Sunstein on "Conspiracy Theories"

Reply Sat 16 Jan, 2010 04:15 pm
Go to this page:

SSRN-Conspiracy Theories by Cass Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule

and click on "Download" to get the PDF of the entire document.

There are many articles on the net about this crap on sites such as prisonplanet and rawstory but i wanted you guys to just read the actual ****, rather than to read ABOUT it.

this guy ( Sunstein - Obama's information Czar ) is a real artist at twisting logic.

the article is VERY WRONG but also quite thought provoking.

edit: just finished reading.

i will consider writing an article specifically as a commentary on this.
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Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 04:26 pm
If there are no conspiracies why is the word in the dictionary?
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 05:10 pm
Ok i finished writing my response to Sunstein's article. It can be found at my site here:


and i will also paste the full text directly below.
Reply Sun 17 Jan, 2010 08:16 pm
It is not plausible to suggest that all or most members of those communities are afflicted by mental illness. The most important conspiracy theories are hardly limited to those who suffer from any kind of pathology.

It was previously mentioned that people must inevitably rely on what others think. However what others think also relies on what yet other people think. In the end nobody really knows why they think what they do and what they think depends not on any hard evidence that they had but on the idea that seeded the informational cascade. ( reputational cascades to be addressed shortly ).

Of course the example is highly stylized and in that sense unrealistic; [real cascades] arise through more complex processes.

[Government] enlists nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts. Although government can supply these independent experts with information and perhaps prod them into action from behind the scenes, too close a connection will prove self-defeating if it is exposed -- as witness the humiliating disclosures showing that apparently independent opinions on scientific and regulatory questions were in fact paid for by think-tanks with ties to the Bush administration.
Big Lie - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Group polarization:

There are clear links between cascades and the well established phenomenon of group polarization, by which members of a deliberating group typically end up in a more extreme position in line with their tendencies before deliberation began. Group polarization has been found in hundreds of studies involving over a dozen countries. Group polarization occurs for reasons that parallel the mechanisms that produce cascades. Informational influences play a large role. In any group with some initial inclination, the views of most people in the group will inevitably be skewed in the direction of that inclination. As a result of hearing the various arguments, social interactions will lead people toward a more extreme point in line with what group members initially believed. Reputational factors matter as well. People usually want to be perceived favorably by other group members. Once they hear what others believe, some will adjust their positions at least slightly in the direction of the dominant position.

In other words once there is a definable group of people sharing common belief ( such as the belief that USA was attacked by foreign enemy on 9-11 ) then even if the individual members of the group initially had their doubts, by virtue of being in the group they will eventually lose those doubts and become absolutely convinced.

it is especially important to note that group polarization is particularly likely, and particularly pronounced, when people have a shared sense of identity and are connected by bonds of solidarity.43 These are circumstances in which arguments by outsiders, unconnected with the group, will lack much credibility, and fail to have much of an effect in reducing polarizationDIY-AV • View topic - Information Flow - Vertical, Horizontal, ReflectionSSRN-Conspiracy Theories by Cass Sunstein, Adrian Vermeule
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Mr Shaman
Reply Mon 18 Jan, 2010 01:42 pm
NEUROSPORT;69622 wrote:
this guy ( Sunstein - Obama's information Czar ) is a real artist at twisting logic.

[CENTER]Yeah....imagine that.

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