The Non Credible Hulk “Debate”, an expose in science illiteracy

I was able to engage a “skeptic” who calls himself The Credible Hulk on 9/11. It took place on his Facebook page which is possibly one of the worst places to debate pseudoskeptics. The main reason for this is that popular mainstream “skeptics” tend to attract the lowest common denominator of “skeptics”. The bulk of these followers are blind dogmatists of establishment “skepticism”. Establishment “skepticism” worships corporate controlled establishment science like a religion and ridicules anything falling outside of that. So attempting to have a discussion here is next to impossible as you can see if you make the bold stomach churning attempt to follow that “discussion”.

Some people will wonder why I would choose to try to engage such pigheaded science and logic illiterate people. I think it’s important to expose their irrationality to the world. They are insulated and self-referentially support themselves, effectively preventing anyone’s criticism from reaching them. These debates do drive away the occasional rational people that innocently get sucked into such groups though. Once they find out what kind of people they really are, they leave in disgust. Finally, I am a researcher with a psychological background. These are the people I study, pathological skeptics. I’m investigating how these people tick and looking for ways to inoculate the rest of society from their repugnant pathology.

I start the discussion off with the following:

I see that you believe in the official 9/11 story despite the fact that it is 100% pseudoscience and is easily proven false by simply applying the scientific method. In fact, any grade 5 student should be able to understand why the official story is a fraud. Could you elaborate on this seemingly incredible contradiction?

A link is included to my article A Scientific Theory of the Twin Tower Collapses.

This results in a number of responses most of which are low brow personal attacks and chest beating pronouncements. There are also several “debunking” attempts and the rare intelligent comment. Fairly typical for a pathological skeptic forum.

The next day I was surprised to see a response from “The Credible Hulk”:

You spent an inordinate amount of time talking about what scientific theories are, while never mentioning the fact that the goal of structural failure analysis has nothing to do establishing a new scientific theory. It has to do with using existing scientific knowledge to reverse engineer a plausible explanation (of what is usually a single one-off event that cannot feasibly be replicated exactly in subsequent experiments), that is consistent with observation, and consistent with known physics, engineering dynamics and materials science.

“The first step in providing foundation for the TCD theory is to dispense with alternative theories. The main contender for the TCD theory is the official story.”

Ummm… Since when is it a requirement of a theory to “dispense with alternative theories?” Evolution doesn’t have to “discount Creationism” to be a robust theory. Rather, it merely stands on the weight of evidence, because that’s all it needs. You seem to feel that just insisting that the arguments of other so-called “truthers” are true is all it takes to deny the NIST conclusions. Yet, the truth is that you haven’t actually presented any new evidence, nor have you presented anything resembling a new “theory” that accounts for the existing evidence. It’s just a lot of confirmation bias, and references to debunked truther tropes decorated with a lot of rhetorical word salad about “theories” and “evidence,” neither of which makes actually an appearance in the argument.

“Every time in the history of modern human civilization when a skyscraper has come down in a similarly rapid and symmetrical manner as the Twin Towers, it has been a controlled demolition.”

– This is an argument from assertion. You have to prove this, or else you can’t use it as a premise in your argument. Otherwise you’re using conjecture as your “evidence” for TCD. You’re saying “all instances of A in history have been instances of B. This was an instance of A, therefore it has to have been an instance of B” WITHOUT having established the validity of the assertion that all instances of A in history have, in fact, been instances of B. It’s also circular reasoning, since even if you could prove that all previous instances of A were also instances of B (which I highly doubt you can), you’d be a priori assuming that 9/11 was not, in fact a counter-example, which is precisely the claim that you’re supposed to be proving. That’s not valid reasoning. Your subsequent argument is ostensibly “it looked to me like a CD, therefore it must be a CD. Prove me wrong.” That’s not how this works. You are the claimant, and therefore you must establish the correctness of your own claims. Again, I’m seeing a lot of rhetoric about evidence and scientific theories, and nothing actually resembling either one.

You also keep referring to the smoke coming out the sides as “squibs,” as though it has already been established that they were the result of explosions. You say that attributing them to increases in pressure is just “speculation” (despite it being a well established principle of the kinetics of gases), without providing any plausible reason for why the relationship between volume and pressure in the kinetics of gases should not apply in this situation, all the while speculating that they were due to explosions. Your “evidence” is just a rewording of your conclusion, and stated with a conviction that only confirmation bias can confer. Again, that’s circular reasoning.

On a side note, that’s one of the things that worries me about terminology and argumentative styles used in science and skepticism circles getting co-opted by pseudoskeptics. It’s as though they think that merely co-opting the vocabulary and syntactic structure of someone’s argumentative style can compensate for for the lack of actual substantive data and scientific reasoning.

Basically, this is just a variant on the Jones nano-thermite claims. The whole “spray-tan” thermite idea is absurd on its face, and was presented a long time ago by Jesse Ventura on his show. Show me one complex structure that has ever been demolitioned by thermite. There are good reasons why it’s not used by demolition experts for bringing down buildings in commercial demolitions: conventional explosives are way more predictable, can be timed to the millisecond, and have reliable reaction times. Yet here we have someone asserting that somebody, without even knowing what they were handling, went in and strategically sprayed what might as well be magic pixie dust all throughout the superstructure of all of those buildings (and without anybody noticing, no less). Presumably the ignition control units must have been teleported in later.

This is quite literally child-like magical thinking.

Riddle me this:
How did the explosive/thermite charges survive crashes intact?

How did the pilots manage to hit PRECISELY where they had to in order to cover-up the (alleged) fact that it was actually a controlled demolition? It’s not as though the buildings had floor numbers in gigantic font on the sides.

How did the building survive the weakening by the thermite and the earlier explosions while giving any alleged witnesses the time to escape? Did gravity wait for a while afterwards so they could escape?

You also repeat classic “Truther” jargon ad nauseum, such as “official story” and seem fixated on the idea of “level of a fifth grader” as being the measure of scientific knowledge. Usually when someone tells me that 5th grade level science education is sufficient to debunk 9/11, what that tells me is that that was as far as their own scientific education ever went.

You don’t have any supporting evidence, and are relying on verbose declarations of how “this is science,” and “that is pseudoscience” on the basis of some tired old recycled and unsupported “truther” talking points.

QED.

BOOM!

I responded:

As usual you are not dealing with my argument because you can’t. My argument is very simple. Apply the scientific method to the Twin Tower falls. You won’t do this. Why? Because it would prove that you wholeheartedly believe in and support crackpot pseudoscience all the while proclaiming to be against it.

I have presented several pieces of evidence. Each one of them constitutes a significant anomaly which cannot be explained by the official story. Each one of them by themselves proves that the official story is false. This is how science works. You simply throw this out the window. Why? Despite your proclamations (bare assertion fallacies), they are evidence. You cannot explain them away so like any true believer, you simply proclaim that they don’t exist. This is magical thinking.

The official story for how the Twin Towers came down has absolutely no evidence to support it. Despite having absolutely no evidence for your position and much evidence your position cannot scientifically account for, you persist in the magical belief that the official story is the correct explanation. This is what you need to deal with. Instead, like all other mainstream “skeptics” you attempt to divert the discussion into irrelevant side points and personal attacks against me.

Now you sort of deal with a few points so let me address them. I said:

“Every time in the history of modern human civilization when a skyscraper has come down in a similarly rapid and symmetrical manner as the Twin Towers, it has been a controlled demolition.”

You claim this is an argument from assertion. That is pretty disingenuous. What I said is common knowledge. All you have to do is visit YouTube to see pretty much every skyscraper demolition which has been performed to date. All successful demolitions where they’re trying to prevent damage to surrounding structures, behave similarly to how the Twin Towers came down. They are quite symmetric and come down very quickly. The very few natural collapses have been either incredibly asymmetric or take a long time to come down. This is a fact, a common fact that no reasonable person would dispute. But here you are, seemingly claiming that it has not been established. It is not an extraordinary claim, it is in fact quite ordinary. If you are saying this is not the case, it is you making the extraordinary claim and must provide evidence.

The statement I made is a statement of evidence, not a statement of proof which you bizarrely seem to be claiming. One piece of evidence or even countless pieces of evidence will not establish the truth of any explanation, only support that explanation. This is basic science. Suppose you discover a new fowl. You find that it has characteristics in common with all known instances of ducks. Reasonable scientists would conclude that this is evidence that it is a duck. Official 9/11 story supporters would proclaim that it is an entirely new animal with nothing in common with existing ducks. This is your absolutely insane position.

In order for the Twin Tower falls to be counted as a counter example to CD you actually have to show that it is a counter example, not just proclaim it, as is the case for the official story. There is no evidence at all for its veracity. Why do you believe in something with no supporting evidence?

“Squibs”. I have not claimed that the “squibs are due to CD. I have said that the only evidence backed explanation is that they are due to CD. We see them only in explosive building CDs. We never see them in natural collapses or non-explosive CDs like Vérinage. This is evidence that they were due to CD. Not proof, evidence. There is absolutely no evidence that they are due to compressed air, only unsupported speculation. That would be the extraordinary claim which no one has ever produced evidence for.

Thermite demolition. The Skyride Towers and the Reichstag are examples of thermite demolitions. Even if there were no examples, that would be irrelevant. We know thermitics can quickly cut through steel. Therefore they can be used for CD.

You are not dealing with my argument. Until you do, you are a believer masquerading as a skeptic. A pseudoscience advocate masquerading as a science advocate. An uncritical thinker masquerading as a critical thinker. Show how I’m wrong using the principles of science or admit that you’re wrong. Show that you practice what you preach or forever be seen as a fraud.

Note that he seems to have problems conflating proof and evidence, a common problem with lay people. He countered with this bizarre reply:

You’ve still failed to apply the scientific method to establishing your OWN primary thesis, so until you do, your position is considered to be tacitly refuted. Merely rewording your claims will not suffice. You’ve received several excellent responses, and are now on a crusade predicated on blind faith in your narrative.

My response:

LOL What incredible BS. I’ve applied the scientific method to the Twin Tower falls and refuted the official story. You are unable to show how I’m wrong. All we get is hand waving BS.

My refutation stands. Your empty unsupported pronouncements mean nothing. They are nothing more than bare assertion fallacies. That is all you can muster to support your blind unwavering faith in the official 9/11 story.

All this posting, all these attacks but not a single shred of evidence has been presented to support the official 9/11 story. Credible people don’t mindlessly believe in explanations that have absolutely no supporting evidence whatsoever. “Skeptics” like you are no different than flat earthers or creationists in this regard.

Also I’d like you to elaborate on the statement “You’ve still failed to apply the scientific method to establishing your OWN primary thesis, so until you do, your position is considered to be tacitly refuted.”

You bizarrely seem to be saying that I must apply the scientific method to the controlled demolition hypothesis before it can be even considered. And until I do my hypothesis is refuted. Yet by my applying the scientific method to the Twin Tower falls I was _tacitly_ applying the scientific method to both hypotheses: the official story and the CD hypothesis.

Since you yourself haven’t applied the scientific method to the official story, you believe it also has been tacitly refuted??? LOL

And that was it. (so far)

To summarize, “The Credible Hulk” presented no evidence whatsoever to support his belief in the official 9/11 story, did not disprove any of the evidence supporting controlled demolition and did not deal with the issue of falsification by anomaly. Falsification by anomaly is the idea that an explanation that is unable to deal with any one piece of evidence proves that the hypothesis is false and must be fixed to accommodate the anomalous evidence or the explanation must be discarded.

As usual, when “skeptics” are presented with an impossible to win argument, all they can do is muddy the waters by diverting attention away to insignificant details and commit other logical fallacies. The one thing they can never do is admit they are wrong.