AE911Truth’s Case

As of July 2010, the front page of the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth website displayed the following characteristics of what they term destruction by explosives and a classic controlled demolition with explosives. The first is a category meant to describe the collapse of the Twin Towers, and the second the collapse of 7 World Trade.

Both lists contain what they consider ALL characteristics of each category. By examining the different items, this claim is easily seen as ludicrous.

AE911Truth’s Current List Of Characteristic Features

As seen in this revealing photo, the Twin Towers’ destruction exhibited all the characteristics of destruction by explosions:

  1. Destruction proceeds through the path of greatest resistance at nearly free-fall acceleration
  2. Improbable symmetry of debris distribution
  3. Extremely rapid onset of destruction
  4. Over 100 first responders reported explosions and flashes
  5. Multi-ton steel sections ejected laterally
  6. Mid-air pulverization of 90,000 tons of concrete & metal decking
  7. Massive volume of expanding pyroclastic-like clouds
  8. 1200-foot-dia. debris field: no “pancaked” floors found
  9. Isolated explosive ejections 20-40 stories below demolition front
  10. Total building destruction: dismemberment of steel frame
  11. Several tons of molten iron found under all 3 high-rises
  12. Evidence of thermite incendiaries found by FEMA in steel samples
  13. Evidence of explosives found in dust samples
  14. No precedent for steel-framed high-rise collapse due to fire

And exhibited none of the characteristics of destruction by fire, i.e.

  1. Slow onset with large visible deformations
  2. Asymmetrical collapse which follows the path of least resistance (laws of conservation of momentum would cause a falling, intact, from the point of plane impact, to the side most damaged by the fires)
  3. Evidence of fire temperatures capable of softening steel
  4. High-rise buildings with much larger, hotter, and longer lasting fires have never “collapsed”

WTC Building #7 (a 47-story high-rise not hit by an airplane) exhibits all the characteristics of a classic controlled demolition with explosives:

  1. Rapid onset of “collapse”
  2. Sounds of explosions at ground floor – a second prior to collapse
  3. Symmetrical “structural failure” – through the path of greatest resistance – at free-fall acceleration
  4. Imploded, collapsing completely, and landed in its own footprint
  5. Massive volume of expanding pyroclastic dust clouds
  6. Expert corroboration from the top European Controlled Demolition professional
  7. Fore-knowledge of “collapse” by media, NYPD, FDNY

The in the aftermath of WTC7’s destruction, strong evidence of demolition using incendary devices was discovered:

  1. FEMA finds rapid oxidation and intergranular melting on structural steel samples
  2. Several tons of molten metal reported by numerous highly-qualified witnesses
  3. Chemical signature of thermite (high tech incendiary) found in solidified molten metal, and dust samples

WTC7 exhibited none of the characteristics of destruction by fire, i.e.

  1. Slow onset with large visible deformations
  2. Asymmetrical collapse which follows the path of least resistance (laws of conservation of momentum would cause a falling, to the side most damaged by the fires)
  3. Evidence of fire temperatures capable of softening steel
  4. High-rise buildings with much larger, hotter, and longer lasting fires have never “collapsed”

Basic Weaknesses of AE911’s Case

This page sets asides the question of whether or not AE911Truth proves any of the above items or not. It’s concerned only with the basis for the whole argument.

The basic flow of the AE911Truth argument is constructed well enough.

Premise: Any building collapse that has these features (A, B, C, etc.) must be a controlled demolition.

Premise: The 3 WTC buildings have these features (A, B, C, etc.).

Conclusion: The 3 WTC buildings were controlled demolitions.

Therefore, if the group can demonstrate the truth of both premises of this argument, their conclusion is inescapable.

The vast majority of the group’s argumentative effort is spent presenting evidence to prove the second premise. This evidence should and will be examined. However, this argument stands and falls on the truth of both premises, and the only evidence ever presented to support the first is an illegitimate appeal to authority.

Illegitimate Appeal to Authority

From where do these lists of characteristics come from? Since the subject matter is controlled demolition, the answer should be controlled demolitions experts. However, AE911Truth produces no evidence that this list was developed and vetted by a group of third-party, independent experts in the field.

Instead, these lists shows every hallmark of being developed by the group itself. They change them at will. Should an characteristic be shown conclusively to have not occurred (as is the case of “squibs” in Building 7), the group erases the characteristic from this group of “all characteristics.” If a new argument appeals to their fancy (as in the case of iron microspheres and thermite), it suddenly appears on the lists.

The appeal to authority is also the list of “architects and engineers” comes into play. They claim that they ““can play a very significant role as building professionals because we have the necessary technical credibility that Congress will respond to.” If their authority was in the proper field, it might be part of a stronger case. As it is, arguing outside their field condemns them.

Poorly Constructed Lists

Examine these lists. Is it the case that all “classic controlled demolitions” have several tons of molten metal found at the scene? How about residue of thermite? Of course not. Is it the case that “destruction by explosives” always results in no pancaked floors below?

On the other hand, foreknowledge of a controlled demolition is tautological. And the type of foreknowledge seen in the collapse of WTC 7 is not certainty, but based on a reasonable expectation at the time.

Even the sloppy use of terminology points out the amateurish nature of this list. Did 1,830 °F dust clouds race through the streets of Manhattan at 450 miles per hour? That is what the use of the term pyroclastic implies. Here in these lists, the term “free-fall acceleration” has finally won the day, but the inaccurate term “freefall speed” still appears in their presentation.

Finally, there are clear signs of controlled demolitions that are not on these lists. For example, part of the documentation of controlled demolitions involve the analysis of seismographic recordings to identify when and if devices exploded in the proper sequence and time. It is crucial to know if some of the devices did not go off for whatever reason, because then the live explosives would need to be recovered from the debris field. Yet experts examining the various seismographic records that captured the fall of the Towers detected no explosive devices whatsoever. This is positive evidence that no explosives were at work in these collapses. Yet if explosives had been detected, they would be on AE911Truth’s lists.

Special Pleading

The list of characteristics for the Twin Towers also suffers from the logical fallacy of special pleading. This happens when someone wants to have an exception to the rule and yet provides inadequate or illegitimate reasons for that exception.

When AE911Truth first began its efforts, it used a single list: controlled demolition. Over time, the faults in that approach became apparent and the group developed a separate list for the Twin Towers. Did the collapses there begin in the top, completely out of character for any actual controlled demolition? Then that characteristic comes out for the Towers. Does debris mostly fly out instead of piling up as in WTC 7? Then that, too, becomes evidence for use of explosive devices in a separate list.

Affirming the Consequent

Without a basis of proper authority and expertise to ground the specially-pled lists of characteristics, AE911Truth’s case collapses into another recognizable fallacy: affirming the consequent. It’s best illustrated by the anecdote of the Texas sharpshooter, who fires his rifle at the side of a barn and then paints targets around the bullet holes. This does not make the rifleman a sharpshooter.

They have found certain elements of the WTC building collapses to be unusual. So have others, and peer-reviewed journals continue to accept articles from actual experts discussing the unusual features of these events. However, the people behind AE911Truth take their observations, express them in clumsy and prejudicial language, and present them to the world as an objective list of controlled demolition characteristics on their own questionable authority. They have the cart before the horse. Until they demonstrate the reliability of their lists in other cases or adopt an independent, third-party list to apply to these buildings, they are only demonstrating reasons to dismiss AE911Truth entirely.