Saturday, February 2, 2008

Published At Last: Keith Seffen's Reality Reversal Hits The Bigtime

The 9/11 Lie Movement got a big shot in the arm when "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Center: A Simple Analysis" -- Keith Seffen's horseshit "research paper" about the "collapse" of the World Trade Center -- was finally published, nearly five months after it was first described as such.

As we have discussed previously on several occasions, this paper purports to prove that the destruction of the WTC towers was "an ordinary thing" requiring only airplanes, heat and gravity -- certainly not explosives or directed energy weapons -- and that the collapse, once it began, was "destined to be rapid and total".

Now that Seffen's fecal matter has hit the peer-reviewed fan, we can expect to see little bits of it flying all over the place.

Keith Seffen [photo] is a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Cambridge. On September 11, 2007, the University issued a press release saying Dr. Seffen's 'findings are published". But they weren't, and it was obvious to anyone industrious enough to search the purported publisher's website.

Cambridge never corrected the erroneous press release, even after the error was pointed out to them by several individuals. At least they don't have to put up with any more criticism on that point. Hooray for small mercies.

As for the paper itself, I found the abstract at the publisher's site through a post at Digg dot com, which also provided a link to the paper itself (which, strangely enough, is hosted at one of my other sites).

The post at Digg says:
Peer-reviewed paper refuting 9/11 Truth theories published

Debunk this, Truthers.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but ...

Seffen's paper may be peer-reviewed but it doesn't refute anything!

And it's already been debunked.

In "Dr Keith Seffen's paper - "Progressive Collapse of the World Trade Centre: a Simple Analysis"", Exodus2006 shows that Seffen's model of the collapse describes an event absolutely unlike what happened that day.

Arkadiusz Jadczyk explains in "Keith Seffen's WTC Collapse Folly: Not Even Wrong" that Seffen's paper isn't even a good honest attempt; thus, in Jadczyk's opinion, Seffen is "not even wrong"!

My review of the paper is here: "Keep Your Hats On: Keith Seffen's "Mathematical Model Of The WTC Collapse" Is Incoherent, Inappropriate, And Almost Meaningless". The title is self-explanatory.

A few knights of the keyboard have taken a run at defending Seffen's murderous nonsense. I highlighted their best arguments in "Rebuffed! Conspiracy Theory Destroyed By Unsung Internet Heroes". In this case the title is entirely ironic.

The fact is: nobody has so far advanced a coherent argument in favor of Seffen's paper, nor will anybody do so, ever. I am certain of this because it's not possible. In order for it to be possible, Seffen's paper would itself have to be a coherent argument, and it's not. It's not even close.

But then, it wasn't designed to be coherent. It was designed to be deceptive. You can tell because Seffen writes about how his model predicts the conditions observed in the "collapse".

The word "predict" comes from two bits of Latin. "Pre-" means "before", and "dict" comes from "dictare" which means "to speak".

To "predict", literally "to speak before", means to say what will happen before it happens. Thus we might wonder about people who can apparently "predict the future" in some cases. But nobody ever talks about predicting the past. By definition, nobody can predict the past, because it's already happened.

But Seffen's entire paper is written in terms of his mathematical model "predicting" the effects observed when the towers disintegrated. (They didn't exactly "collapse", by the way. "Collapse" means to fall over, or fall apart, now that we're using the dictionary -- another descendant of the latin dictare by the way, but let's not get lost in the details!)

In eight separate places, Seffen's paper talks about his model "predicting" certain aspects of the "collapse"; and this is really quite extraordinary, since his model was created many years after the collapse whose characteristics the model purports to "predict".

How pre-posterous! The model was designed after the event and is said to have predicted that event! In the absence of a time machine, this is utterly impossible! So why all this talk of "prediction"?

Force of habit, I would guess. People build mathematical models because they can predict the future. Or at least the good ones can.

Don't laugh; it's true. If you understand a system well enough to describe it as a series of mathematical equations, then it's quite possible -- easy, in some cases -- to predict the future with a model made entirely of mathematics.

Here's a simple example, and I hope you will take it as a "thought experiment". In other words, you don't have to do this, although you could:

Drop a coin from a height of one foot and measure how long it takes to hit the ground. Repeat with heights of two feet, three feet, four feet, and five feet. Plot the data on a graph, and try to get a sense for what it's trying to tell you. Can you extrapolate from the data you've collected? How long would it take a coin to fall six feet? Ten feet? Twenty feet? Sixty feet?

You can test a mathematical model by doing some extrapolation, and then some further experiments. In other words, you would use your model to calculate how long a coin would take to fall six, ten, twenty, and sixty feet. Then you'd drop the coin those distances and measure the time that passed before it hit the ground in each case.

If your observed times and your predicted times matched, then we'd say your model has "predictive value"; in other words, it can predict the future. It can tell you how long it would take a coin to fall eight feet, or eighty feet, and if you trusted the model, you wouldn't even have to do those experiments. But you could do them anyway, just to check your model further.

If, after a large number of tests, your model continued to show predictive value, you might start to trust its predictions. And at that point you could rightly say your model was "useful".

Any useful real-life example is bound to be much more complex than the "thought experiment" we've been discussing, of course, but the principle is the same -- when a mathematical model is used in an honest way.

Mathematical models can be used in dishonest ways, of course -- just like anything else.

To illustrate, I will tell you how I prepared my tax return when I was young and single. My wife's brother is a specialist in tax evasion ... sorry, I meant tax preparation ... so he does our taxes now. But before I knew him, I did them myself. And I never had any money, and I had never organized any of my receipts, so I did the only thing I could think of -- I fudged it.

I would set up a spreadsheet whose structure and function duplicated that of the form I was filling in. And I would enter the numbers that I could document, guess at the rest, and then wiggle it for a while, changing my "guesses" until the bottom line said what I wanted it to say! In my case, I was trying to find out how much expenses I would have to claim in order to get a little money back. I wasn't trying to cheat the government; I was just trying to find out how many receipts I needed to dig up. And I've been paying a lot less in taxes since my brother-in-law started figuring them out "the right way", so all in all I probably won't go to jail for it. But that's beside the point.

The point is: My spreadsheet was a mathematical model; it could figure out how much I would have to pay in taxes given various income and expense totals. But it didn't really predict the future. I never had a chance to test it against unknown outcomes, nor did I wish to do so. It was simply a mathematical tool for fudging results.

I built it because I needed a way to jiggle the numbers around until they told the story I wanted to tell. And without getting excessively technical about it, I think Seffen's mathematical model of the WTC "collapse" is that kind of a model. It's not meant to predict the future. It can't be tested cheaply or easily -- or at all! So its "predictive value" can never be measured.

But that's all right by Keith Seffen, because he's not interested in predicting the future anyway. He's only interested in fudging the past. And he doesn't even do that very well.

Seffen couldn't even be bothered trying to find a better word than "predict". Instead he rattles on and on about predicting something that happened six years earlier, as if that somehow made any sense at all. What an insane level of reality-reversal. What a putz!

Seffen's paper might convince people who don't know the difference between before and after. But I don't know too many of them.

For some reason, whenever I write a post about Keith Seffen and his 9/11 Lies, it seems to attract trolls.

Bring 'em on!

Come and get me, trolls! Try to disprove anything I've been saying. Try to find a hole in any of the reviews I've linked here. And try to do it without lying.

Oh. Sorry. You can't, can you?

Well you're gonna have to do better than the chumps who wrote
(at Digg dot com):
"Troofers aren't going to bother with that, it goes against everything they believe, so it was obviously written by a paid government shill."
And you're gonna have to do better than this liar, too (same Digg link):
Isn't this the paper that the truthers denied ever existed or ever would exist? Looks like they were wrong again. I wonder if any of them will read it.
For the record, no truthers denied the paper ever existed. Some truthers denied it had been published when in fact it hadn't been published.

One "truther" in particular questioned whether the paper existed (an entirely reasonable question, since no evidence of it had been made public except the press release describing it, which contained an obvious lie), and he raised enough of a stink that he got a copy of the paper, and posted it -- with an introduction stating that the questions concerning the existence of the paper had been answered.

So the entire line about how "truthers claimed the paper never existed" is a straw-man argument. In other words, it's a "refutation" of a "statement" that nobody has ever made.

Using a straw man to try to prove a point doesn't take much in the way of brains, and that's probably why the 9/11 Liars do it all the time. For many of them, it's the only rhetorical trick they know. But that's not surprising, because they don't know much of anything else, either.

Unfortunately for the liars, intelligent people can see their idiot tactic a mile away, so nobody is impressed when liars destroy straw men, except maybe some other liars, who are already idiots anyway.

Bring it on, trolls. I've read the damned paper!

It's based on reality-reversal,
and it's full of shit; and so are you.

Prove me wrong, you stupid fools ... if you can!