Conspiracy Carnival

Jeri Massi has a pair of posts up at Blog on the Way about the relationship between conspiracism and Christian Fundamentalism: Christian Fundamentalism’s Easy Compatibility with Conspiracy Theories and Conspiracy Theory Addiction and Christian Fundamentalism:

Conspiracy theories are all about unseen forces stealing the power (or security or money or health–but essentially power) of innocent people. [...] And that’s because conspiracy theories are launched and spread by people who themselves lack power and view themselves as powerless. To be more accurate, conspiracy theories are launched and spread by people who need an excuse for their powerlessness.

Muertos has a worthwhile post about the relationship between conspiracism and academia, Herding Cats: How And Why Conspiracy Theorists Are Wrong About Experts and Academicians :

If a conspiracy theorist or other fringe believer, who is typically not an academician him or herself, has been convinced of something nutty—that 9/11 was an inside job, that Christianity is a false construct, that aliens visited the earth in ancient times, that global warming is a hoax, that colloidal silver cures cancer, etc.—it is difficult to understand why experts in various fields aren’t convinced by the same “evidence.” Usually the answer in the conspiracy theorist’s mind comes down to a dismissal of the value, independence, or honesty of experts and academicians: “They are all part of the Establishment. The truth I believe in fundamentally challenges the Establishment. Therefore, they’re either unable to recognize that it’s true, or afraid to endorse it.”

Muertos mentions the particularly conspiratorial brand of Jesus Mythicism advocated by the author known as “Acharya S.” Over at Ari’s Blog of Awesome, Ari finds some serious mistakes in Acharya’s arguments in a post titled Conspiracy as History?

Muertos also has a post entitled Adventures in Conspiracy-Land: the “Zeitgeist Movement.”, which pans the online movie Zeitgeist and its creator, Peter Merola. Thomas Verenna agrees, dismissing the mythicist arguments in Zeitgeist, James McGrath is Right: Why Creationists and ‘Zeitgeist Mythicists’ are Comparable.

Finally, Ebony Utley at Religion Dispatches writes about the current accusations of occult conspiracy in the Hip Hop Nation, Why All the Silly Devil Talk Should be Taken Seriously:

MC Hammer recently released a video “Better Run Run” where he insinuates that Jay-Z worships the devil.

But this is more than just regular rap beef, one artist’s put-down of another. If you know where to look, the internet is awash in conspiracy theories about pop culture icons (Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Britney Spears…) and their affiliations with evil.

  • mikespeir

    If you think all these conspiracy theories aren’t interrelated, think again. They’re all part of a vast conspiracy to distract us from the fact that Satan has conspired to distract us from the Truth of the Gospel.

    Or something like that.

    • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

      WIN!

  • Michael

    I have noticed that with a few notable exceptions (911 conspiracism being one of them), it is very rare to find somebody holding just one of these beliefs, or even just two or three. It seems like either you’re pretty straight, or you believe every random shitty idea the internet comes up with.

    • trj

      Actually, in my experience, every 9/11 conspiracy believer subscribes to a host of other conspiracies, since 9/11 is simply seen as a small part of a much larger puzzle, involving NWO (New World Order), freemasons, Bilderbergs, Karl Rove, Bank of England, the media, and virtually every national political leader. Etc ad infinitum.

      NWO is arguably the common denominator that binds lots of crazy theories. In that regard, the only thing that really separates 9/11 truthers from apocalyptic Christian fundies is that the former usually don’t believe Satan is behind NWO.

      • Michael

        In my experience 911 is definitely an exception, not because conspiracy nuts aren’t all over it, but because I have met many otherwise reasonable people who believe in 911 conspiracies but not, apparently, any others. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but that’s what they believe nevertheless.

        I have seen this to some extent with other things (maybe the JFK assassination, for example), but probably 911 more than any other.

        • Custador

          I think the 9/11 conpiracy theorists do at least present questions which need to be answered and which thus far have not been. For example: Why are the only two high-rise buildings in history to have collapsed due to fire WTC 1 and WTC 2, even though they were designed to withstand being gutted by fire (and, incidentally, multiple impacts from large aircraft)? How does the official explanation of burning aviation fuel melting the structural steel account for the fact that burning aviation fuel wouldn’t get within a thousand degrees of hot enough to do that? Why did WTC 7 (home of a large part of the gold reserve and also CIA / NSA offices) collapse several hours later despite having suffered no fire and no impact damage?

          I’m not saying that an evil Republican cabal engineered it to provide an excuse to start a war over oil (mind you, I’m also not saying that they didn’t), but I think we have to look at some possibilities that have not been examined properly – For example, were corners cut in construction as far as materials went? I’d say I’m open minded on the WTC but I will say that the official enquiry ignored to many hard questions to be credible.

          Incidentally, in case anybody seriously believes that no US government would ever engineer an excuse for war that involved an attack on themselves, I strongly suggest that you look up the background to the Pearl Harbour attacks insofar as US-Japan relations went, as well as the trigger events for the Vietnam War.

          • Michael

            I think the 9/11 conpiracy theorists do at least present questions which need to be answered and which thus far have not been.

            To me, yes they have, but the biggest questions have more to do with how these terrorists coordinated without our knowledge and, on that note, how much we did know about these plots before the attack happened. Most importantly, given the knowledge we did have (which of course was not enough to predict the attack or anything, but nevertheless is worth mentioning), is there anything we can do in the future to prevent similar situations.

            For example: Why are the only two high-rise buildings in history to have collapsed due to fire WTC 1 and WTC 2,

            I don’t think they were. Regardless, there have never been comparable fires in skyscrapers before.

            How does the official explanation of burning aviation fuel melting the structural steel account for the fact that burning aviation fuel wouldn’t get within a thousand degrees of hot enough to do that?

            That’s not the official explanation. The building itself caught fire, and the steel did not actually melt, so neither of those numbers are relevant.

            And so on. I’m not really in a position right now to dissect your post, but all these questions have come up before time and time again. It is not difficult to find answers online.

            Incidentally, in case anybody seriously believes that no US government would ever engineer an excuse for war that involved an attack on themselves, I strongly suggest that you look up the background to the Pearl Harbour attacks insofar as US-Japan relations went, as well as the trigger events for the Vietnam War.

            I have no idea what you’re talking about with respect to Pearl Harbor. I suppose you could call it an “excuse” to enter the war if you ignore the fact that it was a surprise bombing by the Japanese on an American harbor that destroyed several ships. Seriously wtf?

            As for Vietnam, there was no attack on the U.S., so . . .

            A much better example would have been Operation Northwoods

            • Custador

              Notable fires in skyscrapers (thank you Wiki):

              * Empire State Building: 1945 (plane crash)
              * 40 Wall Street: 1946 (plane crash)
              * Winecoff Hotel: 1946
              * 1 New York Plaza: 1970
              * Andraus Building: 1972
              * Joelma Building: 1974
              * World Trade Center: 1975
              * Old MGM Grand: 1980
              * Northwestern National Bank Building: 1982
              * Dupont Plaza Hotel: 1986
              * First Interstate Tower: 1988
              * One Meridian Plaza: 1991
              * Garley building: 1996
              * Immigration Tower: 2000
              * Ostankino Tower: 2000
              * Pirelli Tower: 2002 (plane crash)
              * Parque Central East Tower: 2004
              * Windsor Tower: 2005
              * Belaire Apartments: 2006 (plane crash)
              * Shanghai World Financial Center: 2007
              * Deutsche Bank Building: 2007
              * Abraj Al Bait Towers: 2008
              * Beijing Television Cultural Center: 2009
              * Abraj Al Bait Towers: 2009
              * Bashundhara City Tower: 2009
              * Shanghai Teachers Apartments: 2010

              Have a really impressive picture. Actually, have a bunch more.

              AS far as the structural steel issue goes, I tend to agree with Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who say that there is no way that fire could have brought down two fire-proof steel-frame buildings, and that there is no reason whatsoever that WTC 7 should have fallen. Here are the thoughts of one of the men who designed the WTC – he was killed on 9/11, a few months after this interview. Evil, evil irony.

              The Pearl Harbour thing: The USA pretty much put Japan into a position where they had no option but to go to war with the USA if they wanted to avoid complete economic and social disaster in their own country. Really, read the political background of it. I’m not saying that the US expected Pearl Harbour, but they knew that Japan was going to start a fight sooner or later, because (like I said), they gave them no choice.

            • WarbVIII

              The two or three major incedents in say the last 120 years or so that were actively created,and also led to war,shall we say would be the sinking of the Maine,and the gulf of Tonkin incedent…and perhaps with a slight strech the first Gulf War…although I think that the gulf war I belongs…there is a touch more wiggle room…
              Where 9/11 and Pearl harbor fall is way outside of these obvious machinations(there is no thinking person of course who should believe at all there was any justification for Gulf war II which much like the Mexican Amercan war was a war of choice).

              Pearl Harbor first, our ships,planes and defenses were old and we thought we had more time,yes we forced Japans hand so to speak by cutting off trade of war material such as oil,coal and steel they were allied with Germany already,and were expanding. If we had NOT forced their hand by cutting off trade things would have been much worse in the Pacific theatre when the time came as it would have when they attempted to drive us out of all islands in the Pacific. One of the major problems throughout the time after Wilson and WWI for the US as far as forgien relations went was the huge isolationist sentiment within our borders…and hopes,as well as promises, that never again would we be involved in another ‘european’ war. Remember the treaty of versailles was never ratified in the US,nor did we join Wilsons league of nations in a timely fashion. While this was going on we drastically cut our military expenditures, I think about half of the then current military(specifically the army) never trained with actual weapons they used wooden stand ins as oppossed to rifles in basic training. We didn’t field actual tanks until the mid 30′s or later and those were underpowerd,under armored,as well as poorly armed with most carrying machine guns as opposed to big guns. We at the start of WWII still had biplanes on carriers,and no truly modern single wing fighters nor more than a handfull of mid-range bombers. Thus although we could see it coming,we didn’t know when it would happen nor how devestating Pearl Harbor would be…and it’s likely that when it happened we couldn’t have stopped it with what was on hand in Hawaii anyway. This was the battle that started the shift from battleships to carriers as the major ships in a fleet,a trend that was noticed but fought tooth and nail by the navy until December 7th…we only had if I am not mistaken 8 carriers in our entire fleet Pacific and Atlantic combined, and not all of those were originally built as carriers.

              Now as far as 9/11 goes I could see it argued,convincingly even, that it was allowed to happen perhaps. That it was done on purpose as part of a conspiracy within the gov. not so much. Bush and company did ignore or respond poorly to the threat of terrorism,yes very much so,did they aid and abbett it I would say no. On the day of the attacks what bothered me most was that we had fighters in the air and didn’t shoot the planes down as much or more than what happened leading up to the strikes. It was know at least 2-4 hours prior to the first impact that the flights had been highjacked…and that they didn’t seem to being going any place to land nor were there any demands given by the highjackers…nor any? contact radio wise with any of the 4 planes. They all should have been shot down in the air before they were over populated areas…or at least cities proper. I suppose I can see the first one not getting shot down in NYC….but the second? How about the one in D.C. it was in no fly zones where civilian aircraft are routinely forced to the ground..and have beeen shot down in the past when they have not complied(could be wrong on this but I don’t think so), so there was no excuse for it hitting the pentagon…nor is there any excuse as an aside for that building having no antiaircraft guns or missles. I would even say there was no excuse for any of the flights to have been hijacked with boxcutters nor for the passengers on 3 of 4 flights to accept the situation. In any event Bush wanted a war with Iraq as early as 1999…as did his inner circle and Cheney,none of whom ever forgave Bush sr for not taking out Saddam in his war…so yeah maybe they allowed it to get what they wanted,and I would think they manipulated and took advantage of the situation once it was happening. Created it no unless you mean through ignoring the warning signs and not acting in a manner to stop or prevent what happened from happening…if that yes I agree the rest in the end is like denying the moon landings as far as the 9/11 conspiracy theories go.

            • Michael

              But Custador, as I said, there have never been comparable fires in skyscrapers to what we had on 911. A B-52 crashing into the Empire State Building is practically negligible compared to a 767 crashing into each of the WTC towers.

              You said the towers were designed to withstand plane crashes. This is not the case. However, it is true that one simulation conducted in the ’90s concluded a 707 crash into one tower would not lead to collapse. We will never know if that study was right, because a 767 is 20% larger than a 707, but in any case, I wouldn’t put much faith in a study that was performed when modern computational techniques were first developing. As for the video you linked to, it reminds me more of the Titanic than anything else. And frankly, his description of the damage a plane crash would do to the buildings did not match the actual damage sustained during the crash at all, if footage is to be trusted. There were gaping holes in the sides of the buildings with fires spreading through multiple floors. It was not a pencil puncturing a mosquito netting.

              Also, I looked up the “official explanation,” and indeed it is not that the steel melted, but rather that it heated to perhaps 1000 C, enough to reduce the steel to 10% of its strength.

              As for Pearl Harbor, I think I’ll leave that to WarbVIII, but given the damage we sustained, the idea that we knew it was coming seems ludicrous at least at first glance, and regardless I don’t think it’s a fair comparison to 9/11 at all.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Careful, Custador. You might now be labeled as a conspiracy theorist.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Oh, wait. You’re in England, though. You’re probably freer to speculate about 911 than we are over here.

            • Len

              From what I remember of the open questions (that Custy hasn’t already mentioned):

              The planes struck the WTC towers in different ways: full on one side and on the corner (he almost missed). But the towers collapsed in the same manner – despite the second plane spilling an awful lot of its fuel outside the tower (big, Hollywood-like effect). And the second tower (with less fuel inside the tower to burn) fell first. I find it hard to believe that the building itself (as Michael mentions) could burn anywhere near hot enough. It should have been pretty much fire-proof, except for some of the furnishings, etc (chairs, couches, papers). Not enough to burn hot and sustained, long enough to soften steel.

              The aluminium body of the plane that struck the Pentagon managed to burn up completely. But this happened without damaging the passengers’ DNA, so that officials could tell (by DNA testing) who had died. Even though it requires much higher temperatures to burn up aluminium than are needed to completely obliterate DNA.

              The Pentagon plane also didn’t harm the lawn that it bounced off before hitting the building (from the earliest pictures published of the crash site). But that lawn was very soon after completely covered by concrete (or tarmac or whatever – I don’t remember). The original hole in the Pentagon wall was way too small for the plane to have entered (from the first pictures). It was only after the top of the hole fell in that it approached the size of a real plane.

              The flight that never made it crashed into the ground. But (from the earliest pictures) the crash site looked very different to any other crash sites. It was just a neat furrow in the ground, with no significant bits of plane or luggage (or passengers) strewn all around.

            • Michael

              The planes struck the WTC towers in different ways: full on one side and on the corner (he almost missed). But the towers collapsed in the same manner – despite the second plane spilling an awful lot of its fuel outside the tower (big, Hollywood-like effect). And the second tower (with less fuel inside the tower to burn) fell first.

              I have really no idea how this should affect them falling personally, but I would just like to mention that you can’t really come to conclusions here without doing serious research and simulations. In both cases the buildings stood a while until (enough of) the steel frame softened enough that it could no longer support the weight and it bent and broke. Exactly when this occurs depends on lots of factors that you can’t see, so you can’t just eyeball the crashes and determine which tower should fall first.

              I find it hard to believe that the building itself (as Michael mentions) could burn anywhere near hot enough. It should have been pretty much fire-proof, except for some of the furnishings, etc (chairs, couches, papers). Not enough to burn hot and sustained, long enough to soften steel.

              Well chairs, couches, and papers burn extremely hot, as does jet fuel. In fact, they burn so hot that they should theoretically be able to soften steel to a small percentage of its strength at room temperature (like 10%). Crucially, when the planes crashed, they stripped much of the insulation off the steel, so this isn’t implausible at all.

              The aluminium body of the plane that struck the Pentagon managed to burn up completely. But this happened without damaging the passengers’ DNA, so that officials could tell (by DNA testing) who had died. Even though it requires much higher temperatures to burn up aluminium than are needed to completely obliterate DNA.

              That just isn’t true. Large chunks of the wings and fuselage were strewn about the crash site. It did not in any sense “burn up completely.” It is also obvious but needs to be stated that the DNA was not “undamaged.” That they were able to retrieve samples from the charred bodies is not remarkable, because people don’t generally completely incinerate.

              The Pentagon plane also didn’t harm the lawn that it bounced off before hitting the building (from the earliest pictures published of the crash site). But that lawn was very soon after completely covered by concrete (or tarmac or whatever – I don’t remember). The original hole in the Pentagon wall was way too small for the plane to have entered (from the first pictures). It was only after the top of the hole fell in that it approached the size of a real plane.

              If you look at the pictures, you will notice that the wings of the plane broke off during the crash, and only the fuselage went through the wall of the Pentagon. As for the law being “unharmed,” I will need to see pictures of this.

              But honestly, what difference does it make? Are you contending that a plane did not crash into the Pentagon?

              The flight that never made it crashed into the ground. But (from the earliest pictures) the crash site looked very different to any other crash sites. It was just a neat furrow in the ground, with no significant bits of plane or luggage (or passengers) strewn all around.

              Yeah, because the plane crashed into the ground, not a building. It looked like a very typical crash site.

              Again, are you contending that the plane didn’t crash into the ground? What point are you trying to make here?

            • Len

              Michael, I’m not coming to a conclusion, I’m asking a question.

              For the Pentagon plane, the first pics of the crash site showed no significant pieces of plane (wings, tail). Bodies do burn up in when people are cremated. Would aluminium burn up completely in such an incinerator (I could look it up but it’s more fun to ask)?

              I’m not saying something didn’t hit the Pentagon, I’m just questioning what.

              Apart from the questions (which I’m asking seriously), it’s just fun to see the explanations people give :-)

            • Len

              Your last point – the first pics of the crash site were very clean – no significant bits strewn around.

            • Jabster

              @Len/Michael

              These little conversations just remind me why I have very little time for conspiracy theories in general (and before you ask Len, no I’m not advocating that you’re a conspiracy theory nut job!) The general conspiracy theory is not about providing evidence for what they are really proposing happened (it’s a secret government plot seems to be a favourite) but all about trying to find inconsistencies or facts that don’t seem quite right in the official account. Secondly when evidence that goes against the conspiracy theory you either seem to get the just ignore it or pretend the claim was never made and follow up with “what about X then?”. Lastly, and this is related to the first point, no consideration is given to the improbability of organising the “real” events a keeping them a secret afterwards. Can you imagine governments ensuring no leaks of credible information with so many people involved, over such a long time; for the moon landings none of the engineers ever blew the whistle to the fact that what they were developing just wouldn’t work, just how many people were working on that programme?

              In conclusion I find conspiracy theories much like I find creationists and evolution …

            • Francesc

              I’m with jabster.
              Len

              The aluminium body of the plane that struck the Pentagon managed to burn up completely. But this happened without damaging the passengers’ DNA

              I don’t know wich temperatures are needed, I assume that in a crematory temperatures are not only high, but they also last enough time. Moreover, small pieces of bones are probably remainding and it would be possible to extract some DNA from then. So I would have to llok for melting temperatures of aluminium, resistance of different structures of human bodies, DNA extraction techniques… and then put them alltogheter in an isightful way. You simply did a question and why should “I” do all the effort? What does “burn completely” mean? Did it evaporeted? Was it destroyed to little pieces? I can imagine the temperatures needed are pretty different. Ah, and you are forgetting the cinetic energy wich doesn’t affect equally the rigid estructure of the plane and the human corpses.

              Conspiracy theorists pinted out that there were no remains of the plane. Then some photos showed them. And…

              For the Pentagon plane, the first pics of the crash site showed no significant pieces of plane

              yeah of course, the first pics, when the best spies of the world haven’t had time to manipulate them… Why is it that all conspiracy theories are based on an absolut lack of any ability from powerfull people?

              Summarizing: I’m not going to be 3 hours looking for an answer for a question you did in 5 seconds. And then, it is going to be a new question based on simple assumptions and the appeal to ignorance fallacy

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Go back to sleep. There’s nothing happening here.

            • Michael

              Go back to sleep. There’s nothing happening here.

              There’s something happening here. What it is ain’t exactly clear.

              Michael, I’m not coming to a conclusion, I’m asking a question.

              But you appear to be asking pointless questions, like why the lawn seems to clean for your liking. Many of these are simply unanswerable and all of them are irrelevant to, well, anything.

              It’s a little like if, in the midst of a Creation-evolution debate, I asked the question, “Why is it that the first whales had a longer digestive tract?” How could anybody respond other than, “I don’t think they did, and even if they did, who cares?”

              For the Pentagon plane, the first pics of the crash site showed no significant pieces of plane (wings, tail).

              I don’t believe you. I have seen pictures of the crash site. I don’t know which ones you consider “first,” but I would have to see them to come to any conclusions. Isn’t it possible that they were simply poorly framed? Or that the first released were not the first taken?

              By the way, this is the type of debris I am talking about.

              Bodies do burn up in when people are cremated.

              Uh, yes, bodies burn when they are cremated. But a plane is not a crematorium. It takes hours to cremate a body at temperatures comparable to those of the fires of the plane crash.

              This took me three seconds of research on Wikipedia.

              Would aluminium burn up completely in such an incinerator (I could look it up but it’s more fun to ask)?

              >It’s more fun to have other people do the work for me
              Fixed that for you.

              What does it mean to “burn up completely?” When aluminum burns, it doesn’t burn “up,” it just burns into aluminum oxide. Perhaps you meant that it would totally vaporize? That would require temperatures over 2500 C, far hotter than the plane crash. However, nobody is claiming the aluminum boiled away. Rather it was burned, deformed, smashed, spread around, etc. The plane was basically shredded up. It was more like a disposal then a furnace.

              I’m not saying something didn’t hit the Pentagon, I’m just questioning what.

              Questioning what?

              And I definitely agree with Jabster. Often the conspiracy theory is assumed to be true if there are any perceived flaws with the official or standard explanation, even if that explanation could be modified to account for them. I don’t think that really applies to this conversation, though. Well maybe a little.

            • Michael

              I would also like to clarify on that last point that a plane clearly hit the pentagon. I mean, first you have hundreds of people who saw it. Then you have pictures of plane debris all over the place. Then you have the fact that a plane is certainly gone and all the passengers aboard it certainly died. It seems totally ridiculous to suggest this was all some elaborate cover-up.

            • Len

              @ Jabster: FYI, I’m not just a conspiracy theory nut job. I try to be an all inclusive nut job :-)

              Anyway, I’m not going to chase this any further (it was all from memory and not pursued for many years). I was only interested back then because, until my travel itinerary changed three days before, I was planned to be checking out of the Millennium Hotel on Tuesday morning at around 08:45.

            • Len

              OK, just this…

              @ Michael: that little bit of debris is not “plane debris all over the place”. Were more significant bits found? (By that I mean more significant in size and more bits in number.)

              OK, now I’m really moving on to newer posts :-)

            • Michael

              Len, I don’t know about debris on the ground because it has been like six years since I last debated this with anybody.

              I will happily accept your offer to stop debating.

  • nazani14

    From ‘Herding Cats” – “Murdock believes Christ never existed and that evil power-hungry political and religious leaders thought him up, cribbing from Egyptian sun myths, the life of Buddha and other sources. She gets there, as all pseudohistorians do, by cherry-picking sources and drawing very strained interpretations of ancient history and astronomy.”

    Ok, I don’t see any compelling evidence that Christ existed, and I do think that power-hungry leaders ( using the term leader veerry broadly) tweaked or rewrote key elements of his legend, cribbing (unconsciously or not) from older religions.
    I guess the difference is, my opinions didn’t arrive with any sort of revelatory vision, and I didn’t start out with those opinions and try to find facts to fit them. These are my default opinions, the only plausible ideas left after reading lots of actual history and archaeology. And, I’m willing to change my mind if somebody digs up a contradictory manuscript.

    • Konrad

      The only problem is that the Z movie hinges its idea on the similarity of the words ‘sun’ and ‘son’ in English.

      • Mike

        This IS a pretty big problem!

  • Mark the Pilgrim

    I was actually going to make a post on the forums about MC Hammer’s stupidity. I bought a copy of Hip Hop Weekly with MC Hammer on the front cover with the caption “I have proof Jay Z is a devil worshipper”. Suffice to say, the article contained no proof. Just the ramblings of a largely irrelevant sell-out rapper.

    But it’s hilarious how so many people that Lady Gaga, Kanye, Rihanna etc are all devil worshippers just because they wear black in their videos. Seriously. That’s a reason that’s been cited to me before.
    Superstition irks me.

    • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

      Kanye West is the Devil.

      *awkward silence*

      He hates George Bush.

      *awkward silence*

      He hates Taylor Swift.

      *awkward silence*

      He literally talks out of his a$$.

      *awkward silence*

      • CoffeeJedi

        He’s also a gay fish.

        • Len

          FTW for South Park reference.

  • Terradea

    The thing that a lot of people fail to recognize is that there ARE valid conspiracies. For example, the U.S. DID do medical experiments on African Americans, Bush & Co. DID conspire to start a “military exercise” against Iraq based on lies, etc. If a theory is labeled “Conspiracy Theory,” it does not automatically mean that theory is crazy (based on flawed reasoning or non-existent facts).

    • Elemenope

      This is true, but notably these true “conspiracies” are countenanced by evidence and are (due to their scope) poorly hidden, not hidden for long, or not hidden at all. What sets off the skeptic alarms is when there is no evidence and/or the conspiracy is vast *and* competent *and* still somehow very secret.

      • Len

        The fact that it stays secret is pretty much proof of its accuracy.

        • Michael

          Uh, in what sense?

          • Len

            Should have added /sarcasm :-)

        • Jabster

          Definitely … especially that it’s such as secret that random people know all about it, but they would say that wouldn’t they … :-)

      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        So, as it develops (thanx fellas) I’m really not talking about conspiracy theories, after all; since I have no theory of who is responsible or why. Nor is complete secrecy (of the kind that comes to mind when you think of the term “conspiracy”) essential to the phenomenon. Deception, the real key to defining “conspiracy theories can take unrecognized forms. Secrecy is only one of its many tools. What a relief! I thought I was going to be in a position of forever having to defend this denigrated term “conspiracy theory” when ever I decided to investigate something off-limits, or “nutty” as most here call it. Since I am concerned with neither conspiracy or theory, in the strictest sense, I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am, however, an anomaly speculator.

        • Jabster

          “I am, however, a bull shitter.”

          There I corrected that for you …

          • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

            As the song goes: Fuck you .

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              Is poor widdle nomad’s feelings hurt?

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Not yet. Try harder.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              There was no exclamation point behind that Fuck you .

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              It’s all part of the conspiracy against you.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Isn’t that what I just said? Gee whiz Skippy, pay attention.

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              Oh, I’m paying attention. In fact, we’re all paying close attention to you, nomad. Very close attention. Because you know too much.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Yeah. I understand. I respond according to how I am approached. If you’re gonna talk shit then I’m gonna talk shit.

            • Jabster

              “I respond according to how I am approached.”

              So let me get this straight, you have lots of hard evidence from your investigations into conspiracy theories – ooops sorry, I meant anomaly speculation – yet because people won’t take you seriously you refuse to present this evidence and instead just “talk shit.” Well it’s a different way to approaching the problem of being labelled a conspiracy theorist I must say. Personally I would have gone for presenting the evidence but what would I know as I’ve probably been trained by the government not to use such advanced bullshitting techniques.

              p.s. Where does just replying “Whatever dude” when you don’t have an answer fit into this tactic of yours and do you think this is related to how people approach you? (Hint: The answer’s is if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then I’m going to shoot it and put it in an orange sauce.)

            • Michael

              Jabster, you don’t need evidence to speculate about anomalies. You only need evidence to progress from speculation to actual theories. That’s what separates anomaly speculators from conspiracy theorists—conspiracy theorists actually search for evidence to come to a conclusion. Anomaly speculators attempt to remain in a state of perpetual uncertainty by forever hiding from evidence.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Yep. You guys are really sharp.

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              But nomad, you were talking shit before anyone else was talking shit. And, as Michael pointed out, you keep playing silly word games as some sort of dodge. In the absence of anything remotely resembling logic on your part, I’ve merely decided to mock you.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Mock me if you like. It’s no big deal. It’s when people start cursing at me that we have a problem. That’s what I mean by talking shit. So now you know the surefire button to push.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              “Where does just replying “Whatever dude” when you don’t have an answer ”

              lol

            • Jabster

              “Yep. You guys are really sharp.”

              So yet again you can’t add anything can you nomad so I repeat the question again to see if you’re capable of replying …

              p.s. Where does just replying “Whatever dude” when you don’t have an answer fit into this tactic of yours and do you think this is related to how people approach you? (Hint: The answer’s is if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck then I’m going to shoot it and put it in an orange sauce.)

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              I was going to say ‘Whatever, dude.’ But I didn’t want to repeat myself.

              I can keep this up as long as you.

            • Len

              Wow. I thought I was screwed up.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              I know! Aren’t these guys something?

            • Len

              @ Nomad: Actually, I meant you :-)

            • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

              Len’s part of the anomalous conspiracy too, nomad! Run! Oh, and don’t use any telephones. They’re bugged.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              ” Nomad: Actually, I meant you”

              Me? Noooo… :-7

            • Sunny Day

              (turns on the hose)

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              aaaahhhhhh…. :-)

            • Michael

              Nomad? Moar liek Umad, amirite?

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              See my response above.

    • http://blogs.geniocity.com/eby/ MahouSniper

      Obviously conspiracies exist. Anyone who doubts this only needs to Google Project MKULTRA (and resist the urge to listen to the Muse song on repeat) to learn all about scary government cover-ups. However, the key word here is “theory.” This is the kind of theory creationists often use. The historical theory as compared to the scientific theory.

      Exposed plots such as MKULTRA or past conspiracies like the assassination of Franz Ferdinand are no longer conspiracy THEORIES. They’re now known facts. The derogatory nature of the phrase derives from the fact that it suggests that it’s nothing more than a guess not supported by any substantial evidence.

      tl;dr: People have no problem with conspiracies. It’s the theory part at the end that makes the phrase negative.

      • Michael

        . . . past conspiracies like the assassination of Franz Ferdinand are no longer conspiracy THEORIES. They’re now known facts.

        In this case you are wrong; It is still unknown who assassinated Archduke Ferdinand. Although most believe it was a Serbian military intelligence operation, the Black Hand cannot be ruled out.

  • http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com Mike Caton

    The idea of having a museum of conspiracy theories and denialisms (supernatural and otherwise) or at least a wiki, seems to have been going around recently.

    http://luckyatheist.blogspot.com/2010/11/we-atheists-should-start-our-own.html

    http://conversationalatheist.com/2010/11/the-department-for-the-study-of-wishful-thinking/

    It would be great: have all these ridiculous ideas side to side, and *welcome contributions from their supporters.* The entries would be the best fully sincere “arguments” in support of each, lined up side by side. Of course the proponents of each theory would be angry to be associated with the other nuts, but this is a complaint you hear from mentally ill people in institutions all the time.

    • wazza

      rationalwiki do a lot of that sort of thing. New editors always appreciated.

  • Pingback: Ari’s Blog: Conspiracy as History? More on Zeitgeist and Murdock « The Musings of Thomas Verenna

  • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

    Oh, goody. A discussion of conspiracy theories!

    What is truly amazing is how the label of “conspiracy theory” has managed to marginalize a substantial portion of independent speculation. The most fundamental step in controlling the public is to limit their willingness to think about certain subjects.

    • Elemenope

      Check out my response to Terradea above. I agree that the label can be used to shut down or marginalize inquiry, but just as often it is used to promote or bolster a view un-testified by any evidence or rigorous inquiry. Which are which is the job of any observer of such a claim to determine.

      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        ” when there is no evidence “.
        Agreed. But what about when there is evidence? The question to be asked before dismissal of *any* conspiracy theory is what would constitute evidence. For some Christians -I mean, skeptics-, no amount of evidence would suffice.

        • CoffeeJedi

          But it has to be GOOD evidence. Not just personal anecdotes, and not long convoluted grape-vine conversations that wind up in memoirs.
          It also has to make predictions. You need to be able to say “if this is a conspiracy, then based on the evidence we should find a document like X with person Y’s name attached”, and then actually find it.

          • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

            Would eye-witness testimony of trained observers qualify?

            • CoffeeJedi

              Are you talking about pilots and UFO’s?

            • http://lydiafromtexas.wordpress.com/ LRA

              Eye-witness testimony is notoriously bad.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Now should we apply that same standard to other areas? If expert eye witness testimony cannot be considered adequate evidence then almost all writings about historical events, let alone current events, are invalid. Therefore I suggest – expert witness is valid evidence. To wit:
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlkV1ybBnHI&feature=player_embedded

            • Elemenope

              Eye-witness testimony alone is generally insufficient to place a large degree of credence in a porposition. Intersubjectivity improves this somewhat; if *several* people (who have not otherwise communicated) that witness the same event have reports that bear similarities, we can be confident in the parts in which their reports are similar. hence, we don’t have to discard quite as much as you claim we would, since many historical events are attested to by multiple parties. Our confidence goes down the fewer witnesses there are, which is why historians will upfront tell you that their level of conviction about the truth of ancient historical events is much less than similar events that have occurred more recently, because many records of reports did not survive from those periods. Those conclusions they do feel confident in are buttressed by physical archaeological evidence.

            • Michael

              Nomad, that video didn’t present a shred of evidence that the observed object was a spaceship. You can’t go around calling everything you can’t explain “aliens.” The truth, it seems, is that we don’t know what it was because nobody else saw it.

              The problem is that events like this are surrounded by clear hoaxes and misinformation. Check out this site for some good examples.

              For what it’s worth, NASA’s position is that the object was indeed the SIVB, since that’s what it looked like and how it moved.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              You’re obsessed with aliens and spaceships, aren’t you, Michael? Or with putting words in people’s mouths.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              “Eye-witness testimony alone is generally insufficient to place a large degree of credence in a porposition. ”

              I’ll take that as a qualified yes.

            • Michael

              I am sick of your bullshit, Nomad. Say what you are going to say or stop dancing around the goddamn topic. You linked to a video including an interview with Buzz Aldrin saying he had seen what he believed to be aliens, and aliens were clearly the focus of the video and mentioned throughout it, and you posted it as an example of testimony you believed was strong evidence. What other conclusion could I possibly draw?

              It is not a valid debate tactic to act like you are neutral when you are not. When you make a claim you should defend it or you should not make it at all.

            • Custador
            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Thanks. Duly filed.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              The video was posted as an example of expert eyewitness testimony. My point is if eyewitness testimony is valid in other areas, such as history and current events, its valid in the case of anomalies as well, be they UFOs or any of the other off-limits areas of investigation. Now if you want to start cursing we can’t get personal.

            • Michael

              That would be fine if you didn’t attempt to play semantical word games every single time I posted. It’s like you want to pretend to debate while never actually taking a stand on anything, or you want to protect your ideas from criticism by not stating them plainly, or you want to act like people are conceding a point when they ignore it but then act like it wasn’t even made when they don’t.

              In this case, you specifically put forward that video as an example of how eyewitness testimony was valid. I put forward reasons why it was not valid. If you didn’t support the conclusions of the testimony, you shouldn’t have used it as an example.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Whatever, dude.

            • Sunny Day

              Pw0ned.

            • Mike

              Old Russian saying – “He lies like an eye-witness”

        • Elemenope

          Well, generally, in order to be regarded as evidence of something, a piece of information needs to make it more likely that a particular explanation is true (when taken with all other information known about the subject) than any plausible alternative explanation prior to the receipt of the information, *especially* more parsimonious explanations.

          Things that are often called evidence by conspiracy buffs in service of a conspiracy theory rarely (in my experience) meet that definition, and in point of fact often misuse the concept in a similar way that religious people tend to when they speak of particular information being evidence for their particular brand of belief.

          • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

            “prior to the receipt of the information”?
            Who does this?

            • Elemenope

              What do you mean? Lots of people do this all the time. Say something happens and it isn’t immediately obvious how or why. There are several *possible* explanations that follow from the information gleaned from witnessing the event (i.e. if you see a plane crash into a building, it is likely that if the building subsequently falls over it has something to do with the plane hitting it), but that information is not dispositive; it is not sufficient to provide an explanation that eliminates other possibilities (what if there were thermite charges in the building that were ignited, and that’s why the building fell?; what if there were structural damage from a prior attack that caused the collapse?) So you look for other information; the testimony of experts, forensics, etc.. Such information is *evidence* if it is properly attested (i.e. it is what it is claimed to be), and advances one of the explanations over its competitors.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              I hadn’t noticed that so much. Coming to conclusion before examining evidence. Most of the conspiracy theories I have examined begin with some inadequately explained phenomenon. They usually go on to examine the evidence. You can debate whether they draw rational conclusions from their investigations. That’s usually where the problem lies. But I have yet to read of a so called conspiracy theorist who hasn’t examined the evidence. It’s the “new” skeptics that haven’t examined the evidence; and likely won’t.

            • Francesc

              You mean that I should learn architecture and enginery to be confident enough that the 911 conspiracy is an illusion? And then I should study history and hebrew to debunk Zeitgeist crazyness. After that I should study medicine to be sure that homeopathy is a bad joke, and there is not an academicist conspiracy against it. I could learn biology and genetics toi prove that our ADN matches reasonably that of other living animals in the earth, so it is improbable that we were created by aliens.

              Sorry, I don’t have the time, and I don’t want to waste my life debunking one after another stupid theory, and even if I did, their followers are not going to believe me because “I am” a part of the establishment. I have to filter beforehand at least wich conspiracy theories sound plausible and wich are simply impossible.

              And by the way, every old (and sane) enough conspiracy theory has been examined by “new” skeptics and answered.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              “You mean that I should learn architecture and enginery to be confident enough that the 911 conspiracy is an illusion?…”

              I assume this is a rhetorical question, since it is an absurd inference to make.

            • Francesc

              Well, if I don’t examine the proofs myself then I have to trust someone who did. But of course, they might be part of the conspiracy also. That’s the usual definition of “conspiracy theories” as we understand them. Point is, I think I should trust the architect if wathever he says sounds reasonable, altought I’m not an expert and it’s not absolutely impossible that it were an inside job.
              That is valid for 9/11, climate change or evolution, the only difference being that I can understand the later two but I don’t know anything about skycrapper’s structures.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              ‘ the usual definition of “conspiracy theories” as we understand them’

              That’s the problem in a nutshell.

            • Francesc

              Yeah, it’s a conspiracy against conspiracy theorists, I cannot lie anymore
              (by the way, I find “conspiranoic” to be a better word for the extreme subjects)

              Note: I don’t think this conversation is going as it should. We share some concern -am I wrong?- about how to distinguish between a real conspiracy and a conspiracy in the imagination of someone. In fact, the best way for a conspiracy to be undetected may be that it were totally crazy. Of course then (probably) it wouldn’t be useful.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Is this sarcasm?

            • Francesc

              The first part was sarcasm (unless you want that we both start a real conspiracy, I’m open to that idea)
              The note was serious.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Well, I think we do share some concerns about what are real and what are imaginary. I haven’t really gotten to that point yet. I’m still in the speculation phase. And what I notice is an ambient media, popular dissuasion from examine certain issues; whether through demonizing or belittlement. I think its called “soft control”. I’m somewhat of a contrarian. The issues this culture tries to dissuade me from examining, through stigmatization are the ones I’m going to pay serious attention to.
              “the best way for a conspiracy to be undetected may be that it were totally crazy.”
              Nope. That’s the best way to keep it hidden.

            • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

              oops. forget that last part. It should go yeah “the best way for a conspiracy to be undetected may be that it were totally crazy.”

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              And of course it can also happen right out in the open if you can train people to pay no attention.

            • Jabster

              @nomad

              So basically you’re saying “they” keep it undetected by the idea being totally crazy or training people not to believe something … or in other words I have no evidence so I’ll just say wishy-washy things that I don’t have to back up but I’m still the one who really knows what’s going on but yet again I have no evidence for that. Oh and if you ask me for evidence I won’t provide it on the grounds that I don’t have any and even if I did, they would say that wouldn’t they, just to discredit me, so I’ll just post glib statements instead as I’m the only one who really knows what’s going on – did I say that already?

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Yep. That’s what I’m saying a’right.

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              Here’s a useful term.

              “FALSE-ISM”
              Like a truism, except false!

            • Jabster

              @nomad

              So yet again you have absolutely nothing to say so you just say something in the hope that the subject will have changed. Well done, well done indeed for being so full of crap. I’m honestly surprised that a single person can contain so much of it yet be so smug at the same time. How do you do it?

            • http://nomad-spacebook.blogspot.com/ nomad

              If I thought you were interested in engaging in a serious conversation, I would oblige. But look at your approach. Why would I respond seriously to something like that? By the way, reductio ad absurd-um doesn’t count if you make up the absurdities and substitute them for the original argument. If you want, Mr. Nothingtosay is just getting started.

    • Michael

      I try not to group all popular nutjob paranoid delusions under the banner “conspiracy theories,” but I end up doing it anyway. I mean, I know that there have been many real major world events conducted by (sometimes secret) conspiracies, including assassinations, government cover-ups, terrorist attacks, etc., and I know that the idea that, say, the Black Hand assassinated Franz Ferdinand is a conspiracy theory that isn’t even supported by all that much evidence that I would nonetheless consider fairly reasonable. But the fact remains that “conspiracy theory” is the generic term used to describe that crackpot Teabagger or scientologist or schizophrenic nonsense that spreads on the internet. And sometimes I just don’t have another convenient term to use.

      Now you obviously have some controversial beliefs that get pegged as conspiracy theories. Since I have no idea what they are, I can’t judge, but I can say that if you present a reasonably compelling case for them, the title shouldn’t really matter. It’s only when people have already heard about your theory many times before that they are likely to have formed strong, deep-set opinions about it. And in that case it doesn’t really matter where people group it.

    • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

      I am curious–are there any “conspiracy theories” that you think are valid theories?

      • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

        Ugh! I thought this was nested under Nomad’s comments–apparently not. Anyway, this is a question to nomad.

      • Michael

        The answer is yes.

      • http://agnosticism2010.blogspot.com/ nomad

        Yes, though I don’t know if “valid” is the term I would use. At least not for the theory. Conspiracy theory is a term of pejoration. What is valid is speculation about anomalies, political or Fortean. Anomaly speculation? Hmmmmm….

  • James G
  • Konrad

    I guess a sure sign you are believing in a conspiracy theory is when you have to invent new conspiracies in order to explain why so many people don’t believe you. Following the Links in the article leads to quotes from the Zeitgeist guru which invent a condition called “Intellectual Inhibition” Which seems to boil down to the inability to see the truth of how wonderful the Zeitgeist movement is.

  • Zingerific

    So many of these conspiracy theorists depend on a sort of epistemological hocus-pocus. They cast doubt on the veracity of all the evidence presented against them in such a way that it becomes impossible to envision exactly what it would take to disprove them. (Of course you haven’t heard about the exploitation, comrade — all the media is owned by the capitalists!)

    I think Popper’s falsifiability is a good way to evaluate these sorts of theories. There has to be some sort of easily identifiable way that the theory can be proven *wrong.* The obvious way to do this is through prediction: if the prediction is wrong, the theory is wrong, period.

  • WarbVIII

    In starting to read the linked articles/blogs….it is truly hard to get past the abreviation/initials of the college Massi attended without almost doubling over in a fit of laughter, BJU..and then it gets worse as I connect it to the purity/chastity movements of the late 90′s and the 2000′s I hope they didn’t name it that way on purpose…but you’d think someone would have had the forsight or hindsight to change the name in some way to avoid the oral sex jokes…and the gay oral sex jokes that could just come pouring out after hearing that someone went to BJU ,even more so after the number of christian right wingers have been caught in so many umm…compromising positions/situations in the last 20 or so years….I mean do they give out a BJ degree at BJU, is there extra credit for practical application with the proffessors…and on,and on, and on. Maybe it’s just me and my mind is in the gutter consistently….but what any easy target,wouldn’t you agree?

  • Custador

    Zeitgeist’s treatment of religion is cringe-worthy and does the atheist movement more harm than good imho.

  • http://theskippyreview.wordpress.com Skippy

    But this is more than just regular rap beef, one artist’s put-down of another. If you know where to look, the internet is awash in conspiracy theories about pop culture icons (Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Britney Spears…) and their affiliations with evil.

    I’ve seen this and cannot believe that people actually believe that Beyonce is somehow worshipping a “devil” of some sort. Idiots actually think that Jay-Z is part of something called the “Illuminati” and point to Beyonce’s alter-ego “Sasha Fierce” as some sort of “evidence” of demon possession. Y’know, if I were Beyonce and I was worshipping some devil of some sort, I’d certainly ask for a better looking mate than Jay-Z.

  • Pingback: Considering Conspiracies « The Call of Troythulu