… Read the rest
Writing refutations to the arguments of conspiracy theorists seems as difficult and brave as clubbing seals. But anyone who has ever publicly expressed even moderate support for military intervention has inevitably encountered various leaps of logic from the keyboards of conspiracy theorists. Their personal imperviousness to sensible debate and their theory’s superbug-like inability to die off suggests there is something to be said for trying to understand their process, if it can be called such. Besides, I like clubbing seals.
Hanlon’s Razor:Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
This is advice conspiracy theorists simply cannot take. Everything is deliberate.
Cui bono:“as a benefit to whom?”
This is the logic that says umbrella salesmen make the rain. A conspiracy theorist’s favourite.
Furtive fallacy:Significant facts of history are necessarily sinister
This is a form of paranoia, it’s not the acceptance of conspiracy theories as much as feeling the necessity for them to exist.
Tag Archives | Theory
Philosopher Slavoj Žižek argues that our current brand of global capitalism is quickly outgrowing democracy and that a divorce between the two is inevitable. This leads to an array of social and geopolitical concerns regarding the public commons. These problems include but are not limited to ecology, biogenetics, finance, neo-apartheid, crisis management, intellectual property rights, and personal freedom. Žižek touches on all these topics and more in this epic delivery of political and social theory.
Well people often ask me how can you be so stupid and still proclaim yourself a communist. What do you mean by this? Well, I have always to emphasize that first I am well aware that let’s call it like this – the twentieth century’s over. Which means all not only communists solution but all the big leftist projects of the twentieth century failed. Not only did Stalinist communism although there its failure is much more paradoxical.… Read the rest
Everything from criminality to love of gossip is in our genes according to some biologists. Yet behaviour varies dramatically between cultures. Does this cultural variation mean that evolutionary psychology is flawed? Can it be rescued with a new theory or is culture beyond genetics?
The Panel — Julian Baggini explores the limits of evolution with philosopher Janet Radcliffe Richards, anthropologist Daniel Everett and Oxford evolutionary psychologist Oliver Scott Curry.
JMP writes at M-L-M Mayhem!:
… Read the rest
Due to the upcoming provincial elections in Ontario, I have again found myself reflecting on something that has become a common theme, either explicitly or implicitly, of this blog in the past few months: the default social democratic and/or opportunist consciousness of the self-proclaimed left in Canada and the United States. Generally, I have been concerned with that gap between theory and practice where on one hand, anti-capitalists will proclaim that capitalism must be superseded but, on the other hand, will focus most of their energy in building social democratic coalitions and organizations. And though I have tried to qualify my critique by pointing out that leftists should be prepared to support initiatives that defend social democratic rights, but must do so in a principled manner, I have still found that even this nuanced perspective is met with hostility by self-proclaimed anti-capitalists who should know better.
“President Leon Botstein of Bard College steps boldly into the fray to answer one of the most enduring human questions: What is art? This discussion spills over into debates about art’s value to society —- whether access to the arts is right as basic as education or health care, and whether it should be assessed and supported by government or left to the “invisible hand” of the free market. President Botstein explains why it is essential to ask these questions and offers a sturdy basis for evaluating them. He goes so far as to suggest that engaging with art can give our lives meaning and purpose.”
Wondering where socialist revolutionaries stand on the question of alien life? Via Marxists.org, a translation from a pamphlet distributed in 1968 Paris penned by J. Posadas (whose ideology was dubbed Posadism):
… Read the rest
Capitalism has no interest in UFOs and, as such, makes no research into them. It has no interest in occupying itself with these matters because they cannot reap profits, nor are they useful to capitalism. But people see in UFOs the possibility of advancement and progress. This thus accelerates the fall of the bourgeoisie, shown in all its uselessness.
All the people who say that they have seen extra-terrestrials, UFOs, coincide in the fact that these beings have not frightened them, and that they have made themselves understood, without using an audible language, showing them that they mean no harm. They do not provoke a feeling of alarm, but of serenity. They create sensations of mellowness, suppleness, harmony, reassurance.
Lately there have been a slew of “Why Do People Believe In Conspiracy Theories” articles, no doubt a reaction to the slew of conspiracy theories offered after recent tragedies such as the Aurora shooting, the Sandy Hook shooting, and the Boston Marathon bomb attack. The reasons given in these articles mirror many of the thoughts I have expressed when speaking to those with their own conspiracy theories. I frequently argue with conspiracy theorists here on Disinfo, but not for the reasons they typically give (“government shill” is the most common). I certainly believe there are and have been conspiracies within the US government to break the law at the expense of other people’s lives for the sake of greed and lust for power. What annoys me about the articles I mentioned is that they have all left out, or at the least severely underestimated, a very important reason people believe conspiracy theories.… Read the rest
“It would be a pretty amazing thing to show that we have actually made physical contact in another universe. It’s a long shot, but it would by very profound for physics” (Prof. Efstathiou). Via BBC:
… Read the rest
The idea that other universes – as well as our own – lie within “bubbles” of space and time has received a boost.
Studies of the low-temperature glow left from the Big Bang suggest that several of these “bubble universes” may have left marks on our own.
This “multiverse” idea is popular in modern physics, but experimental tests have been hard to come by.
The preliminary work, to be published in Physical Review D, will be firmed up using data from the Planck telescope.
For now, the team has worked with seven years’ worth of data from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe, which measures in minute detail the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the faint glow left from our Universe’s formation.
A relatively new theory suggests that the early stages of the universe may have been only one dimension and gradually gained more dimensions as it expanded. Does this mean the universe may eventually see a fourth dimension? Via Daily Mail:
… Read the rest
Did the early universe have just one spatial dimension? That’s the mind-boggling question at the heart of a theory scientists say they are on the brink of solving.
The theory was first proposed by physicist Dejan Stojkovic and colleagues from the University of Buffalo in 2010.
They suggested that the early universe – which exploded from a single point and was tiny at first – was one-dimensional (like a straight line) before expanding to include two dimensions (like a plane) and then three, which is the world in which we live today.
The theory, if valid, would address important conundrums facing particle physicists.