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Source: (consider it) Thread: Conspiracy theories
Avey
Apprentice
# 18701

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Apparently I am an alien shape-shifting lizard. This arises because er….welll I don't believe in alien shape-shifting lizards.

Never argue with a conspiritard.

Anyone had an encounter with the lunatics?

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Anselmina
Ship's barmaid
# 3032

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Yeah. A guy on my facebook believes in the New World Order globalist bankers ruling-the-world crap. He's pro-Trump, thinks Obama is evil incarnate and is, incidentally, a fundamentalist Christian who gloats over every earthquake, massacre and terrorist atrocity because each one brings us closer to Armageddon when Jesus will return as a mighty warrior bringing death and eternal destruction to all people who don't believe as he and his pals believe.

He is also pro-Israel anti-Palestinian, anti-Islam, pro-UKIP, and routinely smirks at how stupid sheeple like me are for watching the BBC news, and not realizing how everything in the media and in the government is about deluding us on behalf of Satan. Oh, except the media where he gets his news from, of course. And the politicians he trusts. They're okay.

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Avey
Apprentice
# 18701

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Makes you despair for humanity it really does.
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Pangolin Guerre
Shipmate
# 18686

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Years ago, I had a colleague in finance who genuinely believed that the Egyptian pyramids could have been built only with alien technology, and that the pyramids were, essentially, mammoth batteries. (I guess that this was sort of von Daniken warmed-over.) He wasn't the stupid one. Another colleague whispered to me from her desk, "Don't you wish it was true?" I looked at her, uncertain what to make of this. "Well, it's such a good story. It must be true."

Thank God I came to Christianity via philosophy. That, though, might explain my heresies. (About which I will post, eventually.)

As to New World Order conspiracists, I've always wondered what so privileges their sources over more mainstream ones. Whatever the failings of the mainstream media (God knows...), they don't resort to explaining the intractability of the issues of the Mideast as the result of the evil machinations of actual reptiles (Netanyahu being one, only metaphorically). Things are complicated enough with one species, without introducing extraneous classes (taxonomically speaking). Ockham's razor, kinda.

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Graven Image
Shipmate
# 8755

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I am sorry to say yes. The government is dropping germs on us from seeding the clouds. We are being circled and ruled by an unseen planet, You can cure cancer by eating a raw diet, Firefighters do not put out fires because they are paid to let buildings burn. All of this information comes from two unrelated people that I have meet through churches. Other then this they seem very normal!

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Notice to police, Should my body ever be found on a jogging trail, know that I was murdered elsewhere and my body dumped there."

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churchgeek

Have candles, will pray
# 5557

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People like Anselmina describes really drive me up a wall, because if they really believed what they profess to believe - that their friends and acquaintances are being deluded by Satan and will be tormented for all eternity - they shouldn't smirk at you for it; they should be doing all they can to stop it! We might be fortunate that they're hypocritical, though, because we might not want to be the recipients of their efforts to save our souls. Best they leave us alone!

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I reserve the right to change my mind.

My article on the Virgin of Vladimir

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Pangolin Guerre
Shipmate
# 18686

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Point of clarification, it was the female colleague who said that it was such a good story that it had to be true. It just hit me that I had left it somewhat ambiguous.
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jedijudy

Organist of the Jedi Temple
# 333

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My brother, who is an otherwise intelligent person, is a conspiracy theorist.

We get emails from him warning of the government putting evil substances in the contrails of jets to poison us and the soil, and we should do everything possible to not be under them.

He begged us to not let Mom and Dad get flu shots. It would cause them to die.

9-11 was caused by our government.

President Obama is a globalist who wants to "put the entire world under a single communist government so they can take our money more efficiently and control us more completely."

There is so much more.

My conspiracy theory is: this is what happens when you don't have enough to keep your mind occupied in a positive way and idle hands are the devil's workshop!!! [Big Grin]

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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quote:
Originally posted by jedijudy:

President Obama is a globalist who wants to "put the entire world under a single communist government so they can take our money more efficiently and control us more completely."

He turned out not to be very good at that, apparently.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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And they promised us Obama would have prison camps. In WalMart parking lots. And a Muslim caliphate. Sharia law. Confiscating all the guns and ammo.
If none of these things happen (Obama does have two whole weeks, he could do it if he starts tonight) will any of these people even notice?

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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What about the death squads? A couple of years of Obamacare and still no death squads?

Slackers.

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Books and things.

I lied. There are no things. Just books.

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Stetson
Shipmate
# 9597

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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
What about the death squads? A couple of years of Obamacare and still no death squads?

Slackers.

That one was actually started by the LaRouchians, who attributed to Ezekiel Emanuel the polar opposite of what he really believed.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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I found a guy I knew in middle school and early high school on Facebook, and reached out.

It turns out he moved to California at some point, and embraced new-age philosophy. Mostly it comes out in unobjectionable ways, but he occasionally reveals himself to be a fairly aggressive anti-vaxer, and apparently is a believer in the flat-earth theory.

(It's all kind of odd, because when I knew him, he was your standard American teenage boy, obsessed with pin-up models and professional sports. After he left my school, he ended up at Columbine High School, where he narrowly missed being part of one of the most infamous school shootings in American history- he apparently was leaving for an off-campus lunch and was almost hit by the shooters as they pulled into the parking lot. I suspect that there is quite a bit of PTSD involved here.)

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Stetson
Shipmate
# 9597

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quote:
Originally posted by Og, King of Bashan:
I found a guy I knew in middle school and early high school on Facebook, and reached out.

It turns out he moved to California at some point, and embraced new-age philosophy. Mostly it comes out in unobjectionable ways, but he occasionally reveals himself to be a fairly aggressive anti-vaxer, and apparently is a believer in the flat-earth theory.

(It's all kind of odd, because when I knew him, he was your standard American teenage boy, obsessed with pin-up models and professional sports. After he left my school, he ended up at Columbine High School, where he narrowly missed being part of one of the most infamous school shootings in American history- he apparently was leaving for an off-campus lunch and was almost hit by the shooters as they pulled into the parking lot. I suspect that there is quite a bit of PTSD involved here.)

I had a similar experience in the late 90s, meeting someone I had gone to high-school with, who had been interested in mainstream political discussion, but by the time we met up again, was heavily immersed in theories about how the Rockefellers run the whole world via the Trilateral Commission.

To avoid confrontation, I kinda sorta maybe allowed him to think that I believed the same thing, but tried to push it towards some sort of mainstream normalcy, by linking the power of the Rockefellers with the fact that they, along with a few other peopple, are members of the upper economic strata(iow. standard Marxism), but he wasn't having any of it, and politely informed me that it was simply a case of their being THE ROCKEFELLERS that made them the rulers of the world.

He was also marketing some sort of pyramid-shaped device that you pointed at food, cigarettes, or anything else you wanted, in order to imbue the object with cosmic energy.

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I have the power...Lucifer is lord!

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Penny S
Shipmate
# 14768

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Long ago, when I was young, the Flat Earth Society hung out in Dover, Kent, and had occasional letters in the Dover Express explaining how the way you could see the French coast against the cliffs proved that there was no curvature between us. Somehow, since then and the death of the Dover soul, it has moved to a trailer park somewhere in the MidWest, and acquired a connection to apocalyptic Christianity. There was nothing Biblical in the Doverian days, and the society could probably have fitted into the leader's front room.

I have a suspicion about conspiracy theories - that they are deliberately encouraged to stop people applying their minds to reality. And to allow people who do come up with real criticisms of real situations to be written off as conspiracy theorists. Council X is in cahoots with private company Y to sell off the libraries to profit making enterprises - "Conspiracy theory!" Council M is planning to sell off a public park to a Chinese oligarch - "Conspiracy theory!"

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Schroedinger's cat

Ship's cool cat
# 64

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quote:
Originally posted by Trudy Scrumptious:
quote:
Originally posted by jedijudy:

President Obama is a globalist who wants to "put the entire world under a single communist government so they can take our money more efficiently and control us more completely."

He turned out not to be very good at that, apparently.
Although Trump seems to be working on this rather more effectively.

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Blog
My books for your enjoyment
Lord may all my hard times be healing times
take out this broken heart and renew my mind.

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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I doubt if these idiocies rise to the dignity of conspiracy theories. But they were certainly propounded by people who ought to know better. And, in case you have not noticed, they did not happen.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I doubt if these idiocies rise to the dignity of conspiracy theories. But they were certainly propounded by people who ought to know better. And, in case you have not noticed, they did not happen.

Then there's the whole "Obama is coming to take away your guns" thing. Wonder how that worked out. He'd better get his ass in gear, time is running out.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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If he starts tonight and moves smartly I'm sure he could get all the guns -and- impose Sharia law in two weeks. But he better not dawdle.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
If he starts tonight and moves smartly I'm sure he could get all the guns -and- impose Sharia law in two weeks. But he better not dawdle.

And invade Texas? Because that was part of the bargain.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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starbelly
but you can call me Neil
# 25

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It's strange how conspiracy theories come as a package, if you meet someone who believes that 911 is a government plot, then it is almost certain that they will think that contrails are poisoning our minds, if they think the royals are lizards, then they are very likely to believe in some sort of UFO cover up.

I think it is a combination of people wanting to believe there is a master plan in the world (there isn't) and that nothing is random (it often is), and also a lack of putting together all the information available in a common sense way (what is the most LIKELY thing here?)

Neil

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Brenda Clough
Shipmate
# 18061

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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
If he starts tonight and moves smartly I'm sure he could get all the guns -and- impose Sharia law in two weeks. But he better not dawdle.

And invade Texas? Because that was part of the bargain.
If Obama does not conquer Texas I will consider that his presidency is a failure. We signed on for jackbooted dictatorship by Saul Alinsky, drat it. It all comes from being born in Kenya.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer

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Sipech
Shipmate
# 16870

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I was told once that I was part of the controlling New World Order solely on the fact that I spent 2 months working for one of the members of the Rothschild family, even though I was actually fired (or rather, didn't pass my probationary period) when I asked questions about the finances; a matter on which someone later whisteblew, resulting in a suspension of the shares, the resignation of the CEO & CFO and a Serious Fraud Office investigation.

Anyone who thinks the Rothschilds control the world haven't met them. What they have in money, they more than make up for with their lack of good sense and perspective.

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by starbelly:
It's strange how conspiracy theories come as a package, if you meet someone who believes that 911 is a government plot, then it is almost certain that they will think that contrails are poisoning our minds, if they think the royals are lizards, then they are very likely to believe in some sort of UFO cover up.

It seems totally rational to me. How many times have you known someone who will go on and on about how someone is a liar and then turn around and say they are sticking with them because the liar gave them a new assurance? At least this guy knows a liar when he sees one!

Granted, this assumes rational powers that we should probably question as soon as they bring up the 9/11 truth theories.

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Honest Ron Bacardi
Shipmate
# 38

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Penny S wrote:
quote:
Long ago, when I was young, the Flat Earth Society hung out in Dover, Kent, and had occasional letters in the Dover Express explaining how the way you could see the French coast against the cliffs proved that there was no curvature between us. Somehow, since then and the death of the Dover soul, it has moved to a trailer park somewhere in the MidWest, and acquired a connection to apocalyptic Christianity. There was nothing Biblical in the Doverian days, and the society could probably have fitted into the leader's front room.
I've been a fan of conspiracy theorism for years. I often dream of making up my own. But the flat earth thing is a good one.

I recall back in its former days, there was a certain air of studied obscurantism that hung over The Flat Earth Society. One could almost believe that it was run by people determined to prove that black is white, more as an intellectual exercise than for any reasons associated with fact. I don't think you were ever supposed to believe it, except perhaps for reasons of irony.

Now people have taken it literally. Inevitable really. Never mind. We are now post-factual, and as the Flat Earth™ is a fact, we can ignore it and carry on believing it to be spherical.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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HCH
Shipmate
# 14313

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Will the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories eventually be viewed as a form of mental illness?
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Og, King of Bashan

Ship's giant Amorite
# 9562

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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
Will the tendency to believe in conspiracy theories eventually be viewed as a form of mental illness?

As I said above, I am fairly certain that my friend's willingness to believe in conspiracy theories is directly related to coping with his PTSD. (I did a little more looking into his story, and he was actually childhood friends with one of the shooters, and involved in a firework run that turned out, without his knowledge, to be part of the attack planning. So he has had a lot of crap to deal with in his life.)

So maybe not mental illness in and of itself, but I would bet that in at least some cases it is a coping mechanism or outlet for other mental health issues.

[ 03. January 2017, 21:27: Message edited by: Og, King of Bashan ]

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"I like to eat crawfish and drink beer. That's despair?" ― Walker Percy

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Penny S
Shipmate
# 14768

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I was once briefly courted by a man who believed Eric von Daniken's ideas with a passion. We had quite an argument about possible ways of moving Inca stones for walls, and he showed me that he could not be shifted, couldn't cope with an argument - not a row, you understand, but an examination of possibilities which did not include aliens. I wouldn't have said that he was ill in any way, though. Definitely mistaken about me, as well as von Daniken, but not ill. Functioning in a different way.
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Pangolin Guerre
Shipmate
# 18686

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There was an essay in the Globe and Mail some (10-ish?) years ago that argued that conspiracy theories thrive in areas in which information is most controlled. Conspiracy theories, in the essay, were treated as sociological phenomena which occur to "fill in the gaps" in the missing or distorted information. The writer said that conspiracy theories were most prevalent in the old Eastern Bloc and the Mideast. (It was after this appeared, I think, that Egyptian television broadcast a dramtisation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.) It's a very interesting argument, and has a certain intuitive appeal, but wouldn't seem to apply so strongly in countries with relatively open media. How, then, does one explain the popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories? Mass trauma? The popularity can't be explained on a case-by-case basis.
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Lothlorien
Ship's Grandma
# 4927

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My husband's elderly Brethren grandmother was utterly convinced that man did not walk on the moon. She believed man was for this earth only, so moon landing never took place. It was all staged, according to her.

[ 04. January 2017, 06:48: Message edited by: Lothlorien ]

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Golden Key
Shipmate
# 1468

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Lothlorien--

I absolutely believe that humans went to the moon, but I can understand some of the disbelief.

--As your grandma-in-law might have been thinking: The moon is part of the heavens, which are supposed to be special. We might enjoy, venerate, or even worship the moon--but we're not supposed to mess it up. (And we do mess things up.) Personally, I don't want commercial ventures or long-term astronaut colonies there.

TBH, I have mixed feelings about space exploration and travel. I grew up in NASA's heyday, when people were landing on the moon. Teachers hauled TVs into class (unusual, then), and we watched for hours each day. Way cool. I wanted to be an astronaut, for a while. I never would've qualified, due to motion sickness and such. And, of course, they didn't let girls into the club then. (When the door finally cracked open, women were permitted to train, but not actually go into space.)
[Roll Eyes]

Anyway, we're very apt to wreck anything we touch out there. Plus it's very, very hard on the astronauts, physically and otherwise. It damages them. We're of this place, and I'm not at all sure we can successfully survive in space or on other worlds.

CS Lewis said space might be God's quarantine, to keep our species from contaminating beings on other worlds.


--During the Cold War, there was a lot of fear that the USSR wanted to take over (or nuke) the US. Then they sent Yuri Gagarin to circle the Earth. The thinking of the US gov't was that we had to show and maintain technical and military superiority--otherwise, we might be toast. So JFK announced a project to get a man on the moon in X number of years. (VP Joe Biden is doing something similar for solving cancer.)

Given that, I could understand if the US gov't had faked the moon landing. Fortunately, they didn't.

There was one loose end that bothered me a bit, though: the flag hung on the moon looked like it was pushed by wind--and there's not supposed to be any wind there. I routinely hold whole spectrums of ideas and opinions, so this wasn't a big deal; but I did occasionally wonder. And NASA and the gov't weren't exactly known for addressing issues like that forthrightly. But there was a discussion--here?--some years back, where I learned that there was wire in the edges of the flag, to hold it straight--and that it got bent back! Simple explanation.
[Smile]

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Blessed Gator, pray for us!
--"Oh bat bladders, do you have to bring common sense into this?"--Dragon, "Jane & the Dragon"
--"I'm not giving up--and neither should you." --SNL

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Huia
Shipmate
# 3473

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We have a Mayoral candidate who has stood at every election for the last 20 years or so who is a very public conspiracy theorist. He doesn't hold meetings or do any electioneering apart from a couple of newspaper interviews but he gets a couple of hundred votes, I suspect some of which are a kind of protest vote.

I would vote for him before the National Front candidate any day, his weirdness isn't nasty.

Huia

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Charity gives food from the table, Justice gives a place at the table.

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Trudy Scrumptious

BBE Shieldmaiden
# 5647

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quote:
Originally posted by Lothlorien:
My husband's elderly Brethren grandmother was utterly convinced that man did not walk on the moon. She believed man was for this earth only, so moon landing never took place. It was all staged, according to her.

I have a friend who is a modern, well-educated, very smart person; religiously middle-of-the-road; politically mostly-left-of-centre; well-informed on all issues; not at all credulous or gullible ... and she is skeptical about the moon landing. I cannot make sense of this view being
such an outlier to all her other views (she doesn't hold conspiracy theories at all generally) but we have just agreed not to discuss it.

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Books and things.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Pangolin Guerre wrote:
quote:
How, then, does one explain the popularity of 9/11 conspiracy theories? Mass trauma? The popularity can't be explained on a case-by-case basis.
It's a good question.

I think any answer would need to look at where such beliefs exist (they usually exist alongside other conspiracy theories), and the question of why they are more believable than what we perceive to be the truth.

That latter one is probably key. Trying to address it would seriously derail this thread, though - maybe a separate thread in purg.?

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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balaam

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The great thing about conspiracy theories is that they contain truth, the good ones at least, I am not talking the Elvis rides Shergar on the Moon type of theories.

The good ones concentrate on some tings that are true and can be looked up. but deliberately don't say other things which are also true and thereby give a false impression.

If I were writing a conspiracy theory it would concentrate on things which happened but don't get much publicity.

Let's have a bit of fun with this:

Take the American Revolution: The conspiracy starts here.

Before the British started importing tea with tax on into their American colonies there were companies that imported tea: They liked tea in the colonies. Then the British brought tea in, and undercut the price, even with the tax.

The companies that previously had the tea monopoly did not like having their profits cut. So they came up with the marketing slogan, "No taxation without representation." The revolution started with a jingle.

The USA from it's beginning existed so that large corporations can exploit people. It still is, The Trump victory should not have surprised anyone.

There you have it, a rough draft for a conspiracy theory. It needs a bit of work to be convincing but it's a start. And I don't believe it either, but put a refined version of this out and there will be some who do.

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Amanda B. Reckondwythe

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People have always relished good stories that explain what everyone knows the government has been trying to hide from us.

Like traffic signals are deliberately timed to impede, not facilitate, the flow of traffic because everyone knows that governmental bureaucrats get their jollies by sticking it to the people.

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Golden Key
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PG--

Re 9/11:

Because it shook people and their world views to their core. They were scrambling to pick up the shreds of their views, and put them back together. Sometimes, they resorted to duct tape.

Plus there were professionals who said the official story wasn't right--like engineers, who set up a site to go over the World Trade Center with a fine-toothed comb. (It's probably still out there.) Stories of bin Ladin's relatives being whisked out of the country *before* (IIRC) the attacks. The then mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, asserting that he was warned not to fly that day.

Note: I think the basic story is right. But there are loose ends flapping around, too.

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Pangolin Guerre
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So, GK, your first paragraph accords with my "mass trauma", more or less.

The loose ends flapping, as you put it, I suppose are the seeds on the traumatised ground. All that said, and we seem to be in agreement, that still doesn't fully account for the relatively widespread acceptance of those conspiracy theories. Or, at least, as explanation it feels incomplete to me.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Classic conspiracy theories use a number of techniques, but the one of relevance here is to take a number of verifiable facts which are not closely related to each other, and link them with a narrative of your own devising. If those facts involve the majority of the loose ends then so much the better - your narrative appears to have greater explanatory power than any common-sense narrative involving coincidence.

That is far from fully explaining things of course, but in terms of generating believable narratives it goes much of the way.

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Stetson
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GK wrote:

quote:
The then mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, asserting that he was warned not to fly that day.

I might have mentioned this before somewhere, but...

After hearing about the attacks on the morning of 9/11, I headed off to work, stopping for a coffee at a downtpwn cafe before catching my bus. At the cafe, I opened one of the complimentary newspapers, printed BEFORE the attacks, and saw a small article about how airlines had just been ordered not to allow Salman Rushdie on board any of their flights.

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Stetson
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And I have to admit, if someone given to belief in Masonic-Illuminati conspriacies were to point to this group's symbolism as proof, well, let's just say, I could think of easier things to contemptuously laugh off.

[ 05. January 2017, 13:59: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Sipech
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Classic conspiracy theories use a number of techniques, but the one of relevance here is to take a number of verifiable facts which are not closely related to each other, and link them with a narrative of your own devising. If those facts involve the majority of the loose ends then so much the better - your narrative appears to have greater explanatory power than any common-sense narrative involving coincidence.

That is far from fully explaining things of course, but in terms of generating believable narratives it goes much of the way.

That's a good recipe. A good example from a few years ago was the rumour that the Archbishop of Canterbury was/is an MI6 agent.

The facts that were pieced together included:
  • That he went to Eton
  • That he had travelled abroad
  • That Lambeth Palace is walking distance from MI6 HQ


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DonLogan2
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I have done a bit of work on this topic.

I have 2, not too close, friends. One a christian, the other not, but both have theories that are closely linked. The christian believes in chemtrails, flat-earth, the second coming being very nigh, that americans will soon be rounded up and put to the guillotine, Pope is Satan, illuminati, the NIV being Satan`s very own favorite text, 9/11 yadda, yadda.

The other has over time come to believe in a slightly lesser illuminati which is generally English political parties, mainly the Tories, big businesses and is adding the Pope, Monsanto, Rothschild`s, big media (BBC in particular) and 9/11. There are others but the last one is interesting as we were both firefighters and were taught the same things about structural integrity of buildings, loss of strength of steel in fires.

What links them has been alluded to in posts above. We now live in an age where we can no longer point to a person or nation and say "They`re the baddies!" The Keiser/Hitler/Pol pot/Napolean/Damn Frenchies/Chinese/anyone who is not us... they are not seen anymore (broad generalisation alert). So for all the things they cannot control in their lives, they need to regain control of, and they discard Occam`s razor for a myriad of rabbit holes, which allows them to become, in their eyes, empowered.

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“I have of late, but wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth... "

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Stetson
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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Classic conspiracy theories use a number of techniques, but the one of relevance here is to take a number of verifiable facts which are not closely related to each other, and link them with a narrative of your own devising. If those facts involve the majority of the loose ends then so much the better - your narrative appears to have greater explanatory power than any common-sense narrative involving coincidence.

That is far from fully explaining things of course, but in terms of generating believable narratives it goes much of the way.

That's a good recipe. A good example from a few years ago was the rumour that the Archbishop of Canterbury was/is an MI6 agent.

The facts that were pieced together included:
  • That he went to Eton
  • That he had travelled abroad
  • That Lambeth Palace is walking distance from MI6 HQ

Well, accroding to the Guardian, he also smuggled Bibles into the Eastern Bloc, had meetings with the Provisional Government in Baghdad, was photographed in the same city standing near the head of MI6 and once had a contract(admittedly paltry by western standards) placed on his head in Nigeria.

I don't know whether the guy is a spy or not. But it certainly wouldn't be implausible to suggest that a man in his position, and with his particular history, would, at the very least, be on professionally familar terms with intelligence agents moreso than the average person.

[ 05. January 2017, 14:55: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Brenda Clough
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quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
I have done a bit of work on this topic.

I have 2, not too close, friends. One a christian, the other not, but both have theories that are closely linked. The christian believes in chemtrails, flat-earth, the second coming being very nigh, that americans will soon be rounded up and put to the guillotine, Pope is Satan, illuminati, the NIV being Satan`s very own favorite text, 9/11 yadda, yadda.

Wait a minute. I was totally with you, until Americans go to the guillotine. Can you really believe that decent redblooded Americans would execute each other with a surrender-monkey effete device like the guillotine? What on earth do you think we have a plethora of assault rifles for? The NRA is going to have a word with you, pal.

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Pangolin Guerre
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This thread has brought to mind a phrase from Michel Foucault to explain unlikely constellations of events that produce a grand result: "A conspiracy without conspirators." Perhaps conspiracy theories are the attempt to provide the otherwise missing characters in a more complex drama.

Or, as Doctor Who said (approximately): "I love humans.... Always looking for patterns." I remember hearing one psychologist on CBC R1 explaining paranoia as an exaggerated extension of our naturally evolved psychology. Looking for patterns contributed to our evolutionary success, and paranoia is that, to the nth.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by Pangolin Guerre:
This thread has brought to mind a phrase from Michel Foucault to explain unlikely constellations of events that produce a grand result: "A conspiracy without conspirators." Perhaps conspiracy theories are the attempt to provide the otherwise missing characters in a more complex drama.

Or, as Doctor Who said (approximately): "I love humans.... Always looking for patterns." I remember hearing one psychologist on CBC R1 explaining paranoia as an exaggerated extension of our naturally evolved psychology. Looking for patterns contributed to our evolutionary success, and paranoia is that, to the nth.

Yes, I think pattern recognition is at the root of it, and providing an exciting, spine-tingling "explanation" is what the successful conspiracy theorist does.

But in terms of the avid conspiracy believer, rather than the yarn-spinner, there have to be a number of predispositions present to make for a successful belief, and its useful to know what they are if you plan to generate one. These are things we all suffer from to a degree.

At the top of the list is confirmation bias. Rather than approach things with an open mind, we tend to go looking for evidence that supports our hunches.

Incidentally, you earlier wrote that conspiracy theories flourish in conditions where truth is suppressed. I'm sure that can happen, but at present, a lot of them seem to flourish for rather the opposite reason - that there is now such a plethora of data on almost anything.

There are other biases too

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Anglo-Cthulhic

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Pangolin Guerre
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Incidentally, you earlier wrote that conspiracy theories flourish in conditions where truth is suppressed. I'm sure that can happen, but at present, a lot of them seem to flourish for rather the opposite reason - that there is now such a plethora of data on almost anything.

Actually, I was referring to an essay (not mine), in regard to suppressing the truth, and noted that I thought that the explanation, while having a certain intuitive appeal, had less purchase in more open societies, leaving 9/11 conspiracy theories unexplained by that model. I'd agree that it might be explained *in part* by its opposite, i.e., surfeit of information, but with sketchy context. In a rock/paper/scissors (lizard/Spock), data swamps information, information drowns knowledge, knowledge dances on wisdom's grave. (Not certain what wisdom does.... Goes to the cottage?)

[ 06. January 2017, 01:42: Message edited by: Pangolin Guerre ]

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Stetson
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(Stop reading now if you don't want to see a humourless, literalization of a joke)

quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
quote:
Originally posted by DonLogan2:
I have done a bit of work on this topic.

I have 2, not too close, friends. One a christian, the other not, but both have theories that are closely linked. The christian believes in chemtrails, flat-earth, the second coming being very nigh, that americans will soon be rounded up and put to the guillotine, Pope is Satan, illuminati, the NIV being Satan`s very own favorite text, 9/11 yadda, yadda.

Wait a minute. I was totally with you, until Americans go to the guillotine. Can you really believe that decent redblooded Americans would execute each other with a surrender-monkey effete device like the guillotine? What on earth do you think we have a plethora of assault rifles for? The NRA is going to have a word with you, pal.
I realize you're being faecitious, but, just for the record, I think the image of Christians getting guillotined by the forces of Antichrist has a relatively long pedigree, going at least back to the End-Times films of the mid-1970s. Here's just one example, from the always reliable Jack Chick.

I'd speculate that it is, in fact, the very Un-Americanness of guilottining that made them such a standby in End Times hagiography. Probably didn't hur that they were originally associated with the godless anti-clerics who had seized power during the French Revolution.

[ 06. January 2017, 05:17: Message edited by: Stetson ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Classic conspiracy theories use a number of techniques, but the one of relevance here is to take a number of verifiable facts which are not closely related to each other, and link them with a narrative of your own devising. If those facts involve the majority of the loose ends then so much the better - your narrative appears to have greater explanatory power than any common-sense narrative involving coincidence.

In fact the media quite often do that when they report some apparent statistical correlation; they fail to realise that the correlation does not need to mean "cause and effect" and could in fact be sheer coincidence. It was interesting to see on the BBC News yesterday a piece about the higher levels of dementia that are suffered by people who live near main roads - and the reporter stressing that we do not know why this should be the case and dismissing any easy causal relationship.

(I have often thought, for example, that one might be able to correlate bus usage with lung cancer. That's not because buses give you cancer but because they tend to be used by people from poorer socio-economic groups which demonstrate higher levels of smoking).

[ 06. January 2017, 07:24: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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