A professor from the University of Kentucky recently contacted me with the intent of gathering information for her upcoming course: “(UKC 381) Deliberation, Persuasion, and Bullshit in the Public Sphere.” Here are her questions and my answers.
“As a scholar of public discourse and argumentation, my research is all about how people conduct their own research into complicated issues. I am also interested in what you find persuasive and what you find unbelievable. These questions aren’t so much about the specific topics you research. Instead, I’m more interested in hearing all about your habits as a researcher. I follow your 9/11 research, and I’ve seen the extensive work you’ve done, so I wanted to follow up with you.”
(1) How long have you been participating in conversations about “alternative knowledge” or skepticism?
I’m not exactly sure what you mean by alternative knowledge. For that reason, I’ll answer using a variation of a definition for another term I’ve used recently. Alternative knowledge would then be facts that are “systematically ignored or falsified in the mainstream media and public consciousness.” If that is the definition, I have been involved in discussing such things, particularly related to the crimes of 9/11, since 2003.
(2) How important is it to organize the research you find about the topics you care about? Why? Do you have any kind of system to keep track of the information you find?
The information I learn about 9/11 is organized in a number of ways. One way is through the articles and blog entries that I write, and another is through the Journal of 9/11 Studies where I’m co-editor. When doing research for an article or a book, I use a number of tools to preserve the information. It is important to document and save what is learned, so that it can be referred to in the future.
(3) If you do have a system for organizing this information, can you describe it?
I don’t use a formal system to save information but I do use different techniques depending on where I am and the nature of the source material. When reading books, I’ll flag or dog ear pages and sometimes take detailed notes on paper which are kept with the book. With articles, I’ll sometimes print them out and highlight the important points and save them as hard copies. Other times, I’ll take notes electronically and save them as Word docs or draft emails. When interviewing people, I try to record the conversation.
(4) Can you tell me about any writers or speakers whose work you admire? This might be someone you find very persuasive. What makes these people (or this person) persuasive or appealing to you? (These could be current people or historical writers.)
With regard to 9/11 and other deep state events, I admire the work of people like Peter Dale Scott, David Ray Griffin, and Joseph Trento. Professor Scott is good because he is careful and uses many good references. He will make inferences from data but not inferences from inferences. Trento is a journalist and bases a lot of his work on personal interviews.
(5) When talking or writing about 9/11 issues, how would you describe your own argumentative style? Do you argue differently with people you agree with than with people you disagree with?
I don’t argue directly with others much but I have been involved in a few debates on the topic of 9/11. These were with people who practiced bullshit. That is, they “systematically ignored or falsified” the facts as they argued in support of the current official account of 9/11 (i.e. those accounts changed over the years) no matter what was said. One example was a debate on Air America radio with alleged skeptic Michael Shermer. I wrote about that experience in this article. Another instance was on NPR for a show about 9/11 skeptics. As the only 9/11 skeptic on the show, I was given 5 minutes to answer leading questions. The remaining 45 minutes were taken up by the substitute host and two bullshitters who used some variant of the term “conspiracy theorist” every 30 seconds. I was able to get a more fair treatment with one of those people on Pacifica (KPFA) radio a month later.
I’m not certain what you mean by arguing with people you agree with. With honest people who disagree, my approach is to stick with facts and try to find common ground. An example is Noam Chomsky, who I’ve found through email exchanges to be open-minded and very intelligent. We seem to have similar long-term goals yet we have different viewpoints on 9/11. I believe that part of the reason for the difference is that Noam has already made too many public claims about 9/11 to rethink much of it in any significant way. That leaves us with an inability to agree completely. For example, he agrees that explosives might have been used at the WTC but that, if so, it would have had to be Saddam Hussein or OBL who made it so.
(6) What do you think is the key to being persuasive in conversations about complicated issues, such as 9/11 events?
When writing or talking about 9/11, it is important to maintain a sense of compassion and speak to all those listening, many of whom are often silent but still attentive. In order to reach people on 9/11, we must remember that the facts are the easy part. The emotional barriers are what require work to overcome. It’s important to remind listeners and readers that 9/11 was the origin of the War on Terror. People are still dying every day because of the false official accounts of 9/11. What else have we invested in those false accounts? By examining the answers to that question honestly, it is possible to appeal to what can be called enlightened self-interest.
(7) Have you had any exchanges online or in person that question your own claims on this topic? How do you respond?
Yes, of course. Both online and in person. The response depends on the situation.
(8) Do you remember how you’ve learned how to make claims and arguments? What do you remember from school? Did those lessons seem to be helpful when participating in this alternative knowledge community?
I was never on the debate team. For me, arguments are only worthwhile if there is something important that needs to be done, like learning about what happened on 9/11 so that the knowledge can drive positive change in society. My last English composition class was at Purdue in 1981. I found that helpful in terms of framing ideas and maybe a little helpful in learning to persuade. Also useful has been a book by William Zinsser called On Writing Well. When dealing with bullshitters, I’ve found it helpful to understand Schopenhauer’s techniques for debate. I don’t use those (bullshit) techniques, but it is good to understand when they are being used.
(9) What makes other people’s arguments sound persuasive or unpersuasive to you?
Anger, ad-hominem attacks, appeals to authority, and baseless speculation make arguments poor. Facts backed by references given in a logical sequence, and a thoughtful, compassionate approach, make for good listening and open minds.
(10) Have you ever heard someone make an argument that sound convincing, even though you disagree with him/her? If you can think of an example, can you describe it?
With regard to 9/11, I can imagine the convincing argument that I would disagree with. And although I have not heard it uttered publicly yet, I expect that argument to be used and accepted in the future. That argument is that the geopolitical and economic environment at the time of 9/11 required Western leaders to make a choice between a) killing a few thousand people in order to provide a pretext for the seizure of resources, or b) allowing events to take their course without those resources being seized. In other words, kill a few thousand now or watch millions suffer through changes of unprecedented scope. I disagree with that argument because I think there were other alternatives. But maybe I’m just an idealist.
(11) Have you always enjoyed researching, even before you became involved in the “alternative knowledge” community? Why or why not?
I’ve always enjoyed reading, writing, and critical thinking but did not become involved in any significant research until after I began studying the events of 9/11.
I’ll be interested to see how she uses this kind of input for her course.
I like to use mindmaps (freemind: http://freemind.sourceforge.net/) in helping me document and link dots. Also, I use my blog as a archive of sorts in helping me retain the said information.
Here are some example’s you might find useful:
The enclosed are Modules from a 3 series set; they are as follows:
1. Data Collections Model
2. Analysis Model
3. Prosecution “Elements of Crime” Model
Each set contains a subset of 10 modules; they are as follows:
1. The 9/11 Operation
2. DODs Perception Management
3. Govt. Foreknowledge
4. Evidence Destruction
5. Major Players
6. Whistle Blower Containment
7. Cui Bone
8. Command Negligence
9. Systemic Security Failures
I collected the “data points”, then do an analysis of the said points that go into another module with notes. Once I get the analysis finished, I carry over pertinent information into a Prosecution module with respect to the events of 9/11.
Links documents and example module:
SAIC’s 9/11 Footprint .mm file:
SAIC’s 9/11 Footprint (quick reference):
Data points collection Models:
Would love the opportunity to really sit down with others and put focus on the analysis to finish my project.
Thanks for all your hard work and letting me post.
Love “Light” and Energy
You might benefit from communicating with the editors of 911research.wtc7.net and 911review.com, both of which, if I’m not mistaken anyway, were started by Jim Hoffman. I don’t know how quickly you may get a response, but it’s worth a try. If Jim Hoffman is still involved with these websites, then I’d definitely recommend trying to communicate what you say to him.
911research.wtc7.net as well as wtc7.net seem to be more currently edited or updated, but people can just look for the contact information pages and send an email to all three. I believe that some parts of the websites require a little updating, but these nonetheless are very good resources that don’t address only the WTC topic. They address all aspects of the 9/11 attacks and do this quite well.
Very good, but it would be better if the “professor from the University of Kentucky” also answered her questions for us. How would she answer these very same questions if they were posed to her?
I don’t know how I would’ve answered her questions. Some seem okay, I guess, but some seem sort of fanatical or extremist, like she has an agenda, which potentially could be of a kind contrary to what probably most people would think in terms of agenda. If she has an agenda, then it could be to try to get you to discredit yourself, but there’s an alternative possibility, which is that she expects answers that’re stated with integrity and her goal is to draw this out; whether it be or students or other people. Life isn’t one straight line. There sometimes is a little zig-zagging.
What I’m suprised about, however, is the number of questions. If she had an honest agenda or intention, then I don’t see the point in posing this many questions and if she wants them all, then they could be summarized or joined, say. By asking this many questions, separately, it’s like she’s trying to get you to say something that might discredit yourself. If that’s her goal, then you didn’t fail in disappointing her.
However, she should possibly start by answering her own questions. If she can’t do this, then what grounds does she have for posing the same questions to anyone else? I’m curious. How would she answer these questions that she’s posed? It might be interesting to see the results of throwing the ball back on her side of this tennis court.
Regarding response #10
The GWOT has not resulted in the “seizure of resources”, this is just another fallacious meme. In fact, China and Iran have been the major beneficiaries from the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime in both oil development and trade. Russia also had its prior oil contracts restored in the huge West Qurna field.
The actual results from the GWOT are the destruction of the enemies and potential enemies of Zionism as well as the creation of the new paradigm of drone assassination which eliminates “terrorist havens” across the MENA regions.
The GWOT has resulted in more than you say in terms of energy resources. Washington remains dominant in Iraq and the same is politically true with the central govt in Afghanistan, where, sure, Washington and NATO haven’t defeated the Taliban, but nonetheless is politically dominant with the central govt. Iran isn’t getting its oil from Iraq and I don’t know that China is, either. Oil cies from various countries have gotten exploitation, say, contracts with the Iraqi govt for oil, but Washington is dominant, being in considerable control. Also, the point hasn’t been to extract the oil. It’s been to control the supply of it in terms of the international market and the market prices. Controlling the supply permits controlling prices. Most people know about the economic theory regarding supply and demand.
Washington most surely continues to work against the development of the Iran-Pakistan-India oil pipeline and if this pipeline was established, then it’d surely benefit China. If recalling correctly, then an extension of the pipeline in order to supply China in this manner, rather than the country needing to use the long oceanic route with ships was part of the plan that Washington, working for its “masters”, have been dead set against.
It’s not necessary to become the material owner in order to be able to be controller. From what I last read, Iraq hasn’t been producing a lot of oil and I’m not sure about what the details of the plan are, but by keeping down supply, higher prices to or for consumers can be “justified”.
A good resource website for this topic is GlobalResearch.ca. Pepe Escobar has also contributed well on the subject. One thing that we can be quite assured about is that the GWoT isn’t for the sake of Israel, which serves as a “battleship” for the US/Washington and its “masters”.
This is a very dirty game that’s being played for well over a decade now, and even longer than that, but it isn’t FOR the sake of Israel. People who claim that Israel and its lobbies control Washington are mistaken. While the ZOA (Zionist Organization of America) and AIPAC, f.e., are “successfully” influential in Washington and elsewhere in the U.S., they nonetheless aren’t the controllers.
When considering psychopaths, then don’t expect much that makes any sense. There’s a lot of confusion in all of this. After all, it’s all and extremely criminal, roguish, psychopathic, and we can imagine everything or many other things that this entails; pathological lying/deceitfulness being a constant. It’s a confusing and bloody mess of affairs, but Israel doesn’t control Washington. Israel also isn’t its own top boss, either. It’s all a hellbent insane mess and Israel can be thought of as a major battleship for Washington and its “masters”, so of course for their allies/partners in crime, also.
Washington, which has “masters”, is interested in psychopathic Israel mainly, if not only, for strategic purposes.
On your first point, claiming that the US, not China, has “gotten exploitation” of Iraqi oil contracts etc… that is simply false. I note that you cite nothing specific to support your claim.
On the second point, that “It’s been to control the supply of it in terms of the international market and the market prices”, that is nonsensical. The international commodity markets have always been in London and New York. GWOT could not possibly have changed that. Saddam Hussein was in no position to impact global prices under the sanctions regime that was in place for over a decade prior to the invasion anyhow. Washington already was “controlling the supply”.
Since the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq Haliburton and G.E. have been engaged in the construction of multiple new pipelines which transfer Central Asian oil and gas directly to China under terms negotiated by the principle parties, new LNG terminals have been built to export Canadian gas to China, and Chinese mutinationals have become the fastest growing energy producers in North America. Furthermore, the supply of new energy sources to China is largely a requirement of the Western multinationals that have been moving their production facilities to China. Washington would have no rational purpose in interfering against this development.
I have absolutely no respect for Global Research or Pepe Escobar. These are disinformation disseminators intent on inculcating the false claim that Israel serves as a “battleship for the West”, a claim which their followers seem to take on faith alone.
Quote: “On your first point, claiming that the US, not China, has “gotten exploitation” of Iraqi oil contracts etc …”
I didn’t say that US cies got the exploitation contracts. I said that the US is politically dominant and that Iraq hasn’t been producing a lot of oil. Perhaps China got some contracts. Last that I recall having read is that some cies of countries other than the US got contracts and that Exxon or Esso has pulled out; but, Washington and its “masters” nevertheless remain dominant controllers and Iraq isn’t producing much oil even while it has a lot in natural reserves.
I cite nothing specific to support my claim. I referred you to GlobalResearch.ca, so get off of your lazy ass and do a little searching. Between GR and Pepe Escobar, you should get a fair amount of information. You might also want to check out Uruknet.info, possibly also DissidentVoice.org. Maybe Dandelion Salad blog has some relevant information, as well.
Quote: “On the second point, that “It’s been to control the supply of it in terms of the international market and the market prices”, that is nonsensical. The international commodity markets have always been in London and New York. GWOT could not possibly have changed that. Saddam Hussein was in no position to impact global prices under the sanctions regime that was in place for over a decade prior to the invasion anyhow. Washington already was “controlling the supply”.”
NY is more powerful than London and I didn’t say that Saddam Hussein was going to affect global prices, though he did say that he was planning on switching Iraqi oil sales from USD to Euro and this apparently did bother Cheney and NY. It’s similar with Muhamar Gaddafi, who vowed to switch to the Dinar for all of Africa’s economies, and possibly also to the Euro for oil. If not for the oil, that is, to switch it to the Euro, then it would’ve been to the Dinar. Washington has long vowed to be dominantly in control over Middle Eastern oil reserves. Even Jimmy Carter, when US President, made this Washington intention very, rather indesputably clear. Washington didn’t work the ousting of the Iranian President (or PM, whatever the title was) in 1953 for only fun. He refused to de-nationalize the oil, obstinately (justly so too) demanding that it remain a national resource. The same thing happened when Washington got young Saddam Hussein to work with the US to get rid of the prior Iraqi leader, who refused to denationalize Iraq’s oil reserves. Hussein went along with this, was made Iraqi President by the US, and then he maintained what the prior leader had been working to guarantee, so Washington would of course be a wee bit pissed off about this turn-about-face that Hussein played.
Washington wasn’t fully controlling the supply. Washington worked to keep oil sales based on USD, but not all parties wanted to continue with this regime policy. Washington didn’t have full control and the facts that Hussein and Gaddafi had different goals than Washington did is PROOF. When a controller loses or begins to lose control, then the party can go nuts and this is Washington’s habit. It begins to lose control or to receive resistance, so it becomes genocidal. There’s nothing new at all about Washington and its “masters” in this respect. It’s reflected throughout nearly all of U.S. history.
Quote: “Since the US invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq Haliburton and G.E. have been engaged in the construction of multiple new pipelines which transfer Central Asian oil and gas directly to China under terms negotiated by the principle parties, new LNG terminals have been built to export Canadian gas to China, and Chinese mutinationals have become the fastest growing energy producers in North America. Furthermore, the supply of new energy sources to China is largely a requirement of the Western multinationals that have been moving their production facilities to China. Washington would have no rational purpose in interfering against this development.”
Provide PROOF. Provide supporting references. I provided websites and the name of Pepe Escobar, so this provides bases for doing Web searches. Meanwhile, you provide absolutely NOTHING to back up your disagreements. Your word is nothing unless there’re supporting resources, so provide them.
Quote: “I have absolutely no respect for Global Research or Pepe Escobar. These are disinformation disseminators …”
Quite the contrary. You evidently are the disinfo agent. You nonsensically don’t provide any resource references that support your claims and you claim that very knowledgeable and honest people are disinfo agents. That’s the work of a disinfo agent. Only they would behave in this manner.
What we evidently have, here, with aletho is a disinfo agent. Sniff’em and smoke’em out.
Arthur Schopenhauer’s “38 Ways To Win An Argument”:
#38 If you know that you have no reply to the arguments that your opponent advances, become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand.
In becoming personal you leave the subject altogether, and turn your attack on the person by remarks of an offensive and spiteful character.
This is a very popular technique, because it takes so little skill to put it into effect.
aletho says, quote: “#38 If you know that you have no reply to the arguments that your opponent advances, become personal, insulting and rude as soon as you perceive that your opponent has the upper hand”.
Problem is that you haven’t proven anything, so much less for proving that you have “the upper hand”. Until you back up your claims with supporting references, then you haven’t proven to have TUH at all. What you’re proving is that you either can’t or refuse to back up your claims and that your little ego is far too inflated for the size of its container. Your conceit is going to soon have you bursting at your seams. So rather than whine about someone responding in a personal manner, simply back up your claims, which if you had done it, as an intelligent and educated person would know needs to be done, then this little spat might never have happened.
So, blame yourself rather than others when you’re the one who conceitedly pretends that you’re exempt from accountability. One should never pretend that he/she doesn’t need to back up claims that he/she makes, for whenever anyone does this, then the person inherently treats others as idiots, gullible, manipulatable. This is what you inherently attempt to do by refusing to back up your claims. So, it’s not that I’m being personal. Instead, I’m just calling an ace an ace.