Reply To: Engineering Prof releases draft report on 9/11 collapse of WTC Bldg 7 in NYC


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#47525 Reply

Vronsky

I often notice that the strong polarisation of some disputes is fully explained by Bayes Theorem (link to nice explanation below). Clark assigns zero to the prior probability that the towers were brought down by controlled demolition (CD), and hence his Bayesian estimate of the probability of CD (trivially) works out at zero, no matter how much posterior evidence for it he includes.

Assigning zero as a prior probability of CD is the same as saying ‘the US government of that time would never do such a thing as injure its own people in order to foment a casus belli’. That is akin to a religious declaration of faith, rather than any kind of science. A probability close to 1 would be wrong, but at least more consistent with experience. That is why SM says it is ‘tough on the cognition’ if you think it’s zero. It’s not ‘talking down’ – it’s maths.

It’s also why Clark asserts that WTC7 was mined for CD in a few hours on the day, because if it took longer than that, then the perpetrators could not have been those accused. And if they were innocent of the WTC7 collapse, by what ingenious coincidence could they remain guilty for the twin towers? Clark has selected a new impossible thing to replace the impossible thing he can no longer believe.

Understand Bayes Theorem (prior/likelihood/posterior/evidence)