FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Encounters with a Nutcase

Posted by Andy Welfle on September 16, 2008

My friend Dave is an outspoken atheist and lived in Indy. He out this hilarious email last night to a bunch of friends, and gave me permission to share it with you:

About 2am last night I heard two guys arguing vehemently outside one of the buildings of my apartment complex.

Obviously I walked outside and became belligerent with them.

I ridiculed one for wearing a snow cap and asked them why they couldn’t have their big discussion inside. One said it was about God, and his girlfriend will get upset. So instead of getting angry I offered to join in. If I wasn’t going to be sleeping I might as well be arguing. Ten minutes later my neighbor comes outside and asks us to keep it down—but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The guy with the snow cap left pretty quick after my opening shots, and I was left with a nut. It started out simple enough; he claimed the Big Bang Theory was too new to be believed, I said I don’t know or care at the moment whether it’s true, and asked for a positive reason to believe in his god. He gave me the ole’ deer-in-headlights, obviously expecting to get me tangled up as only two drunks who know nothing about science can get when trying to talk about science.

We moved on and he brought out the tired “but you can’t refute God” and I shot back “can you refute unicorns?” He paused for a second, understandably since I did just bring unicorns into the argument and I don’t think he’s taken a philosophy class or ever heard of William of Ockham.

Eventually we made it to evolution, and I did my best with what I know. Of course, it wasn’t too difficult; all I had to explain to him was that exhibiting two dead pieces of bark, which were laying conveniently at his side, and yelling to me that they couldn’t reproduce did not actually refute the theory of evolution.

He then claimed “they” found pyramids in Bosnia, made well before the Egyptian pyramids, and that that somehow disproved evolution as well. This was a couple of breaths after he laughed at carbon dating.

We treaded back a bit when I asked him why I should believe in his god over anyone else’s, and he said polytheism was silly—well, once I explained to him what it was and brought up Greek mythology—and he said it was stupid to believe in a god like Zeus and a 2,000 year-old myth. I recoiled and waited for him to correct himself. He said nothing and I waited another few beats (deer, headlights, go!) and said “wasn’t 2,000 years ago the birth of your savior?”

He changed it to 5,000 and moved on.

We visited materialism next and I told him desire for a higher being, no matter how much it made your life complete or kept your grandmother smiling and in the kitchen and she makes really good pie—it meant nothing in relation to what was or wasn’t the truth, and I brought up the 9/11 conspiracy almost by accident; a casual throw-up to an example of crazy people who disregard truth because they want a certain outcome…

FAIL. He was a 9/11 truther. I spent the next few minutes defending Bush (lemme tell you I loved that) and the government against conspiracy theory. I really don’t know the temperature at which steel bends or breaks, ergo I failed. But not so much as I finally got him off his do-it-yourself-home-course-in-structural-engineering for a bit to get him to admit that he cares more about what makes people happy—which Jesus does—than he cares about the truth.

I said: “So you’re accusing Americans of plotting and executing the worst terrorist attack our generation has seen more because it makes you happy rather than it’s the truth?”

Yeah, I admit that one wasn’t too fair. And anyway that’s when the belligerence came. He accused me of science and I accused him of being willfully ignorant, and as I was walking away, doing that thing where you’re trying to get the last, petty little remark off before your commence the angry storming, and he said this, which caused me pause:

“I hope you’re happy with your new body in seven years, because that’s what science says you’ll have!”

“Huh? What…What the [EXPLETIVE DELETED] are you talking about?” I said.

“Your new body. Seven years. I hope you’re happy with it!”
“Is it thin and sexy?”
He rolled his head and guffawed a little—like how dare I make fun of his final blow that should’ve surely set my reality to crumble—and he said:

“Yeah…I hope you’re happy because you’ll…science says you’ll have a new body so explain that!”

I walked away, finally. Just kidding, we exchanged obscenities for a few minutes before I did make it back to my stoop. I found a friend sitting and smoking a cigarette. The new-body-creationist did come over at one point to say “hey, man, we should talk when we’re sober. I really think we should have a conversation when we’re sober” and I said sure, fine, call me. He left and I recounted much of the story to my friend, who is a biology major and pre-med. I got to the 9/11 truth stuff and he stopped me:

“Yeah, that guy’s an idiot, but do you know the temperature at which steel melts? It just didn’t add up when…”

I sighed.

There was more conversation but apparently I’m the only person up at 2 AM in my apartment complex who doesn’t believe the government was behind 9/11. Fail lined the streets tonight, gentlemen, in places both expected and unexpected.

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25 Responses to “Encounters with a Nutcase”

  1. disinter said

    You really think that the government’s version ISN’T a conspiracy theory?

    http://zero911movie.com/site/

  2. andyscathouse said

    Wow, it is 911 truther….

    As long as we are slinging links. We should mention the sane one.
    http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.html

  3. Andy said

    Indeed it is — Check out his blog — there’s a post called “A Ron Paul write-in is NOT a wasted vote”.

    Heh.

  4. disinter said

    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Ronald Reagan (Col. Ronald D. Ray) said that the official story of 9/11 is “the dog that doesn’t hunt” [3] (bio [4])

    Director of the U.S. “Star Wars” space defense program in both Republican and Democratic administrations, who was a senior air force colonel who flew 101 combat missions (Col. Robert Bowman) stated that 9/11 was an inside job [5]. He also said:
    “If our government had merely [done] nothing, and I say that as an old interceptor pilot—I know the drill, I know what it takes, I know how long it takes, I know what the procedures are, I know what they were, and I know what they’ve changed them to—if our government had merely done nothing, and allowed normal procedures to happen on that morning of 9/11, the Twin Towers would still be standing and thousands of dead Americans would still be alive. [T]hat is treason! [6]”

    U.S. Army Air Defense Officer and NORAD Tac Director, decorated with the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and the Soldiers Medal (Capt. Daniel Davis) stated:

    “there is no way that an aircraft . . . would not be intercepted when they deviate from their flight plan, turn off their transponders, or stop communication with Air Traffic Control … Attempts to obscure facts by calling them a ‘conspiracy Theory’ does not change the truth. It seems, ‘Something is rotten in the State.’ ” [7]

    and many, many more at:

    http://georgewashington.blogspot.com/2006/11/send-following-email-to-everyone-you.html

  5. disinter said

    Regarding the Popular Mechanics nonsense:

    http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/pm/index.html

    http://911review.com/pm/markup/index.html

    http://www.rense.com/general63/brutalpurgeofPMstaff.htm

    http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Feature-Article.htm?InfoNo=009309

    http://rinf.com/alt-news/911-truth/open-letter-to-%3Cb%3Epopular%3C/b%3E-%3Cb%3Emechanics%3C/b%3E-prove-your-ludicrous-911-theories-in-public/1451/

  6. dystressed said

    There is a very good episode of nova that discussed the fundamental structural problems that led to the collapse of the twin towers. They were built to codes that were outdated.

  7. andyscathouse said

    This is the definition of the red herring argument. I would also say it is death by verbosity. Oh and he went for the appeal for authority fallacy with the above Mr. Ray.

    Who flew the planes into the building?

    Yeah, but did you know Bush’s relative was in charge of security?

    Who flew the planes into the building?

    But, steel cannot melt unless it reached X degrees… Yes, but it can lose it’s holding strength before X.

    Who flew the planes into the building?
    Buildings cannot fall like that unless it is a detonation.

    Who flew the planes into the building?
    Yeah, there were security changes before the event.

    The real conspiracy isn’t scary enough for these people. The truth is they would rather believe in a super secret conspiracy (which may or may not include reptile people depending on our truther’s level of sanity) that includes our government willingly and competently pulling off a secret mass murder. Watergate or Monica Lewinsky couldn’t be kept a secret yet this person thinks we could a massive coverup would go without a hitch.

    Dude, life is tough and we have to deal with uncertainty. It wasn’t fair for those people to die. I worked in NYC in 2000 and was up in observation deck twice and I don’t want to ever think about making the decision to jump or burn from up there. Yet, I do think about it.

    Giving up reasoning skills is dangerous and the wrong way to deal with your fear. Using critical thinking skills can actually help you make better decisions and can reduce your fear. Although there is always randomness in our lives and we have to make the most of what we can control.

  8. disinter said

    Giving up reasoning skills is dangerous and the wrong way to deal with your fear. Using critical thinking skills can actually help you make better decisions and can reduce your fear.

    Well, at least you got that part right.

  9. disinter said

    First we must identify what we already know as FACT: –

    Twin towers 1 & 2 were 1,368 ft and 1362 ft respectively. Let us take the taller to be conservative. We know near the surface of the earth at sea level we can use g = 9.81 m/s2 (metres per second per second), which is a scientifically accepted approximation. We know the towers fell in 10 Seconds due to the siesmic records and the copiouse video evidence. Secondly we must convert to SI units: g is measured in metres per second per second, d must be measured in metres, t in seconds. Distance fallen d = 416.97 Metres. g = 9.81 m/s2 . t = 10 Seconds Let us find out how much time it would take to fall the actual hight 417 m in an ideal vacuum. We know that air resistance always slows a falling body, we will disregard air resistance & other slowing effects so as to keep the maths simple whilst at the same time giving a realistic accurate conservative value.

    It is physically impossible for the strongest, heaviest and (3 times working design load) bottom 80+ floors to offer near zero resistance to the falling floors except when there is a controlled demolition. Period!

  10. disinter said

    Popular mechanics claims in public literature that on 911 it is perfectly acceptable for a falling body to take, what is, the path of greatest resistance.

    Physical Systems (Lancaster England) openly and publicly challenges “Popular Mechanics” magazine New York, to demonstrate one single experiment, which shows a falling body taking the path of greatest resistance (Reproducibly), or they remove and recant their ludicrous & physically impossible gravity destruction scenario from the public record.

    If 6 months from the date of this formal public challenge (Saturday, 06 October 2007) “Popular Mechanics” Magazine can not reproducibly demonstrate a falling body taking the path of greatest resistance as a result of Gravity alone, then it is Ample evidence to everyone that the Popular Mechanics Magazine assertion that Gravity alone could destroy the twin towers and building 007 at near freefall speed IS PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE “Popular Myth” & deliberate “Popular Mechanics” DECEPTION or indeed honest misunderstanding Re the laws of Physics.

    Physical Systems (Lancaster England) can demonstrate that a falling body ALWAYS, without exception, takes the path of least resistance (Reproducibly). In the case of controlled demolition the path of least resistance is often within the building footprint as seen with the destruction of WTC001, WTC002 & WTC007 on Sep 11 2001 and many other such demolitions.

  11. andyscathouse said

    Disinter,

    If I research your premise and conclusion will you back off after I investigate it?

    In other words, if I find the flaw in your premise and conclusion which I really don’t have time to do, will you back off.

    I don’t have the time or patience to jump into another ten of these whack-a-mole red herrings.

  12. disinter said

    If I research your premise and conclusion will you back off after I investigate it?

    Yes, I would hate to overwhelm you with truth. Please let me know what you find out.

  13. Dave said

    I’m the author of the story above, in the post.

    Andy and Andy, you’ve been trolled. You’ve engaged a troll who will out-post you and will not respond honestly to criticism or what he claims to champion, “critical thinking.”

    Your well put accusations to his appeal to authority? He’s got some links.

    I encountered these people a couple of years ago after a friend sat me down to watch one of the first 911 conspiracy movies, “Loose Change.” I admit I was stirred and a bit bewildered by it. And then I went to wikipedia after the movie.

    There were line-by-line rebuttals of the film, but what struck me the most was this:

    The movie highlighted a quote from Somerset County Coroner Wallace Miller, which said, about the crash site:

    “There were no bodies there,” meaning the crash site, which then fed into their conspiracy about Flight 93, but I won’t elaborate on that here because it became worthless for me when I read the coroner’s full quote:

    “I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes,” Miller said, “because there were no bodies there.”

    See what they did? I felt assaulted by the dishonesty of that film, by the blatant distortion of a quote that would make the McCain campaign blush.

    I was happily able to dismiss that film right there. But I read on and read the full debunking anyway.

    9/11 truthers are some of most deluded or dishonest folk on the internet. They are immediately worthy of being banned from any privately-owned forum, and you do little to engage them, because they can never, never be proven wrong. That’s how a conspiracy theory works; as long as there is some bit of confirmation bias the Truth is still out there, and while I love the X-Files, the accusations laid in this basement-dweller’s fantasy of government corruption are sick and especially so when they’re exposed to inconveniences like fact, and, as you’ve done, logical fallacies.

    Don’t engage them. That’s, sadly, the only way to deal with them, and not waste vast amounts of your time.

    Now shall the “truther” accuse me of lying, covering something up, or being ignorant of this other quote that proves his lifestyle. I call it a lifestyle because being a conspiracy theorist require a level of obsession and personal involvement that will surely destroy an otherwise healthy human being.

    Here’s a cartoon that effectively describes these people:

    http://xkcd.com/258/

    Please ignore them and they’ll go away. *Sigh*

  14. Dave said

    Oh yeah, I failed on the highlight copy / paste on Miller’s quote. Here’s what I left off, which is less than that “documentary” cut out:

    Miller said: “I stopped being coroner after about 20 minutes, because there were no bodies there. It became like a giant funeral service.”

  15. Dave said

    Also, perhaps the “truther” would like to acknowledge that he hijacked the thread with his personal crusade, which is bad form on the Internet, and would he instead like to give his personal opinions on the rest of the blog’s subject matter; arguments for/against the existence of a god, for/against evolution, for/against these Bosnian pyramids (merely hills, apparently, which I learned while on the phone with a friend who did a Google search).

    Would you like to dismount your obsession and engage in a different internet discussion for a few minutes, “truther”? Because I’ve got a Picard Vs. Kirk flame war that I’ve GOT to get back to because some douche misconstrued an episode of TNG to support his claim that Kirk was better able to deal with intergalactic conflict than Picard. Be quick, please; I must make sure the TRUTH is upheld on the Internet.

  16. andyscathouse said

    That was quicker than I thought. Google is pretty good. Maybe I should buy more stock?

    You said:

    “We know the towers fell in 10 Seconds due to the siesmic records and the copiouse video evidence.” I left the spelling the way it was.

    Your flaw is in your premise that it was T=10 seconds to collapse. Nope. It was T=15 seconds. (See below for the seismic red herring and a possible come back to your next come back). The solution didn’t have to do any confusing math to look authentic or mention “scientifically sea level” which is to appear knowledgeable but isn’t really needed for the premise or conclusion to fall 400 meters faster than free fall. The author of this site where I found the rebuttal uses clear language. Do you see how nice that is?

    Whether a building falls by deliberate demolition or catastrophic failure, the collapse will be governed by gravity. Even if you used a teleporter to magically make several stories vanish, the part above would only fall as fast as gravity would accelerate it. Only if there was some kind of thruster pushing the building down could it fall faster. Once the building begins to collapse, who needs anything to accelerate it? Gravity has a pretty reliable record of pulling things down. And where’s the evidence for faster than free fall collapse?

    The videos show that the towers took 15 seconds to collapse. The free-fall time for something to fall 400 meters is about 9 seconds. So, no, the towers did not fall faster than free fall.

    More from http://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/pseudosc/911nutphysics.htm

    9-11 troofers keep blind-siding me because they keep on coming up with things I can’t believe any toilet-trained human being would be dumb enough to say. Lately I’ve been hit a couple of times with the assertion that the 9-11 Commission Report states, on Page 305, that “At 9:58:59, the South Tower collapsed in ten seconds” Indeed it does. The 9-11 Commission Report deals with events leading up to 9-11, agency responses to the crisis, and possible changes in procedure and policy to cope with future crises. It contains no technical information whatsoever about the causes of the building collapse. Nevertheless, because the report says the South Tower collapsed in ten seconds, 9-11 troofers insist that is the official Government position.

    People who take that stance aren’t merely scientifically illiterate; they’re verbally illiterate as well. Insisting that ten seconds is meant to be a scientifically definitive finding in a paragraph dealing with firefighting efforts shows a complete lack of critical reasoning. A person who reasons like that is completely lacking in the critical reasoning necessary to sort out the events of 9-11.

    The technical information on the building collapse is in the NIST reports, not the 9-11 Commission Report. There is little discussion of the chronology of the collapse once the buildings began to fall, but the NIST FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) site has the pertinent information.

    The seismic spikes for the collapse of the WTC Towers are the result of debris from the collapsing towers impacting the ground. The spikes began approximately 10 seconds after the times for the start of each building’s collapse and continued for approximately 15 seconds.

    So according to the seismic record, the first impacts are about ten seconds after the onset of collapse. That’s the free-falling debris. Seismic signals continued for 15 more seconds. So it took at least about 25 seconds for the buildings to collapse. The seismic records are probably the best information because the last stages of collapse were obscured by dust, but a time indexed series of video frames on the 9-11 Research site shows the collapse of one tower still in progress after 19 seconds. So the collapse speed was less than half of free-fall speed. Also:

  17. disinter said

    The collapse time of the South Tower was stated to be 10 seconds in the 9/11 Commission Report (p. 322).

  18. disinter said

    It contains no technical information whatsoever about the causes of the building collapse.

    Gee, I wonder why.

  19. disinter said

    In the official explanation the collapse occurs in two stages. In the first stage one storey, damaged by plane impact and fire, suddenly collapses. This allows the section of the tower above to fall freely down and hit the lower section. In the second stage the energy of this impact is said to be sufficient to cause the top of the lower section to disintegrate. This material adds to the falling mass and further impacts cause disintegration to continue in a rapid sequence all the way to the ground.6

    Let us consider the situation just prior to the first stage. There are some damaged columns, some fire, and a claimed lack of fireproofing. Given the substantial safety factor in the building design, the number of damaged columns is far too few to put the buildings at risk without the fire. This is elaborated on in the NIST report and elsewhere.1, 7 We will ignore the fact that according to the physical evidence data within the body of the NIST report, and contrary to its conclusion, the steel did not get very hot. We will assume the strongest case for the official theory: the fire was uniform over the whole area and very hot.

    The fire has to heat the steel, which takes time. Eventually the steel gets hot enough that it cannot carry the load in the initiating storey. It starts to sag. At this point there has been no disruption of the columns, other than that caused by the plane impact, hence most of the columns are still attached to the floors above and below and are continuous, passing up and down into other storeys, giving the columns rigidity. The length of the columns between attachments is too short for buckling to occur. 8 Failure must therefore be by compression.

    As the steel sags two things will happen: the columns, as they shorten, will become wider, which is obvious; and the inherent strength of the steel will increase, which is not obvious. It is
    well established however that the yield strength of steel increases as the degree of distortion increases. This tendency increases with rising temperature and is pronounced at the temperatures required for collapse, as can be seen in the graph below. 9 For both of these
    reasons the initial sag cannot be catastrophic but will be very slow and the rate will depend on the rate of heat input. A rising temperature will be needed to offset both the significant increase
    in yield strength and the slight increase in cross-section area, if collapse is to progress.

    It is clear therefore that the upper section should only have moved down slowly and only continued to do so if additional heat was supplied. A slow, protracted, and sagging collapse was not observed however with either tower. As observed in videos of both tower collapses, the upper sections suddenly start to fall and disintegrate.10 In the case of the south tower, initially a lean of the upper section developed but within the first second this turned into a rapid collapse with upper section disintegration, just as was observed with the north tower.

    It appears therefore that the official concept of a free fall collapse of the upper portion through the initiation storey, due to heat effects from fire, is a fantasy. If the temperature did become high enough for collapse to occur it could not have happened in the observed manner. 9 In particular it could not have been sudden and thus could not have produced the velocity, and hence the momentum and kinetic energy, upon which the official story depends for the second stage of collapse. In contrast, all observations are in accord with the use of explosives in a timed sequence.

    The case that the NIST report must be corrected is confirmed. If this report is not corrected the suspicion will remain that its purpose was not so much to inform as to deceive.

    http://journalof911studies.com/volume/200703/Sudden_collapse_initiation_impossible.pdf

  20. andyscathouse said

    Please play fair Disinter. We are only going to talk about the free fail time. You can fight the 15 seconds but please don’t weasel over to the steel melting myth…. I said no whack-a-mole and I meant it.

    Do you have anything better than your previous post?

    My previous post dealt with the come back already to the 9/11 commission report.

  21. I should probably weigh in my stance…

    Ron Hubbard (creator of Scientology) was born in 1911
    Joseph Smith (Mormon prophet) died in 1844

    If you subtract those years 1911-1844 = 67

    In AD67 Saint Peter was killed and became a martyr when he was crucified upside down.

    Now if you recall St. Peter Denied Christ 3 times (before the cock crowed)

    3 is the number is 6’s that traditionally creates the Mark of the Beast (666)

    If you add 6+6+6 you get the number 18

    18 is important because it is the number that Peyton Manning selected to represent him. Therefore, Peyton manning is directly
    Responsible for creating both Scientology and Mormonism.

  22. Also…

  23. @Infektid

    You know, you can make fun of Jesus and Mother Teresa but don’t mess witht he Hulk, brotha.

    @Andy

    You effectively laid out the conditions for discussion specifically “a single topic at a time” and once effectively rebutted on the Free Fall Lie, and let’s be honest either Dysentery needs medication or he’s a liar, he immediately goes for the Melty Steel Theory.

    FAIL. Don’t feed the Troll.

  24. disinter said

    Please play fair Disinter. We are only going to talk about the free fail time.

    Actually we were only going to talk about the author’s ridiculous claim that the government’s “official” conspiracy theory wasn’t a conspiracy theory, while he/she was claiming that all other theories were conspiratory in nature.

    You really need to go back up and read my first post, along with your ridiculous red herring response.

  25. disinter said

    mmky… t pprs n n rds ths slly blg xcpt th “cntrbtrs”.

    wndr why.

    EDITOR’S NOTE: Okay, sorry, Disinter, you just got “disemvowelled” for that comment. I was willing to let you go to provoke discourse and good conversation, but you do not bite the hand that feeds you, so to speak. This blog had well over 4,000 unique visitors this month alone, so the reader base of these comments is a lot bigger than you probably expect. As with any blog, the editors expect you to treat it with some amount of respect. Please, disagree with what you read — we encourage that. But watch yourself, you don’t want to get banned from this blog.

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