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How Skeptics Confronted 9/11 Denialism

Posted in News by Skepdude on September 22, 2009

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT THE PALESTINE TELEGRAPH

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wtc-southtowerUS, September 11, 2009 (Pal Telegraph)- Skeptics today bemoan the overwhelming proportion of people who claim to believe in all manner of conspiracy theories from the JFK assassination to the origins of HIV-AIDS. For that reason, it may be worthwhile to take a moment to stop and celebrate one area in which skeptical advocacy has been overwhelming successful: the world of 9/11 conspiracies. Through the work of scholars like Michael Shermer and James Meigs, along with everyday skeptics on the grassroots level, critical inquiry has been overwhelmingly successful in calling these conspiracy theorists to task.

A tragedy on a scale at least comparable to Pearl Harbor or the Kennedy assassination was bound to inspire a conspiracy subculture, but the takeoff success of the viral Internet documentary Loose Change and the movement it created was unprecedented. Looking out on the world in 2005 when Change became one of the most-watched Internet videos of all time, with over ten million unique viewers1, it was hard to anticipate a future that was anything but bleak for those who felt it was their duty to defend history from such pseudohistorians.

Yet, in just under four years, the 9/11 “truth movement” has ground to a halt. Apart from the fundamental incoherence of their theories, the downfall of the 9/11 denier juggernaut was good old-fashioned skepticism at its finest, the kind that conjures visions of James Randi challenging psychics and faith healers on their home turfs and winning. Skeptics are better at their jobs than they think, and its important to give credit where credit is due.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT THE PALESTINE TELEGRAPH

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The Paranoids Will Get You If You Don’t Watch Out

Posted in Gotham Skeptic by Skepdude on August 5, 2009

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE GOTHAM SKEPTIC

Last week, I happened upon the 2002 video clip of Buzz Aldrin punching a moon-landing conspiracy theorist in the face–a joyous artifact that had never before come to my attention. The punchee was filmmaker Bart Sibrel, who confronted Aldrin (then 72) and his stepdaughter outside a Beverly Hills hotel, screaming ”You’re the one who said you walked on the moon and you didn’t!” Aldrin warned him to back off, at which point Sibrel called him a “thief, a liar and a coward.” When Sibrel initiated physical contact (as attested to by several witnesses), Aldrin hauled off and clocked him one.

As skeptics, we’re supposed to be elegant in our arguments, relying on the power of sweet reason and airtight logic to flummox the opposition. But I don’t think I’m alone in tipping my hat to old Buzz. Even for those of us who fight our battles with words — maybe especially for us — there’s a primal, meaty satisfaction in watching a judiciously wielded fist interact with an eminently deserving face.

In the vast panoply of hoo-hah merchants, conspiracy theorists are simultaneously the most infuriating and the most difficult to dismiss. Infuriating because their theories come cloaked in righteous wrath; point out the holes in their reasoning and they hurl thunderbolts of moral indignation. Difficult to dismiss because, unlike proponents of homeopathy, for example, they are not trafficking in physical impossibilities. There is nothing intrinsically irrational about the notion of a conspiracy, though the use of the word by paranoid extremists has given it a certain wild-eyed, arm-waving taint. A conspiracy, after all, is merely a scheme — a plot by two or more people to do something nefarious. It happens all the time.

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT THE GOTHAM SKEPTIC

Skepdude says-What a coincidence. Less than 5 min ago I remembered that I had wanted to watch the clip and went to see it on YouTube. Then I fired up Google Reader and here goes this post. Does that make me psychic?

My Interview With Mark And Mark on 9/11 Myths

Posted in Podblack Cat by Skepdude on October 22, 2008