1. trevor

    trevor Active Member

    it was a joke.
  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I figured I'd check :)
  3. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    there should be a warning label on that video dude. it worse than south park or family guy.
  4. benben

    benben New Member

    Being confrontational with strangers now ...

    "Weather Update/ We're under Chemical attack!! I asked a sheep motorist who was heading towards ___ / corner of Main and ___ , if the sky looked normal to him. He said: "Looks normal to me!!", with an attitude, I replied: "Vogue Optical is that way!!" and walked away"

    Then this today from someone with common sense

    "1 of yous just sent me this "___ , if you truly want to educate people and bring change, I suggest you be a little more respectful towards people you call friends, calling them sheep (cheap) is not going to work. Have a great day!"

    his response? more attacks and insults ... getting crazier every day
  5. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    Based on what I have seen over the years, it appears that a significant distinction between Conspiracy theorists and Skeptics (aka debunkers/Critical Thinkers) is that Conspiracy theorists rely heavily on intuition/gut-instincts (and at times it seems voices in their head telling them things), whereas Skeptics/Debunkers rely on evidence and science in order to make sense of the world around them. At first I was thinking that I would like to see the people who rely so heavily on their intuition test how reliable that intuition is in a casino, where a majority of gamblers are relying on their intuition, much to their financial detriment. The next thought was that card counters who play Black Jack are more akin to Skeptics, in that they rely solely on the evidence available to them... that being, knowledge of; what cards are in a deck of cards, the rules of Black Jack, knowledge of what conditions would lead to the probability of different outcomes, and the current conditions at the moment (namely the cards that have been played and the cards remaining in the deck, that have a bearing on the current hand).

    I would relate this Black Jack analogy to the Chemtrail Theorist's thinking in that, they may have the same observable conditions (the cards currently on display/a plane in the sky) as with a prior hand, but the outcome in most cases will vary greatly based on the other factors that are unknown to them (the cards that have been played already/prevailing conditions where the plane is flying). The 'moral' of the story is that we make better decisions when we accumulate as much relevant data as possible, rather than going off of a gut-feeling to make up for a lack of data.

    From my own experiences in Vegas where I trusted my gut-feeling, I learned to be skeptical of gut-feelings and to rely on relevant evidence. There were a few times that I did win based on my gut feeling, which reinforced the notion that I ought to trust my gut-feeling, however those gut-feelings turned out to be wrong far far far more often than they were right and I realized that I would do better were I to disregard my intuition and stick to solid evidence based decision making.

    Doing a Google search for information/research into a comparison of intuitive versus evidence based thinking I came across this article that addresses these two models of reaching decisions.

    Excerpts from the Article on Brain Pickings.org

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2015
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  6. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    Interesting article from BBC Future: The man who studies the spread of ignorance

    My new vocabulary word:

    Agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt, particularly the publication of inaccurate or misleading scientific data.

    Full article:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2016
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  7. Jazzy

    Jazzy Closed Account

    That was new to me. I got the whole thing in my post, I think. Agnotology is a word I expect I shall be using in the future. I shall have to learn to teach my spellchecker, though.
    Nice one.
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  8. JRBids

    JRBids Senior Member

    I like that word!

    "Instilling doubt" has always been a sales technique.
  9. tadaaa

    tadaaa Active Member

    this is all beautifully examined in the wonderful documentary - released last year called

    "Merchants of Doubt"


    it has a great line in it - "once revealed never concealed"

    it traces the anti-science agenda from the early 60's to the present day

    the "playbook" used by the tobacco industry to cast doubt on the Cancer/Tobacco link is used today

    after all "if you can "do" tobacco you can do anything"

    from asbestos, to fire retardants, to Ozone, to AGW denial, the same players, the same methodology

    doubt the science doubt the data

    The tobacco industry knew the science was robust in the 60's - their own scientists said so

    The Fossil fuel lobby knew the science was robust in the 90's - their own scientists said so
  10. tadaaa

    tadaaa Active Member

    the full movie seem to be on youtube - I won't link (actually quality is poor anyway)
  11. john Mont

    john Mont New Member

    CTs are like a religion to some people
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  12. StarshipBistroMath

    StarshipBistroMath New Member

    Why are these change agents publishing this nonsense on Chem-trails? What is the agenda? from #22

    I have been questioning this as well. Do they not know their misinformation could create anxiety or do they not care? Are they doing this because they are cons? It may be different for each agent.

    I have tried to explain the rationale as why earthquake forecasting/prediction is highly improbable in regards to Dutchsinse's work. Instead of I have received backlash from his followers, or from Dutch himself. His followers think he's the one telling them the "truth" and that certain organizations (USGS) are trying to hide earthquakes from them. All the while the followers seem to not recognize that Dutch gets his earthquake updates from these organizations and that earthquake data would not even be available without the USGS. He has also misreported a quake this past week, stating that M3.0+ hit Mt. Rainier. The raw data was received around 2am and wasn't updated until the following day, which it turned out that there were 2 smaller quakes. However it didn't matter, I punched in the original USGS coordinates from the clip Dutch showed and the raw data showed the quake happened south of Mt. Rainier and not on the volcano. Calling seismic activity on a volcano has the potential to cause a stir, and calling false seismic activity is something else. I even commented on his report that the quake didn't occur within 30km of Mt. Rainier. Nothing. If any of his followers simply took the coordinates from Dutch's post and zoomed in on Google maps... they would clearly see where the activity took place.
  13. Jay Reynolds

    Jay Reynolds Senior Member

    Pure and True Belief requires no further confirmation, and it certainly doesn't wish for scrutiny.
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  14. tinkertailor

    tinkertailor Senior Member

    That and more.
    When someone believes (or wants to believe) something as intently as some CTers do, they surround themselves in it. It becomes more than an opinion or belief when their friends and acquaintances share it, hours upon hours of their life are devoted to it, they think about it most the day, they try to get the word out all the time, etc.
    Dropping the belief becomes complicated; it isn't a matter of just changing one's own beliefs but potentially losing friends, losing purpose, knowing that a great deal of their lives have been 'wasted' on the theory.
    It must just be easier for them to keep denying, fabricating evidence, looking away, and believing.
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  15. Marin B

    Marin B Active Member

    I was reminded of this thread yesterday when I listened to an episode on StarTalk radio. The topic was belief in UFOs and alien visitation (more detailed description below). The guest host of the show, an astronomer from the SETI institute, made an observation about the strong conviction of believers regardless of the evidence (or lack thereof) and said "
    (rough quote from my own transcription of the podcast - taken at about minute 31).

    From my own experience I think there's something to this.

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  16. Hama Neggs

    Hama Neggs Senior Member

    Agree. There has always been an aspect of thinking that un-trained people can just 'figure stuff out' from simple personal observations. They try to apply that thinking to areas like astronomy with predictable results. They have no real idea how to do the careful and precise observations which would be necessary. Science is hard, but they want to think it's easy.
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  17. BopBox

    BopBox New Member

    Hey there! I'm here today as someone who in the past has been subscribed to Peter Kuzsnir's YouTube channels and enjoyed hearing what he had to say even if it was out there in terms of subject matter. The spell was broken when I saw the way he responds to those who don't share his views or beliefs even those who respectfully disagree. Suddenly there is an anger outburst where he swears, hurls insults such as "c*ckbreath" or spits out fury with lines like "I don't give a f*ck what you think" and even more laughably asks the person to show proof for their views when he's working from an entirely subjective and unprovable viewpoint. The hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    I'm always wary of those who have to resort to anger and attack those who simply hold a different view. He always has to be right as if he is the authority, the last word on everything. He comes across as a bully and he's barely intelligible when interviewed, lots of Word Salad and tangential ramblings, attempting to find connections in things which are purely coincidental. What you've gone through TWCobra doesn't surprise me. You said something he didn't like and he ensured your post was pulled. You're probably better off out of that site. A very recent video of his (not about chem trails) but about something he bangs on about with monotonous regularity could have been easily proved or disproved by him personally attending the scene just a few miles from where he lives but I feel he would rather believe in a lie than be faced with a truth that he might be uncomfortable with as you have experienced by offering to show him round planes to show him that chem trailing is not occurring.

    I get the very strong feeling that people like PK need to believe in nefarious activities happening because they can't handle life on its own terms. I am no longer a believer in chem trails and instead opt to believe in a good world run by largely decent people who work for the greater good of humanity and not out to hurt and deceive us all of the time. That's not to say deceit doesn't occur, just that it's not the standard modus operandi of those who are in positions of power. This is a great site and I'm glad I found it. Ironically PK has led me to truth. Fancy that ;)
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  18. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    IFreakingLoveScience covered a couple of studies on 'People Who Believe Conspiracy Theories':

    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 15, 2017
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  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    That idea that conspiracists "just want to be unique" is a sweeping generalization not really supported by the papers cited or the intermediate Psypost article. The Lantian paper “I Know Things They Don’t Know!” gives several lists of different factors and consequences. Here I've reformatted the opening paragraphs to highlight the lists:

    Then the actual thesis:
    and conclusion
    So essentially it's one of several possible factors.

    It is, however, one borne out by the accounts of former believers (at least those with a degree of introspection). They often recognize that they had a feeling of specialness and importance when they started their journey down the rabbit hole.

    The lists of "why" reasons are not necessarily root answers to the "why" question. "Why" begats "why", and while people may well be more likely to believe in conspiracy theories because they respond more to feeling special than other people, that is hardly the whole story. Why do they have need to be special? Doesn't everyone?

    Clearly though, these factors play parts in the minds of conspiracists. Communication is based on understanding, and while it's difficult to use broad generalizations when dealing with individuals it's still a useful framework with which to approach the problem.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2017
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  20. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    or perhaps the question is 'why choose cts to feel special?'. You can feel unique by becoming Wiccan, tattooing your body all over or piercing your face, going Goth (for one example), you can trun yourself into Barbie or a cat, you can excel at a certain intellectual skill or physical activity, you can become a real activist and/or advocate, etc etc.
    • Like Like x 2
  21. Ph_

    Ph_ Closed Account

    Going further with that need to feel special, the following explains a bit why it's so difficult to get through to CTs

  22. Graham2001

    Graham2001 Active Member

    Something that came out of an email exchange with Sharon Hill, is that a lot of conspiracy/supernaturally oriented groups (UFO Believers, Chemtrailers, Alt-Medders, Anti-GMO Activists, et al) will often prioritize individual experience as being the best form of evidence and often use it as a way of dismissing criticism of their ideas and reinforce the group identity. The key phrase being "You have to have experienced it to have the right to comment on it." where 'it' is whatever bugbear the group has.
  23. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    With regard to being a supposedly 'spiritually-inclined' person, I can tickbox pretty much all of those CT factors and traits.

    Something to think about. ;)
  24. cloudspotter

    cloudspotter Senior Member

    That sounds like a lot of hard work. Can't I just watch a video and Look Up?

    Which I think is part of the issue these days; it's very easy to be a conspiracy theorist/activist with social media and video sharing.
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  25. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    That's true: being a CTer doesn't necessarily require anyone to actually do anything, other than maybe take in and believe certain information, and then perhaps have conversations about it. All Deirdre's examples, for instance, probably involve, at a bare minimum, leaving the house.

    But...are CTer's necessarily lazy people? People who always take the easy option? I wouldn't say that's true, in my experience. Mainly I've met chemtrail believers, and they seem as as hardworking, energetic and involved as anyone. More than anything, they just seem sincerely afraid, and to truly believe based on what they feel is 'good, logical evidence.'
  26. Ph_

    Ph_ Closed Account

    These are all just contributing factors.
    It does not mean that someone, even if he has all contributing factors, automatically becomes a CT.
    It just slightly nudges them in one way or another.
  27. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    But maybe you only met the ones who left the house?

    Of course some conspiracy theory believers do quite a bit of work. Some engage in a variety programs, some spend a lot of time making videos of their own. There's people who travel long distances to meet up with like minded believers. Some of the more eccentric will travel around trying to neutralize the effects of chemtrails with orgonite.

    But like all things there's a spectrum, there's various types and various extremes.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  28. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

  29. Buzzerb

    Buzzerb New Member

    This is probably way off topic, but I saw mattstopchemtrails was noted as being in north brisbane. As a brisbanite myself, do you think some contrail footage could be helpful in proving that contrails are common here?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2017
  30. Marin B

    Marin B Active Member

    I have a relative who believes in just about every conspiracy ever promoted except for flat earth (knock on wood...). This person sends me youtube videos, website links, etc. to try to enlighten me. Most recently I've been informed about an underground city in Antarctica. Supposedly it is where the Nazis used to work with the reptilian aliens to develop advanced UFO warfare, and it is now part of a secret U.S. space program. (seriously crazy stuff that actually makes flat earth sound not too far-fetched). I keep hearing the same names over and over again associated with this CT - Corey Goode, Michael Sala, David Wilcock and others. I noticed that they often cross-reference each other's websites, books, products, etc. So I suggested to my relative that maybe these people are working together to promote this CT so that they can continue to make money by selling books, giving lectures, getting youtube hits, etc. It seemed to me that for a brief few seconds my relative actually considered this possibility. I don't know if this would be considered reverse psychology, but it's the only CT counterpoint I've made in the past few years that has seemed to resonate with this person -- a conspiracy to promote a conspiracy.
  31. Critical Thinker

    Critical Thinker Senior Member

    From the European Journal of Social Psychology via ScienceAlert.

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  32. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Article on the BBC website today about CT psychology:


    Main points have all been addressed here before: desire for uniqueness; anxiety and a feeling of powerlessness; a need for order; rejection of science; distrust, perhaps stemming from parental relationships; etc.

    Refers to quite a few studies, though, which might be useful.

    Very interesting, too, that the author mentions a "pioneering experiment" which quizzed readers on online articles before they were allowed to comment on them, thereby ensuring that: a) they had actually read them; and b) that they understood them to some degree. Thing is, the page he links to is actually one which questions the results of the experiment.

    How ironic. ;)
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2018
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  33. Willie

    Willie Member

    I think the Gospel of Phillip example didn't fit very nicely.
  34. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    I've been thinking a bit more lately about how best to engage with conspiracy theorists and others with faulty beliefs, and what my own role should be in this. I find less and less interest in engaging with them, which appears to be partly as a result of the apparent fruitlessness of it (for me, at least, and mostly thinking 'online'), and partly through a few recent real world interactions.

    I recently shared a living space with a woman who told me, pretty soon after our initial meeting, that "they were spraying a lot that day". I didn't say anything, and I felt strangely good about that. I got to know her over the course of a few weeks and she was a nice kind woman and a wonderful and generous cook. I later found out, after she'd left, that both her and her husband were flat earthers. There was a very slight disappointment at a missed opportunity for a real-life debate (still never had one) but mainly I realised I doubt I would have bothered.

    What would be the point? She wasn't a danger to herself or anyone. And, sure, her belief in chemtrails didn't seem to make her happy - but it seemed more like the belief was as a result of her already-present inner-fear, rather than the cause of it.

    It's really been leading me on a course of contemplating all these various beliefs as a manifestation of an inner-state, and that my seeking to address faulty beliefs with "facts" isn't going to work. It's like trying to treat only the symptoms, rather than the illness. And I've also seen lately how tightly people cling to their beliefs, whether CT or otherwise, not because the fact of the thing serves them, but because it's somehow wrapped up in their deepest ideas of themselves and the world. Facts which threaten these beliefs, then, are experienced as an attack on the self, rather than harmless and interesting points for discussion, easily let go of when shown incorrect. It's no wonder they are resisted so strongly.

    I thought this passage from a book called 'Cognitive-behavioural Therapy with Delusions and Hallucinations' was interesting:
    The preceding passage also states that "If, at any time during therapy, it appears that the person does not want to lose their delusional beliefs or hallucinations, or is ambivalent about losing them, then therapy should be suspended immediately."

    While the issues addressed in this book are quite different and generally more deep-seated than the average conspiracy theorist, it does seem to tie in with my current line of thinking and strengthens my resolve to think more carefully when engaging in discussions that, while appearing to be about facts and beliefs, may actually be about self-identity and self-esteem - especially since I'm not really in a position to offer someone a replacement for the positive things they currently get from a belief in, for example, flat earth.

    I've reflected on this before, but it seems I'm moving closer and closer to a place of "live and let live" - which seems like quite a nice place to be.

    I'm also becoming more curious about "the psychology of debunkers" - and, of course, my own role in all this.

    What's driving us? What potentially unrealised parts of our own psyches have got us involved in this game?

    It seems stranger all the time to see the same youtube names - intelligent, talented people - giving so much time and energy to debating flat earth believers. Some are posting long videos almost daily. It must be an enormous investment. And all for engaging with people who are, for the most part, in completely different intellectual leagues, and clearly never going to concede an inch.

    How satisfying can that be? What hole are they (and we) filling with all this? What would they do with themselves were debunking to suddenly become obsolete?

    We've all mused on what the underlying motivations of the CTist may be - control, security, specialness, etc - and perhaps our own motivations aren't so far removed.

    We're a curious bunch, interested in the deeper aspects of life - perhaps this is something we should get into?

    Though I will say I absolutely think debunking has its place, and a valuable one at that - especially in the way that Mick and Metabunk, for the most part, goes about it. It seems to be the right way. It's ultimately creating a resource for people who are ready to go beyond false and limiting beliefs to dip into. It forces no one to change their minds. It doesn't stroll into their homes and invade their living spaces. Like the CBT mentioned above, it's help for those who want help - which, as we all know, is when help actually works.

    Wrenching beliefs from others, on the other hand, doesn't work, and is more than a little rude - whether it's who did 9/11, various aspects of Christianity, or the non-existent connection between lunar and menstrual cycles. These people get something from all of this - and unless I have something to offer them that's better than what it is they're getting, I probably need to back off.

    It's not facts and truth they're looking for. It's something a little more deep-seated than that.

    As for whether we still need to enter their domains in order to counter the flow of misinformation and aid those teetering on the edge...yes, maybe we do - though I'm still not clear on that either. Being led astray is a two-person dance. Desiring facts and truth is not difficult to arrive at, given how high up metabunk is on google searches. Anyone really on the search for a correct explanation will find it.

    Is it possible that people will always believe whatever they want to believe, and that all modification of those beliefs and their associated behaviours will always come from within?

    I'm also starting to work more with developing an understanding that faulty beliefs are actually a tiny part of a person, and that their role in people's lives and the world is most likely blown out of proportion by the way they're presented to me, in videos, in forums, in articles, in news stories. If all I see of a woman on youtube are her DEW videos I might think she's cuckoo crazy. But perhaps that's just one hour of her week and the rest of the time she's out there having a laugh, being lovely, enjoying the planet, playing sports. Like the chemtrailer I met the other week: it just wasn't a defining feature.

    Getting that in my head is something I'd like to work on more, along with contemplating what deeper need all of our beliefs are satisfying.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
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  35. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    While I don't care if you choose to 'live and let live' with the people you encounter, I gotta say your quote is some SERIOUS cherry picking of the book you linked. Did someone send you that quote or did you actually read the book?

    A schizophrenic believing they are a secret service agent, a 4 year old girl or that their neighbor is their father in order not to have a mental breakdown from reality, is a bit different then a non-mentally ill woman believing a youtube video she watched.

    In my 4 or so years looking into the CT world (hundreds of believers) there are only 2 people I would not engage vehemently because I believe their CT beliefs "may be" part of a larger serious mental issue. And even those people I would have no issue saying "actually, they are [airquotes] spraying [end airquotes] us everyday. The white lines are only due to temperature and high atmospheric humidity freezing the [airquote]spraying [end airquote] so that we visually see it. It's there whether you see it or not."

    You are definitely overthinking things.
  36. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Nah. I think I'm thinking just about the right amount. Or maybe not quite enough. ;)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  37. deirdre

    deirdre Moderator Staff Member

    well based on how you seem to be defining 'delusional', you may be 'delusional' so I won't argue with you. ;)
  38. skephu

    skephu Senior Member

    This is acceptable in a psychology book but we should consider more than just the psychological well-being of the individual. On the whole, CTs seem to have a rather destructive effect on society. So a person making youtube videos and thus potentially converting thousands of others to conspiracy beliefs is not something totally harmless.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  39. benotto

    benotto New Member

    Rory. Read up on treating addictions like booze or drugs. From the varied type treatment centers with 80% success to independent studies with reported 5% success rates long term.

    People only give up the addiction IF they are truly motivated be it cold turkey or deep religious counceling.

    Any other belief is the same if a person has it. CT or a faith for the lucky ones that are assured salvation. From whatever evils they fear.

    Some will never have that assurance and if beset by fears and doubts it could be scary.
    Others take it as a challenge to discover and grow. Knowing full well he or she may only know a small portion of what is in this world to know.

    You are right. Quiet respect of others that are not the same as yourself goes farther. Avoid the dangerous or destructive ones. Usually they will fail themselves far better than you could ever do to change them.

    Yes. It is hard to live and let live in every case. Some just need YOUR GOOD EXAMPLE to change themselves and others will need to fix your goofy way of thinking, as they see you.
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018
  40. Rory

    Rory Senior Member

    Well of course I'm delusional, to some degree. Who isn't? ;)
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2018