Scholars for 9/11 Truth

Jim Fetzer Responds to Steve Jones

9 December 2006

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This is to inform you that I (along with chemist Kevin Ryan and many others)
have withdrawn from association with Jim Fetzer (JF) and "his" version of
Scholars for 9/11 Truth, and to provide reasons for this action.

1. On the Scholars web site he manages ( ), Jim Fetzer casts
aspersions on my research regarding the use of thermates at the World Trade
Center on 9/11/2001 -- which is fine as long as he provides serious technical
objections, which he has not done. At the same time, JF is promoting on the web
site notions that energy-beams from WTC 7 or from space knocked the Towers down.
I have invited Jim repeatedly to view the video of my talk given 11/11/06 at the
University of California at Berkeley which provides the latest physical
evidences for thermate use, reinforcing the data in my published paper. He
admitted this week that he has not done so. My UC-Berkeley talk is here: 4622

In fairness, I list Jim's talk in Tucson (Nov. 13) also, which you may wish to

Here you will find Jim's assertion that energy beams directed from WTC 7, or
from space, may be the "fascinating" explanation for what caused the Twin Towers
to collapse. He also here discusses "falling grand pianos." My sincere efforts
to correct his evident errors/misinformati on have been twisted and distorted
until I want no more to do with such "tar-baby" discussions.

Fetzer's response: I have become convinced that the extent of the destruction of
the World Trade Center, the fact that the bathtub survived functionally intact,
and the existence of "toasted" vehicles as much as a half mile to a mile-and-a-
half away is, in my opinion, very unlikely to be explainable on the basis of
termite/thermate, even in combination with other explosives. If we want to get
serious about what happened in New York, we have to consider a broader range of
alternative explanations. That is not "casting aspersions"; on the contrary,
that is what science is all about. If we do not consider all of the possible
alternatives, we may never discover what happened because we omitted the true
hypothesis on a priori or political or psychological grounds that were
independent of logic and evidence. Science can be messy, complex, and
controversial. Welcome to the search for truth! If thermate/thermate can provide
a more adequate explanation than the alternatives, then he will have been proven
to have been right; but you can't do that without considering the alternatives!

As for the grand piano illustration, getting these things right can be tricky,
since they require taking all of the relevant variables into account and
calculations can be complex. I usually use the figure of 12-13 seconds for a
grand piano to reach the ground, which drives home the point that, if we accept
the official account, according to which the South Tower "collapsed" in ten
seconds (The 9/11 Commission Report) or 9 and 11 seconds, respectively (NIST),
they were destroyed faster than free fall, which is physically impossible under
the influence of gravity alone. Some have argued that free fall in a vacuum from
110 floors could occur in about 9 seconds, which is true; but the Towers were
not in a vacuum. Air resistance extends the time of fall from about 12.5 second
up to as much as 30 seconds for a piano of a certain weight with its lid open
functioning very much like a parachute. This is a special case, however, like a
piano that has a parachute attached! I am now being more qualified in discussing
it. But I find it odd that Steve should be making a federal case out of this
when his own calculations turned out to be physically impossible. Which is worse
I will leave for others to debate. A virtue of mathematics is that precision
promotes testability. We all agree that Steve is more likeable than I, but that
does not mean that he's always right. He's not.

2. I support this statement made recently by Dr. Frank Legge, Kevin Ryan,
Victoria Ashley, and other (previous) members of the Scholars for 9/11 Truth:

"Further, on the Scholars' web site, positions are being promoted which are
disputed by the scientists specializing in physical sciences from Scholars For
9/11 Truth. Attempts to correct this situation have failed. As of this date the
web site continues to promote assertions which many unsupported by the evidence
(ray-beams from space caused the demolitions, mini-nukes were used in the WTC
towers, real commercial jets did not hit the WTC towers, etc.). We feel that the
promotion of these ideas functions to distract from and discredit much of the
other basic strong material challenging the official story of 9/11 which already
exists - the stand down, the war games, the insider trading, the many strong
points of evidence on the demolitions, etc." (This 'ad hoc' committee has sent
out a letter you may have received; I have chosen their "option 1.")

Fetzer's response: Indeed, the exploration of alternatives involving mini-nukes,
directed-energy weapons, or even HAARP is a subject that should be very familiar
to a physicist who has conducted research on or at facilities devoted to these
subjects. Judy Wood has speculated--and without speculation as a source of
conjectures, hypotheses, and theories, science would be impossible--that the
source of energy could even be the Sun. Interestingly, that is one of Steve
Jones' areas of expertise. One of the oddest features of this situation, in my
opinion, is that he should be ideally positioned to know that these are not
science fantasies or science fiction but genuine possibilities. Here are some
links that some may find informative about his history in these areas of
research and development, which leads me to wonder why he belittles serious
conjectures as "space beams" and non-sense:

Look Ma, No Smoke: Solar Cooker to Relieve Suffering (Fall 1997)

LAMPF = Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility.

TRIUMF = Canada's National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics

Professor Steven Earl Jones

3. On the Scholars' web site, Jim has posted an "Open Letter About Steven Jones"
which contains the following: "He is now planning to take control of the web
site from me." "... his attempt to take over the site is morally, legally, and
intellectually objectionable on many grounds, including that it qualifies as
taking something that does not belong to him."


Jim's accusation against me is simply untrue and he provided no evidence for his
assertion. I replied: "What nonsense. As I have written to you privately . Jim,
I have no interest at all "to take over the site." My work is research .. Your
accusation that I attempt "to take over the site" is not only unfounded, it is
bizarre."The uncivil accusations and diatribes remain on the Scholars' web site
(actually managed solely by Jim Fetzer) to this day, contrary to the strong
objections of many members of the society. You may read my full reply and
pleading with Jim to be reasonable, here:

I have asked Jim to promptly remove any papers which I authored from this web
site, but he has not done so.

Jim Fetzer may keep his web site and whoever wishes to adhere to "his" version
of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Many of us thought this was going to be a collective
effort where members could have a voice, not Jim's "sole proprietorship. "

It is most unfortunate that others have been dragged into this situation, and I
write out of concern for you to explain what has been going on. Of late, Jim F.
refers often to his association now with Judy Wood and Morgan Reynolds. These
two are noted for their no-planes-hit- the-Towers theories and for promoting the
notion of ray-beams from space knocking down the Towers. (I and others have
written evidence-based rebuttals to these notions.) These two have written
caustic ad hominems about me in particular, and it possible that Jim's
association with them explains some of his recent behavior.I hope Jim will view
the video of my lecture at UC-Berkeley and then re-evaluate his stance.

Fetzer's response: A classic example of the fallacy of accent occurs when the
accused claims, "I didn't kill him. I paid someone else to do the shooting!" I
have reams of evidence from the forum that Steve was patiently explaining to
others how they could proceed to take control of the web site and even the
society from me. He wants you to ignore his actual conduct, which was offensive,
on the ground that he was merely offering advice about how it could be done and
not pursuing power for himself. But those whose loyal followers acquire that
power following their leader’s instructions are going to be beholden to them, as
we all know. Steve could have said, "There has been discussion about taking Jim
out of the society he created on the forum, but I do not support it." Instead of
disavowing what had been taking place, where he was a principal in the
discussion, he instead described my belief as "bizarre"! Well, there is nothing
bizarre about drawing obvious conclusions from ample evidence. He has to know
better. As for our exchange, I have had it shifted to another web site, it
remains accessible from my "Scholars: On its First Anniversary" statement, in
which I announced that I am transforming the society into a non-profit
corporation managed by a board of directors, who will supervise the editors of
the journal, moderators of the forum, and manager(s) of the web site at their
discretion. I have advanced several slates of possible directors for
consideration, but I have never had a formal response from Steve, Alex, or
others who are involved in these things. (I acknowledge Carl as an exception,
who proposed a method of selection whereby some of the directors would be
decided by a vote of the members. It was not clear anyone else supported it.) If
they really wanted a solution to our problems, I have proposed one that should
resolve most of them.

4. During Thanksgiving weekend, Jim F unilaterally dismissed me as co-chair of
Scholars for 9/11 Truth. I felt that this action was improper and unfair. Later
he hinted that unspecified legal action might be taken against me and/or Alex
Floum, a fine researcher. To me, this was the last straw which led to my ending
association with Jim F and "his" society.

Fetzer's response: I removed Steve as co-chair after I discovered that he had
cut Rick Siegle from the forum even as he was composing a post that was critical
of Steve. I told him that, if he could justify this action, I would be glad to
reconsider, but I thought it was very inappropriate for him to exclude a member
on what appeared to be political grounds, especially since it involved criticism
of Steve, reflecting an obvious conflict of interest. Steve wrote me to say that
he supported the moderator who had done this. Because Steve and Carl were the
only persons authorized to serve in that capacity--and Carl had been on line in
the forum when it occurred, as he subsequently explained, and could not have cut
him off at that time--I asked Steve to tell me who it was who had done it. He
refused to identify that person. This has reinforced my belief that it was Steve
himself who did this, but I could be wrong. If someone else was authorized by
Steve, I supposed he would explain that and allow me to evaluate the situation
again, which might have led to his reinstatement as co-chair. But he has been
unwilling to comply. Carl has described this person as a "mystery moderator"
because even he, who has long served in that role, admits that he has no idea
who Steve could be talking about.

5. I join Kevin Ryan and many others in withdrawing from the group so that my
name will not be attached to the personalized attacks and ray-beams-from- space
stuff on

This I did by simply emailing to and stating that "I am
withdrawing from this society."

(This very email is set up such that if you simply hit "Reply to all" and state
" I withdraw from this society", it will send the message to the membership
administrator for the society run now by Jim Fetzer.)

Fetzer's response: There is no evidence of "personalized attacks". That I no
longer believe that Steve's theory of thermite/thermate can provide a complete
explanation of the demolition of the WTC does not mean that it cannot provide a
partial explanation of the demolition of the WTC. I find it extremely difficult
to imagine how anyone who has actually gone to Judy and Morgan's web site and
reviewed the photos and diagrams there--even without consulting the text!--could
not appreciate the magnitude of the problem we confront. The damage is massive
and extends far beyond WTC-1 and WCT-2 to WTC-3, WTC-4, WTC-5, and WTC-6,
leaving WTC-7 to one side. The lack of more serious damage to the bathtub is
stunning, considering these were 500,000 ton buildings. The seismic evidence and
the toasted cars provide additional reasons for believing that, whatever caused
this massive devastation, it cannot have merely been conventional explosives
with thermite/thermate mixed in. I could be wrong, once again, but that is my
considered opinion, which could be affected by new evidence and new hypotheses.
We will never know if we don't compare the relative strengths of the
alternatives by applying the principles of inference to the best explanation
that define science.

6. Some months ago, I initiated and now co-edit with Kevin Ryan the Journal of
9/11 Studies which publishes peer-reviewed papers which adhere to the scientific
method. I hope you will take a look at some of the fine papers therein:

I believe this is the proper way to proceed, with careful studies followed by
peer-reviewed publication.

Fetzer's response: As for the journal, it was originally founded with Judy Wood
as co-editor and me as managing editor. I probably have more editing experience
than anyone else involved in 9/11 research, but I stepped aside when I realized
that this was something that Steve wanted to do without me. I was preoccupied
with the web site, which, including sorting through emails and locating
appropriate news items to post, has consumed as much as 8-10 hours a day of
effort. One of my reasons for retiring after 35 years of teaching logic,
critical thinking, and scientific reasoning was because I place greater
importance upon dealing with these complex issues that make such a difference to
the future of our country than whether I offer another college course. But I was
glad to not have to carry that burden, too. It was with considerable distress,
therefore, that I discovered the editorial board he appointed was not chock-full
of first rate, "hard science" types. Its lack of appropriate balance has led to
criticism on various 9/11-related sites, criticism that I acknowledge to have
been well-founded. Several times I suggested to Steve that he ought to add as
many as a dozen of the members of SPINE, for example, to strengthen the board,
but until this controversy broke, he had done nothing about it. I would also
point out that, even though the journal was created as a part of Scholars, he
and Kevin, who have both resigned, are trying to conceal that fact by declaring
it to be some kind of private preserve that is not a part of Scholars. Those of
you who think that I am the bad guy and the Steve is not operating to benefit
himself should consider this point carefully. In the course of our negotiations,
which were ongoing and out of the public eye at the time, I offered him the
journal and the forum as part of a settlement that would leave me with the web
site. Now he appears to be trying to bypass the stage of negotiation and simply
take part of Scholars for himself.

7. An ad hoc committee of scholars (from the old group) is forming a research
society which will focus on use of the scientific method and peer-reviewed
papers. Their website will be closely allied with the Journal of 9/11 Studies
(which I co-edit) and will be managed by an elected committee, responsive to the
group. Two sample websites are already available to give further information:

This research group intends to keep in touch with its members and to use the
scientific method along with civil and respectful discourse. (We won't spend
much time on ray-beams from space knocking down the Towers!) If you wish to join
this group, you may write to:

Fetzer's response: This "ad hoc" committee has improperly commandeered the
society's membership list without consulting me and has used it to distribute an
anonymous invitation to join a non-existent new society. If they had approached
me about it, I would have had no choice but to consider it. The irony here is
that one of Steve's major complaints about my "Open Letter about Steve Jones" is
that I had not consulted him in advance. Well, the fact is that I had previously
sent him and his group an "Open Letter to Steve Jones" discussing these things
and offering various proposals for settling our differences in private and out
of the public eye. These have included several slates of possible members of the
board of directors, as I mentioned above. I only took these matters public AFTER
I had discovered that they were plotting a hostile take over of the web site and
the society. If anyone has any doubts that I was right about that, the
subsequent course of events, which includes making up a fake "membership
administrator" and using a fake email address to deceive members into the false
belief that this was taken as an action by the society, should put the lie to
that. Surely, if all of their intentions were noble and their actions were just,
this could have been done in an open and public fashion without deception and
subterfuge rather than sneaking around to try to bring down the entity that has
attained so much success. I respect the right of this group to form a new
society of their own with their own web site, forum, and journal. But they are
not entitled to take this one.