Developing a Conspiracy Compass

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The thread on the Political Compass was interesting, but mostly because there was no clear distinction between the conspiracy minded and skeptics/debunkers. Everyone was more or less in the left wing libertarian quadrant.

So I suggest we develop a new test, the "Conspiracy Compass" which says where you fall on a similar two-dimensional spectrum for issues relating to the conspiracy culture.

There's a number of possible axes, of which we need to pick two, maybe:

A) Trust of the powerful. The degree to which you trust the rich and powerful. Ranging from -10 (blind trust that everyone is basically good, open, and honest) to +10 (all of reality is constructed and everything is a lie for the benefit of the elite).

B) Divergence from mainstream reality. The degree to which your belief contradict or agree with mainstream science. -10 (everything is mainstream science based), through 0 (nor really that engaged with science on way or another) to +10 (Everything is anti-science or pseudo science)

I can do the coding for the surveys and graphing the results. But need to decide what the spectrum is, and what the questions will be.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And maybe a more suspicious minded reader could suggest how to make it more accurate from their perspective.
 
J

Joe

Guest
The thread on the Political Compass was interesting, but mostly because there was no clear distinction between the conspiracy minded and skeptics/debunkers. Everyone was more or less in the left wing libertarian quadrant.

So I suggest we develop a new test, the "Conspiracy Compass" which says where you fall on a similar two-dimensional spectrum for issues relating to the conspiracy culture.

There's a number of possible axes, of which we need to pick two, maybe:

A) Trust of the powerful. The degree to which you trust the rich and powerful. Ranging from -10 (blind trust that everyone is basically good, open, and honest) to +10 (all of reality is constructed and everything is a lie for the benefit of the elite).

B) Divergence from reality. The degree to which your belief contradict or agree with science. -10 (everything is science based), through 0 (nor really that engaged with science on way or another) to +10 (Everything is anti-science or pseudo science)

I can do the coding for the surveys and graphing the results. But need to decide what the spectrum is, and what the questions will be.
sounds interesting
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Some obvious questions:

  1. The World Trade Center towers were brought down on 9/11 by covert controlled demolition.
  2. The US government is secretly in contact with alien races
  3. More than one gunman shot at JFK
  4. The Boston Marathon Bombing was staged with actors.
If we go down the route of the four answers (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree), then most likely the way it works is that each of the four answers would have two numbers, one to add to "Trust" and one to add to "Science", based on where just that one answer would put you on the scale.

So, say question 1.

Strongly Agree = +5, +3
Agree = +2, +1
Disagree = 0, -2
Strongly Disagree -2,-4

Obviously rather ad-hoc and skewed to my perspective though.
 
J

Joe

Guest
Some obvious questions:

  1. The World Trade Center towers were brought down on 9/11 by covert controlled demolition.
  2. The US government is secretly in contact with alien races
  3. More than one gunman shot at JFK
  4. The Boston Marathon Bombing was staged with actors.
If we go down the route of the four answers (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree), then most likely the way it works is that each of the four answers would have two numbers, one to add to "Trust" and one to add to "Science", based on where just that one answer would put you on the scale.

So, say question 1.

Strongly Agree = +5, +3
Agree = +2, +1
Disagree = 0, -2
Strongly Disagree -2,-4

Obviously rather ad-hoc and skewed to my perspective though.
id strongly disagree with all but # 3 Id say 0 on the Kennedy assassination Good questions .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
id strongly disagree with all but # 3 Id say 0 on the Kennedy assassination Good questions .

I think for the test to work then, it needs to be non-judgemental. So the "science" axis should maybe be more like the closeness to what might be described as "mainstream science", and/or the view of reality presented by the mainstream media. The idea is to describe how much you deviate from recieved reality, not how wrong you are.
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
Some obvious questions:

  1. The World Trade Center towers were brought down on 9/11 by covert controlled demolition.
  2. The US government is secretly in contact with alien races
  3. More than one gunman shot at JFK
  4. The Boston Marathon Bombing was staged with actors.
If we go down the route of the four answers (Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, Strongly Disagree), then most likely the way it works is that each of the four answers would have two numbers, one to add to "Trust" and one to add to "Science", based on where just that one answer would put you on the scale.

So, say question 1.

Strongly Agree = +5, +3
Agree = +2, +1
Disagree = 0, -2
Strongly Disagree -2,-4

Obviously rather ad-hoc and skewed to my perspective though.
The thing is that alot of conspiracy topics usually have some sort of spectrum. I know we can't possibly encompass all of them, but using 9/11 as an example; here are some of the main theories that people generally believe:

1. 9/11 was a mostly unforeseeable tragedy.
2. 9/11 was a gross failure of the commander in chief to take proper precautions.
3. The U.S. government allowed 9/11 to occur to pursue a neo conservative agenda.
4. The U.S. government cooperated with Al-Qaeda to bring down the WTC and pursue a neo conservative agenda.
5. 9/11 was a hoax orchestrated by controlled demolition and missiles.

Number 1 would probably be the most trusting option as it would indicate that you believe that the government had no credible advance knowledge.
Number 2 would be somewhat distrusting while recognizing that government and the establishment are not entirely infallible.
Number 3 is the obvious middle of the road. Doesn't rely on complex theories, just circumstantial evidence that seems to fit an agenda.
Number 4 is a bit more complex, but not quite middle of the road.
Number 5 is full conspiracy theorist.

I know there are other 9/11 theories out there like UFOs and holograms, but we should probably focus on main line conspiracy theories regarding topics. Perhaps this approach might be more comprehensive than a 'agree/disagree' checkbox.
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
Perhaps on the science axis place theories that outright fly in the face of modern science/medicine. Questions or rather statements to be evaluated could include.
You think vaccinations are a good thing.
If my body and spirit reached a correct frequency I will be healthy.
Homeopathy is superior to Western medicine.
Planet X is coming to destroy the world.
I think the pyramids were built by people.
The government is controlling the weather.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The thing is that alot of conspiracy topics usually have some sort of spectrum. I know we can't possibly encompass all of them, but using 9/11 as an example; here are some of the main theories that people generally believe:

1. 9/11 was a mostly unforeseeable tragedy.
2. 9/11 was a gross failure of the commander in chief to take proper precautions.
3. The U.S. government allowed 9/11 to occur to pursue a neo conservative agenda.
4. The U.S. government cooperated with Al-Qaeda to bring down the WTC and pursue a neo conservative agenda.
5. 9/11 was a hoax orchestrated by controlled demolition and missiles.

Number 1 would probably be the most trusting option as it would indicate that you believe that the government had no credible advance knowledge.
Number 2 would be somewhat distrusting while recognizing that government and the establishment are not entirely infallible.
Number 3 is the obvious middle of the road. Doesn't rely on complex theories, just circumstantial evidence that seems to fit an agenda.
Number 4 is a bit more complex, but not quite middle of the road.
Number 5 is full conspiracy theorist.

I know there are other 9/11 theories out there like UFOs and holograms, but we should probably focus on main line conspiracy theories regarding topics. Perhaps this approach might be more comprehensive than a 'agree/disagree' checkbox.

I think though we would want to show the entire spectrum, and hence test for it. There are a significant number of people who fall into the extremes of oddness (shape-shifting reptiles and pan-dimensional angels).
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
I scored a 1, probably on question #1. I think the answers were rather too polarized.
I agree about the questions. Was more just going with that line of, who controls a persons outcomes in life.

I also found this test. It is from a satire site though.
http://www.thesatirist.com/satires/PoliticalSatire/ConspiracyTheoryTest.html
I scored a 1.4 not a Conspiracy theorist. Though it would have probably been a little lower if they had a choice of aliens probably exist but haven't visited Earth.
 

jomper

Inactive Member
I suppose I've only got one issue on my compass -- WTC7. I wouldn't know where to fit in on the compass, I don't think. I don't have any answers based on conspiracy culture for what I imagine "actually" happened, I don't know who "they" might be if "they" engineered the event, and I'm not even interested in speculating about that.

I just find the explanation that's been offered for WTC7 inadequate to the evidence -- by which I mean, I think the science behind the official explanation is blurred pseudo-science rather than something that could reasonably stand up in court or withstand genuine, clear-minded and rational analysis by independent agents.

That's it though. I actually hate being in this position. It doesn't make me feel special and I don't feel I have access to privileged knowledge. I find it confusing and disturbing that I am in opposition to people who I respect on this question. It makes the world seem a more unpleasant place but not in a conspiratorial sense.

In pretty much every other question, I really have no opinion.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
It isn't pseudo-science. I had posted what Structure magazine had said. Also there is NO alternative explanation that is reasonable or explainable. Of course this is off topic.
 

jomper

Inactive Member
Yes, post in the uniqueness of WTC7 thread if you want to discuss it further. Expert consensus has held some appalling things to be true through history, which is why scientific verification is so important.

I just wanted to mention that I don't think I'd fit easily into a conspiracy compass, rather like single issue politicians don't always fit easily into the political spectrum. But in so far as I am a conspiracy theorist (not that I have much of an alternative theory, it's merely that I find the official explanation for WTC7 wholly inadequate) it's a deeply depressing and disturbing position to find oneself in, and not something I personally enjoy at all.
 

AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
I think though we would want to show the entire spectrum, and hence test for it. There are a significant number of people who fall into the extremes of oddness (shape-shifting reptiles and pan-dimensional angels).


That's true but I've been finding out more and more that the sky is the limit when it comes to conspiracy theorists.....

To illustrate; your more down to earth types might be Hannity and Limbaugh, a little further out and you get Glenn Beck. Move even further out and you get Alex Jones. And wayyy out there would be David Icke.

The question is where would we stop? I'm sure there are people who are more 'out there' than David Icke.


Perhaps having to sections of the questionnaire. The former portion would be generalized questions about trust of the government and mainstream media while the latter portion would be the science vs psuedo-science spectrum.

Perhaps more generalized answers that can encompass some of the more bizarre theories.


The events of 9/11 were:


1.) a mostly or entirely unforeseeable tragedy
2.) 9/11 was a gross failure of leadership to take proper precautions.
3.) Both (2) and (4)
4.) an event that was allowed to take place so the Bush Administration could pursue their agenda.
5.) an orchestrated false flag.


The world is ruled by:

1.) no particular person or group of people.
2.) the collective actions of political movements powerful world leaders and multi national corporations each with their own personal interests and agendas.
3.) the actions of large international financial institutions and corporations in chorus with powerful world leaders in pursuit of the same goal(s).
4.) a cabal of elite power brokers who are working towards (or have already established) global governance.
5.) a secret society of supernatural origins who are working towards (or have already established) global governance.


Numerology, astrology, the occult, etc. influence world leaders and their actions:
1.) Definitely
2.) Probably
3.) I do not know
4.) Unlikely
5.) Highly Unlikely


The science vs psuedo-science questions would be these


Aliens have visited earth in the distant past:
1.) Definitely
2.) Probably
3.) I do not know
4.) Unlikely
5.) Highly Unlikely


Evolution accurately explains the origins of human beings:

1.) Definitely
2.) Probably
3.) I do not know
4.) Unlikely
5.) Highly Unlikely


Aliens fostered the creation of life on earth:

1.) Definitely
2.) Probably
3.) I do not know
4.) Unlikely
5.) Highly Unlikely
 
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