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It's the same force that drives people to brag about a band that only they have heard of, or say "I know something you don't know", even though this defeats the purpose; nothing is cooler than knowing something someone else doesn't. The problem with conspiracies is that people mistake such hoarding value for truth value, i.

Therefore the trope continues to be used to add value, and the illusion of truth, to information. There are a few other subtle factors at play to enhance this. The idea of information being suppressed and withheld romanticises the idea of the conspiracy. If knowing something that others don't is a big, fat, multi-layered chocolate cake, then being the underdog and fighting against the people who want to stop you is the rich, orgasm -inducing, triple-chocolate icing that spells your name and shouts "happy birthday" with the load of sparklers that gracefully sits atop it.

A figure of hate and mistrust to aim emotions at enhances the experience: the Illuminati , the mainstream media — it really doesn't matter so long as it's something to absorb additional hatred and scorn. Thus the "Them" always capitalise it — always , reinforces the special nature of the information that the conspiracy theory purports to reveal.

The knowledge suppression aspect for example, free energy suppression plays nicely into our thinking about the abhorrence of censorship and the want to do something good in the world. Meanwhile, the "Them" aspect plays nicely into the distrust and hatred people hold for corporations , governments or any organisation that exists in the abstract rather than personal.

It's easy to demonise an institution, a person less so. When a skeptic wanders into a conspiracy theorist discussion to refute facts, the ad hominem responses of conspiracy advocates tend to be of the type "you work for the Illuminati", "you're paid by Big Oil", "you're a NASA shill", or one of countless other very similar such accusations. It's never "you are the Illuminati" or "you work for David Smales, who lives at 45 9 th Avenue with a wife and two children and another on the way, who plays golf on the weekend, likes his pet dog and just happens to be the head of Big Oil".

No, They are faceless and easy targets.

Even further, with Bob Lazar , who claimed to work at Area 51 , no one seems bothered by who he worked for or with there, it's always faceless government. They are an easy target because They can't be personified.

Conspiracies: The Facts. The Theories. The Evidence by Andy Thomas

One peculiar thing about the classic conspiracy theories is how little difference they actually make in practice. Eve Sedgwick puts it this way:.


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The appeal of conspiracy theories is their suggestion of surprising explanations for what everybody already knows. The explanations do not replace the standard narratives of consensus history. Rather, they add a layer that "explains" everything as being under the control of a great and secret power. They reassure you: at least somebody's in charge, even if it's lizard people from outer space. The possibility that no one is in charge, and that the wheels of government and society got this befouled without anyone intending or controlling it, is even more frightening than any of the standard model conspiracy theories.

On the other hand, if a divine plan exists say, a Judeo-Christian one [26] , one can usefully analyze its components as part of a fairly long-running conspiracy. Likewise, most conspiracy theories are vague on what to do about them. Suppose that the Illuminati or the Trilateral Commission or the Lizardfolk are really pulling all the strings of history, how does this translate into a plan of action to effectively resist them? What would that do? For the conspiracy theorist, exposure seems to be enough; once enough people know about the conspiracy, things will just sort themselves out.

An unfortunate and sometimes callous tendency of a diehard conspiracy buff is to instantly claim that a tragedy, be it a shooting, bombing, suicide , or stubbing their toe in the morning, is in some way fabricated by or the fault of the government. This is often done as a form of confirmation bias , motivated primarily by the earnest fervor and outrage that typically dominates a conspiracy theorist's life. Sometimes, such claims are also made cynically, either for political or financial profit. Even when the initial motivation was not for profit, social media platforms have been profiting from enabling the dissemination of conspiracy theories.

An even more unfortunate corollary of this is that any attempts at alternative explanations or deviations from orthodoxy are easily smeared as "conspiracy theories", and an overwhelming sentiment thus obtains where tragedies such as mass shootings , bombings, or suicides are "sacred" or "forbidden", and any discussion, whether in good faith or not, is fundamentally disrespectful.

This line of reasoning is much more often used cynically by political figures to stifle discussion which could potentially reveal their incompetence, malfeasance, or general scumminess. Social systems do exhibit complex forms of order and integration which emerge from the non-intentional consequences of intentional action; these emergent orders can be mistaken for conspiracies by people who have no real concept of social structure and therefore believe that every aspect of society must be the product of someone's will.

For an observer who naively believes that a free market really always is a level playing field, the formation of oligopolies seems like an anomaly, which the conspiracy theory explains.


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A variation on this is found when practices that are common in one context are not generally known to the wider public. For instance, the intelligence agencies of the US and USSR during the Cold War routinely shared information which was kept secret from the citizens of both countries. In business, certain levels of collusion among competitors, especially in oligopolistic markets, are fairly common.

Such practices look conspiratorial to outsiders and may even be conspiratorial in a broad sense of the term but have little in common with the fantastic conspiracies postulated by crackpots. For instance, conspiracy theories postulating that examples of ancient monumental architecture the Egyptian or Mayan pyramids , Stonehenge , the Easter Island statues must have been the product of aliens or whatever, usually depend on a serious underestimation of the engineering skills and technological know-how of the actual human beings on the scene.

Many powerful American individuals and institutions benefited from the attacks, including the Bush regime itself and its allies in the military-industrial complex. However, this is in no way an indication that the attacks were an American conspiracy; this is just how global geopolitics works: when something major and unexpected happens, one interest group or another will find a way to benefit from it.

Overall, conspiracy theories tend to depend on the fallacious belief that everything that happens in society must have been intended to happen by some specific agent, when in actuality many important and also many everyday events are the unintended or unforeseen consequences of intentional action. One common theme in conspiracy theories is that if one conspiracy theory is real, then all the others have to be as well. This is not correct. There are, however, a group of conspiracy theorists who group all conspiracy theories into one big one.

Every tragedy was caused to distract from the real problems. War was caused to further the plans or two Illuminati bloodlines wanted to duke it out , a world event was staged to distract us, and a celebrity death was designed to hide their whistleblowing along with every secret society being created to further their plans.

Daniel Pipes , in an early essay "adapted from a study prepared for the CIA ", attempted to define which beliefs distinguish 'the conspiracy mentality' from 'more conventional patterns of thought'. He defined them as: appearances deceive; conspiracies drive history; nothing is haphazard; the enemy always gains power, fame, money , and sex. Evidence suggests that conspiracist-minded people tend to think that they are both "too special to be duped" and that they desire "uniqueness" provided by belief in conspiracy theories.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free. Jump to: navigation , search. Not to be confused with scientific theory. The Jacobins, the Bolsheviks and the Nazis all believed in vast conspiracies against them, as do radical Islamists today. It is never the flaws of human nature that stand in the way of Utopia. He was the most vocal proponent of the baseless claim that Obama was not born in America, and during the Republican primary campaign, Trump implied Sen.

Ted Cruz's father was connected to Oswald and the Kennedy killing. Trump has also said climate change is a Chinese-manufactured hoax meant to hurt U.

Purported theories about what really happened on September 11 are apparently still up for debate.

To some extent, the human brain is wired to find conspiracy theories appealing. People are highly evolved when it comes to the ability to draw conclusions and predict consequences based on sensory data and observation. But sometimes those same processes can lead to oversimplifications and misperception through what psychologists refer to as "cognitive bias," van Prooijen said. Among the cognitive biases Van Prooijen and other psychologists believe contribute to the appeal of conspiracy theories are:. Randomness is more threatening than having an enemy.

Conspiracy theories also appeal to people's need to feel special and unique because it gives them a sense of possessing secret knowledge, according to a study in the July edition of Social Psychology. Of course, one thing those conspiracies have in common is that they all came to light. And that is almost certain to be the case with any large plot like those imagined by conspiracy theorists. But a few documents remain classified, which is more than enough mystery to keep the conspiracy theories around the assassination alive.

JFK files: Here are the most interesting records on Kennedy assassination, annotated. He claims this proves that explosives must have been used. Gage travels the world giving presentations, and his group puts on news conferences and mock debates several times a year but most often around September 11, the anniversary of the attack Thomas ; Thomas c. These celebrities frequently cite and sometimes mangle claims made by Truther proponents like Griffin and Gage.

As with any well-developed pseudoscience, literally thousands of individual arguments can be advanced in support of the proposition that the United States secretly carried out the September 11 attacks. Perhaps the most bizarre aspect of September 11 was the rapid destruction of both story Twin Towers: after the collapses began due to cascading structural failures at the airplane impact locations, each tower fell completely in just fifteen to twenty seconds. At this instant, the entire upper section of each tower fell the height of one floor, initiating an inevitable, progressive, and utterly catastrophic collapse of each of the structures.

Truthers then insist that free fall acceleration indicates a complete lack of resistance, proving that the structures were demolished with explosives. Real controlled demolitions commonly use explosives to topple large buildings.

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Thermite itself fails as an explanation for the destruction of the Towers on many levels:. The enigma of WTC 7 is becoming increasingly popular in Truther circles. Either way, it appears this American conspiracy theory classic is here to stay. Avery, Dylan. Distributed by Microcinema International. Released September Bazant, Dzenek, J. Le, F. Greening, and D.