Tag Archives | Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy Theory Logical Fallacies

Pic: DTKerns (PD)

Pic: DTKerns (PD)

Conspiracies, of course, do occur.  But, of course, not every theory is true.  If yours isn’t built upon the following fallacies, perhaps it’s legit.  Warp writes:

Most conspiracy theories don’t make sense nor withstand any scrutiny. They usually involve operations so immense that it’s basically impossible for them to be kept secret, and all the proof given by conspiracy theorists usually have a very simple explanation (usually much simpler than the explanation given by the theorists).

Yet conspiracy theories are very popular and appealing. Even when they don’t make sense and there’s just no proof, many people still believe them. Why?

One big reason for this is that some conspiracy theorists are clever. They use psychology to make their theories sound more plausible. They appeal to certain psychological phenomena which make people to tend to believe them. However, these psychological tricks are nothing more than logical fallacies. They are simply so well disguised that many people can’t see them for what they are.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Bad Science Meets Conspiracy Theory in ‘Burning Snow’ Videos

About.com‘s Urban Legends page debunks the burning snow videos that have been making the rounds of the usual sites of late:

Several videos have cropped up on YouTube documenting a “weird phenomenon” variously described as “burning snow,” “fake snow,” “chemical snow,” and “snow that won’t melt.” The videos show people holding cigarette lighters and blowtorches up to a handful of snow and remarking on how the latter seemingly blackens and “burns like plastic” instead of melting, all the while giving off a “chemical odor.”

As is the fashion these days, some folks are resorting to conspiracy theories in lieu of science to explain the phenomenon, the result being one big Internet freak-out over supposed government-backed weather manipulation (“geo-engineering”), chemtrail fallout, nanobot invasions, and HAARP attacks (I even found one article using the term “false flag”).

On the other hand, there’s plain old, ordinary physics.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Obama’s Legacy: A Government That Makes Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Seem Possibly Sane

192px-President_Barack_ObamaGlenn Harlan Reynolds, Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee and owner of the Instapundit blog, writes in USA Today of a “weaponized” IRS and the even more scandal-ridden NSA as sure signs that the Obama administration is the least trustworthy since the Nixon era:

At a tax symposium at Pepperdine Law School last week, former IRS chief counsel Donald Korb was asked, “On a scale of 1-10 … how damaging is the current IRS scandal?”

His answer: 9.5. Other tax experts on the panel called it “awful,” and said that it has done “tremendous damage.”

I think that’s right. And I think that the damage extends well beyond the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, I think that the government agency suffering the most damage isn’t the IRS, but the National Security Agency. Because the NSA, even more than the IRS, depends on public trust. And now that the IRS has been revealed to be a political weapon, it’s much harder for people to have faith in the NSA.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Iranian Press Reports Snowden Documents Reveal Extraterrestrials In The U.S. Government

alienobama

And you thought NSA spying was a big deal…but at least their agents are humanoid. Iran’s leading news agency Farsnews reports the true revelation from the Snowden leaks on their English-language site:

Former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden revealed documents providing incontrovertible proof that an alien/extraterrestrial intelligence agenda is driving US domestic and international policy, and has been doing so since at least 1945, some media reports said.

Snowden’s documents further confirm, this report says, [aliens'] meetings in 1954 with US President Dwight D. Eisenhower where the “secret regime” currently ruling over America was established.

Most disturbingly, this FSB report warns, is that the [alien] agenda being implemented by the “secret regime” ruling the United States calls for the creation of a global electronic surveillance system meant to hide all true information about their presence here on earth as they enter into what one of Snowden’s documents calls the “final phase” of their end plan for total assimilation and world rule.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Inside The Right-Wing Love Affair With Conspiracy Theories

2012_Benghazi_attack_photo_montageCJ Werleman says “there’s a reason Benghazi hysteria just won’t go away,” writing for AlterNet via Salon:

The New York Times recently published what is arguably the most comprehensive examination of the events that took place leading up to the deaths of four Americans in Benghazi. The six-part, multimedia report is not only the most exhaustive account of the tragedy ever published by a major news organization, it is also completely apolitical. In other words, it revealed the truth. Yet right-wing conspiracy theorists refuse to believe it.

While the article hardly paints the administration in a positive light, it makes clear that right-wing, echo chamber-generated conspiracy theories have no basis in reality. Central to the right’s Benghazi narrative was the claim that President Obama, facing a fight for reelection, chose to lie and conceal the truth on Benghazi. In other words, the administration “knew” it was a carefully planned and orchestrated attack carried out by al-Qaeda, but instead chose to spin the story that it was a spontaneous protest carried out by a mob of Islamists, who were reacting to the release of anti-Muslim YouTube documentary.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

What’s the Difference Between a Whistleblower and a Mad Conspiracy Theorist?

Annie McMahon. Photo: Jakob Steinschaden (CC)

Annie McMahon. Photo: Jakob Steinschaden (CC)

Satirist Brendan O’Neill continues the theme of the day – whistleblowers – in this essay for the Telegraph:

What’s the difference between a whistleblower and a conspiracy theorist? Sometimes it can be very hard to tell.

This week, Annie Machon, former MI5 intelligence official, won praise for announcing that she is setting up a fund called Courage to help whistleblowers. According to Wired, the aim of the Courage Fund to Protect Journalistic Sources, to give it its full title, is to “encourage [more] whistleblowers to come forward” and spill the beans on the dastardly doings in the government or security department they work in. Ms Machon, who together with her then partner David Shayler left MI5 in 1996 and subsequently told the world about some of the dodgier things it was getting up to, was earlier this year included in a list of “brave whistleblowers” in the Guardian.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Canadians Skeptical of ‘Official’ 9/11 Theories

posterBBC News reports that Canadians are more partial to alternative theories of what really happened on 9/11/01 than Americans are:

An advertising campaign in Canada raises questions about the US government’s official account of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Are Canadians more sympathetic to anti-American conspiracy theories than Americans themselves?

The posters, displayed on buses in Ottawa, show an image of a World Trade Center building collapsing in the inferno of the terrorist attack that morning.

The advertising campaign is supported by a Lafayette, California-based organisation called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

The office tower, 7 World Trade Center, may have been destroyed in a controlled demolition, members of the organisation purport, rather than in a fire.

Frank Greening, a nuclear scientist who lives in Hamilton, Ontario, knows the people behind the organisation – truthers, as they are known – well. He first met them years ago.

Like them, he initially thought there was something more to the story of 9/11 than the US government let on.

Read the rest
Continue Reading