Explaining Conspiracy Theories [Archive] - Glock Talk

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RimfireMan
05-01-2013, 05:26
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=moon-landing-faked-why-people-believe-conspiracy-theories

DanaT
05-01-2013, 05:58
Interesting.

...."fundamental attribution error”: the tendency to overestimate the actions of others as being intentional rather than the product of (random) situational circumstances.

Bruce M
05-01-2013, 06:01
Thanks The article was good reading.

DanaT
05-01-2013, 06:19
There is something that is very much in the background of this article.

"A conspiracy theory is usually defined as an attempt to explain the ultimate cause of an important societal event as part of some sinister plot conjured up by a secret alliance of powerful individuals and organizations."

I see this many times on GT that people accuse others of wearing the tin foil hat, but never look in the mirror.

The people who "wear tin foil hats" are always looking at the govt as the organization conjuring up the sinister plot. The govt labels them as "kooks" but then turns right around and labels groups (i.e. sovereign citizens) as part of a dangerous organization conjuring up sinister plots.

The justification for the govt is "well we had a few incidents over the last 20 years" with them. However, when the same justification is given by the tin foil hat wearers that there have been incidents by the govt, they are dismissed as nut because these were simply mistakes or happen very seldom.

And my proof of that people never look in the mirror will be the posts that follow where GTers will be pointing out that one side is kooks and the other is righteous.

Dennis in MA
05-01-2013, 09:58
Wait. MMGW isn't a hoax??? We now have PROOF that Man has caused this??? Why didn't anyone tell me?

Cybercowboy
05-01-2013, 10:05
Some conspiracy theories are harmless and some are not. For instance, people who believe that the moon landings were a NASA hoax are pretty much harmless (and laughable) but those who believe that the US Government/Mossad faked 9/11 are certainly not harmless little conspiracy fuzzballs. Take note that the Boston bombers were adherents of that particular conspiracy theory.

Cybercowboy
05-01-2013, 10:07
Wait. MMGW isn't a hoax??? We now have PROOF that Man has caused this??? Why didn't anyone tell me?

It was because of the way Scientific American treated the whole MMGW issue, especially the way they treated skeptics, that I gave up my subscription of over 20 years a couple of years ago.

MaxxAction
05-01-2013, 10:48
Looks to me like Scientific Americans' version of "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."

It was stated in a policy recommendation paper by Obama's friend and former regulatory Czar Cass Sunstein that the best way to keep conspiracy theories in the realm of theory is to discredit the conspiracy theorist. He even went as far as recommending that governemtn might suspend people's right to speak of such things, and tax them or fine them if they do.

II. Governmental Responses


What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses: (1)Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5 Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions.


However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).

The full paper can be found here:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1084585