Quote-Mines: Creationism and the 9/11 Truth Movement

Over time I have come to find numerous similarities between creationists and the 9/11 truth movement. One of the most glaring problems with both groups is the use of quote-mining, otherwise known as selecting sections of a quote that seem to support the opposing viewpoint, when in reality it supports the other viewpoint.

The most famous example of quote-mining within the creationist movement is the following from Charles Darwin’s The Origin of the Species: To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.

Taken alone, this quote seems like damning evidence against proponents of evolution. Here we have the man responsible for the theory of evolution and natural selection apparently having a hard time coming to grips with his own theory. However, further reading of The Origin of the Species shows the above quote is not only deceptive, it is downright contemptible. Here are Darwin’s actual words:

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dex, as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory.

Darwin then goes on to point out all these small gradations across the animal kingdom, helping to establish the theory of evolution.

The truth movement is also fond of removing parts of quotes that contradict their viewpoint. Here are a couple examples:

The following is from Danielle O’Brien, an air traffic controller who was on duty on 9/11: The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought… that it was a military plane.

The full quote is this – The speed, the maneuverability, the way that he turned, we all thought in the radar room, all of us experienced air traffic controllers, that that was a military plane, O’Brien said. You don’t fly a 757 in that manner. It’s unsafe.

It’s obvious after reading the full quote that O’Brien was talking about how the 757 was being flown in an unsafe manner. She did not say that it was a military plane, only that the manner in which it was moving was reminiscent of a military plane.

Firefighter Craig Carlsen is often quoted as saying the following, … you just heard explosions coming from building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever, but there were about ten explosions. At the time I didn’t realize what it was.

Now here is the full quote: You just heard explosions coming from building two, the south tower. It seemed like it took forever, but there were about ten explosions. At the time I didn’t realize what it was. We realized later after talking and finding out that it was the floors collapsing to where the plane had hit.

It does not matter if Creationists and 9/11 truthers are deliberately removing the contradictory sections of quotes or if they are simply ignorant of the true intent of the quote. Either way, the fact that quote-mining is a persistent problem in both movements shows that the truth which they seek to establish is erroneous because it is filled with incompetent research.

Creationists and the 9/11 truth movement undermine their own efforts to find the truth by either deliberately or unwillingly ignoring and denying contradictory evidence. The fact that creationists and truthers use misleading quotes to support their theories lessens their credibility.

Delusion is defined as: a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact. Some synonyms for delusion include deception, blunder, mistake, misconception, error, and fallacy. Because creationists and truthers rely on provably false quotations, their beliefs can only be described as delusional.

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About curiousplumber88

Hello, I'm burgeoning writer, which means, in short, I'm an amateur hoping to make a living as an author. I am currently writing a novel(s) and hope to use this blog as a format to communicate with an audience and also to help, inspire, or just plain write. Everything you see on the site is in its first draft status, so it is all temporary and will undergo edits in the future. This is more a domain for me to share my writing and actually get some crucial feedback on my work. For those of you who to choose to read it, I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
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15 Responses to Quote-Mines: Creationism and the 9/11 Truth Movement

  1. limey says:

    Love the example of the selected quote from the fireman. It makes you wonder how many times that’s done. Yet checking every single one for context is either impossible or too time consuming.

    I would also add global warming deniers to the your list of ‘truthers’ (ugg I can’t stand that label) and creationists. They all sound the same.

    • I love it when you can prove there is deception in a movement which prides itself on truthiness. Makes it hilarious when they claim the govt. manipulated so much on 9/11, yet their own movement is also filled with numerous lies. It’s certainly true that the govt. lied and covered certain things up, but that’s because it was their incompetence they were trying to hide, not intent. The same can be said for the truth movement. It’s not intentional that they’re quote-mining, just doing a shitty job of finding the truth.

  2. skinny says:

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  3. darts says:

    Awesome post mate.

  4. ConsDemo says:

    9/11 trutherism is a cult religion based on a vitriolic hatred of the United States of America (I know they claim they are only after supposed “criminal elements within the government” but you’d be hard pressed to find anything the like about the USA). Thus, twisting facts to bolster their cause is not only accepted, its encouraged.

    • Indeed, I think nearly all their claims and suspicions are based solely on their hatred for America/capitalism. The confirmation bias is strong with 9/11 truthers. Confirming anything which gives credence for their hatred of America is preferred to contradictory evidence. I don’t know if I’d classify it as a religion, but a cult – certainly.

  5. ConsDemo says:

    It’s only a “religion” in the sense its “believers” are impervious to evidence in the material world. I should be clear I think many traditional religious people are well-intentioned but divorced from reality. The truthers are equally divorced from reality but also do not have good intentions at all, so I don’t compare it to a formal religion.

    Thanks for the blog, by they way. It is pointless to have a dialog with truthers because they are so narrow minded and wedded to their crackpot views but posts from blogs like yours come in handy when I run across some troofer bs in a public forum.

    One thing debunkers really need to deconstruct is the AE911troof membership numbers. I can think of a couple possible flaws

    1) They are just numbers on a website, the host could put any “names” he wants on there.
    2) Even if they are real people, who knows if they really work the claimed professions
    and finally
    3) Even if there are 1,300 real professionals who endorsed that garbage they are still a miniscule fraction of people in the fields broadly and they, like all other troofers, are simply masquerading their ideology behind their credentials.

    However, it would be nice to see someone do a more systematic critique, because of all their bs claims this is one the few that otherwise sane people may fall for.

    • I’ll definitely get around to the number of “scientists” who support the 9/11 truth movement. The RSS link on my blog page should take you to another really good blog on all things 9/11. I believe they have a blog which talks about the inflated numbers of the truth movement and that many of the “scientists” are not scientists at all. There are certainly experts who disagree with the official collapse theory, but as you mentioned there are very little of them compared to the number of scientists who support the official collapse theory. That being said, we should remember numbers mean very little. Thousands of years ago 100% of people knew the Earth was flat.

    • el Once says:

      Dear Mr. ConsDemo, you wrote:

      It’s only a “religion” in the sense its “believers” are impervious to evidence in the material world. … The truthers are equally divorced from reality but also do not have good intentions at all, so I don’t compare it to a formal religion.

      Yes, indeed, I am a bit religiously fanatical about 9/11 Truth, but it is religious fanaticism to God-given mathematical truths of the universe of the form 2+3=5. Except that the cheerleaders for the official govt conspiracy theory (OGCT) continually tell us 2+3=4.7, which comes up short no matter how you measure it.

      Football fanaticism and misguided American patriotism (mixed with perversions of Christ’s Christianity) is what fuels proponents of the OGCT.

      I will not admit that any anomalous aspect of 9/11 is contradictory to the govt’s version, because the revelation of this fact unravels not just the crime, not just its “respected” culprits, but our very nation consisting for 50 States. Were I look let one wild seed of 9/11 truth germinate, it would mean that I’d have to be true to my oath regarding defending the Constitution from its enemies, both foreign and domestic. It would mean I might just have to muster up the courage akin to our founding fathers in wrestling our future from the oligarchs and corporations, and maybe to make new more manageable countries and territories out of fifty states.

      Mr. ConsDemo wrote:

      It is pointless to have a dialog with truthers because they are so narrow minded and wedded to their crackpot views but posts from blogs like yours come in handy when I run across some troofer bs in a public forum.

      By crackpot views, do you mean 9/11 milli-nukes and computer generated imagery (CGI) for the commercial planes hitting the towers? Sorry to burst your bubble, but posts from blogs like Mr. Plumbers will not come in handy when you run across such troofer bs in a public forum (like this), because Mr. Plumber is incapable of addressing them. This isn’t to fault Mr. Plumber, but the counter evidence and explanation just don’t Occam Razor do it like 9/11 milli-nukes and CGI do.

      Mr. ConsDemo? Is it because you cannot address the facts that you must attack the messengers, which this planning more or less amounts to? Mr. ConsDemo wrote:

      One thing debunkers really need to deconstruct is the AE911troof membership numbers. I can think of a couple possible flaws
      1) They are just numbers on a website, the host could put any “names” he wants on there.
      2) Even if they are real people, who knows if they really work the claimed professions
      and finally
      3) Even if there are 1,300 real professionals who endorsed that garbage they are still a miniscule fraction of people in the fields broadly and they, like all other troofers, are simply masquerading their ideology behind their credentials.

      Regarding #1 & #2: Both the names and their credentials have been certified as being engineers. AE911Truth look up that the person does exist, that they studied at the university they claim, and that they achieved the certification boasted. The one thing you should be aware of is that engineering schools have core courses in mathematics and physics that all engineering majors must take and pass.

      Regarding #3: Shall we put this tiny fraction into perspective. It only took one Copernicus and one Galileo to unlock some truths of the heavens, despite an army of religious dogma in opposition.

      Yes, 1,300 real professionals may seem like a small number. Why haven’t more academic professionals and researchers lined up to sign? The answer to that becomes clearer when you answer: where does 99% of funding for academic research come from? They know which side their bread is buttered on. The Bush Administration showed its appreciation for loyalty to the fawning and complicit; they also showed their appreciation for the disloyal and the whistle-blowers that sent any would-be whistle-blowers the clear message what would befall them, their careers, their reputation, and their families.

      “A coward is a hero with a wife, kids, and a mortgage.” ~ Marvin Kitman

      Mr. ConsDemo wrote:

      However, it would be nice to see someone do a more systematic critique, because of all their bs claims this is one the few that otherwise sane people may fall for.

      Lay’s potato chips used to run a telly commercial with the jingle: “You can try, but you just can’t do it … (no one can do it)”. They were referring to eating just one chip, while I refer to the task you propose.

      When I claim that you can’t do it, I mean no offense to your personal abilities, Mr. ConsDemo, or even to that of Mr. Plumber or Mr. Limey. I’m also not pleading with you in a winey voice: “no, don’t do that; you just can’t, you nasty brute, you.” I’m saying that the math and physics, being what they are and God-given and inspired and all, cannot at the same time be right and wrong. If the math & physics of AE9/11 Truth could be debunked as being not true, it would have been in a systematic fashion and you could repeat it now. Only special pleadings with regards to the laws of physics and careful, purposeful, and dubious misdirection of stats can the critique you seek make any traction.

      I enjoy your phrasing. Paraphrased: (otherwise) sane people fall for AE9/11 Truth. Why is that, Mr. ConsDemo? And does that mean that (otherwise) insane people may fall for the OGCT?

      Senor El Once

  6. Craig McKee says:

    You clever “debunkers” love to throw around phrases like: “their beliefs can only be described as being delusional” and truthers “do not have good intentions at all” and “I don’t know if I’d classify it as a religion, but a cult – certainly.” Who needs facts when you can just engage in mindless attacks.
    Most offensive in what I’ve read from Mr. Plumber and Mr. ConsDemo is the ignorant claim that anyone who doesn’t believe the official 9/11 story must hate America and capitalism. You know, this is really a hateful tactic, to attack your perception of someone’s motives when you have no basis to do so.
    You’ve seen many comments of mine on this site, and many responses to Mr. Limey on my own blog, and I challenge you to find ONE SENTENCE that suggests that I hate America. This is really a slimey tactic to discredit people so you don’t have to address the substance of what they’re saying.

    • el Once says:

      Dear Mr. McKee,

      The “clever” debunkers do not want a rational debate on the evidence and science. If they can get you off-topic by questioning your “delusional” beliefs, your bad intentions, and your cult actions, they’ve won half the battle.

      It is much easier to agree with them.

      Yep, you betcha! I am a certified member of the AE9/11 Truth cult. We are deluded into thinking that Newton’s Laws should have applicability in what we observed on 9/11. Our intentions certainly are bad from the perspective of “continuity of govt,” because by golly, we don’t want war crimes, torture, rendition, and a host of other paranoid plagues (figurative and literal) continuing.

      I most certainly do hate American (leadership), those wimpy-ass Mo-Fo’s who can only think to vote in favor of their corporate sponsors and not in favor of the people. Certainly net neutrality, banking bailouts, and votes for more war profiteering are examples of this.

      I most certainly do hate (unregulated) capitalism, because corporations aren’t people and don’t give a flying F about people, except the ones who help keep the profits flowing, and even then they’ll use them and abuse them and then show them the door. Unregulated and deregulated capitalism is one of the root causes of our problems, with the un/de-regulations being forced on us by corporate interests.

      Senor El Once

    • To Craig and Elonce,

      Well I’m sorry if I was offensive. You’re free to be offended and I’m not going to stop you. I do think many beliefs of the truth movement can be directly linked to an anti-capitalist/imperialist beliefs. That is what I think deep down many truthers believe. I didn’t say you or Elonce believe that, but it certainly accounts for a good proportion of truthers…in my opinion.

      I find your contention that I wasn’t addressing the facts as dubious. Most of my blog directly addresses the quotations taken out of context by truthers. It is a fact that truthers have taken out the sections which hurt their theory. I didn’t make that up. It’s odd that you didn’t address this issue and instead focused on my belief that many of your ilk are delusional. I understand your concern, but I didn’t intend for my statements to be an ad-hominem attack, only a theory as to why so many continue believe false evidence. And I feel based upon the evidence, that many truthers believe quotes which are provably fallacious, then delusional is a suitable adjective to describe their beliefs.

  7. mezo says:

    Fool. Generals, ex-intelligence pesonnel, world leaders, physicists, journalists, pilots, actors, victims. All of high character. But you trust the TV. You are on the wrong side of history and by the end of this year you will pull down this shameful blog. Traitor!

  8. mezo says:

    moderate my ass

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