Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Truth is Out There..

The other night over dinner some family members and I had a rather ... animated ... discussion about whether or not the World Trade Center devastation was an inside job, or really the work of terrorists. I'm afraid I get more than a little impatient with conspiracy theorists, unfortunately. "Well, that's just stupid...!"  Almost everything in the scientific world can be explained scientifically, and to quote one of the engineers involved in the investigation, "Quantitative reasoning can help sort fact from fiction, and can help us learn from this unfortunate disaster". In other words, it's what we don't know that can be puzzling.  But during our discussion, my daughter made a very good point, an excellent point, actually.  She said, "It's okay to question things." And that is very true.  It is very okay to question things.  Never accept anything at face value if you feel there is another answer.  The truth is out there.


To me, questioning something is like starting a journey down the yellow brick road.  A question is not an answer, it is just the beginning of the learning process.  Along the road there may be all sorts of strange encounters.  You may wander through a field of poppies, and be lulled into a state of somnolence.  "Ahhh, this is nice, I think I'll stay here..."  Or perhaps you may be attacked by flying monkeys, or you may encouter folks who will say you're on the wrong road and will tell you to turn back.  But keep going.  Never give up on the quest for knowledge.

Sometimes when we reach the end of our journey, the answers we find are not the ones we expected. "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."  There is a theory about conspiracy theories (don't you love it?) that conspiracy theories are sexier and more fun than the truth.  We want to believe Princess Diana was killed by shadowy figures in the palace, rather than by an ordinary drunk driver.  Conspiracy theorists always make their point by asking another question, rather than giving an answer. The explanation for something is never a question, and often the answer is dry and scientific and not very sexy.

As my daughter said, it is always good to question things, and I completely agree.  Intellectual curiosity is wonderful.  There are some things in life that cannot be explained, and that is part of the wonder.  But there are also some things that can be explained, and that is part of the wonder too.

Here is a link to detailed scientific, engineering, structural and architectural explanations as to why the planes were able to bring down the World Trade Centers, why they fell, and how they fell as they did.  It's very interesting and you will be reading all day, once you click onto the 120 citations and other supportive material.  The article is like Russian Matryoshka dolls, one link leads to another and another.  I think I have a degree in engineering after reading it.

The truth is out there...

9 comments:

myletterstoemily said...

i hope i never outgrow asking questions.
even questions about my own beliefs
either expose fallacy or further establish
them.

Claudia said...

My problem with conspiracies is that people simply don't get along well enough to pull them off. Thus, the only way to make a conspiracy actually work is to literally kill everyone involved or kill their credibility in a kind of social death.

If we look around, there are plenty of situations where everyone was killed that was involved stand out - JFK, MLK, and others. As for social death, we know about the CIA's MKUltra, for example, but humiliate and blame anyone who says they were victimized by the project.

To me, deaths or social death is almost proof of the conspiracy itself.

As for the World Trade Center, I don't think there's anyway to know. We educated and armed the Taliban when they were fighting the Russians; now they are our enemies. We pay the Saudis lots of money for oil; this money is the backbone of Al Qaeda.

Who's responsible?

Sextant said...

My favorite is the guy that invented the 100 MPG carburetor back in the 50s which has two endings.

1. ESSO bought the patent, prints, and existing carburetor and dumped them in the middle of the Indian ocean and paid off the inventor to keep his mouth shut.

2. ESSO stole the patent, plans, and existing carburetor, murdered the inventors and several patent officials and dumped them in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

Personally I have my own conspiracy theory that involves me. I seem to get caught at a very high proportion of red lights.

I am almost certain that the Pennsylvania Dept. of Transportation has implanted a device in my head that turns green lights red. This is how they check the calibration of the lights. Any light that fails to turn red when I approach has a automatic repair order sent by undetectable alien technology waves to Penn DOT.

I used to believe that the device was planted in my car, but when the effect continued with rental cars, I knew it had to be in my head. Also I seem no more likely in other states to get hit with red light than anyone else. So it has to be Penn DOT.

Tin foil hats have no effect.

Steve Bailey said...

Count me as one of the conspiracy nuts.... I kinda believe someone knew.... but I really don't want to believe that....

Leslie: said...

I'm still amazed "they" didn't see it coming!

btw...have you ever considered writing a book of essays? It'd be a top seller!

cloudia charters said...

I like following your yellow brick road!



Warm Aloha from Honolulu
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SHUBHAJIT said...

I stumbled upon your blog and your About Us page provokes me to read your post. It's an attractive 'about me' page, boring is far cry.

"A question is not an answer, it is just the beginning of the learning process."

A question is never wrong. Answers might be.

the walking man said...

*shrug* Regardless of who brought the WTC towers down the mission was accomplished. We are now a terrorized nation in a world full of them and we have given up 99% of our civil rights in the name of freedom.

Paula Slade said...

"The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing." - Albert Einstein