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Why People Believe In Conspiracy Theories


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#31    brantcoyle

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:14 AM

View Postbrantcoyle, on 31 May 2010 - 06:58 AM, said:

The voting one takes more sources but I suppose I can get to that. This one is about patriot act starting 7 months before 911 from that national journal.


ADMINISTRATION
NSA Sought Data Before 9/11
By Shane Harris, National Journal
© National Journal Group Inc.
Friday, Nov. 2, 2007

Beginning in February 2001, almost seven months before the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the government's top electronic eavesdropping organization, the National Security Agency, asked a major U.S. telecommunications carrier for information about its customers and the flow of electronic traffic across its network, according to sources familiar with the request. The carrier, Qwest Communications, refused, believing that the request was illegal unless accompanied by a court order.


The National Security Agency may have sought help from Qwest Communications as early as 1997.






After terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, the NSA again asked Qwest, as well as other telecom companies, for similar information to help the agency track suspects with the aim of preventing future attacks, current and former officials have said. The companies responded in various ways, with Qwest being the most reluctant to cooperate. However, in February 2001, the NSA's primary purpose in seeking access to Qwest's network apparently was not to search for terrorists but to watch for computer hackers and foreign-government forces trying to penetrate and compromise U.S. government information systems, particularly within the Defense Department, sources said. Government officials have long feared a "digital Pearl Harbor" if intruders were to seize control of these systems or other key U.S. infrastructures through the Internet.

A former White House official, who at the time was involved in network defense and other intelligence programs, said that the early 2001 NSA proposal to Qwest was, "Can you build a private version of Echelon and tell us what you see?" Echelon refers to a signals intelligence network operated by the NSA and its official counterparts in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.

The NSA realized that it was blind to many of the new online threats and to who was using the privately owned telecom networks, and it thought that Qwest was in a position to help. The agency needed better intelligence in the face of a burgeoning Internet, and Qwest was then building a high-speed network for phone and Internet traffic that had caught the attention of senior intelligence officials. The NSA, in effect, wanted Qwest to be the agency's online eyes and ears.

Another source said that the NSA wanted to analyze the calls, e-mails, and other transmissions crossing Qwest's lines, to detect patterns of suspicious activity. Telecom carriers routinely monitor their networks for fraudulent activity, the former White House official noted, and so the companies "have an enormous amount of intelligence-gathering" capability. They don't have to target individual customers to "look for wacky behavior," or "groups communicating with each other in strange patterns." That information could augment intelligence that the NSA and other agencies were gathering from other sources, the former official said.

Qwest's then-chief executive officer, Joseph Nacchio, rejected the NSA's request. "He didn't want to go along with that," and his refusal was not greeted warmly in the intelligence community, the former White House official said. Another source, a former high-ranking intelligence official, said that other companies, both before and after 9/11, had less of a problem complying with government requests if they were accompanied by a legal order. The ex-official added that some companies were willing to offer data and to assist the government "as necessary" on a voluntary basis, without a court order.

Nacchio has said publicly that the NSA asked Qwest for customer records after the 2001 terrorist attacks. But the nature of the agency's request before 9/11 has not been disclosed previously. Sources familiar with the activities spoke to National Journal on the condition of anonymity, because the work is still classified.

Ok this is the Obama voting one. Its from American thinker and it says something about foreign donations I added it for completeness but who cares? What was telling was the democrat response which was what small donations? Most of our donations are at the max. Now if you don't remember anything about the democrats crowing about the grassroots movement they had I can't help you as this is already getting too long. Ok finally I found an article from that campaign finance institute that puts the nail in obama's campaign as a grass roots movement.

CFI Analysis of Presidential Candidates' Donor Reports
REALITY CHECK: Obama Received About the Same Percentage from Small Donors in 2008 as Bush in 2004
Obama also raised 80% more from large donors than small, outstripping all rivals and predecessors


It turns out that Barack Obama's donors may not have been quite as different as we had thought. Throughout the election season, this organization and others have been reporting that Obama received about half of his discrete contributions in amounts of $200 or less. The Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) noted in past releases that donations are not the same as donors, since many people give more than once. After a more thorough analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), it has become clear that repeaters and large donors were even more important for Obama than we or other analysts had fully appreciated.

"The myth is that money from small donors dominated Barack Obama's finances," said CFI's executive director Michael J. Malbin. "The reality of Obama's fundraising was impressive, but the reality does not match the myth."


Obama's overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up.   The countries and major cities from which contributions have been received France, Virgin Islands, Planegg, Vienna, Hague, Madrid, London, AE, IR, Geneva,Tokyo, Bangkok, Turin, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Roma, Zurich, Netherlands, Moscow, Ireland, Milan, Singapore, Bejing, Switzerland, Toronto, Vancouver, La Creche, Pak Chong, Dublin, Panama, Krabi, Berlin, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Prague, Nagoya, Budapest, Barcelona, Sweden, Taipei, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Zurich, Ragusa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Uganda, Mumbia, Nagoya, Tunis, Zacatecas, St, Croix, Mississauga, Laval, Nadi, Behchoko, Ragusa, DUBIA, Lima, Copenhagen, Quaama, Jeddah, Kabul, Cairo, Nassau(not the county on Long Island,lol), Luxembourg (Auchi's stomping grounds), etc,etc,etc,


#32    Rhomphaia

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:18 AM

View Postbrantcoyle, on 31 May 2010 - 07:14 AM, said:

Ok this is the Obama voting one. Its from American thinker and it says something about foreign donations I added it for completeness but who cares? What was telling was the democrat response which was what small donations? Most of our donations are at the max. Now if you don't remember anything about the democrats crowing about the grassroots movement they had I can't help you as this is already getting too long. Ok finally I found an article from that campaign finance institute that puts the nail in obama's campaign as a grass roots movement.

CFI Analysis of Presidential Candidates' Donor Reports
REALITY CHECK: Obama Received About the Same Percentage from Small Donors in 2008 as Bush in 2004
Obama also raised 80% more from large donors than small, outstripping all rivals and predecessors


It turns out that Barack Obama's donors may not have been quite as different as we had thought. Throughout the election season, this organization and others have been reporting that Obama received about half of his discrete contributions in amounts of $200 or less. The Campaign Finance Institute (CFI) noted in past releases that donations are not the same as donors, since many people give more than once. After a more thorough analysis of data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC), it has become clear that repeaters and large donors were even more important for Obama than we or other analysts had fully appreciated.

"The myth is that money from small donors dominated Barack Obama's finances," said CFI's executive director Michael J. Malbin. "The reality of Obama's fundraising was impressive, but the reality does not match the myth."


Obama's overseas (foreign) contributors are making multiple small donations, ostensibly in their own names, over a period of a few days, some under maximum donation allowances, but others are aggregating in excess of the maximums when all added up.   The countries and major cities from which contributions have been received France, Virgin Islands, Planegg, Vienna, Hague, Madrid, London, AE, IR, Geneva,Tokyo, Bangkok, Turin, Paris, Munich, Madrid, Roma, Zurich, Netherlands, Moscow, Ireland, Milan, Singapore, Bejing, Switzerland, Toronto, Vancouver, La Creche, Pak Chong, Dublin, Panama, Krabi, Berlin, Geneva, Buenos Aires, Prague, Nagoya, Budapest, Barcelona, Sweden, Taipei, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, Zurich, Ragusa, Amsterdam, Hamburg, Uganda, Mumbia, Nagoya, Tunis, Zacatecas, St, Croix, Mississauga, Laval, Nadi, Behchoko, Ragusa, DUBIA, Lima, Copenhagen, Quaama, Jeddah, Kabul, Cairo, Nassau(not the county on Long Island,lol), Luxembourg (Auchi's stomping grounds), etc,etc,etc,
Where did you get this? What is your source? You need to remember to put that in too. That way people can verify it. They are used to doing that around here.

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#33    brantcoyle

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:46 AM

This is from the washington post. None of these people with their hand out are they?

But those with wealth and power also have played a critical role in creating Obama's record-breaking fundraising machine, and their generosity has earned them a prominent voice in shaping his campaign. Seventy-nine "bundlers," five of them billionaires, have tapped their personal networks to raise at least $200,000 each. They have helped the campaign recruit more than 27,000 donors to write checks for $2,300, the maximum allowed. Donors who have given more than $200 account for about half of Obama's total haul, which stands at nearly $240 million.

Obama's success in assembling bundlers offers another perspective on a campaign that promotes itself as a grass-roots effort. While the senator from Illinois has had unprecedented success generating small donations, many made online, the work of bundlers first signaled the seriousness of his candidacy a year ago and will be crucial as he heads into the final Democratic primaries with a lead against  Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.).


The bundler list also sheds light on those who might seek to influence an Obama White House. It includes traditional Democratic givers -- Hollywood, trial lawyers and Wall Street -- and newcomers such as young hedge fund executives, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Chicago-based developers and members of the black business elite. One-third had never contributed to a presidential campaign, much less raised money.

The list includes partners from 18 top law firms, 21 Wall Street executives and power brokers from Fortune 500 companies. California is the top source, with 19 bundlers. Both Illinois and Washington, D.C., have six, and five hail from New York.

Among the group are businessmen such as Kenneth Griffin, a famously private 39-year-old billionaire who threw his support behind Obama's presidential campaign just as he hired a team of lobbyists to urge Congress to preserve a lucrative tax loophole.

A year ago, Griffin invited Obama to speak to employees of his Chicago hedge fund, Citadel Investment Group, and in subsequent months, employees and their families gave the candidate nearly $200,000. Griffin had previously backed Republicans, including Obama's initial U.S. Senate opponent.

Obama resisted Citadel's lobbying push, but a hedge fund executive who knows Griffin said he suspects Griffin's continued support owes to more than a desire to sway the senator on the tax issue. "Ken's a smart guy, and I guess he's done the math and decided that Barack is the best candidate," said Daniel Loeb, the chief executive of Third Point Management in New York.

Several on Obama's list at least appear to have interests in conflict with his platform. There is the billionaire casino developer who plans to put a slot parlor in Philadelphia; Obama has decried gambling for its steep "moral and social cost." And there is the director of General Dynamics, the military supplier that has seen profits soar since the onset of the Iraq war and that has benefited from at least one Obama earmark.

The use of bundlers was perfected by George W. Bush, who in 2000 and 2004 set some fundraising records that Obama has shattered. Bush established a competitive hierarchy of "Rangers" and "Pioneers," with tracking numbers to monitor fundraisers' progress and silver cuff links and belt buckles for high achievers.

Obama's bundlers help make up a more loosely defined "national finance committee," whose members are made to feel part of the campaign's inner workings through weekly conference calls and quarterly meetings at which they quiz the candidate or his strategists. At one meeting, bundlers urged the campaign to link Iraq war costs with the faltering economy. And they got an advance copy of Obama's Philadelphia speech in which he addressed the incendiary remarks of his longtime pastor.

Obama policy advisers also meet with bundlers and other top givers. Anthony Lake, who served as President Bill Clinton's national security adviser, has met with so many Obama contributors that, in an unusual move, the campaign credits him for funds raised when he conducts the meetings. He's on the top bundler list. "This is the first time I've ever gotten involved in this kind of work in a campaign," Lake said.

This is from the saint petersburg times. I have gone through the list of the biggest bundlers like citicorp, goldman sachs and skadden arps. I did find some defense contractors before but I am done for now. and there is plenty of skuzziness there but here Obama is caught in a lie about where his money is comming from. He pretty seems to be servicing all of these big donors one by one and forgetting about what he campaigned about as far as I can tell. Let me know where I am wrong. I suppose he did come up with health care but he had a mandate from the people to do it when he was elected and he nearly or probably screwed it up. Googling its all over the internet now that British Petroleum was one of his bigger contributers.

Obama campaign financed by large donors, too

Bookmark this story:
Buzz up!ShareThisNew financial regulations are pending in Congress, but both political parties get a lot of campaign contributions from the people they intend to regulate -- Wall Street.

The financial sector donates millions to both Republican and Democratic candidates. And during the last couple of election cycles, Democrats have outstripped Republicans, who have traditionally been thought of as more business-friendly. Those political realities have made for interesting dynamics as the negotiations on financial regulation continue.

President Barack Obama answered questions on this topic in an interview with CNBC's John Harwood on April 21, 2010.

"In the 2008 campaign, you got a lot of money, about $1 million from employees of Goldman Sachs," Harwood said. "Your former White House counsel Greg Craig is apparently going to represent Goldman Sachs. In light of this case, do either of those things embarrass you?"

"No," Obama said. "First of all, I got a lot of money from a lot of people. And the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country. And moreover, anybody who gave me money during the course of my campaign knew that I was on record again in 2007, and 2008, pushing very strongly that we needed to reform how Wall Street did business. And so, nobody should be surprised in the position that I'm taking now because it is one that I was very clear about in the course of the campaign."

What jumped out at us in this exchange was Obama's statement, "the vast majority of the money I got was from small donors all across the country." We've seen that statement repeated elsewhere, but the evidence doesn't back it up


Ok I am tired now. If you want more news google it yourself. I thought I was stating obvious cold hard fact that we are scewe'd and tattoo'd but I guess not everyone has read the news. Have a nice day.


#34    brantcoyle

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 07:55 AM

View PostRhomphaia, on 31 May 2010 - 07:18 AM, said:

Where did you get this? What is your source? You need to remember to put that in too. That way people can verify it. They are used to doing that around here.

At least you stopped calling people retards. Hmm its under CFI the campaign finance institute's website. I think if you google was most of obama's campaign contributions small or some such you will get thousands of hits. I really don't know where this think tank gets their funding. Elections are really just a scam these days especially. I guess we got health care for our vote kinda but at the cost of bailouts, war, loss of freedom, unpayable debt, I hear that BP is only on the hook for 75 million thanks their contribution to the dems. Yeah the list is endless. Plus our president appears to be extremely unlucky and thats never a good thing. Please don't ask me to list all of the crap he has said that has blown up in his face. ok thats it I hope


#35    Rhomphaia

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:07 AM

View Postbrantcoyle, on 31 May 2010 - 07:55 AM, said:

At least you stopped calling people retards. Hmm its under CFI the campaign finance institute's website. I think if you google was most of obama's campaign contributions small or some such you will get thousands of hits. I really don't know where this think tank gets their funding. Elections are really just a scam these days especially. I guess we got health care for our vote kinda but at the cost of bailouts, war, loss of freedom, unpayable debt, I hear that BP is only on the hook for 75 million thanks their contribution to the dems. Yeah the list is endless. Plus our president appears to be extremely unlucky and thats never a good thing. Please don't ask me to list all of the crap he has said that has blown up in his face. ok thats it I hope
No, my opinion of you hasn't changed other than the fact that you actually did as asked, somewhat. Your debate skills seem to be lacking still and you look to be taking a lot of things and making mountains out of molehills. Then again, that is exactly what conspiracy hypothesists do.

It is customary to provide a link to the article in question, so people can actually see the source.

"We are not here to bend aught...We are come to cleanse."
-Brother Grissom.

#36    Rosewin

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 09:43 AM

The less one feels in control of their own circumstances then the more one will believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote

We're all conspiracy theorists to some degree. We're all hardwired to find patterns in our environment, particularly those that might represent a threat to us. And when things go wrong, we find ourselves searching for what, or who, is behind it.

In his 1954 classic, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, historian Richard Hofstadter hypothesized that conspiracy thinking is fueled by underlying feelings of alienation and helplessness. Research supports his theory. New Mexico State University psychologist Marina Abalakina- Paap has found that people who endorse conspiracy theories are especially likely to feel angry, mistrustful, alienated from society, and helpless over larger forces controlling their lives.

...

Even well-grounded skeptics are prone to connect disparate dots when they feel disempowered. In a series of studies, Jennifer Whitson of the University of Texas and Adam Galinsky of Northwestern demonstrated that people primed to feel out of control are particularly likely to see patterns in random stimuli.

...

Conspiracy theories exist on a spectrum from mild suspicion to full-on paranoia, and brain chemistry may play a role. Dopamine rewards us for noting patterns and finding meaning in sometimes-insignificant events. It's long been known that schizophrenics overproduce dopamine. "The earliest stages of delusion are characterized by an overabundance of meaningful coincidences," explain Paul D. Morrison and R.M. Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry at Kings College London."Jumping to conclusions" is a common reasoning style among the paranoid, find Daniel Freeman and his colleagues, also at the Institute of Psychiatry.

http://www.psycholog...rist-dark-minds

Edited by Rosewin, 31 May 2010 - 10:09 AM.


#37    Rosewin

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 11:40 AM

For those who did not click on the link above, do not also miss out on the quiz that can be found through that link:

Quote

Connect the Dots

How susceptible are you to conspiracy beliefs? Rate your agreement with the statements below, from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree.

   1. For the most part, government serves the interests of a few organized groups, such as business, and isn't very concerned about the needs of people like myself.
   2. I have trouble doing what I want to do in the world today.
   3. It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs.
   4. We seem to live in a pretty irrational and disordered world.
   5. I don't trust that my closest friends would not lie to me.

Answer key: 5-11: weakly, 12-18: moderately, 19-25: strongly (Adapted from a scale developed by Patrick Leman)

http://www.psycholog...rk-minds?page=2

I fell into moderate very near strongly.


#38    Furnacewhelp

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:35 PM

The thing about conspiracy theories is that they are extremely subjective to interpretation. For example: there is a conspiracy theory that the US government is covering up that they have had contact with extraterrestrial life. A lot of people believe the official government story which is, "No they have not," despite the testimonials of many government and military personnel of the contrary. The people who believe the official story won't change their view until the government changes its story. They will continue to deny any evidence, no matter how convincing it is, that they are believing a lie. And those who believe in the cover up won't believe anything the government says about it because they are the ones who are covering it up.

As for the burden of proof. The only one who can convince you that something is true is you. If we have 2 differing views, no evidence I give you of my POV will convince you and no evidence of your POV will convince me. All evidence from both sides must be considered. Let's take the voting conversation for example. Brantcoyle is presenting evidence as best as he is either able or willing. While some of the evidence doesn't deal with voting directly, it does deal with the government lying and trying to control information. If they do that it wouldn't be very hard to believe that they could fudge election numbers. Rhomphaia however has done nothing to provide evidence of the contrary. Instead he has done nothing but criticize Brantcoyle about the delivery and quality of his evidence. Until Rhomphaia provides proof of his view I am inclined to believe Brantcoyle. It is no one person's job to convince the other of his or her views, but only to provide evidence to support them.

As for why people believe conspiracy theories in the first place, my question is, why shouldn't they? History has shown that conspiracies have happened before, why is it wrong to believe that one could be going on now?


#39    brantcoyle

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:42 PM

View Postbrantcoyle, on 30 May 2010 - 12:33 PM, said:

There is a massive conspiracy and cover-up that no one ever talks about every four years. It's called the presidential election. This is where the competing secret societies and foreign governments anonymously donate massive quantities of money in order to buy the results. If it ever came out who donated what and what they got in return for it the whole system would start to unravel. The idea that a lot of money is coming from the small donaters has been proven false time and time again. It's all coming secretly from these big groups who then feel free to dictate to the elected officials how its going to be. The idea that the individual has representation is a myth.

Here is the original quote what caused the dude to start calling me names. Heh I feel rather proud of myself. This is all absolutely true and unarguable. If you disagree with me and want to prove me wrong feel free to try. I think the dude is still an Obama supporter somehow. He must not be reading the news. There's a big oil gusher flowing into the gulf of mexico creating untold ecological disaster that will keep gushing until august at the least. Obama is not real popular now. I voted for the guy and noticed right away that he wasn't keeping any of his promises. One obvious one is he said to the poor folk I am gonna tax the rich! Unfortunatly the poor folk weren't paying his bills and it still seems that most rich people are not ready to be soaked yet. Oh well maybe next term or something.


#40    Saru

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Posted 31 May 2010 - 12:56 PM

Rhomphaia if you are looking for answers from someone you might want to stop being rude and insulting towards them.

Can we keep the responses here civil please.


#41    Dave P

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 10:33 AM

View Postolympic1, on 08 May 2010 - 08:52 AM, said:

Did NASA really land on the moon?

Did the government cover-up involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks?

Is Elvis still alive and kicking? What about Michael Jackson?

Was John F. Kennedy assassinated at the hands of multiple shooters?

Do the Freemasons control the United States?

A small but fervent group of people believe there is more than was included in historical records about the aforementioned events. Conspiracies, they call them. And every generation has its own.

Some of them turn out to be true, after all: Pearl Harbor was a Japanese conspiracy and Nixon’s Watergate break-in was a coverup.

But with so few that turn out to be true, why do people believe in conspiracies? Here are four reasons:

1. Patternicity, or a tendency to find meaningful patterns in random places;

2. Agenticity, or the bent to believe the world is controlled by secret unknown agents with intentions;

3. Confirmation bias, or the seeking and finding of confirmatory evidence for what we already believe;

4. Hindsight bias, or tailoring after-the-fact explanations to what we already know happened.

A conspiracy theory takes flight when all of these are concocted into a heady mix of conviction. It’s called "conspiratorial cognition."

But research has been thin on precisely why some have a conspiratorial dispensation.

Back in 2007, Patrick Leman wrote in New Scientist that belief in conspiracy theories is on the rise thanks to the distribution power of the Internet.

Take the JFK conspiracy, for example: In 1968, two of every 10 Americans believed it to be true. In 1990, nine of 10 Americans believed it to be true.

Leman writes:

"Conspiracy theories can have a valuable role in society. We need people to think 'outside the box', even if there is usually more sense to be found inside the box.

Take the Iran-Contra affair, a massive political scandal of the late 1980s. When claims first surfaced that the US government had sold arms to its enemy Iran to raise funds for pro-American rebel forces in Nicaragua and to help secure the release of US hostages taken by Iran, it certainly sounded like yet another convoluted conspiracy theory. Several question marks remain over the affair, but President Ronald Reagan admitted that his administration had indeed sold arms to Iran."

On the other hand, distrust contributed to an inflation of the East-West fears during the Cold War, as well as continued belief by some that HIV (which causes AIDS) was created in a lab and distributed by the U.S. government to limit the growth of the African-American population.

Some points to ponder:

People who believe in one theory are more likely to believe in others.

There is a strong association between income and belief levels: the better-off are less likely to believe in conspiracy theories. (Perhaps this can be chalked up to education or at least the fact that they don't feel as victimized by society and angry about their situation in life.)

Instability makes most of us uncomfortable; people prefer to imagine living in a predictable, safe world. Some conspiracy theories offer accounts that feel “safe” or “predictable.”

Conspiracy theories often mutate over time in light of new or contradicting evidence.

To the paranoid, it seems everything that doesn't work the way they like it becomes a conspiracy. We must beware of extreme interpretations of events and over-speculation.

Conspiracies usually require a big newsworthy event on which to peg it.

But Michael Shermer drives the point home when he writes:

“The more elaborate a conspiracy theory is, and the more people that would need to be involved, the less likely it is true.




from the web blog mystagogy sorry dont knowe how to do a link
The main weapon against conspiracy theories is counter conspiracies put out by governments in an effort to make us believe that none are true. I’m certain that they’re not all true, but at the same time I’m convinced that some are. That leaves us with the dilemma, what to believe.
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#42    Dave P

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Posted 01 June 2010 - 10:35 AM

View Postolympic1, on 08 May 2010 - 08:52 AM, said:

Did NASA really land on the moon?

Did the government cover-up involvement in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks?

Is Elvis still alive and kicking? What about Michael Jackson?

Was John F. Kennedy assassinated at the hands of multiple shooters?

Do the Freemasons control the United States?

A small but fervent group of people believe there is more than was included in historical records about the aforementioned events. Conspiracies, they call them. And every generation has its own.

Some of them turn out to be true, after all: Pearl Harbor was a Japanese conspiracy and Nixon’s Watergate break-in was a coverup.

But with so few that turn out to be true, why do people believe in conspiracies? Here are four reasons:

1. Patternicity, or a tendency to find meaningful patterns in random places;

2. Agenticity, or the bent to believe the world is controlled by secret unknown agents with intentions;

3. Confirmation bias, or the seeking and finding of confirmatory evidence for what we already believe;

4. Hindsight bias, or tailoring after-the-fact explanations to what we already know happened.

A conspiracy theory takes flight when all of these are concocted into a heady mix of conviction. It’s called "conspiratorial cognition."

But research has been thin on precisely why some have a conspiratorial dispensation.

Back in 2007, Patrick Leman wrote in New Scientist that belief in conspiracy theories is on the rise thanks to the distribution power of the Internet.

Take the JFK conspiracy, for example: In 1968, two of every 10 Americans believed it to be true. In 1990, nine of 10 Americans believed it to be true.

Leman writes:

"Conspiracy theories can have a valuable role in society. We need people to think 'outside the box', even if there is usually more sense to be found inside the box.

Take the Iran-Contra affair, a massive political scandal of the late 1980s. When claims first surfaced that the US government had sold arms to its enemy Iran to raise funds for pro-American rebel forces in Nicaragua and to help secure the release of US hostages taken by Iran, it certainly sounded like yet another convoluted conspiracy theory. Several question marks remain over the affair, but President Ronald Reagan admitted that his administration had indeed sold arms to Iran."

On the other hand, distrust contributed to an inflation of the East-West fears during the Cold War, as well as continued belief by some that HIV (which causes AIDS) was created in a lab and distributed by the U.S. government to limit the growth of the African-American population.

Some points to ponder:

People who believe in one theory are more likely to believe in others.

There is a strong association between income and belief levels: the better-off are less likely to believe in conspiracy theories. (Perhaps this can be chalked up to education or at least the fact that they don't feel as victimized by society and angry about their situation in life.)

Instability makes most of us uncomfortable; people prefer to imagine living in a predictable, safe world. Some conspiracy theories offer accounts that feel “safe” or “predictable.”

Conspiracy theories often mutate over time in light of new or contradicting evidence.

To the paranoid, it seems everything that doesn't work the way they like it becomes a conspiracy. We must beware of extreme interpretations of events and over-speculation.

Conspiracies usually require a big newsworthy event on which to peg it.

But Michael Shermer drives the point home when he writes:

“The more elaborate a conspiracy theory is, and the more people that would need to be involved, the less likely it is true.




from the web blog mystagogy sorry dont knowe how to do a link
The main weapon against conspiracy theories is counter conspiracies put out by governments in an effort to make us believe that none are true. I’m certain that they’re not all true, but at the same time I’m convinced that some are. That leaves us with the dilemma, what to believe.
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#43    nelvrina

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 12:58 AM

It could be possible that most stuff is true and it might not be. People should not believe they can see the future. No one seems to be accurate and no one seems to have facts. Earth itself is still the biggest mystery, no matter how much scientist have found out. Sorry for babbling.


#44    Gummug

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Posted 04 June 2010 - 06:02 PM

Kudos to Saru for moderating...Brantcoyle, I agree with you. I've been reading some books, "Nemesis" by Chalmers Johnson and "The Creature from Jekyll Island" by (I believe) G. Edward Griffith, and after reading, I think there's no doubt that conspiracies are out there...
P.S., Brantcoyle, I like your cat!

Edited by Gummug, 04 June 2010 - 06:04 PM.

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#45    Dougal

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 03:29 PM

You'd think that after all of these conspiracies, the government would do a little better at covering them up, rather than letting everybody and their mother post about them on internet forums, and letting national papers report on them. Unless....

If there are any conspiracies about today, I think they're the ones that you have no idea about, otherwise it's not much of a conspiracy is it.

"Science is simply common sense at its best that is, rigidly accurate in observation, and merciless to fallacy in logic." Thomas Henry Huxley English biologist.
"Shall I refuse my dinner because I do not fully understand the process of digestion?" Oliver Heaviside English physicist.




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