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Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






How do?

So this came up in the Coronavirus thread and made for interesting exchanges. To prevent derailing, started this thread.

What is it I’m looking to discuss? Well, not so much a specific a conspiracy theory. And this isn’t an effort to ‘name and shame’ or point and laugh at specific individuals. Rather, I want to discuss the far more interesting question of why people can come to believe in even the most insane of conspiracy theories. For example, Flat Earth. We know beyond the shadow of any doubt at all that’s utter bobbins. The earth is round, we’ve been to space, and have the pictures to prove it.

Yet, not all conspiracy theories are completely mental - and some even turn out to have more than just a grain of truth, but to have been absolutely on the money. And that’s what makes them an interesting topic of discussion in my book.

Example? Well, the readily findable examples may be a bit too political to be kicking off with. So I’ll trust you to Google them yourself rather than me start the thread off on the wrong foot and hamstring the discussion. But they do exist, 100%.

Turns out, there are those with a recognised, psychological predilection to believe in conspiracy theories. In essence, it causes an inherent distrust of any research and opinion other than one’s own. And in some cases, an absolute unshakeable faith that You Are Right, regardless of any actual knowledge on a given subject. Their opinion is the Be All And End All.

And for the avoidance of rank hypocrisy on my behalf - this is just my own, loose understanding that has been garnered having had a casual interest. I am perfectly happy to be educated, and who knows depending on need, re-educated about this!

Now to get into more interesting things. For many (not all) conspiracy theories, a common strand is Selective Evidence. The conspiracy theorist discounts any and all evidence against their take. The reasons given will vary - it’s a lie, its a shill, the person questioning them is working for The Man etc.

Let’s take a common bit of long debunked tripe. Jet Fuel doesn’t burn hot enough to melt steel. Ultimately, correct. But it’s application ignores entirely that it need only burn hot enough to damage structural integrity. And that a building collapsing in any given way will depend up its method of construction. It also completely discounts any prior physical damage to the structure.

They also often struggle to provide a solid, rational answer to ‘yeah.....but why?’. Example here? Those that believe Kurt Cobain was murdered. Sure, the evidence there far from rules it out. The ‘yeah, but why?’ element in this case is that it implies a cover up. What’s the point? If as some would have you believe Courtney Love murdered him, what’s the reason for Police protecting her? What’s the motivation to get her off Scot Free? Compare to Conspiracies proven true - those typically had a clear advantage to be had from them.

They also tend to be implausible in execution. Some of the more bizarre ones would require a huge number of people to be complicit, and seemingly utterly without qualms or morals. Even more so when it’s a widely accepted fact that most/all Governments have shown absolutely nowhere near the competence required to pull such things off.

So that’s my opener. Before I hit submit, please remember this is a discussion, and intended to be friendly and open minded. If you feel things getting a bit heated, please give yourself a breather before your next post.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives?Why not join us?

 
   
Made in de
Rough Rider with Boomstick






The thing you mentioned regarding "A lot of people have to be involved " also often strikes me as odd. Especially since I think one of the main risks for keeping something secret is the "frustrated ex-employe. The more people have to be in on it - especially if a lot of average joes are amongst them - the higher the chance that someone suddenly discovers their conscience, wants his 15 minutes of fame or just some nice little vengance after being fired or not promoted for some completely different reason. And ex-employes other than the average investigator, tend to already know where the juicy evidence is and how to get it.

That's what - in my opinion at least happened with Snowden or Manning and those where secrets with relatively few people involved. And that's one thing that makes things like chemtrails or flat earth highly unbelievable in my opinion.

~3500 build and painted 
   
Made in ca
Boom! Leman Russ Commander





London, Ontario

For anyone that’s played DnD over the years, it’s the hallmark of a “Chaotic” alignment.

They inherently distrust authority, sometimes to the point that if authorities say it is so, then it *must* be a lie, in their eyes. At that point they create a story based on whatever non-authority evidence or ideas are available and because it then implies wickedness or villainy on behalf of a “Lawful” authority it *must* be true, as it confirms their own biases.

For the record, I identify as Chaotic on the alignment wheel. I recognize that authority systems are needed for our society to function, but I have absolutely no qualms acting outside them if I am even vaguely inclined. While somewhat of an ironic appeal to authority, I find that true “Chaotics” are a rare find, not least because we have no drive to organize into groups.

I myself am distrustful of authority, and engage with information from any source in a critical manner, to decide if it is good info, or if it’s misleading. I’m aware of my own filtering process, and can see where a more... extreme... filtration process could lead to crazy town. Key export is crazy, of course, some of which is conspiracy theory.
   
Made in gb
Last Remaining Whole C'Tan






Questioning stuff is of course important. It’s literally the heart of my career. It’s when people believe any and all evidence which contradicts them must be false that it becomes a problem.

I’ve (utterly unfounded) suspicions that the relatively recent dawn of the Internet has given too many people too many info sources. Up to and including my generation (40 in a few weeks), education simply didn’t involve learning how to parse this much information. Given man’s general preference for Confirmation Bias, it doesn’t take long for people to disappear down ever more bizarre rabbit holes.

We’ve then the problem of deeply unscrupulous people who’ve gone full on Snake Oil. Again, not gonna name names, but I’m sure at least two have popped up into your mind.

Their main thing is ‘Big Pharma Only Want Munneh’, despite selling freakish cures (such as salt lamps) and charging through the nose for the privilege.

They feed off and into the Conspirasphere, solely because it makes them huge profits.

Given I lost my my Mum to incurable cancer last year, I’ve a special loathing for such folk. Desperate people will try anything to cure what ails them (and not just in terms of disease). And these......Insert Strong Words Here, are the worst kind of parasite.

They know it won’t work. They know what they’re selling is worthless. Yet they prey upon the vulnerable and the desperate, and do their best to peddle myth after myth after myth.

Taking my own advice at this point to have a wee breather! Whilst Dear Old Mumsie was a sensible sort, and just accepted It Was What It Was, there are others not so accepting of their fate. And it’s them I feel angry for.

Fed up of Scalpers? But still want your Exclusives?Why not join us?

 
   
Made in gb
Castellan of Dol Guldur





Bodt

Not so much a conspiracy theory, but unexplained. The dyatlov pass incident. There are many theories but no conclusive explanation.

Heresy World Eaters/Emperors Children

Instagram: nagrakali_love_songs 
   
Made in gb
Decrepit Dakkanaut




UK

There's also other aspects too

Eg humans tend to accept the first bit of information on a subject. All other information then gets filtered past this "first impression" level of understanding.
Now this isn't stupid, its a good survival trait to be fast accepting new information and to process and be ready to use it. However it falls down if the first bit of information is wrong or is incorrectly interpreted by the person (ergo the information is correct just understood wrongly).


Add to that the fact that for the majority of people if they are ignorant of a subject, then they lack even the basic understanding of that subject to know how badly they don't know it.



Finally add the internet - a fantastic tool, but where search-engines (mostly google) don't authenticate the content they search through. Furthermore there's no peer review for making a website. As a result you can make a pack of lies and so long as it gets lots of hits it will rank well in Google and thus you can spread miss-information far more readily. Once new people take on that first impression of information, the lies on the website have now created a subset of the exposed community who believe them and filter all other information on that subject through that understanding.

I would also say that there's also a huge pitfall in that any form of self-learning is very open to abuse at the information source. The internet makes this very easy in how its possible to produce lies or misstruths or genuine misunderstandings all wrapped up in a website.

Take this for example http://www.macroevolution.net/index.html

Appears on the first page for searching a number of hybrid keys in google (7 for dog-tiger hybrid - 2 for fox-dog hybrid)*.

Sifting truth from lies; theory from theory and hypthis etc.... you actually have to learn a considerable amount of the subject in order to be able to sift this information out. Something that requires a big time investment if you're not already an evolutionary biologist or in a related field. So its no shock that people can get missled when their understanding on many subjects is only very casual at best.



I've also noticed that a lot of people within conspiracy theories are very much like those who are involved in larger cult groups. There's often a very powerful social need from those people and a desire to connect with others and have value within a community. With the massive break down of local communities in general in society today, I think some start to seek out that communal element within fringe groups. You can see this a lot with the flat-earth movement videos, but you can also see it in interviews with inner city gang members and the whole gang culture.

Basically a part of the reason people join and keep coming back is purely social. The actual "cause" is, for them, a secondary element. However because it reinforces the social links that they enjoy the cause because their own and they protect it - often without much sanity behind their actions, because what they are actually trying to protect is their social group and the rewards that brings to them.
This is where you can get some intelligent people who start to make rather abnormal deductions and conclusions and claims relating to their group just to protect it. Some of them can even be self-aware that what they are repeating is fake, but they continue to preserve the group.







I think there's lots of different elements and likely for most within a conspiracy theory group there will be variation between people and also through time for the individuals as to their motivations and reasoning for being part of it and remaining as part of it.




*Accepting that google does filter based on your local search history, region and a billion other things.

   
Made in us
Member of the Ethereal Council




USA

The greatest and only argument worth putting toward conspiracy theroists:

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were the only people on Earth aware of a certain sexual act and they couldn't keep it a secret.

If that doesn't get their head out of their ass, nothing will and you're wasting your time.

Sure most of them contain kernals of truth, otherwise no one would be able to peddle them (and at this point peddling conspiracy theories is a business). Most of what we'd call conspiracy theories are just the dunning-krueger effect running wild. It's the product of people trying to act 'smart' while not actually being smart.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/04/05 14:43:47


   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





Are you guys actually interested in having this conversation, or is this just a thread to laugh and point at the conspiracy theorists?

Because what I'm seeing are a bunch of people mocking these theories without ever having really delved deep into them. You find the idea of a flat earth preposterous - and it is (it is second only to secret lizard people in my book) - but if you don't go down that rabbit hole, you can't possibly represent their viewpoint well enough to do anything deeper than laugh at memes (jet fuel can't melt steel beams, giggle). And that's fine, if that is what you want to do - such a thread has no appeal for me though.

But if you do want to go down the rabbit hole - like, you want to have an actual discussion about this stuff - I've been down those rabbit holes in the past and I can explain them (relatively well). I think if you do learn more about what they believe you'll find that even if they are wrong, they aren't necessarily stupid or beholden to "the dunning-krueger effect".

Take the jet fuel can't melt steel beams meme. The meme sounds silly, but then you realize that WTC 7 also collapsed despite not being hit by any planes or even debris. The official NIST report, which had hidden methodology, stated that the official reason for WTC 7's collapse was a simple office fire - despite not a single steel skyscraper in history collapsing due to a simple fire (they are literally designed so that doesn't happen). The effect of this being true would be a complete reevaluation of every safety standard for every tall building in the world - which never happened.

Late last year, the University of Alaska released an intensive, multi-year study that used every model they could think of in order to explain the collapse of WTC7. Their conclusion was:
The principal conclusion of our study is that fire did not cause the collapse of WTC 7 on 9/11, contrary to the conclusions of NIST and private engineering firms that studied the collapse. The secondary conclusion of our study is that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building.


Unlike NIST's secretive data, they actually released the models they used so that their research could be peer reviewed by others. The end result of their efforts is the conclusion that the building fell due to simultaneous failure on every column in the building - stopping just short of saying controlled demolition did it. This then begs the question, why was WTC7 wired to blow in the first place?

And that's the rabbit hole. You follow the various leads - the secrecy surrounding the NIST study, the ex-NIST whistleblower, the University of Alaska study, heck, the entirety of WTC7 in general - and you'll end up in a very different place on 9/11.

Where the conspiracy theorists get it wrong, however, is in the leaps of logic they do to piece together all of it together. Knowing that WTC7 was brought down by controlled demolition and knowing who did it or why is two different things. There's a bunch of different theories on this, and they range from plausible but unlikely to completely absurd.

As for the idea that conspiracies are too big to keep secret, you'd be surprised how often conspiracies aren't secret. For instance, the US public education system was essentially championed by the John G Rockefeller to create a pliable workforce that didn't question authority - and he admitted as much publicly. Rockefeller created the General Education Board and lobbied the US government to adopt the Prussian education system, and here is their mission statement:
"In our dreams, people yield themselves with perfect docility to our molding hands. The present education conventions of intellectual and character education fade from their minds and unhampered by tradition we work our own good will upon a grateful and responsive folk. We shall not try to make these people or any of their children into men of learning or philosophers, or men of science. We have not to raise up from them authors, educators, poets or men of letters, great artists, painters, musicians, nor lawyers, doctors, statesmen, politicians, creatures of whom we have ample supply. The task is simple. We will organize children and teach them in an perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way".


You don't need to keep things secret if nobody is listening.
   
Made in ca
[MOD]
Dankhold Troggoth






Shadeglass Maze

I recently meet a flat-earther in person for the first time, and got to talk to him for almost an hour. It was fascinating hearing how he came to believe it, his ready justifications for some of my basic questions, and just the whole thing.

Also quite a bit crazy of course, but it was nice to see the humanity / put a face on something I could never relate to at all previously.
   
Made in gb
Mekboy Hammerin' Somethin'





Dorset, England

BBC The Inquiry had an episode on why we don't care about facts recently. One of the interesting things that came up was that most people believe that they think like scientists, when in fact most of us think like lawyers; i.e. an idealised scientist looks at the facts and draws a conclusion wheras lawyers collect and arrange facts to support their desired conclusion.

They said that well educated people are actually worse for this, because they have the intellectual tools to collect evidence and construct arguments to support their conclusion!
So I think your selective evidence thing applys to us all to a greater or lesser degree.

One other thing they said was that you can 'innoculate' people against misinformation to an extent by presenting the arguments to them beforehand but without all the storytelling, drama and innuendo that usually comes with consiricy theories. I don't now how effective it is, but it's an interesting concept.

   
Made in us
Rampaging Reaver Titan Princeps




 LordofHats wrote:
The greatest and only argument worth putting toward conspiracy theroists:

Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were the only people on Earth aware of a certain sexual act and they couldn't keep it a secret.


I'm not sure what you mean here. The White House is a very busy building with lots of people and also an old building with doors that don't block sound very well. From personal experience, the place echoes.
The idea that they were 'they only people on Earth aware' is very much a bizarre conspiracy theory in itself. They did it during the day with other people around. There were almost certainly secret service guys right outside the door, or if not, slightly down the hall. Of course people knew.

This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2020/04/05 16:11:04


Efficiency is the highest virtue. 
   
Made in us
Member of the Ethereal Council




USA

Voss wrote:
They did it during the day with other people around. There were almost certainly secret service guys right outside the door, or if not, slightly down the hall. Of course people knew.


That's my point.

They were the only two people in the room, and that wasn't enough to keep it a secret. Context and other people exist. If two people alone in a room can't keep something a secret, the idea that vast conspiracies are out there involving hundreds of thousands of people is patently absurd on its face.

As for the idea that conspiracies are too big to keep secret, you'd be surprised how often conspiracies aren't secret.


Yeah, but most conspiracy theories are predicated on absurdist notions about secrets and how the theorist themselves is 'in the know' and 'sees the truth' and other such empty platitudes.

A semantic debate about the meaning of the word 'conspiracy' I think holds little real meaning to a discussion of 'conspiracy theories' which pretty much universally involve notions of vast secret keeping by absurdly large groups that couldn't possible keep such things secret.

As for the rest, I think the issue is down to 1984 vs Brave New World. Even non-conspiracy theorist are willing to indulge the notion of vast secret keeping despite it's clear absurdity. As you point out, most agendas aren't all that secret because the world functions much more like Huxley than Orwell. Smart people with agendas don't bother trying to hide them because they can't, and simply bombarding people with alternative facts is more effective at keeping consequences at bay and muddling truth than trying to hide it away.

   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





 LordofHats wrote:
Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were the only people on Earth aware of a certain sexual act and they couldn't keep it a secret.
Monica Lewinsky wasn't trying to keep is a secret though. She was recorded in a phone conversation admitting to it and even kept evidence. If she didn't tell anybody, nobody would've known - or at least, been able to prove it. There's been many accusations against Bill Clinton that went nowhere because a lack of proof. Verification is generally the difference between a conspiracy theory and public acceptance.

For instance, there was a book written about the secret service last year that has secret service members, speaking on the condition of anonymity, that Biden liked to swim naked in his pool and make the female secret service agents watch him. And they said they would intentionally not leave any female secret service agents in Biden's presence alone. They'd come up with excuses to call them away or switch them out with a male member. While I do believe that a secret service agent told the book's author this (the book had gossip about multiple presidents and was written before Biden decided to run for president), we can't know their motivation for it nor can we verify its authenticity, so we can't just assume it is true. It basically amounts to gossip.

So even if everybody else in the White House knew about Lewinsky and Clinton, without the proof that she had, it would've just remained as gossip. And there is a LOT of gossip about Bill Clinton's proclivities. For instance, the National Enquirer wrote an article saying that Bill Clinton once confided in someone that he was sterile due to having measles as a child. Chelsea Clinton isn't his daughter and is actually the daughter of Webb Hubbell. The New York Post wrote about how Clinton has a bachelor pad penthouse on his presidential library, which he often invites girls back to and basically lives at, apart from Hillary. We can verify that the presidential library indeed has a residence in it, that Clinton frequently stays at, but there's no way to verify what he does there aside from hearsay from the women who say he invited them up. Are these things true? No idea.

So, we've got gossip about Clinton, little heard and seldom believed, and that's all Lewinsky would've been if not for the evidence she left behind. That actually makes the Lewinsky case somewhat unusual compared to all the other gossip.
   
Made in us
Powerful Phoenix Lord





I think it actually is far simpler to figure out. I think it consists of two simple human mental processes which are fairly common.

1) Regardless if people admit it...everyone wants to know something that other people don't. At its most base level, it's about being part of a smaller, special group; in this case a group which possesses special knowledge. For most people it's a simple slight buzz they get from being knowledgeable about something which comes up in a simple conversation at a party. It's why we enjoy trivia games, gameshows like Jeopardy, etc. We love to be "in on something". It ties into exclusivity as a whole. We like owning limited edition things, so we also enjoy "knowing" limited edition things. At the extreme end is the desire to know a truth that only you and a small group of other people "know" or believe. This is a part of human nature - some people just take it far more extreme than others. In the end, people want to feel special - particularly if they're not special in other ways.

2) Again, whether people will admit it...victim mentality is comforting to a lot of people. It doesn't have to be genuine persecution but even the vaguest feeling of "us vs. them", or "we're the resistance" is a comforting feeling for many people. It might be used as justification, or again, to feel a weird type of community or camaraderie with a select group of people. Sometimes this is used as justification for ones' failures (read: "The man is putting me down!") etc. For some people the idea that their future and their destiny is in their hands...and they may not know what to do with it, can be scary. It's actually easier to believe everyone and every thing is against them. It's easier to blame your failures when you believe an all powerful oppressive boogey man is carefully manipulating your existence.

So, combine these two and you essentially end up with a "Special" person who is "fighting the good fight against the system", etc. etc.
________________________________________________

Regarding the term 'conspiracy', it is of course frequently misused. The most amusing parts to me are when people bring up a common function (perhaps one that's not advertised, and for good reasons) and claim it's a conspiracy. Every capable government in the world engages in espionage. These are facts. Well known, well studied, etc. Both cyber and physical espionage is a thing, and has been for decades..if not centuries, really. It's part of doing business as a country. Espionage does include spying, occasional abductions and assassinations, etc. That's not a conspiracy, it's just business. These are candid conversations at the top level of most pertinent countries. Most of it is kept behind certain levels of security, but it's just...a thing, a part of life. Will we bribe, abduct or remove state players who are threatening our national interests, and vice versa? Yes, when feasible and necessary. Are we black-bagging and assassinating ignorant bloggers with conspiracy theories? No.

   
Made in gb
Executing Exarch





 RiTides wrote:
I recently meet a flat-earther in person for the first time, and got to talk to him for almost an hour. It was fascinating hearing how he came to believe it, his ready justifications for some of my basic questions, and just the whole thing.

Also quite a bit crazy of course, but it was nice to see the humanity / put a face on something I could never relate to at all previously.


I did like the Flat Earth website boasting they had followers all around the world, and anyway they are wrong its banana shaped just like Sir Bedivere says

And anyhoo its all Nietzsche's fault for killing God allowing folks to replace it with shadow cabals, lizards from space etc, you know proper thinking

"AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME...SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED." 
   
Made in us
Member of the Ethereal Council




USA

 Sqorgar wrote:
Verification is generally the difference between a conspiracy theory and public acceptance.


Plausibility is generally the difference between a conspiracy theory and public acceptance. Sandy Hook false flag, PizzaGate and QAnon are fringe conspiracy theories even by conspiracy theorist standards. If the internet didn't exist, they probably wouldn't be things at all because there's too few people willing to buy into their plausibility, let alone everything else they entail. 9/11, the JFK assassination, and Epstein didn't hang himself on the other hand, have a certain plausibility to them even at their most silly. There's a reason the most well known and widely acknowledge conspiracy theories are also the most 'plausible' on their face.

Then further on that scale, you have things that just plain aren't conspiracy theories, but still struggle with public acceptance because of plausibility. There is zero doubt at this point that Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down by Russian Federation backed separatists in Ukraine operating with Russian provided equipment and advisors. Facts confirming this have been verified forwards and backwards and yet still there are conspiracy theories around the event that offer alternate explanations.

Verification has zero to do with it, least of all because conspiracy theories by their own nature defy the very notion of verification. They most importantly thrive on their unverifiable nature. The "prove me wrong" fallacy is the first defense of every conspiracy theory.

I feel like there's this pit here that needs to be cleared up. Conspiracy theories are nothing like normal bodies of information. They run on leaps of logic, innuendo, and unverifiable or patent false claims that even when undeniably refuted will continue to be repeated as if fact. A conspiracy theory is nothing like the fringe beliefs but unverified. Conspiracy theories operate solely on their own internal made up logic and circular reasoning, and thrive most in places where contradictory information is widespread (politics and foreign affairs being the best examples).

This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/04/05 17:53:41


   
Made in us
Longtime Dakkanaut





 LordofHats wrote:

Plausibility is generally the difference between a conspiracy theory and public acceptance. Sandy Hook false flag, PizzaGate and QAnon are fringe conspiracy theories even by conspiracy theorist standards. If the internet didn't exist, they probably wouldn't be things at all because there's too few people willing to buy into their plausibility, let alone everything else they entail. 9/11, the JFK assassination, and Epstein didn't hang himself on the other hand, have a certain plausibility to them even at their most silly. There's a reason the most well known and widely acknowledge conspiracy theories are also the most 'plausible' on their face.
PizzaGate, at least, is not only plausible, but more or less proven to be true by the Epstein thing. Maybe not the idea that Comet Pizza is doing human trafficking in its basement, but the idea that the elite are facilitating, if not actively engaging in, human trafficking of minors for sexual purpose. With Epstein, Jimmy Saville, Prince Andrew, Nicole Kidman's father, the Finders, the Catholic Church, and whatever that thing was in France where the police covered up for a guy who admitted to kidnapping children for rich and powerful clients (Dutroux affair, maybe? Ducolax? Something like that) - it is becoming increasingly obvious how plausible it all really is. As far as Comet Pizza and the involvement of the Podesta brothers, who can say? But all of them do have terrible taste in art.

The Sandy Hook false flag thing has some things that I find to be credibly strange. When I first started looking into it (I first started looking into conspiracy theories because I was working on a story about a conspiracy theorist), I was expecting it to be similar to flat earthers and to come away thinking they were all nuts. What I've found is not enough to convince me that it was a false flag (and I don't think "gun control" is sufficient to explain why they would bother), but there's things which don't have easy answers - there's a lot more to the conspiracy theory than I originally expected. I was actually surprised at how extensive the theory was. I think the documentary I watched was called We Need to Talk About Sandy Hook. It was enough to make me go "huh, weird" but not enough to make be go "OMGWTF".

I can't speak of QAnon because I don't follow it. Everything I've seen is like psychic cold reading - say a bunch of stuff is happening in secret, take credit for coincidences, then vague predictions that could mean anything. I think that most people, even in the conspiracy theory groups, put QAnon up there with flat earthers.

Verification has zero to do with it, least of all because conspiracy theories by their own nature defy the very notion of verification. They most importantly thrive on their unverifiable nature.
I think it is the opposite. It is the lack of verification that drives conspiracy theories. For instance, the easiest and quickest way to shut down the Sandy Hook deniers would be to simply show them crime scene pictures of the dead children. I understand why it might seem morally unpleasant to do so, but it would immediately end the whole thing in about 30 seconds. But because all attempts to dig into that situation is met with swift and extreme legal punishment - even for things which should otherwise be publicly available information - it creates an air of "these people are hiding the truth".

One thing I've learned about conspiracy theorists is that they love doing research. All of it is tempered by a certain amount of confirmation bias, but their skills are extremely impressive. As 4chan used to call it, it is weaponized autism. Most of the things they find are independently verifiable - but it is a bunch of half truths and hazy connections don't build a complete picture. For instance, when I was looking into conspiracy theories, they all knew about Epstein's island for years before the Miami Herald published their expose. They had photos of his island, including the weird temple there with painted on doors. They knew about the rich people in the flight logs. Epstein's arrest for sex trafficking that was a slap on the wrist. They had all the pieces, but not the full picture. In fact, there wasn't anything in the Miami Herald piece that wasn't old news - but it connected the dots and verified things which they had only assumed. And after the expose, more people started coming out about Epstein and more dots started getting connected. But for Epstein the go down, it needed something with the gravitas and public respect like the Miami Herald to do more than post Google Maps pictures and publicly available flight logs.

I feel like there's this pit here that needs to be cleared up. Conspiracy theories are nothing like normal bodies of information. They run on leaps of logic, innuendo, and unverifiable or patent false claims that even when undeniably refuted will continue to be repeated as if fact. A conspiracy theory is nothing like the fringe beliefs but unverified. Conspiracy theories operate solely on their own internal made up logic and circular reasoning, and thrive most in places where contradictory information is widespread (politics and foreign affairs being the best examples).
Yes, and no. Like I said, I think conspiracy theorists are actually rather impressive with their ability to research. 9/11 truthers, originally believed to be nutters of the highest order, eventually started to reverse public sentiment over decades by coming out with increasingly compelling evidence. By the time I saw a documentary on it - I think it was called something like The Second Pearl Harbor - it was a five hour long epic filled with more than enough compelling evidence to convince even the most die hard non-truther.

That being said, while conspiracy theorists are amazing at verifying publicly available information, they end up dropping the ball 10 yards from the goalpost because they make incredible leaps about what it means. So there's all this evidence that the World Trade Center didn't collapse due being hit by planes, you've got evidence of people knowing about it ahead of time (Lucky Larry), you've got an incredibly complicated and unlikely series of coincidences that allowed it to happen, and you've got evidence that the media was building a particular narrative before even the second plane hit a building - but what does it mean? Going from "this stuff ain't right" to "this is a zionist conspiracy to involve the US military in the middle east" seems like they are skipping steps on their homework. It's like having a dozen puzzle pieces and just guessing that the picture is of a sailboat.

And that I can't really align myself with. I can get behind the things I can verify or have compelling evidence for, but interpolating it out into something without evidence leaves me a little cold. The end result is that I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that conspiracies exist - if for no other reason than the conspiracies from 50-100 years ago being found to be true - but I can't tell you why or to what end.
   
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This feeds in to what I was saying earlier.

Where conspiracy A is proven true, conspiracy theorists (not including Sqorgar in that lump them, for clarity) will take that as confirmation conspiracies B-Z must also be true.

Now, there’s no doubts that Governments the world over do seriously shady things. Likewise privilege for the wealthy in the purist meaning of the word (private law) is genuinely a thing. Stacks of evidence for both of those.

But, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely without morals or limits.

Let’s take 9/11 as the example again. There are absolutely things which The Man In The Street cannot readily explain. And it’s almost certainly true that some stuff has been deliberately obscured. But here, the plural of anecdote is not evidence. They don’t mean the whole thing was a false flag.

Consider that up until that horrifying day, whilst Terrorist Hijackongs were nothing new, the end result was. It was an attack of astounding audacity. When every other hijacking tuned into ransom demands, who’d have guessed those ones would be any different?

The collapse of the Towers has a simple explanation, based on the design of them. Essentially a central pillar, with the floors suspended by cables. That was why they collapsed in the manner some would claim is solid evidence of a controlled demolition. As the structural integrity of the damaged floors failed, and the fire spread? They’d land on the next floor down, adding strain. Eventually it becomes inevitable.

The ‘detonations’ floors below? Simply a pressure wave doing what pressure waves do.

WTC-7? Well, I’m not an expert, and I haven’t looked into it myself. But the important difference between ‘The Man In The Street’ and a Conspiracy Theorist is the acceptance that just because I cannot explain it, doesn’t mean it cannot be explained.

We see the same things with UFO’s. First, what actually is a UFO? It’s an ‘Unidentified Flying Object’. Strictly speaking, everything in the sky to a given observer starts out as a UFO, until we’ve looked at it long enough to say ‘oh it’s just a plane/ bird/balloon” etc, to use common stuff.

But sometimes they defy identification, and can do for any number of reasons. That does not mean anything that remains unidentified must therefore be Alien in origin. It also doesn’t preclude it being extraterrestrial in origin of course.

And this is why I’m so interested in why people so blindly believe certain things.

Pizzagate? Obviously utter, utter nonsense. Yet still some utter fruitloop rocked up with a rifle...

That bloke must’ve had some kind of mental illness. No reasonably minded person could look at that tripe and believe it so wholeheartedly.

But equally, it’s unfair, inaccurate and almost certainly counterproductive and dangerous to conclude that because one is a nutter, all must be nutters. That’s simply not how you go about things constructively.


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There’s also the question of ‘why has nobody blown the whistle’.

That’s been touched on before. But consider the US’ broadly two party system. Do you really believe that if Party A found or had access to evidence, via one of there’s being President, that Party B had conducted covert attacks on US Citizens on US soil, they wouldn’t leverage that?

Same with the Moon Landings. Remember it was a Space Race. A bit of genital waving between two world Super Powers to one up each other. If they really were shot on a sound stage? Russia would’ve exposed that quick as you like. Because of course they would.

When it comes to Flat Earth? We have photos from space, yet Flat Earth exponents just hand wave it away as ‘CGI’....despite the mountains of irrefutable evidence (including that reflector on The Moon).

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On moon miranda.

One thing that plays a huge (though not exclusive) role is that it's often much more comforting to think there's some big bad out there, that things happen for a reason, and that *someone*, or at least *something*, is in control.

People don't like change. They don't like not being in control. They don't like not knowing whats going on. So they invent stuff. They create a narrative that fits their worldview. Having structure and a reason for things, no matter how strange or convoluted, really is something people need, there's a reason Religion is a thing and continues to stick around.The idea that a deep sinister cabal is behind something works a whole lot better for a whole lot of people more than "gak happened". Once that worldview is set, it is incredibly difficult to change, even with unlimited direct evidence of all kinds.

 greatbigtree wrote:
For anyone that’s played DnD over the years, it’s the hallmark of a “Chaotic” alignment.

They inherently distrust authority, sometimes to the point that if authorities say it is so, then it *must* be a lie, in their eyes. At that point they create a story based on whatever non-authority evidence or ideas are available and because it then implies wickedness or villainy on behalf of a “Lawful” authority it *must* be true, as it confirms their own biases.
This is has been my mindset most of my life. Bitterly cynical and anti-authoritarian. Anything coming from someone in a suit/position of authority is automatically suspect, probably sinister, almost certainly meant to control me in some way.

In an many ways that was actually true, but not really in the malevolent ways I was imagining, and a lot of what I saw as malevolence was simply due to stupidity/ignorance/miscommunication (on both their part and my own in many instances). As I have aged, I have chilled out, though that said, it didn't mean I was always wrong

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By it's very nature, a conspiracy theory benefits from a lack of proof. If you could just look it up, it would be what THEY want you to think, right?

The other powerful motivator for it are the actual conspiracies that have come to light. Sure, the fluoride mind control and chemtrails to keep us docile people are wrong- but then there's project MKULTRA, where the American government was attempting to mind control the population.

Bigfoot, the skunk ape, the loch ness monster are ridiculous- but, so was the idea of extinct animals, until we verified the existence of the Coelacanth?

Essentially every time that modern science is wrong about something, it leaves the door open to question everything else, and lends support to the idea that there's more out there that we don't know.

Certainly, once you get a hold of some of the actual crazy conspiracies, it seems more plausible. For instance, carrots are good for your eyes. It's a government created lie, crafted by the British to keep radar secret from Germans that has since just become an axiom of our culture.There was just never any real reason to correct it, so it kept on living.

https://www.history.com/news/do-carrots-really-improve-your-eyesight

True, governments do leak information like sieves when they're genuinely at odds with each other- but how many years did everyone know that black people were closer to monkeys than humans? How many years did people spend believing that women were unfit to lead, despite the numerous powerful queens, pharaohs, and others?

When it's in powers best interest, a government is definitely capable of perpetuating blatant lies.

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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:


They also often struggle to provide a solid, rational answer to ‘yeah.....but why?’. Example here? Those that believe Kurt Cobain was murdered. Sure, the evidence there far from rules it out. The ‘yeah, but why?’ element in this case is that it implies a cover up. What’s the point? If as some would have you believe Courtney Love murdered him, what’s the reason for Police protecting her? What’s the motivation to get her off Scot Free? Compare to Conspiracies proven true - those typically had a clear advantage to be had from them.


This is one that I did read about some time ago. If She did or didn't Kill him we'll likely never know. Part of the reason there is a conspiracy there is due to Eldon Wayne Hoke coming out in interviews saying that Courtney offered to pay him 50,000 to kill Kurt and he passed a lie detector test. (Apparently.) Stack that with everything people who know her have said about her and it's a conspiracy theory shake and bake. Is it possible he was just looking for press, sure. If I recall the investigation and crime scene were mismanaged as well.
The recipe here seems to be a guy wanting press for his band and we'll say police incompetence. (Assumed for the example.) Oh and known behavior and personality of Courtney Love as reported by ....all the bands she's tried to be in and all the Music industry people she's not gotten along with. (Lots of personality conflicts.) Did you know she was in faith no More at one point, although not really.

Hopefully that illustrates what people who care about that particular would grab onto when looking for the "what really happened."

I think it might have been from JRE, People want a conspiracy to be true because it means some one is in charge and that things happen for a reason. This means they don't have to really think about how chaotic the world is.
Something along those lines.
Another problem with conspiracy theories is when it really is a theory but the whoever does the thing that lines up or proves the theory. Although that's more likely just a number of conditions being met more than some insidious plan.
There's a quote about malice and stupidity.

Just my thoughts on the subject.

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 Mad Doc Grotsnik wrote:

Where conspiracy A is proven true, conspiracy theorists (not including Sqorgar in that lump them, for clarity) will take that as confirmation conspiracies B-Z must also be true.
I've seen this happen on occasion, so I won't say it can't happen. But I think the difference between a conspiracy theorist and a normal person is that the conspiracy theorist has come to the realization that there are people out there who will do immoral, monstrous things and think "this is happening everywhere", while a normal person might see something like the Enron scandal and think, "well, that's just Enron".

Now, there’s no doubts that Governments the world over do seriously shady things. Likewise privilege for the wealthy in the purist meaning of the word (private law) is genuinely a thing. Stacks of evidence for both of those.

But, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely without morals or limits.
I'd like you to look into something called Operation Northwoods (in which the US military proposed a false flag attack against American military and civilian targets in order to get the US into war with Cuba - JFK turned it down, luckily) and MKUltra. There's also stuff like trying to sterilize the population of India through fake vaccinations. Trust me. They are without morals or limits.

Let’s take 9/11 as the example again. There are absolutely things which The Man In The Street cannot readily explain. And it’s almost certainly true that some stuff has been deliberately obscured. But here, the plural of anecdote is not evidence. They don’t mean the whole thing was a false flag.
I think there is sufficient evidence to indicate that 9/11 was, at the very least, partly or wholly an inside job which had elements covered up by the US government. Whether it was a false flag or not, I couldn't say, but at the very least, the US government did not skip a beat trying to parlay that disaster into a war with Iraq (which never had weapons of mass destruction and weren't involved in 9/11 in the first place).

The collapse of the Towers has a simple explanation, based on the design of them. Essentially a central pillar, with the floors suspended by cables. That was why they collapsed in the manner some would claim is solid evidence of a controlled demolition. As the structural integrity of the damaged floors failed, and the fire spread? They’d land on the next floor down, adding strain. Eventually it becomes inevitable.
Not quite. That would indicate that the central pillar collapsed from the bottom rather than being damaged on a higher floor - which would cause the building to fall like a stack of pancakes and probably tilt due to uneven damage caused by the planes, where the WTC fell at free fall speed from the bottom collapsing into the exact footprint of the building.

WTC-7? Well, I’m not an expert, and I haven’t looked into it myself. But the important difference between ‘The Man In The Street’ and a Conspiracy Theorist is the acceptance that just because I cannot explain it, doesn’t mean it cannot be explained.
But they did explain WTC7. The University of Alaska ran many, many different models trying to account for every possible explanation, and the only one which came close to explaining the manner in which WTC7 collapsed was one in which all support beams failed simultaneously.

Pizzagate? Obviously utter, utter nonsense. Yet still some utter fruitloop rocked up with a rifle...
Even that situation was extremely bizarre. This guy goes into Comet Pizza waving a gun around and fires one bullet which manages to go through a door into the hard drive of the computer in another room. Conspiracy theorists like to describe themselves as "Coincidence Skeptics".

There’s also the question of ‘why has nobody blown the whistle’.

That’s been touched on before. But consider the US’ broadly two party system. Do you really believe that if Party A found or had access to evidence, via one of there’s being President, that Party B had conducted covert attacks on US Citizens on US soil, they wouldn’t leverage that?
Well, that's what brought down Nixon, after all. However, I think that since that time, due to the consolidation of the media into just a few corporations means that the ability to control the narrative of this kind of stuff is easier than ever. For instance, there was this leaked video of an ABC anchor talking about how she had the scoop on Epstein first. She had interviews with his victims and everything. But ABC spiked the story and wouldn't tell her why. She was rather upset that the Miami Herald was getting all the praise when she felt like she had it first.

The media is really good a branding various situations. I mean, for a famous example, the term "conspiracy theorist" was originally coined by the CIA as a way to discredit people questioning the JFK assassination. But there's all sorts of examples. For instance, there were numerous whistleblowers in the game industry about the corruption in games journalism, but they were lumped together as "gamergaters" and said to just be jealous of women. The vaccine skepticism movement has a lot of valid issues (not on whether vaccines cause autism, but genuine concern over how vaccines are safety tested - or lack thereof) that have all been lumped together with Jenny McCarthy as anti-vaxxers. I mean you have to have seen the glut of labeling that has gone on in the past few years where people have been called white supremacists, misogynists, incels, racists, sexists, whatever - all of these have been attempts to associate people with negative stereotypes in order to downplay or dismiss their voices.

I think more than anything, the reason why even the most minor and most improperly executed conspiracy is never really exposed is because the media is an active co-conspirator. Maybe it is because they are beholden to their advertisers, or because they are owned by corporations with their own interests, or maybe it is because they forgot how to do actual journalism and just retweet idiots on Twitter. But having a compromised avenue for critical information makes it impossible for the truth to get out there. That's why I was always a fan of WikiLeaks, and what they've done to it and Julian Assange is the biggest evidence of a conspiracy there is.

Same with the Moon Landings. Remember it was a Space Race. A bit of genital waving between two world Super Powers to one up each other. If they really were shot on a sound stage? Russia would’ve exposed that quick as you like. Because of course they would.

When it comes to Flat Earth? We have photos from space, yet Flat Earth exponents just hand wave it away as ‘CGI’....despite the mountains of irrefutable evidence (including that reflector on The Moon).

I've only briefly looking into faking the moon landing, but didn't see anything that I would consider compelling evidence. And flat earthers are weird - like, there's a billion ways to show the earth is round that you can easily check for yourself. The moon landing one I get. The importance of that event and need to film it perfectly could lead to faking the footage (even if they didn't fake the moon landing itself, I could see the temptation of having a backup plan). But like, you can go out in the yard and measure the circumference of the earth using shadows and math.
   
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There’s also the odd binary outcomes in any kind of conspiracy theory, and we also see it in evolution denial.

In short, the contentious view is ‘if I can disprove Them, I am therefore correct’, despite their not necessarily being anything to back their version up.

Remember, this isn’t about trying to debunk specific conspiracy theories. It’s acknowledged that some do turn out to be correct. Instead I’ve asked people to believe why some are so set on believing certain things above all others.

Let’s take WTC7 again. I’ve no reason to doubt your claim about the University of Alaska’s findings. Or indeed the findings themselves. But what I’d want to do here, whilst acknowledging I do not know anywhere near enough about the subject matter to make head nor tail of any given academic paper, is to look for any contradictory information from similar sources, I’d also be wanting to read potted versions of both their findings, and any critiques of their findings.

For me, one of the most interesting things is that those that believe in conspiracy theories, and those that discount them out of hand are probably two sides of the same coin.

Wikileaks? My concern there is someone with an agenda could easily insert utter falsehoods amongst genuine documentation. Once unleashed, chaos could ensue. And personally, I don’t consider Mr Assange at all trustworthy in that respect, based on his run and hide behaviour. But that’s an entirely separate topic, and I fear one far too inherently political for a Dakka discussion

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Well, my number 1 ridiculous conspiracy theory I've challenged people on is the one about hillary clinton deliberately causing the deaths of americans at ben ghazi.

I ask people who espouse this "What would hillary possibly gain by doing this even if she was capable of doing it?"

Asides from insults, threats, etc the openly answer I got was "Someone there knew too much!"

I ask "What could anyone there have known that they didn't already have a chance o tell?"

I get insults for my reply.

Yes, a lot of conspiracy theories seem to be a case of someone doing something that cannot benefit them in any way and only end up harming them, for....some reason no one can say.

Also a lot of these theories have a severe dichotomy built into therm in that they a person is intelligent, resourceful and powerful enough to pull off a major action and leave no evidence they did it, yet stupid enough to do something that has absolutely no positive effects for them and a lot of negative ones.




This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2020/04/05 22:12:28


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And hey, overall, I’m prepared to believe that it’s entirely possible Intelligence Agencies aren’t beyond manipulating the Conspirasphere for their own ends.

I’m not for a second gonna try to parse or what have you which may and may not be deliberate misinformation. And for the Mod’s sake I am certainly not going to cite specific governments or agencies.

But, purely hypothetical and to stick with the current example? Would it take a great deal of effort to make up their own Loose Change type nut? If you are indeed trying cover something up, not matter how small or large, playing both sides would, in (ahem) theory, make muddying the waters incredibly easy.

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I actually wonder if one of the writers of Newsthump hangs out on here. Firstly, they frequently mention Warhammer / Games Workshop. Secondly, the very same day as this thread crops up, they publish this...

https://newsthump.com/2020/04/05/5g-conspiracy-theories-all-part-of-secret-plot-by-the-government-to-identify-simpletons/
   
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I’m a reader of Newsthump, and the current 5G baseless drivel is also on my radar

Could be one inspired the other in turn

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Crispy78 wrote:
I actually wonder if one of the writers of Newsthump hangs out on here. Firstly, they frequently mention Warhammer / Games Workshop. Secondly, the very same day as this thread crops up, they publish this...

https://newsthump.com/2020/04/05/5g-conspiracy-theories-all-part-of-secret-plot-by-the-government-to-identify-simpletons/


Ok, let's post a theory that the current series of disasters in the world is actually the emperor of mankind trying to cause social collapse that will lead to the eventual failure of all governments and make it easier from him to create a global empire with him as absolute rulers and see if it turns up on newsthump later?

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 Sqorgar wrote:
PizzaGate, at least, is not only plausible, but more or less proven to be true by the Epstein thing.


There's that circular leap of logic.

Maybe not the idea that Comet Pizza is doing human trafficking in its basement, but the idea that the elite are facilitating, if not actively engaging in, human trafficking of minors for sexual purpose.


PizzaGate is a specific narrative of events. It isn't some vague claim about the wealthy and their ability to get away with murder that can be turned around like "see, I was sort of right." This is just naked apologism for something that harmed people's lives.

I was actually surprised at how extensive the theory was.


Conspiracy theories function like 'the god of the gaps." There's nothing extensive about them. Their lack of verifiability and internal incoherence is a self-feeding loop. Extensive, yes in the sense that they usually try to cover all their bases on the most basic of levels. Not so much in their ability to stand up to basic scrutiny.

I understand why it might seem morally unpleasant to do so, but it would immediately end the whole thing in about 30 seconds.


The first mistake with conspriacy theorists is thinking you can change their mind with evidence. Their notions are not evidence based so much as faith based and then they cherry pick the facts that suit their conclusion. Just take Anti-Vaxxers. We're in the middle of a global pandemic and they're using it as evidence to support their claim that vaccinations are harmful because they causes disease and look at what disease is doing right now.

One thing I've learned about conspiracy theorists is that they love doing research.


I think they like to think this, and they frequently claim it, but indeed it is weaponized autism. Conspiracy theorists don't actually know what research entails. As someone earlier in the thread pointed out, conspiracy theorists like to think they're behaving scientifically when they're really more like cultists. They will eat up material of a specific type from specific sources, and they'll call that doing research, but it's really just regurgitation of information. It's not research so much as memorization of vague overarching details and then inventing new facts to string together an incoherent narrative.

Case and point, you entered this thread with a link and you very evidently did not research it and don't even understand it. It is not a peer reviewed article. If it were it would be published as such, not as a project for public comment which is what it actually is. Throw in that it was funded by truthers and conducted by a man who's publishing history is mostly about bridges and concrete. Then you get to reading the actual project and make it about half way through before noticing it cannot support its principle conclusion. There is no fire analysis in the study. Literally none. Its contents are simply explanations of various model methods and a listing of statistics for build materials who no actual analysis, but it dismisses that fire could have caused a total collapse of the structure as its principle conclusion. I went ahead and looked up the NIST report, which to my shock (sarcasm) includes a detailed fire analysis for 7 floors of the building with models and physical evidence backing those models up. The project by Husley on the other hand contains no physical evidence outside listing building materials and uses the NIST's fire analysis rather than do its own, but only for 2 of the 7 floors the NIST study covered. It's a very odd omission to make for a man with multiple publications on thermal expansion and contraction according to google scholar. I have no idea how he planned to refute the NIST's conclusions while ignoring more than two thirds of its analysis which is probably why it was published as a project for public comment rather than a peer reviewed study cause that's such a glaring mistake even someone who isn't an engineer can notice it. This project would never make it past peer review, assuming anyone tried.

EDIT: And because I'm expecting it, there are two men listed in the paper as "peer reviewers." Robert Korol is a 9/11 Truther, and a fairly well known one cause I recognized his name on sight. He's also an active member of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (in so far as he has been writing material for them for over a decade), who funded this project. I have never seen Gregory Szuladzinski name before, but according to research gate he's quite the publisher of engineering subjects for a Professor of Philosophy (and I'm going to openly doubt that that is even true, cause he has no publication history before the 90s and the man is 80 years old).

And yet, this incomplete analysis that was never peer reviewed is evidence that the building was demolished in a controlled way because they "stopped just short of saying it."

And all of that will ultimately be a waste of time, because to a conspiracy theorist it's just an invitation to start a circular argument that is designed less to prove a case and more to exhaust opposition.

9/11 truthers, originally believed to be nutters of the highest order, eventually started to reverse public sentiment over decades by coming out with increasingly compelling evidence.


Source.

That being said, while conspiracy theorists are amazing at verifying publicly available information


By definition they are not.

This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2020/04/05 23:03:18


   
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Speaking of Anti-Vaxxers?

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/news/anti-vax-facebook-twitter-instagram-vaccines-measles-mmr-a8841666.html?fbclid=IwAR3TzLS2HahixFa5YZQFlUy7CsYcHAcqQzxH5_MR_B4m2XFFmY69inlB8Bw

The U.K. may soon ban anti-vax stuff on social media. How they implement that? I dunno. But I’m guessing some colloidal-Silver and mms flogging cretins will soon be seizing on this.

Never mind that the main claim behind anti-vax is ‘big pharma want munneh’, and that a vaccine injection is a limited cost prevention, compared to weeks of hospitalisation in many cases....

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