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Old 04-26-2013, 01:40 AM   #1
KevinNYC
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Default Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Interesting article in Salon.

One of the things to remember about this, is we all have cognitive biases, it's a flaw of human reasoning. You just have to check yourself before you go down the rabbit hole. Once you go down, it's hard to come back.

Quote:
What are the psychological forces at play in conspiracy thinking?

Basically what’s happening in any conspiracy theory is that people have a need or a motivation to believe in this theory, and it’s psychologically different from evidence-based thinking. A conspiracy theory is immune to evidence, and that can pretty well serve as the definition of one. If you reject evidence, or reinterpret the evidence to be confirmation of your theory, or you ignore mountains of evidence to focus on just one thing, you’re probably a conspiracy theorist. We call that a self-sealing nature of reasoning.

Everyone is prone to some degree of bias and motivated reasoning — where do you draw the line, if there is one?
...
The crucial difference between having a preconceived notion — we all do that, of course — and conspiratorial thinking is when you get into that self-sealing reasoning and ignore every piece of evidence that is pointing the other way, when you’re starting to broaden the circle of conspirators, and when your skepticism gets to be nihilistic — when you believe absolutely nothing that the government or the media is saying — that’s when you’ve crossed the line.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

It's pretty natural to believe in conspiracy when we are living in a world full of lies.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:51 AM   #3
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

This line jumped out at me.
Quote:
when your skepticism gets to be nihilistic — when you believe absolutely nothing that the government or the media is saying —
How many times have we seen that nihilistic skepticism on this board? The idea that every member of the government, every cop, every ambulance driver, everyone is working with every member of the media, TV, newspaper, local, national, they're all working off the same coordinated script instaneously?
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

It's sad to see that, especially now in the post 9/11 world, how every single major disaster/atrocity has at least a very small group of conspiracy theorists who believe the event was caused by the government and who honestly think they are helping rid the world of ignorance by spewing their continual flow of theories out into the public as facts. It's one thing to think 9/11 was a conspiracy (which I don't believe it was, FYI), and it's an entirely different thing to think that say, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was. I mean how much do these people (the ones who believe in practically every conspiracy theory) hate the government? It seems more like the mentality of those who live without electricity in the Boston Mountains than that of seemingly normal forum-goers.

I don't believe that all conspiracy theories are false, I just think there are WAY too many. I'm looking at you, HAARP theorists.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:58 AM   #5
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Our government is composed of humans, with families, and flaws...many of them who are just flat out not very smart

Some theorists have this idea that our government is composed of nothing but heartless genius robots who have a never ending need for world domination.

They are just people...no different than those who run any large business in this country
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1987_Lakers
It's pretty natural to believe in conspiracy when we are living in a world full of lies.

True.

But if you have no discernment about that, you have just swapped one bad way thinking, gullibility, for another, paranoid cynicism.

And yes, this is a world full of lies which is why run-of-the-mill, ass-covering, after-the-fact-cover-ups, occur way, way more often, that the massively-coordinated, perfectly-executed false-flag, fifth-season of the X-Files scripts folks claim every month or two.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:06 AM   #7
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinNYC
True.

But if you have no discernment about that, you have just swapped one bad way thinking, gullibility, for another, paranoid cynicism.

And yes, this is a world full of lies which is why run-of-the-mill, ass-covering, after-the-fact-cover-ups, occur way, way more often, that the massively-coordinated, perfectly-executed false-flag, fifth-season of the X-Files scripts folks claim every month or two.

I'm sure there is a fair share of perfectly executed false flags or whatever but those wont make it to the surface of conspiracies. I mean if the marathon bombings, sandy hook, or 9/11 were really due to the groups that conspiracy theorist like to point to than I'm surprised that it is the likes of Alex Jones or Glen Beck that is finding this all out.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Some of the scholarly articles they link to are pretty interesting too.

This one talks about about how folks who believe in one conspiracy theory can also believe in a theory that says the exact opposite.
Quote:
In one study, the more participants believed that Princess Diana faked her own death, the more they believed that she was murdered... in stuy 2 the more participants believed that OsamaBin Laden was already dead when U.S. special forces raided his compound in Pakistan, the morethey believed he is still alive.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:11 AM   #9
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MMM
I'm sure there is a fair share of perfectly executed false flags or whatever but those wont make it to the surface of conspiracies. I mean if the marathon bombings, sandy hook, or 9/11 were really due to the groups that conspiracy theorist like to point to than I'm surprised that it is the likes of Alex Jones or Glen Beck that is finding this all out.

Well, the way Alex Jones or Glenn Beck use false flag, it needs to happen in public because it's supposed to get the public's attention. But you're right. a successfully executed conspiracy would probably happen in the shadows.

Last edited by KevinNYC : 04-26-2013 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:12 AM   #10
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelingman
It's sad to see that, especially now in the post 9/11 world, how every single major disaster/atrocity has at least a very small group of conspiracy theorists who believe the event was caused by the government and who honestly think they are helping rid the world of ignorance by spewing their continual flow of theories out into the public as facts. It's one thing to think 9/11 was a conspiracy (which I don't believe it was, FYI), and it's an entirely different thing to think that say, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami was. I mean how much do these people (the ones who believe in practically every conspiracy theory) hate the government? It seems more like the mentality of those who live without electricity in the Boston Mountains than that of seemingly normal forum-goers.

I don't think it has to do with hatred of the government, as much as fear of its perceived power or insecurity over ones own lack of power. By being a conspiracy theorist you get to believe you are lifting the veil and gaining some measure of power (by way of knowledge) over the government. People that are lost and feel powerless are suddenly important and perceptive. They are no longer followers and they no longer need to find self worth in mainstream society.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:17 AM   #11
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinNYC
Some of the scholarly articles they link to are pretty interesting too.

This one talks about about how folks who believe in one conspiracy theory can also believe in a theory that says the exact opposite.

a bit off topic but this reminded me that for some reason i believed Diana died already before hearing the news. the same thing has happened a few times, another one being when greg moore died. For some reason i thought i heard he died the day before he died than heard it again when the actual accident happened.

i know it doesn't make sense but it is something that used to happen to me when i was younger.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:29 AM   #12
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miller-time
I don't think it has to do with hatred of the government, as much as fear of its perceived power or insecurity over ones own lack of power. By being a conspiracy theorist you get to believe you are lifting the veil and gaining some measure of power (by way of knowledge) over the government. People that are lost and feel powerless are suddenly important and perceptive. They are no longer followers and they no longer need to find self worth in mainstream society.

I think it could very well be a blend of both. I can't help but think of Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura when talking about this sort of stuff. Jones would be more towards the hatred of government, while Ventura is more towards the distrust of its growing scope, having been directly affected by the Gulf of Tonkin "incident".
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:35 AM   #13
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miller-time
I don't think it has to do with hatred of the government, as much as fear of its perceived power or insecurity over ones own lack of power. By being a conspiracy theorist you get to believe you are lifting the veil and gaining some measure of power (by way of knowledge) over the government. People that are lost and feel powerless are suddenly important and perceptive. They are no longer followers and they no longer need to find self worth in mainstream society.
Very, very nice.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:37 AM   #14
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelingman
I think it could very well be a blend of both. I can't help but think of Alex Jones and Jesse Ventura when talking about this sort of stuff. Jones would be more towards the hatred of government, while Ventura is more towards the distrust of its growing scope, having been directly affected by the Gulf of Tonkin "incident".

I don't know much about him but I wouldn't be surprised if Alex Jones was just profiteering off of the gullibility of his listenership. If not Alex Jones then Glenn Beck surely is.
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Old 04-26-2013, 02:41 AM   #15
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Default Re: Why folks believe in conspiracy theories.

Quote:
Originally Posted by miller-time
I don't know much about him but I wouldn't be surprised if Alex Jones was just profiteering off of the gullibility of his listenership. If not Alex Jones then Glenn Beck surely is.

Oh, definitely. I made the mistake of listening to one of his (Jones) broadcasts, and it's amazing the type of stuff he'll promote. It's like he's gearing his broadcast towards survivalists and mountain militias (which very well may be the case).
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