Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Moderators: DrVolin, 82_28, Elvis, Jeff

Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby elfismiles » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:21 am

Beyond ere be paywalls...


Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories [Preview]
Mind & Brain :: Features :: September 9, 2013
Conspiracy theories offer easy answers by casting the world as simpler and more predictable than it is. Their popularity may pose a threat to societal well-being
By Sander van der Linden

In Brief - Suspicious Minds

People who believe in one conspiracy theory are likely to espouse others, even when they are contradictory.
Conspiracy ideation is also linked with mistrust of science, including well-established findings, such as the fact that smoking can cause lung cancer.
Mere exposure to information supporting various fringe explanations can erode engagement in societal discourse.


Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax? The answer to these questions is, “No,” yet a committed subculture of conspiracy theorists vigorously argues the opposite.

Many scholars dismiss conspiracy theorists as paranoid and delusional. Psychological data bolster their case: people who harbor conspiracist thoughts are also more inclined to paranoid ideation and schizotypy, a mild form of schizophrenia. As conspiracy theory expert Timothy Melley of Miami University has put it, these beliefs are often dismissed as “the implausible visions of a lunatic fringe.”

This article was originally published with the title What a Hoax.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... y-theories

More In This Article

Overview
Insights into the Personalities of Conspiracy Theorists
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -theorists



Insights into the Personalities of Conspiracy Theorists
Psychologists find that distrust of authority and low agreeableness are among factors underlying the willingness to believe
By Caitlin Shure

Conspiracy theories and scientific theories attempt to explain the world around us. Both apply a filter of logic to the complexity of the universe, thereby transforming randomness into reason. Yet these two theoretical breeds differ in important ways. Scientific theories, by definition, must be falsifiable. That is, they must make reliable predictions about the world; and if those predictions turn out to be incorrect, the theory can be declared false. Conspiracy theories, on the other hand, are tough to disprove. Their proponents can make the theories increasingly elaborate to accommodate new observations; and, ultimately, any information contradicting a conspiracy theory can be answered with, “Well sure, that’s what they want you to think.”

Despite their unfalsifiable nature, conspiracy theories attract significant followings. Not all theorists, it seems, hold their “truths” to the standards of conventional science. And scientists are beginning to understand the types of personalities that buy into more extreme and unlikely theories. Research reveals that conspiracy theorists tend to share a core set of traits, regardless of their conspiracy of choice. Low self-esteem, for example, may characterize both those who believe that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and those who think that Britain’s royal family consists of reptilian aliens.

For a more in-depth account, see “What a Hoax” by Sander van der Linden in the September/October issue of Scientific American MIND.

DA VINCI'S DISCIPLES
Credit: Courtesy of Jez Elliot

The theory:
Some or all of the claims made in Dan Brown’s 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code, are true.

Studies say:
Even theories billed as fiction can attract a following. A survey conducted in 2005 revealed that 64 percent of respondents who read The Da Vinci Code believed to some extent that Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene had spawned a secret bloodline. Willingness to believe in this conspiracy may be related to what researchers call “terror management theory,” which holds that subscribing to such grand dogma can assuage fears related to mortality. Indeed, a 2011 study found an association between belief in Da Vinci-esque conspiracies and anxiety about death.

AMELIA EARHART
Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Harris & Ewing Collection Collection

The theory:
The disappearance of aviators Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan has bred an array of conspiracy theories ranging from the optimistic (Earhart survived and lived in New Jersey until 1982) to the extraterrestrial (the duo was abducted by aliens).

Studies say:
In a study of 914 adults in London, University of Westminster's Viren Swami andAdrian Furnham of University College London found that 4.5 percent of respondents espoused an alien abduction theory, 5.5 percent believed the two were spies taken down by the Japanese, and only 32 percent endorsed a relatively undramatic account that the plane crashed into the Pacific after running out of gas. Further, researchers found that respondents who believed in Earhart conspiracy theories had lower self-esteem, were more likely to be cynical toward politics, were less agreeable and gave themselves lower ratings of intelligence.

SPAWNING A "TRUTH MOVEMENT"
Credit: Courtesy of diking

The theory:
Numerous outlandish narratives exist surrounding the events of September 11, 2001. In many of these stories, the U.S. government knew about the attacks ahead of time; in some, they even helped orchestrate the tragedy.

Studies say:
A second study by Viren Swami and colleagues found that belief in a 9/11 conspiracy was associated with political cynicism and a general tendency toward believing in conspiracies. This latter finding supports what psychologists call a “monological belief system,” in which any and all events can be explained by a web of interconnected conspiracies.

INFECTIOUS IDEAS
Credit: Courtesy of Michael Irving

The theory:
HIV was created by government-funded scientists as a bioweapon to extinguish certain minority populations.

Studies say:
Conspiracy theories can sometimes arise as a means of making sense of an otherwise senseless tragedy. In this way, theories about the HIV epidemic may help people cope with fear of the virus or the passing of loved ones afflicted by disease-related illness. Though assigning blame may be therapeutic to some people, such attribution has been linked with risky sexual behavior, negative attitudes about medication and lower treatment adherence among those infected with the disease.

DIANA and OSAMA (and 2Pac and ELVIS)
Credit: Courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Exit Art's "Reactions" Exhibition Collection

The theory:
Osama bin Laden was dead prior to the U.S. raid on his compound. Also, he is still alive.

Studies say:
A study in 2012 by Michael J. Wood and his colleagues at the University of Kent found that those who believed Bin Laden was dead prior to American intervention are more likely to believe he’s currently alive. Similarly, authors found that those who think Princess Diana faked her death are more likely to believe she was murdered. So, which is it? Dead or alive? Research suggests that such contradictory narratives are linked by an underlying distrust of authority. Among conspiracy theorists, it seems, this suspicion is strong enough to overpower traditional life-death logic.

FAKE SCIENCE
Credit: Courtesy of Kathryn Hansen/NASA

The theory:
Scientists are not to be trusted. The 1969 moon landing was produced on a Hollywood movie set. And global warming is a conspiracy between the government and scientists to achieve world domination.

Studies say:
Polls estimate that anywhere from 6 to 25 percent of the general population believes the moon landing was faked, and 37 percent of Americans suspect global warming is a hoax. Although theories of earth and moon seem worlds apart, they are linked by a general rejection of science wherein distrust of one scientific claim predicts distrust of others. Researchers have found, for example, that people who reject climate science are also more likely to reject evidence that smoking causes cancer. But that’s just, y’know, according to science, and who believes that stuff, anyway?

http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... -theorists


Original link found via this article...

The Conspiracy of Conspiracy Theorizing
by Derek Beres
September 18, 2013, 7:17 PM
Bt-conspiracy

I learned about last week’s fire in Seaside Park through a conspiracy theory. It read simply: ‘And I’m sure this was an accident.’ Given Jersey’s long history of questionable accidents—just that week I had witnessed Nucky Thompson unemotionally torch his childhood home—the sentiment wasn’t shocking.

Then I reflected on the sizable percentage of my Facebook feed that is fueled by such theories. There is no dearth of questioned occurrences, from Obama’s…well, everything Obama does to the many identities of Aaron Alexis, the never-ending barrage of climate change ‘hoaxes’ and Area 51’s dirty and finally (almost) revealed secrets. The world is fueled by secrets, or, at the very least, social media is.

Sander van der Linden’s article, ‘Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories,’ offers some disturbing statistics: 37% of Americans believe global warming is the product of Al Gore’s imagination—ok, a hoax; 21% that the US government really is in cahoots with Alf and friends; 28% that the Illuminati is running the show.
Advertising

Two of the more disturbing examples involve supposed ‘crises actors’ involved in faking the Sandy Hook and Boston Marathon tragedies. These ‘actors’ are flown around on the government's dime staging terrorist events in order to, by the theorist's accounts, help shut down the NRA and give the Obama administration unworldly power.

And then, of course, is the 9/11 truther movement, which really propelled conspiracy theorists into the spotlight as credible representers of reality. Since then Alex Jones and the thousands who follow him make every event a conspiracy—he’s out preaching to his choir about the Navy Yard right now.

What is it about conspiracy theories that make them so appealing to so many, especially when they make no realistic sense and, as van der Linden writes, theorists need contradictory evidence to even make it plausible? He devised three common facts about such suspicious minds:

People who believe in one conspiracy theory are likely to espouse others, even when they are contradictory.

Conspiracy ideation is also linked with mistrust of science, including well-established findings, such as the fact that smoking can cause lung cancer.

Mere exposure to information supporting various fringe explanations can erode engagement in societal discourse.

That last point is important in this social media-dominated world. Before the government released any information about the Navy Yard shooting, for example, my close friend Dax’s feed was blowing up. A D.C. native, his old friends had plenty to say, regardless of whether or not it made sense.

This isn’t to say that social media doesn’t play an important role. It often provides information that traditional news outlets can’t get too quickly enough. And it also produces and circulates intelligent ideas that aren’t necessarily covered in the press. Yet when everyone has an opinion and no one is waiting to read anyone else’s, all you get is noise.

As Dax remarked thumbing through the collections of letters and exclamation marks, ‘Conspiracy theories have become boring.’

Van der Linden turned to one evolutionary hallmark as indicative of our pull towards conspiracy theories: pattern recognition. The human brain functions in such a way as to make patterns where none necessarily exist to try to fit reality neatly into an understandable chronology. This manifests as innocuously as seeing horses and sea urchins in clouds and, perhaps more dangerously, believing a crucified savior returned on a piece of toast or rotted pipe, all the way to the more socially problematic examples such as shootings in Aurora and Connecticut.

Van der Linden also cites the fundamental attribution error: overestimating intentionality behind the action of others. This habit might make a neat (or not so neat) package for one to simmer on, but it does nothing for understanding the random nature of the universe.

More damagingly, it leaves no trace of empathy or compassion. The incredible parents of Sandy Hook, who have weathered so much and fought so hard for reform, have suffered immensely, as have the families and friends of those who perished in the marathon, navy yard and towers of Manhattan. To disrespect them in such a cruel manner is infantile and sadistic.

Alien fantasies (sometimes) make great science fiction. When tragedy strikes, being human is more important than being clever.

http://bigthink.com/21st-century-spirit ... theorizing


SEE ALSO: [why do so many of these come out / get posted in July?]

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12508
Jul 18, 2007

In Defense Of Conspiracy Theories
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=35111
Jul 16, 2012

So, you believe in conspiracy theories, do you?
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=19272
Jul 16, 2008

The Lure of the Conspiracy Theory
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=12831
Aug 15, 2007
Last edited by elfismiles on Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:31 am, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 8390
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Wombaticus Rex » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:25 am

I love the invisible corrolary that believing what we're told is some brave & highly difficult intellectual exertion that forces us to grapple with the complexity of objective reality!

If only we'd read more Atlantic think pieces, we might contribute something more useful to society...
User avatar
Wombaticus Rex
 
Posts: 10313
Joined: Wed Nov 08, 2006 6:33 pm
Location: Vermontistan
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2013 9:46 am

good to know here at RI no one's conspiracy theories would be mocked.. dismissed...unfairly labeled ..that would be so Atlantic :roll:


none of that ...my conspiracy theory is better than your conspiracy theory around here
endeavour
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31144
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby MacCruiskeen » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:32 pm

That that screed appeared in Scientific American is a disgrace to science. Still:

seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:46 am wrote:good to know here at RI no one's conspiracy theories would be mocked.. dismissed...unfairly labeled ..that would be so Atlantic :roll:


If we're really going to agree to use that awful, self-sabotaging, anti-rational term (and why should we?) ... then, yes, some "conspiracy theories" are in fact highly mockable and should be mocked.

none of that ...my conspiracy theory is better than your conspiracy theory around here


Some things are in fact better than others.
There sawe I fyrst the derke ymagynyng
Of felony [...]
The pyckpurse and eke the pale drede,
The smyler, with the knyfe under the cloke.
User avatar
MacCruiskeen
 
Posts: 9545
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:47 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:44 pm

Like clockwork. SciAm did this with Schermer some years ago, there have doubtless been more. It's always the same damn thing. Can't we just put these ALL into one thread? Please?
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

TopSecret WallSt. Iraq & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 14340
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2013 12:53 pm

MacCruiskeen » Mon Sep 23, 2013 11:32 am wrote:That that screed appeared in Scientific American is a disgrace to science. Still:

seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:46 am wrote:good to know here at RI no one's conspiracy theories would be mocked.. dismissed...unfairly labeled ..that would be so Atlantic :roll:


If we're really going to agree to use that awful, self-sabotaging, anti-rational term (and why should we?) ... then, yes, some "conspiracy theories" are in fact highly mockable and should be mocked.

none of that ...my conspiracy theory is better than your conspiracy theory around here


Some things are in fact better than others.


please Mac would you please give me a list of conspiracy theories one should not post about here?

and then pin it to the top so everyone is clear what is to be talked about here and what is not

it would be RI's own little version of SciAm
endeavour
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31144
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby JackRiddler » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:34 pm

Please, maybe the only three things you can't say on this board are that the Jews invented the Nazi holocaust, women desire to be subjugated, and everyone here should be murdered slowly (no more than 50 times on the latter). And people find ways to sneak these in anyway. Wait, I forgot one: You can't say someone's post is bullshit, because then you're censoring them!
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

TopSecret WallSt. Iraq & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 14340
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby seemslikeadream » Mon Sep 23, 2013 4:40 pm

JackRiddler » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:34 pm wrote:Please, maybe the only three things you can't say on this board are that the Jews invented the Nazi holocaust, women desire to be subjugated, and everyone here should be murdered slowly (no more than 50 times on the latter). And people find ways to sneak these in anyway. Wait, I forgot one: You can't say someone's post is bullshit, because then you're censoring them!



well that's just great then ....I am just fine with that....I've never done the first three things...though some people here seem to think otherwise ....I really don't care if someone wants to call a post of mine bullshit ..

but what about all those threads that need to be combined? :P If I call bullshit that will be ok with you cause I do see some sort of weird conspiracy there
endeavour
User avatar
seemslikeadream
 
Posts: 31144
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby KeenInsight » Mon Sep 23, 2013 7:55 pm

Perhaps if the MSM actually investigated anything of significance they'd find out who coined the term "Conspiracy Theory" and why.

Ah but, yes, keep on trucking MSM, let's confuse real conspiracies and jumble them in the same category as the moon landing, martian 51's, global warming "hoax."

I posit a new theory - the MSM is gullible, narcissistic, stockholm syndromes to the state, and suffering from psychological fear-based mechanisms, and incapable of covering or investigating criminal conspiracy of intentional political bribery - assassinations - and lies for war.
User avatar
KeenInsight
 
Posts: 663
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2006 4:17 am
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby freemason9 » Mon Sep 23, 2013 10:30 pm

JackRiddler » Mon Sep 23, 2013 3:34 pm wrote:Please, maybe the only three things you can't say on this board are that the Jews invented the Nazi holocaust, women desire to be subjugated, and everyone here should be murdered slowly (no more than 50 times on the latter). And people find ways to sneak these in anyway. Wait, I forgot one: You can't say someone's post is bullshit, because then you're censoring them!


bullshit
The real issue is that there is extremely low likelihood that the speculations of the untrained, on a topic almost pathologically riddled by dynamic considerations and feedback effects, will offer anything new.
User avatar
freemason9
 
Posts: 1693
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:07 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby JackRiddler » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:03 am

You're censoring me! I thought this was a free forum!
We meet at the borders of our being, we dream something of each others reality. - Harvey of R.I.

To Justice my maker from on high did incline:
I am by virtue of its might divine,
The highest Wisdom and the first Love.

TopSecret WallSt. Iraq & more
User avatar
JackRiddler
 
Posts: 14340
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:59 pm
Location: New York City
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby conniption » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:06 am

elfismiles » Mon Sep 23, 2013 6:21 am wrote:
SEE ALSO: [why do so many of these come out / get posted in July?]

Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=12508
Jul 18, 2007

In Defense Of Conspiracy Theories
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=35111
Jul 16, 2012

So, you believe in conspiracy theories, do you?
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=19272
Jul 16, 2008

The Lure of the Conspiracy Theory
http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/view ... =8&t=12831
Aug 15, 2007



*

SEE ALSO:

The subculture of Conspiracy Theory
viewtopic.php?f=8&t=36157&hilit=conspiracy+theory
Mar 10, 2013
conniption
 
Posts: 1891
Joined: Sun Nov 11, 2012 10:01 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby elfismiles » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:58 pm

JackRiddler » 23 Sep 2013 16:44 wrote:Can't we just put these ALL into one thread? Please?


"Jesse Walker" Conspiracy
https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3A ... conspiracy

A brief history of conspiracy theories
Throughout our history, Americans have been sure someone was plotting against us
By Jesse Walker | September 22, 2013
http://theweek.com/article/index/249859 ... y-theories
User avatar
elfismiles
 
Posts: 8390
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:46 pm
Blog: View Blog (4)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby DrEvil » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:28 pm

Maybe we should pull a "cold fusion" (aka "LENR"), and re-label "conspiracy-theory" as something more vague and non-threatening. "Institutional inquiry", "deep politics", "esoteric anthropology" or something. :confused
"I only read American. I want my fantasy pure." - Dave
User avatar
DrEvil
 
Posts: 2630
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 1:37 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: Latest MSM Crack at "Conspiracy Theory"

Postby Joao » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:50 pm

State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADs) has some traction, as well as some critics. It's not as sexy as good old-fashioned conspiracy theory, either, as tainted as that term is.

Not sure I agree with everything PDS wrote in the following, but I think his points are worth considering:
Peter Dale Scott wrote:More recently the concept of State Crimes Against Democracy, or SCADs, has been proposed by Prof. Lance deHaven-Smith, and endorsed by some of my friends in the 9/11 Truth community, including Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff. By SCADs, Prof. deHaven-Smith means "concerted actions or inactions by government insiders intended to manipulate democratic processes and undermine popular sovereignty."

One great advantage of the SCAD hypothesis is that, unlike my own work, it has been discussed in academic journals, thus breaking a kind of sound barrier. But I have problems with the term "State Crimes." On the one hand I would claim that the State, or some segments of the state, is often the victim of deep events, as in 4/19. On the other I see the State as primarily a guarantor of democracy, not simply an enemy of it.

I agree that some government insiders play an important role in these events, indeed, I have documented some of these in the preceding pages. But I find it misleading to pin the blame for the crime on the State alone. After all, if a bank insider opens the door to a group of bank robbers, what ensues (even if you choose to call it an "inside job") is unmistakably a robbery of the bank, not by it.

SCAD analysis is far more useful and sophisticated than I can present it here, and I expect to continue to learn from those who pursue it. But it is not deep political analysis. DeHaven-Smith's list of SCADs includes "the secret wars in Laos and Cambodia," two relevant policy decisions (rather than events) that we know came from the Oval Office; although covert at the time, and very arguably illegal, they were when exposed not at all mysterious and thus essentially not very deep.

By positing SCADs as a struggle between the State on the one hand and democracy on the other, I believe this analysis oversimplifies both concepts, and underestimates (as Moyers did not) the internal contradictions within each. Democracy is after all a form of the state in which the people's freedom and power is constitutionally guaranteed by the state (or what I call the public state). And at least one of deHaven-Smith's SCADs - the JFK assassination - might more logically be considered a crime against the state, rather than by it.

Phillips and Hoff seem to recognize this difficulty: they drop the JFK assassination from their own list of SCADs. But this artificially segregates the JFK assassination from other deep events, such as the Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy assassinations, which I believe are parts of a common syndrome.

In short I believe in the crucial importance of a distinction that SCAD analysis does not make - between the public state that is ostensibly dedicated to fostering the welfare, rights and upward power of the people, and that residue of unofficial powers inside and outside government, or what I have awkwardly called the deep state, that for a half century has been progressively eroding that upward or persuasive power, and replacing it with unrestricted, unconstitutional power (or violence) of its own.

My final objection to SCAD analysis is practical. If the state is the author of these crimes, then the work of critics must be to mobilize public opinion against the state. This fits the libertarian politics of those who (like Alex Jones and other lovers of the Second Amendment) profoundly distrust the public US state in its entirety, and not just its covert agencies. Prof. DeHaven-Smith's own analysis implicates not just covert intelligence agencies of the US Government but the government as a whole, and perhaps particularly the courts. (In support of this indictment, he is able to point to the Supreme Court's unusual action, in 2000, of itself electing George W. Bush as president, by a vote of five to four.)
Joao
 
Posts: 522
Joined: Wed Jun 26, 2013 11:37 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Next

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: cptmarginal, streeb and 7 guests