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View Full Version : Jim Hoffman. whats the goods.



long live the queeb
2006-Feb-09, 05:30 PM
I am debating on another forum with a 911 C/T, so far I have been able to demolish his daft claims with relative ease.His latest post made the claim that Jim Hoffman had proved that FEMA, and NIST were wrong, and that the Towers were brought down with explosives.Now I have found out that Hoffman is a software designer, not a Structural Engineer, and I wondered if you Guys had any thing on him, given your extensive debunking of 911 nonsense.. Thanks, Queeb.

Duane
2006-Feb-09, 07:30 PM
Ah, yes Mr Hoffman. Check out here (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/pm/), here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Hoffman), here (http://www.suesupriano.com/article.php?&id=8), and here (http://911review.com/wingtv/markup/hoffman.html), which should give you a pretty good idea of what he is about.

I would give you my description of him, but then I would have to ban me! :D

long live the queeb
2006-Feb-09, 08:01 PM
Ah, yes Mr Hoffman. Check out here (http://911research.wtc7.net/essays/pm/), here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Hoffman), here (http://www.suesupriano.com/article.php?&id=8), and here (http://911review.com/wingtv/markup/hoffman.html), which should give you a pretty good idea of what he is about.

I would give you my description of him, but then I would have to ban me! :D

Thanks for that Duane, prepair for another C/Ts hide to be nailed to the proverbial barn door. What is it with these guys, not ONE reputable Structural engineer, architect or construction expert, who has studied NIST has a problem with it, so instead we are offered Prof Jones, and this numbskull Hoffman.

Eric12407
2006-Feb-09, 08:22 PM
"Hoffman's work has been featured in articles in Science News, Scientific American, and Nature. He discovered new, three-dimensional morphologies for modeling block co-polymers used in nanotechnology, and co-authored papers in Science and Macromolecules. He collaborated in the development of new inventions in combustion engineering, and is co-author of a patent for an internal combustion engine with increased thermal efficiency (US Patent #4,584,972)."

Yep .. sounds like a real nutball for sure .... just another one of those conspiracy wackos ... a complete loony ...

long live the queeb
2006-Feb-09, 08:27 PM
And his qulifications for determining structural failure in biuldings is???

Duane
2006-Feb-09, 08:46 PM
What is it with these guys, not ONE reputable Structural engineer, architect or construction expert,

I like JayUtah's theory on this:


People believe incredible things not because it is necessary the things that appeal to them, but because their approach to belief in general (or in abstract) stems from some particular experiential and cognitive framework. Shermer has codified in psychology what I have observed empirically for years: if you believe in one conspiracy theory you're likely to believe in many or all of them.


Yep .. sounds like a real nutball for sure .... just another one of those conspiracy wackos ... a complete loony ...

And Dr Oliver Manuel (Iron Sun theory) is a renowned nuclear physicist, Dr Steven Jones is a respected physicist, Fred Hoyle (Static State Universe) was a renowned astro-physicist, Halton Arp (ejected galactic nuclei) is a recognized observational astrophysicist...etc etc.

The fact that some people are very intellegent and respected in their fields has little bearing on claims they make, if those claims are shown to be false. You're using a logical fallacy.

Hutch
2006-Feb-09, 09:51 PM
"Hoffman's work has been featured in articles in Science News, Scientific American, and Nature. He discovered new, three-dimensional morphologies for modeling block co-polymers used in nanotechnology, and co-authored papers in Science and Macromolecules. He collaborated in the development of new inventions in combustion engineering, and is co-author of a patent for an internal combustion engine with increased thermal efficiency (US Patent #4,584,972)."

Yep .. sounds like a real nutball for sure .... just another one of those conspiracy wackos ... a complete loony ...


Echoing Duane, there is no doubt that Mr. Hoffman is a smart man. But none of the above list of accomplishments (given that they are accurate) shows any particular knowledge of how to engineer buildings or to explain how they fall down.

In the study of Psi-effects, many a Physcist has been bamboozled by fakes using magic tricks because they figure "I'm too smart and educated to be fooled by simple parlor tricks". Guess what. They weren't.

I think (IMHO) that Mr. Hoffman fits into this category.

JayUtah
2006-Feb-09, 10:32 PM
Yep .. sounds like a real nutball for sure .... just another one of those conspiracy wackos ... a complete loony ...

No one is calling him a nutball, a loony, or a wacko. His mental health is not the issue. His qualifications for modeling and analyzing structural failure are the issue. He doesn't have any. He presents a structural dynamics model he formulated himself and purports that it works better than models that have been developed over a century in the forensic engineering field. He does nothing to validate or verify his model, to ensure that it will predict anything besides the one problem to which he has applied it. And he makes naive and unsupportable assumptions consistent with someone inexperienced in this field.

Unfortunately I have read hundreds of resumes and curricula vitae in my career, and I am pretty attuned to the standard elaborations.

"Hoffman's work has been featured in articles in Science News, Scientific American, and Nature."

Note the careful wording. Having one's work appear in articles is not the same as having written the article or to have comprehended all the material contained in it.

Science News and Scientific American are popular magazines with a scientific theme. Anyone can publish anything in there that pleases the editor. There is no presumption of scientific rigor or qualification to authorship or inclusion in these publications.

I am more interested in the reference in Nature, because that is a prestigious peer-reviewed journal. Unfortunately as I read the article, I don't note James Hoffman's name anywhere associated with it. The article is by David Hoffman, and discusses some esoteric topics in topology. It's a fine essay, but it's not peer-reviewed research. Nor is there any evidence that James Hoffman did anything more than generate a handful of three-dimension renderings of mathematically-defined surfaces discussed in the essay.

Unfortunately that does nothing to qualify him to discuss structural dynamics in public construction.

"He discovered new, three-dimensional morphologies for modeling block co-polymers used in nanotechnology."

Again, a careful examination of the source material reveals that David Hoffman, not James Hoffman is the discoverer. To be sure, David relied on James' visualizations. But David is the actual authority.

And again, nothing about this qualifies him to discuss structural dynamics.

"[Hoffman] co-authored papers in Science and Macromolecules."

Again, Science is a prestigious publication. However, we find that Hoffman's name appears in a long list of authors. The co-authors are engineers, chemists, and materials scientists. Good company, to be sure, but what was Hoffman's role? He is listed as affiliated with the Mathematical Science Research Institute, but his name doesn't currently appear on the list of students, faculty, researchers, or staff. Very well, neither does David's and he had the same claimed affiliation. But since MSRI employs a wide variety of people, from math post-PhDs (presumably with very eggy heads) to web lackeys and bit slingers, we don't see here any evidence that James Hoffman has risen above the skilled visualization of other people's work.

Ditto to the Macromolecules article -- a long list of authors and Hoffman with the same affiliation.

The subject matter is the same: the visualization and exploitation of exotic topologies considered at the very small scale. Nothing about this qualifies him to discuss structural dynamics.

We have no reason to reject the notion that James Hoffman is an expert on the visualization of certain kinds of surfaces using computer rendering techniques. I think there is plenty of evidence to that effect. However it is simply irrelevant to the question of whether Hoffman is competent -- more so than recognized experts in the field -- to construct, validate, and elucidate a formalism for the collapse of a composed structure. There is already a plethora of science done on that subject, and Hoffman's approach fits nowhere within it.

"He collaborated in the development of new inventions in combustion engineering..."

Standard c.v. boilerplate. Could mean almost anything. What was the nature of the collaboration? What exact expertise did Hoffman bring to the table? What were these inventions? Were they significant? I think we're meant to consider this and the following sentence as one thought.

"[Hoffman] is co-author of a patent for an internal combustion engine with increased thermal efficiency (US Patent #4,584,972)."

The patent in question was filed in late 1984 by four people including Hoffman. They didn't actually build their engine, and the values given in the patent as claims of improved efficiency are computed from a mathematical model. The model is likely quite correct, but that's not the point.

We find a common theme in all of the work in which Hoffman has collaborated. First, there is a mathematical model, visualization, or other type of simulation involved. Second, there are always other authorities involved. The only explicit statement we can find regarding what Hoffman actually does subordinates his work to those of others and relegates it to illustrative efforts on the computer.

Most notably absent from Hoffman's claims to authority is a list of his academic credentials. Nowhere can we learn whether Hoffman went to college or any other institution, and what he may have studied there. This would be essential to evaluating whether he has been exposed to sufficient work in structural dynamics.

JayUtah
2006-Feb-10, 12:25 AM
Dr Steven Jones is a respected physicist...

Not only that, he is a respectable man. The private university on whose faculty he sits requires a code of moral conduct to which few other academics are asked to conform. We can probably say no end of good about Jones and his accomplishments in the field of his choice. The problem is simply that his field does not include the sciences necessary to study the behavior of structures in the way that is useful to diagnose failure.

He is a respected physicist, yes. But is he writing in the capacity of a physicist?

Here are the general criteria for evaluation of an expert witness:

Is the topic at hand one that requires expertise, or is it a matter of logical inference or common observation? This avoids the fallacy of appeal to authority. Expert testimony is only applicable where expertise is required. One doesn't have to be an expert to testify to an observable fact, such as whether someone is wearing a hat. And questions that are logical inferences cannot be swayed by expertise; the inference is either correct or it isn't. Example: "My dentist says that dental labs in California charge more than dental labs in Nebraska." Although your dentist might have a better command of the relevant facts, the question is ultimately one of objective comparison of prices. Anyone could make that comparison; and your dentist may be wrong.

2. Is the expert really an expert? Especially in conspiracism you find a number of proponents who are not experts of any kind, or who have expertise that doesn't apply to the question. It is quite common for people with impressive but irrelevant credentials to be given greater credence than is strictly applicable. Example: "My dentist says the Battle of Antietam was poorly fought." Your dentist is highly qualified as a dentist, but that doesn't automatically give him greater insight into the American Civil War.

3. Is the expert acting or speaking in his capacity as an expert? Not everything an expert says is to be taken as an expert opinion. The context around what was said is important. Example: "My dentist told me last night at a cocktail party that people should eat more sugar." Your dentist may have been joking in that context.

4. Is the testimony reasonably congruent with what other experts in the field would say? Not all matters on which an expert can give his opinion are well-defined, even among practitioners of the field. In some fields there is a legitimate difference of opinion because research never ends. Example: "My dentist told me the new polymer fillings aren't very effective even though they're very new." There may be insufficient baseline information even for an expert to compare them accurately to other methods.

If we look at Dr. Jones, he's not really speaking from his position as a professor of physics. His academic department at his university disavows his research. And the engineers at the same university dispute his findings, as do I. If BYU disavows his findings on this point, it would be hard to argue that he's writing as "Stephen Jones, Professor of physics at Brigham Young University." He's writing instead as "Stephen Jones, private citizen." This becomes dicey, though, as you can argue his expertis does not necessarily derive from his job title but from his degrees and experience.

It's abundantly clear that Jones does not have appropriate expertise, and that he is clearly disputed by other experts in relevant fields.

Nevertheless conspiracists continue to cite him as if he were of greater or more credible authority than just any joe off the street. We're supposed to believe that he "somehow" came to a better conclusion than more relevant experts. Obviously 9/11 conspiracists have been plagued in the past by a lack of actual or relevant expertise. Unfortunately Jones is no more relevant than any of the electrical engineers or computer programmers who have dabbled in homegrown structural analysis.

Turning back to Hoffman, I'm a little concerned to learn he has written at least one other conspiracy-type book, or at least books alleging coverups. This suggests he is drawn to the notion of conspiracy rather than to the notion of an application of his expertise, whatever it may be. But I'm more concerned by his approach to his critics. Apparently one never "reviews" Hoffman, one can only "attack" Hoffman, according to him. This predilection to respond to criticism with verbal violence tends to reinforce my opinion that he is in it more for the conspiratorial aspect of the question than for any reasonable application of knowledge.

Duane
2006-Feb-10, 12:51 AM
Well stated Jay.

long live the queeb
2006-Feb-10, 09:48 AM
Thanks to evrybody who replied, I now know way more about Mr Hoffman than is good for me.

kookbreaker
2006-Feb-10, 06:29 PM
[b]He is a respected physicist, yes.

Maaaaayyyybeeee.

I have a hard time thinking someone knee deep in the Cold Fusion mess as Jones was as respectable.

JayUtah
2006-Feb-10, 10:53 PM
I have a hard time thinking someone knee deep in the Cold Fusion mess as Jones was as respectable.

Fair enough, but he's done other stuff too. My concern here is poisoning the well. I don't want to appear to commit the fallacy of saying that Jones is wrong about 9/11 because he was also wrong about cold fusion. You might be able to offer some proposition about his gullibility or other personal trait, but we don't have to go that route. Jones could be the most impeccable physicist living to day, and he'd still be unqualified to make the claims about 9/11 that he's making.

Just because we need to pull one of his teeth doesn't mean we need to kick him in the groin too.

sarongsong
2006-Feb-13, 08:47 AM
...If we look at Dr. Jones, he's not really speaking from his position as a professor of physics. His academic department at his university disavows his research. And the engineers at the same university dispute his findings, as do I...

Isn't that all he asked for?

The views in this paper (http://www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html) are the sole responsibility of the author (not Brigham Young University).
ABSTRACT
In writing this paper, I call for a serious investigation of the hypothesis...

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Feb-13, 02:47 PM
The problem being that that 'hypothesis' already has been seriously,
and very unseriously, been investigated to death. It's bunk.

JayUtah
2006-Feb-13, 05:12 PM
Isn't that all he asked for?

No. The paper goes on to argue in favor of the hypothesis, something Jones has done in other venues including our local newspapers, radio, and television. (I live an hour's drive from Prof. Jones.)

But in asking for an investigation of the "controlled demolition" hypothesis Jones has done nothing outwardly more than most 9/11 conspiracy theorists. The hypothesis is not unique to Jones; he basically just copies the prevailing conspiracy theories and subscribes to them. His paper is arguably the most elegant exposition of the theory, but it offers little in the way of new content or additional scientific reason. It's same old pseudoscience it has always been.

So what is supposed to make Jones' call for an investigation (presumably at others' expense) any more credible or meritorious than the ones that went before? If not in its content, then in what?

It is the context from which Jones is presumed to speak. Those who subscribe to his view tout him as more of an expert than other conspiracy theories because he has training in physics. And they presume a physics background better enables one to reason about the causes of a building collapse -- perhaps even better than the engineers who do this for a living.

It's a free country. Anyone can make whatever hypothesis he wants. But as a matter of practice we give greater weight to hypotheses made by people with appropriate understanding. If your car breaks down by the side of the road, and passers-by offer you advice, would you consider the hypothesis offered by an auto mechanic better worthy of your time to investigate than a hypothesis offered by a computer programmer or an electrical lineman? An expert is presumed to know what are credible and plausible hypotheses in the field. The mechanic's suggestion that you change the spark plugs would be presumed to come from a better base of knowledge than a football player's recommendation to flush the radiator.

Dr. Jones is not an engineer. He is not qualified to draw educated hypotheses in an engineering context, nor to argue credibly in favor of those hypotheses. If he wants qualified attention to his hypothesis, he has the burden of proof to show that it has merit in the contexts that apply. It's bad enough that he has not done this. The badness continues when you realize that the hypothesis Jones offers has already been examined and found to lack merit.

Why should qualified people waste their time repeatedly debunking the same old garbage just because some professor has used his academic post and background to infuse the semblance of new life into a dead, convulsing argument?

Halcyon Dayz
2006-Feb-13, 05:51 PM
That's what I said. But more eloquently. ;)

ISflotsam
2006-Feb-13, 07:00 PM
Perhaps this is a poor analogy, but it struck me as applicable...

Recently, a Northwestern University associate professor of electrical engineering has garnered quite a bit of press (http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2006/02/08/butz) regarding his Holocaust revisionist theories. Arthur Butz (http://www.ece.northwestern.edu/faculty/Butz_Arthur.html), Ph.D. is a tenured faculty member who, himself has supervised three Ph.D. students (presumably in EE). He also happens to have published papers and books detailing the Holocaust as what he calls "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (http://pubweb.northwestern.edu/~abutz/)."

I think most people would agree that Dr. Butz' degree and academic qualifications lend little credence to any arguments he may make regarding the Holocaust. So, would a "call for a more detailed investigation" into this "official story" carry any more weight from him simply because he's earned scientific credentials?

I understand that, on the surface, the BYU professor has a somewhat more related background (physics) to the 9/11 disaster (construction, FEA, etc.) than the Northwestern professor has (EE) to WWII (history, anthropology, PoliSci, etc.). But, I think the point is still salient: the work itself must be able to stand on its own merit, without relying on "reputation" for its primary support.

Since our BYU educator seems to have essentially "lifted" and compiled existing erroneous conclusions without providing much of anything in the way of a mathematically-calculated, physics-centric conclusion, it has been demonstrated that his paper cannot stand on its own merit. Regardless of Dr. Jones' qualifications, the paper is ultimately ineffective as a "call to arms" to launch a new, more thorough investigation. In reality, it's all a matter of application: Dr. Jones' background could have led him toward new findings regarding building collapses. Apparently, it didn't. And so, we're left with a document about "Subject A" written by an expert in "Subject B". For Dr. Jones, "A" = 9/11 Collapses and "B" = Physics. For Dr. Butz, "A" = Holocaust and "B" = Electrical Engineering.

Simply put: A collection of garbarge is still a collection of garbage regardless of the academic standing of its collector.


(Sorry if that was long AND too off-topic.)
--ISF

Duane
2006-Feb-13, 08:59 PM
(Sorry if that was long AND too off-topic).

Not too long, and right on topic.

JayUtah
2006-Feb-13, 10:49 PM
Simply put: A collection of garbarge is still a collection of garbage regardless of the academic standing of its collector.

No substantial argument from me on that point.

But the question arises: how do you know it's garbage? Well, we test a hypothesis for correctness according to variations on the scientific method that apply to the field in which the hypothesis is offered. Jones wants his hypothesis tested. But as a matter of practice we don't test every hypothesis in every field. A hypothesis may be culled because is is improbable on its face. Generally someone skilled in the art is required to make that judgment. That makes the academic (or professional) standing of its proponent relevant; a hypothesis proposed by one unskilled in the art cannot necessarily be considered viable on its face.

eeyore1954
2006-May-30, 01:38 PM
Has anyone here ever tackled his article and calculations about the north towers dust cloud. I think this is what I would call psuedo science but really I don't know enough about it to point out the problems in his report. I usually post at the Loose Change website. and I am looking for facts.

http://911research.wtc7.net/papers/dustvolume/volumev3_1.html

phunk
2006-May-30, 05:32 PM
Yeah, lemme see if I can find it. Can't remember if it was on this forum or another...

phunk
2006-May-30, 05:40 PM
Here's the first I found, there's more somewhere...

http://apollohoax.proboards21.com/index.cgi?board=othertheories&action=display&thread=1129414743&page=6#1146678334