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Waspie_Dwarf

Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

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Moon Landing Faked!!!—Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax? And what about the Boston Marathon bombing…an “inside job” perhaps?

In the book “The Empire of Conspiracy,” Timothy Melley explains that conspiracy theories have traditionally been regarded by many social scientists as “the implausible visions of a lunatic fringe,” often inspired by what the late historian Richard Hofstadter described as “the paranoid style of American politics.” Influenced by this view, many scholars have come to think of conspiracy theories as paranoid and delusional, and for a long time psychologists have had little to contribute other than to affirm the psychopathological nature of conspiracy thinking, given that conspiricist delusions are commonly associated with (schizotype) paranoia.

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The very same logic presented in the paragraph you quoted can be applied to those who don't believe in conspiracies.

Instead of stating they possess a "severe distrust of authority" you simply change it to stating they have "a strong preconceived trust in authority and mainstream media/news outlets" and apply that reasoning to the non-conspiracy minded portion of the population.

When you actually get around to reading the piece, you'll find that the dichotomy isn't between trust and distrust in authority, but between distrust in authority and the scientific approach of going by the evidence.

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Posted (edited)

Not all conspiracy theories are "delusional " .. because some conspiracy theories are True, when associated with actual Conspiracies?

When people's trust is shaken.. we can get paranoid, but one cannot be "delusional" about the truth?

We can examine the dynamics of conspiracy theories , but not the fact that conspiracies do happen.

Why do people believe in ANYTHING they have no direct evidence for ? "good" or "bad" ? .. it's because we often do not think for ourselves .

It's easier to engage in "group think" which can often be "paranoid and delusional" .

*

Edited by lightly
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Pessimism.

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Conspiracies arise from a population's distrust of their government. As 90% of all conspiracies come from USA, it tells you a lot about how Americans view their government.

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The very same logic presented in the paragraph you quoted can be applied to those who don't believe in conspiracies.

Instead of stating they possess a "severe distrust of authority" you simply change it to stating they have "a strong preconceived trust in authority and mainstream media/news outlets" and apply that reasoning to the non-conspiracy minded portion of the population.

I think that somewhere in between those who instinctively gravitate toward conspiracy theory belief and those who blindly follow whatever the mainstream media spits out are a group of people who look at ANY claim and evaluate it with regards to empiricism and what is actually the most likely explanation.

To me this seems like the most balanced approach. The main trick here though is deciding on what gets to pass as "evidence". This is where critical thinking skills really come into play. It is my opinion that people on EITHER extreme - the blind masses who accept and the woo woos on the other side that embrace and adopt every theory that comes down the pike - are lacking in the ability to think critically and evaluate evidence objectively.

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I gotta say in all honesty that as soon as I hear the word "conspiracy" in the context of some event of political importance, my reality checker goes into overdrive. I have yet to get into the details of one of these and come out a believer, and such experience makes one wary indeed.

I'm of the opinion that there is a spectrum of personalities that range from realism to credulity, with excitement and mystery seekers dominating the credulity end. And, of course, there are some who just love this stuff so much they can be certified.

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Frank

Do you consider it accurate to say that since the earliest of human societies some humans have schemed, plotted and planned against other humans?

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I think that somewhere in between those who instinctively gravitate toward conspiracy theory belief and those who blindly follow whatever the mainstream media spits out are a group of people who look at ANY claim and evaluate it with regards to empiricism and what is actually the most likely explanation.

Balance is a good thing; the Buddha recommended the middle way (in the context of between asceticism and hedonism). However, one can be too extreme about always being in the middle. Arsenic is not something to consume in a balanced fashion, nor is foolishness.I guess the point here is that the claim that a position is balanced is a logical fallacy and should not be made in rational discussion. Balance is in the eye of the beholder and, besides, one can be unbalanced in one's balance.

Frank

Do you consider it accurate to say that since the earliest of human societies some humans have schemed, plotted and planned against other humans?

Actually, no. I think that a paranoid and unfortunate view of the human race.

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I hate extreme conspiracists. I find them the most untrustworthy type of people...

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Balance is a good thing; the Buddha recommended the middle way (in the context of between asceticism and hedonism). However, one can be too extreme about always being in the middle. Arsenic is not something to consume in a balanced fashion, nor is foolishness.I guess the point here is that the claim that a position is balanced is a logical fallacy and should not be made in rational discussion. Balance is in the eye of the beholder and, besides, one can be unbalanced in one's balance.

Well stated. Thanks for your comment.

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I hate the way people automatically claim that people who believe in 1 CT believe them all. lol That is why the Governments etc love CT's and the ignorant people who brand all conspiracy theorists as the same.

If you do not question the government and take everything they say as the truth, then you are a moron. I know that is harsh, but I was actually being as kind as possible. The government is supposed to be questioned, tested and scrutinized. If you fial to do that, then you don't actually know what a government is and you are part of the problem.

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Conspiracies arise from a population's distrust of their government. As 90% of all conspiracies come from USA, it tells you a lot about how Americans view their government.

That's because it's in the USA that you can see the most facade and denial to be put to this. You might say the first place would go to China or to North Korea, but isn't it all too evident in their cases? It's like even they themselves know what they're swimming in, even though they too are adamant about their integrity. Russia at least doesn't hide it's corruption and cruelty.

An important conclusion that the authors draw from their analysis is that people don't tend to believe in a conspiracy theory because of the specifics, but rather because of higher-order beliefs that support conspiracy-like thinking more generally. A popular example of such higher-order beliefs is a severe “distrust of authority.” The authors go on to suggest that conspiracism is therefore not just about belief in an individual theory, but rather an ideological lens through which we view the world.

I find this be so too, and I'm usually keeping the possibility to conspiracy open unless I've been proven otherwise, it's not that hard to prove things otherwise in this time and era, all you need is to prove the official explanation. Smoke doens't come out of nothing, it's just a matter of finding the source of smoke, whether it's someone wanting money or attention or an actual conspiracy, or a mistake or misunderstanding. Will to take to account possibilities and hunches versus the will to stick to what they deem real. And of course you can't deem a conspiracy real because it's not been proven, that why you ask for evidence when you have an opposite mindset that's stronger. Not saying it's wrong, but again, it too is just one side of the coin.

You could turn the table here by claiming that only a mind that can extend itself to think beyond what it deems real, can even grasp the possibility of a conspiracy. The possibility that what you deemed real, had another side to it that turned the picture around. Holding that kind of possibility is healthy for both and all parties, even though it can hurt when your believes might come under a wrecking hammer and be remodeled due to your own sense of integrity. Happened to me, I've seriously questioned where astrology (my favourite subject) comes from and whether there'd be some other better way to examine things we do through there. But I let myself be questioned there in order to be able to experience benefical changes.

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No that is not true. I have no notion at all that people who believe in conspiracy theories automatically believe all of them. More typically they focus on just one of them and become irrational about it, not much paying attention to the others.

A lot also depends on how one defines "conspiracy theory." That there was a conspiracy in the government late in Reagan's term to sell arms clandestinely and illegally to the Iranians to fight the Iraqis, I don't doubt, and Reagan could, maybe should, have been impeached for it except that his term was almost over. That Clinton "conspired" with aids to cover up his sexual peccadilloes is also a fact, although here impeachment was silly. Watergate was certainly a grand conspiracy, derived from the trivial but turned serious by the cover-up efforts (that didn't succeed).

So, they happen, and maybe one or two times they get away with it, although I think that unlikely. Most conspiracy theorists betray a fundamental naivety about the way power and government function, and a certain mental imbalance we call paranoia.

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Because they have way too much time on their hands.

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Because they have way too much time on their hands.

I find this comment hilarious.

You ever thought it's because they have the time to think about it and research it, were as a busy person doesn't.

You think Tesla could have done the things he did if he was busy doing a full time job while having a hobby of some sort.

The fact is the majority of people work in a job they hate, come home and slouch on their couch and watch mind less TV. They carry on thinking the world is meant to be that way, while paying taxes to a corrupt government who is constantly in debt to a privately owned bank. I find it hilarious in a way. Even more hilarious that when the person is American and patriotic they don't even realise it is a system that their forefathers fought against.

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I don't trust this article...

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Always trust yourself

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Posted (edited)

It's because they want you to believe it's all in your head. It's another form of mind control. As long as they can manipulate your thoughts one way or the other, they call the shots.

Conspiracy Theory, is not the absence of proof but the proof of absence.

You can't live in this world and not notice that something is terribly wrong here. If good people don't stand up to evil or even know that the evil is flourishing in dark places,

eventually it over runs the good before they even know what's happening.

Evil runs rampant where the eye cannot see, it over throws governments from the shadows, it toys with your hearts and minds, till eventually your hallow, then it takes your soul without you even knowing it, till eventually it seems there is no way to stop it.

That's when you wake up and realize that you are a child of the illuminati.

Edited by nothinglizx2
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I don't trust this article...

you crack me up, JC. :D

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