Written November 15, 2005     
 


Mark Assini

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LONSBERRY POLL
Who did it?
A government conspiracy with bombs.
A terrorist conspiracy with airplanes.
I don't know.


 
Today's Column

DID SECRET BOMBS LEVEL TWIN TOWERS?

It saddens me to write this, but I feel like it has to be done. I feel like somebody has to stand up and say something.

So I'm going to do it.

Here it is: Brigham Young University physics professor Steven E. Jones is a dangerous fool.

And those who believe him are fools deceived by a fool.

Like I said, it saddens me to write that. I've never met Steven E. Jones, and I don't know much about him, and I'm certain he's a wonderful man.

Nonetheless, he is a dangerous fool.

And while most of the media is complicit in his nonsense, by repeating unchallenged his preposterous claims, he must be publicly called to account for his absurd prattle.

Which is this: The World Trade Center towers collapsed not because militant Muslims flew airliners into them, but because of a honeycomb of explosives placed in the buildings' infrastructure by some shadowy government conspiracy.

"Muslims are not to blame for bringing down the WTC buildings after all," Steven E. Jones has reportedly written. "It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings and set off after the plane crashes --- which were actually a diversion tactic."

Somehow, Steven E. Jones subscribes to the I'm-smarter-than-anyone-else-in-the-world theory and claims incompetence on the part of the three separate government studies of the collapse of the Twin Towers led federal investigators to miss his conclusions.

He claims to understand things they don't.

Which is surprising because he has not personally handled or tested any of the materials from the World Trade Center, he has no expertise whatsoever in any subject related to this matter and he is specifically not a structural engineer, a metallurgist or an architect.

And the people he claims are either too dumb or too sinister to agree with him are experts in the very subjects they were asked to address.

And their research --- especially that done by the congressional 9-11 commission --- was carried out in the light of day with the engineering experts of the world looking on. Every bit of it has been made public and has been reviewed by interested experts from around the world.

Including, I might add, by experts from the Muslim world, who might be interested in disproving that their fellow believers were responsible for the collapse. But not even they have questioned how the towers fell.

And while Steven E. Jones is a physics professor, his specialty is fusion and the nuclear basis of the sun's energy. He's a nuclear physicist speculating on engineering matters. Put another way, he has about as much expertise as a master plumber talking about cancer.

His claims are preposterous, appealing more to a superstitious belief in the boogeyman than to the actual science and politics of the September 11th attack against our country.

But some people believe him.

He has apparently been giving a series of hours-long Power Point presentations and is scheduled to give more. Reportedly, his pap has been well received by faculty and students at Brigham Young University.

Which pains me to no end.

I love BYU and believe in its mission and its good name, and Steven E. Jones is damaging both with his comical stories. Regardless of his intentions, the consequence of his actions is to make his university a laughingstock. Ditto for his successful conning of others from that community.

Also damaging is his reported use of Mormon scriptural references as a substantiation or explanation for his theories. He makes false assertions of both science and religion and is consequently untrue to either.

But all of that is mere embarrassment to a faith and its university.

Far more significant is the damage done to our country by this sower of discontent and confusion. In an era when some people seem intent on believing in alien abductions and Elvis sightings, conspiracy theorists abound, sharing a common absurdity and tendency to see a sinister plot in every world event.

At their core is a distrust for America.

And when America is at war, those who preach or foster such a distrust are not patriots.

Steven E. Jones has joined that paranoid and mistaken throng. And while he may well have set himself up for a lucrative book deal, and guest spots on late-night radio shows, he had to kick his country in the teeth to do so.

Because if Steven E. Jones is right, then the United States is a liar.

Worse, the entire United States government is in the clutches of a league of silence which killed more than 2,000 innocent people and seems intent on fomenting war and destruction at home and abroad. Untold hundreds of powerful people are in on it and the media, academia and all world institutions are likewise confederates in this conspiracy.

If Steven E. Jones is right, then the flag of the United States of America is the flag of the enemy.

And it's not.

So he must be wrong.

If there were anything to what he has to say, any one of the thousands of experts who have studied this matter personally would have raised his issues. But they did not. Instead it has been a few Internet fruitcakes floating conspiracy theories about this as they do about everything.

How tragic that a BYU professor has fallen into their lunacy. How tragic that he is using his position and the reputation of his university to lead foolish people astray. How tragic that he is using religion to confuse people. How tragic that there are so many willing ears to hear his nonsense.

Because he is wrong.

Airliners laden with jet fuel flew into two buildings. The force of the impacts, compounded by the expanding, buckling and softening of damaged steel girders as the result of the subsequent fire, caused portions of the towers above the impact points to collapse. Those portions, falling free of their supports onto the superstructure of the towers below them, exceeded the carrying capacity of those superstructures and collapsed them.

That's what happened.

We all saw it on TV.

Professors at scores of engineering schools across the nation and hundreds of similar institutions across the world understand and accept that explanation, and confirm it.

And one guy with no expertise in the field disagrees.

Which is his right.

Just as it is my right to call a spade a spade.

Steven E. Jones is a dangerous fool.

And his theory is a fabric of half truths and distortions, a B.S. job wrapped in the arcane mumbo-jumbo of pseudo logic. He is an embarrassment to his university, his faith and his country.

And if he cares about any of the three of them he will shut his mouth.


- by Bob Lonsberry © 2005

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