1. AluminumTheory

    AluminumTheory Senior Member

    Update Summary: Conspiracy Theorists siezed upon the publication of the paper "What about building 7?" A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories", and claimed it showed that 9/11 conspiracy theorists were more "sane" than other people. However it does not say that at all, and the author of the study added a note on PubMed to clarify what the study actually means.
    Original Post Follows


    In a nutshell this guy makes the argument that conspiracy theorists are the rational ones because conspiracy theorists are more prominent and vocal on the internet than the non-believers. This of course is assuming that the demographics of what is on the internet is an accurate reflection of real life demographics.

    The internet is a hub for anything and everything that is anti-establishment and non-mainstream. A really good example would be that atheists only make up a tiny minority of people, and yet the internet might have you believe that almost everyone is an atheist. Ron Paul was enormously popular on the internet, and yet he didn't even come close to the winning the amount of delegates needed to win the G.O.P. primaries. Even if he had won, I highly doubt that you'll get a majority of voters to vote for a guy who plans to dismantle the Dept of Education. Anarchism, Libertarianism, Socialism, Scientology, Cryptozoology, Dubstep, The Paranormal, and yes Conspiracy Theorists all have large followings on the internet.

    I also like the claim that the 9/11 truthers are less hostile than their duped counterparts. Not to say that non believers can't be hostile, but I seriously doubt that they are more hostile than the truthers. Comments on the internet are generally nasty anyway. I'm sure there are a million people leaving nasty comments on various articles and videos right now.
    That being said, the conspiracy theorist are generally quite a rowdy bunch and I think that alot of this resonates from a certain radio host.

    ....And then there is this nice little tidbit of projection :).
    In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” – that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 30, 2014
  2. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

  3. Yeah. I saw this 'study' last night sort of making the rounds.
    Not sure how they were able to gather that from looking at a few quotes on the internet.
    Anyway. I love this one that a supporter put up in regards to the study.

  4. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    • Like Like x 2
  5. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

  6. AluminumTheory

    AluminumTheory Senior Member

  7. Having just read the study - yeah - that is probably an understatement.
    And Dr. Barrett appears to have a history of this sort of thing.

    From wikipedia
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  8. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Who's Dr Barrett? One of those involved in the study, or the one who 'interpreted' it 1984 style?
  9. The original link doesn't have the author of the article on the study but I have seen it on other sites.
    So yeah. Barrett's the one that cherry picked this and that from the study and sent it through the spin cycle.
  10. solrey

    solrey Senior Member

  11. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think the key point here is that it is not a study representative of the general population, or even the general conspiracy or skeptic populations, but rather a study of those people who tend to leave comments on news stories about subjects that have conspiracies attached to them.

    If you ever read those comments, they are not fine examples of humanity. It's a specific subset, generally a nasty and closed-minded one.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. M Bornong

    M Bornong Senior Member

    Kind of like the CT'rs we deal with, whose only response is name calling, profanity,and/ or blocking, no evidence. Ignorance can be a form of {Max:)) bliss .
  13. solrey

    solrey Senior Member

    When it comes to hostility, turns out that CT'rs are also hostile in their own way, as we are well aware. Not saying I haven't slung some mud myself...

    They also identified the reason there are more comments by conspiracists. Even though they're a small minority of the overall population, they're a vocal minority on a mission.

    Perhaps the result of the hostility factor would have been different if they had included in their criteria the kind of hit and run derogatory comments I often see more from conspiracists than debunkers. Then there is the highly emotionally charged subject matter of 9/11. It would be interesting to see what the result would be in analyzing comments on mainstream articles about various weather events.

    • Like Like x 2
  14. Cairenn

    Cairenn Senior Member

    The average person, after being called an 'sheeple' and 'shill' and even worse may well start to get defensive and testy. It is hard to be polite when over and over and over you are insulted and asked the same question that you have answered before.

    On one Grist site, discussing GMOs, I know I posted the link to the over 600 studies at least a dozen times. I was call names there and even got some near threats (of the type 'I'd love to pour a bottle of Roundup down your throat" and the like).

    I have called a 'shill' for BP, Nalco, 'big pharm', Monsanto and the 'Jewish press', and a BP lawyer, someone working for BP in a social media company and many others. I have had fake FB pages created with name and avatar, I have insulting videos posted on you tube and other video servers. Now why wouldn't that make someone defensive?

    I fail at times here.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. AluminumTheory

    AluminumTheory Senior Member

    Finally got around the reading that whole thing. I'll admit that it is somewhat flawed by presuming that comments on the internet are an accurate reflection of the real world. It does however raise some interesting points that I didn't think of. Particularly on the psychological level. I'll talk about more when I get the chance.
  16. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Frontiersin.org (where the study was published) is a fee-based for submission (open access publication), .....in science-related areas. Must pass a "review board" for acceptance.
    There are some interesting topics, though they need-not be a "research study". They can be short articles, or abstracts to other studies, commentary, reviews, e-books, events....you name it.
    There are "no-fee" categories too.
    Seems they are pushing the social network theme.

    I'm not typing this to knock the validity of the study or the expertise of it's authors.....that is separate, but the possibility to claim "publication".....always has it's tiers of respectability, and reputation.
  17. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Funny coincidence - at the time you quoted that, I was in a room with three of those four authors.
  18. Leifer

    Leifer Senior Member

    Mick, will you give us a report of your weekend when you return ?

    (an extra-credit report...will not affect your final grade .)
    • Like Like x 1
  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yes. I'd intended to write more while here, but it has been a bit busy.
  20. David Fraser

    David Fraser Senior Member

    There still does seem to be some academic rigour in selection for the articles, especially given there are very few open source journals out there.

  21. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    The other thing that conspiracy theorists do that debunkers do not is totally shut out the voice. This tactic is most used by chemtrail believers. They seem to be the biggest fans of the echo chamber. No dissenting voices allowed. 9/11 CTers enjoy the back and forth argument, in my experience.
  22. Melbury's Brick

    Melbury's Brick Active Member

    "Infowars study" sounds like an oxymoron to me.

    No it doesn't. It means that if you a believe a conspiracy theory, you will seek a platform to air your views. if you don't....you won't.

    If you took a survey of people coming out of the Stretford End of the Old Trafford stadium after a football match. The results would show that 100% of the world's population are Manchester United supporters.
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  23. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    I wonder is it possible to contact the authors and have their comments on how their study is being presented?
    They either think the representation is accurate or not, and could publish a follow up statement to that effect.
  24. Noblelox

    Noblelox Member

    He already has made several replies on his blog (below). Barrat has taken Dr Wood's research way out of context. I've read the papper and it makes perfect sense. When he and his collegue Dr Douglas talk about conventionalists (us) being more agressive it's refering to a defind parameter of replies. Not all of them.
    • Like Like x 4
  25. JeffreyNotGeoffrey

    JeffreyNotGeoffrey Active Member

    Ohhh, Infowars. I am waiting for your stopped clock to be correct. Then again I would need another clock to know you are right. So I guess I won't check you.
    • Like Like x 1
  26. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Another explanation from the first author. I've added this to the OP.

    • Like Like x 2