The psychology of the CT believers

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Digging deeper, I read up on the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). here in the US we often see this group's advertising showing animals in need of care, and asking for donations. The ads make a quite obvious emotional appeal. Tearjerkers, really.

There are many animal shelters around the country, most every community has one, and many of these local groups are known as "The Humane Society" or "Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for animals. I often shop at their donation store for used goods.

I had assumed that these adverts raised money to help fund the shelters. I was wrong. According to the HSUS IRS tax returns, less than 1% of their funding goes to these local shelters which do the lion's share of actual animal care.
Here is the basic accounting:


HSUS 2009 budget: $121,725,153

All HSUS outgoing grants: $6,744,923

HSUS grants to hands-on pet shelters: $977,296

Evidently most of the money goes to:
- Shockingly high administration and overhead costs
- to fund ballot intitiatives on anti-farming measures

Much of the upper management of HSUS come directly from PETA, Animal Liberation Front and other radical groups.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
What a piss-take, trough guzzle, money grab. (Icon appropriate).

I disagree at least to some extent - you cannot run a major charity without having major costs - charities still have to pay slaries and rents, pay for publicity and hte like.

Now any given charity may be more or less efficient in this respect, and sometimes specific appeals are tagged for specific targets when you would expect 100% of the money raised to go to those targets, but you can easily expect a charity to use a significant % of its fundraising just to support its fundraising!!

FYI there is a site called "Charity Navigator" that collects data, including on the efficiency of charity fundraising (10 least efficient here)

they rate the Humane Society of the US quite highly - 4 stars

 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
HSUS has come under attack also for using Michael Vick, a convicted dog fighter (he helped to kill many of his own dogs, some by attaching jumper cables to the ears --attached to a battery and then throwing them in a swimming pool) as a spokesman. When his dogs were seized both them and PETA suggested that they all be destroyed as 'vicious dogs'. Others appealed that, and a santurary took them. All but one of them are now in homes as pets, and several are working therapy dogs, scars and all.
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
HSUS has come under attack also for using Michael Vick, a convicted dog fighter (he helped to kill many of his own dogs, some by attaching jumper cables to the ears --attached to a battery and then throwing them in a swimming pool) as a spokesman. When his dogs were seized both them and PETA suggested that they all be destroyed as 'vicious dogs'. Others appealed that, and a santurary took them. All but one of them are now in homes as pets, and several are working therapy dogs, scars and all.
Nice.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
Most local Humane Societies and SPCA's are not financially linked the national organization. Many of these do spend a LOT on helping animals in their area. Most areas now have a lot of breed rescue groups, some of these are general, some specialize in a breed or type (like sighthounds) or toy dogs or giants. Some areas even have groups that specialize in rescuing 'street dogs', some of which have been on the street for months or more. Some of the cat rescue groups attempt to place the more sociable feral kittens from the colonies that they take care of. When a feral colony has to be moved they will work to find barns or other suitable 'homes'. Many feral cats cannot be tamed, but they do a major service in helping to keep rodents under control. Yes they do kill birds, but birds are prey for other animals as well.

One problem we have is that without any predators, prey populations can get out of control.
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
I disagree at least to some extent - you cannot run a major charity without having major costs - charities still have to pay slaries and rents, pay for publicity and hte like.

Now any given charity may be more or less efficient in this respect, and sometimes specific appeals are tagged for specific targets when you would expect 100% of the money raised to go to those targets, but you can easily expect a charity to use a significant % of its fundraising just to support its fundraising!!

FYI there is a site called "Charity Navigator" that collects data, including on the efficiency of charity fundraising (10 least efficient here)

they rate the Humane Society of the US quite highly - 4 stars


I appreciate it cannot be done for nothing, and events have to be created, and advertised for, etc, but I cannot see how costs sixteen times greater than the fundraising ought to get four stars.

It doesn't seem very efficient to me. But not that I'm expecting a 100% straight line graph of system efficiency - more like the weather with seasons and climates, but that's an average up there already. And it's shamefully too high.

It's not exactly what you would expect to see considering today's communication system capabilities, unless an example of the immoderately well-off grooming each other for - what was it?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Did you misread? Asd I understand it a fundraising efficiency of $0.18 means they raise $5-6 per $ spent on fundraising. the worst 10 list are at over $0.90
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
Did you misread? As I understand it a fundraising efficiency of $0.18 means they raise $5-6 per $ spent on fundraising.
HSUS incoming: $121,725,153
HSUS outgoing: $(6,744,923, + 977,296) = $7,722,219

7,722,219 / 121,725,153 = 0.0634 which is six cents on the dollar. So they raise $0.06 per $ collected. Isn't that the bottom line?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I think there is a difference between "fundraising activities" and general income?

also the figure yuo quoet is only for GRANTS - how much of eth income is spent on "appropriate" activities that are "routine" and so would not be called "grants"?

I don't know - but I do see some conflicting figures from other articles on HSUS on that site - eg this one claims 50% and 42% as overhead costs for HSUS , and it seems to have an agenda of criticising anythgni eth HSUS does that is not direct support of animal shelters - which seems liek a peripheral activity for them.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
you're my new drinking game - everytime you manage to work a negative insinuation about liberals or left-wingers or mention commies into a completely unrelated topic.

(... I take another hit of heroin, in a tax-payer funded needle, which I bought by selling my tax-payer funded methodone, and type anarchist-liberal-commie manifestos on my government-granted student-loan computer, while I sit in my welfare-funded apartment, which I got on because I was interviewed by some commie-liberal counsellor who told me I was a victim of an uncaring capitalist system and I deserved compensation for my trauma, while my teenage whore girlfriend with 3 kids who gets payed $400 a month for each of them smokes crack and trades food stamps for carbon credits.)
 
J

Joe

Guest
you're my new drinking game - everytime you manage to work a negative insinuation about liberals or left-wingers or mention commies into a completely unrelated topic.

(... I take another hit of heroin, in a tax-payer funded needle, which I bought by selling my tax-payer funded methodone, and type anarchist-liberal-commie manifestos on my government-granted student-loan computer, while I sit in my welfare-funded apartment, which I got on because I was interviewed by some commie-liberal counsellor who told me I was a victim of an uncaring capitalist system and I deserved compensation for my trauma, while my teenage whore girlfriend with 3 kids who gets payed $400 a month for each of them smokes crack and trades food stamps for carbon credits.)
Its Ok to say that label CTers as mental ? I find this whole post offensive but instead of whining about it Ill just return the insults . Plus Iv noticed how off topic it has became yet no spinoff threads ? Yet I get criticized when I drift ? Very bias ! :)
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
Its Ok to say that label CTers as mental ? I find this whole post offensive but instead of whining about it Ill just return the insults . Plus Iv noticed how off topic it has became yet no spinoff threads ? Yet I get criticized when I drift ? Very bias ! :)

I don't see it as particularly off-topic for the most part. Arguably from about #85, with a couple of veers.

Please quote the users 'labelling CT (believers) mental'.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Its Ok to say that label CTers as mental ? I find this whole post offensive but instead of whining about it Ill just return the insults . Plus Iv noticed how off topic it has became yet no spinoff threads ? Yet I get criticized when I drift ? Very bias ! :)

I've been on vacation.

People are not labeling conspiracy theorists as "mental", they are examining their psychology. One might also examine the psychology of a sports fan, a bird spotter, a debunker, or a comic collector. Having psychological aspects that predispose you to one thing or another does not make you "mental".
 
J

Joe

Guest
I've been on vacation.

People are not labeling conspiracy theorists as "mental", they are examining their psychology. One might also examine the psychology of a sports fan, a bird spotter, a debunker, or a comic collector. Having psychological aspects that predispose you to one thing or another does not make you "mental".

DSM5 is coming out any day now. Hopefully it has a section for Conspiracy Disorder...

seems like it ? :) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DSM-5 Its is labeling all of them together as one or Stereotyping them as one group . Or as some would say it Racist towards CTers if they were a race of course . Welcome back :)
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
Its Ok to say that label CTers as mental ? I find this whole post offensive but instead of whining about it Ill just return the insults . Plus Iv noticed how off topic it has became yet no spinoff threads ? Yet I get criticized when I drift ? Very bias ! :)

Have you taken a close look at my avatar? I have a puppet of a glove on either hand whilst wearing a T shirt saying "One by one the penguins are stealing my sanity". Oh and I have a large mallet. I am in position to call anyone mental even though I do talk about it a lot. I certainly don't think anyone has in this thread and from what I have seen on these forums most people avoid the subject and any links to CT's.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
I think Jimbo was joking, but not in a helpful manner.

Mick. To be fair Jimbo had a valid point. I have posted elsewhere that the DSM-V is widely criticised and does seem to make stuff up (grief as a mental illness?). His post could be taken seriously although I would not.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mick. To be fair Jimbo had a valid point. I have posted elsewhere that the DSM-V is widely criticised and does seem to make stuff up (grief as a mental illness?). His post could be taken seriously although I would not.

DSM5 is coming out any day now. Hopefully it has a section for Conspiracy Disorder...

What was the actual point though? A comment about the over-inclusiveness of of DSM-5?
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
What was the actual point though? A comment about the over-inclusiveness of of DSM-5?

Only Jimbo can answer that Mick. I took it as a piss take of the DSM (although I don't know Jimbos background); especially as it was a generalisation yet something that is often classed as a symptom of certain mental illnesses. I am trying to play Devils Advocate.

However I will back up the idea we are talking "psychology" and not mental health and a discussion is good
 

Jimbo

New Member
I was in fact serious that DSM-5 should have a section for CT believers. Perhaps you could counter that it should have a section for non-believers. http://www.amazon.com/Diagnostic-Statistical-Manual-Disorders-Edition/dp/0890425558

I will say, though its a biased sample, that I find my friends who sign up for one CT, tend to sign up for lots of them. And these friends seem to have similar personality traits. (As do my conservative friends, whom I feel need MDMA therapy).

And interestingly, if we look at say http://crispian-jago.blogspot.tw/2010/07/periodic-table-of-irrational-nonsense.html I'd be hard pressed to think of anyone other than Crispian, who doesn't believe in at least a few things on his chart. For example I believe in a higher power, but I can't prove it using science. That said I can thank the CT set for two things, first making me think about how its all relative and where do you draw the line. And second for thinking about the sources, the roots of my beliefs. The problem is, they go so far as to beggar reason entirely, and that does make me angry.

IMHO a lot of this is about power. That conservatives (and CT believers) are quite angry at academia, at wikipedia, and at psychologists and their DSM. Because they have a certain power of authority. And in my view, well perhaps it is a conspiracy, in that they fund groups to promulgate (what I consider) nonsense, e.g. there's no climate change, smoking is harmless, a demographic winter is coming. Forbes magazine is now a science authority... who knew? But yes, what gets me enraged, is that they want to move us back to some feudal system where "its true because the people with the money say its true". And this is why they hate scientists and academics: they are in the way of their new (old) world order. And so they fund bogus think tanks for meretricious researchers. And this all debases any sense of common decency or objective honest scientific truth. And regresses civilization to a state where truth is dictated by the pope, the king, the generals, and the rich (... in a conspiracy...)

Similarly here https://www.metabunk.org/threads/1633-Jan-Irvin-Fount-of-Nonsense, I propose that CT believers are motivated by a need for power... the thrill of knowing something few others do... and now some will talk to them, albeit briefly. The only problems being 1. they're wrong 2. they disrespect scientists and scientific reasoning 3. they debase reason itself.
 
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Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
http://www.livescience.com/18678-incompetent-people-ignorant.html

 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusional_disorder

 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delusional_disorder


How is this helpful? Sure, SOME bits of this describe SOME people who subscribe to SOME conspiracy theories. But just look at the range of people who post here. Does it describe them? Would it help to describe them as suffering from delusional disorder?

I think it's a great mistake to try to generalize the psychology of CT believers. It oversimplifies, and it alienates.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
I think that it could provide an opportunity for self reflection, for individuals that might recognize some of those traits in themselves, without having been aware of the fact. I am not saying that this applies to every CTer, however there are some that would fall under that classification. I see persons that remain intransigent despite seeing their own evidence being shown to be false, what other explanation is possible? The thread is about trying to understand the psychology of CT believers, I doubt anyone would generalize that a single explanation would account for every individual CTer, I am simply providing one possible explanation for those individuals that do meet the criteria.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think that it could provide an opportunity for self reflection, for individuals that might recognize some of those traits in themselves, without having been aware of the fact. I am not saying that this applies to every CTer, however there are some that would fall under that classification. I see persons that remain intransigent despite seeing their own evidence being shown to be false, what other explanation is possible? The thread is about trying to understand the psychology of CT believers, I doubt anyone would generalize that a single explanation would account for every individual CTer, I am simply providing one possible explanation for those individuals that do meet the criteria.

Very reasonable. The problem was that your original post did not mention any of this, so the casual reader might have got the idea that you were suggesting that the answer to the question of what is "the psychology of the CT believer" was "delusional disorder".
 

Drew

Active Member
It's interesting, because there are definitely cases of legit mental illness in which symptoms like paranoid delusion and persecution manifest themselves using common CT memes. Anecdotally: a certain paranoid schizophrenic homeless person I regularly encounter in some of the volunteer work I do is well-versed in HAARP and chemtrails, attributing any hotter or colder than average NYC weather to government sponsored climate control. Plausible theories have been advanced in neuropsychology, like the one I mentioned here about imbalances in the dopaminergic system, but the phenomenon remains poorly understood.

It seems a function where paranoia/persecution will be expressed using contextually appropriate language — in non-Western/non-contemporary contexts, these take on flavors of witchcraft and demonic possession, etc. As it happens, conspiracy memes fulfill this role in the west.

So it's true that the mentally ill can be a subset of CT believers, but I would agree that it is wrong to characterize most CT believers as mentally ill.
 
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J

Joe

Guest
It's interesting, because there are definitely cases of legit mental illness in which symptoms like paranoid delusion and persecution manifest themselves using common CT memes. Anecdotally: a certain paranoid schizophrenic homeless person I regularly encounter in some of the volunteer work I do is well-versed in HAARP and chemtrails, attributing any hotter or colder than average NYC weather to government sponsored climate control. Plausible theories have been advanced in neuropsychology, like the one I mentioned here about imbalances in the dopaminergic system, but the phenomenon remains poorly understood.

It seems a function where paranoia/persecution will be expressed using contextually appropriate language — in non-Western/non-contemporary contexts, these take on flavors of witchcraft and demonic possession, etc. As it happens, conspiracy memes fulfill this role in the west.

So it's true that the mentally ill can be a subset of CT believers, but I would agree that it is wrong to characterize most CT believers as mentally ill.
The mentally ill can be a subset of any group .
 
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MikeC

Closed Account
Reading this article about why people believe in conspiracies what struck me was this bit:

this is the same reasoning I read many years ago as to why humanity invented religion - it gives the appearance of having control over seriously important aspects of life - eg the rain, seasons, plagues, etc - by having some being(s) in control of these we can fool ourselves (some of the time) into believing that being(s) is actually listening to our entreaties - and that gives us the illusion of control that we crave.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Not so much control, more understanding. And then more the absence of uncertainty.

Uncertainty is fear, and in the primal mind uncertainty and fear are right next to hunger and death. People prefer to know, even if what they know is terrible, and even if what they know is wrong.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
Interest piece explores 'anti-science' thought processes....

"The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science
How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.

By Chris Mooney

“A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger, in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology.

Festinger and several of his colleagues had infiltrated the Seekers, a small Chicago-area cult whose members thought they were communicating with aliens—including one, “Sananda,” who they believed was the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ. The group was led by Dorothy Martin, a Dianetics devotee who transcribed the interstellar messages through automatic writing....."




https://medium.com/editors-picks/adfa0d026a7e
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
Interest piece explores 'anti-science' thought processes....

"The Science of Why We Don’t Believe Science
How our brains fool us on climate, creationism, and the vaccine-autism link.

By Chris Mooney

“A MAN WITH A CONVICTION is a hard man to change. Tell him you disagree and he turns away. Show him facts or figures and he questions your sources. Appeal to logic and he fails to see your point.” So wrote the celebrated Stanford University psychologist Leon Festinger, in a passage that might have been referring to climate change denial—the persistent rejection, on the part of so many Americans today, of what we know about global warming and its human causes. But it was too early for that—this was the 1950s—and Festinger was actually describing a famous case study in psychology.

Festinger and several of his colleagues had infiltrated the Seekers, a small Chicago-area cult whose members thought they were communicating with aliens—including one, “Sananda,” who they believed was the astral incarnation of Jesus Christ. The group was led by Dorothy Martin, a Dianetics devotee who transcribed the interstellar messages through automatic writing....."




https://medium.com/editors-picks/adfa0d026a7e

That was an interesting article. Thanks. I was contemplating this subject earlier today. I came across a chemtrail video with Francis Mangels http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jf_nVLGDTo On a number of occasions he is asked as to what the quantity of metals would be found in the air and rainwater. He replies nil, but later on contradicts himself when he discusses dust in the air. Given his science background I was wondering the reasoning to his answers. Is he so invested in the chemtrail narrative that he actually believes what he says, or is he deliberately giving false information to avoid losing face? However the result is still the same, a persuasive argument is pushed forward to the believers. They genuinely believe they are been passed real verifiable science
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
http://www.livescience.com/39038-how-delusions-shape-perception.html

 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
That was an interesting article. Thanks. I was contemplating this subject earlier today. I came across a chemtrail video with Francis Mangels On a number of occasions he is asked as to what the quantity of metals would be found in the air and rainwater. He replies nil, but later on contradicts himself when he discusses dust in the air. Given his science background I was wondering the reasoning to his answers. Is he so invested in the chemtrail narrative that he actually believes what he says, or is he deliberately giving false information to avoid losing face? However the result is still the same, a persuasive argument is pushed forward to the believers. They genuinely believe they are been passed real verifiable science

Dave, he has a long standing grudge against the government. Employment problems, a lawsuit, passed over for promotions, somebody shat on his desk.
A lot of anger and resentment from the past. He will show them. In the end he will be a hero and save the world. They will all remember Francis Mangels. You can see and hear some of what drives him in this video:

 
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