Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Is the 911 Truth Movement "Like a Religion"?


One of the arguments by defenders of the government's version of 9/11 is that 9/11 truth is "like a religion".

In fact, one writer argues that blind patriotism, rather than 9/11 truth, is the "religious" belief system:

Investigation of a crime means reading the evidence, first. 9-11 was spectacular crime leaving behind spectacular evidence. Spectacle was the whole thing—give people visions they would never forget, embed fears to shadow them forever. Deep cracks penetrated the American psyche on 9-11, some possibly too deep to heal; therein lies perhaps the greatest ally of 9-11 perpetrators, the collective desperation of Americans for no more damage. We’ve been hurt enough!

“Looking away” might shunt some pain, and clear the way for explanations that help the wound start to heal, but such neutralizing of evidence offers short-term comfort at best, while actually making things worse with its invitation for greater wounds. The looking away, refusal to consider evidence, it could be called religion based on fundamental faith that our government…”OH! They’d Never Do THAT!” The truth that they would do that, and actually did—as virtually all evidence proves—not only represents more pain, but makes our enemy hard to define. The mass emotional steady-state requires an explanation soothing in its finality while providing a clear enemy, a culprit at which victims can focus their rage. The truth of 9-11 rips many people too far from steady-state comfort, presents a dilemma some can’t handle. Thus, the pervasive looking away, which in this case is the worst possible posture. As long as one’s head is buried in comforting sand, the ass kicking inevitably gets worse.

Psychiatrists and psychologists support this diagnosis of denial by defenders of the official 9/11 story.

However, given that 85% of the American population identifies itself as Christian, and millions more identify themselves as Jewish, and probably millions more identify themselves with some other form of religious belief, being "religious" (or at least "spiritual") is not considered a bad thing by most Americans.

The argument made by defenders of the government's version of 9/11 must therefore be aimed solely at atheists, for whom "religion" is a dirty word. In order to shift the discussion onto neutral ground -- where both religious folks and atheists can speak a common language, and in order not to offend any readers (atheists or believers) -- I will simply address the issue of whether 9/11 truth is an irrational belief system (thus leaving off the table the debate about whether atheism, religion, or some other form of spirituality is the most rational belief system).

Indeed, because 9/11 truth activists are comprised of atheists and religious folks and non-denominational spiritual people, the entire religion discussion is simply irrelevant. The question is rationality, not religion.

Are 9/11 Questions Irrational?

Tom Murphy wrote an essay entitled Why the 911Truther Movement is Like a Religion. Because Mr. Murphy's essay is the most well-developed argument of its type, I will quote his essay in full, and address each of his arguments in turn.

(1) Revelation – 911Truthers KNOW that what they've been given by the 9/11 Commission and NIST is anything but the "truth". This knowledge is revealed by the planning and execution of a false flag operation by others (most probably the Administration). While the planning and execution were managed very successfully, neither were quite good enough for the cleverness of Truthers discoveries of multiple layers of incompetence – despite the fact that no one has yet confessed to participation in or knowledge of the actual conspiracy.

Response: Virtually all of the people who question 9/11 -- including me -- started out believing the government's version of events. I know of less than 10 people who immediately suspected that the attacks were a false flag operation. Our pre-conception -- like everyone else's -- was that foreign terrorists were solely responsible for 9/11. I was born and raised in the U.S. I've always loved the Fourth of July, its parades, the Bill of Rights. It never dawned on me that any government -- let alone my government -- might carry out false flag attacks.

Most people's doubt in the government story evolved very slowly over many years. Specifically, most people ran into one claim by the government which was refuted by the evidence, then ran into another one, and then more. Some people were determined to prove the 9/11 activists wrong, and so spent countless hours investigating the facts . . . only to realize that the government's story was impossible! I read one essay by a gentleman like this who spent countless hours trying to debunk the 9/11 questions, and had several sleepless nights as he started to realize he couldn't do it.

In fact, most people used the scientific method to test the government's hypothesis and only gradually, slowly, and reluctantly came to the conclusion that it is very, very, very unlikely. That is the scientific method: the opposite of irrationality.

In terms of "incompetence", I have tried to debunk that argument here. I have tried to debunk the no-confession argument here.

(2) Reminiscence – Disparate 911Truthers sites occasionally gather in more communal settings entitled "conferences" to listen to each other speak the "truth". This is a perfect setting to reminisce about their cleverness at having revealed the truth, while others remain ignorant. This sharing allows 911Truthers to integrate their shared thoughts into daily thinking.

Response: I agree that there are conferences where 9/11 truth activists gather, and that people there reminiscence. From what I hear, though, the emotion isn't gloating over how smart the conferees are, but a mix of the following emotions:

  • Community: A sense of joy at speaking with like-minded people. What would it have been like during the Middle Ages -- when people thought that the plague was caused by bad "humors" or what-not -- to attend a medical conference where the bacteria, its epidemiology, and its treatment were discussed? (I apologize for the over-the-top analogy, but I think it conveys the sense of community which 9/11 truth activists do develop).
(3) Ritual – 911Truthers use constant repetition of common "truths" (e.g., Osama was on the CIA payroll) and common terms (e.g. false flag). The repetitive use of these truths and terms lends comfort to Truthers through their ritualistic use. Similar and consistent approaches are taken against those who disagree with the Movement in a thoughtful and considerate manner when their points are not addressed but their character is questioned openly.

Response: In fact, such statements are supported by the historical record. Is Mr. Murphy claiming that the CIA did not -- through the Pakistani ISI -- fund Bin Laden in Afghanistan? Or that there is not a well-documented history of false flag terror? Are the CIA, the New York Times, and the Founding Fathers wrong when they discuss false flag terror?

(4) Reverence – 911Truthers give great weight to so-called "scholars", architects, engineers, and politicians as verification that their cause is just and "real". How could someone such as Steve Jones be... wrong?

Response: In fact, the emphasis on "scholars" and other experts largely arose because the defenders of the official version of 9/11 were stressing "the experts say . . ." If you do an internet search of the discussions occurring before the formation of the group Scholars for 9/11 Truth, you will see what I mean.

In fact, many 9/11 activists previously said "who needs experts? The evidence is obvious even to lay people." I have always argued that experts are important as well. In a jury trial, the jury decides, but each side has their own experts give their opinions.

As one example, Steven Jones could, indeed, be wrong. However, many people promote his work because:
  • He has a demonstrated history of acting for the good of humanity. For example, he helped to invent "solar cookers" which are helping many poor people all around the world to cheaply prepare their meals, even in heavily deforested areas
  • He has impressive scientific credentials
  • He obviously cares for people, for America, and for mankind
  • He follows the scientific method in his 9/11 work

(5) Restrictions – By placing the events of 9/11 into a massive conspiracy, 911Truthers have placed gateways through which one must pass to be accepted by the followers. If a person cannot pass, then they are clearly a shill for the enemy or are ignorant of the "truth".

Response: I believe Mr. Murphy is making a very important point. While it tries my patience when people look at 2 plus 2 and arrive at 5, I believe that EVERYONE -- whether they question 9/11 or not -- should be shown some respect. Because I believe that EVERYONE has a brain and a heart, and EVERYONE has the ability to change.

Indeed, if someone is paid by the government or a government subcontractor to spread disinformation, I think that person should be respectfully approached to try to reach them, because even their grankids will be hurt by the 9/11 coverup, because false flags make all of us unsafe, and all the paychecks in the world won't adequately protect the disinformation agent's kids and grandkids from the harm being caused by those who order false flag attacks. I don't know what the odds are of reaching paid disinformation agents, but I think we have to try, in the same way that kind-hearted Jewish people who have shown authentic respect and love to Skinheads have converted them into do-gooders who can successfully reach out to current Skinheads to get them to revise their choices.

(6) Repentance – If one who has passed the gateway but falters in the "faith", they must be shown the error of their ways or thoughts. If they repent of their misdeeds, then they are permitted to return to the 911Truther fold but under a renewed watch for future lapses of "faith".

Response: An interesting perspective. I believe that questions about 9/11 should stand or fall on their own merits.

(7) Reliance – 911Truthers are optimistic and rely on the belief that once the unwashed masses accept the "truth", then there will be hope for the continuance of America and its people. However, things may (some Truthers would argue must) get worse before they get better, which could include a re-writing of original principles (e.g., the Constitution).

Response: Sorry, but I don't understand what Mr. Murphy is trying to say. However, it is true that I am optimistic and rely on my belief that if 9/11 truth prevails, then there will be hope for the continuance of America and its people. Here's why.

(8) Resurrection – Only through the acceptance of the 911Truther's version of the "truth" will America and its people reawaken from its slumber of ignorance and yet again attain its magnificence but as a kinder, gentler, and more globally-conscious and focused nation – willing to share its wealth equitably.

Response: Again, I do believe that 9/11 Truth Has the Power to Stop Fascism. I actually am concerned with many other issues, as well, and am open to other ways to stop the current slide into fascism.

By the way, people alive in Nazi Germany themselves say that current America looks exactly like Nazi Germany as Hitler rose to power. That's the historical record: I didn't make it up. (Google it.)

(9) Rebellion – By default, 911Truthers are in opposition to "authority" because it is the government that perpetrated the "crime". Naturally, this requires a high level of devotion and dedication to the 911Truther Movement or "rebellion" because of the possible consequences... if caught.

Response: I respectfully disagree. Anarchists comprise only a tiny percentage of those who question 9/11. The overwhelming majority are patriots who love America. Indeed, I'm going to write an essay quoting one of the Founding Fathers saying something like "don't tear things down unless you know something better you are going to build".

Personally, I think that NO system -- whether capitalism, socialism, or whatever-ism -- will guarantee freedom and liberty. ANY system can be taken over by dictators. The American system might need fixing, but its as good as any. It is the corruption WITHIN the system which is destroying America.

(10) Removal – When a 911Truther finally accepts reality and now understands that they have been deceived by the Movement, they must be removed and disassociated with the "cause". The best vehicle for accomplishing this removal is to claim the violator a government plant meant to split the unity of the Movement.

Response: Anyone who has studied the history of Cointelpro knows that the government does infiltrate and disrupt anti-war movements. However, calling everyone who accepts the government's version of 9/11 a plant is counter-productive. Questions about 9/11 have enough power to stand on their own, and it is counter-productive to spend more time labelling people plants than debating the actual facts.

(11) Relevance – The actions and thoughts of the 911Truther are critical to the times in which they live. With the presumption that fascism abounds in America and this nation's world status is in decline because of a reliance upon only its own greatness, a global immorality exists within American culture that only the 911Truther Movement can reverse.

Response: I may be wrong, but I honestly don't believe a very high percentage of 9/11 activists believe this.

Alot may believe, however -- at least I do -- that failure to educate Americans will lead to future false flags. Why? Because, if you let a criminal get away with a crime, he may very well commit worse crimes in the future. And every parent knows that if you let your kids get away with something, they'll do something twice as bad.

(12) Relationships – The sharing of knowledge by 911Truthers via respective web sites, articles, false papers, conferences, etc... creates social and emotional relations that only strengthen the collective adherence to the "cause".

Response: Probably true.

(13) Reality – The concept that 9/11 was an inside job gains its own "reality" not by evidentiary examination but by the collective will of the 911Truther Movement. The reality is the inertia that IS the collective will of the individual Truthers and surely, this many people cannot be wrong.

Response: I respectfully disagree. Again, most 9/11 activists didn't question 9/11 until they tested the government's hypothesis using the scientific method, and found it wanting.

In addition, most of us hadn't even heard the term "false flag" before 9/11. I hadn't. I was very disappointed to learn about this trickery.

Most importantly, many people hold initial hypotheses questioning 9/11 that they then discard when they run into contradictory evidence. I myself have discarded certain "inside job" theories I previously held when confronted by contradictory evidence. That is the essence of the scientific method.

(14) Righteousness – The leaders of the 911Truther Movement have established rules (e.g., means of transferring their message and adherence to paying lip service to the scientific method) by which those within the movement must operate. Adherence to these rules is required and assists the leaders by ensuring that the movement's way of thinking is aligned to their wills (Reynolds vs. Jones – the great schism?).

Response: First, there are no "leaders" of the 911 truth movement. People tend to follow whoever they think is doing the most productive work at any given time. Personally, some people I previously respected started spouting anti-scientific theories about 9/11 (they were inside job theories) and I have stopped supporting them.

Also, those doing the most productive work are, indeed, following the scientific method. See this list.

(15) Retribution – Prior to repentance, a violator of the Movement must understand that there are consequences for not following the rules. These consequences include a diminishing of the violator's words, close association to a leader to learn more of the truth (or be watched more closely), and use as a public front to the "cause".

Response: I respectfully disagree. To a large extent, when someone floats a theory that is countered by the evidence, 9/11 activists tend to distance themselves from that person. That is rational action.

* * *

The above is a preliminary, off-the-cuff attempt to address this question. Perhaps someone else could address this issue more thoughtfully than I have.


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