What Keeps Conspiracy Theories Alive (article)

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AluminumTheory

Senior Member.
http://news.discovery.com/human/psychology/what-keeps-conspiracy-theories-alive-130621.htm
 

cosmic

Senior Member.
Something I've been regularly reminded of since joining and reading through the forum, based upon both the postings of conspiracy advocates here and elsewhere...

Jay Windley (of Clavius.org), some time ago in the following description, utterly nailed one of the primary mechanisms at work which fuels conspiracy belief:

That sort of thinking amongst conspiracy theorists is prominently reflected in their reactions to tragic events like the Newtown school shooting and Boston Marathon bombings. Simple media mistakes or erroneous reporting in a 24/7 news cycle somehow become the focus of anomaly hunting, fueling existing prejudices that "there must be something more to the story" due to contradictory details surfacing out of chaotic, fluid situations.

I'm honestly a bit surprised that so many people fall prey to that mode of thinking without even realizing it.
 

HotRod

New Member
Conspiracy theories are just like mainstream media theories. Some are true, some are false and most fall somewhere in the middle. What I find disturbing is how quick we, as a society, are to blindly accept the "official" story. History shows time and time again how governments use mass media to manipulate public opinion. We now live in a world where the social impact of news reporting is at an all-time high, and journalistic integrity is at a low. Unbiased reporting is being replaced by opinions and sensationalized hear-say. Add to that the concentration of media outlets into fewer and fewer corporate-controlled hands, and yet we believe the "talking head" is "fair and balanced".

The world runs on money and power. Always has, always will. Those with them (or want them) often conspire to get more. Yet we trust those same people to tell us the truth, when by doing would hurt their agenda. This is an obsurd and naive belief, but unfortunately it persists because we are conditioned to submit to authority rather than to question.

I for one am glad there are the "wing nuts " and "crack pots" out there. Sure, a lot of their ideas are pure fantasy, but at least they are asking questions. They are not afraid to stand up to ridicule rather than swallow down the endless stream of bullshit the nightly news has to offer. In hindsight, as history shows, it is often these "crazies" who were right all along.

"Think of the press as a great keyboard
on which the government can play.”
― Joseph Goebbels
 

Soulfly

Banned
Banned
I think one of the big reasons an individual wont give up on a theory is because they wont want to admit that piece of their world view is wrong.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Also once they have built up a hostile relationship with "the other side" there is a perfectly understandable reluctance to let "the enemy" be right!!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I think a big part of the conspiracy eco-system is a constant influx of young people. Most of whom will grow out of it, but then some people stick with it longer than others.
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
I feel people like exclusivity or primacy. They were the ONES who cracked the story or mystery. They are the few to know the way it really is. That is the draw for some, this personal feeling of achievement.
 

HotRod

New Member
That is just the Internet in general. A never-ending morass of people (often rudely) arguing entrenched opinions. As for true conspiracies... There is the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, Watergate, Iran-Contra...a conspiracy doesn't have to have a theory, people just conspire on their own. If we made a list of illegal ang generally crappy things our government had done, it would be a very long list. And that is just the stuff we know of.

The problem with the question "what CTs are proven true" is that the deck is stacked against it from the start. You have the conspirators at a major advantage. They have the resources and the a priori planning to conceal the act from the start. They have a vested interest in keeping the conspiracy secret. They also have plans to mitigate what info might leak. What does the truth speaker have? The Internet refuse heap of half-truthes and recycled opinions. It is amazing we can out any at all.
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
The Holocaust was a massive conspiracy. The Nazis knew what they were doing was wrong which is part of the reason they called the mass transits relocations, and all the murders were given fuzzy names like special actions or special treatments. The Nazis even tried to destroy as much evidence as they could. Hitler was even careful enough to never give a written order concerning it except for the Commissar Order. Still we pieced it together and enough people survived to testify.
 

HotRod

New Member
Good point. Yet the scale of that horror left millions of eye-witnesses and even more millions of corpses as evidence. Railways leading to bone-filled ovens and concentration camps...even the most obtuse could figure that one out. Proving the government knew Pearl Harbor would be attacked, but let it happen to force us into the war...not so easy. Only a few people would have access to that info and would make sure to take their culpability to the grave.

This brings up another point. I don't always think the end results of conspiracies are bad, I just hate being lied to. I would rather be told that, "Hey, we need to make an omelet so some eggs are gonna get broken. It is for your own good." Fine, I get it. You don't have to make up some BS to make me feel better about the fact that I use more than my fair share of global resources.


"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
-John 8:32
 

Joe

Senior Member
I think a big part of the conspiracy eco-system is a constant influx of young people. Most of whom will grow out of it, but then some people stick with it longer than others.

Well Im new to the conspiracy crowd and Im far from being young ? Must be that Internet thing ?
 

JeffreyNotGeoffrey

Active Member
The problem Hot Rod is that some people DO need to be told/proven that it did happen. Some are that offensively obtuse or just have their own pro Nazi or pro German or anti semitic biases.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
There is a strong pro Nazi element in the many of the conspiracy theorists. Some of the folks that promote them are more obvious.
 

Joe

Senior Member
You've never heard any conspiracy theorists blame the Jews for anything?

No Iv heard lots of those wacko anti zionist just havent seen any that like the Nazis ? Have you ever been to the Holocaust Museum in DC ? Quite a eyeopener .
 

MikeC

Closed Account
The Holocaust was a massive conspiracy. The Nazis knew what they were doing was wrong which is part of the reason they called the mass transits relocations, and all the murders were given fuzzy names like special actions or special treatments. The Nazis even tried to destroy as much evidence as they could. Hitler was even careful enough to never give a written order concerning it except for the Commissar Order. Still we pieced it together and enough people survived to testify.

Indeed - but for a while it WAS believed by the allies to be "just" anti-Nazi propaganda - early reports from 1942 via Switzerland were written off as "just one Jew's opinion", they weer uncorroborated and treated as rumour, etc.

the difference between this and current "conspiracy theories" is, of course, that the evidence very quickly became apparent to all and it stopped being a theory!!
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
It may be next week before I have the time to dig down and find them. I have some real life things that must be done this week.

I am sure that others can find examples also.
 

Joe

Senior Member
Indeed - but for a while it WAS believed by the allies to be "just" anti-Nazi propaganda - early reports from 1942 via Switzerland were written off as "just one Jew's opinion", they weer uncorroborated and treated as rumour, etc.

the difference between this and current "conspiracy theories" is, of course, that the evidence very quickly became apparent to all and it stopped being a theory!!

After the Nazis lost the war of course . If they would have won the war who knows ?
 

Joe

Senior Member
It may be next week before I have the time to dig down and find them. I have some real life things that must be done this week.

I am sure that others can find examples also.
There is a strong pro Nazi element in the many of the conspiracy theorists
Seems then its not so strong if you got to dig ? you can probabaly find pro nazis in any group such as this teacher in New York http://www.wcpo.com/dpp/news/local_...er-teacher-gives-students-pro-nazi-assignment . She however could be a conspiracy person ?
 

MikeC

Closed Account
After the Nazis lost the war of course . If they would have won the war who knows ?

Indeed - not me - I prefer the evidence as it actually exists.

But for a fictional story actually I'd say that if the Nazis won the war then I'd write it up as still being public knowledge and part of the new German "state religion" that Jews were evil and deserved to be exterminated, and everyone agreed......or ended up in the sole remaining camp alongside the few survivors who were the dwindling population of German Jewish WWW1 veterans....
 

Joe

Senior Member
Indeed - not me - I prefer the evidence as it actually exists.

But for a fictional story actually I'd say that if the Nazis won the war then I'd write it up as still being public knowledge and part of the new German "state religion" that Jews were evil and deserved to be exterminated, and everyone agreed......or ended up in the sole remaining camp alongside the few survivors who were the dwindling population of German Jewish WWW1 veterans....

Sometimes the evidence is hidden or concealed so does that not make it true ?
 

HotRod

New Member
The problem Hot Rod is that some people DO need to be told/proven that it did happen. Some are that offensively obtuse or just have their own pro Nazi or pro German or anti semitic biases.

Some people also believe the Earth was formed in seven days, despite all evidence to the contrary. Stupid is as stupid does. Let's not paint all "conspiracy theorists" with the broad brush of dismissal.
 

lemonlover

Member
The New world order is real and is happening in front of us. I've provided you with enough evidence on another thread to prove this.
 

fonestar

Member
Conspiracies happen every day. They are commonplace. People in western, English speaking countries need to develop a more mature and sophisticated means of dealing with them as grown adults. Trying to label all conspiracy theories as being crazy, or delusional is downright intellectually dishonest. Beyond dishonest I would say highly unprofessional.

What is truly pathetic is how most of these supposed "debunkers" or what have you, blindly accept the fact that everyone else did really bad things to their people for hundreds of years and centuries. But not us, no, not "civilized" western nations, ruled by democratic, elected governments. They would certainly never engage in subterfuge, murder, genocide, conspiracy! Most of these supposed scientists and debunkers are very much religious in view and pseudo-scientific themselves. They secretly worship the almighty state and will do/say anything to win it's favour.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
fonestar, rather than making sweeping claims, perhaps you could provide some actual examples of what you describe?
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
The idea of a 'false flag' in our country is interesting to consider, really; a criminal act committed by our own government, staged to appear as though someone else was responsible, for the purpose of gaining support on some issue. On the one hand you would have propaganda supporting the theory that the innocent party is really guilty...some evidence putting them at the scene, or something with their DNA at the scene, or a witness willing to testify they saw so and so at the scene, etc..
On the other hand you have a government / governmental agency(s) whose goal is to be certain they are not linked to the crime and that the evidence makes the innocent party appear guilty.
If those involved are caught, it would make our government/involved agencies look really bad, to the point where American citizens would probably lose trust in their government. (Not totally; we can liken this to things like the IRS scandal where foul play was involved with government employees, and overall morale was probably shifted a bit negatively, but not everyone would totally distrust their government or it's actions from this event).
If a false flag attack actually were to occur, you bet your ass all parties involved would do what they could to make sure they aren't able to be linked to the crime committed. This is probably why when things like 9/11 or sandy hook happen and they make it hard or impossible to access data from the events, people begin to imagine cover up. Why else would they have to hide information, right? But, most of the time information/evidence is swept under the rug simply because it's the law in that case.
However, one thing to note is that all false flag attacks fall under the category of 'strategy of tension' :
The irony is that, while people can say 'the government must have been involved in some sort of false flag operation at some point or another,' their is no evidence to support the theory. Somehow America is the good guy. Or they do a good job covering these things up.
I would imagine any false flag attack would be 'classified' and therefore information about it would not be accessible to the public. But, that's speculation; I obviously can't prove their are any classified false flag attacks, just like I can't prove there are declassified ones either.
 

Alchemist

Banned
Banned
fonestar, rather than making sweeping claims, perhaps you could provide some actual examples of what you describe?
Gulf of Tonkin
Operation Gladio
Iran/Contra scandal, CIA flooding cities with drugs to fund illegal wars
War in Iraq
War on Terror
War on Drugs
Operation Northwoods
MK Ultra
Operation Paperclip

And: (just 10 minutes long...)
 

Alchemist

Banned
Banned
I also forgot Fast and Furious....when govt officials got caught arming drug cartels with weapons which were responsible for deaths of many people including women and children under the pretense of "tracking the weapons" which is obvious BS...
 

jvnk08

Senior Member.
Gulf of Tonkin
Operation Gladio
Iran/Contra scandal, CIA flooding cities with drugs to fund illegal wars
War in Iraq
War on Terror
War on Drugs
Operation Northwoods
MK Ultra
Operation Paperclip
Fast and Furious

The key difference between these events and mainstream conspiracy theories(such as 9/11 truth and those cultivated by InfoWars et. al.) is that they are both publicly acknowledged and there is a wealth of information available on them. There is no attempt to hide their existence from the public(that I can perceive at least), there is no argument as to whether they are conspiracies or if they were borne out of malicious or benign intent(a mixture of both in this list).

China can and does hide information that casts their government in a bad light with great effect. Contrast this with the kind of information we can easily find and discuss to great length here in the US. In terms of content, the difference between the US and Chinese Internet is staggering.

The reason there is a dearth of information about the "truth" of 9/11, FEMA camps, chemtrails, etc is not because the government is airtight(if you can say that with a straight face), it's because there is no substance to them beyond the surface.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Anyways, back on topic - I think the main reason conspiracy theories persist is the ineffective teaching of critical thinking skills during formative years, rampant pseudo-science both on and offline, and the perception of the media as one homogenous entity(er, as long as they don't *gasp* agree with you, that is).

Scientific language can be easily abused to mislead the layperson - we've seen this in commercial products for decades. Combine such jargon-rich language with a larger narrative that people already believe in for the most part, and you've solidified their belief. Taking apart the jargon often does not help dispel belief, simply because in a lot of cases(other than confirming their belief in the higher level conspiracy) they didn't comprehend the argument the jargon was (fallaciously) trying to make in the first place.
 
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Brainiachick

Active Member
In my humble opinion some of the things that keep conspiracy theories alive are:

Over active imagination
Joblessness
Boredom
Fame-seeking
Genuine hatred [of a particular subgroup or people eg Jews, Government, Corporates etc]
Ignorance
Money - some manage to make a living off of it (LOL).

And a host of other reasons.

But then it is spread like wildfire by ignorance and unbelievable readiness by some to spread bunk without first questioning, evaluating and analysing it.

It is true some conspiracy theories are true but how many are there? The overwhelming majority are shocking work of clearly over-active imagination and some twisted sense of logic (if there is any logic to it at all). In any case, until there is proof, it is nothing more than a hypothesis or a supposition.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
The key difference between these events and mainstream conspiracy theories(such as 9/11 truth and those cultivated by InfoWars et. al.) is that they are both publicly acknowledged and there is a wealth of information available on them. There is no attempt to hide their existence from the public(that I can perceive at least), there is no argument as to whether they are conspiracies or if they were borne out of malicious or benign intent(a mixture of both in this list).
The thing is, you're generally wrong on most accounts here. Operation Paperclip, MK Ultra, Gulf of Tonkin, Iran/Contra, Operation Northwoods... all were hidden from the American people, covered up or classified as secret by the authorities involved, for years upon years... 30 or more in some cases. That's 30 years of anyone who claimed American intelligence tried to talk JFK into authorizing terrorist attacks on his own people being labeled a cooky conspiracy theorist. There are very obvious attempts to hide their existence from the public, such as by destroying all/most records of the events.

In my humble opinion some of the things that keep conspiracy theories alive are:

Over active imagination
Joblessness
Boredom
Fame-seeking
Genuine hatred [of a particular subgroup or people eg Jews, Government, Corporates etc]
Ignorance
Money - some manage to make a living off of it (LOL).

And a host of other reasons.

But then it is spread like wildfire by ignorance and unbelievable readiness by some to spread bunk without first questioning, evaluating and analysing it.

It is true some conspiracy theories are true but how many are there? The overwhelming majority are shocking work of clearly over-active imagination and some twisted sense of logic (if there is any logic to it at all). In any case, until there is proof, it is nothing more than a hypothesis or a supposition.
Woof. Bored, jobless fame-hunters, ignorant and hateful profiteers. Users all, doubtless. o_O
 

Brainiachick

Active Member
The thing is, you're generally wrong on most accounts here. Operation Paperclip, MK Ultra, Gulf of Tonkin, Iran/Contra, Operation Northwoods... all were hidden from the American people, covered up or classified as secret by the authorities involved, for years upon years... 30 or more in some cases. That's 30 years of anyone who claimed American intelligence tried to talk JFK into authorizing terrorist attacks on his own people being labeled a cooky conspiracy theorist. There are very obvious attempts to hide their existence from the public, such as by destroying all/most records of the events.


Woof. Bored, jobless fame-hunters, ignorant and hateful profiteers. Users all, doubtless. o_O

Grieves,

I call it as I see it. Are you being cheeky with me ;). Or do you deny that these elements contribute to some bunk? The fact is if one is busy and productive, one would hardly have time to over-think simple concepts and make mountains out of a mole's hill. On the other hand, if one is analytical and sensible, one will not spread bunk without a reasonable and brief analysis. I remember the lady who came around here panicking and asking everyone to donate money to a TV station for David Icke - clearly, she did not have sufficient knowledge about what she was peddling - and when asked simple questions she became abusive and she promptly disappeared. Sadly, I see that all the time amongst abuse victims that I work with. 'The sky is falling!', 'The sky is falling!!'. Granted, I don't kick all conspiracy theories, I just seek the proof of the fact. Most conspiracy theories are nothing but that! Pure and simple - BUNK!

I see conspiracies and unbelievable cover-ups in the legal and judicial corridors, and the Quangos everyday in my line of work - and I am well-known for my penchant for exactitude, and famed for my boldness and intolerance of such nonsense - however, I am never one to jump on to the bandwagon until I have proof and concrete evidence. So I am never afraid to get my hands dirty - I dig, dig, dig for evidence not least because human lives [often those of voiceless vulnerable children] are usually at stake but also because I hate to be wrong. That is probably what has earned me respect. If we all jumped on the bandwagon of hearsay, which is what conspiracy theory really is until proven to be factual, we will be left with nothing but a very different ugly witch-hunting - the sky is falling - kind of world to live in. But I have this nagging feeling that I'm barking at the wrong tree, Grieves :).
 
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