Conspiracy or conspiracy theory? How to distinguish?!?

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Salonfilosoof
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14 Jan 2011, 9:51 pm

waltur wrote:
perhaps your valid and intelligent refutations are on some forum i haven't seen, all you've done here is not-live-up-to-that-claim-at-all. even here, your only support is your own nonspecific anecdote.


Honestly, I don't care. Like I said, this stuff is getting tiring.

waltur wrote:
yes. that would be the comparison i was drawing. glad you can see that. once you realize where they are similar, you can focus on what makes them "different." considering the amount of pseudoscience that makes it to "mainstream" documentaries, i'm amazed every time i see any good science on tv. it'd be nice if we had more, but a huge portion of the population believes crazy sh** and gets offended when you point out how ridiculous they're being.


Let me rephrase my question then : on what grounds do you distinguish between "documentary" and "indoctrination"?

waltur wrote:
*facepalm* yes.... by far, the greatest conspiracy theory is and always has been "god." i thought god did an excellent job in this cameo.


No comments with regards to the sources I mentioned?

And with regards to the theism reference.... Someone who believes in some kind of big daddy in the sky can hardly be called sceptic. You seemed to have missed that point.

that said, the character and author are not one and the same.

waltur wrote:
randall munroe is a skeptic.

i'm still waiting for something other than nonspecific anecdotes to support your claim that skepticalscience.com is staffed/supported by non-skeptics. something tells me i should give up and go do something else.


I don't really see the point. I would love to discuss some actually interesting issues, but those I couldn't care less about those arrogant idiots as so-called sceptic forums.

Vexcalibur wrote:
Accusation of a conspiracy without ANY evidence whatsoever = Conspiracy theory.
Conspiracy theory + evidence = Conspiracy
Conspiracy theory + evidence proving it wrong = Utter BS if the person(people) keep pushing it as it was the truth.


If only it were that easy.... Some people consider the conspiracy theory that Osama Bin Laden and a bunch of Muslem fundamentalists are solely responsible for blowing up the WTC towers and that they did it using airplanes alone a proven fact. IMO, that's utter groundless rubbish. Other people consider the conspiracy theory that US intelligence and/or Mossad blew up the WTC towers by means of controlled demolition using airplanes just for the shock effect a proven fact. IMO, they're absolutely correct, but others consider that groundless rubbish.

On both sides, there are experts using science to back them up. Still, only one of both sides can be right. Using your criteria alone, there is no way to distinguish conspiracy from conspiracy theory.



zer0netgain
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14 Jan 2011, 10:10 pm

An inherent problem with "conspiracy theories" is in the mind of the critic.

Rationally, the burden of proof is always impossible because the very nature of a conspiracy involves an atmosphere of secrecy.

The first rule in a covert operation (a conspiracy) is to not be discovered...or at least prevent discovery until hindrance or frustration of the operation's objective is no longer possible by the intended target.

With this rule, for any critic to demand "proof" of a conspiracy is a classic Catch-22. If one could prove a conspiracy so easily, it would not be a very good conspiracy. In history, some clandestine conspiracies were exposed because someone got lucky and found damaging evidence and managed to present it to the right person(s) in time.

However, as time progresses, and some people DO learn from history, many who chose to do things in secret know to be vigilant in covering their tracks. If those behind the plan have influence in the media, they can suppress stories that might tend to expose their operations. It's not always needful to murder someone who is getting too close or asking too many questions...a vigorous PR campaign to discredit that person as a "crazy" person is more effective. In fact, killing them would only make them a martyr. Better to use social pressure to make people think, "If I believe this guy, I'm no saner than he is."

So, whenever I see someone critical of a "conspiracy theory," I see a well-conditioned person who wants ABSOLUTE PROOF of the conspiracy before they will believe it. Okay. 10 out of 10 for sound black and white reasoning, but -2,000,000 for realistic thinking. Why is the "official" source automatically given 100% credibility? How often has the "official" source been caught telling lies, or just being wrong about their facts? Why is it not enough to expose that there are holes or outright contradictions to the official story? Why give so much credibility to a source that is so unreliable but be totally critical of someone who has some fact, but for good reason could never prove anything to 100% if the other side is actively trying to misdirect and conceal the truth from the public?

In the end, you either have an open mind and will look at what everyone has to say, keep in mind how credible each has been over the years, and decide for yourself what you believe is the truth...knowing that one day the truth will likely come out...after it's much too late to change what has transpired.

Who cares if 500,000 men and women die in a pointless war 10 years after the war is over? The time to care was when that "lone nut" was saying the reason to go to war was bogus back when the state was making its case to invade.

In the long term, the truth might prevail, but the bad actors got everything they wanted...and rarely are they ever punished for their crimes.



ruveyn
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15 Jan 2011, 4:56 am

Conspiracy Theories are a strange beast. For the true believer in a Conspiracy Theory any empirical evidence that weighs in against the theory is clearly planted by Them, to deceive us. Evidence against the theory clearly proves the theory is true. Contrary evidence is only what They want us to think.

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Salonfilosoof
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16 Jan 2011, 11:27 am

ruveyn wrote:
Conspiracy Theories are a strange beast. For the true believer in a Conspiracy Theory any empirical evidence that weighs in against the theory is clearly planted by Them, to deceive us. Evidence against the theory clearly proves the theory is true. Contrary evidence is only what They want us to think.


The same attitude can be found on both sides. For the true disbeliever in a Conspiracy Theory any empirical evidence that weighs in favor of the theory is clearly fabricated by Conspiracy Theorists to convince others. Evidence in favor of the theory clearly disproves it. Favorable evidence is only what Conspiracy Theorists want us to think.

It's saddens me that folks like yourself like to pretend this attitude is typical for so-called "conspiracy theorists" and totally uncommon among so-called "sceptics", while in reality I've encountered far more people with this particular attitude among so-called "sceptics" than among so-called "conspiracy theorists".