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Totally sick and tired of conspiracy theories.

 
 
aquinas
 
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2003 05:16 pm
Am I alone in being sick and tired of the conspiracy theory industry that plays so large a part in popular history publishing?

There is a kind of wearingly familiar pattern to most conspiracy theories. Firstly they are usually centered on something or someone who was very famous, controversial or slightly mysterious - JFK, Hitler, Jesus, Jack the Ripper etc etc - in short conspiracies only seem to happen to really famous or weird people. Conspiracies never happen to ordinary folk. Secondly, all conspiracy theories are based upon a degree of intellectual gymnastics and giant leaps of speculation that would make the most audacious stunt man blush. Thirdly, conspiracy theories have a really tiresome habit of depending on the testimony of people who years after the event (sometimes hundreds or thousands of years after the event) suddenly recall or "find" something of massive significance.

In short conspiracy theories are directed at cult figures, based upon extremely thin hard evidence and tend to attract the most unreliable testimony from unreliable people. If you doubt this generalization let me try to convince you with a specific example.

JFK and the assassination. If JFK was not shot by Oswald acting alone he must have been shot by at least one other person. The conspiracy theorists say this person fired a shot from ahead and to the right of the presidential motorcade. If this was so then the autopsy photographs would show an entrance wound on the front of the presidents head and an exit wound at the back. They do not. The photos show an entrance wound at the back and an exit wound at the front. How do the conspiracy industry cope with this? Well it's obvious isn't it! The photos are faked - as a part of the conspiracy. The conspiracy bods point at the former employee of the Naval Medical Research Centre in Washington who was present when the autopsy was done. In 1988 he is quoted as saying he distinctly recalled the exit wound in the president's head being at the rear! The very same man gave written testimony to the Warren Commission and failed to mention this astounding fact! He was also present at the House Committee on Assassinations hearings in the 70s and would have seen the "faked" autopsy photographs but it seems it slipped his mind to bother telling anyone then that they were fakes! Why did he suddenly recall the "truth" some 25 years after the event? Of course we all really know the answer. We all like to be the centre of attention - to be on the TV and in the press and featured in books. I suppose after a while you can even convince yourself that what you are recalling is what actually happened.

History is actually mostly about fairly ordinary people trying to cope and meet whatever circumstance throws at them. The reactions of most people are predictable. The fact is that conspiracy theories blossom because we do not like the ordinary very much - it is too dull. We want there to be a mystery something sexy and spicey. The Ripper must have been a member of the royal family because that would make the whole business interesting. Without that element the whole unsolved Ripper murders business would be just one more set of ugly, base sadistic murders. JFK cannot have been killed by a single, dysfunctional, desperately rejected and unbalanced man with a compulsion to do something - anything - to get himself noticed. To admit that would be to admit that the most powerful man on earth was brought down by a hopeless loser with no agenda other than to get noticed.

Just because the truth is ordinary that does not mean we should despise it, reject it or try to sex it up. A historian should endeavour to see the past for what it was - not what it would have been interesting to have been.

As a final tilt at the end of this lengthy rant let me refer you to a few REAL conspiracies - The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, the plot to depose Gorbachev in 1989, the conspiracy to carry out a coup d'etat in munich in November 1923. What do they all have in common? Yes, that's right, they all fell apart and failed miserably within a short time. Conspiracies involving more than a very few people simply do not work - they leak and they fail.

Reject conspiracy! Do not fear the truth! Be prepared to accept that the ordinary is usually what it is - the truth.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 2 • Views: 5,701 • Replies: 36
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blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2003 05:32 pm
We know that you and your friends have constructed this post as a red herring to your nefarious underground activities. We will not be fooled.
0 Replies
 
hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Sun 30 Nov, 2003 06:12 pm
If those darned aliens had not built the pyramids, we wouldn't be in this mess!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2003 10:55 am
You've hit the nail on the head for the primary objection to conspiracy theories--which is that the most of them require a great many people to have been involved with the same end, and then to have kept their mouths shut for long periods of time. Neither activity is common to the human experience. Another consideration is that those who would conspire are very likely to be venal--criminal conspiracies are those most likely to be attempted. A lack of trust among participants would eventually doom the conspiracy.

Historical theories of conspiracy are the most pernicious, however, because the majority of the public do not understand the rules of evidence as applied in historiography. It is all to easy for someone wishing to profit by the publication of an historical conspiracy theory to use evidence that a conscientious historian would doubt or reject out of hand. Additionally, such authors frequently use selective evidence. "It is quite plausible to suggest that Kimmel was unprepared for the Pearl Harbor attack because he lacked sufficient information . . ." would be an example of what one might quote from Knox, Stark, Turner or any number of persons who were responsible in the Navy Department in 1941. But such a statement would not include the disclaimer which any of those men would add, which was that they believed that Kimmel was getting the same intelligence information as were they. A futher technique of historical conspiracy theorists is to play upon the suggestibility of the otherwise uninformed reading public. In the Pearl Harbor example, an attack on Pearl Harbor seems a unitary concept. But it is not in fact a single idea. The Japanese did not attack Pearl Harbor, they attacked the Pacific Fleet, which they knew they were likely to find at Pearl Harbor. This is a crucial difference, because almost all men in authority in America in 1941 feared an attack on Pearl Harbor, but did not think about an attack on the Pacific Fleet. Lt. Gen. Short, the commander of the Army's Hawaii Department, had reached the point where he had completely reversed his thinking about his duties. His job was to protect Pearl Harbor and the Fleet--but he came to believe that Oahu was safe so long as the Fleet were in port. The Japanese had determined that the Fleet would be in port on a Sunday, and that everyone's guard would be down. This was certainly true of Short, who felt safe whenever the Fleet was in port. The attack was a success for that reason--among many others.

The biggest refutation of the Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory is that Americans had badly underestimated their opponent, and it was a great national humiliation to them that the Japanese, toward whom there was a racist attitude of superiority, could pull it off. It salves the national pride to dream of conspiracies, rather than to admit that the Japanese pulled off one of the greatest naval operations of all time.

One of the most ridiculous examples of this misdirection of the readers' attention comes from Van Daniken and his Chariots of the Gods tripe. In a discussion the momunental figures carved into the rock on the plains of Nazca, he posits (in so many words, i don't have a direct quote) that: "This could only have been laid out from over head, so how can you explain this as a work of people who didn't have flight technology." In fact, such claptrap can take in the well-educated, too. The National Institutes of Science paid for an expedition which went to South America to attempt to show that hot-air balloons might have been constructed with the materials available there at that time. But why should one accept the original statement in Van Daniken's thesis? Consider for yourself just how difficult it would be with modern technology, if not impossible all together, for a supervisor hovering above the plain in a helicopter to control workmen on the ground making the carvings. In reply to the thesis that the carvings could only have been laid out from above, i would point to the grid transfer technique, used by the human race for thousands of years. One draws a picture on a small scale, and lays out a grid of equal dimension squares over the drawing. By laying out a huge grid on the surface to be carved, and transferring proportionately the contents of each grid square from the small to the huge, you have a very simple explanation for producing monumental sized carvings.

Whatever the provenance of a conspiracy theory, applying William of Occam's dictum entia non sunt multiplicanda will dispell most of the fog upon which the hoax perpetrator relies.
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2003 11:05 am
I believe absolutely everything I hear on Art Bell's Coast to Coast.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 1 Dec, 2003 11:07 am
Have i shown you my brochures for swa . . . that is, lake-front property in Florida?
0 Replies
 
Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 03:25 am
Not Fooled
This is obviously a conspiracy against conspiracy theorists. I have secret information from a Very Reliable Source that this is part of the Plan by the Illuminati to stifle the inquiry of curious and skeptical minds to get to The Truth which has been kept from us for Evil Reasons by a Dark And Hidden Power. We are not fooled. Keep your eyes on the Grassy Knoll.

On To You,

Tantor
0 Replies
 
kev
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 07:53 am
I have to agree that silly conspiracy theories still abound, surely the silliest of all is that Lee Oswald shot JFK, and incredibly there are people who actually believe this nonsense.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 10:37 am
A mob boss, I've forgotten which one, once remarked that the only way a secret shared by even three people is when two are dead.
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Tantor
 
  1  
Reply Fri 5 Dec, 2003 10:55 pm
Oswald Did It
kev wrote:
I have to agree that silly conspiracy theories still abound, surely the silliest of all is that Lee Oswald shot JFK, and incredibly there are people who actually believe this nonsense.


One of the people who believe Oswald did it was construction worker Howard Brennan, an eyewitness at Dealey Plaza standing across from the Book Depository who saw Oswald fire at JFK and identified him as the shooter.

What is silly is conspiracy pinheads' rejection of facts and evidence in favor of fantasy.

Tantor
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2003 12:02 am
WB tantor
0 Replies
 
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2003 12:55 am
I know this is inconsequential and there is a perfectly logical explanation, but how does the US government account for Bush's false claims about having watched the first airliner strike the WTC that day on television, when the first airliner strike hadn't even been televised that day, again?
0 Replies
 
hobitbob
 
  1  
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2003 01:06 am
InfraBlue wrote:
I know this is inconsequential and there is a perfectly logical explanation, but how does the US government account for Bush's false claims about having watched the first airliner strike the WTC that day on television, when the first airliner strike hadn't even been televised that day, again?

By pretending it never occurred.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 02:20 pm
I used to work for Florida Power, and although it's a minor thing compared to the Kennedy assasination or Roswell, the attitude of much of the general public, as stated on talk radio, in the newspaper, in letters we received from customers, etc. was that we were conspiring to do all kinds of things, like create artificial shortages to be able to raise our rates, and a host of other conspiratorial things. It really struck me as sad, because, while I cannot swear that these things absolutely were not occurring, I do know that I never saw anything of the kind, and the people I met at all levels seemed to be decent, honest, ordinary people. In some cases, the conspiracies attributed to us were close enough to my own job function that I knew beyond any doubt that the conspiracy ideas arose out of simple ignorance of what we were doing.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 03:03 pm
Simple ignorance, one the human race's most popular commodities, is at the heart of every conspiracy theory. They cannot function without it.
0 Replies
 
cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Tue 9 Dec, 2003 03:11 pm
A 'Shadow Person' visited me last night and told me not to believe in conspiracy theories anymore. Then a Succubus appeared, and laid on my chest, and it hurt like hell, but I said, "no way bitch, I'm having you tonight." She got all kinda soft, and we had great spirit-world sex. Well, I slept for a while, and then the grays showed up, uninvited. "Where's our pate, dude," they asked. "Screw you, you should call first if you want pate." They were not impressed. "Okie dokie, up to the saucer, and another anal probe for you." An unpleasant experience, but fortunately, no colon cancer.
0 Replies
 
JLNobody
 
  1  
Reply Sun 21 Dec, 2003 11:14 pm
truth
I suspect this thread is part of a vast conspiracy to suppress conspiracy theories.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2003 06:16 am
Good God ! ! !

JLN, we have to alert the world, what if this nefarious plot succeeds, what if . . .

Hmm, i'm gettin' hungry, any suggestions for breakfast?
0 Replies
 
blueveinedthrobber
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2003 11:09 am
set I believe we have been systematically programmed from birth to believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that government subsidized farming allows for the injection of eggs and prepared cereal with a mind altering drug that makes people believe everything they see on tv.

for God's sake man, skip breakfast!!!!!
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 23 Dec, 2003 11:10 am
I had bean soup for breakfast, Bear . . . am i in trouble?
0 Replies
 
 

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