Having no pretensions to infallibility, I, like every other serious
scholar I know, welcome serious criticism. None of us, however, should
tolerate shoddy, ad hominem, or sloppy research, of which the subjects
of this commentary are sterling instances. I shall first discuss
Hoffman's piece in some detail and then turn to Green's discussion,
the deficiencies of which are more apparent.
(A) Jim Hoffman, "A Critical Review of 'Thinking about "Conspiracy
Theories": 9/11 and JFK" (version 1.0, 6 February 2006).
Hoffman claims that I am "less careful" than Jones or Griffin and
therefore yield up a treasure trove of "red herrings" that benefit
proponents of the "official theory". These are alleged to include
"serving up" of straw men as exaggerated versions of more defensible
positions, which are accordingly more vulnerable to defensive attacks.
For reasons I shall now explain, this is not his best work.
(1) His first example is that, while I explain that heat from the
fires could not have caused the steel to melt, the NIST and FEMA
accounts only blame the fires for weakening, not melting the steel.
The temperature of the fires were not even sufficient to weaken the
steel, which had been certified by UL up to 2,000°F for six hours, as
I explained in my study but which Hoffman overlooks.
The UL observed that the fires probably only reached temperatures
about 500°F, including combustible office materials, far too low for
melting or weakening. Moreover, weakening would bring about
asymmetrical sagging and would be most unlikely to have overloaded the
carrying-capacity of the lower floors. Even uniformly distributed
sagging, for which there is no remotely plausible cause, would not
have rendered these buildings unable to support their ordinary mass.
The carrying capacity of the supporting structure, of course, would
have been unaffected by events occurring above. The conversion of mass
into energy by fire would have even led to a reduction in the
supported weight, once they had compensated for the mass of the planes
themselves, which posed no challenged to their sophisticated
load-redistribution capabilities, as Frank DeMartini, whom I quote,
observed. The idea that melting steel caused the collapse is ludicrous.
None of us should be overly surprised that the NIST did not provide
simulation models to illustrate the collapse of the buildings for the
"weakening" scenario. And similar consideration apply to the melting
scenario. Unless the affected floors had melted everywhere at once,
their collapse would have had to have been asymmetrical and
nonuniform, very different than the collapse observed.
(2) Hoffman claims that I exaggerate the time in which the buildings
fell, which he estimates at 15-17 seconds. Without denying that the
start and stop points can be somewhat subjective to judge, even THE
9/11 COMMISSION REPORT conceded that WTC2 fell in ten seconds: "At
9:58:59, the South Tower collapsed in ten seconds" (p. 305), so I
don't quite understand where he's coming from. I would have thought
that the official account's conclusion here is the one to adopt.
We know that WTC7 came down in 6.6 seconds and that free-fall time
would have been about 6 seconds. A graduate student has submitted a
study to SPINE that calculates that it would have been impossible for
the towers to have collapsed in the absence of explosives. And Nila
Sagadevan has calculated that, for 109 4-inch thick slabs that were
floating in air and spaced 12 feet apart to then collapse...
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