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As some of you might remember, I asked a question about the University of Alaska Fairbanks study on 7 World Trade Center, which claimed that fires did not bring it down. It was downvoted, and IIRC became a duplicate, so I deleted it.

But I still haven't been able to wrap my head around the reason why that question shouldn't exist. (I shall assume that you all realize that what is being asked is relevant to this website.) Does the existing question - On 9/11, was Building 7 destroyed in a controlled explosion? - really cover this specific question well enough? It's very old (much older than the UAF study), and much broader in scope. The existing answer does not mention the study at all, and while my own answer does, it's at the end.

Should a separate question exist for this topic, or is the existing question narrow enough to satisfactorily cover it?

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    Thank you @fredsbend . Also, now I come to think of it, that deleted question should be rephrased to ask "shows flaws in the NIST report" as opposed to "proves controlled demolition", as the latter would put it too close to the scope of he existing question
    – Abdullah
    Sep 12 at 15:59
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Your original question asked "Does [some new study or other] prove [some statement about the world]?"

Nope. I don't need to read any further. It doesn't.

Firstly, proof is a concept from mathematics and from baking. Not from science.

Secondly, it takes more than one single paper to change a position of consilience. The new hypothesis needs to be examined by other people, tested, and weighed up. It may take some time.

So, if you are going to to ask the question, let's move away from that wording, so you don't get empty answers devoid of facts related to this case.


The tricky part, and one we have struggled with before, when we have this situation:

First, we have a general question, like "Do photos of ghosts exist?" and a general answer "No! There is no good evidence for that. All the photos found so far have been fake, photos of natural phenomena misunderstood, or so poor quality as to be useless. For us to believe in ghosts we would need extraordinary evidence, and there isn't extraordinary evidence."

Then, we get a specific question: "Is this a photo of a ghost?"

It kind of makes sense to mark it as a duplicate. We already have the answer.

But that isn't fair, because this photo is new evidence, and it might be good evidence. So, it does kind of make sense to leave it stand for a new answer...

... which will probably look exactly like the generic answer: "No, this photo is fake/a photos of natural phenomena misunderstood/so poor quality as to be useless. For us to believe in ghosts we would need extraordinary evidence, and this isn't extraordinary evidence." But it might still be valuable to have a specific answer to the specific claim.

I suspect your question will fit in a similar position. We may need to work on the wording to ensure people understand that we are looking for an examination of this particular evidence, and not the general question which has been resolved already.

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    What would an acceptable question about this study look like? Am I correct in thinking that it would ask "uncover serious flaws in the official report"? That's rather narrower than "prove demolition" (even if this fact is lost on conspiracy theorists)
    – Abdullah
    Sep 14 at 17:26
  • I appreciate the study is notable. Also, we should be careful to ask a question that can be answered either way. (e.g. don't ask "What are the problems with this report?")
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Sep 15 at 2:52
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    My prediction: We will have two mathematical models, with differing sets of initial assumptions, that lead to two different outcomes. Based on the Reddit thread, we will be missing some details of each of them. It will boil down to evaluating which model has more defensible assumptions. Neither will be empirically testable as a whole.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Sep 15 at 2:54

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