The psychology of the CT believers

tadaaa

Active Member
I think it's pretty obvious in how the vast majority of CTs write, that it is an emotional element, has nothing to do with intelligence in most cases. Although not understanding the science or facts of a matter certainly doesn't help the situation of falling for woo.
You know what, I was going to add the word "emotional" to my post because it absolutely plays a part in the whole CTer mindset
 

Efftup

Senior Member
i thought the hot from the engine in the cold air made condensation. like on the outside of your refrigerator sometimes in summer.


which is how I know 98% of people have no idea what weatherwar101 is even saying "see that purple blob here? that's a low pressure HAARP induced convector that reacts on the red blob which is aluminum floating in the atmosphere, which causes a convex reaction on the yellow blob 4000 miles away"

^sounds good to me, since I have no idea what im looking at with those radar things or what any of those words mean in weather anyway!
or even that HAARP has nothing to do with weather. But MOST people have no clue what HAARP is/was
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
or even that HAARP has nothing to do with weather. But MOST people have no clue what HAARP is/was
Which raises the issue of "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing". Arguably the HAARP theorists are more educated about ionospheric heaters than average. It's just not "good" education.
 
I think one of the most interesting takes on conspiracy theorists comes from Cass Sunstein. For those unfamiliar with Cass, he is an incredibly prolific legal scholar.
I'm sure Cass Sunstein makes a lot of great points, but the individual work I've had in mind since noticing the modern wave (think post-9/11) of conspiracy theories and their followers is "The True Believer" by Eric Hoffer, that notorious 1950's vintage treatise on the psychology of followers and the movements they follow.
While Hoffer dealt with established movements which had gained world-wide recognition, and had affected entire nations and groups of nations, you can find a lot of similarities in his description of movement followers and today's CT.

Three that are worth noting; the interchangeability the CT True Believer when it comes to the subjects of their obsession - typically, a Sandy Hook Truther will also be a Boston Marathon Hoaxer, a 9/11 Truther, and even a Holocaust Denier (the Jade Helm Truther seems to be temporarily added to that list). Of course, this can be explained by the uniting factor that the culprit in most of these is The Evil Government. While Hoffer dealt with the interchangeability of ideology, not the particular details of it, I still bear this in mind when dealing with CT's on social media.

Secondly, the demonization of the "bad guy" is very similar. Whether it be The Evil Government, which has become an extension of the NWO, UN Agenda 21 enforcement, or a willing partner in the worldwide establishment of Sharia Law, there seems to be nothing the CT will put past the government. Or it can be the individual;
In the end, the charge of "shill" is simply a means for dehumanizing someone with whom you disagree.
because anyone denying the overwhelming evidence presented by the CT can only be one of "them", or one of those oblivious sheeple who just can't be woken up to the truth.

Finally, Hoffer dealt with the personality types the True Believer fell into, "Men of words", "fanatics", and "practical men of action". These types were not mutually exclusive, and the individual could move from one type into another in the course of their involvement. Unfortunately, most CT's seem to be stuck on the "fanatic" stage even though they practice being "men of words" on social media.

I repeat myself here, but Hoffer dealt with mass movements that were more effective than individual CT's scorching the pages of social media, so not all of his ruminations on the True Believer will be accurate. Still, for a work that was published 65 years ago, and considering all the advances in psychology since, it is very much still germane to the discussion of the psychology of the CT.

I'm sure there some of you can find points you disagree on, and have some insights of your own on Hoffer's work. Feel free to do so - I assure you, my skin is of a better than average thickness, and my objectivity is not easily clouded.
 

scombrid

Senior Member
I'm sorry Mick, are you correcting me when you italicize 'people'??
I reckon he was just pointing out that conspiracy theorists aren't special in being uneducated. They are pretty much like everybody else in that regard. Some conspiracy theorists are plenty educated. Gnarly Carly comes to mind. That lady knows her way around the brains of an airplane and even does contract work writing avionics code for government contractors. You'd think she understand contrail formation. But she still believes that cirrus clouds are chemtrails and even that smoke from fires out on the march west of here are ground based chem-generators.

I will say that where many believers are special is in the leap to believing that they have some special insight or knowledge that people educated in some field lack. I see this with the "weather modification/HAARP" believers. None that I have encountered have the slightest idea how weather radar works but they will claim that they can see the radars manipulating the weather by watching for weird returns on various displays over the internet. Most attempts to explain what is causing the peculiar returns are met with derision. Discussing weather with them is like discussing Biology with Duane Gish or Ray Comfort. It can be maddening. However, it is counter productive to dismiss someone as uneducated if you are bothering to have a conversation in which you are trying to change their mind about something.
 

Santa's sidekick

Active Member
I am friendly with two CTers, of whom one is very intelligent but lacks a tertiary education, and the other is a medical doctor.

That said, the plural of anecdote is not data (Frank Kotsonis).
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member
As has been pointed out time and time again, Conspiracy Types (and even some anti-conspiracy types) tend to be very insular. They dont like going outside their beliefs and will regurgitate anything that fits within their belief system. Nothing new, really, we've all known that for years.. but the nature of social media has only made this insularity more pervasive. Back in February of this year, a group of Italian and American scientists published a paper showing how they conducted several experiments to test this very idea. I'll post it below in a spoiler tag... its actually a really good read. Be warned.. there's a lot of statistics involved, so if you're not into that type of math (cuz Im not), some of its going to bend your mind and make your brain feel like its going to explode, but the information is really interesting none the less.


 

Ray Von Geezer

Senior Member
BBC Radio 4's "All in the mind" program yesterday had a brief but interesting discussion with Chris French (Prof. of psychology and ex-editor of Skeptic magazine) regarding the psychology of conspiracy theorists.

I did like his definition of conspiracy theory as "scepticism without the critical thinking".

It's available to listen to on iPlayer Radio, those in the colonies may need to take measures to access :)

Ray Von
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member
BBC Radio 4's "All in the mind" program yesterday had a brief but interesting discussion with Chris French (Prof. of psychology and ex-editor of Skeptic magazine) regarding the psychology of conspiracy theorists.

I did like his definition of conspiracy theory as "scepticism without the critical thinking".

It's available to listen to on iPlayer Radio, those in the colonies may need to take measures to access :)

Ray Von
Damned colonials... :p
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
I am friendly with two CTers, of whom one is very intelligent but lacks a tertiary education, and the other is a medical doctor.

That said, the plural of anecdote is not data (Frank Kotsonis).

I agree with the thrust of your post and hate to comment on a tangent but I have to say, that the Kotsonis quote is exactly backwards. The plural of anecdote is data. It's just very rare that people have enough anecdotes to make statistically significant inferences from such data.
 

Santa's sidekick

Active Member
I agree with the thrust of your post and hate to comment on a tangent but I have to say, that the Kotsonis quote is exactly backwards. The plural of anecdote is data. It's just very rare that people have enough anecdotes to make statistically significant inferences from such data.
Flawed data, perhaps. Anecdotes form a limited, selected, and highly biased pool of information and any personal analysis would lack controls and properly applied statistical methodology.

But I appreciate your point.
 
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Svartbjørn

Senior Member
I agree with the thrust of your post and hate to comment on a tangent but I have to say, that the Kotsonis quote is exactly backwards. The plural of anecdote is data. It's just very rare that people have enough anecdotes to make statistically significant inferences from such data.
Santa hit the nail on the head ben.. if you take anecdotal evidence of infowars and look it over.. its still just as bullshit as if one person alone were saying it. Thats not to say that you cant use anecdotes as a starting point to ferret out actual evidence.. history's full of examples of that very thing.. most myths have SOME basis in reality, and myths are basically anecdotes... someone's interpretation of an event that they try to describe to people who werent there. As far as the person telling the story is concerned, its an accurate account of what happened.. but eyewitnesses are generally terrible at recounting events accurately, so from a scientific or data collection/analysis perspective, its almost worthless unless you use it as a starting point and then follow the evidence you collect during your investigation.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
Santa hit the nail on the head ben.. if you take anecdotal evidence of infowars and look it over.. its still just as bullshit as if one person alone were saying it. Thats not to say that you cant use anecdotes as a starting point to ferret out actual evidence.. history's full of examples of that very thing.. most myths have SOME basis in reality, and myths are basically anecdotes... someone's interpretation of an event that they try to describe to people who werent there. As far as the person telling the story is concerned, its an accurate account of what happened.. but eyewitnesses are generally terrible at recounting events accurately, so from a scientific or data collection/analysis perspective, its almost worthless unless you use it as a starting point and then follow the evidence you collect during your investigation.
I'm not saying people should rely upon one or even a handful of anecdotes to inform their opinion. That, for a variety of reasons (biased sample, sample size, etc.), is a poor basis upon which to form an opinion. My objection to the quote is not based on the thrust of how it is being employed in this context (i.e., that a few anecdotes are a poor data set); rather, it is based on the fact that quote itself makes little sense if you think about it broadly. In fact, if you've ever done graduate level research in the social sciences, you quickly realize that the quote is, in fact, exactly wrong, as I stated. All data sets are is a compilation of anecdotes. Some compilations are bigger and contain a more diverse sample or are more reliably related/recorded, but they are still just sets of anecdotes of some kind. Again, nothing against the thrust of the use of that quote in this context, but I like to take the opportunity to point out the fundamental incorrectness of the quote whenever I see it rear its head.
 
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OneWhiteEye

Active Member
I agree with the thrust of your post and hate to comment on a tangent but I have to say, that the Kotsonis quote is exactly backwards. The plural of anecdote is data. It's just very rare that people have enough anecdotes to make statistically significant inferences from such data.
Bravo! I don't know why I came over here to read this, but I'm glad I did. You are the only other person I've heard say this. I think people need to pierce the veil on the glamour of science; an anecdote related to someone in a white lab coat is still an anecdote.
 

Santa's sidekick

Active Member
Delicious irony alert:

Science has shown that CT's will believe pretty much anything you tell them!
or you can link it here - Science vs Conspiracy: Collective Narratives in the Age of Misinformation
A couple of quick points:

1) The paper was published in PO - hardly the most reputable journal (my understanding is it lacks a sound peer-review process); and

2) The study explores the proportion of 'likes' accrued by legitimate articles as opposed to those accrued by parodic-CT articles (ie articles from sources that parody CTs) from Italian CT believers on Facebook. It is incorrect to extrapolate from this that 'CTs believe everything said by fellow CTs' or 'CTs believe everything you tell them' - these are gross overstatements (and that's an understatement).
 

MikeC

Closed Account
A couple of quick points:

1) The paper was published in PO - hardly the most reputable journal (my understanding is it lacks a sound peer-review process); and
Evidence?? :)

ETA: PLOS on wiki

2) The study explores the proportion of 'likes' accrued by legitimate articles as opposed to those accrued by parodic-CT articles (ie articles from sources that parody CTs) from Italian CT believers on Facebook. It is incorrect to extrapolate from this that 'CTs believe everything said by fellow CTs' or 'CTs believe everything you tell them' - these are gross overstatements (and that's an understatement).
Of course - but it's fun :)
 

JRBids

Senior Member
my term for this is "anti-knowledge"

to a CTer the more actual knowledge you have on the subject is inversely proportionate to the weight/trust they give to that knowledge
Unless the knowledgable person agrees with them. Like mainstream media: It's always wrong unless they can twist something into a "chemtrail admission".
 

Santa's sidekick

Active Member
Evidence?? :)

ETA: PLOS on wiki
The Wiki article on PO actually just makes it sound worse than I thought:

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/PLOS_ONE
To be fair, the article later mentions that 'each paper is reviewed by an average of 2.9 experts'.

As for its reputability, Wiki gives its JIF as 3.53. Need more be said?
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
I don't get it
you know perfectly well that the follower CTs basically believe anything the leaders tell them.

Like all the fake and wrong information about contrails they spew. Like how Sandy Hook was a false flag because they were having a 'boots on the ground' drill that day a few miles away, which is not at all true. Like how the pharmaceutical companies want you to stay sick to make more money and they dont care if vaccines cause autism.

But considering this is a thread in the "Chemtrail" forum, it is even more true than alot of other conspiracies. High by-pass turbo engines dont produce water vapour with combustion. I mean, seriously? They believe it because the leaders tell them it is true and they believe whatever the leaders say.
 

Efftup

Senior Member
That study did seem pretty useless. As the woman in the video said, the troll posts weren't REALLY stupid, and just checking likes and shares doesn't really prove anything about whether they believe or not. you should see some of the crap I share sometimes cos I think it's funny.
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
the troll posts weren't REALLY stupid
no. she said they werent REALLY [ridiculous] to conspiracy theorists. The government spraying viagra on the population is pretty ridiculous, even for CTs in my opinion.

is it even possible to come up with something more far fetched than Lizard people ruling the world? <although i hope most CTs dont believe that one! But in my experience the vast majority of CT followers will believe basically ANYTHING [ridiculous] said about the conspiracies they do believe in.

Just like religion in most cases. The difference is, religion admits they believe anything Christ or Mohammad or whoever tells them. That's the whole point. Faith.

Thats why i dont understand why CTs are so sensitive about such statements.

Some friends actually did that. We made up ridiculous bunk to see if they would fall for it. and easily 90% of them did. (probably more like 98% but i'm estimating low so i dont have to show my math). Of course it backfired on us because now it is part of the "meme". :/

And what's that 'satire' chemtrail site again on FB? That so many think is true?
 

tadaaa

Active Member
I have heard the Chemtrail theory described as a "hoax"

can someone explain why that is so - a "hoax" implies that the originator(s) knew it was all a load of tosh - from its inception

and then it just snowballed, and has taken a life of it's own

is/was this the case?

it would seem to set it apart from the whole 911 counter culture - although I have heard it said that Loose Change was initially produced because Dylan Avery was simply a budding/aspiring film maker and wanted an easy subject to make a film about
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
can someone explain why that is so - a "hoax" implies that the originator(s) knew it was all a load of tosh - from its inception

and then it just snowballed, and has taken a life of it's own
luckily this is page 8 since i have no idea if we are at all on topic anymore :)

it seems so, that it was a hoax that snowballed. https://www.metabunk.org/operation-clarity-the-history-of-chemtrails.t1567/#post-42751


i dont know anything really about the 9/11 CT, but now adays unfortunately i'm not sure 'hoaxes' and 'new conspiracies' can really be seperated -as with the currrent internet culture... we have 'CT' type sites posting 'claims of hoaxes' the very day tragedies are happening. so to me, they obviously know they are 'faking it for ratings' because they are spreading bunk before ANY news is even really available.

Although some might have legitimate questions or concerns with that days news footage they are watching, there are always going to be others who are just doing what Main stream media does and trying to get 'hits' on a hot new story first. Makes it hard to really determine if 'new conspiracies' have started as hoaxes or not because i think they all start as both simultaneously.
 

tadaaa

Active Member
thanks, Deidre

Interesting links,

it seems to have both "persisted and spread" from an initial concern about pollution (isn't everyone) to encompass a much wider (subject) area

ironically, much like contrails
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think describing things as a "hoax" does actually mislead a little. A lot of the people involved in spreading these theories actually believe 100% in them. Unless someone admits to having made something up, then calling it a hoax seems perhaps a little off.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member
I think describing things as a "hoax" does actually mislead a little. A lot of the people involved in spreading these theories actually believe 100% in them. Unless someone admits to having made something up, then calling it a hoax seems perhaps a little off.
I agree, it is a little off... but when you see the continual willful ignoring of evidence placed right in the faces of people like Dane Wigington and the fact that he and others intentionally block all dissenting opinion from their videos and web sites, it sure LOOKS like a hoax. In the end it becomes impossible to tell much difference between the attitudes and actions of someone who is intentionally lying and someone who truly believes. I think that at least 25% of those who push the chemtrail notion on the internet are just doing it for the LOLS and to jerk people's chains.
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
A lot of the people involved in spreading these theories actually believe 100% in them. Unless someone admits to having made something up, then calling it a hoax seems perhaps a little off.
yea but if you believe a hoax, that doesnt magically make it not a hoax. It makes YOU not a hoaxer if you spread it. But you are still spreading a hoax if it started out as a hoax.

For instance, alot of what Wolfgang Halbig came up with- he was out and out lying and he knew he was lying (although i honestly believe he forgets himself that he lied originally). So those lies are a hoax and anyone who spreads them, even though they may not know it's a hoax, are still spreading a hoax. A lie.

That's why there are Truthers and there are Hoaxers within the same conspiracy topic.
 

Sausalito

Active Member
Online articles that reference Science vs Conspiracy: Collective Narratives in the Age of Misinformation have been making the rounds on social media (as discussed above), I've noticed. In response, I've seen an article posted that claims that "conspiracy theorists are more sane," or something to that effect, as determined by a scientific study. Here's the Natural News version of it. If you care to look up the study on PubMed, you'll notice a comment from the study's author, Michael Wood:

Below the abstract there is a link to the full study, should anyone be interested.
 
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