A Response to Reynolds and Wood
by Frank Legge
Nothing doth more hurt in a state than
This is an attempt to show the ways in which the paper “The Trouble with Steven E. Jones' 9/11 Research” by Reynolds and Wood falls short of the normal standards of scientific debate in manner, inference and content. (Arial bold is used to distinguish this from the original paper, excerpts from which are shown in the original font.)
If they hold this view and think it important they should write a paper providing evidence for their disagreement and have it peer reviewed. To use this assertion without such review is an unprincipled ad hominem attack which is usually a sign that the following material will lack content.
The claim that the work is a “scandal” is extraordinary and possibly libelous, which will force a respected contributor to the 9/11 debate to waste valuable time with a response.
This statement either reveals a failure to understand the proper process of scientific investigation or is a devious piece of character assassination. Let’s take the more charitable first view.
The point at issue is whether the official reports can be trusted. It is a fact that these reports studiously avoid consideration of whether explosives were used, that is, they did not test this hypothesis. Prof Jones asks that the hypothesis now be tested. He has noted, as have many others, that the observations fit explosives far better than fire and plane impact and wants the authorities to be forced to establish a new investigation which will test the explosives hypothesis. If tested in this way the truth will be revealed where it counts.
That is the right and proper way to proceed. It is far more likely to receive a sympathetic response from the public than a bald assertion of a “conclusion”. It is the public that must be won over if a campaign for further investigation is to succeed.
What is the evidence for this? On the contrary the public acceptance of demolition appears to have accelerated since Jones started to publicize his work on thermite. Could it be that the motive for this paper by Reynolds and Wood is no more than their distress that Jones has been more successful than they have been?
Jones is perfectly correct: what hit the Pentagon is unproven. There is good work by Hoffman and others suggesting that explosives may have been used to destroy the plane before impact. This could account for the marks on the front of the building not matching the shape of a 757. The recently released video footage shows a brilliant white flash prior to the emergence of the red fireball. This supports the explosive theory. As long as there is a reasonable alternative theory the case must be regarded as unproven. It will not help the cause of truth movement to assert otherwise.
Proving what hit the Pentagon is not essential to the campaign and publicizing the fact that opinions differ is patently harmful.
This is untrue. Jones says: “explosives finished the demolition job”.
This ignores the substantial evidence of plane parts on the ground, described by numerous observers who arrived on the scene after the crash but before the collapse.
Some researchers say they see no deceleration when the plane hits the South tower. Others say they do see deceleration. Given this, and that there were many eye witnesses, several videos of the plane hitting the tower, and photographs showing plane debris on the ground, is it not reasonable to say that the NPT is unproven?
Jones says: “explosives finished the demolition job”. He also points out that pound for pound nanothermite has more power than conventional high explosives so perhaps the final explosives were “superthermite”. It is therefore not logical to assert that he has confounded the case.
This is untrue. Jones says: “Unlike WTC7, the twin towers appear to have been exploded “top-down” rather than proceeding from the bottom – which is unusual for controlled demolition but clearly possible, depending on the order in which explosives are detonated.”
This is not logical. Firstly it is not relevant to the truth what finally convinced Jones, and secondly his acceptance of thermite does not give credence to the official story; quite the reverse.
This may be true. We have already found several instances of untrue statements in this paper. The authors should be wary.
I believe Reynolds and Wood are correct in saying that there is no stronger evidence than the near free fall speed observed. I also believe it is reasonable to assert that the finding of thermite is equally strong. Jones may have made a strategic error in asserting that thermite is stronger but is seems a small point on which to pillory him. Polite debate would have been a more appropriate contribution.
Jones did not say only thermite was used (see above). It seems reasonable however to say that thermite could produce a sufficient mass of extremely hot iron to stay hot for weeks in a confined space. The thermite reaction produces iron at 2500oC, well above its melting point, 1540oC, so there is plenty of reserve heat to enable the iron to still be red hot when dug up later.
If the authors are going to assert that something more powerful was used they should provide the evidence, not merely assert a possibility, and then attempt to destroy a colleague with the assertion.
The paper by Wood and Zebuhr does not cast doubt on the statement by Jones. On the contrary what this paper proves is that aluminium has a similar emissivity to tungsten. Tungsten has a low emissivity, much lower than iron, as reference books will confirm.
The authors assert that aluminium would glow like iron if it were raised to
1500°C. The problem with this is that if the metal were aluminium it would have run away long before reaching this temperature, as its melting point can be no higher than 660°C, and the observation that molten aluminium at this temperature looks silver in daylight still holds.
Reynolds and Wood also dispute the claim that the flowing metal is iron on the grounds that when yellow it would not be liquid. This is of course true. However the appearance of thermite when reacting suggests that it is not as simple as that. Thermite produces showers of yellow sparks so it appears that some of the fine particles which are flung out cool sufficiently, as they pass through the air, that the light emitted is yellow.
The claim that the flowing material is iron is much stronger than the claim that it is aluminium. It is important to note however that the case for thermite does not depend on this observation alone.
And of course, if the metal is aluminium, then it was necessary that a plane hit the tower to provide the large amount of aluminium. The authors are either wrong to assert that no plane hit the tower or wrong about the metal.
“… the cutters were not necessarily thermite”. That is exactly what Jones says.
The authors assert that the above images indicate that steel has evaporated and that this proves something hotter than thermite was involved. There is a much simpler explanation.
A few seconds earlier the metal standing here was enveloped in a very dense cloud of dust, largely concrete. This will have settled on every surface. Because the cloud was so dense it settled very fast leaving clear air in which we can observe what happened next. The next event would have been the explosive demolition of the steel lower down, out of sight. The impact of the explosion would have sent a shock wave up the steel, dislodging the dust. The steel then falls through the dust and disappears from view leaving the dust, now widely scattered hence no longer so dense, falling slowly. There is no case here for anything hotter than thermite. There is a case for a high explosive to create a shock wave.
Sulphuric acid is not brown!
This contradicts the presence of acid as it has a low pH.
A calculation has been published which depends on input of a huge amount of heat energy to cause the expansion of water in the concrete as steam to produce the observed increase in volume. This calculation is in error as it ignores the fact that conventional explosives produce gas as well as heat. There is no evidence here for any extraordinary source of heat.
The expansion however does appear to provide evidence that thermite was not used alone as the thermite reaction does not produce gas. Of course Jones never said thermite was used alone.
It would seem more reasonable to infer that the source of energy was explosives rather than heat and that materials with significant mass would absorb shock energy and be pulverized rather than vaporized.
The authors are attempting to belittle Jones on the grounds that he did not properly look for evidence of exotic sources of energy. He has found good evidence for explosives and made the case that explosives, if thermite is included, can account for all observations. Should not those who promote exotic energy sources do their own research, come to their own conclusions, and publish their own results before they attack a fellow worker?
It is an unfounded criticism to say that Jones regards thermite as the key to WTC demolitions. His paper lists 13 lines of evidence that explosives were used and explicitly states that every one of these must be dealt with for a rebuttal to succeed. It is however not surprising to find that his research focuses on thermite because he has specialist skills in elemental analysis.
And one of the serious chips is the risk of being attacked by supposed fellow workers using untruths, unfounded assertions, illogical arguments and character assassination rather than scientific debate. Perhaps Jones has not been as meticulous in providing sources for previous findings as he might have been. Even if true, this failing does not warrant the scale of this attack. No failing of any kind could warrant the scurrilous nature of the attack.
It is much to be regretted that this event has occurred. These authors have contributed greatly to the 9/11 truth movement in the past and are obviously capable of doing so in the future. It is to be hoped that they will revert to constructive work.
How the authors could possibly think they were advancing the 9/11 cause by publishing this offensive material is a mystery to me. As a scientist I look at physical evidence and do not attempt to penetrate the workings of the mind, preferring to leave that very important area to others.
The scientific basis of the case for reopening the investigation of 9/11 is now well established. The best use of effort in future may well be to concentrate on the psychology of 9/11 in the hope of increasing the chance of a successful outcome. Indeed this may be an essential step if more state terror attacks are to be avoided.