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Or at least the New York Times Online says so.

Here's an amusing piece:

Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories
Because real life contains conspiracies?  Naah.  Couldn't be!

Yeah, I know, Kos doesn't want any "conspiracy theories" on his blog.  So we won't discuss any of them, or at least not with the idea that we should take any of them seriously, which we shouldn't.  But you can see there's a problem here.  Will those messy conspiracies go away if we stop talking about them?  Probably not, which would explain why Maggie Koerth-Baker had to write the NYT piece in the first place. So here's the solution! We're going to make up some sort of pop-psychology "theory" to explain why people think about conspiracies.  That'll do the trick!  Gee, if only members of the human race were to limit their thinking to whatever it is that the "experts" produce on any given topic, they could stay sane, and we wouldn't have to discredit them.  Maggie Koerth-Baker is of course one of those experts, and she will protect you from the pernicious belief in conspiracy theories by psychologizing them away.  That and Kos will ban anyone who writes "conspiracy theory diaries," one of which this isn't.

So, yeah, everyone knows there are no conspiracies, and there are all kinds of events out there that might be attributable to conspiracies, but they're all caused by people acting alone, and all by themselves, without so much as talking to anyone else.  Right?

Now, maybe some really twisted minds out there think that real-life conspiracies develop as a result of chance meetings at the meetings of the Trilateral Commission, or the Bilderberg Group, or the World Economic Forum, or the Council on Foreign Relations.  Or maybe such conspiracies are said to happen in the secret meetings of the FBI or the CIA or the NSA or ALEC.  But everyone knows that (even if these organizations really did exist, which they don't) all they really do at those meetings is play ping-pong and eat pizza.  Right?

So, armed with our aerosol can of Conspiracy-Be-Gone spray, ahead into the NYT piece we venture!

“The best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory is belief in other conspiracy theories,” says Viren Swami, a psychology professor who studies conspiracy belief at the University of Westminster in England. Psychologists say that’s because a conspiracy theory isn’t so much a response to a single event as it is an expression of an overarching worldview.
There is, of course, an alternate explanation for conspiracy theories -- I think it goes like "maybe the official explanations aren't credible" or something like that.  But only people with a certain worldview believe crazy stuff of that sort.
Perfectly sane minds possess an incredible capacity for developing narratives, and even some of the wildest conspiracy theories can be grounded in rational thinking, which makes them that much more pernicious.
My god, they're developing narratives!  Human nature must be innately bad.  And I have to wonder in this context whether the perniciousness of a conspiracy theory can be quantified.  Could we put a conspiracy theory on the Wild-O-Meter, and if it goes above a certain number, then we could say it's pernicious?  This could be important in distinguishing pernicious theories from merely innocuous ones.

Here's an example.  Just after the disaster of September 11th, 2001, the Bush administration allowed the bin Laden family to be flown out of the country without so much as an FBI question on a day when every airplane in America was grounded.  Let's say (hypothetically; we don't really believe this stuff, do we?) that the bin Ladens were allowed to do this because they had urgent family business or something.  Now that's not very pernicious, is it?  I experience urgent family business all the time.  Don't you?

On the other hand, some of these theories about who killed JFK, well, we don't want to break the Wild-O-Meter, do we?  You can't buy them at the 99 cents store anymore.

While psychologists can’t know exactly what goes on inside our heads, they have, through surveys and laboratory studies, come up with a set of traits that correlate well with conspiracy belief. In 2010, Swami and a co-author summarized this research in The Psychologist, a scientific journal. They found, perhaps surprisingly, that believers are more likely to be cynical about the world in general and politics in particular.
Now everyone here knows cynicism isn't rational, right?  Your leaders are always acting in good faith, of course.
Economic recessions, terrorist attacks and natural disasters are massive, looming threats, but we have little power over when they occur or how or what happens afterward. In these moments of powerlessness and uncertainty, a part of the brain called the amygdala kicks into action.
So, you see, if you stop searching for explanations for economic recessions, terrorist attacks, and natural disasters, and just accept that your tendency to do so is a product of your errant amygdala, you will be closer to enlightenment!

 

Our access to high-quality information has not, unfortunately, ushered in an age in which disagreements of this sort can easily be solved with a quick Google search. In fact, the Internet has made things worse. Confirmation bias — the tendency to pay more attention to evidence that supports what you already believe — is a well-documented and common human failing. People have been writing about it for centuries. In recent years, though, researchers have found that confirmation bias is not easy to overcome. You can’t just drown it in facts.
And so, you see, our social scientists have everything under control.  All that's left for us to do is to believe all of that "high quality information" we're given, and restrain our impulses to reside in the land of "confirmation bias," which prevents us from seeing the light.
Psychologists aren’t sure whether powerlessness causes conspiracy theories or vice versa. Either way, the current scientific thinking suggests these beliefs are nothing more than an extreme form of cynicism, a turning away from politics and traditional media — which only perpetuates the problem.
Thus if we can all quit "turning away from politics and traditional media," and learn to accept the system, we can overcome those feelings of powerlessness as they are caused by our belief in conspiracy theories.

See?  Problem solved.  Conspiracy theories are all just in our heads, and the quicker we recognize that, the more easily we'll be able to ignore them, and get on with the enlightened task of believing what we're told.

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Comment Preferences

  •  No conspiracy theory comments! (24+ / 0-)

    Pizza and ping-pong!  That's my story, and I'm stickin' to it!

    "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

    by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 01:32:56 PM PDT

    •  PBO is the Manchurian Candidate... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe shikspack, Cassiodorus

      Pizza and ping pong are the triggers.

    •  It's also signs of a conspiracy theory mentality (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus

      if you think that b/c the President sat on his ass for months when people were handing him memos entitled "Bin Laden determined to strike targets inside U.S." and because he then subsequently sat on his ass reading "My Pet Goat" while the U.S. was under attack, there might be something fishy about it. Banhammer on you, evil amygdala-driven monkey!

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:26:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's a conspiracy theory (6+ / 0-)

    About conspirary theories.  It's getting very abstract now.

    Republicans: Taking the country back ... to the 19th century

    by yet another liberal on Wed May 22, 2013 at 01:41:32 PM PDT

  •  Conspiracy theorists are optimists (34+ / 0-)

    They believe that humans can cooperate successfully on complicated projects routinely, and that the world is run by competent grownups, evil ones but at least competent.

    Freedom isn't free. Patriots pay taxes.

    by Dogs are fuzzy on Wed May 22, 2013 at 01:47:39 PM PDT

    •  Great comment. I'm thinking of the people (9+ / 0-)

      who characterized manhunt for the Boston bombers to be a test-run for martial law.  Several law enforcement agencies working around the clock couldn't find a teenager who had been seriously wounded by police and was bleeding to death on someone's lawn, but they're one step away from imposing martial law?  Alrighty then.  

      *No disrespect to the Boston PD and other law enforcement agencies - I think they did a tremendous job under awful circumstances.  I'm just making a point.

    •  You can have incompetent conspirators (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus

      for sure. They can have their incompetent conspiracies breaking down all over, but it won't matter as long as the media continues cranking out messages like this NYT essay.

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:28:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  IOW, all you really have to do is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus

      discredit the people that are trying to point out the conspiracy. With a compliant international mainstream media, that's not hard.

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:29:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Going to top comments - (4+ / 0-)



      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:14:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Your comment reminds me of something my late ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Larsstephens, Eyesbright

      father-in-law once said.  We were talking about some conspiracy theory (I think the one about FDR deliberately letting the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor happen without giving any warning to the Pacific Fleet.  He said that he wished that anybody who believed in any conspiracy theory could be forced to wager with him on whether it was true, and that there was some way to objectively find out whether it was true.  He then said, "They can bet on conspiracies, but I'll bet on some combination of incompetence or laziness every time.  I may lose a few individual bets, but I'll quickly end up with all of their money."

      He spent virtually his entire career as a Navy officer.  I spent my career in roughly equal portions in the federal civilian and private sectors.  And the longer I live, the more apparent it becomes that he was absolutely correct.

      Bin Laden is dead. GM and Chrysler are alive.

      by leevank on Wed May 22, 2013 at 08:33:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The opposite of believing in conspiracy (9+ / 0-)

    theories is not "believing everything we're told". The opposite is being rational, believing that scenario which is most likely (Occam's Razor), and taking into account the fact that it is almost impossible for more than one person to pull something off without somebody either screwing up or spilling the beans. Almost always with conspiracies, there is a total lack of evidence pointing to the conspiracy, and the CTers take the lack of evidence as evidence that there must have been a conspiracy! Kos is right to ban them from this site. We have plenty of idiocy as it is.

    •  think you missed the tongue in the cheek there doc (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      northsylvania, tardis10

      :)

    •  um... (5+ / 0-)
      Almost always with conspiracies, there is a total lack of evidence pointing to the conspiracy
      Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and thinking so is not "rational."  It is, rather, intellectual conformism: it's the sort of thinking promoted by the cop who says "nothing to see here; move along, move along."

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

      by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:08:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But believing things in the absence of evidence (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elmo, Eyesbright

        is not rational.  

        •  Scientists do it all the time. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          SamanthaCarter, joe shikspack

          It's called "hypothesis," and it sure as hell is rational.

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

          by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:44:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh (8+ / 0-)

            scientists don't believe hypotheses...they test hypotheses. In most conceptions, hypotheses are only provisionally accepted after repeated attempts to disprove them fail.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:55:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  And how do you come to (5+ / 0-)

              test a hypothesis if you discount it before testing it?

              "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

              by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:59:55 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Uh (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wee Mama, elmo, Eyesbright

                a scientist does not discount a hypothesis before testing it...nor do they accept it in any way.  A hypothesis has no truth value one way or another until tested.

                "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:02:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Very good! (6+ / 0-)
                  a scientist does not discount a hypothesis before testing it.
                  Therefore, you cannot dismiss a "hypothesis" out of hand until it's tested. Right?

                  "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                  by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:03:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Wee Mama, JosephK74, Eyesbright

                    and the problem with CT is two-fold.  1. It has repeatedly been shown false, but idiots refuse to accept the evidence, or 2. it cannot be tested.  

                    The latter case occurs with most of the alien stuff, where they have magic rays to hide all evidence of their actions.  its called a self-sealing argument...namely that the hypothesis itself denies the possibility of testing.

                    Let's use anti-vaxers as an example of the 1st probelm.  Is there a vaccine conspiracy?  No.  The science is solid and the critics fucking morons.  The critics said it was mercury, the mercury was removed, no changes in authism rates, so they moved to new hypotheses.  Basic dumbfuck conspiracy shit.

                    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                    by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:10:08 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Um... (4+ / 0-)
                      the problem with CT is two-fold.  1. It has repeatedly been shown false, but idiots refuse to accept the evidence, or 2. it cannot be tested.  
                      ...there are plenty of things which are called "conspiracy theory" that have neither of these two problems.

                      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

                      by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:13:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Eyesbright

                        But here's the problem, we know many people do believe really stupid shit (that's a technical term).  We also know that people who believe on type of really stupid shit are more likely to believe other forms of really stupid shit.

                        Nothing in the times article contradicts that.  

                        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                        by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:18:50 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  there are entirely too many (4+ / 0-)

                          assumptions here:

                          we know many people do believe really stupid shit (that's a technical term).  We also know that people who believe on type of really stupid shit are more likely to believe other forms of really stupid shit
                          Putting aside the sheer idiocy of calling something "stupid shit" and "a technical term" in the same sentence, no one with an ounce of common sense can--or should--discount something that can be tested that has not been tested.

                          Calling said something "Conspiracy Theory" before it's tested is nothing more than a propaganda technique, and I weary of all the otherwise intelligent people who believe in it to the extent that they apply it willy-nilly, to shit it should never be applied to.

                          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                          by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:24:09 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                    •  You don't get to put the cart before the horse (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      SamanthaCarter

                      here. No way--not for the purpose of this particular discussion, because you can't.

                      the problem with CT is two-fold.  1. It has repeatedly been shown false, but idiots refuse to accept the evidence or 2. it cannot be tested
                      While I would absolutely concur that someone--anyone--is in fact an idiot for refusing to accept demonstrable evidence that has already been clearly put forth, what I mean by putting the cart before the horse is that most people who throw the words "conspiracy theory" around as some kind of epithet are making assumptions about either the falsity or the un-testability of any hypothesis before any tests take place.

                      You can't do that. Otherwise, you're possibly discounting something which CAN be provable. You can't throw it out until you either determine it CANNOT be tested--which in and of itself is a pretty tall order, but I'll let it go for now--or until you DO test it and find it to be "incorrect hypothesis".

                      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                      by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:19:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Eyesbright

                        testing is the job of the person who presents the hypothesis.  Simply put, I'm not gonna waste my time doing your work, I've got enough of my own to more than fill my time.

                        If all that's presented is a hypothesis, expect to be ridiculed, for being lazy if nothing else.

                        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                        by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:21:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Right (3+ / 0-)

                          where do I say otherwise?

                          testing is the job of the person who presents the hypothesis.
                          I'm not saying the scientist shouldn't do his/her own work. What I'm saying--clearly--is that no one else has the right to make the determination that the scientist cannot test, based on some arbitrary opinion, put forth before any tests actually take place.

                          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                          by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:27:18 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                  •  There is quite literally an infinite universe of (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    terrypinder, yet another liberal

                    possible hypotheses. One of the more difficult skills that a scientist has to acquire is a subtle sense to pick the hypotheses that are worth testing and interesting. There are a great many hypotheses that are just plain silly, but conceivable. There are almost as many that are likely true but boring and irrelevant. One of the rare skills in scientists is fingering the hypotheses that are startling, testable, true upon testing, and widely relevant.

                    The old saying is to get big answers, ask big questions - but not so big you can't answer them.



                    Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                    by Wee Mama on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:20:26 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  That's why you have investigations (0+ / 0-)

                  which is what the putative "conspiracy theorists"are usually calling for.

                  from Wikipedia:

                  Adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement dispute the accepted explanation of the September 11 attacks of 2001, that al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airliners and intentionally crashed two into the World Trade Center buildings and one into the Pentagon, with another unintentionally crashing in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They claim this explanation contains significant inconsistencies which suggest, at the least, a cover-up, and at most, complicity by insiders.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
                  They analyze evidence from the attacks, discuss different theories about how the attacks happened and call for a new investigation into the attacks.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Some of the organizations assert that there is evidence that individuals within the United States government may have been either responsible for or knowingly complicit in the September 11 attacks. Motives suggested by the movement include the use of the attacks as a pretext to start wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to create opportunities to curtail civil liberties.[2][16]

                  "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

                  by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:33:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It has to be testable AND repeatable. nt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Empty Vessel

              I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

              by GoGoGoEverton on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:25:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hell (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                GoGoGoEverton, terrypinder

                with most CT, I'd just be happy if they tested at all, repeated is icing on the CT cake.

                But, in truth, the whole discussion of hypotheses is silly (I didn't bring it up, the diarist did, I think).  CT is nothing like a hypotheses because it cannot be tested using scientific techniques.

                CT is a usually proposition that must be evaluated through more humanistic/legalistic forms of reasoning.

                "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:29:33 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Is it? (0+ / 0-)
                  the whole discussion of hypotheses is silly
                  Why would you participate in something so silly?
                  CT is a usually proposition that must be evaluated through more humanistic/legalistic forms of reasoning.

                  Must be? Is that your opinion? Or is it a scientific hypothesis? Can you test that for the rest of the readers, please?

                  "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                  by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:17:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  seems pretty obvious since there's (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Empty Vessel, Eyesbright

                    really nothing scientific about CT other than the fact that it's a function of how our brains find patterns (that often are wrong) in just about everything. we're wired that way, even people who describe themselves as rational. I already posted upthread that I, for a very long time, believed the Bush Administration let 9/11 happen on purpose. I now know that's entirely not true. Incompetence, sure, that seems fairly obvious, but let it happen on purpose for some nefarious scheme? Nah.

                    most CT's that get presented here are just that. they're not theories in the scientific sense in the least. There hasn't been one, in my 8 years of posting here, that's been remotely correct.

                    i mean during the Bush Administration there was the election year October Surprise (usually a false flag attack or an attack on Iran), or there was the Bush Stole Ohio one (presented with very little evidence), or vaccines (thankfully, people found their heads here if they didn't elsewhere in the progressive blogosphere), or they let 9/11 happen on purpose so they could curtail civil liberties (seriously? the groundwork for the various "attacks" on civil liberties were laid decades prior and rather accelerated through the Clinton Administration) and on and on and on. Just today I poked into a diary that assumed Big Pharma wants everyone to buy Vitamin C pills and presented the dumbest evidence for their case I've seen in a long time. Nevermind the fact that pharmaceuticals are regulated and the vitamin industry is not, and the paper that diarist was attacking said no such thing and it was pretty clear they didn't even read the press release, let alone the paper. I mean if you're going to allege a conspiracy, at least do your homework. A lot of CT doesn't even bother to do that, and that's part of the reason it gets so mocked.

                    I'm not sure which CTs are banned other than the Bevbots (all elections are stolen!) and 9/11 (if you know where to look, there's a pretty epic thread here on daily kos where someone insists a passenger plane did not strike the pentagon and then someone who was there on the day and took pictures of the shattered plane wreckage posts the pictures. the guy still refused to believe it. That's part of why it's a banned topic.)

                    That's what Empty Vessel is getting at, I think.

                    as for it being silly, well, it is. But I find it fun. Empty Vessel may not. I have no problem playing what-if in the conspiracy theory game but there's a pretty good chance I won't believe it, at all.

          •  No they don't. They have a theory and they (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Empty Vessel, Eyesbright

            look for evidence to test it.  Scientists don't just come up with a hypothesis and end there.  They try and prove or disprove it.  

            •  Did I say they did? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lunachickie
              Scientists don't just come up with a hypothesis and end there.
              Scientists believe in hypotheses provisionally, pending more evidence of course.  A lot of "conspiracy theorists" do the same thing.

              "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

              by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:03:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  No they do not (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Eyesbright

                A hypothesis has no truth value until tested.  And to be frank, any halfway decent scientist assumes a hypothesis is wrong, and actively attempts to disprove it until they can no longer think of ways to show that it is wrong...that, in a nutshell, is the scientific method.

                "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:05:46 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I think you're splitting hairs here. (3+ / 0-)

                  If scientists discounted their hypotheses, then they wouldn't bother to test said hypotheses.  So there has to be some level of belief in a hypothesis, however small, if a scientist is going to bother with it in the first place.

                  "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

                  by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:11:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    terrypinder, Eyesbright

                    But the key word is small.  Let me phrase it another way, no scientist would publish, defend or share an untested hypothesis with others--they'd test it..  The chances of accuracy are so low that they do not want to humiliate themselves.  I don't think the CT types have the same concern.

                    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                    by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:15:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Please define (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Cassiodorus

                      CT Types.

                      Please be specific with your definition. The examples being sought are not persons--I'd like for you to try and come up with an actual scientific definition.

                       Preferably one that's been tested....

                      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                      by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:21:42 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                  •  Or we could just not investigate anything (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Cassiodorus

                    and condescend to people who suggest ideas that we don't like, dismissing them out of hand.

                    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

                    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:34:16 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  putting aside the notion (3+ / 0-)

              that we should all be scientists before we engage in discussion of hypothesis...at what point is it ok to dismiss something before it's tested?
               

              "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

              by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:05:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  No, we don't. If you believe in your own (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Empty Vessel

            hypothesis, it's not science, it's religion.

        •  Good conspiracy theories... (3+ / 0-)

          ... are just filling in the gaps between the known knowns and  the known unknowns with many of the possible unknown unknowns.

          ePluribus Media
          Collaboration is contagious!

          by m16eib on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:30:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I like the way you channel your inner (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright

            Rumsferatu :)

            Along the lines of 'good conspiracy theories,' the best JFK assasination conspiracy theory I've ever read was in a work of fiction: Charles McCarry's The Tears of Autumn.

            Possible spoiler alert: McCarry asks and answers the question of who might have had a motive to whack JFK, given events that occurred half-way across the planet just a month before November, 1963. Awesome read.

      •  But that's not even true. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        There's rarely a "total lack of evidence." Often, there's plenty of evidence, just not enough evidence to constitute proof.  That's why investigations are required.

        Of course, calling for an investigation is now enough to be called a "truther," and thrown out of a cabinet position.

        "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:30:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The opposite of believing in conspiracy theories (7+ / 0-)

      is believing in coincidence theories (props to Michael Parenti for the trope).

      Look, in the 60s, if DailyKos had existed then, had one of the representative of the counter-culture posted that the FBI was infilitrating his or her group and spying on it, Kos would have banned them for 'CT,' right?

      Of course, it turned out in the 70s with the Church Senate hearings that the FBI had been infiltrating and spying on counter-cultural groups.

      Even if you buy hook, line and sinker the official 9-11 narrative, you still believe in a 'conspiracy theory,' except it's a conspiracy of 19 hijackers and their handlers. Before you can say we should ban conspiracy theories (thereby placing restrictions on speech), I think you need a very precise definition of 'conspiracy theory.'

      •  We tried doing this before (0+ / 0-)
        a very precise definition of 'conspiracy theory.'
        and frankly, I thought that diarist did an even better job than this one (and this one is pretty damn good as it is). I'll see if I can find it...

        "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

        by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:01:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  So... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, tardis10
      ...and taking into account the fact that it is almost impossible for more than one person to pull something off without somebody either screwing up or spilling the beans.
      Does that make Al Qaida the smartest boys in the room? That's fairly sad when you think about it.

      You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

      by northsylvania on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:15:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  rational people fall for conspiracy (0+ / 0-)

    theories all the time.

    For years I believed in the LIHOP theory of 9/11.

    I was wrong.

    I see otherwise rational, logical thinking adults to this day still go on and on about Building 7.

    •  for a long time, I suspected that the rumors of (0+ / 0-)

      Reagan's "October Surprise" (the idea that Reagan colluded with the Iranians to prevent the hostages from being released until after the election so Carter would lose) might be true.

      After a few years, though, I gave up on it.  If it had really happened, somebody would have blabbed their guts out about it by now, and we'd know every detail.

  •  There are conspiracies. (5+ / 0-)

    Mostly they involve very small groups because large groups can't keep a secret.

    When it's a large group, like the plutocracy, it has the protection of the establishment, which has a zillion alibis for why the plutocracy is not real or the enemy you seek...

    There are, for example, very obvious voter suppression conspiracies...

    Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

    by Words In Action on Wed May 22, 2013 at 01:58:29 PM PDT

    •  I've been involved in large conspiracies (9+ / 0-)

      I realize this is conventional wisdom but it's simply not true.

      For a few years, I worked on Wall Street. Only actually on that street, but WS is considered in NYC the financial sector. My actual office was in mid town.

      Every single time an investment bank issues stocks and bonds for a corporation, many, many people have to get together to do that, and I was one of them (at a low level). Everyone has to be absolutely secret because the Securities Act requires it. Otherwise there might be insider trading. People engage in lawful secrecy of  hundreds of people every single day.

      Another example is that when I was a very young anti-apartheid activist, I was recruited to be an aid to the president and vice president of a big philanthropy on South Africa issues. They brought together South African government officials and ANC officials in various resorts in the US.

      This was illegal under South African law and hence a criminal conspiracy -- even if for a good cause.

      No one leaked the news -- although after about 1 year the NY Times found out about it, reported it, and that was the end of that.

      But the idea that a large group of people -- say 100-200 -- can't keep a secret is absurd. That's what professional discretion is all about. People are trained and socialized to understand and obey this norm, and I was one of them.

      •  This may be the most important comment in (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        this thread and deserves as much prominence as possible for its deep truth.

        Is it 'conspiracy theory' to allege that Nixon used conspirators like Anna Chennault to plant the suggestion with RVN President Thieu that Thieu should obstruct peace negotiations during 1968 so that he could get a better deal from a Nixon administration? If that's a 'conspiracy theory,' it's one that the historical record would seem to bear out, as Walt Rostow had the goods on Nixon via a secret wiretap but LBJ chose not to go public with Nixon's treason. (Rostow donated the results of the tap to the LBJ Library with instructions it not be made public for 50 years.)

        Speaking of Nixon, wasn't the Watergate coverup itself a grand conspiracy? According to what I've read here, we would be prohibited from discussing it.

        Kos policy doesn't seem to add up; I think we need a precise working definition of that which we're going to ban and why before speech is curtailed. Otherwise, 'conspiracy theory' becomes a convenient way to dismiss and cudgel those with whom you disagree because you disagree, not because their hypothesis is flawed or untestable.

      •  I thought I said there were (0+ / 0-)

        large conspiracies.

        Huh.

        I think I simply said that most were smaller...

        Re: "...will the American people notice, or are they dumb as sticks to quote the social historian Morris Berman who blames the culture for our problems." - don midwest. don, I'd like you to meet Woody and Twiggy. ☮ ♥ ☺

        by Words In Action on Wed May 22, 2013 at 09:04:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  No, no, no voter suppression ever happened (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus, Words In Action

      our elections are completely fair and above-board. It was all that evil Ralph Nader's fault. Jeb Bush and Katherine Harris had nothing to do with it. Neither did John Roberts.

      And Tom De Lay didn't send any Republican staffers to FL to stir shit. Remember that.

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:43:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  President Obama: Conspiracy Theorist in Chief (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, Wee Mama, Eyesbright

    I see your point, but ...

    First of all, I have to give credit to  the president for being the conspiracy theorist in chief. When he authorized the capture or kill operation against Osama bin Laden, he had to overcome a huge, non-logistical issue: that bin Laded was, as the ultra fact checking obsessive New Yorker wrote shortly after, obviously under the protection of the Pakistani government. He was living in a military and intelligence town.

    The fact that bin Laden was found and killed there meant that President Obama had to be willing to violate the acceptable narrative of 9/11 -- that it was carried out with assistance from only one government, Afghanistan.

    I used to write about stuff documented in the mainstream media about 9/11 that violated the accepted narrative.

    But here's the problem. I think the problem isn't just that the mainstream says there are things we can't think about even though they are thoroughly documented.

    It's that once you start talking about anything vaguely conspiratorial, other than proven criminal conspiracies like Watergate or Iran Contra, people who are really crazy will join the conversation -- and I think that's why people like Kos have to have the rules they have.

    If we started discussing why bin Laden was killed, as the New Yorker concluded, under Pakistan's protection, then we're going to have to listen to people who think the World Trade Center was built with explosives in its elevator shafts or was destroyed by space based laser beams or who think that the Bush family are alien lizard overlords.

    It's a tough choice.

     

  •  Who are you working for, Cassiodorus?? (4+ / 0-)

    And who gave you your orders to write this - Obama? George Soros? ACORN? Hillary? Or the UN??

    CONNECT THE DOTS HERE PEOPLE!! (scribbles furiously on blackboard)

    It has to start somewhere. It has to start sometime. What better place than here, what better time than now? - Guerilla Radio, Rage Against The Machine.

    by Fordmandalay on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:06:11 PM PDT

  •  First of all (6+ / 0-)

    the very idea that the words "Conspiracy" and "Theory",  when put together, automatically equal something nobody should ever believe, is just stupid.

    Not to mention that all conspiracies would appear to have the need to start out as a theory. The people here who fall all over themselves to fling that epithet around at every turn--as if all conspiracy consideration was wrong, or a waste of time--can and should be mocked themselves.

    Thank you, Cassiodorus, for doing that so well that it only took a half-dozen or so comments to see that mocking fly right overhead and out of the proverbial park ;)

     

    "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

    by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:06:31 PM PDT

  •  conspiracy theorists overestimate competence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, GoGoGoEverton

    I find it laughable that there could be any vast global conspiracy of any reality without somebody somewhere spilling the beans and blabbing about the whole thing.

    I say that because all the REAL conspiracies we know about-----Iran/Contra, Watergate, corporate price-fixing, etc--we know about because somebody spilled the beans and blabbed about the whole thing. As a result, we know virtually every detail of who met where with whom and discussed what with them.

    That is why I am inherently skeptical about all the conspiracy kookers. None of them has any real way of actually knowing anything they claim to know--and nobody who DOES have a way of actually knowing has ever spilled the beans and blabbed. A pretty good indication to me that there's nothing really there.

    •  point-by-point reply (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bisbonian
      I find it laughable that there could be any vast global conspiracy of any reality without somebody somewhere spilling the beans and blabbing about the whole thing.
      When said bean-spiller could be dismissed as a "conspiracy theorist"?  No, "conspiracy theorists" are simply people who have refused to believe in the accepted narratives for certain events, and who have (in the light of the failure of said accepted narratives to be credible) created hypotheses of their own.

      Now, maybe these hypotheses are crazy.  This doesn't eliminate the possibility of a less crazy hypothesis that, moreover, differs from the accepted narrative in important respects.

      I say that because all the REAL conspiracies we know about-----Iran/Contra, Watergate, corporate price-fixing, etc--we know about because somebody spilled the beans and blabbed about the whole thing. As a result, we know virtually every detail of who met where with whom and discussed what with them.
      Here there is still some room to discuss what counts as a "REAL" conspiracy and a conspiracy about which there is still some debate about what is and isn't "REAL."  The accepted narrative about the assassination of JFK (Oswald did it all by himself) is ridiculous.  Thus the alternative explanations all involve conspiracies.  Are we to dismiss all of them out of hand?
      That is why I am inherently skeptical about all the conspiracy kookers. None of them has any real way of actually knowing anything they claim to know--and nobody who DOES have a way of actually knowing has ever spilled the beans and blabbed. A pretty good indication to me that there's nothing really there.
      Once again, absence of evidence does not constitute evidence of absence.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

      by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:43:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  well, Lenny--it depends on what you call (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus

      a conspiracy kooker. the definition of that has broadened considerably since the days of people talking about the Illuminati and the Masons. Now all you have to do is suggest that there's something weird about the President of the United States sitting on his ass--and the rest of the Executive Branch doing the same--while we're under attack, and that maybe it might be a good idea to ask some questions and find out what the hell went wrong, as opposed to simply accepting the version of George W. Bush as Mt. Sinai-graven-in-stone fact.

      That's enough to marginalize you right away and make you a conspiracy kooker. No dreams of mystic cabals of Jewish bankers necessary. No anti-Semitism necessary.  If you want to ask some fairly obvious questions about a horrible screw-up to find out what happened, you're a proponent of CT.

      People use accusations of CT around here all the time to try and shut down diarists who are saying things they don't like.

      So, once the definition of CT has been expanded that much, I'm afraid I just see it as one more way of shutting down disagreement and dissent.

      "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:40:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And what about the people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cassiodorus

      who DO have ways of actually knowing, but who are dismissed as "conspiracy kookers," or hidden away in solitary confinement (sometimes for years) for trying to blow the whistle?

  •  Conspiracies (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tardis10

    are usually a couple of guys having a laugh over a game of golf. Whether the result is worth media inattention depends on which guys are having the laugh.

    You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

    by northsylvania on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:18:42 PM PDT

  •  This is what I find interesting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo

    This use of plural.

    On the other hand, some of these theories about who killed JFK, well, we don't want to break the Wild-O-Meter, do we?  You can't buy them at the 99 cents store anymore.
    Whatever else, how could one person buy multiple conspiracies about JFK's murder at the same time?  If it was LBJ who killed JFK, doesn't that kinda mean that the Russians didn't kill JFK?

    IMHO, those folks who like conspiracy theories seem to like many conspiracy theories, of the same event, at the same time.

    As they say--two men say they're Jesus, one of 'em must be wrong.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:20:06 PM PDT

    •  Wait! I thought the CIA did it. Damn! (0+ / 0-)
    •  Illogical. (0+ / 0-)

      If a person does not buy the Magic Bullet theory, then all other theories of how said event came to pass could be examined and judged for whatever explanation(s) they proffer that don't rely on magic bullets. Is there a rule somewhere that if you don't believe the 'Blue Ribbon Commission' snow job, you have to pick one single alternative scenario and believe it as fact?

      And if so, where is that rule written and who enforces it?

  •  We love fiction (0+ / 0-)

    and as a species we've always filled gaps in knowledge with narrative speculation. It's given us religions, King Arthur and Robin Hood, with very little evidence to support them.

    Ask a child to explain something they don't understand and they'll spin a tale out of thin air. That trait may someday be seen as our greatest gift to the universe. "They do write great fiction."

    Problems arise when people insist on their narrative, in spite of obvious evidence to the contrary.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:05:06 PM PDT

  •  Life is a Conspiracy Theory (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    in case you hadn't noticed.

  •  Did Judas act alone (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    in selling out Jesus? Now that is the grandest of CT.

  •  Wild thing, I think I love you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    Thanks for this diary.

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:21:49 PM PDT

  •  BTW, how do I get into the Frustrati? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    Sounds like a group I should be part of.

    "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:40:56 PM PDT

  •  omerta (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    many people can't do nefarious acts secretly and be kept quiet about it- ok sure whatever

    the dkos protesteth too much re: conspiracies
    gotta censor those sherlocks
    it's a reality community

    'what the truth is I can't say anymore
    but I love you,
    o how I love you'

  •  Your satire proves the piece's point (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    terrypinder, elmo

    Clearly the piece struck a nerve.  It was about people who tend toward believing in conspiracies and their thought process.  It bothered you, the idea of calling conspiracy theorists delusional.  Why?  Because you sympathize with them.

    I fear you are sillier than the thing you are satirizing.

    What you're experiencing is run-of-the-mill distrust of authority simply because it is authority, which is how people start believing that vaccines cause autism or that corn crops with a few proteins swapped around cause cancer, or that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.

    The problem is one of evidence.  If there ever were an actual conspiracy, there would have to be evidence just as damning as the theory itself.

    It's not to say the government hasn't done stupid or just plain malfeasant things.  But we have evidence for those things.  That's why they're not conspiracy theories, they're just fact.

    •  i thought this and the NYTimes piece (0+ / 0-)

      were pretty good. This satire was funny, and the NYTimes piece confirms a lot of what I've long suspected.

    •  When I snap my fingers your trance will be over. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BigAlinWashSt
      What you're experiencing is run-of-the-mill distrust of authority simply because it is authority, which is how people start believing that vaccines cause autism or that corn crops with a few proteins swapped around cause cancer, or that 9/11 was a controlled demolition.
      What you're experiencing is run-of-the-mill "confirmation bias," in the words of the NYT author, and so you didn't read the diary carefully enough to notice that my objection to this sort of narrative rests upon planks such as:
      There is, of course, an alternate explanation for conspiracy theories -- I think it goes like "maybe the official explanations aren't credible" or something like that.
      So, no, I distrust official explanations not because they are "authority" but because the evidence for them is, in one way or another, not credible.  Let's start with 9/11/01 (as opposed to 9/11/73, another matter entirely).  I still have yet to read a credible explanation for why NORAD was down for 90 minutes that morning, or why the bin Ladens were spirited out of the country shortly thereafter.  I don't need to believe in any conspiracy theories to continue to believe that the standard explanations are wrong, and that Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed (in his various books on the topic) is right to be skeptical of them as well.
      If there ever were an actual conspiracy, there would have to be evidence just as damning as the theory itself.
      This is also silly.  Conspirators who destroy evidence of their conspiracies need to do nothing to fool the likes of you.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

      by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 07:48:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm sorry, but (0+ / 0-)

        You fail.

        First, "confirmation bias"?

        "You keep using that word.  I do not think you know what it means."

        Second.

        I read your post very carefully.  Your rebuttal makes nary a dent in what I said.

        •  I'm sorry, but (0+ / 0-)

          Not only do you fail, but you apparently are so limited in the sort of brain activity you're willing to devote to this conversation that you can't say anything more sophisticated than "you fail" here.

          And, no, you didn't read my post very carefully, otherwise you'd have addressed my point.  But you didn't do that.

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

          by Cassiodorus on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:29:34 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  And the fact that you don't understand (0+ / 0-)

          "conversation bias" here is only more evidence of your failure to read.

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

          by Cassiodorus on Thu May 23, 2013 at 09:30:09 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  This was pretty hilarious (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus

    What I think is most amusing about it is the focus on politics.  It's funny that social "scientists" would decide to study politics when doing their study on conspiracy theorists.  That's not the correlation that I'd decide to test if I were doing the study.  I'd look more toward correlations with religion or maybe some other things.

    Cass Sunstein is really interested in conspiracy theory and politics.  He wrote at least one white paper on the topic.
    http://papers.ssrn.com/...

    Greenwald wrote about it here.  
    http://papers.ssrn.com/...


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Wed May 22, 2013 at 06:52:32 PM PDT

  •  one core aspect of CT "rationality" (0+ / 0-)
    The Third-people effect hypothesis predicts that people tend to perceive that mass communicated messages have a differential influence on themselves and others, based on personal biases; additionally, because of this perception, people tend to take action to counteract the messages’ influence. The Third-person effect hypothesis often manifests itself through an individual’s overestimation of the effect of a mass communicated message on the generalized other, or an underestimation of the effect of a mass communicated message on themselves.

    These types of perceptions stem from a self-motivated social desirability (not feeling influenced by mass messages promotes self-esteem), a social-distance corollary (choosing to dissociate oneself from the others who may be influenced) and a perceived exposure to a message (others choose to be influenced by persuasive communication).

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013

    by annieli on Wed May 22, 2013 at 08:02:47 PM PDT

  •  Sam Smith on conspiracy theories: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassiodorus
    The term 'conspiracy theory' was invented by elite media and politicians to denigrate questions or critical presumptions about events about which important facts remain unrevealed.

    ...

     Why are we allowed to have theories on every topic from the creation of the universe to who is going to win the World Series with the sole exception of wondering who in power is screwing us and how?

    Conspiracy theories

    We cannot win a war crime - Dancewater, July 27, 2008

    by unclejohn on Thu May 23, 2013 at 07:50:51 PM PDT

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