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The Creeping Danger of Conspiracy Theorists

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, May 16, 2014.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    This article touches on many of the issues that have been brought up before on D&D before. I'm bolding a couple of paragraphs for emphasis.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/eichenwald/2013/04/creeping-danger-conspiracy-theorists

    The Creeping Danger of Conspiracy Theorists
    By Kurt Eichenwald
    5:55 PM, April 4 2013
    Comments
    34
    EMail



    The Creeping Danger of Conspiracy Theorists
    By Kurt Eichenwald
    5:55 PM, April 4 2013
    Comments
    34
    EMail

    The results are in: we’re a nation of idiots.

    Well, that might overstate the case a bit. But some of the latest polling data does seem to show that at least 30 percent of American citizens—and maybe lots more—are as dumb as a bag of inbred hammers.

    The poll in question is a delightful one put out this week by Public Policy Polling, a concern ranked by Fordham University as the best out of 28 organizations for the accuracy of its national pre-election estimates in 2012. This time, the folks at P.P.P. decided to have a bit of fun, and rather than polling about which political party is up or down, opted to ask Americans about their beliefs in conspiracy theories. I can just imagine the laughter at the P.P.P. offices when they started putting together the questions.

    The results, though, were no comedy. More like a horror movie—and one with a plotline that goes beyond any level of belief.

    How many of you think Barack Obama is the Antichrist? You know, the fella (or fellas, depending on which part of the Bible you’re reading) confronted by Jesus in the Second Coming? Twenty-six percent of Americans either believe that the president is preparing for war with the Messiah or aren’t sure that he isn’t. (Of course, since Obama has been in office for five years, these yahoos should really start to wonder what’s taking Jesus so long to get back to Earth to confront the demon president.)


    Hopefully, these are the same 26 percent of wackos who believe that the government puts fluoride into drinking water not for dental health but for “other, more sinister reasons,” as the P.P.P. question read. It was all a communist plot, you see, to do . . . something.

    Stanley Kubrick did a delightful send-up of this conspiracy theory in the film Dr. Strangelove, with a main character who declared that fluoridation was designed to contaminate the “precious bodily fluids” of Americans. He started World War III because of his beliefs; fortunately, most of the 26 percent probably couldn’t even start a math test.

    That doesn’t mean that these uninformed folk are harmless. Fifty-four percent of Americans—more than half the country!—either believes that childhood vaccinations cause autism or aren’t sure whether they do. Never mind that study after study, including one just released by the Centers for Disease Control, say this belief is uneducated malarkey. Why should anyone consider that when we have former Playboy model and B-movie actress Jenny McCarthy disagreeing? Yes, that is where we are: Americans are more likely to believe a nursing-school dropout than PhDs from America’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning.

    Which brings us to the next absurdity: climate change. Forty-nine percent either believe the college dropouts and billionaires or aren’t sure if they should—that global warming is a hoax. Not simply that scientists are in error (which they aren’t) but that they have orchestrated the most expensive, wide-ranging, and mind-numbing fraud in the history of the world, just ’cause.

    Once again, it’s the PhDs versus college dropouts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Sure, there are a few scientists—almost never climatologists—who cast aspersions on the idea that all the melting ice and record temperatures in the world might have something to do with the planet getting warmer. But when the vast, vast, vast majority of scientists—including one hired by the Koch brothers, the multi-billionaires with a financial interest in poo-poohing climate change—have concluded not only that the phenomenon is real but that it is being triggered by man-made pollutants, perhaps doubters should set aside their doubts.

    But the Limbaughs and Hannitys of the world have done a great job convincing Americans that climatologists have entered into this massive, incomprehensible conspiracy to fool the world that there’s a problem. The reason, they say, is that climatologists are doing it for the money, so they can continue to live in their climatologist mansions and drive their climatologist Ferraris. (For the 26 percent who might not get it, that was sarcasm.) Meanwhile, the people who selflessly fight for Americans—the billionaire industrialists and oil-industry magnates—speak only truth because, you know, they have no financial reason to suggest climate change is a fraud. After all, they have dedicated themselves to a modest life so they can advance the truth, residing in their tumble-down, billionaire shacks and driving their billionaire 1994 Chevys. (Once again—sarcasm.)

    I’m not belittling the McCarthys, Limbaughs and Hannitys simply to be snide. The reality here is that science is hard. It requires deep and long-term training to understand the ractions in ecosystems or microchips or intestines. If a doctor said you had stomach cancer, would you consult Rush Limbaugh for a second opinion? Of course, that sounds like nonsense, but many Americans have no qualms about listening to political commentators and untrained activists when it comes to even more complex scientific questions. In essence, the greater amount of training it takes to understand something, the more likely, it seems, that Americans will turn to people with shallow knowledge for guidance.

    Take vaccines and autism. The entire idea started with a horrific, fraudulent study in a 1998 issue of the Lancet. Click on the link to the abstract, and you’ll notice the large, red word “RETRACTED” across it. The reason is that the study has been deemed a fraud. Not a single legitimate study backs the idea. But the McCarthys of the world march on, true believers who are simply unqualified, frightening Americans into believing their children are safer if they have no protections against deadly disease.

    The untrained assault on climate change is the same thing. Consistently, political commentators will say such things as “there’s a blizzard! Global warming is fake!” without any understanding that there is a huge difference between weather and climate.) The greater problem was the phrase “global warming,” because the uninformed didn’t understand that rising climactic temperatures can cause changes in an ecosystem that result in wild swings in weather from both cold and hot. That’s why the phrase is now “climate change.” But folks like Limbaugh don’t get it. He just issued a new proclamation that climate change is fake because there has been stratospheric cooling. This is why you don’t get your science from a radio personality—Limbaugh just offered up the very scenario that the climatologists said would occur: climate change causes stratospheric cooling.

    So, should you listen to me? Of course not. I’m not a scientist either. But there is plenty of valid research, easily accessible through google, that lays out the trends and issues surrounding the safety of vaccines and the changes in climate we experience. But Americans, based on the PPP poll, would rather listen to celebrities. Bottom line here is that American ignorance isn’t always just funny—it can be downright dangerous.

    The poll just gets more and more depressing. Almost half of Americans believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11 or aren’t sure whether he was. Twenty-two percent: the Bush administration knowingly allowed the 9/11 attacks to happen. Nineteen percent: the Paul McCartney we see perform these days is a lookalike who took the real singer’s place after he died in 1966.

    Here’s a great one. Thirty percent either believe that the media or the government adds secret mind-control technology to television-broadcast signals or aren’t sure whether it’s true. Seriously! Almost one-third of Americans think they are being or might be subjected to secret mind control. (Bet that doesn’t stop them from watching American Idol, though.)

    Still, my favorite takes us into the beehive of lunacy inside too many American brains. The question asked by P.P.P., in total, was this:

    Do you believe that a secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order, or not?

    In a nation that spawned the Tea Party, small wonder that the results here are horrifying: 53 percent of Americans either believe in this vast conspiracy or aren’t sure if it’s false.

    Look, folks, the reality is that conspiracies are hard to pull off. Large groups of media executives, reporters, politicians, and scientists couldn’t manage to conspire to have lunch, must less take over the world. But these nutty beliefs have real consequences, on real people. Or, as Scientific American put it in an article last year, “[t]he new science denialism is creating an existential crisis like few the country has faced before.”

    Yes, we have become scientific and political illiterates, and no nation can survive on a bedrock of such delusional stupidity. Of course, the 26 percent (or more) won’t believe me, if they manage to read this. I’ll just be deemed an “elitist” for daring to suggest that demon science and data, rather than ridiculous conspiracy theories, should be used to judge reality. So, it may be a losing battle, but we should all try. I don’t want to be forced, someday, to stand by as the rest of the world renames our nation “America the Ignorant.”


    [Note to my editor: Please don’t forget to keep the combination of words in this piece that serve as a mind-control device, which will distract readers from the coming political battle between the government, Satan, and real Americans. My political and media masters have demanded that we don’t mess this up. And do not forget to delete this note to you. We can’t let anyone find out about this conspiracy. Best, Kurt.]
     
  2. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Paranoid Koch brother stuff is another one
     
  3. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    Good read, Judo. Thanks! Needless to say, the poll results are a bit frightening. The author makes some terrific points about those results. One has to wonder what has become of this country, that so much ignorance exists. People need to get out more. Travel. Do some reading. Watch more sources than cable news.
     
  4. dc rock

    dc rock Contributing Member

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    #4 dc rock, May 16, 2014
    Last edited: May 16, 2014
  5. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    That's pretty crazy. I think it's easy to become insulated and believe that are fewer of these conspiracy suckers out there than there really are. I'm sure I'm guilty of that. I had no idea of the kinds of numbers that article talks about.

    What a sad comment on this nation and its citizens.
     
  6. across110thstreet

    across110thstreet Contributing Member

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    the psychology of a conspiracist fascinates me.

    they rail against so called mainstream media but they are the first to share something unvetted, usually already debunked, that they found on an alternative news website like beforeitsnews or abovetopsecret

    they are the first to scream "False Flag!" as they automatically assume a national tragedy is some clandestine secret cabal of reptilians behind the ruse.

    more innocently, these are the ones that without fail, always share something fake that they saw on facebook.

    once they are told that it is fake, the confirmation bias has already set in and they don't want to believe that the thing was fake in the first place.

    they will actually bargain with themselves and others and use excuses and qualifiers like "well if it were true..." or they just laugh it off as simple fun on the internet.

    and then without fail, these are the idiots who apologize for getting spammed or hacked, because they are really victims being duped by others who will prey on their gullibility and vulnerability.
     
  7. Nook

    Nook Member

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    I don't believe in conspiracies but I absolutely believe in cover ups. As a former prosecutor I can tell you it happens .... For example the Boston Marathon situation had a LOT of "issues" that were swept under the rug.

    Having said that... I used to be naive enough to believe people didn't REALLY believe New World Order crap... I was wrong.
     
  8. across110thstreet

    across110thstreet Contributing Member

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    according to whom?

    what "issues" ?

    what example?
     
  9. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    Just because you are paranoid
    does not mean they aren't after you

    the use of the term/designation conspiracy theory
    is aweful useful for covering up things

    and then when those things come out . . . its like . .oh well . .it was an 'isolated incident'

    Rocket River
     
  10. fchowd0311

    fchowd0311 Contributing Member

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    "But we're just asking the tough questions"...
     
  11. Nook

    Nook Member

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    The death of Todashev was extremely suspicious from the first time I heard about it. An FBI interogates him with two police officers for 2.5 hours, he suddenly becomes combative and attacks an FBI agent... The gun shot is to the back of his head?

    As an ex Prosecutor that doesn't pass muster, not from day 1. Now we know the other officers say they didn't see it... The agent is cleared... (In fact every single shooting by an FBI agent has been cleared)... Now it has gotten out that the agent was fired from a state police force for violence and abuse.

    Also, we were told that the FBI and the police had checked every part of the area where the bomber was ultimately found. We were told that the police and FBI checked the actual boat where he was hiding... Not true, there was a blood trail and the owner of the boat ultimately informed the police... Someone didn't do their job, someone wasn't thorough... And the FBI wrong assessed where he would be.

    Are these conspiracy theories? No, but it is cases of there being more to the story than what is reported to us. No one wants to have their shortcomings pointed out...
     
  12. txtony

    txtony Member

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    So 75% think Obama is not anti-christ.
    50% are pretty comfortable that vaccine doesn't cause autism.
    I don't know, what is it... 50% in US think GB is real.

    Not too bad overall.

    "no nation can survive on a bedrock of such delusional stupidity"

    The article itself is delusional to think the above. Public opinion and beliefs changes and can change fast.
     
  13. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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  14. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    The article though points out though how persistence some of these beliefs are. The idea that vaccines cause autism has long been debunked yet still continues to persist causing parents not to get their children vaccinated. This has a direct affect on the overall health of society when it comes to preventing communicable diseases.
     
  15. bongman

    bongman Member

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    46% of Americans believe in creationism.

    "I reject your reality and substitute my own" - Dr Who episode.
     
  16. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Except things like that vaccines cause autism has been debunked, that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11 no evidence has found to support that, and I don't know what to say about believe that Obama is the anti-Christ.

    I don't think it is wrong to believe that we don't know everything that is going on there but there is a problem with continuing to hold beliefs based on evidence that is wrong or lack of evidence.
     
  17. txtony

    txtony Member

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    depends on your definition of "long". Long to me isn't 15 years. It takes time for things to settle and with Autism continue to grow w/o anyone knowing why, yea, it's not that crazy within that VOID of explaining why, that folks continue to think vaccine might be part of it.

    It does have a direct effect on those dangerous diseases coming back... and guess what, when they do come back and hit like a bang, people will start to change their mind and remember how important vaccine is... it will works itself out sooner or later.

    I would also said... the perception that people are more delusional now is probably just that. We knows more and understand more than ever and that will continue to grow.
     
  18. Nook

    Nook Member

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    The vaccine situation is very odd. There is a strong group of very educated, wealthy people that are convinced it causes autism... When my son was born I spent a great deal of time and effort researching it... I am open minded, but there is literally NOTHING to support their claims. Hell I know doctors and lawyers and academics that refuse to vaccinate... Just really weird.
     
  19. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    That study is just another example of the new world order controlling the scientific community to bend public perception to their will. I bet it was underwritten by the Bilderburg group.
     
  20. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    The tea party, koch brothers, ows, sierra club, the voice and many others are all part of the same shadowy enemy that is dividing and conquering america.

    For now I will call this hitherto unnamed group the Stonecutters.
     

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