The Psychology of conspiracy theorists

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khaoz
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27 Jun 2014, 5:17 am

Stannis
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27 Jun 2014, 6:35 am

I have not read the article yet, but I take issue with the term, "conspiracy theorist," because it is used as a propaganda term to shut down discussions about corruption in high places. We all know that criminal conspiracies happen all the time, so why are people who acknowledge this reality labelled as lunatics?

I get that conspiracy theory means an unsubstantiated hypothesis stated as fact, and if that was all the public understood it to mean, then there wouldn't be a problem. But, I've lost count of the number of people i've met who think you're a loon if you believe that "conspiracies" exist. Somehow believing "conspiracies" became the object of derision, when it was supposed to be the flawed epistemology that lead you to the beliefs that was the object of derision.



Last edited by Stannis on 27 Jun 2014, 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

khaoz
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27 Jun 2014, 7:58 am

Stannis wrote:
I have not read the article yet, but I take issue with the term, "conspiracy theorist," because it is used as a propaganda term to shut down discussions about corruption in high places. We all know that criminal conspiracies happen all the time, so why are people who acknowledge this reality labelled as lunatics?

I get that conspiracy theory means an unsubstantiated hypothesis stated as fact, and if that was all the public understood it to mean, then there wouldn't be a problem. But, I've lost count of the number of people who think you're a loon if you believe that "conspiracies" exist. Somehow believing "conspiracies" became the object of derision, when it was supposed to be the flawed epistemology that lead you to the beliefs that was the object of derision.


I don't think Psychologists are responsible for assigning the label "conspiracy theorist" to people who behave in a certain way. The article is just an analysis of a man who a large portion of society considers to be a master conspiracy theorist. I don't need a magazine article to tell me that Alex Jones behaves like a paranoid schizo. By social standards I would guess that anyone who thought in 1995 that O.J. was innocent would be conspiracy theorists.



Stannis
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27 Jun 2014, 9:27 am

"Conspiracist" has become a loaded word. It is used to similar effect to that which "liberal" or "socialist" is often used in american discourse. That is, to discredit and shutdown institutional analysis and corruption allegations.

Quote:
Connect the Dots

How susceptible are you to conspiracy beliefs? Rate your agreement with the statements below, from 1=strongly disagree to 5=strongly agree.

For the most part, government serves the interests of a few organized groups, such as business, and isn't very concerned about the needs of people like myself.
I have trouble doing what I want to do in the world today.
It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs.
We seem to live in a pretty irrational and disordered world.
I don't trust that my closest friends would not lie to me.
Answer key: 5-11: weakly, 12-18: moderately, 19-25: strongly (Adapted from a scale developed by Patrick Leman)


I mean, how do you interpret the intent of the author here? It doesn't look good. So, If I think that government often puts business interests ahead of the public interest, then I am prone to believe in "conspiracy theories", and I am therefore bad? Correct me if I'm missing something here, but it really looks like this guy is trying to dissuade people from institutional analysis by associating it with what Alex Jones does.



Last edited by Stannis on 27 Jun 2014, 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Redstar2613
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27 Jun 2014, 3:15 pm

That thing at the end was crap. Let's break it down, shall we?

For the most part, government serves the interests of a few organized groups, such as business, and isn't very concerned about the needs of people like myself - You feel that the Government can be greedy and doesn't always have your interests in mind
I have trouble doing what I want to do in the world today - You feel that you don't have as much freedom as you would like and deserve to have
It is difficult for people like myself to have much influence in public affairs - You're unsure if you can really change the world very much, or at all (which is a pretty common feeling and things sure are made to seem that way). This also targets people who have low confidence
[We seem to live in a pretty irrational and disordered world - You don't like the way the world is being run or the direction it appears to be headed in. Ok good, when things are bad, pretending they're fine will only make it worse until you can't ignore it anymore. There's nothing wrong with wanting things to change and get better
I don't trust that my closest friends would not lie to me - Have trust issues or simply realize that people can and will lie. (tugging at the emotions of the reader, using their relationships against them)

I'm surprised there wasn't anything about patriotism, that's usually a good way to get some people to blindly follow the Government.
But anyway, they felt the need to target groups of people just to get their scores up, so they'd freak out about being a conspiracy nut. Not a bad effort, really. But also one of an ignorant douche.



Prof_Pretorius
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27 Jun 2014, 7:46 pm

I can speak from experience, many of the "conspiracy theories" I laughed at when I was a lad, have come to be proven true.
To be sure, there are "Wing Nuts" who believe ridiculous things, but to dismiss ALL "conspiracy theories" as nonsense is itself ridiculous. Then there is a gray area where no matter how much you research, it goes back and forth as reality and fantasy.


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olympiadis
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27 Jun 2014, 9:40 pm

khaoz wrote:


If I were Obama, then I'd be paying Jone's salary because he effectively marginalizes even those people sensible enough to think to question me.

The trend lately is to marginalize skeptical people, ether by association to such outlets as Jones, or by use of straw-man tactics.

Apparently the only way to maintain credibility is to trust blindly and write everything off as coincidence.



Dox47
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28 Jun 2014, 1:04 am

I think there's a distinction between skepticism and conspiracy theorizing, usually that while the skeptic is consistent in questioning everything, the conspiracist is oddly credulous when it comes to their pet theories, twisting evidence around to suit the theory rather than examining it critically. It's sort of like the difference between prepared and paranoid; one accepts that sh*t happens and makes back up plans, the other thinks sh*t is after them specifically.


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Redstar2613
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28 Jun 2014, 5:22 am

Prof_Pretorius wrote:
I can speak from experience, many of the "conspiracy theories" I laughed at when I was a lad, have come to be proven true.
To be sure, there are "Wing Nuts" who believe ridiculous things, but to dismiss ALL "conspiracy theories" as nonsense is itself ridiculous. Then there is a gray area where no matter how much you research, it goes back and forth as reality and fantasy.

Like fluoride and drones. They were once considered to be bat s**t crazy conspiracies but now it's a well known fact.
I think the scariest one are the RFID chips, I can't really be bothered going into detail right now but people have been implanted with microchips under the skin. I started telling people about it years ago when I first found out and most people refuse to believe me but nowadays you can just look it up on youtube and see it happening.
The thing people really don't believe me about is that they'll be used to track everyone and it'll replace money and credit cards. That's the basics of it. So, you know... goodbye privacy. They can know where you are at all times and you wont be able to pay with cash anymore to hide what you're doing that way. I don't know why it's so hard to believe. People say they don't trust the Government, everyone knows Politicians lie... but they still do actually trust the Government, at least more than anyone else who says anything bad about them that isn't already common knowledge. It's ridiculous.
But even worse than not believing it, is when people do believe but think it's ok... I have friends that have told me they literally don't care, whether it's the government or if it was their neighbours spying on them.
How can anyone not care about their own privacy? I don't get it.... but it's not just that, it'll also end up taking away free will. Think about it, if they can know where everyone is, everyone will be easily controlled and yo uwont be able to get away or live off the grid once you're chipped. I'd sooner die than lose my freedom.



olympiadis
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28 Jun 2014, 4:00 pm

My cats have RFID chips.
I don't know if I have one.
It is possible since I had a 20 year military career and worked in the Pentagon.

Hopefully if I get lost or become a stray someone will find me and get me back home.