Monday, January 18, 2010

Monday Morning XKCD 



By Blogger Noocyte, at Mon Jan 18, 11:32:00 PM:

This is a nice illustration of the "thought" that goes into Trooferism. I simply cannot abide it; it's one of the few things in life that I have granted myself license to suspend my general effort to be civil on all topics, however passionately I may disagree.

For instance, I recently reconnected on Facebook with a friend with whom I had not had any contact since the Reagan Administration (first term!). In the course of our conversations, it became clear that he espoused some of the damnable conspiracy theories about 9/11. Pasted below is my response to him. I share this because it contains what I see as the irreconcilable divide between Troofers and..well...reasonable folk:


There are two main trunks of difficulty with your formulation of those events.

The first has to do with engineering/metallurgy/physics: The steel in question does not have to *melt* but merely lose a finite factor of its structural integrity, rendering it more susceptible to gravity loads, incrementally, then catastrophically. Thin, spray-on insulation around critical load-bearing beams was initially stripped away by massive mechanical forces associated with the impact and blow-through of the culprit aircraft. This in turn rendered the underlying metal more vulnerable to the thermal stresses it subsequently underwent. The metal did not have to actually *liquefy* in order to be undermined to the point that it could no longer maintain sufficient tensile strength to hold up its load; it just needed to deform.

But all of this is merely academic when viewed in the light of the second major trunk of difficulty. That ramification has to do with world-view. The capacity to believe in a conspiracy of such incomprehensible scope and malice requires at the very least a willingness to grant a level of operational security which would be unparalleled in human history (of the thousands of people who would have to be In On It, the notion that not *one* "Deep Throat" would emerge strains any reasonable quantum of credulity). At the most, it bespeaks a view of human nature which is as difficult to fathom as it is repellent. The evil (i.e., chillingly total subordination of basic human empathy to any ideological or utilitarian motivational set) required to do as al Qaeda did is mere child's play when held up against the reptilian nature of those who would have done as you appear to be willing to believe they did. It simply does not compute on any rational level.

I'm sorry if this comes across as unduly harsh to you, [redacted], and I do encourage you to approach the data with as open a mind as you can muster. But I have no tolerance for these theories, nor for the nihilistic place from which they come. It is in deference to our too-long-interrupted friendship that I have been as civil as I have been on the matter. But I cannot indefinitely maintain neutrality on the subject.

Perhaps it would be best if we declared a "no-fly zone" around this one.


Fortunately, he agreed cheerfully to the moratorium on the subject, and I was spared having to boot him from my circle after all these years.  

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