Fact Claims and Conspiracy Theories

After a discussion with Black Pumpkin and the Pope of Walnut, I’d like to make a few points that I had trouble articulating at the time. First, I agree that there are still questions surrounding the 9/11 attacks. I’ll also be the first to admit that I have not done too much research on the discrepancies between the official version of events and other counter-claims about what happened. The point I was trying to make (which is arguably a very limited one) is that I don’t find certain claims about those attacks convincing, namely that bombs were planted in the World Trade Center, that there were unmanned aircraft involved, and that a missile was fired at the Pentagon. Does that mean that I buy the Bush administration’s version of events down to the last detail? No. Do I believe that it’s possible for the Bush administration to have been somewhat complicit in the events of 9/11? Yes, I believe it’s possible. I don’t know how much proof there is out there to support this claim, but I do think it’s possible.

That said, I want to point out that it’s easy to claim that the final version of what happened on 9/11 is in doubt, and then offer no counter-narrative. This is essentially what the Pope has done. I’m really not arguing that the official version of events is sacrosanct. All I’m saying is that many conspiracy theories (and here I’m acknowledging that there are more than one kind) often rely on claims of fact that are not supported by verifiable evidence. When someone claims that the Pentagon was hit by a missile, my response is where is the proof? For that matter, if Dick Cheney was responsible for 9/11, where is the proof?

In the heat of the debate, I claimed that what I believe about 9/11 is based on what I saw: a plane crashed into a building. Then the Pope cleverly used this claim to suggest that there was more to the event than what we saw. He made the very valid point that one cannot possibly be convinced solely by what one witnesses alone when it comes to an event as complex as 9/11. Fine. However, there’s more to it than that. Since reputable media outlets reported that a plane crashed into the Pentagon, I’m going to accept that as a truthful statement until it is proved otherwise. I have to have some faith that the most basic elements of a media story are truthfully reported. If I don’t believe this aspect of reporting, then I’ll have question every detail of every story that I read or hear. This becomes tiresome and there is a law of diminishing returns that kicks in.

In sum, my main problem with many 9/11 conspiracy theories is the lack of credible evidence. I would be willing to examine claims about the 9/11 attacks that are supported by factual evidence (such as Crossing the Rubicon, etc.). I’m not interested in wild speculation. I’m interested in concrete evidence. I wouldn’t mind reading an article or two that demonstrates some clear links between government officials and wrongdoing. I don’t, for a minute, think that the Bush administration had our best interests in mind when it came to the 9/11 attacks, but as I said before, I haven’t researched this issue that thoroughly.


One Response to “Fact Claims and Conspiracy Theories”

  1. Well, you know that I have my own “theories” about what happened on that fateful day. But I can certainly recommend some stuff to read if you (either of you) really want to get into it. One is obviously, Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert. Also there are number of books by David Ray Griffin and Peter Dale Scott that are worth checking out.

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