Imagine trying to explain to an Aztec priest that whether this year's corn crop would get enough rain depended on the complex interaction between barometric pressure systems, the angle of the earth's axis and temperatures in the upper stratosphere. He would smile politely, then go back to hacking out human hearts.
This is roughly the situation facing the National Geographic Channel with 9/11: Science and Conspiracy, its noble but doubtless doomed effort to rebutt the theories of the so-called Sept. 11 truthers. The truthers believe, with ecclesiastical fervor bordering on madness, that George W. Bush and his corporate sidekicks blew up the twin towers and then framed poor innocent Osama bin Laden for the act.
Given that thousands of eyewitnesses (many carrying cameras that allowed hundreds of millions of us to watch later on video and film) saw airliners crash into the buildings, the truthers might sound like the fringe of a fringe, but their canon has infected the American body politic. One 2006 poll showed a third of the nation believes the U.S. government either carried out the attacks or deliberately let them happen. Read my full review in Monday's Miami Herald.