The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

The CD theory of the 9/11 WTC 7 collapse is more scientific than the official NIST fire theory

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/23/2012 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,139 times Debate No: 21427
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (28)
Votes (3)




A scientific theory must be the simplest explanation available(1) that explains all the observable(2). It must be falsifiable and not easily falsified(3). It must be consistent with known science(4). It must be verifiable. All experimental data must be made available to independent researchers to verify accuracy. It must be reproducible. Other scientists must be able to reproduce any experiments supporting the theory.

The official NIST theory of the WTC 7 collapse(5) does not scientifically explain a single observation of the building's collapse. The controlled demolition theory explains every observable including the eight story free fall period, the roof-line kink at the collapse start, the roll to the south at the collapse end, the sounds of explosions heard(6), the reports of molten metal under the building(7), the plethora of iron-rich micro-spheres found(8,9,10) and the eutectic formations causing intergranular melting of some of the WTC steel(11).

The only experiment NIST performed was a 22-million dollar computer simulation of the WTC 7 fall. This model shows massive deformations that are not seen in the actual collapse. It show a longer fall time and no eight story period of free fall. The model does not then model the actual collapse and has not been reproduced by anyone.

Jonathon Cole's simple experiments showing quiet thermate cutter charges quickly cutting through steel beams, cutting bolts, producing molten iron, iron-rich micro-spheres and eutectic formations can easily be reproduced by anyone(12). When every column on every floor of a building for eight stories is simultaneously weakened by a thermate cutter charge and then knocked out by a kicker charger, the building will fall those eight stories at a rate indistinguishable from free fall. In controlled demolitions where damage to adjacent buildings is to be minimized, the core columns are blown first to cause the building to fall into itself ("implode"). In the WTC 7 fall we see the penthouse fall first showing the core columns were removed first. To minimize damage to buildings on one side a roll can be performed to the opposite side. In the WTC 7 fall we see it roll towards ground zero away from buildings to the north.

NIST's only empirical data to explain the WTC 7 fall, the data their computer model is based on, is unavailable to independent researchers. It is unavailable because NIST refuses to release it. NIST has stated that releasing the data "might jeopardize public safety"(13). The NIST experiment cannot therefore be verified.

The NIST theory is falsifiable in that it predicts no period of free fall as that would violate several known laws of physics. If there was a period of free fall the theory would then be proven false. The CD theory is falsifiable in that it predicts there there would be evidence of controlled demolition techniques on the building's structural steel. If all the steel was documented and no evidence of CD was found the CD theory would be proven false.

The NIST theory has the upper building buckling lower columns while it is in free fall(14), violating the law of conservation of energy and therefore falsifying (proving false) the theory. In the NIST theory, only gravitational potential energy is available to do work. In free fall, all of a building's available gravitational potential energy will be converted to kinetic energy. There will be no energy available to also break up and remove the considerable resisting structure that would still be there. In the CD theory, extra sources of energy are used to remove the resisting structure allowing an eight story free fall period.

Every requirement for a scientific theory has not been met by the official NIST theory of the WTC 7 fall. Every requirement has been met by the controlled demolition theory of the WTC 7 fall. Therefore the controlled demolition theory is the most scientific theory available for the fall of Building 7 on 9/11.

(2) Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Theory in Science
(3) Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations, London: Routledge and Keagan Paul, 1963, pp. 33-39; from Theodore Schick, ed., Readings in the Philosophy of Science, Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing Company, 2000, pp. 9-13.
(5) NIST NCSTAR 1A, Final Report of the Collapse of Building 7
(7) Dr. Steven E. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Completely Collapse?" Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 3 – September 2006,
(8) Particle Atlas of World Trade Center Dust,, 2005,
(9) Signature Assessment 130 Liberty Street Property, RJ LeeGroup, Inc., 12/2003,
(10) Dr. Steven E. Jones, "Why Indeed Did the World Trade Center Buildings Completely Collapse?" Journal of 9/11 Studies, Volume 3 – September 2006,
(11) Barnett, J. R., Biederman, R.R. and R.D. Sisson, Jr., "An Initial Microstructural Analysis of A36 Steel from WTC Building 7," Journal of the Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, 53/12:18 (2001).
(12) 9/11 Experiments: The Great Thermate Debate
(14) NCSTAR 1-9 Vol 2 p 602 NIST


"For every complex problem, there is a simple solution ... and it's wrong." -- H.L. Mencken

Why was Mencken right about about simple solutions? It's because what seems to be simple is not. A simple explanation is that the sun is transported through the sky on a chariot driven by a god, It explains sunrise and sunset perfectly. Variations with the seasons are perfectl explained by the whims of the chariot driver. The only problem is with the details of how the chariot works.

Why did WTC 1 and 2 fall from the top down, contrary to ordinary controlled demolitions? It's because conspirators wanted it that way. Why did WTC collapse from the center outward? It's because conspirators wanted that building to collapse that way. Why did the WTC building have rivers of molten metal when controlled demolitions never do? It is because conspirators used magical thermite that we cannot test.

The analysis of any catastrophic failure is not a scientific theory, it is an engineering analysis. Scientific theories deal with fundamental laws of nature that are mathematically formulated and can be tested by anyone at any time. A building collapse or other such investigation is an attempt to determine what happened for that event alone. It's possible that no explanation may ever be found. Unlike a law of nature that can be tested, the event can never be duplicated. It's true that a proposed explanation must conform with known scientific laws -- we will have a discussion of the claimed magical properties of nano-thermite. However, it is not likely that every detail of a catastrophe will be explained, and it's wrong to insist on fanciful theories in that attempt.

The simplest theory will always use an agent who arranges all the pieces exactly as observed. The agent at work could be a deity, a being from another dimension, or a conspiracy with unlimited resources that operates with hypothesized weapons in total secrecy.

Science plays an important role in the analysis. It's true that an explanation cannot violate he known laws of nature. For example, it's claimed that nano-thermite melts steel into puddles that do not harden when the heat source is removed. that's impossible given the second law of thermodynamics, so whatever the real explanation for puddles of molten metal that persist, the explanation must involve adding heat continually over time.

Controlled demolition is a practical impossible

Controlled demolition requires tearing the building apart to place the explosives. One expert estimated that it would take a team of a hundred workers several months to prepare just four floors of a World Trade Center building. Controlled demolition has always depended upon tempered steel being brittle. The explosive force of the charge cracks the metal along the line of the charge. The metal is not melted. The charge must be placed in direct contact with the steel so the force is focused on the surface.

In the case of the World Trade Center the beams were insulated to protect against fire. So the procedure could be to make holes in the walls, place the charges against the steel, and run wires to the a controller that detonates the explosives in the correct sequence. Ordinarily, only the bottom floors of a building are prepared and gravity provides nearly all the energy for bringing down the structure. Even though there are no explosives on upper floors, the building collapses at close to free fall speeds. That's because the steel fractures rather than bends. It can bend a little -- you can flex a glass rod a little -- but it breaks upon impact by explosives.

The World Trade Center building collapsed from the top down, implying enormous amounts of preparation, and ruling out any sort of controlled demolition. The WTC 7 building collapse started at a point closer to the bottom, but the preparation work would still be impossible to have been conceal from building occupants. NIST correctly rejected controlled demolition theories early in the investigation for that reason.

One of Pro's video suggest that the demolition could be accomplished by placing nano thermite inside box beams to melt the steel rather than crack with explosives. That make the preparation job more difficult. A the video shows, special fixtures would have to be installed to hold the thermite. the theory claims that every floor must have been prepared, otherwise the building would not have reached free-fall speeds. That would take a doubly impossible amount of preparation time and manpower.

The NIST team included 200+ scientists and engineers, half from academia and industry. It's a practical impossibility that all could have been convinced to cover up the murders of thousands of people. The mafia cannot keep criminals from talking. It's not plausible the government could suppress so many independent people. A conspiracy theory can be dismissed out of hand.

The NIST analysis of WTC 7

WTC 7 was originally design with a much smaller floor plan. Near the time of construction the floor plan was expanded so that the original inner core was surrounded by additional structure. That was the building's ultimate undoing. A fire that started in the outer structure expanded the steel and pushed against the vertical support of the core. That deflection cause the columns to buckle. [Imagine some heavy books supported by soda straws. The support is stable until the center of one of the straws is pushed, then it collapses. That's buckling.]

The NIST report is written for engineers. The collapse sequence is described starting on page 21. Debris from the fall of WTC 1 & 2 damaged seven exterior columns of the south and west faces of WTC 7, and started interior fires. The fuel within WTC 7 was equivalent to 32 kg of paper per square meter. The sprinkler system failed in the building due to failure of the water supply, and due to the same lack of water, the Fire Department could not extinguish the fire. The intense fire caused the heated steel to expand, which placed stress on adjacent columns.

Structure Magazine summarizes. "A collapse mechanism analysis performed for the removal of column 79 produced a deformed shape with kink in the roof of the east penthouse, as captured in actual videos and photos taken that day."

The building collapsed starting from the core. Video of the building shows that the penthouse in the center of the top floor began to descend before the outer walls. Distortions in the wall near the fire also agree with the theory. Fire fighters in the building heard it creaking earlier, a sign that the building was under unusual stress. The NIST simulation agree with the observations.

The alleged science of nano thermite

Nano thermite is revealed in government reports concerning it's potential used as an explosive. No one outside of the military has access to nano thermite, so it's actual properties cannot be verified.

An explosive could be used as a shaped charge to fracture the steel in a controlled demolition. Since it's more powerful than conventional explosive comparatively little would be required. CD theorists insist it was used that way because of reports of explosive sounds.

But if that's true, what produced the rivers of molten metal? Melting tons of steel would require tons of thermite. Thermite can melt steel, but so can charcoal with a bellows. Tests couldn't get a puddle of steel with 125 pounds of thermite. The intrepid conspiracy theorist focused melting in a small area using a fixture, but that makes rivers of steel even less likely. On the other hand, why didn't 300,000 pounds of burning jet fuel manage to melt the tons of aluminum in the aircraft? What is the science behind steel that melts so easily while aluminum resists?

The conspiracy theory defies logic and science.

Debate Round No. 1


Con's rebuttal consists mainly of unsupported pronouncements, false statements, red herrings and other logical fallacy.

Con argues that simple solutions are always wrong. No scientific support is given for this only a quotation from an American writer. In fact, science requires choosing the simplest theory when confronted with two otherwise equally strong theories(1).

Con introduces two red herrings in order to deceptively shift focus away from the core debate topic(2). This debate is about WTC 7 only, not the two towers. Also, no mention at all has been made of nanothermite in Round one. Voters must disregard these two deceptive diversions when making their decision.

Con mentions the eyewitness observation of molten metal under WTC 7 but provides no explanation for it. All we get is a derisive reference to "magical thermite that we cannot test". In round one however, thermate (thermite mixed with sulphur) was mentioned. Jonathon Cole conducted several simple experiments showing quiet thermate cutter devices quickly cutting through steel beams, cutting bolts, producing molten iron, iron-rich micro-spheres and eutectic formations can easily be reproduced by anyone(3). Experiments with everyday components that can be conducted by anyone are not magical but quite ordinary.

Con falsely claims that building collapse explanations cannot be scientific theories and that the subject of scientific theories must be duplicated. Nothing in archeology can be duplicated. Are we to believe archeology is not a science? How about the theory of the big bang, evolution or string theory? In fact, thought experiments(4) and computer models(5) can yield perfectly acceptable observations to support scientific theories when the subject of the theory cannot be easily duplicated.

Con states that controlled demolition requires tearing the building apart to place the explosives. This is false. Typical building demolitions are overt or open and prepping the building before hand by weakening redundant structure and using cheap wired explosives is simpler, safer and far less expensive. Con has not proven that it is impossible to perform a covert building demolition only pronounced this is so.

Con states that demolition charges only work with cold steel. This is false. That may be the case for traditional explosive charges but thermate devices would be unimpeded and would even possibly work better with softened steel. Thermate demolition devices do not release a pressure wave that breaks brittle steel. They shoot out molten iron which melts through steel(6).

Con states that a WTC 7 demolition crew would have to cut holes in walls and use massive amounts of wiring. This is false. Every perimeter column would have easy access through the removable ceiling panels. Every core column would have easy access through the elevator shafts. Radio-controlled detonators require no wiring at all(7).

Con states that the prep work would be observable to occupants. This is false. Such work could easily be disguised as elevator maintenance or a wiring upgrade. The workers would not even necessarily know what they were installing.

Con claims that thermate devices would require more difficult prep time but does not explain why. Con also implies a highly advanced very well funded demolition team would use the same unwieldy thermate devices Cole used with no explanation as to why that would be the case.

Con falsely claims that the CD theory requires all columns on all floors to be rigged with thermate devices. As stated in Round 1, only the columns on eight floors would have to be cut to allow free fall for eight stories.

Con claims the prep time and manpower for CD would be "impossible" while providing no empirical support whatsoever for that claim.

Con claims that the NIST team would have to be in on the cover up of the WTC 7 demolition but no evidence is given, only speculation. This information would only be possibly known after a real investigation involving subpoena power over the relevant NIST staff. For all we know they were simply told to come up with the best explanation they could for fire bringing the building down and to ignore all other possibilities.

Con claims the theory that WTC 7 was a controlled demolition is "impossible" and so therefore can be dismissed. Again no evidence is given for this pronouncement.

Con parrots the wholly unsupported NIST theory of what happened to WTC 7 while ignoring all the observations the NIST theory cannot explain that the CD theory can explain.

Con claims tons of steel were melted but provides no evidence of this. Eyewitness reports mention molten metal but no quantities have ever been estimated.

Con is ignoring the point of this debate which is to determine which theory of the WTC 7 fall is more scientific. Con is using deceptive debating tactics to shift attention away from the damning fact that the NIST WTC 7 theory explains almost no observations and provides no scientific support for the single observation it does attempt to explain. A theory that has no scientific support is faith-based not science-based.

Con regularly uses the argument from incredulity fallacy(8) to falsely conclude that the NIST theory is more likely simply because aspects of the CD theory are too hard to imagine. Just because someone lacks the ability to imagine something does not prove that thing is false. You cannot support a conclusion with illogic.

In science you choose the theory that best explains the evidence not the theory that least explains the evidence. Con does not explain the eight story free fall period, the roll to the south at the collapse end, the sounds of explosions heard, the reports of molten metal under the building, the plethora of iron-rich micro-spheres found and the eutectic formations causing intergranular melting of some of the WTC steel. The NIST explanation for the roofline kink at collapse start is based on a severely flawed computer model that does not model reality and is unverified and unreplicated. Since the model is completely unscientific it must be completely ignored as credible supporting evidence.

A scientific theory must not be falsified. When a theory is falsified it is not science but pseudo-science. The NIST theory violates the law of conservation of energy and is therefore falsified, proven false. Con has regularly falsely claimed that certain aspects of the WTC 7 CD theory are impossible. It truly is impossible though to violate the laws of physics. You are left with the CD theory that is difficult for some to imagine with the NIST theory that is truly impossible for anyone to imagine.

The NIST WTC 7 theory is proven completely unscientific and false. It can only be supported as Con has done with deception and illogic. The WTC 7 controlled demolition theory explains all the observations, does not violate any laws of physics and is so far not falsified. Therefore the controlled demolition theory is the most scientific theory available for explaining the fall of Building 7 on 9/11.

(3) 9/11 Experiments: The Great Thermate Debate


Organizing a perfectly secret conspiracy is not simple

The point of the quote is that simple theories rarely explain complex situations, which follows from the definition of "complex." The collapse of WTC 7 was a consequence of an unusual building design and a sustained high intensity fire for which the building as not designed. NIST modelled the structure and the fire and explained every relevant feature.

Pro asked if archaeological theories are scientific theories. The simplest archaeological explanations often involve space aliens. Aliens it seems, were busy building nearly every large structure of ancient history. Yet scientists are the least likely to accept such fanciful "simple" explanations. Archaeology is an observational science, not a search for laws of nature. The preference for simple theories is for things like gravity, not things like pyramid construction and building collapse.

A conspiracy is not really simple. They explain everything perfectly because the explanation is that whatever happened was planned. The world has two million scientists working on unsolved problems. For each problem, there is the explanation that whatever happened was willed that way by spirits. Any other explanation is more complicated. They go for the more complex.

The controlled demolition theory makes the impossible assumption that the building could be prepared for demolition with no one noticing. No controlled demolition expert has ever made that assessment. The CD thermite video show steel fixtures being affixed to the beams to hold the thermite. That involves drilling holes and bolting the fixtures in place. The video suggests that it could be done inside box beams. The beams were covered in durable foam thermal insulation which would have to be cut and cleared. Radio detonators have never been used in controlled demolition. They have been used outdoors where nothing blocks the radio signals. A steel building would require antennas positioned to receive the signals, with no one noticing those either. Then there is the problem of hauling and placing massive quantities of thermite.

The 200+ engineers and scientists, half from industry and academia, had to be complicit in the cover up if Pro is correct in his assertion that the NIST analysis explained nothing scientifically. No one would know that better than the people who worked on it. Proclaims that a fire could not possibly have caused the collapse, so the simulation had to have been a transparent fraud. If they were ordered to ignore all other explanations, that would have been revealed by the participants. The Mafia cannot keep secrets, how did the conspiracy do it?

It's been 10 years and not a single conspirator has come forward to clear his conscience or to make a fortune selling a book. No documents have surfaced concerning the conspiracy designs or the purchase or testing of any of equipment required. Nanothermite is extremely difficult to manufacture, with only a few pounds acknowledged as having been made at the time of the WTC attacks. There must have been a major manufacturing plant somewhere, yet nothing has surfaced.

The "perfect" explanation

As with deities or aliens at work, Pro proclaims "The controlled demolition theory explains every observable including the eight story free fall period, the roof-line kink at the collapse start, the roll to the south at the collapse end, the sounds of explosions heard, the reports of molten metal under the building, the plethora of iron-rich micro-spheres found, and the eutectic formations causing intergranular melting of some of the WTC steel."

a. "the eight story free fall period" is not remarkable so it needs no special explanation. Conspiracy theorists show video proving that WTC 7 collapsed at the same speed as a controlled demolition. In ordinary controlled demolitions, there are only explosives at the bottom of the building, yet the entire building falls at close to fee fall rates. The conspiracy CD theory claims that the fall rates could not possibly occur without explosives cutting supports over an eight story segment at he same time, but the steel always collapses that way.

b. "the roof-line kink at the collapse start," is explained by the buckling of the internal column that initiated the collapse. The NIST simulation matched the observations accurately. Why would conspirator decide to make the building fall in such as odd way? Because conspiracies can do anything needed to make a perfect explanation.

c. "the roll to the south at the collapse end" was well explained by the NIST simulation as a consequence of the building distortion due to the fire and the collapse due to buckling.

The NIST summary video shows the collapse starting internally and was asymmetric. Only the outer wall looks unifrm.

Pro is claiming things were not addressed, when they clearly were. There was great concern with explaining observations.

d. "the sounds of explosions" If thermite was used to melt the steel, then there would be no explosions. Explosives break the steel by concussion, not by melting. Avoiding explosive sounds was the conspiracy theory explanation of why thermite was used rather than conventional explosives.

The WTC buildings used a tremendous amount of electrical power, more than most entire cities. The distribution system used many transformer vaults, which are known to explode. Additionally, "What about an acre of concrete floor slamming into another? Would steel bolts snapping under tremendous tension make a pop or explosive sound?"

How does a controlled demolition explain why these expected explosive sounds did not occur?

e. "the reports of molten metal under the building" The thermite controlled demolition theory does not explain why there would be any molten metal at all. 125 pounds of thermite did not produce a single drop of molten steel flowing from the burn. Pro's second video showed that a relatively small amount of thermite could be focused to melt steel along a line, but then the quantity of heat is way too small to yield a stream of metal. Making a pool of metal requires not just temperature, it requires massive amounts of heat energy. Pro's WTC video showed large quantities of molten metal. Pro's references show masses on the order of a meter in diameter. If tons of thermite were used then the building preparation effort would be doubly implausible. The explanation of molten aluminum with contaminants is much more likely..

Pro's ref 6 is a recent patent, with no hint of the technology existing ten years ago. . "Devices in accordance with the invention having a base diameter of 2.312" have been shown to be capable of producing an approximately 2 inch diameter hole through 1/4 inch thick steel plate using a 275 g thermite charge ..." The device does not produce a shock wave, so it is not an explosive. It melts it's way through the metal like a flame cutter. Even so, it takes about a pound of thermite to melt a cubic inch of steel. If the efficiency could be maintained, Cutting a ten inch I-beam would take more than ten pounds of thermite. The fixture creating the jets would be elaborate.

f. Metallurgical analysis of the WTC eutectics by FEMA does not claim to know the exact process by which it was produced, but suggests that it is consistent with long term exposure to heat while buried in the rubble. the high heat accelerates corrosion by sulfur and oxygen. the microspheres are admitted to be product of the eutectic formation process.

Thermite has never used in control demolitions, so why would conspirators want to try it on the WTC? What is the advantage over conventional explosives? Was it ued as an explosive or to burn through the metal? In either case, why ws there any molten metal? How was it all kept secret? CD conspiracy is not a scientific theory.

Debate Round No. 2


What is Pseudo-science?

Pseudoscience involves claims, beliefs, or practices which are presented as though they are scientific, but in fact do not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lack scientific status(1). Con's position is supported only by unsupported pronouncements, logical fallacy and unvalidated, unreplicated and discredited experiment.

What is a Scientific Explanation?

A scientific explanation is not simply an unsupported pronouncement. A scientific explanation is a speculated cause for a phenomena that is backed up with empirical evidence. Claiming something happened a certain way without providing empirical evidence of some kind is not science, it is pseudo-science. It is akin to saying magic spirits or space aliens removed eight entire lower floors of a skyscraper to allow it to free fall for eight stories. Not one time in this debate did Con ever support speculation with valid scientific evidence. In all cases either no evidence at all was presented or the evidence presented was easily discredited.

Ignoring Inconvenient Facts

Con continues to ignore the inconvenient fact that the official theory of WTC 7's fall violates the laws of physics. Instead he introduces and focuses on diversions to direct attention away from this. NIST states that while WTC 7 was in free fall for eight stories it was also removing structure in the way. But in a free falling building there is no available energy to break up structure since all available gravitational potential energy is being converted to kinetic energy. This single fact shows that NIST's explanation violates the first law of thermodynamics (AKA the law of conservation of energy). Clearly the NIST theory is false and therefore completely unscientific.

Round 2 Discussion

In Round 2 Con again proclaims that WTC 7 came down due to fire and offers NIST's computer model as proof. But as clearly shown in Round 1, the NIST model is invalid, unverified and unreproduced. Pro is using unscientific evidence to support a conjecture. This is the very definition of pseudo-science.

Con continues to commit the argument from incredulity logical fallacy to support his claim that controlled demolition of WTC 7 is "impossible". Again, because some cannot imagine something happening, that doesn't mean that thing didn't happen. Con's claims cannot be supported with empirical evidence, only illogic.

Con falsely implies that radio-controlled detonators would not work in steel buildings as the signal would be blocked. Yet TVs, radios cell phones and wireless networks all use radio waves and clearly work in steel buildings. Radio emitting devices can only be blocked when enclosed completely in metal. Con claims that the antenna required would be visible to others but provides no support for that claim.

Con continues to claim that the NIST researchers would have talked by now. Sybil Edmonds however, was fired for simply reporting misconduct in the FBI related to 9/11 and is still under a gag order(2). She cannot publicly state certain facts relating to 9/11 that she would like to. Do we know that NIST employees are not also under such gag orders?

Con claims the roof-line kink at the collapse start is explained by the discredited NIST computer model and that such a kink is unusual in a controlled demolition. In fact this is an extremely common practice in building demolition. If the building core supports are not blown first, far more debris will rain down on adjacent buildings. In order to minimize damage during CD, buildings must fall in on themselves not outside of themselves. Many building demolitions show the central supports being blown first(3).

Con falsely claims the roll to the south at the collapse end is explained by the NIST WTC 7 model. It is not explained, it may speculated by NIST in the report but it is not supported in any way. The roll is not even seen in NIST's discredited computer model(4). Such rolls are commonplace in controlled demolitions though(3).

Con makes the odd claim that the the sounds of explosions heard disputes the use of thermate. There is no reason thermate and traditional explosives could not be used together. In Round 1 a reference was made to kicker charges which are smaller explosive devices which could be used to knock out a column weakened by thermate(5).

Con claims the transformer vaults exploding could account for the explosive sounds. Why then was this not examined? Why was the debris immediately removed and destroyed instead of carefully examined as required by law? A careful examination could have determined that exploding transformers were the cause of the explosions heard.

Con claims the reports of molten metal under the building cannot be explained by the use of thermate even though Cole's experiments referenced in Round 1 show molten iron being produced. WTC 7 had 58 perimeter columns and 25 core columns. If thermate was used to weaken all these columns on all eight floors that would produce a lot of molten iron. Con falsely claims the molten metal was most likely molten aluminum with contaminants. The main problem is that molten aluminum is not orange it is silvery. No experiments were ever done by NIST or anyone else to show that molten aluminum mixed with contaminants would produce orange molten metal. Steven Jones however, did perform experiments to show that it is not possible to produce an orange color in motel aluminum by mixing in organics(6).

Con claims patent 6,766,744 from 2004 showing a thermitic cutting device is too recent. Patent 6,183,569 is from 1999 however(7). These patents are not meant to show the devices used in the WTC 7 demolition. They are referenced simply to refute Con's original false claim that thermate charges would not work on heated steel.

Con falsely claims that thermite has never used in control demolitions. In fact, Popular Mechanics magazine reported on the SkyRide tower brought down with thermite in 1935(8). The steel-framed roof of the German Reichstag was brought down with thermite charges in 1954(9).


You must decide whether you support science or pseudo-science. Con rejects the scientific method of favoring explanations that best explain the evidence and defends a wholly unsupported conjecture that explains none of the evidence. The NIST theory Con supports violates the laws of physics and is thus proven completely unscientific and false. Con's position has all the qualities of pseudo-science and none of the qualities of true science.

The WTC 7 controlled demolition theory explains all the observations, does not violate any laws of physics and is backed up with actual evidence and experimentation. Therefore the controlled demolition theory is the most scientific theory available for explaining the fall of Building 7 on 9/11.


(1) Shermer, Michael (September 2011). "What Is Pseudoscience?: Distinguishing between science and pseudoscience is problematic". Scientific American: 92.
(2) Sybil Edmonds
(3) 9/11 WTC 7 Controlled Demolition Characteristics - Steven Jones
(4) NIST WTC7 Global Collapse Simulation
(5) The Detonators: Kicker Charge Perfection


Simplicity is not demanded for complex events

Pro began the debate with the general claim that science demands that simple theories must be preferred over complicated ones. I pointed out that while that's true for physical laws like gravity it's not true for inherently complex occurrences like building collapses or other disasters. According to Pro's claim of simplicity, scientists ought to be compelled to accept a theory that space aliens built the pyramids and other ancient structures, rather than figuring out complex construction techniques. Contrary to Pro, scientists are reluctant to accept the simple explanations of divine intervention, space aliens, and conspiracies. Pro ultimately dropped the contention.

A conspiracy could not be kept secret

A controlled demolition can be ruled out because preparation for the demolition would surely be noticed by building occupants. According to the Pro's video, steel fixtures must be bolted in place in contact with the beams and then filled with thermite. To do that, the beams must be exposed and the insulating foam removed before being drilled or the bolts to hold the fixtures. I did not argue that radio controlled detonators could not work. I argued that the antennas required would have to be somehow concealed and that would add to the preparation effort. No expert on controlled demolition has claimed that the preparation could be done while unnoticed. Pro produced no experimental verification that it was possible. Moreover, to produce the large quantities of molten metal claimed to be iron claimed by the theory tons of thermite would have to trucked in and secretly put in place. It's not a practical possibility.

A conspiracy can also be ruled out because secrecy could not be maintained. Pro claims that the NIST simulation is an obvious fraud and that it explains nothing. If so, all the 200+ engineers and scientists, half from outside the government, must be a part of the fraud. Pro argues that they might be under secret gag orders or that they might have been threatened with loss of their jobs if they exposed the conspiracy. Half of them returned to their jobs in industry and academia, so the threat of job loss was inconsequential, More significantly, we are talking about covering up the murders of 3000 people. There is no chance that a gag order could possibly prevent all those professionals from exposing the conspiracy. The mafia cannot keep it's criminal members from talking, not even with credible death threats. NIST analysts were ethical professionals from a broad cross section of society, not criminals or fanatics. It's inconceivable that all would be complicit in mass murder.

The impossibility of keeping the conspiracy secret is enough to discredit the conspiracy theory. The idea that a gag order would be effective is so implausible that Pro's case fails on that alone.

Science contradicts the rivers of molten metal from thermite

Pro insists that claims must be proved. What is Pro's proof that thermite can produce rivers of glowing molten iron? 125 pounds of thermite didn't do it. The experiment with a fixture did not produce a drop of glowing molten metal. Yes, the iron melted. However, the whole point of the experiment with a fixture was that the thermite could be focused so that a minimum amount of heat energy is required. The cited patent accomplishes the same thing; a relatively small amount of thermite, ten pounds, might cut a beam by keeping the cut very narrow. That way not much heat energy is required. But that's not enough heat energy to keep the metal from hardening again almost instantly. Pro's video shows that.

I challenged Pro to explain, and he argued that vast quantities of thermite were used. That makes all the technology from he fixture and the patents cited irrelevant. But if the explanation is that in fact tons of thermite were used, then it must be explained how the building could be prepared with that much thermite with no one noticing.

The CD explanation does not agree with the science of explosives. An explosion is combustion so rapid it produces a shock wave. In demolition, the focused shock wave cracks the steel. The advantage for demolition is that a very small amount of explosive energy can bring down a building. But if thermite were used as an explosive, then there would be no molten metal at all, just as there is none when detonation cord is used conventionally.

If thermite can be used as a demolition explosive, there would be no reason t prefer it over conventional explosives. Pro says that thermite was used in building demolitions, but those were not controlled demolitions and not explosives. Pro's video says thermite was preferred because it would work silently, without attracting attention. If so, then there wouldn't be explosive sounds, which the theory is also supposed to explained.

I reference the FEMA report giving a scientific explanation of the eutectic formation and iron micro-spheres. Pro dropped the contention.

Pro speculates that both thermite and conventional explosives could have been used, but gives no reason why.

Pro never attempted to explain the science of how thermite could melt iron and keep it molten for days without adding heat.

Molten metal is better explained as aluminum

Molten aluminum makes sense. In each WTC Tower, there was an aluminum airplane and 300,000 pounds of jet fuel to melt it. In WTC 7, there were aluminum furnishings and structure and an uncontrolled fire that raged for seven hours, well fueled by paper and interior wood and carpets. There was much less molten metal in WTC 7.

We don't know why it glowed yellow. Jones didn't rule out all organic contaminants as a possibility, just what he tried under the conditions he tried it. If it wasn't an organic contaminant, then it was something else mixed in. Aluminum forms alloys with more than twenty other metals, and while carbon doesn't dissolve, it is used as a dispersant in aluminum. We don't what is was in the mixture of materials that caused the yellow glow, but Jones made no attempt to recreate the mixture that would have been present from building materials and furnishings.

All collapsing buildings approach free fall

The kinetic energy of the falling is many times that needed to break the steel. Pro claims that science demands that some energy must go into breaking the building, so that it cannot be precisely free fall speed. That true, but the energy consumed by breaking is so small as to be negligible, particularly on lower floors after the momentum is built up. In conventional CD, the energy of few hundred pounds of explosives brings down the building, and that's negligible compared to the potential energy in the building. The building is pulverized because when the material hits the ground, and the kinetic energy is transferred to the material.

The claim that there must be a substantial energy from explosives is bad science.

Debris removal

Locating victims and removing bodies always takes precedence over preserving the scene. " ... the 1.45 million tons of debris were sent to Fresh Kills, an old landfill on Staten Island. Using rakes, sifting tables, and heavy equipment, workers spread out the debris and meticulously examined it for even the smallest pieces of evidence. The site was staffed by members of the FBI, FDNY, NYPD, and other government agencies. In all, 54,000 personal objects were recovered and 1,200 victims identified."


Standard procedure is to use simulations to investigate disasters. There is no way to repeat the event, so it's the only method available. Pro claims that the NIST simulation doesn't match the video evidence, but the 200+ engineers and scientists who worked on it think it does match, Independent assessment by experts at Structure Magazine agree. NIST makes many references to observed evidence, which stand unrefuted.

The NIST report best represents the science. The resolution is negated.
Debate Round No. 3
28 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
So magic is okay, as long as it is scientific. Got it.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
I don't care if it's impractical. I care if it's scientific. Science is not always the same as truth, it's just a method for determining truth that impracticality doesn't fall under.

The whole "themite or thermate are not explosives" thing was what I called your "the experiments do not match to known observations, so nanothermite would have had to be used" - that they are not "explosive" does not necessary mean they could not have been used in a "demolition", but I was willing to grant that using a non-explosive was contrary to known testimony. I thought your whole analysis about why nanothermite was just as bad was a waste of time because I was already convinced that nanothermite was about as scientifically validatable as pixie dust. That's why I thought pro didn't win that case in the debate. I didn't see the thing about the supports as being a big issue in the debate. It was mentioned in round 2, but it got lost among the issues unfortunately. Like I said - this was clearly a very well contested debate.

To be clear - my vote would have given conduct a tie because of the sources thing counting against pro. Sorry to have to clarify this.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Pro had the burden to prove that a conspiracy theory was more likely, based upon the science, than an ordinary scientific explanation. The government programmed it's simulation using conventional structural simulation software, and the 200 engineers and scientists agreed it explained what happened. It was independently reviewed by experts at Structures Magazine. Consequentially, for the simulation to be unscientific, the 200 hundred plus analysts must be part of the conspiracy to murder 3000 people. The only way to impeach their expert testimony is to make them part of the conspiracy. As a practical matter, that's impossible.

Conspiracy theorists can prove that the building preparation is possible. Just prepare eight floor of a building, accessing all the steel, removing the fire proofing, drilling the steel and bolting on fixtures, loading the fixtures with necessary amount of simulated thermite, and attaching simulated radio detonators with antennas. Show it can be done with no one noticing. Actually, doing one busy office would go a long ways towards establishing the plausibility of the theory. Show that the night janitors and late workers never notice a thing.

Conventional themite or thermate are not explosives, consequently if there was no reference to nano-thermite, the Pro case is dead at the outset because it makes multiple references to explosives. The whole free-fall argument is based on all the supports being cut simultaneously. that's only possible with explosives. In fact "controlled demolition" implies the synchronization achieved with timed explosive charges. Conventional thermite is very difficult to ignite and unreliable. Nano-thermite has no different energy content than conventional, so it makes no difference in terms of how many tons are required to make a river of molten steel.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
Pro, I know none of your case involved nanothermite. I would have counted it against con in conduct to not even mention this part of your argument, he kept calling it thermite. Substituting in thermate, however, his argument became "the experiments do not match to known observations, so nanothermite would have had to be used". This is fallacious on many levels, but this argument quickly became refocused on the molten metal, which to be honest I didn't feel either theory really fully explained. If nanothermite was used, it couldn't be scientifically validated. However, both of you together made a strong scientific case that nanothermite would have done the job. What am I, as a voter, supposed to believe in this situation? In the end I saw the thermate point as rebutted just enough to give me some reasonable doubts.
Posted by MichaelF 6 years ago
Larz, none of my case involved nano-thermite. The theory I supported involved thermate which although also a thermitic is not nano-scaled. The referenced supporting experiments by Jon Cole did involve thermate not nano-thermite.
Posted by larztheloser 6 years ago
Forgot to vote, really sorry. I felt Micheal won args but only narrowly. Both debater's structure was terrible. To keep my reasoning simple, I felt at the end of the debate that both theories were scientific, and that a model is less scientific than an experiment - even though I also agreed models were scientific. This gave the debate a slight edge to pro. I didn't feel popular opinion or secrecy was scientific, so that made half of con's case irrelevant, but I did agree it was POSSIBLE, though unlikely. I didn't care about engineering because that's not the subject of the motion. I didn't feel nanothermite experiments were scientific as they didn't involve nanothermite, so that rules out half of pro's case and most of con's rebuttal. I agree with fourtrouble that physical laws contradicted by the NIST theory made the theory more unscientific. While a limited, last-minute attempt was made to rebut them, I felt there remained some doubt over which was more scientific after that. Therefore I felt pro should get arguments.
Posted by MichaelF 6 years ago
Roy you have not proven that it was impossible that the WTC 7 fall was the result of controlled demolition. You have merely pronounced that this is so. You provide absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever to support this position. Because when a belief is false there is no evidence whatsoever to support it. You are just waving your hands counting on people to be too uninformed to notice.

I never said the inaccurate, unverified and unreplicated NIST WTC 7 computer simulation violates any laws of physics. AFAIK it doesn't because it does not model reality and shows no eight story period of free fall. The NIST WTC 7 theory does violate several laws of physics though since it has WTC 7 free falling for eight stories while breaking up significant lower structure that held the building up all those years. This is a massive violation of the first law of thermodynamics (among others). You cannot handwave this away.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Michaelf, If a conspiracy is impossible, which it is, then no one spends time trying to explain all the details that conspiracy theorists point to. Do we really need to know exactly why the molten metal glowed orange? The building was full with of all manner of contaminants, including metals, and the aluminum used to build aircraft and office furniture are alloys to begin with. so is there an obligation to try even combination of alloys and organic contaminants to find what glows orange? Jones tried pure aluminum, and no surprise, that wasn't it. If Jones cares, he should try combination of everything in the building. But NIST investigators shouldn't care, because a conspiracy was ruled out.

The NIST simulation embodies all the laws of physics, and over 200 experts deeply familiar with the analysis say it does. I explained the claimed First Law violation in as simple terms as I could. It's a bogus complaint. Metal that does not cool and harden is an obvious violation of the Second Law, but conspiracy theorist repeat the claim as if such a thing were possible.
Posted by MichaelF 6 years ago
Yes FourTrouble, the theory Con supports really does not explain any of the evidence. In science or engineering you don't just make unsupported pronouncements. An explanation must be backed up with observations (facts or valid experiments).

I do in fact fully understand the distinction between scientific theory and engineering analysis. Science is about explaining things. Engineering is about building things. This debate was a science debate not an egineering debate. It was a debate about why a building collapsed not about how something could be covered up. The cover-up aspect was a red herring used to distract attention away from the whole point of the debate!

Ultimately you were convinced by illogic and pseudo-science. You believe a coverup is less likely than violating the laws of physics and the basic principles of science. You were swayed by the arguments that confirmed your existing beliefs not the arguments backed by science and logic.
Posted by RoyLatham 6 years ago
Pro uses the technique of inflating a list of sources with irrelevancies, like referencing the definitions of debate terminology, referencing things not in contention, and referencing fellow conspiracy theorists like Jones.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by InVinoVeritas 6 years ago
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Con effectively refuted the Pro's pseudoscience claim. Pro used a lot of relevant sources, so I'll give him credit for that.
Vote Placed by SuburbiaSurvivor 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Sources to Pro. Other then that, everythings tied in my opinion.
Vote Placed by FourTrouble 6 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments