us and the true, criminal story yet to be entirely brought to light, deserve the attention of all literate people. Remember: Only two airplanes struck, but three buildings collapsed at free-fall velocities on that same day. Begin with Mazza’s review and Griffin’s book that detail the nanothermite scientific studies. Examine the government’s reluctant late admission that WTC 7 came down in absolute free fall for over two seconds to realize this is a scientific impossibility unless all the steel columns were partitioned into neat, removable pieces by explosives. Find out what happened to two men, Hess and Jennings, trapped inside WT7 in its abortive explosion before noon. Truth here, as David Ray Griffin tries to tell it, is (at least to me) stranger and far more dramatic than even the best fiction.
Suggested sources of evidence and explanation:
John B. Cobb, Jr. 2008 Back to Darwin: A richer account of evolution, Erdmann Publishers
Michael Ruppert 2009 Collapse: Peak oil, global politics, depletion of world resources and the end of “civilization” Chelsea Green Publishing Co. White River Junction VT
Lecutre by D.R. Griffin and M. Ruppert on DVDs.
1. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004)
2. The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005)
3. Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (2006)
4. 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (2006, co-edited with Peter Dale Scott)
5. Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (2007)
6. 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (2008)
7. The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (2008).
8. The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False (2009)
Dr. Kevin Barrett, a Ph.D. Arabist-Islamologist is one of America’s best-known critics of the War on Terror.
He is the host of TRUTH JIHAD RADIO; a hard driving weekly radio show funded by listener donations at Patreon.com and FALSE FLAG WEEKLY NEWS (FFWN); an audio-video show produced by Tony Hall, Allan Reese, and Kevin himself. FFWN is funded through FundRazr.
He also has appeared many times on Fox, CNN, PBS, and other broadcast outlets, and has inspired feature stories and op-eds in the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Chicago Tribune, and other leading publications.
Dr. Barrett has taught at colleges and universities in San Francisco, Paris, and Wisconsin; where he ran for Congress in 2008. He currently works as a nonprofit organizer, author, and talk radio host.
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