Great Minds Thinking Alike

Joshua Holland has an article on Alternet that makes the same point I attempted to make in the “Muddying Questions, Squandering Answers” post on 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Having taken a long bath in the world of 9/11 conspiracism, I still think the most likely scenario is that the Bush administration was obsessed with rival powers — Russia and China — and ignored the terror issue. After the attacks, the security agencies were under enormous, unrelenting pressure to show Americans they were in control and they needed to show that they were on top of the investigation at all costs. These things would certainly require sanitizing in the 9/11 report and other official narratives for the sake of expediency and creating the appearance that the government was on the job.

Having said that, I’d also be receptive to evidence that the Bush administration had a far greater degree of knowledge about the how and why of the attacks, and looked the other way and let them happen. All I’d need to buy that would be a bit of evidence. After all, we’ve recently learned in a report published on AlterNet that New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who had a direct link to the most powerful office in Washington (Dick Cheney’s), said she had been warned of a terrorist attack.

But that kind of evidence is almost certainly not forthcoming; there will be no further serious investigation into the events of 9/11. Ironically, that’s largely because of the 9/11 “truth movement” itself — by embracing fanciful notions that the government blew up the World Trade Center with thermite charges, or that the Pentagon was hit by a missile — makes it hard for the rest of us to express rational skepticism of the official account.

35 thoughts on “Great Minds Thinking Alike

  1. RE: But that kind of evidence is almost certainly not forthcoming; there will be no further serious investigation into the events of 9/11. Ironically, that’s largely because of the 9/11 “truth movement” itself — by embracing fanciful notions that the government blew up the World Trade Center with thermite charges, or that the Pentagon was hit by a missile — makes it hard for the rest of us to express rational skepticism of the official account.

    That is not a rational statement. One’s rational skepticism towards (or belief in, for that matter) this or any other matter does not logically depend on the ravings of lunatics.

    Why, exactly, does it make it hard for the rest of us to express an opinion ? Presumably, because he (let’s drop the patronizing “us” here) is afraid of being lumped with the lunatics.

    In other words, he is afraid of expressing any opinion that might lead to him being thought sufficiently far out of the mainstream.

    It’s a good think that the Eastern European dissidents I knew in the 1980’s didn’t think that way, or we would still be facing down the Soviets over the Berlin Wall.

    Oh, and I have no strong belief one way or the other on the topic of advanced knowledge of 9/11, but I would bet anyone reading that there will be “serious investigation” (probably, multiple ones) of the events of 9/11 at some point in the future. They will be too tempting a target…

  2. Why, exactly, does it make it hard for the rest of us to express an opinion ? Presumably, because he (let’s drop the patronizing “us” here) is afraid of being lumped with the lunatics.

    Well, you can express opinions all you like, but if no one will listen to you because they think you’re nuts, that’s a problem.

  3. The article is god, just don’t read the comments.

    Too depressing.

    The people who disagree with me politically believe the crap the bush admin hands them, and the people who agree with me believe the crap that alex jones hands them.



  4. Er … the article is, in point of fact, “good”. It is certainly not “good” enough to be “god” tho.


  5. I read that someone had in fact traced back some of the wacko theories — Plane hitting the trade center was a military drone filled with explosives, missile hit the pentagon, etc. — to web sites with links (domain registration, administrator names) to the government. Lunatic lefties could be a pretty good cover.

    Flight 93 was shot down? Next you’ll be telling us that aliens joined the CIA in overthrowing Arbenz in 1954.

  6. Ian –

    I was pretty sure that was what you meant! 🙂 And the article was really interesting.

    I made the mistake of looking at some of the comments, though, contrary to your warning.
    (Brain…slowly…turning to…mush…)

  7. O.K., so how about the Anthrax attack?
    Did it come from a little ole Army lab in Md., or was is from , as said an associate of mine ,Saddam?
    He, along with a million or so compliant Americans were absolutely positively sure Saddam was behind it.
    Then there’s the young woman my wife knows who thinks Osama BinLaden was behind the destruction of hurricane Katrina (no, I’m not makin’ this up)I’m surrounded by idiots.The age of critical thinking is dead! Long live American Idol!
    The whole 9/11/ Afghanistan/Iraq/anthrax/Iran politicalmythologyspinlyingshrub B.S. rivals a titl-a-whirl for spin.
    And where she stops, nobody knows…
    End of Rant..

  8. i’m not going there, into the x-files territory.

    instead i’m going to take exception to the idea that awol was obsessed with russia and china, and that obsession made him blind to the threat from terrorists.

    i believe he (read: the administration) was obsessed winning the culture war here at home, and thus put all the law enforcement resources at his disposal into anti-porn anti-whore anti-good time efforts.

  9. Here’s a point of view that seems to have been lost in the shuffle.

    Aside from the obvious potential for charges of criminal negligence or (in the worst, most tinfoil-hat conducive scenario) conspiracy, it doesn’t much matter if, and what, Bush and his cohort knew about 9/11 before it happened.

    The bottom line is that 19 guys, some of them known to US intelligence, spent a couple of years planning and successfully carrying out a plan to hijack four planes to attack the US. They destroyed the Twin Towers, made a big old hole in the Pentagon, and would likely have flattened the Capitol were it not for the extraordinary courage of the folks on flight 93.

    I’ll put it more plainly.

    Bush screwed up. If he did know, he failed to act. If he didn’t know, he should have. If he kinda sorta knew, he failed to follow the breadcrumb trail to the bad guys.

    He screwed up.

    Is it completely and exclusively Bush’s fault that he failed to prevent 9/11? Probably not. Slice it any way you like, however, and the lion’s share of the responsibility falls to him. The buck stops at his desk. That’s what being President is all about.

    Enough information was available to act. Something — interest, insight, concern, coordination, take your pick — was lacking.

    As a thought experiment, imagine the reaction among the conservative community if 9/11 had happened under President Gore. They would have had him drawn and quartered, and had his head mounted on a pike on the Capitol steps.

    Bush screwed up. I repeat — Bush screwed up. Not Clinton, not Tenet, not Freeh. Bush. I won’t say it was completely his fault, but it was his responsibility.

    And he has spent the last five years doing nothing but covering his ass.

    Thanks –

  10. I’d also be receptive to evidence that the Bush administration had a far greater degree of knowledge about the how and why of the attacks, and looked the other way and let them happen. All I’d need to buy that would be a bit of evidence.

    It’s not evidence, but it’s known that the neocons wanted an excuse to rearrange the Middle East. Were they not openly talking, almost desirously, of a “new Pearl Harbor” a year or two before the attack? And so I’d say we have motive.

    I am so removed from the conspiracy theories, that I’m hesitant to make the next point. But it’s highly suspicious to me that Standard Operating Procedure was not followed: where were the fighter jets that were supposed to be scrambled when it was known that the plane-bombs were off course and known to be hijacked? We’re talking about Washington f**king DC, the nation’s capitol, not some sleepy part of rural America.

    I’ve cut and pasted a comment below, about conspiracy theories by a poster named lewisclark. The comment appeared on DKos, in relation to the recent RFK Jr article about electorial fraud, but it applies to 9/11 as well:

    “I find it pretty amusing that explanations are slapped with the “conspiracy theory” label so as to instantly discredit them, despite the fact that conspiracies not only occur, they’re historically-speaking one of the most common ways in which otherwise difficult political and economic goals are accomplished.

    “As a rule of thumb, whenever murders and crimes occur for seemingly irrational or inexplicable motives, (they are often described as “senseless” acts) yet result in a large-scale coalescing or theft of power and/or money, history shows that a “conspiracy theory” would be a damn good place to start looking for reasonable explanations and answers.

    “To those who consider that POV paranoid, you might want to go dig out your old college textbooks and re-read the accounts of world history by Will and Ariel Durant, or Gibbon. Maybe do a little research on the French Revolution. Or better yet, read Shakespeare and Machiavelli.

    “For there we learn that a conspiracy is nothing more farfetched or paranoid than two or more individuals planning some illegal or malevolent act that they prefer to keep hidden or unprovable.

    “For a more recent example, we need look no further than the pathetic and despicable white collar crimes of Kenny Lay and Jeffrey Skilling. These Enron conmen were conspiring left and right for years, and a jury of twelve just agreed…it ain’t no theory.

    “To this day professional sceptics derisively use the term “grassy knoll”, (referencing the Kennedy assassination), to dismiss pretty much any and all conspiracy theory, despite the fact that it’s virtually impossible to offer a reasonable account of the JFK assassination that doesn’t defy the laws of physics unless multiple participants (ie “conspirators”) were involved.

    “And then of course there’s the unlikely scenario that the alleged lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, supposedly decided, with no stated or reasonably surmised motive, to more or less out of the blue take it upon himself to assassinate the President of the United States in broad daylight. Arrested within hours of the assassination, Oswald calmly but firmly denied committing the crime, described himself as a “patsy”, and then was himself murdered two days later while in police custody.

    “Oh, not to mention the rather bizarre coincidence that Oswald had (apparently) been a defector to the Soviet Union and had a dossier file with both the FBI and the CIA. Yet we are asked to accept those facts as merely circumstantial, for Oswald was the lone gunman and sole perpetrator of the most famous murder in American history.

    “This laughably implausible version of reality is supposed to be the official Final Word, while any other explanation, no matter how much more rational, is waved off as merely “conspiracy theory” .”

  11. In response to the Daily Kos comment, I’m going to go with Chris Bowers.

    Don’t’ look to Big Outside Powers to fix this problem–look to yourself. If you want election reform, then take control of your local voting infrastructure, the way so many grassroots Democrats have taken control of their local party infrastructure. If you are looking for someone else to solve the problem through editorials in the Washington Post and so called “moderate” Republicans in Congress, you have already lost. Don’t look to someone else to solve the problem–look to yourself. Don’t just thrill at your identity being validated by RFK Jr. in Rolling Stone–take control of your local electoral infrastructure. For God’s sake, realize that you have the power.

    As for JFK conspiracies, well I personally like to entertain the Mossad one, but I’m firmly convicned that it was not only possible for Oswald to do what we believe he did, but that it is indeed the most likely explanation.

  12. Alyosha: Based on what I’ve read so far in reconstructions for the sequence of events on 9/11/2001, things like the failure to scramble the expected jet response can be accounted for (at least in large degree) by two simple facts.

    First, Bush and Cheney and their crew are control freaks. One of the hallmarks of their administration is the centralization of decision-making power. They try to take authority away from lower levels and indeed pretty much everybody but themselves. The Katrina response debacle demonstrates this clearly, as do a lot of other publicly documentable instances.

    Second, they’re cowards. They always have been. They dodged war, when many others didn’t. (Digby had a great piece about this that I can’t finda t the moment, pointing out that both anti-war protestors and those who enlisted or submitted to the draft went through a rite of passage that the chickenhawks didn’t. The others accepted responsibility for their position.) They duck out of inconvenient marriages. They ditch business failures and then lie about it rather than take responsibility. They’re tremendously afraid of personal risk and liability.

    These impulses ran into each other on 9/11. Action required authorization from people too busy running around like chickens with their heads cut off. I imagine that if such a thing were to happen again, local commanders would take responsibility and risk court martial later, but I can’t blame them for not doing it the first time.

    On the other hand, I have to call bullshit on Joshua Holland’s conclusion. 9/11 hasn’t been thoroughly investigated because the Bush administration doesn’t want thorough investigation of any of its failures, and here it could wrap up denial in the flag of patriotism and security. Saying that anyone else could have changed this simply by not pressing probably ill-founded claims is like persisting in the claim that Nader voters cost Gore the 2000 election without looking at anything the Republican Party leadership did to suppress unfavorable election outcomes. Start with the people in power, then see if there’s need for blame past that.

  13. On the other hand, I have to call bullshit on Joshua Holland’s conclusion. 9/11 hasn’t been thoroughly investigated

    Oh, my goodness, that is not at all what Joshua Holland concluded. Just the opposite. I’m afraid you drew the wrong inference from the excerpt. I believe if you were to read the entire article you might find yourself agreeing with Joshua Holland.

  14. I’m curious as to why Maha and Joshua do not refer to the “official” or “mainstream” explanation for the 9/11 events as “a conspiracy theory,” also. That is exactly what the government’s explanation is: A charismatic guy in Afghanistan, working through surrogates, manages to put together a complex, but well-organized and exquisitely synchronized, successful attack on the United States. Without the help of any secret police or governmental intelligence agency of any nation on the face of the planet (with the possible exception of the Taliban, and I’m suspicious that ” Taliban intelligence agency” may be an oxymoron), and without their plans being discovered by any of the secret services of any Western Nation. Why are not Maha and others characterizing that scenario as some form of lunacy?

    I also note that in the discussions by those who accept, more or less, the official version of the 9/11 history, there is rarely any mention, or serious discussion, of the stock market play that went on in connection with 9/11. What happened to the old and pertinent adage about following the money?

    For me, the bottom line is that we just do not know the truth and should not accept the government’s version of events. The corollary to that position is that there is the possibility of government involvement in the planning and execution of the attacks. Perhaps I should say “state involvement” in the planning and execution of the attacks. We cannot dismiss that possibility out of hand, because to do so may cut-off avenues of investigation that could prove fruitful, or, if not, could disprove some of the theories about what happened.

  15. Gah, this pushes my buttons:

    “To this day professional sceptics derisively use the term ‘grassy knoll’, (referencing the Kennedy assassination), to dismiss pretty much any and all conspiracy theory, despite the fact that it’s virtually impossible to offer a reasonable account of the JFK assassination that doesn’t defy the laws of physics unless multiple participants (ie ‘conspirators’) were involved.”

    It’s weird how the whole JFK assassination conspiracy theory is pretty much the only one that LOTS of otherwise skeptical people on the net will accept without question. There was no “magic bullet”, there were no physical impossibilities, when you take into account the actual facts of the situation. I researched this a while back, going into it with the idea that there was DEFINITELY multiple shooters, and found that there is absolutely nothing about what happened that can’t be explained by a single shooter, that shooter being Oswald.

    Of course, it’s always possible that there’s more here than meets the eye, but the actual evidence doesn’t really support it.

    This has been pissing me off ever since, that SO MANY people uncritically accept the claim that, fer example, if there was only one shooter, the bullet would have had to make a 90 degree turn in midair to account for actual wounds.

    So … this whole tendency to mythologize things has been there for a long time, long before 9/11. I had just hoped we’d gotten over it by now.

    Oh and doran — you last paragraph, I believe both Joshua AND Maha would agree with that completely. They are both open to the idea that there’s plenty of stuff about 9/11 that we don’t know, and may never know.

    It’s the whole blowing up the WTC and shooting a missile into the pentagon thing they take issue with.


  16. Why are not Maha and others characterizing that scenario as some form of lunacy?

    The only theory I consider “lunacy” is the one that claims the WTC towers collapsed from controlled detonation. I explained my reasons for this opinion here.

    Oh, and the missile in the Pentagon thing, too, but for some reason I don’t run into that as often.

    Everything else is still under consideration. That’s pretty much what Joshua Holland said, too.

    Keep up.

  17. Ian — OT, but (as I hope you remember) your dad turns 60 today, and it’s 6/6/06. I told him to get an exorcism.

  18. Exorcisms are so outdated. The new term is Freedom Sessions, I had one; but my demons refused to come out.

    The fatal shot came from the storm drain.

  19. The lunacy is that the government did not move to ‘buy’ off families of victims of Oklahoma City or protect the ammonia nitrate industry from lawsuits. The government did not buy off the Katrina families either. The stock holds have never been disclosed and the $100,000 from General Ahmad of Pakistan to Atta and the General’s whereabouts have never been explained either. And no slap down of the US consulate employees of Jeddah who gave out visas like candy. but it is ok to put dog handlers in jail.

  20. This provides a pretty good overview as to why people believe in conspiracy theories. It’s been with us since the beginning of time and, although there are reasons for it, it often goes awry. (Salem witch hunts, grassy knoll, Vince Foster, you name it. Ever since watching “The Oxbow Incident” in high school, I’ve tended to avoid them like the plague.)

    I noticed the date, too. Hmm. It’s election day out here in Kahlifonia. Wish us luck.

  21. Heh … I DID remember it was his b’day, but I hadn’t realized he was turning 60 … once somebody gets that old, the math gets difficult, ya know? Oh wait … you’re his BIG sister right?

    (please don’t ban me! or hurt me!)


  22. okokok, little sister … … by decades, many decades, right?

    (trying not to get hurt)


  23. Ian — Decades, yes. He was at east 47 when I was born. Or something. Truth is, I am too math-impaired to keep track of how old I am.

  24. Maha,

    The one conspiracy I’m almost convinced of is the shoot down of flight 93. If you could help me debunk this, I’d be much obliged

    First there is the background in DC and relatively muddled and bizarre accounts from Rumsfeld and Cheney of what happened on 911.

    1) As of 9/11 the NORAD rules had changed to give Rumsfeld the authority to order a shoot down without direction from the President. [New York Observer, 6/17/2004]

    2) 8:46 and 9:03 two aircraft crash into the world trade center.

    3) 9:30 Clarke asks President and Vice President to authorize the shoot down of hijacked aircraft.

    4) 9:35 Flight 93 issues new flight plan and reverses course for Washington DC.

    5) 9:38 Flight 77 crashes into Pentagon

    6) Rumsfeld claims that he (as head of the chain of command for NORAD!) left command and control and walked around to the opposite side of the Pentagon (1/2 mile) to aid people into stretchers for 15 to 30 minutes. Many conflicting reports about Rumsfeld’s where abouts. No accounts of Rumsfeld’s presence from the wounded or from rescuers. Clarke says Rumsfeld never disappeared long from teleconference.

    7) ~ 9:45 Clarke is told that the Pentagon has been given authorization to shoot down hijacked aircraft. Norm Mineta overhears what he interprets to be a shoot down order from Cheney “well before 10 AM”.

    8) 9:52 Lynn Cheney repeatedly hangs up conference call with Clarke to “better hear CNN”.

    9) Shortly after 10 AM — Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld claim to discuss shoot down orders and rule of engagement (Rice claims to overhear it). Phone call does not show up on official phone log. 911 commission was highly skeptical of VP’s account — many believing the phone call did not take place. [Newsweek, 6/20/2004]

    6) 10:06 flight 93 crashes

    6) 10:14 Cheney repeatedly relays “engage” order to NMCC

    7) 10:39 Rumsfeld plays dumb about NORAD fighters having been given engagement orders — “OK,let me ask the question here. Has that directive been transmitted to the aircraft?”

    8) FBI immediately takes over investigation. Allowing NTSB only limited access to data (e.g. )

    September 13th. Pittsburg newspaper reports indicate flight 93 broke apart in air. Large debris was found 3 to 6 miles from the primary crash site.

    September 13th. Report in the Nashua Telegraph: Although controllers don’t have complete details of the Air Force’s chase of the Boeing 757, they have learned the F-16 made 360-degree turns to remain close to the commercial jet, the employee said. “He must’ve seen the whole thing,”

    September 13th: Flight 93’s two boxes are deemed “severely damaged”, and it is not known if the data can be recovered [Reuters, 9/13/2001; BBC, 9/15/2001]

    April 19, 2002: entire undamaged 30 minute recording played for families of victims.[Chicago Tribune 4/19/02] — “The last minutes of the tape are muffled by the sound of rushing wind as the plane plunged from the sky

    FBI never voices support for passenger take over theory. Most support comes from 911 commission report.

  25. Question for you tho: what is the purpose of covering up and pretending the plane went down on its own?

    I think, and I think all reasonable people would think, that after the first plane hit the first tower, shooting down the other three would have been a reasonable reaction. If they actually managed to get their act together in time to shoot down one of them before it hit its target … why on earth would they not be trumpeting that as their success on 9/11 at reacting to the crisis? Why would that not be talking point number one as to why you can’t call the admin’s reactions on that day incompetent?

    What would be the point of covering up the one thing most people would’ve thought they might’ve done right on that day?

    Not dismissing the idea that it was a shoot-down, since there seems to be a fair amount of circumstantial evidence … just highly skeptical, unless and until I see a persuasive reason as to why they would’ve covered up a shoot-down.


  26. I sympathize with your response. They should have shot it down and they could have easily justified it.

    However, ineptness wasn’t even on the media radar screen for well over a year. The administration got an immediate and huge jump in popularity from the attack. They didn’t want to be second guessed by the media for shooting down the heroes on Flight 93 — “Could they have taken over the cockpit successfully?” “Did they really need to die?” Besides, it would have disrupted the news cycle, taken a little light off of Bush’s heroic photo-ops in New York and DC.

    Better to simply be victims and have heroes. “No one could have anticipated” .. . . “Let’s Roll” . . . “Dead or Alive” . . . .”Well, I can hear you! The rest of the world can hear you!” If you want to rally the people, it’s better to have citizens killed by your enemies than have citizens killed as collateral damage in the countries defense.

    They were right. Rumsfeld wasn’t taken to task for his self-proclaimed idiotic lapse in command ([supposedly] leaving command and control for 1/2 hour during a critical portion of attack). Not even several years later by the 911 commission. A naval admiral would be court martialled for dropping his command in an attack to pick up a stretcher. But, no one wanted to question the actions of someone who was nearly killed by terrorists. Free ride. Cheney even made up a story about a threat to Airforce One. They were all taking risks, all near victims. It was incredibly unpatriotic to question their reactions — My Pet Goat? Sitting with school children for 10 minutes? I didn’t hear about it for two more years. The president’s popularity was 92%.

    Cheney and Rumsfeld are compulsive liars (and secretive to boot). It may have started as a reluctance to share information, but when the story of the passengers got out they made the political decision to let people believe what they wanted. No need for the FBI to even make a finding. Just let the family listen to the tape. A crash sound was a serving cart hitting the cockpit door. The rushing sound was a rapid descent caused by the terrorists at the controls.

    How to hide it. The Cheneys, Rumsfeld, Bush, and Rice are easy. NORAD, Mueller, select FBI, Pentagon, Air Traffic Control? They’re all under executive branch control. I suppose they told them that American’s need their heroes and the terrorists didn’t need to know the details of our defense.

  27. Oh yeah, in the movie version you can take advantage of several suicides and premature deaths among members of the Ohio Air National guard. No kidding.

  28. Ian, in addition to B’s point, there’s a psychological one: the Bush administration clearly likes secrecy for its own sake. They prefer that others remain guessing about what they’re really up to. Well, they most like being absolutely trusted, but when that doesn’t work out, next best is wondering. They conceal all kinds of things that they don’t have to, just because they can.

  29. Maha, I’m responding specifically to But that kind of evidence is almost certainly not forthcoming; there will be no further serious investigation into the events of 9/11. Ironically, that’s largely because of the 9/11 “truth movement” itself — by embracing fanciful notions that the government blew up the World Trade Center with thermite charges, or that the Pentagon was hit by a missile — makes it hard for the rest of us to express rational skepticism of the official account., and I did so after reading the whole article. I agree with almost everything he says. I still find that conclusion wierd. Did I miss some irony or something?

  30. Did I miss some irony or something?

    I think you’re leaving out a step, or maybe I see a step that Holland didn’t. OF COURSE the Bush Administration resists being investigated. But even after the Bushies are out of office, and even if Dems take back the White House and Congress, it’s going to take some pushing to get 9/11 re-opened for investigation. Meaning that without widespread public support for such an investigation, it probably won’t happen. Meaning that if most of the public associates questions about 9/11 with alien abductions, it probably won’t happen.

  31. Okay, that makes some sense as additional perspective. I dont’ find it in Holland’s article, but agree that it could be a concern when/if sanity returns.

  32. I am greatful for Joshua Holland’s column and for a similar, previous one by Earnest Partridge. Both provide an injection of skepticism into the question of 911. Mr. Holland got a lot of flak in the comments at another site. I think that was undeserved, because I think he was rational and remained open to new evidence. This is not to say that I am entirely comfortable with just letting it rest.

    One this is clear from the comments here and at Alternet. This is such an emotional issue that tempers flare. However you may characterize a given person’s belief regarding this event from “cool and rational” to “lunatic” most of us form an attachment to our theories about 911 because they provide some kind of closure or stability not because we have arrived at an explanation that is whole, logical and consistent. We are attached to them at least in part because they “work” for us.

    I personally do not find ANY of the explanations entirely plausible. I have questions that are insistent and gnawing and areas of agreement across the spectrum. As Dr. Partridge pointed out, there is a great need to go back and assiduously check the facts and start the process over from the beginning. One of the problems is what they used to call “data glare” there is too much information for anyone of us to winnow, sift and decide. A sound argument based on incorrect facts is not valid. But, which are the facts and which the fabrications? Add in a healthy dose of contradiction and disagreement and the emotional content of the issue pushes it well out of the range of rational discourse. We get name calling and dismissive comments that help no one.

    Consider for a moment the minimal “dream team” of honest, dedicated professionals that would be needed to approach this problem. Physicists, achitects, metallurgists, engineers of many stripes, law enforcement and crime investigators. The lists goes on and on. Like many of you, I look at this list and I have to say to myself, “I am not on this list.” So, I read a bunch of blogs, et cetera and I decide whose argument appeals to me the most based on my limited knowledge and experience, because NOT choosing isn’t on the menu. The issue is too big to avoid.

    The other issue is episemological. Our society has no commonly accepted method of distinguishing the truth. In fact, our society as very broad divisions on this issue. (It would be a major undertaking just to reach a consensus on a definition of “truth”.) So even if we had our “dream team” reach a conclusion, many would simply not recognize their methods as valid and maybe they would be right.

    Religious experience happens just beyond the edge of our understanding as does the question of 911. Ira Chernus wrote a worthwhile article on Common Dreams a while back. As I recall, he concluded that in all probability, we will never know. I suppose he is right. But, unlike Iris Dement, I for one, find it difficult to “let the mystery be.” But, the least I can do is to proceed with the knowledge that regardless of what belief is forged from my hypotheses, I will very likely be wrong.

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