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View Diary: Conspiracy theories: they're all in your heads! (95 comments)

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  •  But believing things in the absence of evidence (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, Eyesbright

    is not rational.  

    •  Scientists do it all the time. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SamanthaCarter, joe shikspack

      It's called "hypothesis," and it sure as hell is rational.

      "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

      by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:44:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh (8+ / 0-)

        scientists don't believe hypotheses...they test hypotheses. In most conceptions, hypotheses are only provisionally accepted after repeated attempts to disprove them fail.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:55:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  And how do you come to (5+ / 0-)

          test a hypothesis if you discount it before testing it?

          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

          by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 02:59:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Uh (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wee Mama, elmo, Eyesbright

            a scientist does not discount a hypothesis before testing it...nor do they accept it in any way.  A hypothesis has no truth value one way or another until tested.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:02:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Very good! (6+ / 0-)
              a scientist does not discount a hypothesis before testing it.
              Therefore, you cannot dismiss a "hypothesis" out of hand until it's tested. Right?

              "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

              by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:03:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wee Mama, JosephK74, Eyesbright

                and the problem with CT is two-fold.  1. It has repeatedly been shown false, but idiots refuse to accept the evidence, or 2. it cannot be tested.  

                The latter case occurs with most of the alien stuff, where they have magic rays to hide all evidence of their actions.  its called a self-sealing argument...namely that the hypothesis itself denies the possibility of testing.

                Let's use anti-vaxers as an example of the 1st probelm.  Is there a vaccine conspiracy?  No.  The science is solid and the critics fucking morons.  The critics said it was mercury, the mercury was removed, no changes in authism rates, so they moved to new hypotheses.  Basic dumbfuck conspiracy shit.

                "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:10:08 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Um... (4+ / 0-)
                  the problem with CT is two-fold.  1. It has repeatedly been shown false, but idiots refuse to accept the evidence, or 2. it cannot be tested.  
                  ...there are plenty of things which are called "conspiracy theory" that have neither of these two problems.

                  "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

                  by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:13:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eyesbright

                    But here's the problem, we know many people do believe really stupid shit (that's a technical term).  We also know that people who believe on type of really stupid shit are more likely to believe other forms of really stupid shit.

                    Nothing in the times article contradicts that.  

                    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                    by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:18:50 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  there are entirely too many (4+ / 0-)

                      assumptions here:

                      we know many people do believe really stupid shit (that's a technical term).  We also know that people who believe on type of really stupid shit are more likely to believe other forms of really stupid shit
                      Putting aside the sheer idiocy of calling something "stupid shit" and "a technical term" in the same sentence, no one with an ounce of common sense can--or should--discount something that can be tested that has not been tested.

                      Calling said something "Conspiracy Theory" before it's tested is nothing more than a propaganda technique, and I weary of all the otherwise intelligent people who believe in it to the extent that they apply it willy-nilly, to shit it should never be applied to.

                      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                      by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:24:09 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  You don't get to put the cart before the horse (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  SamanthaCarter

                  here. No way--not for the purpose of this particular discussion, because you can't.

                  the problem with CT is two-fold.  1. It has repeatedly been shown false, but idiots refuse to accept the evidence or 2. it cannot be tested
                  While I would absolutely concur that someone--anyone--is in fact an idiot for refusing to accept demonstrable evidence that has already been clearly put forth, what I mean by putting the cart before the horse is that most people who throw the words "conspiracy theory" around as some kind of epithet are making assumptions about either the falsity or the un-testability of any hypothesis before any tests take place.

                  You can't do that. Otherwise, you're possibly discounting something which CAN be provable. You can't throw it out until you either determine it CANNOT be tested--which in and of itself is a pretty tall order, but I'll let it go for now--or until you DO test it and find it to be "incorrect hypothesis".

                  "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                  by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:19:04 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Nope (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Eyesbright

                    testing is the job of the person who presents the hypothesis.  Simply put, I'm not gonna waste my time doing your work, I've got enough of my own to more than fill my time.

                    If all that's presented is a hypothesis, expect to be ridiculed, for being lazy if nothing else.

                    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                    by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:21:22 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Right (3+ / 0-)

                      where do I say otherwise?

                      testing is the job of the person who presents the hypothesis.
                      I'm not saying the scientist shouldn't do his/her own work. What I'm saying--clearly--is that no one else has the right to make the determination that the scientist cannot test, based on some arbitrary opinion, put forth before any tests actually take place.

                      "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                      by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:27:18 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  There is quite literally an infinite universe of (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, yet another liberal

                possible hypotheses. One of the more difficult skills that a scientist has to acquire is a subtle sense to pick the hypotheses that are worth testing and interesting. There are a great many hypotheses that are just plain silly, but conceivable. There are almost as many that are likely true but boring and irrelevant. One of the rare skills in scientists is fingering the hypotheses that are startling, testable, true upon testing, and widely relevant.

                The old saying is to get big answers, ask big questions - but not so big you can't answer them.



                Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

                by Wee Mama on Wed May 22, 2013 at 05:20:26 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  That's why you have investigations (0+ / 0-)

              which is what the putative "conspiracy theorists"are usually calling for.

              from Wikipedia:

              Adherents of the 9/11 Truth movement dispute the accepted explanation of the September 11 attacks of 2001, that al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airliners and intentionally crashed two into the World Trade Center buildings and one into the Pentagon, with another unintentionally crashing in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. They claim this explanation contains significant inconsistencies which suggest, at the least, a cover-up, and at most, complicity by insiders.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8]
              They analyze evidence from the attacks, discuss different theories about how the attacks happened and call for a new investigation into the attacks.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Some of the organizations assert that there is evidence that individuals within the United States government may have been either responsible for or knowingly complicit in the September 11 attacks. Motives suggested by the movement include the use of the attacks as a pretext to start wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and to create opportunities to curtail civil liberties.[2][16]

              "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:33:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It has to be testable AND repeatable. nt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Empty Vessel

          I was gonna listen to that, but then, um, I just carried on living my life. - Aldous Snow

          by GoGoGoEverton on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:25:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hell (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            GoGoGoEverton, terrypinder

            with most CT, I'd just be happy if they tested at all, repeated is icing on the CT cake.

            But, in truth, the whole discussion of hypotheses is silly (I didn't bring it up, the diarist did, I think).  CT is nothing like a hypotheses because it cannot be tested using scientific techniques.

            CT is a usually proposition that must be evaluated through more humanistic/legalistic forms of reasoning.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:29:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is it? (0+ / 0-)
              the whole discussion of hypotheses is silly
              Why would you participate in something so silly?
              CT is a usually proposition that must be evaluated through more humanistic/legalistic forms of reasoning.

              Must be? Is that your opinion? Or is it a scientific hypothesis? Can you test that for the rest of the readers, please?

              "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

              by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:17:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  seems pretty obvious since there's (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Empty Vessel, Eyesbright

                really nothing scientific about CT other than the fact that it's a function of how our brains find patterns (that often are wrong) in just about everything. we're wired that way, even people who describe themselves as rational. I already posted upthread that I, for a very long time, believed the Bush Administration let 9/11 happen on purpose. I now know that's entirely not true. Incompetence, sure, that seems fairly obvious, but let it happen on purpose for some nefarious scheme? Nah.

                most CT's that get presented here are just that. they're not theories in the scientific sense in the least. There hasn't been one, in my 8 years of posting here, that's been remotely correct.

                i mean during the Bush Administration there was the election year October Surprise (usually a false flag attack or an attack on Iran), or there was the Bush Stole Ohio one (presented with very little evidence), or vaccines (thankfully, people found their heads here if they didn't elsewhere in the progressive blogosphere), or they let 9/11 happen on purpose so they could curtail civil liberties (seriously? the groundwork for the various "attacks" on civil liberties were laid decades prior and rather accelerated through the Clinton Administration) and on and on and on. Just today I poked into a diary that assumed Big Pharma wants everyone to buy Vitamin C pills and presented the dumbest evidence for their case I've seen in a long time. Nevermind the fact that pharmaceuticals are regulated and the vitamin industry is not, and the paper that diarist was attacking said no such thing and it was pretty clear they didn't even read the press release, let alone the paper. I mean if you're going to allege a conspiracy, at least do your homework. A lot of CT doesn't even bother to do that, and that's part of the reason it gets so mocked.

                I'm not sure which CTs are banned other than the Bevbots (all elections are stolen!) and 9/11 (if you know where to look, there's a pretty epic thread here on daily kos where someone insists a passenger plane did not strike the pentagon and then someone who was there on the day and took pictures of the shattered plane wreckage posts the pictures. the guy still refused to believe it. That's part of why it's a banned topic.)

                That's what Empty Vessel is getting at, I think.

                as for it being silly, well, it is. But I find it fun. Empty Vessel may not. I have no problem playing what-if in the conspiracy theory game but there's a pretty good chance I won't believe it, at all.

      •  No they don't. They have a theory and they (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Empty Vessel, Eyesbright

        look for evidence to test it.  Scientists don't just come up with a hypothesis and end there.  They try and prove or disprove it.  

        •  Did I say they did? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie
          Scientists don't just come up with a hypothesis and end there.
          Scientists believe in hypotheses provisionally, pending more evidence of course.  A lot of "conspiracy theorists" do the same thing.

          "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

          by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:03:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No they do not (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Eyesbright

            A hypothesis has no truth value until tested.  And to be frank, any halfway decent scientist assumes a hypothesis is wrong, and actively attempts to disprove it until they can no longer think of ways to show that it is wrong...that, in a nutshell, is the scientific method.

            "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

            by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:05:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think you're splitting hairs here. (3+ / 0-)

              If scientists discounted their hypotheses, then they wouldn't bother to test said hypotheses.  So there has to be some level of belief in a hypothesis, however small, if a scientist is going to bother with it in the first place.

              "It takes great courage to see the world in all its tainted glory, and still to love it." Oscar Wilde

              by Cassiodorus on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:11:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                terrypinder, Eyesbright

                But the key word is small.  Let me phrase it another way, no scientist would publish, defend or share an untested hypothesis with others--they'd test it..  The chances of accuracy are so low that they do not want to humiliate themselves.  I don't think the CT types have the same concern.

                "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

                by Empty Vessel on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:15:10 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Please define (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Cassiodorus

                  CT Types.

                  Please be specific with your definition. The examples being sought are not persons--I'd like for you to try and come up with an actual scientific definition.

                   Preferably one that's been tested....

                  "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

                  by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:21:42 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Or we could just not investigate anything (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassiodorus

                and condescend to people who suggest ideas that we don't like, dismissing them out of hand.

                "When people spin this in partisan terms to obfuscate the truth, it does a real disservice to normal people not in the big club in DC. Many of them will be hurting...That is why I write."--priceman

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:34:16 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  putting aside the notion (3+ / 0-)

          that we should all be scientists before we engage in discussion of hypothesis...at what point is it ok to dismiss something before it's tested?
           

          "The “Left” is NOT divided on the need to oppose austerity and the Great Betrayal. The Third Way is not left or center or even right. It is Wall Street on the Potomac."--Bill Black

          by lunachickie on Wed May 22, 2013 at 03:05:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, we don't. If you believe in your own (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Empty Vessel

        hypothesis, it's not science, it's religion.

    •  Good conspiracy theories... (3+ / 0-)

      ... are just filling in the gaps between the known knowns and  the known unknowns with many of the possible unknown unknowns.

      ePluribus Media
      Collaboration is contagious!

      by m16eib on Wed May 22, 2013 at 04:30:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like the way you channel your inner (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eyesbright

        Rumsferatu :)

        Along the lines of 'good conspiracy theories,' the best JFK assasination conspiracy theory I've ever read was in a work of fiction: Charles McCarry's The Tears of Autumn.

        Possible spoiler alert: McCarry asks and answers the question of who might have had a motive to whack JFK, given events that occurred half-way across the planet just a month before November, 1963. Awesome read.

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