College Course on Conspiracies

MikeG

Senior Member.
I followed up on a suggestion that Mick made back in post #54.

Towards the end of the semester, I submitted the 2013 Public Policy Polling (PPP) survey to five sections of introductory history students. I received 124 responses from a group of kids who represent a fairly general cross section of the school.

The results are attached. As noted, the first percentage comes from my conspiracy class, the second from the introductory history students, and the third from the national survey.

The results were interesting.

In some cases, specifically questions #2, 4, 12, 13, 17, and 19, the introductory students were closer to the national survey than my class.

In other cases, questions #1, 3, 5, 9, 11, 15, 18, and 20, they almost split the difference between my class and the PPP respondents.

In only a few instances, was the general student population close to my conspiracy class. That was true with respect to the moon landing (Question #7), whether Barack Obama is the anti-Christ (Question #8), and mind-control technology (Question #16).

I did notice that students in the surveys indicated “not sure” more often in their answers.


There is nothing definitive here given the sample size, but I could put a few ideas forward.

It looks like students interested in taking a conspiracy class are much more vested in them than the regular student body or the public at large.

Demographics and ideology are distinct features. All the student respondents are young, which may explain why so many listed “unsure” in their answers or, conversely were more readily willing to believe in some theories.

The general student population also tended to be more male (64% versus 57%) and more politically moderate (52% versus 30%).


Additional comments and questions are definitely welcome.
 

Attachments

  • Conspiracy Survey Results Updated.docx
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MikeG

Senior Member.
I had an interesting moment in my conspiracy class this week. We were finishing up the section that covers chemtrails and contrails. As part of the class, I showed part of What in the World are They Spraying that covers Dane Wigington’s property in California.

Pond.png
We went over the lab report that Michael J. Murphy cited in the movie.

One student asked why there were fish in a pond that was so highly toxic. Fair point.

I have a few science majors in class. One studies geology and another environmental sciences.

The environmental studies student was fairly bursting at the seams after watching the movie. He was particularly focused on Wigington’s statements about the pond liner that was supposed to ensure the water remained pristine.

My student made the point that the liner would basically make all the material that settled on the bottom of the pond even more concentrated than a normal body of water. The pond sludge –comprised of windborne dust and runoff—examined in the lab report would, as a result would have even higher concentrations of all elements present.

He was exactly right.

That was a good day to be a teacher.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
My student made the point that the liner would basically make all the material that settled on the bottom of the pond even more concentrated than a normal body of water. The pond sludge –comprised of windborne dust and runoff—examined in the lab report would, as a result would have even higher concentrations of all elements present.
I don't get it. I haven't seen the movie so am unfamiliar with the pond construction, what run off? And isn't most sludge in a fake pond from fish droppings and sun (algae)?. also unlike natural ponds, fake ponds usually have filters. although if your filter system rots, you'd need to add chemicals from time to time.

Basically.. did your student provide evidence of this?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, it's not really clear why would a lined pond have more aluminum in the bottom sludge than a natural pond that sits on dirt and rock which is 8% aluminum?

The pond was discussed quite a bit here in the context of my debate with Dane:
https://www.metabunk.org/posts/60877/
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
I don't get it. I haven't seen the movie so am unfamiliar with the pond construction, what run off? And isn't most sludge in a fake pond from fish droppings and sun (algae)?. also unlike natural ponds, fake ponds usually have filters. although if your filter system rots, you'd need to add chemicals from time to time.

Basically.. did your student provide evidence of this?

We took it directly from What in the World are They Spraying. At 29:46, Murphy uses an establishing shot for the pond.

WWTS.png

It sits right at the base of a few hills on Wigington's property.

btw, I also used some of Mick's responses in the debate with Wigington.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
"Critical Thinking 101"

I was once told that a rebellious teacher offered a "Critical Thinking" class, at a small college.
(lost the link, but imagining such a scenario could exist)
But the class was about criticizing (critiquing) the establishment and the powers that govern us, and adding weight to conspiracies.
The professor was misinforming his students as to what 'critical thinking' really is.
It's not about a (subjective) emotional critique, it's about examining all aspects of a topic, and how the mind interprets available data, and to understand how to evaluate objectively.

The teacher was providing a disservice, by implying that critical thinking is a method of expressing dissatisfaction.

Some insightful blogging, from a teacher :
https://theactivistclassroom.wordpr...on-teaching-students-about-critical-thinking/
 
Last edited:

MikeG

Senior Member.
That is Lake Shasta. The pond is a lot smaller.

Good to know.

So, I need to find the actual pond and then compare it to a topographical map. That will establish whether or not it is downslope of any of the hills on the property.

I'll use the link that Mick provided in the post above.
 

MikeG

Senior Member.
"Critical Thinking 101"

I was once told that a rebellious teacher offered a "Critical Thinking" class, at a small college.
(lost the link, but imagining such a scenario could exist)
But the class was about criticizing (critiquing) the establishment and the powers that govern us, and adding weight to conspiracies.
The professor was misinforming his students as to what 'critical thinking' really is.
It's not about a (subjective) emotional critique, it's about examining all aspects of a topic, and how the mind interprets available data, and to understand how to evaluate objectively.

The teacher was providing a disservice, by implying that critical thinking is a method of expressing dissatisfaction.

Some insightful blogging, from a teacher :
https://theactivistclassroom.wordpr...on-teaching-students-about-critical-thinking/

I agree.

I think we misinterpret critical thinking with being contrary.

I learned a really long time ago that teaching was not a matter of winning arguments, but passing along tools to understand issues and discuss them as part of a civil discourse.

Sadly, that sounds like pie-in-the-sky these days, but it doesn't mean that I'll stop trying.
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Unfortunately, the word "Critical" can have both, an objective and a subjective definition.
'Critical' can mean "the importance of understanding or specifying something, to the most minute detail."
or
"Critical', "to evaluate something, based on personal understandings,feelings or biases.....the result of a 'critique'."
 
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