Accepted paper:

Conspiratorial evidence: scientific discourse in the 9/11 truth movement

Author:

Steven Sampson (Lund University)

Paper short abstract:

The 911 truth movement argues that the World Trade Center was an 'inside job' by elements inside the US military. This paper discusses how Truther academics attempt plausibility by deploying scientific discourse and authority as a new kind of evidential practice.

Paper long abstract:

The 911 truth movement argues that the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center was an 'inside job' using explosives, led by rogue elements inside the US military/security establishment. This paper discusses how Truther scientists deploy evidence to prove the conspiracy using peer reviewed open access journals, the Truthers own Journal of 911 Studies and other ostensibly scientific forums discussing architecture, engineering, chemical reactions, building fires and controlled demolition, in order to build '911 theory'. Cultural relativism, 'understanding' and empathy with informants and vulnerable groups may be desirable, including 911 Truthers, but what about the Truther scientists who clearly cherry-pick evidence and disregard canons of plausibility? Where is the limit? Are we left with 'anything goes'?

panel P121
Conspiracy theories and conspiracy practices: moving between rationalities