Tag Archives | Conspiracy Theories

How to Respond to an Anti-Conspiracy Theorist

BlindBlogger ZenGardner has written a list of great talking responses to use when arguing with “coincidence theorists”: People who accept mainstream narratives and argue against what someone might consider clear evidence of a conspiracy at work.

Via ZenGardner:

“You sound like a conspiracy theorist.”

RESPONSE: “Conspiracy Theorist? Now tell me the truth, where did you hear that term…on TV? (Laugh.) …So let me get this straight. Are you saying that men in high positions of power are not capable of criminal activity and telling lies to the general public? Are you really that naive?” (Laugh as you say this.)

“I’m not saying that governments don’t lie, but a conspiracy like that would have to involve 100′s of people. You can’t hide something like that.”

RESPONSE: “You’re absolutely right. I agree with you 100%. It is impossible to totally cover up a conspiracy so massive. That’s why I know about it!

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Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

Here we go again: another  mainstream media article condemning all conspiracy theories due to some easy to mock dubious ones. This time by Scientific American:

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?

World conspiracies pyramid

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 Illuminati Were Amateurs: The Second Huge Financial Scandal of the Year Reveals the Real International Conspiracy

Occupy Wall Street March 2012 foreclosure bannerThe biggest price fixing scandal ever is how Matt Taibbi describes it for Rolling Stone:

Conspiracy theorists of the world, believers in the hidden hands of the Rothschilds and the Masons and the Illuminati, we skeptics owe you an apology. You were right. The players may be a little different, but your basic premise is correct: The world is a rigged game. We found this out in recent months, when a series of related corruption stories spilled out of the financial sector, suggesting the world’s largest banks may be fixing the prices of, well, just about everything.

You may have heard of the Libor scandal, in which at least three – and perhaps as many as 16 – of the name-brand too-big-to-fail banks have been manipulating global interest rates, in the process messing around with the prices of upward of $500 trillion (that’s trillion, with a “t”) worth of financial instruments.

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Are Alex Jones’ Conspiracy Theories Beyond the Pale?

The Los Angeles Times is running a poll of its online readers and the scary thing is that only 60% of them are voting “yes” (so far – you can vote too!)

Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 3.26.01 PM David Horsey writes the accompanying article explaining why the number should be closer to 100%:

Usually, it would be best to ignore conspiracy-mongers such as Alex Jones and not reward him and his angry gaggle of paranoiac followers with any sort of attention. But, in a week when thoughts of the dead and maimed victims of the Boston Marathon bombings weigh heavy on the hearts and minds of most Americans, it is worth pointing out what a worthless waste of skin and bones Jones and his minions happen to be.

Nearly as soon as I heard about the bombings on Monday, I was certain that somewhere in the nutty right-wing blogosphere someone was already concocting a storyline that would blame the crime on President Obama and the federal government.

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Is The Loch Ness Monster Just A Conspiracy To Boost Scottish Tourism?

Loch Ness RocksEvery kid in Britain grows up with the Loch Ness Monster as part of their cryptozoological cultural heritage, but could it just be a conspiracy to boost tourism in Scotland? Emma Ailes reports for BBC News:

It is 80 years since hotel manageress Mrs Aldie Mackay first reported seeing a “whale-like fish” in the waters of Loch Ness.

Now an academic at St Andrew’s University is trawling through 1,000 eye-witness accounts since to see what they can tell us.

He wryly notes more than a few hotel proprietors among typical spotters. So is “Nessie” just a conspiracy to boost tourism?

It was 14 April 1933 and Mrs Mackay, manageress of the Drumnadrochit Hotel, was driving with her husband along the road to Inverness.

As they drove, she glanced out across the still calm waters of Loch Ness towards Aldourie Castle. There, in the water, she saw something.

In a rare interview years later, she described the moment to marine biologist and founder of The Loch Ness Project, Adrian Shine.

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‘What a Conspiracy Theorist Believes’

The-New-Yorker-Logo-1Another day, another smug, politically-motivated take on the beliefs of others. One man’s conspiracy is another’s truth.

Via New Yorker:

But, over all, the trends were clear. The more people believed in free-market ideology, the less they believed in climate science; the more they accepted science in general, the more they accepted the conclusions of climate science; and the more likely they were to be conspiracy theorists, the less likely they were to believe in climate science.

These results fit in with a longer literature on what has come to be known as “motivated reasoning.” Other things being equal, people tend to believe what they want to believe, and to disbelieve new information that might challenge them. The classic study for this came in the nineteen-sixties, shortly after the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking and lung cancer, which suggested that smoking appeared to cause lung cancer. A careful survey revealed that (surprise!) smokers were less persuaded than nonsmokers were.

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Americans and Their Conspiracy Theories

Apollo 15 flag, rover, LM, IrwinAs you all know, we’re not scared of a conspiracy theory or two here at disinformation, but we’re also skeptical, wanting to hear multiple views. Not so Jeff Nesbit of US News:

There’s just no polite way to put it.

There are big, entire parts of American society that believe in things that just aren’t true – and a recent national survey by Public Policy Polling only confirms it.

Name your conspiracy theory, and some segment of America believes it, the PPP survey found. The handful of news reports and blog posts on the PPP poll last week focused on the usual political subjects that always seem to float through the Internet ether.

About a fifth of Republican voters believe President Barack Obama is the anti-christ, for instance. Three quarters of Democrats believe former President George W. Bush’s administration lied about weapons of mass destruction in the run up to the Iraq war, while three quarters of Republicans don’t.

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The First Jesuit Pope: Criminal? Bringer of End Times?

You just knew that the first Jesuit to become pope had to have some juicy scandals somewhere in his past. To start with, Salem-News.com reports:

Former Cardinal and Pope-elect “Francis I”, Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is accused of helping kidnap opponents of Argentina’s military junta during the 1970′s “Dirty War”, and of baby trafficking, by lawyers and members of the Plaza de Mayo human rights group. (Los Angeles Times, April 17, 2005, “Argentine Cardinal Named in Kidnapping Lawsuit.”

Then there are the “Black Pope” end times theories, rounded up by IBTimes.com:

The 2013 papal conclave may have escaped the precise election of a black-skinned pope, but conspiracy theorists among netizens remain adamant the selection of Pope Francis has indeed heralded the end of days for the people on planet Earth.

…The former Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio is the leader of the Jesuits, who traditionally wear black cassocks. When he got elected to become spiritual leader of the Catholic church, he became the first Jesuit Pope.

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DisinfoTV: The Montauk Project

In a sleepy fishing town called Montauk Point, a device called the Montauk Chair was used to focus the energies of a sexually aroused psychic who could create an interdimensional vortex. The goal was to send military operatives back in time to alter key events. This was one of the segments we made for the pilot episode of the disinformation TV series. Although the no-budget production values are evident, the amazing complexity involved in the granddaddy of all conspiracy theories, the Montauk Project, is on full display. It involves mind control, time travel and Nazi gold—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. Taken from DisinfoTV on DVD, available now at: http://bit.ly/V01W7T Subscribe to Disinformation's YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/aHTcz
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‘Zero Hour’ Features Meryl Streep’s Daughter Talking About Disinfo.com

We haven’t been watching the new ABC Television series featuring Anthony Edwards, Zero Hour (it hasn’t been a roaring success thus far), but we might now. As Rob Bricken reports at i09.com, in the current episode “Arron has a discussion with Meryl Streep’s Daughter about the website Disinfo.com and pornography, which, in a feat of acting worthy of her mother, appears to charm Meryl Streep’s Daughter.” He first makes clear that:

Before I begin the recap, I want to make one thing clear: I love Zero Hour. I find it massively entertaining. Oh, it has flaws, and the characters are insane, and nothing makes any sense — but Zero Hour is doing exactly what it sets out to do, and making sense isn’t one of those things. I may mock the show, but I can promise you I look forward to Zero Hour’s madness every single week. And while Zero Hour may have let off the gas a little in this episode, it’s still pushing the crazy pedal to the metal…

Sounds good right?… Read the rest

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