Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No peer review for NIST's 9/11 report

Physics Professor Steven E. Jones is undergoing academic scrutiny over his role in the 9/11 truth movement.

A Brigham Young University official has said Jones was suspended over concern that his paper on the collapse of World Trade Center 7 had not been published in a peer-reviewed journal. The suspension however occurred after Jones voiced suspicion that radical neocons, who are known for their militantly pro-Israel stance, had been behind the attacks.

Jones' paper cites what he considers numerous problems in the government's conspiracy theory. The paper had been easily available via Google but is now not readily accessible via the popular search engine.

Supposing that a committee of peers is reviewing Jones' work, several points should be made:

. Many university scientists post non-peer reviewed writings online. For example, nobelist Brian Josephson writes about mental telepathy, a topic that is so controversial it can't easily be published in peer-reviewed publications.
Many others publish "preprints" on Arxiv. Preprints are not peer-reviewed and many are never submitted to peer-reviewed journals.

. The NIST's report on the collapse of the twin towers did not appear in a peer-reviewed journal. Considering the numerous omissions, distortions and public relations gimmicks, no serious journal would have published it.

. An academic committee that reviews Jones' actions should also review the NIST's main report and all its back-up reports, to see whether Jones makes a good case for scientific fraud by the NIST's principle report writers. This means that the committee should contact all scientists involved in the WTC probe to get their views on the NIST investigation.

. An independent panel of physicists and structural engineers should form itself to assure that academic freedom isn't being sacrificed on an altar of national security deception.

. The Bush administration has been repeatedly chided for misrepresentation of scientific studies. Cherry-picking of facts, failure to consider the prevailing scientific consensus and misrepresentation of the views of government scientists are major concerns, scientists have said. However, it appears that when it comes to 9/11 science, the government's word is holy writ. If Jones' work is to be checked, it is only fair that the NIST's work be rigorously checked.

. A great deal of information is missing from the NIST study, to the extent that one can only conclude that a scientific fraud was perpetrated, one meant to hoodwink non-specialists. Jones pointed out that the NIST never even checked the alternative hypothesis: that the buildings had been downed by explosives (later the NIST tossed in a last-minute disclaimer, but produced no work to back up the disclaimer). The NIST also wrote no report on the forensic findings of first-responders, including the FBI, the CIA and the New York City police and fire departments. There is no indication that the NIST even reviewed those reports, though the agency complained that a great deal of evidence was missing by the time it opened its inquiry.

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