What are the best arguments against the claims made by members of the 9/11 Truth Movement? Well, if you actually try to debate with "debunkers" you will find that few actually discuss the evidence or provide proof for their assertions. They will often use straw-man arguments and avoid debate by appealing to certain philosophical principles, namely Ockham's razor. Ockham's razor, also known as the principle of economy, can been described several ways, "Entities should not to be multiplied beyond necessity... Plurality should not be posited without necessity... All other things being equal, the simplest solution is the best" etc. The appeal to Ockham's razor is frequently made by defenders of the official story. It is usually made when someone has no evidence to support their assertion.
I had a discussion with Totovader, someone who is skeptical of the claims made by the 9/11 Truth Movement. Totovader posted on his website a column entitled, "Why should the 'Truth' be divided." He stated that members of the Truth Movement do not base their explanations on evidence, therefore, different people will come to radically different conclusions regarding the events of that day. An example would be the debate over how the towers collapsed. Was it a space beam, or explosive charges? Totovader wrote, "They don’t seem to understand that each of these theories contradict each other and any act to resolve those contradictions will lead to the conclusion they must avoid: that they’re all horribly, horribly wrong." Actually, we do understand that these claims contradict each other, that is why Steven Jones left Scholars for 9/11 Truth and founded his own group. The space beam hypothesis has been thoroughly discredited(assuming it had credit) by physicist Gregory Jenkins. It should be expected that the 9/11 Truth Movement will have disagreements. We aren't claiming that we know they entire truth, we want to know the truth. When individuals are trying to understand a complex event it is natural that alternative explanations will arise. A social, political or scientific movement that has no internal disagreements is a cult. This describes people who believe the official 9/11 story.
So what about contradictory explanations made by the defenders of the official story? I provided a specific example to Totovader, the hole in the C-Ring of the Pentagon. What was the cause? People defending the official story have provided several explanations, the nose of the plane; one of the engine's; a shockwave from the impact; a ball of energy, the plane's landing gear, the plane becoming like an artillery shell or tank round. Which one is true? Totovader didn't know. He responded, "I reserve the right to change my position- and in fact often do- based on the available evidence. That’s what science is." So then I asked him what pieces of evidence caused one explanation to be accepted and another to be discarded. He had no answer. If the explanation is changing based on evidence this should be easy to do. So by what criteria are defenders of the official story changing their explanations? The explanations change based on the principle of the least absurd. There might be many explanations one could posit to explain a given phenomenon, so the goal is to come up with the least absurd that is compatible with the government's story. Once it is shown that this explanation is to implausible, the goal is to try to find another less absurd explanation.
The original explanation was that the nose cone made the hole in the C-ring. After all the hole is round and the nose of the aircraft is round so that sounds plausible. However, the nose is quite fragile and it is unlikely that it could have punched a hole completely through the C-Ring. The Pentagon Building Performance Report(PBPR) states, "These data suggest that the front of the aircraft disintegrated essentially upon impact..." After this explanation became to ridiculous to maintain others scenarios were given. The most famous one was by Popular Mechanics. They stated as fact that the hole was caused by the landing gear of the plane. However, the PBPR report does not tell us what caused this hole, they only mention its existence. They do state that the landing gear was found 300 ft. into the structure, but that the hole in the C-Ring was 310 ft. from the impact point. This explanation now seems to have been dropped as well. In the History Channel Documentary, "9/11 Conspiracies, Fact or Fiction", a new explanation is given. Allyn Kilsheimer states, "The plane became almost like an artillery shell or tank round." I wonder how long this new theory will last?
I asked Totovader if a Rapid Wall Breaching Kit(RWBK) could have created this hole. His response was predictable, "It is irrational and entirely contradictory to claim that the hole in the wall has some other cause. If nothing else, Occam’s razor should tell you that." Why should Occam's razor tell me that? If a theory can't do justice to all the available evidence then it is entirely appropriate to try to find other explanations. He goes on, "Therefore, it is not incumbent on the “government” to explain this hole-" Why not? If it is not incumbent on the government to explain this and other events of that day, then who is responsible? According to Penn Jillette, "A real skeptic demands to be convinced with evidence." Does Totovader sound like someone who is demanding to be convinced?
The other issue this topic brings up is where does the burden of proof lie? Does the burden lie with the government or with the Truth Movement? What about the claims by the Bush Administration that Iraq was producing WMD? I asked Totovader, "Did the burden lie with the Bush Administration officials to prove its claims, or for Scott Ritter to prove that Iraq did not have WMD? After all, the fact that Saddam was producing WMD was the widely accepted version of events." Naturally, he did not answer the question.
The "debunkers" survive by avoiding honest debate, not answering questions and by engaging in irrelevant philosophical meanderings.
"Galileo wrote to Kepler wishing they could have a good laugh together at the stupidity of 'the mob.'; the rest of his letter makes it plain that 'the mob' consisted of professors of philosophy, who tried to conjure away Jupiter's moons, using 'logic-chopping arguments as though they were magical incantations'" Bertrand Russell