Why are people called conspiracy theorists?

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
That's where the problem arises. Why do we need to call them anything? Shouldn't we be worried about the facts?

Yes we should. And yet it's indisputable that there's are groups of people who tend to believe everything is a conspiracy. When discussing the topic in general then how are we supposed to refer to such people? Using "people who tend to believe everything is a conspiracy" gets rather tiresome to type, so "conspiracy theorist" is a useful shorthand, and maybe "conspiracist".

There's some discussion of the history and usage of the term here:
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/definition-and-history-of-the-term-conspiracy-theory.960/
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
For example I am putting together a file that debunks the claim that we are ruled by consent even though it is said that we are supposed to be. I think I can prove it conclusively but then if somebody presents a new bit of evidence contrary then it isnt debunked any more.

If you want to do that (in a new thread), you will first have to establish that there is such a claim (that we are ruled by consent ), and what evidence is claimed by those who make the claim.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
Yes we should. And yet it's indisputable that there's are groups of people who tend to believe everything is a conspiracy.
Certainly they're out there. That's an impossible thing to quantify though and is practically useless to talk about. Do you think there are people like this posting on your site? Who literally think everything is a conspiracy?

When discussing the topic in general then how are we supposed to refer to such people?
Once again, why do we need to classify people and what they believe? If this site is for debunking specific claims, why are we the least worried about the totality of someone's beliefs? Why classify them? Is there a term for someone who believes everything is a conspiracy except the moon landing? Or someone who believes in only 3 conspiracies? Or are they just lumped in as 'conspiracy theorists'?
Again, why bother classifying them, and instead focus on the claims made?

Using "people who tend to believe everything is a conspiracy" gets rather tiresome to type, so "conspiracy theorist" is a useful shorthand, and maybe "conspiracist".
So does that mean whenever we use the term 'conspiracy theorist' or 'conspiracist' we can verify that person believes everything is a conspiracy? Or is it just a convenient way to demonize someone who happens to be pitching a particular conspiracy theory?

Thanks, I'll look into it.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Certainly they're out there. That's an impossible thing to quantify though and is practically useless to talk about. Do you think there are people like this posting on your site? Who literally think everything is a conspiracy?

The people who posted in the Sandy Hook, Boston, and LAX Shooting threads would qualify. Then there's the Gang Stalkers, and nano-tech Morgellons folk.


Once again, why do we need to classify people and what they believe? If this site is for debunking specific claims, why are we the least worried about the totality of someone's beliefs? Why classify them? Is there a term for someone who believes everything is a conspiracy except the moon landing? Or someone who believes in only 3 conspiracies? Or are they just lumped in as 'conspiracy theorists'?
Again, why bother classifying them, and instead focus on the claims made?

I don't classify people, and I do focus on the claims. However there are occasions when the need to group people arises in conversation. Like you might call me a "debunker", and call other posters "debunkers", and yet I might be very different in many ways to those other people. But sometimes the conversations calls for a type of distinction.


So does that mean whenever we use the term 'conspiracy theorist' or 'conspiracist' we can verify that person believes everything is a conspiracy? Or is it just a convenient way to demonize someone who happens to be pitching a particular conspiracy theory?

No. Just like if someone is a "sports fan" they don't necessarily follow every sport.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
Yes, we should focus on the facts and that is why I still like this forum but then again just because the facts of an event that happened seem to support any theory doesn't mean that is what happened all the time. Sometimes people are very selective about what they record. Governments and news people also.

The balance between the two extremes are a very fine line, isn't it.

I am in a good mood that I was given permission to present my evidence to debunk certain claims in a new thread another time that I wasn't sure I would be able to. I am not so bothered about the term conspiracy theory now lol I was just trying to think if there isn't a better term. But since there doesn't really seem to be I personally don't have an issue with it but I also understand why people could feel offended as I have been accused of being a conspiracy theorist myself and frankly it hurt.
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
My solution is to have ideally a global universal law constitution.

Who is going to implement this? Who is going to police it? How would this differ from the current model?

And a protection-only government budget

Sorry, can you spell out what that means for simple folks like me?

At least until government is dissolved completely.

You mean anarchy? No rules, we all do whatever we want?

Surely know one would really consent to be governed

Actually we all want some form of governance. It's pretty much what society is. A set of rules and guide lines that we all generally agree to live by, and various groups that we ask or elect to implement those rules. Of course we would all like a government that deals with our specific and individual issues, but that's impossible.

Seems to me that you are proposing a blueprint for utter chaos.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
Who is going to implement this? Who is going to police it? How would this differ from the current model?



Sorry, can you spell out what that means for simple folks like me?



You mean anarchy? No rules, we all do whatever we want?



.

Actually we all want some form of governance. It's pretty much what society is. A set of rules and guide lines that we all generally agree to live by, and various groups that we ask or elect to implement those rules. Of course we would all like a government that deals with our specific and individual issues, but that's impossible.

Seems to me that you are proposing a blueprint for utter chaos.
[/quote]


Thanks for the questions. That is why I like the forum. We may not always agree with each other but at least we are intelligent enough to actually have an objective debate.


"Who is going to implement this?"
- It is clearly being implemented already I think. Large swathes of the global populist uprising that seems to be happening don't have a goal but I am thinking this so a lot of other people must be thinking it to. Especially rational business men that are fed up of all the unrepresentative taxation and monopolist regulation. Then again, I do not mean to make an ad hominem by implication.

"Who is going to police it?"
-I don't believe in Policing, per se. I believe more in community's protecting themselves using a mixture of love and technology.

"How would this differ from the current model?"
-Well for a start no contruty really has a intact consitution. Especially the UK. the government are not held to ours at all. So any constitution that government is held to 1005 surely has to be better.

"Of course we would all like a government that deals with our specific and individual issues, but that's impossible."
-That is surely just a statement unless there is evidence for your claim.

I am not saying peace will happen over night but I have my right to want to make it my goal. I just feel a little aghast that most people have no desire for peace and prefer violence and ego.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
As for your comment about anarchy. That term has too many mixed connotations but I don't have a problem with anarchy.

Why should one adult tell another what to do, unless its in self-defence of course. As in, 'leave me alone'.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
The people who posted in the Sandy Hook, Boston, and LAX Shooting threads would qualify. Then there's the Gang Stalkers, and nano-tech Morgellons folk.
You have to be more specific. I've posted in the Sandy Hook threads before. So you mean I should be labeled a conspiracy theorist? But I don't believe everything is a conspiracy, which was your definition.




I don't classify people,
But you just did, about the people who posted in certain threads
and I do focus on the claims.
I agree with this.
However there are occasions when the need to group people arises in conversation. Like you might call me a "debunker", and call other posters "debunkers", and yet I might be very different in many ways to those other people. But sometimes the conversations calls for a type of distinction.
And that's something that I don't think has any value. Why would I need to separate individuals in a discussion, and not instead only separate out the claims made? There's no need to get into who is what or what is who. It's, as the header says above
about debunking specific claims of of evidence, not arguing the merits of broader theories.
Content from External Source
Defining an individual should have no value in using reason to debunk claims. They are not a part of the claim, only the claim itself is.





No. Just like if someone is a "sports fan" they don't necessarily follow every sport.
Right. But you were defining conspiracy theorists as people who believed everything is a conspiracy. So in your analogy, sports fans only enjoy EVERY sport. Like I brought up before, is there a term then for people who believe in, say, a couple conspiracies, but dismiss the rest? If they are also called 'conspiracy theorists' and are in the same boat as some people who believe everything is a conspiracy, then you need to change your definition of conspiracy theorist.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Okay, I was a little loose with my usage of the term "everything". Nobody literally thinks everything is a conspiracy (except a very small number of people who think we are living in the Matrix).

Sports fans like sports a lot, some just mostly like one sport, but most like several, nobody likes all sports. In the US a sports fan will generally like Football, Baseball, and Basketball, but will often prefer one over the others.

Conspiracy theorists think about conspiracies a lot, they suspect a lot of conspiracies, sometimes they just focus on one, but usually they have a worldview that encompasses several conspiracies. In the US a conspiracy theorist will generally think 9/11 was an inside job, JFK was assassinated by an organization, and that there is some kind of secret elite organization running things.

But there's a wide variety in sports fans, and a wide variety in conspiracy theorists.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I am not trying to be nasty. Just making an observation with this comment and the original thread but there was a real mix of intentions with the replys here. Some were a lot more genuine than others.
...

By which you mean, people didn't really believe the things they were saying? Or you just don't agree with them, therefore they are not 'genuine'?
Just seems a weird expression to use. I'm pretty sure they were all 'genuine' opinions on the matter.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
If you choose to LIVE in a community, then you choose to be governed by the rules/laws that in force there. You can live elsewhere, or you can work to change the laws/rules. What you can not do, is say I want the benefits from living in this community (roads, police/fire protection, safe food, etc) and then say "I don't want to be governed".

Look at what happened here during the battle for civil rights. Folks protested the laws they disagreed with, they didn't say that all laws were null or that they didn't apply to them.

If you believe in conspiracy theories, you are a conspiracy theorist. Just like someone that believes in the divine birth and resurrection of Christ is a Christian or someone that believes in evolution is an evolutionist. It is way to describe a subset of folks that share a joint belief. I am a skeptic, I am one of the folks that are base their beliefs on evidence, not on emotions or what we are told.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
Okay, I was a little loose with my usage of the term "everything". Nobody literally thinks everything is a conspiracy (except a very small number of people who think we are living in the Matrix).
And this is where the problem comes in. The term is used so loosely, that anybody who makes even the slightest claim leaning towards conspiracy is labeled the same as the guy who thinks we're in the Matrix and Godzilla is king of the Illuminati from Planet X. The term has no real value.

It's like in your analogy with sports fans. People probably use that term to describe people who like certain sports. If I know someone who likes basketball, they're not a sports fan, they're someone who likes basketball. Probably not even a 'basketball fan' because maybe they like NBA but not NCAA. Or they like playing but not watching. There's no need to put a label on that person. There's no value in doing so.

Sports fans like sports a lot, some just mostly like one sport, but most like several, nobody likes all sports. In the US a sports fan will generally like Football, Baseball, and Basketball, but will often prefer one over the others.
Again, I don't see the value in labeling these people. See above.

Conspiracy theorists think about conspiracies a lot, they suspect a lot of conspiracies, sometimes they just focus on one, but usually they have a worldview that encompasses several conspiracies. In the US a conspiracy theorist will generally think 9/11 was an inside job, JFK was assassinated by an organization, and that there is some kind of secret elite organization running things.
For someone who is so focused on individual claims, I still can't see why you feel the need to label such a broad audience with one term. Convenience? That's no excuse in my book.

But there's a wide variety in sports fans, and a wide variety in conspiracy theorists.
And there's a wide variety of 'debunkers', some which believe in concpiracy theories. Is that an oxymoron? A conspiracy theorist debunker? Probably not. But then again I digress to my point about not seeing value in labeling individuals in these ways.
 

mrfintoil

Senior Member.
Yes, we should focus on the facts and that is why I still like this forum but then again just because the facts of an event that happened seem to support any theory doesn't mean that is what happened all the time. Sometimes people are very selective about what they record. Governments and news people also.

Hey Gary, whether you call someone conspiracy theorist or conspiranoid they can both be accurate descriptions of individuals in no derogatory or condescending sense. But it's just like with the word negro, from the beginning it was an accepted word, but eventually became so emotionally loaded from verbal misuse that it was deemed offensive. It was used as a derogatory term and was perceived as such. But still it may only refer to what is today known as a black person. The emotional aspects can be very subjective depending on the one delivering it, and the one receiving it.

Now I don't understand why you rather want to be called a conspiranoid, because the word really emphasize the strong emotional bias by the individual sharing such mindset. Let me explain.
First of all, the word theory can have different meanings. In a scientific sense it means a strong hypothesis backed up by evidence. But the more common use refers to theory as in speculation, ie. hypotheses made without required evidence.

  • If we assume the first definition, conspiracy theorist means someone who deals with constructing conspiracies based on proper methods and accurate information. Because conspiracies do happen, and some people do conspire.
  • If we assume the second definition however, conspiracy theorist means someone who doesn't really care about strong evidence. They rather rely on "what if" notions, but the reasons why such notions exist doesn't really tell in this case.
  • Conspiranoid explains to us that the very reason this person believes there is a conspiracy is because this person is paranoid. Paranoid means extreme irrational distrust of others, often government or secret societies.
And now we are venturing into psychological disorders.

But it's really easy to understand why paranoid people often think in terms of conspiracies. They start out from the irrational distrust, and selectively pick and choose whatever information they can find as long as it sustains the sense of being in control, even if it means accepting living under a conspiracy. Because fear is tied to our survival instinct, and a perceived threat often require an increased sense of control to decrease anxiety. Conspiranoids cannot allow themselves to stop distrusting, because in the conspiranoid mindset you treat everything with suspicion. Sometimes even the things that supports their accepted notion. What if this information I accept is just all part of their game from the very beginning? Conspiranoids perceive it a great risk to abandon the ideas that gives them a sense of control, because what it they were right?

Conspiranoids think like this: Government is evil, therefore "chemtrails" must exist. And then they start to stitch together pieces of information that creates what is known as a clustering illusion where random (or unrelated) samples of information gives the illusion of coherency. As long as you never scrutinize things in details (which believers in "chemtrails" almost never do) they will live under the illusion that there is a conspiracy going on. This increases fear and anxiety, which requires more sense of control, and the more they dwell the more they convince themselves. And so on. Emotional feedback loop for you.

If we go back to the first definition of conspiracy theorist, with that definition we would rather get something like this: Do we have information that supports that government is doing "chemtrail" programs? No. This means government is not evil, at least not when it comes to things such as this. The reason why you seldom see these type of conspiracy theorist is that most of them quickly realize how ridiculous many conspiracy theories are.

But if you belong to the other two definitions, and for whatever reason accept vague claims such as that the Space Preservation Act document is evidence for "chemtrails", or that Monsanto invented aluminium resistant seeds because they are in on the "chemtrail" conspiracy, then of course you will find it easier to accept "chemtrails" as a real conspiracy.

In the end, it all comes to your sceptical ability and your intellectual assets. The more you know and the better you are at logic the easier you will spot bad claims. It's that simple.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I find it useful in discussions about the conspiracy theory culture, so it has value to me. I acknowledge the wide variations. But they are all variations about conspiracy theories.

If you wanted to discuss the commonalities between people who believed in that (varied) type of thing to (varying) degrees, then is it not useful to have a term to describe them, like "sports fan" is used?
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
Are you saying you have a theory that the government is behind conspiracy theories?

I'll have to say that, over the years, it has seemed as if there was a concerted effort to promote such ideas, seemingly to manipulate groups of people who are susceptible to them.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
nobody can sit in every plane and monitor what they are doing so insidious behaviour of similar nature is still technically possible. If somewhat far-fetched sounding.

THAT is conspiracy theorizing of the worst sort.... "it COULD be happening until you prove it's NOT!!!!"
 

qed

Senior Member
Consider a hypothetical "me".

  • My scientific stomach cannot digest "chemtrails". The threads bore me.
  • I think 9-11 was the act of people sick and tired of the US support for Israel's occupation of Palestine. I know who did it, and I know why.
  • But, while I am 95% "sure" that the Boston bombing was a pair of lone bombers, I am 5% unconvinced.

Am I a "conspiracy theorist"?
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Lot's of people of that culture are conspiracy theory sympathisers rather than theorists, they don't actually come up with their own theories but simply subscribe to whatever's out there.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
I think it is intellectually creative to a point, so it could have a genuine hold for that reason.
Any event is a chance to start digging and putting together different pieces to make a picture that you choose.
And these days there is more immediate validation in the form of internet interest from other enthusiasts, so as addicting as facebook at least. :)
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
I think the title is based on those who are more than willing to "theorize" some new level of conspiracy to 'explain away' any facts and reasoning you show them to demonstrate how their previous theory details couldn't possibly be right. They have adopted a conclusion and will invent any "explanation" they can in order to preserve the conclusion they are fixated upon.
 
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Josh Heuer

Active Member
I think it's a matter of picking your battles. Use facts to fight. You can't lose if you have the most facts.
 
It seems nowadays if you question anything then you are a conspiracy theorist, you have to believe everything the government says otherwise you are nuts .
There a groups of people who think that everything the government says is true , what should we call them ?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It seems nowadays if you question anything then you are a conspiracy theorist, you have to believe everything the government says otherwise you are nuts .
There a groups of people who think that everything the government says is true , what should we call them ?
Straw men.
 
Every time the brain links words or images to things neurones in the brain connect the more they connect the more ingrained it becomes in the brain, because the word conspiracy theorist has for many years been over and over again linked to bizarre straw man theories such as we didn't land on the moon or that aliens mutilate cattle and abduct people these neurones in the brain connect until the point where the critical thought process of that conspiracy theory is dampened as a conspiracy theory immediately links to images or thoughts of crazy ideas or people.
With Mindfulness meditation one can analyse the thoughts and feelings a word, image or idea produces in the brain.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Is that a complicated way of saying words become associated with the most obvious example of that word?
As would be expected.

Those conspiracy theories aren't straw men though.
Have people invented them as simple targets to attack to make the 'real' conspiracy theories look bad, or are they real conspiracy theories held by conspiracy theorists?

If one ridiculed someone who called themselves a CTist because other CTist's believe in a moon hoax therefore their position is equally ridiculous, that would be a straw man.

Every time the brain links words or images to things neurones in the brain connect the more they connect the more ingrained it becomes in the brain, because the word conspiracy theorist has for many years been over and over again linked to bizarre straw man theories such as we didn't land on the moon or that aliens mutilate cattle and abduct people these neurones in the brain connect until the point where the critical thought process of that conspiracy theory is dampened as a conspiracy theory immediately links to images or thoughts of crazy ideas or people.
With Mindfulness meditation one can analyse the thoughts and feelings a word, image or idea produces in the brain.
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
If someone says 'hey guys I think 9/11 is an inside job' the proper response has nothing to do with calling them anything. It has to do with asking them what facts lead them to that conclusion.
That implies that the response would be "You are a conspiracy theorist". There would be no reason to say that under those circumstances. However, believing that 9/11 is an inside job is to believe and consequently theorise that a conspiracy has taken place. It is an accurate description.
Thanks for the definition of "shill". I am aware that the word has meanings beyond a kind of "mole" paid by the government, but that's the implication that is meant ( it's often accompanied by "How much are you being paid") when the word is used as an insult by......you know....those people. (I don't know what to call 'em now! :confused:).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I've only said "you are a conspiracy theorist" once here, to @Oxymoron:

People are always interested in conspiracy theories. So conspiracy theories about Bilderberg always have an audience.

If the BBC News started doing long segments about how the Bilderbergers were ruling the world, then it would get interest. But they don't, because it's not news, because the evidence is pure speculation.

I say it's not reported. Because it's not news to most people. To you it's news, but you are a conspiracy theorist.

Here is its a meta discussion, about the significance of the lack of coverage of the Bilderberg conference. I'd also interacted with Oxy for many months, so knew he would not storm off in a huff if I used the term.
 

Josh Heuer

Active Member
That implies that the response would be "You are a conspiracy theorist". There would be no reason to say that under those circumstances.
No, that's not it at all. If someone says 'hey guys 9/11 is an inside job', you ask them what leads them to believe that. You're not implying they're a conspiracy theorist; you're positing that you don't have the facts that lead you to that conclusion and you're curious to what leads them to it. Nothing more, nothing less.

However, believing that 9/11 is an inside job is to believe and consequently theorise that a conspiracy has taken place. It is an accurate description.
So a person who has 1 beer in their lifetime can be defined as a 'beer drinker'? What's the value in that?

Thanks for the definition of "shill".
No worries.

I am aware that the word has meanings beyond a kind of "mole" paid by the government, but that's the implication that is meant ( it's often accompanied by "How much are you being paid") when the word is used as an insult by......you know....those people. (I don't know what to call 'em now! :confused:).
Heh. So that's always the implication? All the time?
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
I've only said "you are a conspiracy theorist" once here, to @Oxymoron:



Here is its a meta discussion, about the significance of the lack of coverage of the Bilderberg conference. I'd also interacted with Oxy for many months, so knew he would not storm off in a huff if I used the term.


Isn't it against the Logan Act? (Buildyburgers).

Anyway as I live in the UK I apparently in a democracy and I dont want my elected officials going to this. Plus why would they even be invited? Just because they work in government? Most of them do not even hold relevant qualifications. They have little knowledge of the fields they essentially rule over. The only value they would have there is as authoritarians.

Like I said I was happy with the answer I got to the original thread question. What I am still a little upset about is how people use it as a derogotry term. Some things that seem debunked are not. Just because some of the facts are doesnt disprove the entire claim. Just some of the finer details. For example The Sandy Hook school may of been a real school after all but it does still seem strange that Adam Lanza killed, what like, 26 smaller targets often with several shots in like 10 minutes? No crime scene pictures of much CCTV. And then we are expected to believe the entire story just because some of the conspiracy theories details have been "debunked"?

A forum like this is needed and a good thing but claiming deeper Police investigations are not needed just because some conspiracy theory elements are wrong doesn't seem right.
 
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Gary Cook

Active Member
No, that's not it at all. If someone says 'hey guys 9/11 is an inside job', you ask them what leads them to believe that. You're not implying they're a conspiracy theorist; you're positing that you don't have the facts that lead you to that conclusion and you're curious to what leads them to it. Nothing more, nothing less.


So a person who has 1 beer in their lifetime can be defined as a 'beer drinker'? What's the value in that?


No worries.


Heh. So that's always the implication? All the time?


I agree with you on that. It is all about balanced critical thinking. People that have wild paranoid claims are not helpful but nor are people that seem to ridicule others simply for having an alternative theory.

Surely questioning things is a good thing. I mean hell, it is obvious that things are hardly anything like was preached to us in school, for example. Hell, they even tired to get me to believe Santa Claus was real.
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
Isn't it against the Logan Act? (Buildyburgers).

Anyway as I live in the UK I apparently in a democracy and I dont want my elected officials going to this. Plus why would they even be invited? Just because they work in government? Most of them do not even hold relevant qualifications. They have little knowledge of the fields they essentially rule over. The only value they would have there is as authoritarians.

Like I said I was happy with the answer I got to the original thread question. What I am still a little upset about is how people use it as a derogotry term. Some things that seem debunked are not. Just because some of the facts are doesnt disprove the entire claim. Just some of the finer details. For example The Sandy Hook school may of been a real school after all but it does still seem strange that Adam Lanza killed, what like, 26 smaller targets often with several shots in like 10 minutes? No crime scene pictures of much CCTV. And then we are expected to believe the entire story just because some of the conspiracy theories details have been "debunked"?

A forum like this is needed and a good thing but claiming deeper Police investigations are not needed just because some conspiracy theory elements are wrong doesn't seem right.
Did you believe Dunblane happened? Why are you not questioning the lack of available crime scene evidence over that? I don't recall any conspiracy over that. I wonder why? Oh hang on, the internet and the lack of comment by conspiracy theorists.
 
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