690: Semicontrolled Demolition

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Semicontrolled Demolition
I believe the truth always lies halfway between the most extreme claims.
Title text: I believe the truth always lies halfway between the most extreme claims.


The World Trade Center towers were destroyed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (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.

Cueball proposes a compromise for both those who believe in the conspiracy and those who don't. 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 attack 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.

On January 6, 2016, The Onion, a satirical news site, reported that the government has confirmed Cueball's theory by releasing an article titled, Government Admits It Was Only Behind Destruction Of North Tower.

This is one of the compromises Cueball (or Randall) has proposed, most of which will also be unlikely to be accepted...


[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.
[Caption below the panel:]
The 9/11 truthers responded poorly to my compromise theory.

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Sorry haven't posted before so probably doing this in the wrong way. The description says there's no video footage of the first plane, but there's a video taken of firefighters checking man hole covers who caught it. It's on you tube, but I didn't think it was right to post the link.

Edit: on second look I see a link has been put to second impact, so no reason not to post link to first:

[[1]] 09:58, 5 April 2013 (UTC) Bob

Thanks for your input, and you're right! I corrected that in the explanation.
You only "did this in the wrong way" in that you should have edited directly the explanation Face-wink.svg. As on most wikis, the general motto here is Be bold: don't hesitate, just do it!
Thanks again - Cos (talk) 10:30, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Is it just me or is the bottom part of it blanked out for everyone? http://xkcd.com/690/ 12:26, 8 April 2013 (UTC)

It seems as if it is censored. 05:52, 9 April 2013 (UTC)
Just you! MR (talk) 02:19, 4 May 2013 (UTC)MR

Unless an incomplete shows a specific lack, and I can't find one myself, I will delete the incomplete tag. Anonymous. 00:27, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

The incomplete tag is back. --Dgbrt (talk) 20:50, 11 January 2014 (UTC)

Why was mention of the firefighter video removed/reverted and it states again that “there is no video of a plane flying into the north tower”? STEN (talk) 12:45, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Wouldn't the most extreme claim be that the entire collapse of the towers was faked? ...as in, they're still there, but with help from Copperfield, They hid it from everyone and created the whole media storm to distract from blah blah blah? Brettpeirce (talk) 20:48, 22 October 2014 (UTC)

Even if the truth does always lie between the two extremes, how do we know it wasn't the South Tower that was the inside job? Then Cueball would be twice as wrong as the MSM (who were right about the North Tower) or the truthers (who were right about the South Tower). Promethean (talk) 23:21, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

Could the "between the two extremes" mean that the event actually happened mid-air, between the two towers? This, of course wouldn't make sense.--GuB (talk) 12:59, 14 September 2015 (UTC)

Centrism moment --MeeM (talk) 23:21, 11 January 2021 (UTC)