9/11 Edition of the Skeptics Circle

The esteemed Bob Carroll is hosting the Nostradamus-themed 95th edition of the Skeptics Circle on the SkepDic site. Go check it out!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. @Hanes: I actually found out while listening to Howard. I was laying in bed listening to him, when the first plane hit.

    I considered doing a more in-depth 9/11 post, but I feel as though it’s pointless because I have nothing new to add, and I bristle at the signs and bumper stickers telling me to never forget, as though I were planning to.

  2. I learned via LiveJournal, actually, but listened to Howard’s show on my walk to work, and listened to him off and on at work as well. During the 1-year anniversary, Howard replayed the entire show, and I listened to it from beginning to end.

  3. I was home sick in bed. I got a call from my father. I watched the second tower fall on TV. Then I started packing up my seabag. I thought for sure I would be called up to active duty before the end of the day. It took 4 years but I went when I was called and had a really laid back war. 7 years down the road and we still don’t have Bin Laden. Way to go, you’re doing a heckuva job Bushie.

  4. I live next to a firehouse in Queens, NY. They lost four guys. Usually we give a friendly wave to each other as I walk my dog in the morning. Today as my pooch and I went past they were buttoning their jackets and brushing the lint off their dress blues. Forget doesn’t happen here.

    Whenever I hear “9-11” was a conspiracy, I agree. It was. It was a conspiracy among a group of international terrorists who hijacked some planes and flew them into buildings. I don’t hold the US government responsible for that, just for exploiting the tragedy for dubious policy afterwards.

    I have to admit, 9-11 really brought out the radical skeptic in me, because it brought home how very very dangerous combining religious fanaticism and technology can be.

  5. The smell of burning wire. That is what I remember the most. It lasted over a week. The walk home, over the 59th Street bridge was probably the longest walk of my life, though only a short three miles from office to apartment. The next 36 hours was spent trying to find out who among my friends had died. I was lucky, only two.

    Here’s the weird thing–when I hear people from outside the tragedy say, “never forget” (as if that in and of itself is a cogent political argument) I wonder what it is they actually remember. New Yorkers (I don’t know about D.C. folks) seem to have moved on a lot faster than folks who never were and never will be a target. I don’t mean forget–too many people lost family and friends to forget–but I just don’t hear New Yorkers, other than Rudy Giuliani, talking about it all that often. Maybe because it was both a personal and public tragedy. I don’t know. Honestly, I haven’t had or overheard a single conversation about it with coworkers or friends at all today. That just occurred to me.

  6. “Whenever I hear “9-11″ was a conspiracy, I agree. It was. It was a conspiracy among a group of international terrorists who hijacked some planes and flew them into buildings.”

    I also believed that one – until I looked into the facts and applied some critical thinking to those facts.

    Or …. I suppose I could put my trust in Howard Stern’s reaction to the moment. lol.

    Actually I agree that it was international terrorists. The question that our government has never pretended to answer is who and how.

    Whatever the answers to those questions – someone has decided that the American people do not need to know. So instead, we are fed a myth. Akin to a religious myth.

    It’s fitting that Rebecca welcomes the Germans today – because I would bet that the majority of Germans have not swallowed this myth. Nor the majority of the critical thinking peoples of the world.

    They call us gullible? Oh well. If the shoe fits …..

  7. I was in downtown San Francisco today waiting in life to ride the cable car (so frekin cool btw), when I had the pleasure of getting to listen to the mad ranting of a bunch of ‘truthers’ with megaphones.

    While discussing with my friend why they were full of shit a couple standing in line next tous starting asking me how I could be so sure. So I started telling my perspective of things. Sure, I’m suspicious of the government ingeneral, but that suspicion alone doesn’t imply the validity of any goofy conspiracies.

    After talking to the couple for a few minutes and discussing the many flaws and outright lies of the Zeitgeist movie, we started talking about skepticism in general and she asked me to recommend some literature. Score one for the good guys!

  8. “Sure, I’m suspicious of the government in general, but that suspicion alone doesn’t imply the validity of any goofy conspiracies.”

    Governments create myths in order to make governing more easy. That is not controversial.

    I could cite to you about 1,000+ examples of this, but I am sure that you don’t need for me to do that. Religion, of course, has been a very useful myth employed by governments to control the populace.

    So … the head of the 9/11 Commission, chief investigator, author of the report, and the person who insisted that the Commission not use subpoena power to get at the truth … guess what his academic speciality is? His speciality is the effective employment of historical myths to govern non-skeptical, non-critical thinking, gullible people. That and he is so closely linked to the Administration that half the Commission threatened to, or did, quit in protest.

    But this is the guy you trust?


    The government’s explanation of what happened on 9/11 is laugh out loud hilarious and ridiculous. Neither the government scientists nor the FBI will defend the official story.

    It’s not about choosing between believing the government or green aliens. You are not required to believe one ridiculous story because someone has alternatively proposed a more ridiculous story.

    You should not accept on faith an unsubstantiated and unproven fairy tale. Especially from a group that has demonstrated that it is perfectly willing to lie on the very point in question.

    Anyone who does that cannot begin to call themselves a skeptic.

    Unless I am missing something here. : )

    Either Iraq was developing nuclear weapons or aliens are in control of the White House? It’s a false choice.

    Until the government produces credible evidence to back a story that is specifically designed and used, ad nauseum, to advance its agenda, you should not accept the story on faith. Period.

  9. @TrueSkeptic: And I invite you to point out exactly where I said I was taking anything on faith.

    If you read my post, you’ll not once see me say that I accepted the government version of events entirely and without wuestion. What I did say is that I don’t believe the conspiracy theorists. You know, I do have suspicions about the way our government handled things, theoughout this entire administration, but I’m not going to buy into some crazed conspiracy based on those suspicions.

    So explain to me how you are being a “true skeptic” by defending the ‘truthers’.

  10. I saw it online, with a Yahoo headline reading “Terror in New York”. The picture was taken from above, a fireball coming out of a tower with the blue water behind it. (Still haven’t figured out how they took it, since I would have thought helicopters were grounded after the first impact.) I thought it was a new movie coming out, and I am sorry to say that my first response to the day’s events were, in total, as follows:

    “Cool graphics.”

    I checked email, answered a few, dinked around a bit, and thought I’d see what the new movie was that it got the top headline. It wasn’t until I couldn’t open it, went to, found the same headline, and that one took four minutes to open that I realized it was for real.

    After I caught my breath, I packed up my toddler, drove to the store, and bought a flag and ten feet of black ribbon. Both are flying today.

  11. I don’t know what a “truther” is suppose to be.

    I know that when it was explained to me what happened, I just nodded my head and went on with my life.

    The 9/11 Commission would never have come into being if the families of the victims did not force it into being. I confess that these victims cared more than I did. They wanted real answers. They wanted answers that made sense – that were supported by facts, logic, and science. They were not conspiracists. They were not leftists or even democrats. They were victims of a crime, and naturally they wanted to know what happened.

    First, the government said — “No – such an investigation will just aid the terrorists.”

    When that did not work and the political pressure became too much, the government did the next best thing and made up a ridiculous story that flies in the face of known facts and science.

    And the very people – the victims – who demanded the investigation in the first place — are furious. Their questions were not answered and specifically ignored. It was only when I heard about their story, their efforts, and the obvious cover-up that I woke up to what was going on.

    And if you believe in the government story, you are a conspiracy believer, because the government story involves a very fanciful, unproven and ridiculous conspiracy.

    So you either believe in unproven conspiracies or you don’t. I don’t believe in ridiculous and unproven conspiracies. If you believe the government’s story, then you do believe in ridiculous and unproven conspiracies.

    All the victims want is basic, fundamental, elementary questions answered and evidence produced as to what happened. The government absolutely refuses to do this.

    That’s where things stand. It’s just that simple. It’s commonly known as a cover-up.

    Skeptics and good citizens should not abide major government cover-ups that are used to wage war and to strip Americans of constitutional liberties.

    Old-fashioned commies or fascists might approve of such – but not traditional Americans.

  12. Ok, so you know, a “truther” or 9/11 Truth Activist, is a person who is convinced that our own government was behind the attacks. They seek out any and every little suspicious piece of information they can find (true or not) to try to support that particular dystopian fantasy.

    Once again, I agree with you that the government explanations were shoddy and half-assed. That does not, however, mean that these conspiracists are right nor that we should go without calling them on their fallacies.

    I’m still not sure why you attacked my original post, trying to make me out to be some blind-faith believer in the benevolence of the government. And I have no Idea what your second response is trying to prove since you didn’t address any of my points except to redefine ‘conspiracy nut’.


  13. Well maybe I did not understand the purpose of your original post.

    I don’t care what some whackos might think about anything – who would?

    What I know is that the victims of 9/11 are righteously infuriated with an obvious government cover-up, which is not only unjust for them but dangerous for the country. It seems to me that this is the important issue.

    That being case – I recognize two opposing camps — those who support the government cover-up and want to keep a lid on the evidence and avoid a real investigation and those who want to get past the cover-up and force the government to turn over the evidence.

    Are we on the same side? You tell me.

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