The psychology of the CT believers

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
An interesting study from 1994 into "Belief in Conspiracy Theories":

http://crab.rutgers.edu/~goertzel/CONSPIRE.doc


Note: This paper was published in Political Psychology 15: 733-744, 1994. This is the original typescript sent to the journal, it does not include any editorial changes that may have been made. The journal itself is not available online, to my knowledge.





Belief in Conspiracy Theories

Ted Goertzel[1]


Running Head: Belief in Conspiracy Theories.

KEY WORDS: conspiracy theories, anomia, trust



A survey of 348 residents of southwestern New Jersey showed that most believed that several of a list of ten conspiracy theories were at least probably true. People who believed in one conspiracy were more likely to also believe in others. Belief in conspiracies was correlated with anomia, lack of interpersonal trust, and insecurity about employment. Black and hispanic respondents were more likely to believe in conspiracy theories than were white respondents. Young people were slightly more likely to believe in conspiracy theories, but there were few significant correlations with gender, educational level, or occupational category.



Reports in the mass media suggested that belief in conspiracies was particularly acute in the United States in 1991 and 1992 (Krauthammer, 1991; Krauss, 1992). The release of the movie J.F.K. triggered a revival of popular interest in America's "conspiracy that won't go away" (Oglesby, 1992). A national survey by the New York Times (1992) showed that only 10% of Americans believed the official account that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assass*inating President John F. Kennedy, while 77% believed that others were involved and 12% didn't know or declined to answer.
Belief in the Kennedy conspiracy has always been strong but seems to have increased as the event became more distant. In 1966, 36% of the respondents in a Gallup poll believed that Oswald acted alone. The percent was 11% in both the 1976 and 1983 Gallup polls and 13% in a 1988 CBS poll (Times, 1992). This increase in belief in the conspiracy has taken place despite the fact that the accumulation of evidence has increasingly supported the lone assassin theory (Moore, 1991).
Perhaps more surprising was the widespread belief, particularly in the African-American and gay communities, that the AIDS epidemic was a deliberate conspiracy by government officials (Bates, 1990; Cooper, 1990; Douglass 1989). A survey of African-American church members by the Southern Christian Leadership Council found that 35% believed AIDS was a form of genocide, while 30% were unsure (Thomas and Quinn, 1991: 1499). 34% of the respondents believed that AIDS is a manmade virus, while 44% were unsure. AIDS specialists say that there is no convincing evidence for this argument, but many African-Americans see a parallel between AIDS and the Tuskeegee syphilis experiments conducted from 1952-1972.
Another conspiracy theory current in 1991 was the "October Surprise," the belief that George Bush and other Republicans conspired with Iranian officials to delay the release of American hostages until after the 1980 elections. This theory, like many others, failed to hold up to careful scrutiny (Barry, 1991), but it continued to be viewed as plausible by many people on both the right and the left.
A number of other conspiracy theories were also current in 1991. Focus group discussions with students at a New Jersey public university, identified the following as widely believed: the conspiracy of Anita Hill and others against Clarence Thomas, the conspiracy by government officials to distribute drugs in American minority communities, the conspiracy of Japanese business*men against the American economy, the conspiracy of the Air Force to conceal the reality of flying saucers, and the conspiracy of the F.B.I. to kill Martin Luther King.
There has been no published information about the prevalence of belief in any these conspiracies. Nor has anyone addressed the question of to what extent belief in conspiracies is a generalized ideological trait, i.e., how likely people who believe in one conspiracy are to believe in others. Nor has there been any previous attempt to discover the psycho*logical or sociological correlates of belief in conspiracies.
Survey Results
A telephone survey was conducted in April, 1992, of 348 randomly selected residents of Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties in southwestern New Jersey. These counties, which are part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, are racially, ethnically and sociologically diverse, including inner city underclass neighborhoods and working and middle class suburbs. The sample was stratified to over-represent the impoverished minority community residing in the city of Camden, and the percentages were weighted to reflect the demographic balance in the region as a whole. Two hundred eleven of the respondents were white, 74 were black, 44 were Hispanic, and 19 were Asian or members of other groups. Interviews were conducted by students in a university research methods class, and carefully verified by a staff member. This sample size provides a margin of error of approximately 5.3%.
The first question was "There has recently been a good deal of interest in the assassination of President John Kennedy. Do you think it likely that President Kennedy was killed by an organized conspiracy, or do you think it more likely that he was killed by a lone gunman? Sixty-nine percent of the respondents thought it likely that Kennedy had been killed by a conspiracy, 14% by a lone gunman and 17% volunteered that they were uncertain. These figures are close to those in the New York Times/CBS News national survey (Times, 1992) which used very similar question wording.
The respondents were then asked their opinions about nine other conspiracies which had been in the news lately. A four point scale was used, ranging from "definitely true" and "probably true" to "probably false" and "definitely false." "Don't know" was not offered as an alternative, but was recorded when the respondents volunteered it. This question wording encouraged respndents to give their best guess as to the truth of a conspiracy, while relying the distinction between "probably" and "definitely" to distinguish between hunches and strong beliefs. The items and the weighted percentages are in Table One.

Table One
Responses to Survey Items on Conspiracies
2. "Anita Hill was part of an organized conspiracy against Judge Clarence Thomas." Definitely True: 10%. Probably True: 22%. Don't Know (volunteered): 14%. Probably False: 31%. Definitely False: 23%.
3. "The AIDS virus was created deliberately in a government laboratory."
DT: 5% PT: 10% DK: 12% PF: 25% DF: 48%.
4. "The government deliberately spread the AIDS virus in the homosexual community." DT: 3% PT: 8% DK: 9% PF: 26% DF: 54%.
5. "The government deliberately spread the AIDS virus in the black community." DT: 4% PT: 6% DK: 8% PF: 26% DF: 56%.
6. "The Air Force is hiding evidence that the United States has been visited by flying saucers." DT: 12% PT: 29% DK: 11% PF: 25% DF: 23%.
7. "The FBI was involved in the assassination of Martin Luther King."
DT: 9% PT: 33% DK: 16% PF: 22% DF: 20%.
8. "Ronald Reagan and George Bush conspired with the Iranians so that the American hostages would not be released until after the 1980 elections.
DT: 16% PT: 39% DK: 12% PF: 23% DF: 11%.
9. "The Japanese are deliberately conspiring to destroy the American economy." DT: 16% PT: 30% DK: 8% PF: 30% DF: 16%.
10. "The American government deliberately put drugs into the inner city communities." DT: 7% PT: 14% DK: 9% PF: 29% DF: 41%.

Figure 1 shows the number of conspiracies that the respondents believed to be definitely or probably true. Very few (6.2%) of the respondents thought that none of the conspiracies were at least probably true, while 21% thought that two were true and 19% that three were true. These percentages were weighted to correct for the disproportionate sampling of minority respondents.


1Fig. 1. Path Analysis of Determinants of Belief in Conspiracies

African-American respondents were more likely than white or Hispanic respondents to believe in the conspiracies which specifically affected their community. Sixty-two percent of the black respondents believed that it was definitely or probably true that the government deliberately put drugs in black communities. Sixty-eight percent believed that the F.B.I. had been involved in the killing of Martin Luther King. Thirty-one percent believed that the government deliberately put AIDS into the African-American communities. These percentages are reasonably consistent with those from a survey of black church members (Thomas and Quinn, 1991), although our sampling and question wording were different. Because of the smaller number of respondents, percentages based only on the black respondents are subject to an approximate 11% margin of sampling error.
Belief in Conspiracies as a Generalized Dimension
There is remarkably little psychological literature on belief in conspiracy theories. Graumann (1987: 245) observed that this is a "topic of intrinsic psychological interest that has been left to history and to other social sciences." Historians (Groh, 1987) and sociologists (Lipset and Raab, 1970) find that conspiratorial thinking has been central to anti-semitic and other author*itarian belief systems, and to many social movements in both Europe and the United States. A well known historical discussion by Hofstadter (1965) argued that there is a distinct paranoid "style" in American politics. Despite this historical evidence, conspiratorial thinking was not part of the author*itarianism syndrome as originally conceptualized by Adorno, et al. (1950), and has not been addressed in the subsequent research on author*itarianism or related social psychological constructs.
Given this lack of prior empirical research, our first goal was to determine to what extent there is a generalized tendency to believe in conspiracies. The matrix of correlations between the nine conspiracy theory items is shown in Table Two. The table shows a moderate to high level of correlation between many of the items, including several that have no strong logical or topical connection. Most of the correlations are statistically significant, as indicated in the table. A factor analysis determined that the first principal factor explained 37.8% of the variance common to these items. (For the white respondents alone, the first principal factor explained 32.5% of the variance; for the black alone it explained 39.9%). These findings offer strong support for the hypothesis that belief in conspiracies is a generalized ideological dimension.

Table Two
Correlations Between Belief in Specific Conspiracies
Theory 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
1. Kennedy
2. Anita Hill .08
3. Aids Govlab .22** .28**
4. Aids-Gays .11 .24* .69*
5. Aids-Blacks .15* .24** .67* .78**
6. Flying Saucers .24** .15* .21* .19 .11
7. FBI-King .27** .27* .35* .33** .42** .16*
8. Iran Hostages .16* .11 .32** .31** .32** .17** .34**
9. Japanese Econ .07 .29** .20** .23** .22* .03 .24** .17**
10. Drugs-Gov .08 .34** .52** .54** .56** .19** .44** .29** .29**
N of cases: 348 One‑tailed significance: * < .01, ** < .001


Correlates of Belief in Conspiracies
These ten items were used to construct a summated scale of Belief in Conspiracies. This scale had a reliability coefficient (alpha) of .78, confirming that the items have enough variance in common to justify treating them as a scale for this population. The scale was then used to investigate some of the correlates of belief in conspiracies as an attitude dimension.
Belief in Conspiracies was not significantly correlated with gender, educational level or occupational category. There was a weak (r = -.21) negative correlation with age (all correlations mentioned in the text are significant at the .001 level). Attendance at the movie JFK was not correlated with Belief in Conspiracy scores. There was a strong correlation (r = .44) with minority status (defined as white=1, hispanic=2, black=3) and with black race as a dummy variable (r = .42).
The minority status variable was treated as linear for purposes of correlational analysis since this made sense conceptually (hispanics are less stigmatized as a minority than are blacks) and empirically (hispanics were intermediate between whites and blacks in their scores on the variables used in this study). Although the Census treats race and Hispanic ethnicity as two different variables, the sociological reality, at least in New Jersey, is that these are three distinct social groups.
Belief in Conspiracies was significantly correlated (r = .43) with a three-item scale of "Anomia" (alpha = .49) made up of items taken from the General Social Survey of 1990. These items measured the belief that the situation of the average person is getting worse, that it is hardly fair to bring a child into today's world, and that most public officials are not interested in the average man. These items tapped into feelings of discontent with the established institutions of contemporary society which were widely observed by pollsters and pundits in 1991 and 1992. A comparison of scores from this sample with those from the national 1990 sample confirmed that Anomia in this sense was higher in 1992 than in 1990.
The Belief in Conspiracies scale was significantly correlated (r = -.37) with a three-item scale of trust (alpha = .57), which asked whether respon*dents felt that they could trust the police, their neighbors or their relatives. The Belief in Conspiracies scale was also significantly correlated (r = .21) with the item "thinking about the next 12 months, how likely do you think it is that you will lose your job or be laid off."
Table Three shows the means scores of each of the racial/ethnic groups on each of the attitude scales.

Table Three
Means Scores of Racial/Ethnic Groups on Attitude Scales
White Hispanic Black
Scale
Belief in Conspiracies 2.5 2.8 3.3
Anomia 3.4 3.8 4.1
Trust 3.7 3.3 3.1
Note: All scales varied from 1 to 5, with 3 as a neutral score.

Group differences on all three scales were statistically significant at the .001 level by analysis of variance test.
In a multivariate regression analysis of the determinants of Belief in Conspiracies, age and economic insecurity were not statistically significant. The variables which retained significance were minority status, anomia and trust. The multivariate relationships are shown most clearly in the path analysis in Figure 2. Minority status and Anomia are clearly the strongest determinants of Belief in Conspiracies. Minority status is also strongly correlated with Anomia and with lower levels of interpersonal Trust. The correlation between Trust and Belief in Conspiracies was weakened when anomia and minority status were controlled, but it retained statistical sig*nificance.
The correlation between minority status and Belief in Conspiracies was elevated by the fact that our questions included several conspiracies alleged to have been directed specifically at blacks. Black respondents were much more likely to believe in these conspiracies than were white or hispanic respondents. However, the data in Table Four show that minority status was positively correlated with belief in several of the conspiracies which had nothing to do with minorities, such as the Iran Hostage conspiracy and the Japanese conspiracy against the American economy. Minority status was not, however, correlated with the belief that President Kennedy was killed by a conspiracy or that the Air Force is hiding evidence about flying saucers. Belief in the Kennedy conspiracy seems to have become part of the conventional wisdom in all sectors of society, while the flying saucers item may tap into a "new age" belief system not measured by the other items.
Among white respondents, belief in the AIDS conspiracies and the Martin Luther King conspiracy were negatively correlated with educational level. There were no other significant bivariate correlations between education and belief in conspiracies. There was no evidence of an interaction effect between educational level and anomia which might have caused an especially high level of belief in certain conspiracies among highly educated anomics. Multivariate regression did show, however, that both education and anomia were significant as determinants of belief in the Kennedy conspiracy for the sample as a whole.
Table Four also shows the correlations between the scales of Anomia and Trust and the ten conspiracy items. The Anomia scale is significantly correlated with all of the items except the one about flying saucers, which supports the idea that this item may tap into a different belief system. The Trust scale is significantly correlated with most of the conspiracies, although the correlations are lower and do not achieve statistical significance in the case of the Kennedy, Anita Hill and flying saucer conspiracies.
Table Four
Correlations of Minority Status, Anomia and Trust with Conspiracy Items
Minority Anomia Trust
Status

Kennedy .03 .17** ‑.10
Anita Hill .28** .18** ‑.10
Aids-govt .43** .36** ‑.31**
Aids-gays .39** .35** ‑.30**
AIDS-blacks .38** .35** ‑.32**
Flying Saucers ‑.05 .11 ‑.11
FBI-King .31** .34** ‑.26**
Iran Hostages .23** .43** ‑.16*
Japanese .19** .28** ‑.19**
Drugs-govt .55** .43** ‑.40**

N of cases: 329 One‑tailed significance: * ‑ .01 ** ‑ .001

Discussion
These data confirm that conspiracy theories are alive and well in contemporary American society. Most respondents are inclined to believe that several of a list of conspiracies are probably or definitely true. The tendency to believe in conspiracies is correlated with anomia, with a lack of trust in other people, and with feelings of insecurity about unemployment. It is also more common among black and hispanic respondents than among white respondents, at least for this New Jersey sample. The correlations with minority status do not disappear when anomia, trust level and insecurity about unemployment are controlled, although it is true that minorities in the sample are more anomic, distrustful and insecure about their job opportunities.
The strong correlation with the scale of Anomia indicates that Belief in Conspiracies is associated with the feelings of alienation and disaffection from the system. Volkan (1985) suggests that during periods of insecurity and discontent people often feel a need for a tangible enemy on which to externalize their angry feelings. Conspiracy theories may help in this process by providing a tangible enemy to blame for problems which otherwise seem too abstract and impersonal. Conspiracy theories also provide ready answers for unanswered questions and help to resolve contradictions between known "facts" and an individual's belief system.
Theoretical Implications
It is puzzling that conspiratorial thinking has been overlooked in the extensive research on authoritarianism which has dominated quantitative work in political psychology since the 1950s. One possible explanation is that much of this work focuses on right-wing authoritarianism (Altmeyer, 1988), while conspiratorial thinking is characteristic of alienated thinkers on both the right and the left (Citrin, et al., 1975; Graumann, 1987; Berlet, 1992). Even more surprisingly, however, conspiratorial thinking has not been a focus of the efforts to measure "left-wing authoritarianism" (Stone, 1980; Eysenck, 1981; LeVasseur & Gold, 1993) or of research with the "dogmatism" concept (Rokeach, 1960) which was intended to overcome the ideological bias in authoritarianism measures.
On a more fundamental level, the difficulty with existing research traditions may be their focus on the content of beliefs rather than the resondent's cognitive processes or emotional makeup. As I have argued elsewhere (Goertzel, 1987), most studies of authoritarianism simply ask people what they believe and then assume that these beliefs must be based on underlying psychological processes which go unmeasured. Since these scales ask mostly about beliefs held by those on the right, it is not surprising that they find authoritarianism to be a right-wing phenomenon. Research with projective tests (Rothman and Lichter, 1982) and biographical materials (Goertzel, 1992), on the other hand, has confirmed that many aspects of authoritarian thinking can be found on both the left and the right.
Recent developments in artificial intelligence, chaos theory and neuropsychology are providing a framework which may enable political psychologists to go beyond this focus on the content of beliefs (Eiser, forthcoming). In Chaotic Logic, Benjamin Goertzel (forthcoming) develops a mathematical model of belief systems as part of a larger model of the structure and evolution of intelligence (B. Goertzel, 1993a, 1993b). In this model, he shows that belief systems can be characterized as dialogical or monological. Dialogical belief systems engage in a dialogue with their context, while monological systems speak only to themselves, ignoring their context in all but the shallowest respects. This mathematical model quantifies the philosophical distinction between the "open" and "closed" mind.
Conspiratorial beliefs are useful in monological belief systems since they provide an easy, automatic explanation for any new phenomenon which might threaten the belief system. In a monological belief system, each of the beliefs serves as evidence for each of the other beliefs. The more conspiracies a monological thinker believes in, the more likely he or she is to believe in any new conspiracy theory which may be proposed. Thus African- Americans, who are more likely to be aware of the Tuskeegee syphillis conspiracy, are predisposed to believe that AIDS may also be a conspiracy, while this idea may seem absurd to people who are unfamiliar with past medical abuses.
Of course, conspiracies are sometimes real and not all conspiracy theories are rooted in monological belief systems. Today, everyone acknowledges the reality of the Watergate cover-up conspiracy because the tape recordings provided such strong evidence. The key issue is not the belief in a specific conspiracy, but the logical processes which led to that belief. As with other belief systems, conspiracy theories can be evaluated according to their productivity (B. Goertzel, forthcoming). To the extent that they are productive, belief systems generate new patterns of thought in response to new issues and problems. Some conspiracy thinkers are productive in this sense. They develop highly idiosyncratic theories and gather extensive evidence to test them. Brock (1993), for example, has recently uncovered a great deal of factual evidence relevant to a hypothesized conspiracy to defeat Clarence Thomas's confirmation to the United States Supreme Court. Although Brock could be characterized as a conspiracy theorist, at least with regard to this case, the structure of his argument is less monological than that of many opponents of this particular conspiracy theory who rely on discussions of wider societal issues which add no new information about the particular case (Morrison, 1992). Of course, dialogical thinkers who sympathize with Anita Hill can find flaws in Brock's case and cite other facts in Hill's defense (Mayer and Abramson, 1993).
Dialogical conspiracy theories, which include extensive factual evidence and details, are testable and may even be disconfirmed by new evidence. On rare occasions, a conspiracy expert may even become a turncoat, abandoning a belief which is not supported by the preponderance of evidence (Moore, 1990). Many people seem to respond to dialogical conspiracy arguments according to their ideological scripts (Goertzel, 1992). In just the New York Times, for example, reviewers of and commentators on Brock's book about Anita Hill found it to be "sleaze with footnotes" (Lewis, 1993), "a book that sinks beneath its bias" (Quindlen, 1993), "well written, carefully researched and powerful in its logic" (Lehmann-Haupt, 1993) and a book with "opinionated and sloppily presented arguments" which nonetheless "badly damages [Anita Hill's] case" (Wilkinson, 1993). A Washington Post reviewer characterized it as "the first salvo in a long and salutary search for the truth of an affair that is taking place alongside the Kennedy assassination and Watergate as one of the nation's unsolved political mysteries" (Shales, 1993).
Monological conspiracy thinkers do not search for factual evidence to test their theories. Instead, they offer the same hackneyed explanation for every problem - it's the conspiracy of the Jews, the capitalists, the patriarchy, the communists, the medical establishment, or whatever. In these cases, the proof which is offered is not evidence about the specific incident or issue, but the general pattern, e.g., the X conspiracy has been responsible for all of our other problems so it is obvious that they must be responsible for this one as well. For example, Crenshaw (1992) observed that black women have been racially and sexually abused by the white male power structure throughout American history. She then simply assumed that Anita Hill's allegations should be viewed as an example of this pattern, never stopping to examine the factual basis for the particular allegations at hand.
To fully test the model of conspiratorial thinking as part of a monological belief system, we would need time series data to determine how change in belief about one conspiracy effects change in belief in another. On a more qualitative level, we would predict that monological conspiracy thinkers would be more likely to defend their beliefs about a given case by citing evidence about other cases. They would be less likely to rely on evidence which is available to everyone in public sources, and more likely to depend on untestable suppositions and abstract principles. It would be difficult to test these hypotheses with questionnaire data, but they could be tested with content analyses of published literature or with depth interviews.

Content from External Source
In another study:

http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu....yetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf


There is a correlation between rejecting Global Warming (and science in general) and CT's
 
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scombrid

Senior Member.
BLIZZARD 2013 CHARLOTTE NEMO JUICED

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNoUW4wb9zU


Overnight prior to dawn 02/07 there was heavy aerosols laid out through out the night. The dawn of morning had a very apparent dispersed chemtrail haze. The aerosoling continued till approx 1:00PM . At approx 1:00-1:30 it became evident that aerosol was reacting to directed energy. By 2:00 PM the change had become quite noticeable with waves in the sky, By 2:30 peak energy was reached . My bet is this will likely intensify the blizzards wind and snowfall. This event similar in that it involved two weather patterns one from SW & one from Great Lakes area however directed energy was running from different direction: Prior to Hurricane Sandy NNW-SSE. Prior to Blizzard event ran from SSW-NNE.

This youtuber is describing classic cyclogenesis, or formation of a winter storm, occurring over the east coast when the polar and sub-tropical jet streams phase together. Such an event typically involves merging of two weather systems, one from the south and one from the north, often a surface low along the gulf coast and trough moving down across the great lakes. The storm of the century that occurred in 1993 is a classic and much studied event (different storm track and higher intensity than the recent blizzard but similar atmospheric dynamics). The cloud types that he calls aerosols (cirrus and cirrostatus and embedded contrail cirrus) are and always have been common ahead of such storm systems as are the wavy clouds (undulating mid-level clouds) that he attributes to "aerosol was reacting to directed energy". Before we had satellites, such clouds were a forecasting tool because they were often a harbinger of approaching weather (although they don't often offer good clues as to the likely intensity of the oncoming weather as such clouds occur with simple weak waves of low pressure like "clipper" systems that may only bring showers or flurries). The high cirrus clouds are followed by progressively lower cloud types from cirrus to altocumulus and altostratus to stratus and eventually nimbostratus. When cyclogenesis is very intense you'll get cumulus and cumulonimbus embedded in the system.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1993_Storm_of_the_Century

The extratropical area of low pressure formed in Mexico and moved eastward into the Gulf of Mexico along a stationary front, which developed thunderstorm activity near its center. A strong shortwave trough in the southern branch of the polar jet stream accelerated the strengthening of the surface low. As the area of low pressure moved through the central Gulf of Mexico, a shortwave trough in the northern branch of the jet stream phased with the system in the southern stream, which continued significant strengthening of the surface low.

The 1993 superstorm went on to pummel the entire east coast with hurricane force winds and snow from Pensacola to Nova Scotia.

Another historic east coast winter storm: Ash Wednesday Storm in 1962:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ash_Wednesday_Storm_of_1962

Combination of atmospheric conditionsThe massive storm was caused by an unusual combination of three pressure areas, combined with atmospheric conditions of the Spring equinox which normally cause exceptionally high tides. The storm stalled in the mid-Atlantic for almost three days, pounding coastal areas with continuous rain, high winds, and tidal surges, and dumping large quantities of snow inland for several hundred miles.

How would the Chemtrail/HAARP believers react if such a storm occurred this year?



My point is that such clouds have always occurred in association with approaching weather but this particular youtuber and many other chemtrail believers seem convinced that these clouds are a recent and unnatural type that are PROOF of weather control in action and that the storms that are associated with them are unprecedented. It is as if, in spite of their self declared and self assured "awareness", they have no memory of past events such as the March 1993 superstorm that affected the entire east coast or the 1962 Ash Wednesday Storm. All humans are succeptible to selective memory and confirmation bias but what predisposes some people to carry it to this extreme?
 
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Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
All humans are succeptible to selective memory and confirmation bias but what predisposes some people to carry it to this extreme?
As you say, we are predisposed to the bias. A sustained propaganda campaign in multiple media venues and over the internet for more than a decade has advanced this hoax.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu....yetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

A study into "Motivated rejection of science"


http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/news.php?p=2&t=58&&n=188

[h=1]The involvement of conspiracist ideation in science denial[/h]What seems to be the case, as others may have already noted, is that the die-hard conspiracy theorist, in order to continue to hold on to their stated beliefs, will reject science and scientists as untrustworthy.

Similarly (in my own humble opinion) these same people reject media sources (other than their conspiracy blogs) as being untrustworthy.

When I say 'untrustworthy', you can substitute the phrase "Part of the conspiracy". It seems that when these people are faced with any evidence that does not fit in with their mind-set, they automatically reject that evidence as flawed or disinformation....
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
It seems that when these people are faced with any evidence that does not fit in with their mind-set, they automatically reject that evidence as flawed or disinformation.
It seems to work with ID, 911, chemtrails, GW denial and alternative medicine too. What surprises me is how it manifests itself in the most ordinary individuals. I think it springs from not including Logic instruction in primary education, while permitting religious education to minors. Fifty years after reversing the above, our society will begin to benefit. If it survives that long.
 

Rico

Senior Member.
It seems to work with ID, 911, chemtrails, GW denial and alternative medicine too. What surprises me is how it manifests itself in the most ordinary individuals. I think it springs from not including Logic instruction in primary education, while permitting religious education to minors. Fifty years after reversing the above, our society will begin to benefit. If it survives that long.

I'd like to throw the word "critical thinking" out there, which involves reasoning and the evaluating of information gathered. The thing that seems lacking about some of these people is that they fail to investigate evidence. They do try to collect evidence, but they do not weigh the relevance, nor the importance, of such evidence in the context of whatever problem they are trying to explain. In lacking to do so, they accept and reject evidence through other means, such as feelings, faith, and authority (i.e., ex military member thinks it's true, thus it must be true).
 

RolandD

Active Member
http://websites.psychology.uwa.edu....yetalPsychScienceinPressClimateConspiracy.pdf

A study into "Motivated rejection of science"


http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/news.php?p=2&t=58&&n=188

The involvement of conspiracist ideation in science denial

What seems to be the case, as others may have already noted, is that the die-hard conspiracy theorist, in order to continue to hold on to their stated beliefs, will reject science and scientists as untrustworthy.

Similarly (in my own humble opinion) these same people reject media sources (other than their conspiracy blogs) as being untrustworthy.

When I say 'untrustworthy', you can substitute the phrase "Part of the conspiracy". It seems that when these people are faced with any evidence that does not fit in with their mind-set, they automatically reject that evidence as flawed or disinformation....

My favorite comment from the second link above:

Sylvs at 13:38 PM on 15 February, 2013
Can you write a paper about why conspiracy theorists seem to write much longer posts than everyone else?
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
My favorite comment from the second link above:

This one, a response to a conspiracy theorist theorizing about the reviewers of the paper is my favorite.
The CT commenter is so blinded that he falls right into the mold and sets hmself up as confirmation of the paper's hypothesis:
http://www.shapingtomorrowsworld.org/news.php?p=2&t=58&&n=188#2944

Scott, I have to tell you that you and your ilk are pure gold..... Now here you are, alleging further conspiracy to subvert the peer review process. You can't help yourself can you? You are so oblivious that you can't even see how deluded you are. Keep it up. I predict a starring role for you in the fourth paper.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I have seen this happening in relation to the oil spill. There are those that are SURE that the well is still leaking. The Coast Guard, along with officials from multiple states have checked the well head area several times with an ROV. No LEAK, but the 'true believers' are now saying that BP 'owns' the Coast Guard, and the states and ALL the researchers. The ROV footage is public, but they will insist that it has been altered.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
It seems to work with ID, 911, chemtrails, GW denial and alternative medicine too. What surprises me is how it manifests itself in the most ordinary individuals. I think it springs from not including Logic instruction in primary education, while permitting religious education to minors. Fifty years after reversing the above, our society will begin to benefit. If it survives that long.

I find the lack of Logic Instruction and Critical Thinking astounding especially when by apparently intelligent people. It was raised to me by a Chemtrailer about Big Pharma conspiracies and chemo and radiology do not work for cancer, and cancer treatment is made up purely for profit. He set out an argument straight out of the Natural News. However if at any stage he would have decided to take a critical appraisal he would have seen the lack of logic. According to Facebook he lives 20 miles from me yet he fails to understand that we have a socialised system of healthcare which is totally the opposite of a system that allows dominance by pharmaceutical companies. I contacted him with details of how the NHS procure drugs etc but to no avail.

Now the interesting thing is with someone who was deluded they would take the information and wrap it around to suit their reality, and if needs be adjust their concept of reality to take account of that information However this chap chooses to just ignore the material as it is a danger to his entire belief system. To accept it would then logically bring his other CTs in question. That lack of reasoning seems to be the key.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
I find the lack of Logic Instruction and Critical Thinking astounding especially when by apparently intelligent people..


I have wondered why it is that critical thinking skills and how to distinguish a valid argument from a fallacious argument are not a mandatory part of the the curriculum prior to college. Has there ever been an effort to make this part of the required coursework? If so, which parties had argued against it? (If I had to guess, I would think the same people who advocate including 'intelligent design' would be against the instruction of critical thinking skills)

While I am asking somewhat rhetorical questions.... I have to question the sincerity of the chemtrail theorists that venture outdoors without wearing a gas mask (other than for show at one of their protests)! We have seen people that suffer from germaphobia that truly live in fear of contamination and germs who always wear one of those surgical masks when they go outside of the house, but I have not seen or heard of a single one of these chemtrail 'believers' that takes such sensible precautions based upon what they say is being sprayed upon them. This is just one more reason that I question the sincerity of many of the people that push the chemtrail BS.



Seeing as it is Presidents' Day......


"I know no safe depositary of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." --Thomas Jefferson to William C. Jarvis, 1820. ME 15:278
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I have wondered why it is that critical thinking skills and how to distinguish a valid argument from a fallacious argument are not a mandatory part of the the curriculum prior to college. Has there ever been an effort to make this part of the required coursework? If so, which parties had argued against it? (If I had to guess, I would think the same people who advocate including 'intelligent design' would be against the instruction of critical thinking skills)

That would be Texas Republicans, see their OFFICIAL 2012 platform:

http://s3.amazonaws.com/texasgop_pre/assets/original/2012Platform_Final.pdf
Knowledge-Based Education – We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.
Content from External Source
Critical thinking does not sit well with organized religion. But plenty of schools do teach it.

http://www.criticalthinking.com/all-abilities/core_curriculum.html

And there's organizations that promote it:
http://www.p21.org/overview/skills-framework/260

There's an aspect of many conspiracy theories that says that schools are simply there to produce useful workers for the elite, so all curricula are suspect. "Critical Thinking" could be viewed as newspeak for "become unthinking slaves to the man by trusting his 'science'". Look at the founders of p21.org - big business, but big business that needs clever people. Very suspicious if you are the suspicious type.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
One sides doesn't trust 'big government', the other doesn't trust 'big business' and a third group doesn't trust either one.

My dad was a skeptic, and he never finished HS (not uncommon back in those days, however) but he had MAJOR critical thinking skills. He was a pharmacist, (he apprenticed to learn), but he read and considered. When he found out, that they were having a baby, he decided that the entire house needed to be repainted, since he was not sure that a lead free paint had been used. It was a brand new house and he bought lead free paint and repainted it ALL, that was 1950. He had already spotted a link between lead paint and health. Later, I remember my mom liking the pain reliever, Anacin. It had aspirin, caffeine and a third ingredient, at that time. My dad, read up and found out that that 3rd ingredient had some problem. He got her to switch to Bufferin, at least 5-6 months before the government ordered that ingredient taken out of Anacin.

He was a smart man
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Here's a good example of a particular type of Conspiracy Theorist - one who distrusts science partly because it's against his religion:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread926475/pg1#pid15948009
Why are you such and expert my friend always telling us how we are wrong like just above you're telling me what science is like an authorised spokes man or woman.

Science to me is really a little truth and a lot of lies to suit the agenda of that time.

Who pays the scientece own the science
Content from External Source
This comment of yours (“find one science fact you are told about "chemtrails" and challenge it here”) Well it is impossible because science is mostly evolution and evolution is lie.

Science does change on a whip thank you kindly. Just fest your eyes on the Bible and you will learn that the world is not the many different ages science has claimed over and over again. Science can’t make its mind up. :)

It is actually very easy to prove Jesus and Gods word. All it takes is the truth which you friend clearly don’t have.
Content from External Source
There's not a lot you can do with a person like that.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
Here we have some fellow posting about chemtrails on Craigslist with an outright request for people to give him things (money and a car) so he can get the word out. The plea for people to give him things was made after he made a pitch for both of the " .... are they Spraying" videos. Not too difficult to figure out this fellows motivation.


$Wanted.JPG
 

PCWilliams

Senior Member.
An interesting exchange between a person asking for psychological help wth her husband's CT problems. The follow ups become clear that her question became a defense of CT'ers by CT'ers.Even though the discusson begins to degenerate, a few seem reasonable.
Page 1
http://www.wellsphere.com/schizophr...iracy-theories-a-sign-of-schizophrenia/897991
Page 2
http://www.wellsphere.com/forumTopi...ity=schizophrenia&noRedirect=true&pageIndex=1

Wow. This poor lady is reaching out for help with her husbands paranoid, uncharacteristic behavior and the CT'ers are telling her HE is the normal one who has become enlightened. I tried to send her a message but you have to sign up to use their messaging system. :cool:
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
An interesting exchange between a person asking for psychological help wth her husband's CT problems. The follow ups become clear that her question became a defense of CT'ers by CT'ers.Even though the discusson begins to degenerate, a few seem reasonable.
Page 1
http://www.wellsphere.com/schizophr...iracy-theories-a-sign-of-schizophrenia/897991
Page 2
http://www.wellsphere.com/forumTopi...ity=schizophrenia&noRedirect=true&pageIndex=1

That was one of the most disturbing things I have read and thanks for posting. One wonders what the motivation is to troll a health support site. Yes, I understand that a CTer has the need and group desire to defend their beliefs, but to do that at the sacrifice of someones wellbeing is just devilish. I am not able to get about that well at the moment and my daughter attended a lecture for me by a chap called Adrian Furnham. He was talking about a conspiracy theory been a living thing and its believers just feed it now and again. It really was quite fascinating but I think that it detracts from the real human cost that there can be to some people and relationships.

When I get the chance I will drop her a line with some links to support groups that will not allow such a conflagration to occur.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
...I am not able to get about that well at the moment and my daughter attended a lecture for me by a chap called Adrian Furnham. He was talking about a conspiracy theory been a living thing and its believers just feed it now and again...

It fits the definition of a meme which is capable of evolution - replication with variation and selection.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
can someone explain me this please? its a diagram showing that the planes dont have a visible gap or something that they normally would with contrails, hence diagrams A, B and D show aerosol emissions, please read what it says on the picture and can anyone disprove this? ive only started reading about chemtrails a couple of weeks ago but am amazed how much i am able to find out and truly do hope that this is not a conspiracy against us and that you can prove me very wrong.

http://chemtrailsplanet.net/2013/01...als-jets-are-spraying-aerosols-not-contrails/
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
can someone explain me this please? its a diagram showing that the planes dont have a visible gap or something that they normally would with contrails, hence diagrams A, B and D show aerosol emissions, please read what it says on the picture and can anyone disprove this? ive only started reading about chemtrails a couple of weeks ago but am amazed how much i am able to find out and truly do hope that this is not a conspiracy against us and that you can prove me very wrong.

http://chemtrailsplanet.net/2013/01...als-jets-are-spraying-aerosols-not-contrails/

Contrail gap length varies quite a bit with various factors.

http://contrailscience.com/how-big-is-the-gap-between-contrails-and-engines/
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
can someone explain me this please? its a diagram showing that the planes dont have a visible gap or something that they normally would with contrails, hence diagrams A, B and D show aerosol emissions, please read what it says on the picture and can anyone disprove this? ive only started reading about chemtrails a couple of weeks ago but am amazed how much i am able to find out and truly do hope that this is not a conspiracy against us and that you can prove me very wrong.
The engines do still have a very short gap, and then the trail shows a progression in intensity which indicates condensing steam, and not some sort of added powder. One can also see that it emanates from the central core of the engine, and not its surrounding ring. This is the part of the engine which could never tolerate the passage of any sort of solid material. That backs up the idea that what you're looking at is condensing steam.

The trail normally cools over a hundred feet or so down to temperatures well below zero. If the ambient temperature is colder than normal, or if the air is more saturated with moisture at that level, then this distance shortens. As we don't know either ambient temperature or humidity at that point in time, then all that can be said is that the video shows signs of both extreme cold and great humidity.

It would have helped if the cameraman had zoomed out to show us how the trail developed over the next minute. Had he done so, then you would have seen a huge billowing trail like this:

Screen Shot 2013-03-05 at 11.26.55.png

The "third" trail is from the galley (kitchen) drain. (Not in the above picture). It has to be released from a pressurized cabin... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... .. .. .. .. .. . . . . .
 

JRBids

Senior Member.
Psychology of CT believers?

I read this comment last night on a closed thread:

Nobody wants any of this to happen, but if any footage is proven staged then the whole thing is staged.

When I used to post on a creationism vs evolution message board, the biggest gun the creationists had was that if the creation story was fake, the whole Bible falls like a house of cards, and Jesus didn't rise from the dead. Apparently CTers belong to a similar religion.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
hi i have a question. this looks slghtly suspicious, its a photo of one of the supposed chemtrail planes and some writing is blurry something says hazmat but you cant see the rest.

http://contrailscience.com/contrail-or-chemtrail/

on this site they say its a flight testing airplane and that the barrels test water, but on another photo you can see upclose where it says hazmat, on the top it also says sprayer 05 (picture below)


https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=...teriorofchemtrailsprayer11feb08.shtml;700;663

why would a plane say that if it only had water in their barrels?
amazing how this chemtrail conspiracy theory was and how many stories associated with it there are

thanks.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
hi i have a question. this looks slghtly suspicious, its a photo of one of the supposed chemtrail planes and some writing is blurry something says hazmat but you cant see the rest.

http://contrailscience.com/contrail-or-chemtrail/

on this site they say its a flight testing airplane and that the barrels test water, but on another photo you can see upclose where it says hazmat, on the top it also says sprayer 05 (picture below)


https://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&q=chemtrail+plane+inside&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.&bvm=bv.43148975,d.d2k&biw=1360&bih=577&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=6Fc2Uaq_DcTJPJ7kgdgE#imgrc=RTggadPtNhyBoM%3A%3BuKL1KltnQflWFM%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Feducate-yourself.lege.net%252Fcn%252Finside%252520chemtrail%252520plane%252520crop%252520sprayer%252520wall%252520marking700w.jpg%3Bhttp%253A%252F%252Feducate-yourself.lege.net%252Fcn%252Finteriorofchemtrailsprayer11feb08.shtml%3B700%3B663

why would a plane say that if it only had water in their barrels?
amazing how this chemtrail conspiracy theory was and how many stories associated with it there are

thanks.

It's a fake photo. See:
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/661-Debunked-Chemtrail-Plane-Interior-(Ballast-Barrels)

and the original:
http://www.airliners.net/photo/Boeing/Boeing-777-240-LR/0855967/L/
 
Last edited:

David Fraser

Senior Member.
I was going to start a separate thread relating to this, but I will put it here for now. I had an interesting chat the other day with reference to chemtrails and the lack of the involvement of any environmental group like Greenpeace. The person involved provided me a link which has a quote from Patrick Moore, formerly of Greenpeace.

http://chemtrailsplanet.net/2012/12...ipcc-revealed-as-basis-for-chemtrails-denial/

You could call me a Greenpeace dropout, but that is not an entirely accurate description of how or why I left the organization 15 years after I helped create it. I’d like to think Greenpeace left me, rather than the other way around, but that too is not entirely correct. The truth is Greenpeace and I underwent divergent evolutions.I became a sensible environmentalist; Greenpeace became increasingly senseless as it adopted an agenda that is anti-science, anti-business, and downright anti-human.”“Greenpeace became increasingly senseless as it adopted an agenda that is anti-science, anti-business, and downright anti-human.”

Content from External Source
Now I know that Patrick Moore and Greenpeace fell out some time ago, and having read his book the quote is entirely taken out of context. I challenged the view that Patrick Moore would not be a reliable source to quote for chemtailers as he is Pro GMO and potentially pro NWO if you believe that thing and I provided the following link with a quote.

http://www.climatedepot.com/a/17410...Rice-which-can-eliminate-vitamin-A-deficiency

Greenpeace and its allies have successfully blocked the introduction of golden rice for over a decade, claiming it may have “environmental and health risks” without ever elaborating on what those risks might be. After years of effort the Golden Rice Humanitarian Project, led by Dr. Potrykus, The Rockefeller Foundation and others were unable to break through the political opposition to golden rice that was generated directly by Greenpeace and its followers.
Content from External Source
Unfortunately I did not have time to get a screenshot, but essentially rather than accept that the original argument was flawed or open to criticism she was more willing to accept that Greenpeace was pro-chemtrails yet still anti-GMO. Now given the content of many Youtube videos these policies would be diametrically opposed to each other, but a more acceptable answer than Greenpeace is not in on it. Anywho I was blocked extremely quickly after that but it does highlight some issue with reasoning, even if at a group level.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
The Power of Unreason


http://www.academia.edu/1023671/The_Power_of_Unreason_Conspiracy_Theories_Extremism_and_Counter-Terrorism


(excerpt)
"In-group/out-group dynamics and demonizing the outsiders. The first multiplier relates to the way conspiracy theories demonize outsiders. Accusing outsiders of perpetrating nefarious conspiracies hardens a sense of identity and collective minority against outsiders. It inspires a tendency to overestimate external scrutiny of the group and attribute everyone else’s behavior to it. This is called‘sinister attribution error’ or ‘paranoid cognition’ in which a small close-knit group of co-believers is locked in an existential struggle with an ‘out-group’, consisting of everyone else.
74
It is possible that through this self-aggrandizing siege mentality,conspiracy theories also reinforce a process called group polarization Groups acting in these conditions of self-imposed exile end up thinking and doing things that group members would never think or do on their own: group-think.
75
Like-minded people, after discussing, confirming and validating each other’s position, all end up taking a more extreme position than before they started to talk.This phenomenon has been found in hundreds of studies.
"
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Examples of advocacy groups headed towards extremism can already be found. It could come about when the membership becomes frustrated, and considers taking "actions".

These might be benign, or even amusing. Engaging in a risque advertising program:

PETA-poster-equates-pubic-hair-with-fur.jpg

If ordinary protests don't work, the ante gets upped by doing something slightly more than standing on a corner:

chaining yourself up in a public place

forest.jpg

Flinging blood on a store window:

OWS-Bloody-Window1.jpg

Walking around smeared with blood:
071115_peta_wide-horizontal.jpg

When these tactics don't achieve the desired results, sometimes these groups proceed into more 'direct' actions, usually starting with vandalism or arson.

Individual actors, influenced by the same memes as the groups doing smaller actions, usually perpetrate the more extreme cases, such as the Unabomber or Timothy Mcveigh.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
And while PETA does that, they slaughter pets at their shelter. That just goes to show that what folks SAY they are for and what they are really for are not the same thing.
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
And while PETA does that, they slaughter pets at their shelter.
But when they euthanize, they do it humanely.

A hothead on Russ Tanner's Global Skywatch week before last told Dane Wigington, he liked it when Dane used the word "execute".
Wigington was talking about his master plan, whatever that is, not execution of people, but it was clear enough the caller wanted more direct action! They both sort of giggled. "heh-heh-heh"
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
And while PETA does that, they slaughter pets at their shelter. That just goes to show that what folks SAY they are for and what they are really for are not the same thing.

I don't think that argument is really one - a practical solution to the suffering caused by too many neglected and abused animals is euthanization, as is practised by veterinarians. It's a shame humans aren't offered the same option.
It would be nice if large farms could be put aside to giving them the space to socialise and roam though, I'm sure every damaged animal has the chance of finding happiness if given the right environment. (humans included in that).
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Pete, PETA actively opposes the No Kill movement, they oppose trap/neuter/release for feral cat colonies. They support the killing of all pit bulls and pit mixes. They do not even attempt to find homes for the animals released to them. Even healthy, adoptable puppies and kittens are killed within hours. They have even went to other shelters and told them that they would help find homes for some of their animals and were given animals for the purpose of helping them find homes. Those animals were killed within minutes, in a mobile van. They do not just kill animals that are sick or unplaceable, they have a higher kill rate than most city pounds, many years their kill rate is the highest in the state of Virginia.

PETA doesn't approve of the ownership of any animal by people, to them it is slavery. That even includes seeing eye dogs.

I have a blind friend that was accosted by PETA folks when he was training with his dog. I thought he had just ran across a over zealous follower. It turns out that many others have also. I got to reading some of what their president has to say and I got a real education in what PETA is.

They oppose T/N/R because the cats will not be properly taken care of, but they oppose the ownership of cats (and other animals) because they are not living naturally. HUH? was my thought.

Anyway off one of my BIG soapboxes.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Yikes. That's a very extreme version of animal rights. I'm sure it makes sense once you've been 'converted'.
In PETA's opening statement, attorneys for the staffers made the following admissions that lethally injecting and dumping puppies and kittens were part of their ethical mission...
PETA's defense counsel admitted in closing arguments that the PETA staffers "did kill the animals intentionally. This was not an accident." A different defense attorney closed arguing that "[a dog named Happy] was PETA's property, and she [defendant Hinkle] had the absolute legal authority to put the dog down."
Content from External Source
http://www.petakillsanimals.com/trial/
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
They have left the domain of being reasonable. And their supports ignore the facts and maintain that they only kill sick and unadoptable animals.

Some of their followers have went into dog shows and 'freed' the dogs from their 'cages' (crates). Then they held doors open and tried to get the dogs to leave the building. Even into NYC traffic!
 
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