Re: TWA 800: THE CAT IS OUT !!

Ira Brodsky (
Mon, 11 Nov 1996 15:33:54 -0600

Ian Goddard wrote:

>IAN: Of course, as facts prove, you require ad hominem to
>bolster your case, I'll try to stick with facts and logic. I
>realize there's a degree of "joshing" here, but only a degree.

I have argued from the beginning that we should stick to facts and logic.
It is one thing to suggest the *possibility* TWA Flight 800 was brought
down by a Navy missile. It is another thing to *announce* that is what
happened -- which is precisely what a couple messages reposted to this
forum did.

I never ruled out the possibility of a missile. However, the cover-up
theory as presented is absurd. It suggested the complicity of an entire
crew of a Navy destroyer, multiple gov't agencies, and the White House. I
just don't think they could pull it off if they tried. Gov't employees
aren't that competent.

>IAN: So you suggest that questioning the govt and the media, which
>mindlessly relays the govt's news feed, is not skeptical inquiry? Perhaps
>proper skepticism is to be directed only at those who question authority.

In fact, it was on the basis of questioning gov't and media that I
suggested Salinger was an unreliable source.

But look at how quickly you and others embraced Salinger's remarks and
proclaimed victory! (Remember, you originally stated that Salinger's
comments "proved" it was a Navy missile.) I don't know what brought down
TWA Flight 800. The official investigation doesn't appear to know what
brought down TWA Flight 800. What we should be skeptical about is people
thousands of miles removed, with possible political motivations, or an
affinity for conspiracy theories, making spectacular but unsubstantiated
pronouncemnets about "what really happened."

> > I remain skeptical about the Navy missile theory.
>IAN: So do I, but I think evidence weighs strongly in that direction,
>mostly toward a missile. My chief concern here is why the Navy is so
>quickly exonerated. I'd like to encourage people to question authority,
>which means don't simply believe everything authoritarian figures say.
>Rather than encouraging that, you smear such primary skepticism as
>mental illness, that's a vicious aggression against skeptical inquiry.

Hmmm. I distinguish between arguments based purely on appeal to authority
versus arguments that are supported by authoritative sources.

Never questioning "authority" is one extreme. Always condemning authority
is another. In my universe, authority is generally earned, so in itself it
is not bad. There are abuses of authority. But guess what? There are
even more abuses by people with only self-appointed "authority."

If you are in a position of authority and declare TWA Flight 800 was not,
in your opinion, downed by a missile of any kind your assertion will be
questioned, doubted, and even contradicted twelve ways till Tuesday. I
don't see why the same shouldn't apply to uncredentialed conspiracy

>I've never said "the Navy did it." I believe 90% a missile did it.

I don't have enough information to say it was or wasn't a missile, but I am
increasingly doubtful it was a missile fired by the U.S. Navy and then
covered up.

>IAN: Agreed. I question authority, it seems you mostly question
>those who question authority, which is fine, so long as we don't
>resort to the nonlogical method of ad hominem.

I think you are right. I tend to believe authorities in various fields
before I believe people who come out of nowhere with sensational stories.
However, I also recognize the positive role that radical, "outside"
thinkers can play.

I notice, however, there are radical optimists and radical pessimists. I
tend to pay more attention to the former. In my view, people who come up
with potentially new and better ideas always deserve a hearing. At some
point, on the other hand, people who continually tell us the truth isn't
what it seems, but can never prove it, and argue that you are obviously
naive or have been duped if you disagree with them, deserve to be tuned

> >While Navy Admiral Edward Kristensen left the door open a crack -- properly
> >so, as he making statements based on what his staff tells him -- it is now
> >clear that Salinger is the intellectually dishonest scoundrel that (ahem) I
> >suspected.
>IAN: He's a scoundrel because he has documents the GovtMedia does not
>like?? Forget the fact that these documents, if they are nothing more
>than the internet document, have not, to my knwoledge, been disproven
>in any fashion other than that they were anonymous and that the USN
>says, "we weren't there." If the authorities say X is true, then X
>is true and anyone who says otherwise is an "intellectually dis-
>honest scoundrel." I reject that thinking as servile.

He's intellectually dishonest because he tried to take personal credit for
a "document" he never bothered to check out.

Yes Ian, only a scoundrel would accuse other people of criminal behavior
and then refuse to show the "proof." This is called slander.

>Where's your proof that the internet document is false? I just, in the
>last post, presented evidence that the key feature of disproving it,
>that area W-105 is not a missile testing area, is compromised by the
>USN dude saying the area is "not typically used for missile training."
>That does not prove the Navy did it, but it leaves the door open on
>the validity of the document. So where's your assumed disproof?

I am not the one trying to prove what happened. Admittedly, it strikes me
as more honest for a Navy official to leave the door open than for
conspiracy theorists to say with certainty "here is what really happened."

I remain skeptical about the conspiracy theory. I am less skeptical about
a widespread investigation that has not ruled out (last I heard) mechanical
failure, a terrorist bomb, or a missile. It's the conspiracy theorists who
have already made up their minds and are arguing from emotion. The
official investigation admits it does not yet have enough facts.

This plane went down over the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the "facts" have not
been recovered. Maybe they never will. It will probably take a systematic
effort by a large number of trained investigators to get the answer.

***Skeptics will trust those who are retrieving and examining the actual
physical evidence before they trust those who insist they already know what
"really happened" because they have pieced it together from select media

Know this.

Ira Brodsky
Datacomm Research Company
Wilmette, Illinois