Study: "Dead and Alive: Beliefs in Contradictory Conspiracy Theories"

JFDee

Senior Member.
A Study from University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, looks at logic and contradictions in conspiracy theories. Excerpt from the abstract:
The present research shows that even mutually incompatible conspiracy theories are positively correlated in endorsement. In Study 1 (n = 137), the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered. In Study 2 (n = 102), the more participants believed that Osama Bin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the more they believed he is still alive.
Bottom line is that obvious contradictions in varying conspiracy theories are sort of levelled out by the believe in the "common enemy", the ones charged with the covering-up.

Link to the abstract, study is available as PDF there:
http://m.spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/18/1948550611434786
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think these contradictions come about because the theorists do not actually fully embrace any particular alternative narrative, other than a very strong disbelief in the official story. They will tall you that 9/11 was a controlled demolition, but will be very light on the details, allowing them to fluidly shift between a variety of techniques.

Some contradictions are from just a basic lack of understanding of simple science. In the chemtrail theory, you often get people who claim to notice a strange smell, and feel ill, just a few minutes after a plane passes overhead. They hold this observation simultaneously with complaining about how the trail then hangs oddly in the sky for hours

They see no contradiction between something that:

A) Hurtles towards the ground invisibly at 100mph
and
B) Remains visible, yet weightlessly suspended six miles overhead (and generally 5-20 miles to the side)

Nor are they aware of any contradiction between saying contrails should evaporate, but clouds should.

Often things that are seemingly contradictory are bizarrely combined into one meta-theory. A normal person would think the idea of spraying substances into the air to simultaneously detect UFOs and spread Morgellons disease to be a rather odd idea. Yet Carnicom manages to hold these two ideas and five other simultaneuoulsy in his mind.

http://www.examiner.com/exopolitics...rt-operation-for-total-control-detecting-ufos

In the ExopoliticsTV interview, Mr. Carnicom details seven weapons applications of the covert global sprayed aerosols program that are being used to carry out over-all the goal of “absolute control” over the global human population.
These seven weapons applications of the sprayed aerosols are:
1. Biological operations, including the use of apparent bio-warfare, such as Morgellons disease, in the sprayed aerosols, constituting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Geneva conventions.
2. Military Operations, such as advanced radar applications, anti-missile Star Wars applications.
3. Electromagnetic Operations, including HAARP directed energy scalar weapons and mind control weapons applications, constituting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Geneva conventions.
4. Environmental modification and weather wars. Mr. Carnicom stated he has concluded that the covert aerosol-spraying program has transformed the atmosphere of the planet into plasma capable of sustaining weaponized applications since its acceleration in 1999. This constitutes a violation of the 1978 Treaty against Modification of the Environment.
5. Geophysical operations, including tectonic (earthquake) warfare, constituting war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Geneva conventions.
6. An advanced surveillance system capable of covert surveillance of the entire human population.
7. Detection of exotic propulsion systems, including detection of off-planet or interdimensional UFOs.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
An example from just 30 minutes ago:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread803091/pg28#pid13372587

How do you tell a chemtrail from a persistent contrail?
Vapour trail evaporates and con/chemtrails stay and spread, you see contrail is a chemtrail no matter how you explain it, water fuel fumes gas all chemicals also, therefore if it comes from a plane and stays around, it's a chemtrails.

They are different, and yet the same.
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
This reminds me of a conspiracist in my family. He says the moon landing was a hoax because of some radiation belt (that no person can survive) somewhere between the earth and the moon, yet he believes there are man-made structures on the moon. :confused:
 

JFDee

Senior Member.
In the conclusion of the study (p.6), the authors reflect about the social/group aspects:
There may also be an element
of self-presentation and conflict avoidance in the vagueness
observed by Clarke: If multiple contradictory theories are
simultaneously believed by many in a conspiracist community,
endorsing one in particular is tantamount to denying the others
and may provoke a backlash.
I wonder what that would mean for the debunking side. What would be the expected reaction if the contradictions are pointed out emphatically?

Once "The Great Culling" is out, there may be an opportunity for a nice case study ...
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
In the conclusion of the study (p.6), the authors reflect about the social/group aspects:I wonder what that would mean for the debunking side. What would be the expected reaction if the contradictions are pointed out emphatically?

Once "The Great Culling" is out, there may be an opportunity for a nice case study ...

Interesting. So, conspiracists are conspiring to not acknowledge contradictions in their conspiracies in order to protect their conspiracies! LOL!

But seriously, we should begin a list of contradictions contained in all these conspiracy theories. I'd love to see some of these conspiracists get caught between contradictions.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
THE FOLLOWING FEW POSTS WERE SPLIT OFF FROM:
https://www.metabunk.org/showthread.php?p=39820#post39820



Agreed. Attempting to characterize conspiracy theorists as a bunch of 'crazy people', and those 'crazy people' as being inherently prone to violence is also just ignorant and offensive bullshit. Which of those themes is more dominant in this thread, when looking at it with as unbiased an eye as you can manage?

I'm really not inclined to sift through 4 pages of this thread to see who said what and how their comments could or could not have been misinterpreted in an attempt to determine the prevalence of themes.

I will say that claiming conspiracy theorists are inherently prone to violence is demonstrably false.

I would support the suggestion that conspiracy theorists tend to be somewhat irrational.

 
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F4Jock

Senior Member.
Hey! If Schrodinger's Cat an be both dead and alive so can Diana and Elvis....

in any case I agree with both of your assertions, except that I take issue with your use of the word "somewhat."
 

Oxymoron

Banned
Banned
I'm really not inclined to sift through 4 pages of this thread to see who said what and how their comments could or could not have been misinterpreted in an attempt to determine the prevalence of themes.

I will say that claiming conspiracy theorists are inherently prone to violence is demonstrably false.

I would support the suggestion that conspiracy theorists tend to be somewhat irrational.


Seems like the writers made up a load of junk for the consumption of the gullible and you seem to have swallowed it. :)

I note they cite no sources: "Believing Osama is still alive," they write, 'is no obstacle to believing that he has been dead for years."

Are we seriously expected to believe: People who believed that "when the raid took place, OBL was already dead," were significantly more likely to also believe that "OBL is still alive."

or

The more people thought there "was an official campaign by the intelligence service to assassinate Diana," the more they also believed that "Diana faked her own death to retreat into isolation."

They are obviously promulgating that conspiracy theorists are delusional idiots. Who on earth would believe OBL was already dead before the raid and then maintain he is still alive after?

It is similar to the debunker theory that the Boston bombers acted because of 'conspiracy theories'.

I thought you had more sense T... but then we can all make mistakes... Hope you recover soon :)
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
I note they cite no sources:

Google is your friend.

[...]
 

Oxymoron

Banned
Banned
Google is your friend.

BTW, this is exactly what I was talking about in post #133 above. You blurt out a comment without even doing the very minimum of research. Had you at the very least done a search on the title, it would have taken you to the abstract where you would have found the sources yourself. sigh.

Useful then? What is your username and passcode? :)

http://m.spp.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/01/18/1948550611434786.full.pdf
I always put sources where applicable on MY POSTS.
 

Oxymoron

Banned
Banned
The abstract is completely unrepresentative and IMO shows gross professional misconduct/ineptitude/disinformation. Complete and utter FAIL

What it actually says is, People who believe OBL was dead before 2011 raid and people who believe he is still alive are both likely to believe there is a cover up

Well that would not even constitute a theory, because if either one is true the cover up must be FACT.

Trigger Hippie posting Bunk... Keep on the straight and narrow or you will become the debunkers version of AJ:)
If this is true, they must have funded it themselves. I wonder if they also paid to publish, (which is just wondering... not a criticism)
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Are you trying to imply there is no connection between belief in a conspiracy and irrational behaviour?
How do you interpret the harrasment of Gene Rosen by believers in a false flag conspiracy following the Newtown massacre?
Clearly behaviour indicative of a psychopathic lack of empathy directly linked to a belief.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
The abstract is completely unrepresentative and IMO shows gross professional misconduct/ineptitude/disinformation. Complete and utter FAIL... What it actually says is, People who believe OBL was dead before 2011 raid and people who believe he is still alive are both likely to believe there is a cover up

Here is the full abstract from the paper

The study shows that some conspiracy theorist's are likely to believe in mutually contradictory conspiracies. For instance one in which Osama is dead and another conspiracy in which he is alive. The study suggests that the conspiracies themselves are not as relevant or important as the world view they reinforce. In this case the world view being that the government is involved in a cover-up. It was shown that conspiracy theorists can simultaneously believe in two contradictory theories when both reinforce and support the conspiracist's belief that the government is covering something up.



Apparently the answer to that question is: yes.


If this is true, they must have funded it themselves.

Would the study be more credible to you if it had been funded by a government grant?

I wonder if they also paid to publish, (which is just wondering... not a criticism)

The article was published in a journal called "Social Psychological and Personality Science" which is described as a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes papers in the field of Psychology. The journal is jointly owned by four scientific organizations.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
They are obviously promulgating that conspiracy theorists are delusional idiots.

No they're not. Did you read the study?


Who on earth would believe OBL was already dead before the raid and then maintain he is still alive after?

Some conspiracy theorists either don't realize or ignore the fact that they believe in contradictory theories. It's all explained in the study.

http://images.derstandard.at/2012/02/22/Dead and Alive.pdf
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
Hey! If Schrodinger's Cat an be both dead and alive so can Diana and Elvis....

in any case I agree with both of your assertions, except that I take issue with your use of the word "somewhat."

FFS I have just had a real thick moment. I have been wondering how a cat can be both Diana and Elvis. I need to sort some glasses.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
But seriously, we should begin a list of contradictions contained in all these conspiracy theories.

I've been reading a little about the psychology of conspiracy theories. Particularly trying to understand the study mentioned in the OP; how is it that people can believe in contradictory theories? Just by chance I came across this post by CWC in another thread.

"I began to see that I was becoming so irrational that I believed opposing views of the same story. On the one hand I didn't believe that planes hit the towers or the Pentagon, nor did a plane crash in that PA field, and yet on the other hand I believed that the planes that hit the twin towers could not have caused the collapses. In other words, I had all angles covered with the belief that one of them was true. This is ludicrous. "

https://www.metabunk.org/posts/29616
 
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