Physicist Dave Rogers Comments on the Peer Review Process 
and Steven Jones' Paper "Why Indeed Did the 
World Trade Center Buidings Completely Collapse"

Main 9/11 Links Page

On the JREF forums, a poster with the screen name "Pagan" announced that he had "absolut [sic] scientific evidence" that 9/11 was an inside job. After being badgered to present that evidence, Pagan said it could be found in the "Journal of 9/11 Studies," a website started by physicist and former BYU professor Steven E. Jones, who maintains that the papers published therein are peer reviewed. When pressed to name a paper in the J.O.N.E.S. that contains this definitive evidence, Pagan suggested Jones' own paper:
You only have to pick n' choose from the excellent journal.
What do you say about this one? IMO the piece de resistance.

Why Indeed the WTC Buildings Completly Collaps? [sic]
http://www.journalof911studies.com/v...ade_Center.pdf

Written by Professor Steven Jones. According to Professor [David Ray] Griffin peer reviewed by 4 people with a Phd.
Physicist Dave Rogers replied:
Speaking as a person with a PhD in Physics who has peer reviewed papers, I would have advised rejection of this paper for publication in any serious scientific journal, quite possibly without the option of a re-write. I started writing down my reasons, but quite frankly I don't have time. Suffice it to say, this is not a scientific paper, follows nothing remotely similar to scientific methodology, contains numerous obvious errors, unsupported assertions and misceptions about many subjects including the nature of controlled demolitions, contradicts its own findings in places, and appears at times to be deliberately attempting to mislead the reader. It has been extensively criticised elsewhere, and I have little to add except one point I haven't seen emphasised:

Jones claims that the liquid running from one of the corners of one of the WTC towers cannot be aluminium and must therefore be molten steel. From the emission colour he estimates its temperature at 1000 C. Elsewhere in the paper he quotes the melting point of structural steel as 1510 C. His own analysis therefore contradicts his own conclusions. For him to have published such a thing suggests a serious loss of ability for self-criticism that is unacceptable in a serious scientist.

Overall this paper is an appallingly bad piece of scientific analysis.
Pagan:
I suggest that you read the section again. OK? Let's see what your Phd is worth?
Rogers:
Sorry, I fail to see your point. Jones is claiming that the liquid he sees is molten structural steel at approximately 1000 C, and that the melting point of structural steel is 1510 C. At 1000 C, structural steel is therefore a solid, therefore the liquid at 1000 C cannot possibly be molten steel - it's an absurd conclusion. How do you reconcile the contradiction?

[Later that day]:

I'm not seeing any response, Pagan, although you've posted in other threads - can I assume you withdraw your objection? If not, I suggest you too read the passage in Jones's paper again. In particular, I'd like to draw three points to your attention.

Page 11: "I assert that this glowing liquid metal is consistent with flowing liquid iron from a nearby thermite reaction zone..."

Page 12, discussing the same flow of yellow-hot liquid: "The yellow colour implies a molten-metal temperature of approximately 1000 C..."

Table on page 8 gives the following temperatures: Lemon, 1000 C; light yellow, 1080 C; white, 1205 C; structural steel melts, 1510 C; iron melts, 1538 C. Therefore, if the flowing liquid is yellow rather than white, its temperature is significantly below about 1200 Celcius.

When you've checked these parts of the paper, please explain to me how "flowing liquid iron" can be liquid at significantly less than 1200 Celcius. Note that steel (mostly iron but with some additives) has a slightly lower melting point than pure iron, so if it can't be steel it follows that it can't be iron from a thermite reaction either. OK, slight confusion between iron and steel on my part, but by suggesting that the material was steel I was actually being charitable to Jones because the discrepancy in melting points is slightly less. Either way, Jones is contradicting himself horribly, and doesn't even realise it.
Rogers then decided to examine each of Jones' 13 main reasons why he believes the World Trade Center towers and building 7 were destroyed in a "controlled demolition." On this page Rogers posted his analysis in three parts, which he has generously allowed me to reprint in full. The analysis stresses what Rogers thinks a competent peer reviewer should question in Jones' paper. The following words are by Rogers, except for my section headings in red. Predictably for a "9/11 truth" member, Pagan did not reply after being confronted with this analysis.


Dave Rogers: While we're waiting, here are a few things about Jones's paper that I find scientifically questionable, though perhaps they've eluded your common sense. I'll just deal with the first two of his Thirteen Reasons today; I know he says I have to address all of them, but he doesn't say I have to do it all on the same day. Any comments you have on these would, of course, be most welcome.

Reason 1: Molten metal. Jones evaluates only a single hypothesis to account for molten metal in the rubble pile, and does not present any alternative hypotheses such as the presence of slow-burning fires in a region from which heat escape is extremely slow. No comparison of the relative plausibility of hypotheses can therefore be made; Jones is, in effect, avoiding the issue.

The evidence presented for molten metal in the rubble pile is anecdotal, and the evidence for molten iron in the rubble pile is nonexistent. Jones argues that molten metal dripping off yellow-hot steel extracted from the rubble pile indicates the presence of molten iron, but the basis of his argument is that only a single type of metal is present, which is not justified in the paper. He fails to consider the possibility, for example, that molten aluminium could be dripping from a piece of solid steel as it is extracted.

What Jones presents as a block of "now-solidified metal with entrained material" is a deduction he draws from a single photograph with no supporting evidence. The material in the photograph appears to be composed of concrete and steel reinforcement bars, which have clearly not been melted and re-solidified as they have retained their surface structure.

My comments on the internal contradictions of Jones's analysis of the yellow-hot liquid flows from the corner of the tower have already been posted; I note, however, that his estimate of its temperature differs by 10% in different parts of the paper.

Jones refers to "high-temperature cutter charges such as thermite, HMX or RDX or some combination thereof, routinely used to melt/cut/demolish steel." He is combining two very different types of material into a single list, and attributing the different properties of each to all of them. This is both misleading and incorrect; HMX and RDX are not high-temperature reactions, and thermite is not routinely used to demolish steel buildings.

Jones asks the question: "Are there any examples of buildings toppled by fires or any reason other than deliberate demolition that show large pools of molten metal in the rubble?" This appears to be a deliberately misleading statement; Jones implies that "large pools of molten metal in the rubble" are a characteristic peculiar to controlled demolition, which is clearly not true.

Reason 2: Sulfidation of steel. Jones notes that steel from the WTC rubble appeared to have experienced temperatures approaching 1000C, and comments that the building fires should not have been able to reach these temperatures. He appears at this point to have forgotten his own assertion in the previous section that steel reached these temperatures in the rubble pile following the collapse. He also states that "it is highly unlikely that this sulfur could find its way into the structural steel in such a way as to form a eutectic", but makes no attempt to justify or quantify this assertion.

All of these points are, at best, scientifically questionable, and at worst either indefensible statements or deliberate attempts to mislead.
 
I'm continuing to reply to Pagan's judgement that there is nothing scientifically questionable in Jones's paper, "Why indeed did the WTC buildings completely collapse?" by listing statements and analysis in Jones's Thirteen Reasons that are at best scientifically questionable, and justifying that judgement. I dealt with reasons 1 and 2 yesterday. Since then I've made it to Reason 10 without giving up the will to live, so here are my comments on 3 to 9.

Reason 3: Jones states that "no major persistent fires were visible (considerable dark smoke was seen)" in WTC7. This appears misleading in that it implies that there was no serious fire in WTC7, when the eyewitness testimony of firefighters at the scene does not agree. It is unclear why Jones characterises the smoke as "dark" when photographs taken at the scene show fairly light-coloured smoke.

Jones states that "evidently, none of the core columns was severed by falling debris" without justification or reference. He then goes on to discuss in some detail the likelihood of different types of building collapse without justification or relevance. As a nuclear physicist his opinion in such matters is no more authoritative than that of a layman and should not be included in a scientific publication.

A photograph is included, without comment or caption, of a concrete-framed building which fell sideways; from earlier versions of Jones's work I believe this to have been an earthquake-induced collapse. Earthquakes are characterised by large lateral ground displacements which can therefore provide strong sideways forces, causing a building to fall sideways rather than vertically. Jones does not discuss this at all.

A second photograph in this section shows the rubble from the collapse of L'Ambiance Plaza, in which large slabs of concrete are visible. Jones states that "concrete floors in the Twin Towers and WTC7 were pulverized to dust - as is common in controlled demolitions using explosives". He does not discuss the relevance of the heights of the two structures compared, or indeed give any constructional details of L'Ambiance Plaza whatsoever to justify the comparison. His assertion that concrete floors are pulverized to dust in controlled demolitions is again of no more weight than a layman's opinion.

Jones concludes that further investigation of the WTC7 collapse is required, but does not mention that a further investigation of the collapse was already under way at the time of publication.

Reason 4: Jones states that no steel-framed skyscrapers had ever collapsed due to fire before the WTC collapses. This is deliberate obfuscation, bordering on outright dishonesty, which in the context of a scientific paper is reprehensible. Jones cannot possibly be unaware that the WTC Twin Towers were severely damaged by aircraft impacts, and discusses the debris damage to WTC7 in the same paper. He also fails to address the fact that no buildings of this size have ever been brought down by controlled explosives.

Jones refers to "steel members in the debris pile that appear to have been partly evaporated". It is not established that actual evaporation has taken place, nor is the contradiction resolved between the description of "steel members", i.e. recognisable solid steel components, and the fact that the steel would have to be heated well above its melting point in order for significant evaporation to occur. The original observation has been investigated further by Biederman et al, whose results are available online at http://www.me.wpi.edu/MTE/People/imsm.html and indicate that erosion of steel members is due to hot corrosion of the steel rather than evaporation.

Reason 5: The entire premise of this section is a highly speculative assumption that small dark regions seen in a low-resultion video of the collapse of WTC7 are identifiable as explosions of demolition charges, which is not warranted by the quality of the images available. Jones comments that the timing between the appearance of these features is less than 0.2 seconds, which is longer than the time for a single floor to collapse, and so suggests that collapsing floors cannot be a reason for these events. However, this is not relevant to the collapse of WTC7, which (in the region where these events occur) is a bottom up collapse. If the events are window breakage caused by overpressurisation of air inside the building, resulting from the compression of air as the lower floors collapse, these events would be expected to progress upwards due to air flow away from the collapse zone into the higher floors of the building. The rate of this progress would depend on the overpressure and the resistance to airflow of the internal walls and floors of the building, which is not assessed in this paper or in any other study of the WTC collapses. Jones's reference to the CIA's occupation of part of the building is a completely irrelevant aside which has no bearing on the evidence as to whether the collapse was due to fire/damage or to controlled demolition, and should not have been included in a scientific paper.

Reason 6: Jones asks the question, presumably rhetorically: "What caused the 47 enormous steel core columns of this building which supported the antenna to evidently give way nearly simultaneously, if not cutter charges?" He does not advance any evidence for the hypothesis that there was simultaneous failure of all 47 core columns as opposed to progressive weakening of the structure to the point where a catastrophic failure of all remaining columns took place, a very reasonable scenario given that significant numbers of the core columns were severed or damaged by the aircraft impact. He is in effect presenting a false dilemma.

He dismisses NIST's explanation (that the apparent early drop of the antenna as seen from the north was in fact a visual misinterpretation of the initial tilt of the antenna as seen in videos from the east and west) as unsufficiently quantitative; however, as analysis of this explanation is a matter of simple three-dimensional geometry, if it were in error this would be trivial to demonstrate and Jones makes no attempt to do so.

Reason 7: Jones provides three quotes suggesting that the collapse of the Twin Towers was preceded by explosive blasts. These quotes are heavily edited and taken out of context, two of the three quotes describe explosions well below the region of collapse initiation, and one (from an Assistant Fire Commissioner) suggests the possibility that these were items of electrical equipment exploding. Jones dismisses this possible explanation by saying that such explosions could not cause the collapse, despite there being no reason whatsoever to assume such a causal relationship; from the quote, it appears that the explosions followed collapse initiation, and may therefore be caused by it. Jones states that there was no jet fuel remaining to cause these explosions, which is irrelevant, and describes explosives as a "plausible and simple explanation for the observed detonations followed by complete building collapses" without establishing that this was in fact the sequence of events.

Reason 8: Jones asserts that horizontal ejection of structural steel and pulverisation of concrete provide evidence of explosives, and references a talk (not peer reviewed) by Hoffman as the source of these assertions. These assertions have the following major flaws: The amount, composition and particle size distribution of the dust is not considered beyond the unsupported assertion by Hoffman that it was "mostly sub-100 micron powder"; the extent to which pulverisation of concrete would be expected in a gravity-driven collapse is not discussed; plumes of smoke from lower regions of the towers are not analysed beyond the assertion of a superficial resemblance to demolition charges; and alternative explanations for these events, such as pressure-driven ejection of debris as air is compressed within the towers, are not discussed. Finally, Jones asserts without justification that the top-down collapse of the twin towers is "unusual" for controlled demolition, whereas sources within the demolition industry indicate that it is in fact unheard of.

Reason 9: Jones asserts that the collapse times of WTC1, 2 and 7 were shorter than would be expected due to the requirements of conservation of energy and momentum, but advances utterly inadequate data to support this point; in particular he includes no estimate of the collapse time of any of the buildings, relying only on references to non-peer reviewed publications. The only figure given in this section is the free-fall time from the roof of WTC7, which is trivial to calculate. Jones makes no attempt to calculate the effect of conservation of momentum on the collapse times of the twin towers despite the fact that no more information is needed to estimate this than the height and weight of a single tower, both easily available from published sources. He references Ross's paper in the Journal of 911 Studies as evidence that the collapse would be arrested, but does not reference Greening's papers which reach the opposite conclusion. He asserts once again that concrete is converted to "flour-like powder", citing this as evidence of demolition, but does not mention that thermite is not an explosive and so would not explain this phenomenon, nor does he make any attempt even to estimate the amount of explosive required to produce this result.

In a puzzling aside, Jones then goes on to ask of the top 30 floors of the South Tower, "What happens to the block and its angular momentum?" His discussion in this section is almost incomprehensible, as it is unclear what is the relevance of angular momentum to the assertion that the falling mass "turned mostly to powder in mid-air". In any case, the assertion is clearly untrue, as other well-known photographs of the South Tower collapse show large amounts of still-solid debris falling on to WTC3; the collapse of the latter building indicates that it was struck by a significant part of the upper 30 storeys. Jones suggests that nothing but explosives could have broken up the upper block, completely ignoring the fact that repeated impacts against parts of the still-standing structure must have sent highly destructive elastic shock waves through the block.

Overall, this section of the paper shows a lamentable lack of any attempt at quantitative analysis or examination of its own hypotheses. In particular, the assertion that two unevaluated quantities do not agree with each other is slipshod, unscientific and intellectually lazy.
 
I've now compiled the rest of my comments on aspects of Jones's paper that are at best questionable. Just for clarification, I'm looking at this paper as a physicist peer-reviewing a scientific paper, and raising the kind of objections that I think a responsible and neutral peer-reviewer should have raised. In general, depending on the journal (some rapid publication journals require a simple accept/reject decision), reviewers for a scientific journal may choose from up to four final verdicts on a paper:

1. Accept for publication without revision.
2. Accept for publication with minor revisions - if the revisions stated are agreed to, no further review is required.
3. Request re-submission with revisions to address referee comments - further review is required.
4. Reject for publication.

Reasons for rejection may include: because the submission is not appropriate for the journal, because the work is not sufficiently novel, because the methodology is seriously flawed. Referee comments may be sent on anonymously to justify a rejection at the journal's discretion. My overall verdict would be that the paper should be rejected due to flawed methodology, and also because some of the remarks included might be construed as defamatory of specific, named individuals.

OK, here goes with the rest of the paper. Note that in some cases my comments are a little repetitive, but this generally reflects the repetition in the original paper.

Reason 10: Jones contends in this section that the nature of the collapse of WTC1, 2 and 7 is not consistent with any other collapse mechanism than controlled demolition, based on the assumption that achieving a building collapse without damage to surrounding buildings requires considerable skill. This is an incorrect deduction for WTC1 and 2; WTC3 was destroyed by debris from WTC2, and WTC4, 5, 6 and 7 suffered serious structural damage from debris from WTC1. Indeed, the collapse of WTC1 and 2 can not reasonably be described as symmetrical or straight-down. In the case of WTC7 this is an argument from incredulity, and the possibility of impact and fire damage causing a near-straight-down collapse is never seriously considered. Proceeding from this flawed premise, Jones goes on to misrepresent the FEMA report as suggesting that the implosion of WTC7 was "beautifully done", ascribing an implication of deliberate demolition to a report that contains no such implication. This appears deliberately misleading. He then speculates as to why and how terrorists would demolish a building in this way, and suggests that this warrants further investigation. However, this assumes a conclusion (that WTC7 was demolished by explosives) that, as Jones himself implies in the previous section, is itself unproven; he is therefore calling for an investigation based on the assumed results of an investigation he himself is calling for and admits has not been carried out.

Jones next quotes another demolition expert as saying that explosions in the basement would be the best way to bring down the towers, and asserts that this is consistent with what was observed in the collapses. His logic is deeply flawed here. Firstly, he is suggesting that pre-collapse explosions low down in the towers (not actually in the basements) were the cause of the collapses of the twin towers, despite the well-known observation that in both collapses the initiation took place well above these regions, in fact in the floors of the towers weakened by aircraft impact and fire. Secondly, he suggests that severing the core columns with explosives would be an explanation for the pre-collapse movement of the north tower antenna, again despite the fact that the explosions he suggests as the cause of this took place well below the point of collapse initiation. His comments about Mark Loiseaux in this paragraph appear to be a thinly veiled accusation of complicity in wrongdoing, an unwarranted personal attack which has no place in any scientific discussion; Jones should be censured for resorting to such innuendo. It should also be pointed out that thermite is not an explosive, therefore the observation of explosions in no way supports Jones's thermite hypothesis. Jones earlier refers to nano-thermite as an explosive, but there is no evidence presented that nano-thermite has either the explosive force or the concentrated heating ability to cut large steel columns.

Jones's calculation of the amount of explosives required to demolish WTC1, 2 and 7 seems reasonable based on a conventional implosion where the lower supports are severed initially, but for WTC1 and 2 this was clearly not the case, so his calculations are not valid for the observed collapse of these buildings. If Ross is correct that an upper-storey collapse would not proceed to the ground, then further explosives would be needed to propagate the collapse zone downwards, increasing the amount of explosives required by many times. (Note, however, that if Ross is incorrect, then a major part of Jones's reasoning is therefore invalid.) His statement that "for very tall towers such as these, top-down demolition seems to be the best approach, to avoid toppling over of the tower..." is of no scientific value, as it is not and cannot be supported by expert opinion, no controlled demolition of this nature having ever been attempted. Jones goes on to state that, in the case of a deliberate demolition, charges would need to be placed at many levels in the towers to align with the aircraft impact; since every set of these charges would need to be sufficiently large to initiate, rather than simply propagate, collapse, this may require a further upward estimate of the amount of explosives required.

Jones presents two photographs, one of demolition workers positioning a cutter charge on a column at an angle, and another from the remains of the WTC buildings showing a column severed at a similar angle. He asserts that the second column was cut, not by an oxy-acetylene torch, but by a highly exothermic chemical reaction. This is not only an absurd distinction to draw, as an oxy-acetylene torch itself cuts steel by means of a highly exothermic chemical reaction; it is also the wrong way round, as cutter charges sever steel using not heat but blast overpressure. The liquefied and re-solidified metal on the column in the second photograph therefore indicates that it was not severed by a cutter charge. Jones asserts that cutter charges are compact, which is true of explosive charges; however, this is not relevant to his hypothesis that thermite was used to sever the columns. He makes no estimate of the size of a thermite device required for demolition, nor does he demonstrate satisfactorily that any such device exists (Jones refers elsewhere to patents for thermite cutting devices, but it should be noted that these post-date the WTC collapses by some years, have a stated cutting ability which is inadequate for cutting columns of the size of those in the WTC towers, and are bulky devices which could not have been installed undetected prior to the events of 9/11). This section is one of many in which Jones appears to confuse thermite and explosives, picking the best mix of properties of both to support his theories in a highly misleading way. In effect he is postulating an unknown substance that is as compact as a cutter charge, produces an audible explosion, but cuts steel through highly localised melting rather than blast overpressure and leaves chemical residues in the remaining steel members, but he advances no credible evidence that such a substance exists.

Jones concludes this section by urging the reader to observe the similarities between the collapse of WTC7 and a controlled demolition, neglecting the obvious differences between the collapses of WTC1 and 2 and controlled demolitions. This is not only cherry-picking of evidence, but also logically invalid; the similarity of appearance is not proof of identical cause. It might be argued that the coincidence of appearance would warrant an investigation into the collapse of WTC7, but as mentioned before such an investigation is already in progress.

Reason 11: Jones reviews the work of Bazant and Zhou in the light of the NIST report on the collapse of WTC1 and 2, and questions the possibility that sufficiently high temperatures could have been attained to initiate global collapse according to Bazant and Zhou's model. His aim here is to suggest that, if Bazant and Zhou's explanation is flawed, then alternative explanations of the collapse must be considered, including explosives. This suggestion neglects the fact that the NIST report contains a far more comprehensive analysis of the collapse initiation based on extensive modelling, analysis of samples from the remains of the towers, constructional details, and visual analysis of video and photographic records of the collapse mechanism, and must therefore be considered to supersede Bazant and Zhou's initial analysis.

Reason 12: Early in this section, Jones comments on the timing of the NIST report on WTC7, which demonstrates that despite his earlier calls for an investigation into this collapse he is aware that such an investigation is already in progress. He then goes on to challenge NIST's collapse theory, first by quoting Lane and Lamont, who he says assert that "core columns cannot pull the exterior columns in via the floor". This clearly ignores the photographic and visual evidence seen elsewhere of severe inward bowing of the perimeter columns, an effect which Jones makes no attempt to explain in the context of an explosive demolition hypothesis. Jones then attacks the methodology used by NIST to model the collapses by accusing them of falsifying the input parameters to obtain the desired result. However, the quotes from the NIST report used by Jones to support this accusation do not in fact do so; rather, it is clear from the report that NIST chose among their initial cases on the basis of consistency with observed effects, and adjusted parameters within physically reasonable limits to reproduce observation. If such adjustments are disallowed, any form of modelling would necessarily be futile. His assertion that "actual models fail to collapse" is incorrect, as it is clear from the NIST report that modelling of a scenario consistent with observed structural responses and using physically reasonable input parameters did indeed result in collapse. Jones then refers to fire endurance tests conducted by Underwriter Laboratories in which models of floor trusses did not fail within 2 hours, when the report clearly states that there are scaling issues and that "the fires in the towers in September 11, and the resulting exposure of the floor systems, were substantially different from the conditions in the test furnaces." Jones complains that NIST did not model collapse after initiation, and suggests that the collapse conditions must be investigated, concluding with a highly unscientific piece of rhetoric in which he makes veiled accusations towards NIST of falsification of their results. He then invokes Occam's Razor, suggesting that the assumption of controlled demolition is the simplest explanation of the observed facts, neglecting to address the failure of this assumption to describe major features of the collapse, let alone its inconsistency with the failure of any physical evidence of charge residues or eyewitness accounts of the presence or installation of explosives to emerge.

Reason 13: Jones refers to NIST's refusal of requests from structural engineers to show visualisations of the collapse of the twin towers. He characterises these as "serious concerns about the NIST WTC collpase report raised by structural and fire engineers", whereas in fact this is no more than an attempt by others to verify aspects of NIST's work independently. This section involves no novel analysis either of the collapse of the towers or of the modelling by NIST, and can only therefore be seen as an attack on NIST's integrity which has no scientific validity.

Further Issues
After expounding his Thirteen Reasons, Jones discusses some further issues. Firstly, he quotes two editorials from Fire Engineering in 2002 and 2004 which express concerns over rapid recycling of the steel from the WTC towers and dissatisfaction with the 9/11 Commission Report respectively, and suggests that these editorials express doubt over the conclusion that impact and fire damage caused the collapses. However, this is not borne out by the content of the quotes he uses. It is clear, rather, that the editor's concern in the first editorial quoted is about "building practices and performance under fire conditions", suggesting a suspicion that sub-standard building quality may have played a part in the collapses. The second editorial focuses entirely on the recommendations within chapter 9 of the 9/11 Commission Report, relating to emergency response, which is clearly irrelevant to Jones's discussion of the collapse mechanism of WTC1, 2 and 7.

Statistical Analysis of Probabilities of Collapse Initiation?
Jones then describes what he claims to be a statistical analysis of the probabilities of collapse initiation by Kevin Ryan. This is a complete travesty of statistical analysis, in which Ryan postulates totally unjustified probabilities of three events, then multiplies the three to give a large number. For such an absurd piece of speculation to be included in a scientific paper is inappropriate and irresponsible.

Widespread Support for Jones' Theories?
A brief anecdote is presented in which Jones describes a presentation of his September 2005 Seminar at BYU in which he claims there was widespread support for his call for a new investigation. This is of no real value unless it is established whether any of the participants in the seminar were aware of any other evidence relating to the collapses, as a set of uninformed opinions based on a one-sided discussion of an issue can hardly be expected to reach an informed conclusion. It should also be noted that BYU has since publicly distanced itself from Jones's views, and that Jones has taken early retirement from his post at BYU, suggesting that the level of support claimed was at most transitory.

Inconsistencies in the Official Models?

As a final section of the paper, Jones describes inconsistencies in what he refers to as "Official" models. However, what he describes as inconsistencies are no more than the refinement of the understanding of the collapse in the light of increased understanding and analysis, suggesting an unreasonable expectation by Jones that full understanding of the collapse mechanism should be immediately obvious. In his criticism of the FEMA report, Jones asks rhetorically why the core columns did not remain standing after the collapse, then follows this with a quote from the FEMA report that states that this is exactly what did happen. The quote also explains the collapse of the core columns, which Jones then states that it fails to do. The glaring contradictions between the FEMA quote and Jones's assertions, in the same paragraph, as to what the quote says, give an air of irrationality to his arguments. He then repeats his attacks on NIST's methodology from the earlier sections almost verbatim, in what appears more of a political speech that a scientific analysis.

Jones' Own Theory Contradicts Observables
Having spent 42 pages attacking the generally accepted explanation of collapse due to impact and fire damage, Jones then devotes a single paragraph to his own theory of how the towers collapsed, claiming that his hypothesis accounts for all the observed data "rather easily". He claims that the core columns on lower levels are cut using explosives or incendiaries, contradicting the observation that the core columns on lower levels survived the initial phase of collapse, and further claims that cutting charges detonated higher up initiate the collapse, contradicting the observed inward bowing of the perimeter columns. He describes this as "very standard stuff for demolition experts", contradicting the historical observation that no controlled demolition has ever proceeded in the manner of the collapse of WTC1 and 2. He then describes this hypothesis as straightforward and much more probable, ignoring the entire question of how his hypothetical charges were planted and detonated, or indeed how the impact of the airliners was arranged to co-ordinate with the demolition.

I won't address Jones's conclusions and afterword, which consist mainly of calls for an independent, cross-disciplinary, international panel to investigate the WTC collapses, as these are more a political than a scientific discussion. Suffice it to say that, whether or not Jones's theories have any merit, there is a great deal in this paper that is scientifically questionable, inappropriate for publication in a scientific journal, or in the worst cases patently self-contradictory. [End of analysis]