The internet - fertalizer for discontent ?

Leifer

Senior Member.
Distrust in government has been around ever since someone thought a government might be a good idea.

Instant global communication via the internet, not only allows fabulous continued learning well past a person's college years, but as most of us here know, includes within it: incorrect facts, bunk science, and other pseudo-knowledge.

What I'm interested in here is.....the free-form invention and dissemination of governmental conspiracies that become true beliefs to an increasing number of people, even though there is no real evidence of such conspiracies.....via the internet.

It seems to me, in mostly all cases, these conspiracies can be called "suspicions"....but conspiracy theorists claim them to be "true".

I suppose there are different levels of belief (or disbelief):
1) There are those that only "suspect", and genuinely admit that.
2) There are others that "suspect", but announce "they know".
3) Then there are others that demand they "know", and alter their lives around that belief.

#1....is a decent segment of the population, and may alter their political views because of such suspicions, and chat-up their thoughts at the internet water cooler.
#2....these people are armchair proclaimers, the most gullible, and therefor spread the most bunk on the internet. I say they only secretly "suspect", because if they genuinely thought these things were true, they would be in the next category (3). -- (or they're just lazy.)
#3....These are the protesters, web/blog builders, and podcast/radio hosts/lecturers....who lead and spread the conspiracy ideas.

Is there a 4th ?....the truly delusional stage, that are willing to act-out criminally ?

With the majority of #2 and (all of)#3 distrusting science and true evidence, I believe this is building to an "internet mob-mentality" that is going a bit viral, and this worries me.

Here is where I am asking for your thoughts....
I have not been debunking long, but the subject interests me.
I have not delved too deeply on the mind-science of distrust (yet), so I remain open to altering my views.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
There certainly is a 4th, just look at Timothy McVeigh. In fact if you look at the instances of domestic terrorism, there's often some kind of conspiracy mind-set behind it. Especially in the militia movement. Even if it's not based on conspiracy theory, there's still often a large component of irrational reasoning in there - like say with Ted Kaczynski.

Fortunately there's not too many. But I too am worried by the trends that are springing up with the changes in the way people communicate. The interent is a new way in which people can get very rapid and sustained support for their unusual ideas. The implications of this shift are not entirely clear.

I plan to write more on this topic in the near future.
 

Ross Marsden

Senior Member.
I am sure there is a book in this chemtrail scare... tracking how it started, where it went and how it ends (if it does).
There is at least a Psychology master's or PhD thesis in it.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
New Scientist 13 November has an editorial & article that points out that rationality is probably a minority human behaviour - Western, Educated, Intelligent, Rational, Democratic - WEIRD! comprises at most 10% of human population.

As the editorial states - "....the clearer it becomes that they (irrational beliefs) are perfectly normal. Human beings are not wired for logic. Irrationality is our default state, and overcoming it is hard work."

I reckon a few billion years of evolution gave rise to "fight or flight" - not stand there and assess the situation to decide the optimal outcome (that bit isn't in NS! :))

I think..hope...that rationality allows us to study irationality and do something to improve on it - and that the reverse is nto the case!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Very interesting. I'm not sure if you're saying that relates to your original post though?
 

Leifer

Senior Member.
Yes, I am....sotra.

Referring to another type of "internet mob mentality".
Whether it's right or wrong in this instance, I won't make that judgment.
It does show the effectiveness of our technology these days.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think though cutting it off now is too late to stop the mob from forming. It's more to do with stopping them from organizing. Mobs in the past have been hampered by their lack of communication, and now if everyone can coordinate via twitter or facebook, then it make them a lot harder to handle. This internet blocking is like blocking an enemy army's radios.

For a "fertilizer for discontent", I think the "damage" was already done.
 
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