Saturday, March 1, 2008

The Untruth movement

"If the Truth movement's only job is to uncover discrepancies, it's dooming itself to forever pulling facts apart. It's kind of a Zeno's arrow of illogic: Truthers will never come to a reasonable conclusion because there's never going to be an absence of doubt. It's time for them to put up or shut up, in other words—it's been six years since 9/11 and they've yet to produce anything coherent."

"Towers of Babble", Utne Reader, January-February 2008 (Reprinted from the Stranger Sept. 6, 2007)
I don't usually do 911 stuff, but this is an interesting article and the excerpt above shows what the real problem is. They can never be satisfied. It's a bit like creationists who are never satisfied with transitional fossils, because between two transitional fossils, there's always room for one more - "and it can't be found".
Anyway, here's another lengthy quote showing that this unreasonable way of doubting leads to a fragmentation of religious proportions:

"There are almost as many notions about what happened on September 11 as there are members of 9/11 Truth organizations. To add to the confusion, the movement is home to not a few eccentrics. After the coffee shop meeting with We Are Change Seattle, I got the first in a series of e-mails from a woman named Rebecca. Rebecca was angry that she wasn't allowed to take part in the group interview, a decision that Konrad justified as a way to present a "more united front" to the media.
Rebecca and three other original members of 9/11 Truth Seattle— the umbrella entity that makes communication between various Truth groups in Seattle possible—had decided to abandon We Are Change Seattle anyway after a disagreement. Most recently, Rebecca has decided to stop being part of any 9/11 Truth organization. In her words: "I have instead decided to give priority to my creative work with political satire and performance poetry."
This tiny schism is emblematic of larger rifts within the Truth movement. Its first few years have seen a number of organizations come and go in a flurry of arguments and personality clashes. For instance, last year, after a prolonged argument about whether the towers were felled by miniature nuclear weapons, some members of a group called Scholars for 9/11 Truth voted to disband and reform as the new, improved Scholars for 9/11 Truth and Justice. Many Truthers rejected a man named Webster Tarpley as a major public face of the movement because of his previous work for the LaRouche Connection, a news service funded by the LaRouche organization. "Many of us felt like he took some credibility from the movement," a Truther who wanted to be anonymous told me. Tarpley is rumored to be considering a run for president on a 9/11 Truth ticket, which could draw some of the Truth votes from both Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich, who seem to be running neck-and-neck in popularity with the primarily Libertarian-leaning members of 9/11 Truth groups."
I said religious proportions quite deliberately, because just as various religious branches within the same religion will disagree on infalsifiable things that a priori can never be settled, so the truthers' constant doubt can never be satisfied.

If there really was a conspiracy (and not just a stupid government) then it should be possible to put pieces together, but that's not what the truthers are here for. Their mission in life is to take things apart, and their hyper-scepticism runs rampant, like a Sceptic-Midas who has to doubt everything he touches. They're looking for untruths, not truths. And they find them, just like any paranoid can discover that he is indeed followed.
And so they doubt each other as much as George W. Bush.

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