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World famous scientist, Lyn Margulis, comes out against official 9/11 conspiracy theory

National Academy of Science member and Distinguished biologist and Professor in Geoscience endorses David Ray Griffin's work exposing the truth of 9/11

By Lynn Margulis

This article was first published as "Two hit, three down, the biggest lie," [pdf file] in the Rock Creek Free Press.

Two Hit, Three Down - The Biggest Lie

National Academy of Science member and Distinguished Professor endorses
David Ray Griffin’s work exposing the truth of 9/11

By Lynn Margulis

I comment here on the nanotechnology aspect of Jerry Mazza’s masterful review (Rock Creek Free Press, January 2010, page 6) of David Ray Griffin’s extraordinary 2009 book, The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 is Unscientific and False.

By the time we (Dorion Sagan – my eldest son and Sciencewriters partner – and I) met David Griffin in 2003 in his native habitat at the Center for Process Studies (which is on the campus of the Claremont School of Theology in southern California), he had written over two dozen books, none of which I had ever read or even heard of. We immensely enjoyed a three-day scientific-philosophical meeting on the Darwinian-evolutionary view of life that had been organized by Griffin’s sage mentor, the sweet-tempered but razor sharp, Jimmy Carter-sounding, octogenarian professor emeritus and director, John B. Cobb, Jr. The results of this fascinating meeting have since been published (Cobb, ed. 2008).

At that meeting, Griffin’s talk was sober, academic, competent, scholarly – and entirely new to me: Christian theology in a much broader philosophical context than any to which I had ever been exposed. The science-friendly philosophical outlook Griffin espoused apparently was developed by Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), the English mathematician-philosopher who became a Harvard professor, or by Cobb. Why would I have known anything about this theological-philosophical work? My own expertise after all is in protoctist and organellar genetics. With close colleagues I reconstruct the origin and evolution of nucleated cells in the Proterozoic Eon. Where I understood DRG’s talk at all, he made clear to me his honesty. Truth, especially scientifically/empirically established truth, seemed intrinsic to his Christianity. As a typical agnostic scientist overtly critical of organized, and even disorganized, religion, I was surprised by the scientific commitment to approaching empirical truth in a religious context rather than the usual authority-pleasing consensus.

Griffin went on to elaborate that, although as a Whiteheadian he embraces the methods and results of science, he is critical of the entire international scientific enterprise as generally practiced today. Not only do scientists extrapolate their intrinsically specialized empirical knowledge into intellectual territory where it does not belong, but they don’t heed Whitehead’s recognition that, after all, scientists –like all people – have an emotional life and an inner spirit. The acclaimed “objectivity of science,” on close scholarly inspection (by, say, Cobb, Griffin and other Whiteheadians), often translates into tribalism, jingoism, naiveté, denial of obvious truths, uncritical service to The State, and other forms of profoundly dangerous ignorance. Scientists, as do all groups of people, share unstated philosophical assumptions. For example, they not only have faith in the consistency and “knowability” of the real world, but they often assume that the concrete particulars of the world are adequately described by the abstractions that have proved useful for limited purposes in their own disciplines – an assumption that Whitehead called the “fallacy of misplaced concreteness.”

On the return trip east from this meeting, I read, non-stop, DRG’s seminal book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor. Since then I have watched the “aging theologian” (his self-description as quipped in the excellent video-graphed lecture “9/11 and Nationalist Faith” (or was it 9/11: Let’s Get Empirical? Both are highly recommended) metamorphose from a compelling, careful scholar to a brave and extraordinary orator (but still careful scholar). Griffin has become a superb politician with a single agenda item: We must re-open public inquiry into the events of September 11, 2001, especially the collapse of the World Trade Center.

I had personal reasons to be interested in this issue: I had watched a member of our Geosciences Department (University of Massachusetts-Amherst) realize that morning that his beloved brother was on the doomed Boston-to-LA “hijacked plane.” Two of my sons and both of their mates were on Manhattan Island on 9/11. My grandson, Tonio Sagan, the Problemaddicts hiphop lyricist and leader, was released from his Springfield probationary status to me that evening. Like everyone else close to the action, my global consciousness was instantly and permanently altered on that date. But I happily remained an academic evolutionist. So, I ask here, what happened to the “aging theologian” to cause such a radical shift in his personal and professional life: from ivory tower scholar expert in theology and philosophy to detective, orator, and political activist?

I will not try to answer this question, but will simply state: Griffin has become a scientist, in my view, and even more a science educator. He has undertaken the search for the solution to a relatively trivial scientific problem and has found it in the literature and through discussions with experts. Along with solving the scientific problem, however, he has burdened his life with a colossal science-education problem.

In spite of his authorship of eight excellent books on the subject, he is not winning the education skirmish. This is not surprising, because science education battles – I can tell you this from chronic painful experience – are far more intrinsically difficult to win than those of mere science. I illustrate this point with regard to the destruction of the World Trade Center.

The scientific problem:

Why did three World Trade Center buildings (#1,#2 and #7) collapse on 9/11, after two (and only two) of them were hit by “hijacked airplanes”?

The scientific answer:

Because all three buildings were destroyed by carefully planned, orchestrated and executed controlled demolition. Ignited by incendiaries (such as thermate) and high explosives (including nanothermite), the steel columns were selectively melted in a brilliantly-timed controlled demolition. Two 110-story buildings (towers 1&2), plus one 47-floor building (WTC 7), were induced to collapse at gravitationally accelerated rates in an operation planned and carried out by insiders. The apparent hijacking of airliners and the crashing of them into the Twin Towers were intrinsic parts of the operation, which together provided a basis for claiming that the buildings were brought down by Muslim terrorists. The buildings’ steel columns, which would have provided irrefutable physical evidence of the use of explosives, were quickly removed from the scene of the crime.

Impeccable logic and addiction to reading inspire this truth-seeker. With his practiced scientific mind (he has organized professional philosophy-of-science conferences and published several books on this theme) coupled with investigation of evidence from not only us scientists but from witnesses, documentary film-makers, scholars, architects and engineers et al., he concludes that the virtuall free-fall collapse of the three (not two) World Trade Center buildings in 2001 was a premeditated, exquisitely executed operation. He recognized this “tragic publicity stunt” (my claim) was likely intended to provide the “new Pearl Harbor” desired by radical neoconservatives, some of whom had become members of the Bush administration (see Ch. 6 of Griffin’s 2006 book, Christian Faith and the Truth behind 9/11).

The far-more-difficult science-education problem:

The persistent problem is how to wake up public awareness, especially in the global scientifically literate public, of the overwhelming evidence that the three buildings collapsed by controlled demolition. (Much has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, see Ch. 4 of The Mysterious Collapse). We, on the basis of hard evidence, must conclude that the petroleum fires related to the aircraft crashes were irrelevant (except perhaps as a cover story).We citizens of Earth within and beyond the boundaries of the United States who demand detailed evidence for extraordinary claims agree with Griffin: the rapid destruction of New York skyscrapers on September 11, 2001 was planned and executed by people inside the US government.

Griffin’s eight books about 9/11 (listed below) are his call to his kind of truly patriotic action. They show in appropriate detail, accurately documented, that the official government conspiracy theory can not be correct journalistically, scientifically, and morally. Muslim airline hijackers, in short, never triggered the collapse of high-rise steel-framed buildings at gravitational acceleration into neat removable pieces. They didn’t remove the remaining steel girders before they could be studied as evidence for a huge crime. They were not described in telephone calls by passengers and crew members from the four airliners –all the evidence for al Qaeda hijackers on the planes dissipates under close inspection (for example, even the FBI now admits that the reported cell phone calls from 25,000 to 40,000 feet never happened).

And to me the most compelling and obviously incorrect accusation is that Muslim hijackers caused the pulverization of cement high-rise office buildings into tons of dust that contain crystalline thermate and other minute metallic particles not found in the usual charred remains of fire rubble. Minute iron-aluminum-molybdenum rich spheres, steel perforated with swiss-cheese type holes and large quantities of unreacted nanothermite are not components of petroleum office fires. Besides the fact that building fire temperatures, even if fed by jet-fuel, could not have risen beyond 1,800°F, and hence they would be nowhere close to the of 2,800°F needed to melt iron (or for molybdenum that melts at 4,753°F). The facile appeal to the presence of gypsum (calcium sulfate) in the office wall-board fails to explain why sulfur was found in the intergranular structure of pieces of steel. (There was no detection of calcium!) The New York Times, in a rare example of honest reporting about the WTC collapses, called this “the deepest mystery uncovered in the investigation”).

Nor could “Muslim terrorists” have accessed and then planted in these buildings huge quantities of nanothermite. This recently developed high explosive was developed mainly in secrecy by professional scientists and engineers who enjoy government grant support for “nanotechnology” by the military. Significant quantities of red-gray crystals of nanothermite have been found in several independently collected samples of WTC dust studied by a team headed by physicist Steven Jones, formerly of Brigham Young University. Niels Harrit, a University of Copenhagen professor of chemistry who specializes in nanochemistry, is the first author of a peer-reviewed paper reporting this team’s results.

The two mutually exclusive “9/11-conspiracy theories”, the patently and nefariously absurd tale our government imposes on us and the true, criminal story yet to be entirely brought to light, deserve the attention of all literate people. Remember: Only two airplanes struck, but three buildings collapsed at free-fall velocities on that same day. Begin with Mazza’s review and Griffin’s book that detail the nanothermite scientific studies. Examine the government’s reluctant late admission that WTC 7 came down in absolute free fall for over two seconds to realize this is a scientific impossibility unless all the steel columns were partitioned into neat, removable pieces by explosives. Find out what happened to two men, Hess and Jennings, trapped inside WT7 in its abortive explosion before noon. Truth here, as David Ray Griffin tries to tell it, is (at least to me) stranger and far more dramatic than even the best fiction.

Suggested sources of evidence and explanation:
John B. Cobb, Jr. 2008 Back to Darwin: A richer account of evolution, Erdmann Publishers
Michael Ruppert 2009 Collapse: Peak oil, global politics, depletion of world resources and the end of “civilization” Chelsea Green Publishing Co. White River Junction VT
Lecutre by D.R. Griffin and M. Ruppert on DVDs.
1. The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 (2004)
2. The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (2005)
3. Christian Faith and the Truth Behind 9/11: A Call to Reflection and Action (2006)
4. 9/11 and the American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (2006, co-edited with Peter Dale Scott)
5. Debunking 9/11 Debunking: An Answer to Popular Mechanics and Other Defenders of the Official Conspiracy Theory (2007)
6. 9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press (2008)
7. The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé (2008).
8. The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7: Why the Final Official Report about 9/11 Is Unscientific and False (2009)


This article was "Two hit, three down, the biggest lie," [pdf file] first published in February 2010 issue of the Rock Creek Free Press.

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Does anyone read this mess and believe it? This article is supposed to have been written by a scholar? The writer's control of sentence structure, vocabulary and even topic is barely high school level, and is not compatible with a university science education.

Then there is the small problem of scientific method - whoever wrote this clearly has no understanding of science, or critical thinking for that matter. Strings of adjectives and rhetoric do not a valid argument make! Cheery picking random 'facts' and figures from unknown sources is no better. Simply declaring something an 'obvious fact' does not make it so. Finding an error in one part of an argument does not automatically invalidate it all. Oh... and if you're going to use them, references need to be real and formatted consistently.

Let me get a little clever here. If there was a conspiracy, why would the men in black use a specialised high tech explosive that would easily give them away? Oh... and where are the people admitting to being part of this massive conspiracy a decade later?

Finally, let me explain to everyone a few 'facts' about fire. Fire is a chemical reaction that needs three things to exist, oxygen, fuel and heat. The kind of fuel used does NOT limit the intensity of a fire as stated above. Anyone who has ever use a gas torch knows that a fixed amount of fuel can burn much hotter if you just add more oxygen to the mix. This is exactly what happens when a fire burns inside a chimney or any hollow tower. The fire sucks up the air in the column, creating a massive updraft which in turn excellerates the fire and again the updraft. This is why chimney fires are so dangerous and often destroy houses.

Editorial comment I re-read article and found it informative and stimulating. I was unable to find where Lyn Margulis has shown that her "control of sentence structure, vocabulary and even topic is barely high school level". Given Phillip Mitchell Graham's use of the words "Cheery Picking" and "excellerates", it would seem that he is casting his stones at Lyn Marguilis from a glass house. I have not found any evidence of comprehension of the above article let alone refutation of the case she put.

In another comment, Get a filter and get a life (!?!) Phillip Mitchel Graham has dismissed concerns that adding fluoride to our drinking water may be adversely affecting our health. A response to that comment can be found here. - editor

First, let me say that Lynn Margulis has done excellent work on the evolution of eukaryotic cells. I truly admire her for that. In matters relating to the destruction of the towers, Margulis is making judgements that are totally outside her field of expertise. Philip Mitchell Graham makes the more plausible argument on that topic.

I recall watching TV and seeing those planes hitting the Towers. At the time, I noted where the planes had struck and quickly deduced that there was a good chance that the towers would fall. My training is in physics, mathematics, and fluid mechanics (I've also published in biological journals). As for the third tower, I have can't speak to that.

If someone has a serious scientific argument that the planes didn't bring down the twin towers, then they should publish it in a credible scientific journal (or engineering journal). Good science requires an honest attempt to prove your pet theory to be wrong...

As for fluoridation of drinking water, I'm no expert. But anyone can go to PubMed and do a search for "fluoridation of drinking water". This search turned up 818 peer-reviewed scientific publications --- they may be worth considering before jumping to too many conclusions... I see that it might cause insulin resistance in rats (that's not good, for rats). Unfortunately, we can't go blaming the prevalence of obesity and type-2 diabetics on fluoride --- given that there are so many other things about the modern diet that have been shown to also cause these problems.

Editorial comment: James Sinnamon assures me that he is happy to respond in full to this comment, but is tied up for a few hours. In the mean-time, site visitors could look at the site of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth ( which is curently endorsed by over 1,600 qualified Architects and Engineers. I don't know of one who has endorsed to official 9/11 Commission report.

Subject was: Gaping holes in Official 9/11 Conspiracy Theory presented here

Brian Sanderson,

Firstly, I completely accepted the Official explanation, after I learned of 9/11 and for the ensuing seven years.

I got home after midnight on 11 November, after having been confined to desk and chair finishing a university assignment out of earshot from anyone else. The impacts of Flight 11 into the North Tower, Flight 175 into the South Tower and Flight 77 into the Pentagon would have already occurred before I got home at roughly 12.30AM on 11 September from my recollection. The Pentagon would have been struck at 11.39PM on 10 September AEST, roughly 50 minutes before I got home and switched on the TV. I sat through the early hours of the morning of 11 September 2001, AEST watching the subsequent news coverage of 9/11.

Like most people, I was enraged at the fanatical Islamist extremists whom I held responsible for the atrocity and was looking forward to see the United States and Autralian military give those killers what they had coming for them.

Even during the months in which I protested against the invasion of Iraq in 2003 (which I almost supported on account of believing that Hussein, too, was responsible for 9/11) I supported the "good war" by the US against the 9/11 terrorists in Afghanistan as did many other protesters.

Only 7 years later, long after I should have, did I take a closer look at the Official 9/11 story. I then came to the conclusion that I now hold that 9/11 was a fraud, a False Flag terrorist attack. It was False Flag terrorism in the mould of the projected Operation Northwoods of the early 1960's in which the top US military planned to stage plane hijackings, murders, military attacks against Guanatanmo Bay and make them appear to have been carried out by or on behalf of the Cuban Communist Government. Fortunately, President Kennedy who was sadly to be later murdered on 22 November 1963, told the US military top brass to scrap Operation Northwoods.

I think if you, too, look more closely at the events of 9/11 and also come to understand how flawed is the case you have put above, you,too, will realise that the Official account of 9/11 is a lie.

Brian Sanderson wrote:

... Margulis is making judgements that are totally outside her field of expertise.

To the contrary, the Official explanation of the 9/11 is so obviously ridiculous, that even a 12 year old child should be able to see through it. See for yourself the video version of the 9/11 Commission Report.

Brian Sanderson continued:

Philip Mitchell Graham makes the more plausible argument on that topic.

Phillip Mitchell Graham's 'contribution' does not address any of Lyn Margulis's article. His attack on what he claims is Lyn Margulis's poor grammar and writing style is laughable given his own spelling mistakes.

Brian Sanderson continued:

I recall watching TV and seeing those planes hitting the Towers. At the time, I noted where the planes had struck and quickly deduced that there was a good chance that the towers would fall.

On what basis? Please explain. Where else has a steel framed building ever collapsed so completely and so suddenly, let alone three on the same day?

Brian Sanderson wrote:

... As for the third tower, I have can't speak to that.

Nor did the 9/11 Commission. The report made no mention whatsoever of the Collapse of WTC7, which wasn't even struck by an airplane. Doesn't that strike you as the least bit suspicious?

According to James Bamford, who originally revealed the existence of Operation Northwoods, this plan was cooked up by a junior staff member, almost as a hypothetical, and presented along with other ideas from other staffers, and was rejected by the Joint Chiefs, along with other ideas. At no time did the Pentagon seriously consider Northwoods, per Bamford. The military are forever creating new plans for contingencies that may never occur. While I agree with you that 911 was some sort of inside job, it is misleading to use Northwoods as proof that the Pentagon was involved at an operational level.

Anonymous wrote:

According to James Bamford, who originally revealed the existence of Operation Northwoods, ...

Could you provide the citation? Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-secret National Security Agency: From the Cold War through the Dawn of a New Century of 2001 by James Bamford is cited on Page 98 of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why he died and why it matters of 2008 by James W. Douglass.

Anonymous continued:

... this plan was cooked up by a junior staff member, almost as a hypothetical, and presented along with other ideas from other staffers, and was rejected by the Joint Chiefs, along with other ideas. At no time did the Pentagon seriously consider Northwoods, per Bamford. ...

Pages 96-98 of JFK and the Unspeakable show otherwise. General Lemnitzer's proposal for staged acts of terrorism against the US and against Cuban exiles, which were to be blamed on the Cuban Government and used as a pretext for an invasion of Cuba, was adopted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and repeatedly put to Kennedy by Lemnitzer. Fortunately, JFK over-ruled the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Anonymous continued:

The military are forever creating new plans for contingencies that may never occur. ...

The Gulf of Tonkin Incident? The Oklahoma City Bombing? What about the wars in Indo-China or the wars the US has inflicted on North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia in the recent two decades?

Anonymous continued:

... While I agree with you that 911 was some sort of inside job, ...

A 'sort of inside job'? The evidence that 911 was an inside job and not just a 'sort of inside job' is conclusive.

Anonymous continued:

... it is misleading to use Northwoods as proof that the Pentagon was involved at an operational level.

No-one has used Operation Northwoods as proof of Pentagon involvement. Proof of complicity of leading power-brokers within the Bush administration and the US military and intelligence agencies, that would stand up in criminal prosecutions, lies elsewhere.

Operation Northwoods merely shows that the kind of event that occured on 11 September 2001 had already been planned by leading figures in the US military decades earlier.

Subject was: @James Sinnamon

The information I cited comes from Bamford's 1983 book "The Puzzle Palace." I can't cite the pages --- it's been years since I read the book --- but there's probably an index if you're too lazy to read through it. So far as I know, it was Bamford who first uncovered Northwoods. The Northwoods plan has been mischaracterized for years by folks like Alex Jones as proof of a Reichstag-fire mentality at DoD. Lemnitzer emphatically rejected Northwoods, according to Bamford. But as Goebbels said, a lie repeated often enough becomes true in the minds of the "masses." Apparently, the lie has replaced the truth in your mind, sir. ... Speaking of mischaracterization, I wrote "some sort of inside job," not "a sort of inside job" --- these are not synonymous. Again, I agree with you it was an inside job, but I don't pretend to know by whom exactly. We can theorize all we want, but that information (whodunnit) is not publicly available.

Dear James Sinnamon,

Philip Mitchell Graham makes an argument for mechanical failure based upon heating [and consequent buckling]. This addresses the article by Margulis because it provides the beginnings of a credible alternative to the conspiracy "theory".

Readers can find the physics in peer-reviewed, published manuscripts that can be accessed from this website. The mechanism that first came to my mind is dealt with (thoroughly) at this website.

Best regards,
Brian Sanderson

The page linked to above is Debunking 911 conspiracy Theories - exploding the myths.- Ed

Brian Sanderson,

Where in that 'peer-reviewed' paper is it explained how all those structural failures in WTC7, that it claims were caused only the impact of "flaming debris" from the twin towers and the consequent fires, and not by demolition explosives, occurred so quickly that collapse was observed at free-fall speed? (See here for two hour presentation on WTC7 by Daniel Noel.)

Where can independent observers get to look at the "computerized model" referred to in that paper that supposedly demonstrates the Official theory of the WTC7 "collapse"?

I asked of the "peer reviewed paper" cited above by Brian Sanderson:

Where can independent observers get to look at the "computerized model" referred to in that paper that supposedly demonstrates the Official theory of the WTC7 "collapse"?

In fact if you look 13 minutes into the 2 hour presentation by Daniel Noel that I referred to in the same post, you will see that Daniel Noel has shown that the computer simulation is markedly different from the film evidence of the WTC7 collapse.

Dr. Sanderson, thank you for your interest in the subject. I hope you will continue to widen and deepen your knowledge of the Ground Zero Incident.

Your intuition that the towers would fall was contrary to the intuitions of most structural engineers. NOVA says they were surprised when the towers came down. They had been designed to withstand a hit from a four-engine 707 flying at 600 mph, and the chief design engineer John Skilling had claimed that they would survive the ensuing fire as well.

I disagree with your claim that Dr. Margulis's comments were outside of her expertise. Dr. Margulis's background included study of chemistry and physics, and her career gave her much cause to ponder energetics. She was qualified to observe that the towers' rapid, symmetrical, and total "collapses" were mystifying and that the official reports about them did not explain the mysteries.

There's no need to publish a paper saying "those planes didn't bring down the twin towers". The fact that they stood for over an hour after impact shows that the planes didn't bring down the towers. Dr. Thomas Eagar of MIT characterized the impact as "like a bullet hitting a tree". One mainstream news article I read at the time of the NIST report's release characterized the report's thesis as something like "The planes didn't bring the towers down, nor the fires. It was the stripped-off fireproofing that caused the collapses." (Unfortunately NIST's examination of the fireproofing issue was not very rigourous.)

Your suggested paper topic reveals a "dueling theories" assumption that is not necessary to revealing the truth, and it's unreasonable to expect a single paper to "prove [a] pet theory" and defeat a 10,000-page report that does not prove its own theories. Far more illuminating would be a paper limited to "Even if planes did bring the towers down, they shouldn't have fallen in the manner they did."

As to Mr. Graham's "plausible argument", which of his claims do you find "plausible"?

1. Dr. Margulis, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a recipient of the National Medal of Science, does not understand the scientific method.

2. Dr. Margulis's points are random.

3. If covert operatives had demolished the towers, somebody would have talked.

4. The fires had ample oxygen and were comparable to a chimney fire (the towers didn't have floors, the elevator shafts had no doors, and the black smoke pouring out of the buildings was not indicative of oxygen-starvation).

You quickly deduced there was a good chance that the towers would fall, based on your training in physics, mathematics, and fluid mechanics? Congratulations! To this date no technically credible theory has been proposed that would tie the major features of the twin towers' destruction to earlier terror attacks with hijacked airplanes. You may have taken your baby steps to a Nobel Prize.

Getting serious, before you post any more 9/11 nonsense, kindly credibly refute the elementary conspiracy class of