Lawsuit over the World Trade Center cross causes outpouring of Christian love.

Remember way back during the cleanup of the Twin Towers after the 9/11 attacks all the attention that was given to a piece of crossed steel beams that had broken in just such a way and landed in just such another way that they ended up forming a crude cross? You know, the one that prompted all the True Believers™ to talk about how it was a sign from God, etc. etc. and it was pretty clear they were going to want it to be part of the eventual memorial?

Well that day has come and they’re installing the supposed miracle at the site and, as it turns out, it’ll be the only religious symbol allowed. The folks at American Atheists have filed a lawsuit to either get it blocked or open up the display to all religious symbols. Seems fair, right? Include everyone or don’t include anyone. More than just Christians lost their lives that day.

Well, FOX News reported on the story in their usual “Fair and Balanced” way and then took to Facebook to ask folks what they thought about the lawsuit. As you can imagine, the immediate reaction from a lot of Christians was full of the love, empathy, and understanding that you would expect from the followers of Jesus.

Ha ha! Just kidding! It was really filled with a lot of statements like this:

Can’t you just feel the love? As you know, all of the above are exactly what Jesus would do if he were here and I’m sure their God is smiling down upon them from wherever the hell he supposedly resides.

The above was compiled by the folks over at Practical Doubt and they have lots more where that came from. I highly recommend you go read the entire article to get the full effect of the love being expressed by the Christians on Facebook. K. Mason took the time to black out the faces and names of the asshats making such contemptible comments, which is probably more consideration than they deserve. However, if you really want to put names to faces you can go read the entire thread on Facebook yourself.

On a semi-related side note: With the arrival of Google+ there’s been a lot of debate over whether their “real name only” rule is a good idea. The general argument in favor of only allowing real names is that it reduces the amount of trolling and nasty comments that an anonymous pseudonym seems to bring with it. Technically Facebook has the same rule and it seems — if this thread of vicious comments is anything to go by — that requiring real names doesn’t really make that many people stop to think about what they’re posting. Kinda calls into question the real names only policy.

Thoughts on seven years since 9/11.

It’s that day again. Seven years ago a bunch of guys deluded with fantasies of an invisible sky fairy promising them virgins in Heaven flew planes full of innocent Americans into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and an empty field. Everyone on the planes died along with over 3,000 other people in New York and Washington D.C.. But you don’t need me to recount the story. Chances are you’re already very familiar with the events that took place. It’s not like we Americans have let it stray far from our minds much since that day and we only get more obsessive about it on the day’s anniversary. We’ve politicized it, used it as rationalization for all kinds of things we never would’ve considered before, hid behind it to shield us from the criticisms we got for abandoning some of our most cherished ideals, and turned it into a big stick that we’ve used to bludgeon others into doing what we want in the name of fighting terrorism. For the Republicans in particular it’s been one hell of a windfall because not only can they use it to manipulate people with fear, but they can work up a good mock outrage when someone calls them on it.

We like to talk a lot about how we haven’t let the terrorists win, but it’s clear looking back over the past seven years that the damage they inflicted on this country went well beyond just the physical destruction of life and property on that September morning. We started off in the aftermath on a positive footing by coming together as a nation in a way not seen since we got involved in World War II. The decision to invade Afghanistan was almost universally supported not just by Americans, but by most of the rest of the world. President Bush enjoyed what was probably his highest personal approval ratings of his career and the world was not only sympathetic to our cause, but ready to join the fight. And then it all started to go wrong. Our leaders decided it was high time they made an example out of someone in the Middle East and were arrogant enough to think that they could force a regime change onto a country that they honestly believed would reward them with adoration and become a shining beacon spreading democracy to the rest of the region. They also saw an unprecedented opportunity to expand their power to new heights under the guise of National Security and they ran with it as far and as fast as they could. The damage to our civil liberties and freedoms caused by a power-hungry administration are an indirect result of the actions of those terrorists seven years ago and it has far reaching implications not just for Americans, but for the rest of the world. Most of the people sitting in indefinite detention in Guantanamo aren’t Americans, but that hasn’t saved them from the abuse of power of this administration. Perhaps the terrorists didn’t achieve total victory, America still exists after all, but they achieved far more of their aims than we like to admit. And the worst part of it all is that we helped them to achieve those goals.

As for my own viewpoint, when I look back on that day I can’t help but put part of the blame on religion for the events that occurred. President Bush kept saying that we weren’t waging a religious war, but it’s clear that the terrorists were.  It’s yet another in a long line of examples of what happens when people take their belief in books about Gods as the literal truth. While I’m sure we’d find other reasons to fight wars if all religions were to die out tomorrow, I can’t help to think that events such as 9/11 would become all but impossible if they did. In the end it’s hard to say what upsets me more: the fact that some people used their belief in God to motive themselves to commit mass murder or what America has done to itself out of fear and paranoia since that day.

I was thinking of starting the Rudy Giuliani 9/11 drinking game…

… where you’d take a drink every time Rudy manages to slip a reference about September 11th, 2001 into whatever the hell he’s talking about at the time. Then it occurred to me you wouldn’t be able to make it through a nightly newscast or, goodness forbid, one of his speeches without dieing from alcohol poisoning. I swear he says it that much. He hasn’t actually gotten to the point where he just (9/11) starts (9/11) tossing it (9/11) in between (9/11) every (9/11) other word (9/11) or so, but it’s (9/11) probably only a matter (9/11) of time.

9/11.

Perhaps an Alternative View Would do?

Apparently the 9/11 conspiracy movement is still going strong.  It’s too bad, cause those that waste their time on this pet subject could really do a lot of great things if they devoted as much time and energy to anything else.  But the reason why conspiracy theories always have a decent movement attached to them is simple, conspiracy theories attempt to explain the seemingly unexplainable.  That and they also play with our emotions.

Dangerously long post ahead…

After a tragic and horrific event such as 9/11 happens people become very emotional and their minds start racing a mile a minute to explain what happened.  We want answers and we want to seek the truth.  So much so, that when a complex theory that attempts to explain everything comes along, it looks as tasty to our brain as a chocolate cake to a fat kid.

If you watch 9/11 conspiracy films, and I have seen most all of them, they all follow the same pattern:

  1.   First they start off with a statement of the event that happened and how they grieve for the loss as well.  And will usually follow this up with an American flag and how as citizens it’s our right to have answers and to seek them.
  2.   Then you get the line, “We compiled the evidence you decide”.  Well hell, this is wonderful right?  They are unbiased and leave the decision making up to us.  That’s how it should be.
  3.   Then comes the dramatic music and the soft spoken narration, which is usually a female voice that has an appealing quality to it.
  4.   Followed by loads of facts BS.

It’s all a bunch of BS to get you to buy into someone else’s pet theory.  To me it’s nothing more than good advertising and knowing how to play to your audience.  But in some cases it’s just downright criminal.  Take the article linked right before this sentence, Popular Mechanics does an excellent job explaining the myths of 9/11.

But the one piece of info that hit me the hardest was this:

Puffs Of Dust
CLAIM: As each tower collapsed, clearly visible puffs of dust and debris were ejected from the sides of the buildings. An advertisement in The New York Times for the book Painful Questions: An Analysis Of The September 11th Attack made this claim: “The concrete clouds shooting out of the buildings are not possible from a mere collapse. They do occur from explosions.” Numerous conspiracy theorists cite Van Romero, an explosives expert and vice president of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, who was quoted on 9/11 by the Albuquerque Journal as saying “there were some explosive devices inside the buildings that caused the towers to collapse.” The article continues, “Romero said the collapse of the structures resembled those of controlled implosions used to demolish old structures.”

FACT: Once each tower began to collapse, the weight of all the floors above the collapsed zone bore down with pulverizing force on the highest intact floor. Unable to absorb the massive energy, that floor would fail, transmitting the forces to the floor below, allowing the collapse to progress downward through the building in a chain reaction. Engineers call the process “pancaking,” and it does not require an explosion to begin, according to David Biggs, a structural engineer at Ryan-Biggs Associates and a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) team that worked on the FEMA report.

Like all office buildings, the WTC towers contained a huge volume of air. As they pancaked, all that air—along with the concrete and other debris pulverized by the force of the collapse—was ejected with enormous energy. “When you have a significant portion of a floor collapsing, it’s going to shoot air and concrete dust out the window,” NIST lead investigator Shyam Sunder tells PM. Those clouds of dust may create the impression of a controlled demolition, Sunder adds, “but it is the floor pancaking that leads to that perception.”

Demolition expert Romero regrets that his comments to the Albuquerque Journal became fodder for conspiracy theorists. “I was misquoted in saying that I thought it was explosives that brought down the building,” he tells PM. “I only said that that’s what it looked like.”

Romero, who agrees with the scientific conclusion that fire triggered the collapses, demanded a retraction from the Journal. It was printed Sept. 22, 2001. “I felt like my scientific reputation was on the line.” But emperors-clothes.com saw something else: “The paymaster of Romero’s research institute is the Pentagon. Directly or indirectly, pressure was brought to bear, forcing Romero to retract his original statement.” Romero responds: “Conspiracy theorists came out saying that the government got to me. That is the farthest thing from the truth. This has been an albatross around my neck for three years.”

The poor guy gets mis-quoted and now his reputation is on the line.  I have read other accounts of the same guy not giving out quotes anymore, even to defend himself, cause the conspirators take it and use it to their advantage.  Not caring for the fact they are ruining Romero’s career.  He is somewhat of an outcast now in his field for the whole fiasco, or at least he was as of 05.

Which is why I have disgust and udder disdain for conspiracy theories.  They have and do ruin careers of scientists and good people.  And it’s just a shame because it means there will be less and less individuals who will be willing to take on these crackpot theories in the future for fear of having a ruined career.

But you don’t have to take my word for it…  It’s a conspiracy, the government sank the Titanic

Or there is always this gem…  Despite the sarcasm, Maddox makes an excellent point.  If the US gov or some faction of the US gov had no problem killing 3000 people and getting away with it.  How is it possible they could let a college student uncover the truth?  When all they would have to do is shut him up.

Or this funny one, “Dont be Fooled, What Seems Simple is Usually a Complicated Conspiracy.”

But if you got time to kill here is a link to the PBS show Democracy Now where there was a debate between the Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics magazine, the Editor of Debunking 9/11 Myths (A book put out by Popular Mechanics) and the creator and write of the Loose Change “Documentary” with the researcher for this “Documentary”.

If you choose not to watch I can spare you the details.  The Loose Change guys come off as pompous arrogant assholes that lose their “cool” when their ideas are challenged.  They were scoffing at nearly every counter-point the Popular Mechanics guys offered and even laughed at a couple points as well.  The Popular Mechanics guys obviously not only knew what they were talking about, but were very respectful and handled themselves and the content well.

What I really want to do with this post is hopefully open some eyes into the world of conspiracy theories, specifically 9/11.  It’s hard to let go of them, I understand this well, but in the end conspiracy theories are a waste of time.  Conspirators claim to be no experts, but rather just a sort of journalist presenting evidence.  But if this is the case, why do conspiracy theories leave out evidence, misquote experts, dismiss evidence presented by experts, and just flat out lie?  If their theories are as strong as they claim then there is no need for this right?

Feel free to comment on your beliefs, I would be interested to hear them…