690: Semicontrolled Demolition
Title text: I believe the truth always lies halfway between the most extreme claims.
The World Trade Center towers were destroyed on September 11, 2001 (9/11 in American date notation). The planned attack was for two planes to collide with the north and south towers simultaneously, but what ended up happening was that plane 1 hit the north tower at 8:46 am, and the second plane hit the south tower a little less than 20 minutes later. In the ensuing investigation many people raised questions that didn't seem to get a satisfactory answer for several months, if not years. Many people, who called themselves 9/11 Truthers, began to claim that the whole thing was a government conspiracy, in what has come to be known as the "controlled demolition plot" (referenced by the title of this comic), which alleges that the towers were brought down not by the fires caused by the planes but by demolition charges intentionally placed there by the government.
Randall proposes a compromise to make both those who believe in the conspiracy and those who don't happy. Since there is only a government related video of a plane flying into the north tower — done by a man who was with FDNY fire fighters — that was a government conspiracy. But it just so happened that the government decided to demolish the north tower on the same day that terrorists decided to demolish the south tower.
The title text is a restatement of the Golden Mean fallacy: that the truth can be found in a compromise between two opposite positions. In this comic, one of the positions is a fanciful conspiracy theory and the other is a sober fact-based conclusion. The error of this fallacy is apparent here, as it can lead to even more ridiculous conclusions. In this case, the compromise theory would make no one happy because both sides would have to concede claims which they have already dismissed as bogus, as well as accept an incredibly unlikely coincidence.
- [Cueball is holding up a pointer to a screen with an image of the World Trade Center towers mid-disaster.]
- Cueball: Based on my analysis, I believe the government faked the plane crash and demolished the WTC north tower with explosives.
- Cueball: The south tower, in a simultaneous but unrelated plot, was brought down by actual terrorists.
- The 9/11 truthers responded poorly to my compromise theory.