Conspiracy debunk

Conspiracy theories preoccupy me a bit and without even going out of my way I run into September 11th ones on a fairly regular basis.

It’s very difficult to debunk a conspiracy theory because the conspiracy theorists are only rational in one direction – confirming their theory. They have an unfeasible suspicion about the motives of people in power, and an unshakeable confidence in the capabilities of small cabals to effect control over entire states or even the world, without any evidence being found or any leaks escaping. It is a bit worrying that these have gained so much currency that BBC2 screened a documentary debunk tonight as part of their Conspiracy Files series.

Well worth a watch.

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2 thoughts on “Conspiracy debunk

  1. “Conspiracy Theory” is a term like “Politically Correct” that is pretty meaningless, but very dangerous; It’s a straw-man.
    Conspiracies do exist, and some of them sound so unlikely that it’s difficult to believe they are true. Likewise, there are some things that are difficult to believe to be true because they are bollocks.
    But by lumping all of them together you are in danger of missing the important stuff – which is exactly why these terms exist: to hide the unpleasantness of the nasty truth amongst the froth of the nutjobs.

    or something…

  2. Well, you have a point as usual – there are conspiracies. The Reichstag Fire. The plot to overthrow Nguema in Equatorial Guinea.

    But when people persistently ignore the most likely or best-substantiated explanation for a phenomenon in favour of a theory which has no evidence, only speculation, that’s a conspiracy theory, and the people advancing it should be considered politically motivated unless more grounds emerge.

    For example, it is often said that the Israeli army is out to kill Arab kids, that there are quotas and so on. In the absence of any evidence – even from the conscientious refusenik organisations – you then ask the conspiracy theorist what they think the motive of the Israeli army be to kill kids. Then either it goes quiet or you flush out the nutters.

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