Moon Landing Faked!!!—Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

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New psychological research helps explain why some see intricate government conspiracies behind events like 9/11 or the Boston bombing


Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax? And what about the Boston Marathon bombing…an “inside job” perhaps?  

In the book “The Empire of Conspiracy,” Timothy Melley explains that conspiracy theories have traditionally been regarded by many social scientists as “the implausible visions of a lunatic fringe,” often inspired by what the late historian Richard Hofstadter described as “the paranoid style of American politics.” Influenced by this view, many scholars have come to think of conspiracy theories as paranoid and delusional, and for a long time psychologists have had little to contribute other than to affirm the psychopathological nature of conspiracy thinking, given that conspiricist delusions are commonly associated with (schizotype) paranoia.

Yet, such pathological explanations have proven to be widely insufficient because conspiracy theories are not just the implausible visions of a paranoid minority. For example, a national poll released just this month reports that 37 percent of Americans believe that global warming is a hoax, 21 percent think that the US government is covering up evidence of alien existence and 28 percent believe a secret elite power with a globalist agenda is conspiring to rule the world. Only hours after the recent Boston marathon bombing, numerous conspiracy theories were floated ranging from a possible ‘inside job’ to YouTube videos claiming that the entire event was a hoax.

So why is it that so many people come to believe in conspiracy theories? They can't all be paranoid schizophrenics. New studies are providing some eye-opening insights and potential explanations.

Written By: Sander van der Linden
continue to source article at scientificamerican.com

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  1. This is obviously a study and article perpetrated by the Illuminati to throw us off the scent! I know this because Kent was destroyed directly after the release of the research to hide any evidence that it was faked.

    • In reply to #1 by sbooder:

      This is obviously a study and article perpetrated by the Illuminati to throw us off the scent! I know this because Kent was destroyed directly after the release of the research to hide any evidence that it was faked.

      Hey, Kent had it coming.

  2. Delusion is so comforting. They can’t face reality so invent their own personal universe; many are stupid, having no ability or wish to think. It’s just another religion.
    For the ‘smarter’ ones (who dream up CT’s) there is always the 15 mins of fame attraction.

    • In reply to #3 by Nodhimmi:

      Delusion is so comforting. They can’t face reality so invent their own personal universe; many are stupid, having no ability or wish to think. It’s just another religion.
      For the ‘smarter’ ones (who dream up CT’s) there is always the 15 mins of fame attraction.

      When I want to escape, I read a novel, play a game, or watch anime. When I want to create my own personal universe, I write a story. I don’t go around pretending or, worse, believing my story is real. Plenty of people do, I know. But when I talk about conspiracies, I try to form reasonable conclusions based on observation and fact. Was Watergate all in our imaginations? Do conspiracies actually never happen? If there is anything to be skeptical of, that’s it.

  3. I was just musing on the role of media in regards to creation or encouragement of conspiracy theorists.

    I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type thinking 24/7. Do other countries have an equivalent to this type of media?

    Fifty years ago these channels didn’t exist here. Was our media more neutral and sensible back then? There certainly was less media to be had in past decades. (Just personally, I do maintain a certain luddite fondness for those times). Perhaps people were so busy getting on with real life that they didn’t have time to sit in front of the TV for hours of indoctrination. I was also remembering how when in the company of other people, conspiracy theorists are often corrected or scolded for putting forth silly assertions which might discourage this type of thinking in the future whereas in the present time we have many older generation people sitting in front of the TV all day and half the night just taking in the conspiracies with no other point of view offered up as correction.

    I realize that I’m probably blaming the media for what is a much wider problem that is explained in our article here. One point that I can’t blame on the media is that conspiracy theorists abound in the third world where there is much less media access than we have here in the industrialized world.

    Is our media creating conspiracy theorists or are conspiracy theorists creating the media? Or is it both?

    • In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

      I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type thinking 24/7. Do other countries have an equivalent to this type of media?

      Not on the TV really but we do have the tabloid papers in the UK, the Daily Mail being the worst for this type of thing.

      • In reply to #6 by sbooder:

        In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

        I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type thinking 24/7. Do other countries have an equivalent to this type of media?…

        Lets not forget the Internet. Personal blogs, forums and youtube have been a wet dream for conspiracy theorists. After all the Internet is a medium for communication that can be used to reach out with good and bad ideas.
        The worrying side to this is that it does seem to be fuelling anti science agendas all over the world.
        Anti evolutionists ,alternative medicine advocators, anti-vaccers and climate change denialists all use conspiracy theories to attack main stream science ( as in “they know the truth they just won’t admit it”) because it short cuts rational debate.

        • In reply to #9 by mr_DNA:

          Right. I can relate to that because the internet has functioned as a strong support system to all of us Atheists, Humanists, Skeptics, etc. It’s fantastically reinforcing when someone discovers that they’re not alone in their views and opinions. When we realize that there’s a whole massive group of people “out there” who agree with us then we feel free to ramp up our declarations and assertions. While I’m happy and optimistic about the effect this has had on the Freethinker community, I acknowledge that other groups with whom I disagree must be feeling the very same thing that I do.

          • In reply to #12 by LaurieB:

            In reply to #9 by mr_DNA:

            Precisely. And it is always worth remembering to maintain a degree of scepticism and think for yourself. Evaluate what others say, take time to analyse their arguments but don’t just accept statements because they they are part of group think. I’ve seen various ideas float around free thought groups that I’ve considered questionable and I’m quite happy to do the questioning and big enough to admit I’m wrong when I am shown to be.
            But you are right; we all like to discuss ideas and exchange opinions with those we perceive to be like minded ; possibly there is a danger there. Its probably worth taking the time to interact with and listen to ideas from those we don’t agree with too.

        • In reply to #9 by mr_DNA:

          In reply to #6 by sbooder:

          In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

          I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type thinking 24/7. Do other countries have an equiva…

          Yes, and all these ridiculous conspiracy theories divert our attention from the real conspiracies, which have nothing to do with science and everything to do with money. I have high regard and respect for the scientific method, scientific discoveries, and scientific theories–including evolution. I have no respect or regard for the politician who accepts a financial contribution under the guise of “corporate free speech,” none for the bank executive who swindled my Mom out of her house, and so on.

      • In reply to #6 by sbooder:

        In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

        I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type thinking 24/7. Do other countries have an equivalent to this type of media?…

        Not on the TV really but we do have the tabloid papers in the UK, the Daily Mail being the worst for this type of thing.

        Well in the UK you should try Sky News (sister channel of Fox). Not as bad, but still, quite bad.

    • In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

      I was just musing on the role of media in regards to creation or encouragement of conspiracy theorists.

      I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type…

      my experience of conspircy theorists is they tend to be the types who actively avoid the popular media and tend to become radicalized by certain parnoid movies or modern belief systems (in the US hip-hop scene for example they have some scary beliefs, see the docu-movie “Scratch”, UK wannabes I know have basically watched the movie on video and accepted it as truth).

      I tend to find that people who spend a lot of time with fairly populist media are at least a little bit more informed in general. My belief is the recent spread has more to do with the internet than TV or newspapers. Social media brings like-minded people together, even if they don’t realise they’re like-minded.

      I’m seeing an increase in Facebook status updates that are quotes from David Icke for example (so nutty the hard-core american conspiracy theorists understandably don’t like him since a barely plausable theory loses any credibility when used as proof of lizard people). people who don’t watch the news but pick up on social media “memes”;.

      I suspect the mass media reflects this but it’s the internet that incubates it. there is a facebook page for example that is dedicated to those who take pictures of aircraft vapour trails, just in Swindon alone!

      as the article says, theorists enjoy a simple world-view and don’t need to engage in day-to-day social issues since it’s all percieved as part of the “big plan”. I’ve often seen it as just another religion, one way to shout down a smart-arse educated cat is to tell them they’ve been listening to satan/the government‘s lies (delete as appropriate).

      it’s a sore subject for me. those theorists i know are very anti-science. evolution for example, does not fit their world view

      • In reply to #11 by SaganTheCat:

        In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

        I was just musing on the role of media in regards to creation or encouragement of conspiracy theorists.

        I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”,…

        People I know who insist on believing crazy theories tend to be close-minded, like my step-father (who does not believe in conspiracies, but his behavior is very similar). These are people you can show the evidence to and they either deliberately ignore it, don’t understand it, or refuse to believe it!

        But, again, I’m talking about people who believe craziness like the “moon landing hoax,” etc. I am not talking about those of us who have our eyes open and can see what the fat cats are doing to our country–our world. Because I will look at any evidence you want to show me to the contrary–if you can find some. I will not ignore it, I will attempt to interpret it as accurately as I can, and I will tell you if I don’t understand it. In other words, I will review your evidence with an open mind, but so far my observations, my research, my experience all support the idea that corporations are in control and the majority of us are wage slaves, if we can even get a job.

    • In reply to #5 by LaurieB:

      I was just musing on the role of media in regards to creation or encouragement of conspiracy theorists.

      I wonder if conspiracy theorists are more common these days than they were in the past. America has FOX news channel that has the effect of whipping up false “facts”, paranoia and conspiracy type…

      Considering that most of the conspiracy theorists are either from the far left or the libertarian isolationist wing, I would say Fox News doesn’t contribute much to conspiracy theories. You do have birthers, but FNC doesn’t contribute to birther conspiracies. On Benghazi, FNC is indeed sensationalist but I wouldn’t equate FNC as causing the conspiracy loons. The conspiracy loons typically despise all media and rely on their conspiracy programs like “Alex Jones” or other such loons and websites.

    • In reply to #8 by OHooligan:

      Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. I forget who said that.

      I know it was a line in a Nirvana song. I think it might have first showed up in the book by Joseph Heller, Catch-22.

    • In reply to #8 by OHooligan:

      Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. I forget who said that.

      Actually, the expression is “just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”.

      Just saying… it’s meant to be a joke.

      Steve

      • In reply to #33 by Agrajag:

        In reply to #8 by OHooligan:

        Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t out to get you. I forget who said that.

        Actually, the expression is “just because you’re not paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you”.

        Just saying… it’s meant to be a joke.

        Steve

        “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you” – Joseph Heller, in Catch-22.

        You stand corrected, Steve.

  4. Such a rich feeding ground, this article:

    conspiracy theories sow public mistrust

    Those damn conspircy theerys makin folks misbeleeve there govement. Dang. And if you’re not with us, your with the tarists.

    Thoughtcrime, anyone? George Orwell was prescient indeed.

    But, I’m relieved to see that

    the public should actively demand truthful and transparent information from their governments and proposed explanations should be met with a healthy amount of scepticism.

    Oh good, I’m glad we’re not just supposed to stop with the annoying scepticism and demands for truth. I also see a timely reminder to favour cockup over conspiracy, it’s usually more likely. Though they’re not mutually exclusive, you can have a cocked-up conspiracy too.

    unfortunately, the truth is not always convenient.

    Yes, aint that a fact.

    And yet, there are conspiracies. That’s not a theory. The latest I noticed that came to light was this shameful example of criminal enterprise:

    US Judge gets 28 years for Kids For Cash Kickbacks

    It seems to have gone undetected for quite some time.

    So, go on, tell us the one about Building Seven again. Unless it’s Jedi Business, nothing to see here, move along….

    Edit: Actually, I suspect that Building Seven is a hoax. It never actually existed. At least, I scoured the Official 9/11 report, and it wasn’t mentioned. The only folks who mention it are them dang conspiracy nutters in their YouTube videos.

  5. I find conspiracy theories fascinating.

    I suppose it all began in earnest in and around the 60′s, when the US started to kill its presidents (JFK, and yes I believe there is more than meet the eye), dissidents (Martin Luther King), lied openly to its public (The Watergate), or was being particularly crafty in its foreign policies (Iran, South America, Bay of Pigs).

    When a government can get away with that kind of stuff, they can get away with anything.

    Note that the most vocal ‘Truther’ movements are centred around the US or US interests. There is a lot of consiparcies, frauds, and dark dealing with every country on earth, in the past and present, somehow anything related to US policies tend to be tied with World Domination and big money. Even UFOs. Quite telling.

  6. Well, lets see. For one thing, a lot of highly plausible circumstantial evidence exists forconspiracy theoriesin relation to historical events in say, the JFK, RFK, MLK killings in the 1960s, all of which suggest, upon serious analysis, that a wide conspiracy did indeedprobablyexist. One must understand the times and motives for such acts and not just the argument for a wider conspiracy. When one understands that the Gulf of Tonkin attack of the USS Maddox which gave LBJ the Congressional authority to launch a ground war on Viet Nam did not actually happen, then it seems to me that nobody should dismiss the possibility of such things occurring today.As for9/11, there when one looks at the Bush Administration, the Project for the new american century and all that happened after thisnew Perl Harborand the geopolitical influence we had over security of the petro dollar and Persian Gulf and Caspian oil and gas, then I believe that the events on that September day were indeed engineered to effect that cause just as Gulf of Tonkin did for LBJ. The thing is, however, there are pilots, engineers, former bankers, even former Federal officers who express the same thoughts, and not just thesimple nut jobs` like me!

  7. One last thought, we live (in the west) in a media dominated by corporate and interwoven political power. What one sees and hears are not the unblemished facts of actuality. Then, we have dumb them down trash TV, consumer driven adverting and other related distracting influences that stop people from taking an open and independent assessment of events. I am a Britliving in the US now, and I am shocked at the ignorance by a lot of people her of word events, They believe everything they hear or see as reported by the likes of CNN, Fox News etc. For example, the fact that people like Saddam Hussein/Qaddafi/Assad arekilling there own peopleis widely understood as the main reason for intervention, and never the threat they posed to the US dollar or their oil trading, (not so much in Assads case) or the real geopolitical motives for taking such action and all based on a new policy with 9/11 being the catalyst and justification for it. I do not believe anything I hear or see on the BBC/CNN/FOX et all anymore. I use RT, The Real News Network and other sources, and an open, questioning mind. I also think that many historical events and the shaping of an alternative have been used and deployed for many years (too many to mention here…but the bombing of the Main is another good example) to justify the political acts of a nation upon a public that can not know the real motivations for them, If this mind set makes me a conspiracy theorist, then so be it!

  8. As for the moon landings…..I dont know of they were faked, exaggerated staged or whatever. I do know that even if they took place today, it would and should be awesome and memorizing. In terms of a motive for any possible untruths shall we say, again, one must look at what was happening to the US in the late 1960s. On e president shot dead in strange circumstances, his brother 5 years later. A popular civil rights leader who changed tack and began to focus on poverty and inequality for all in the face of a very unpopular and unjust war and who was feared for his ability to motivate millions to take to the streets, shot dead in again, in strange circumstances. A war that was doing as much damage on the US as it was in SE Asia and major riots all over the nation following Kings murder. The nation and the very fabric of the Republic was on the verge of unraveling again…..and then came the moon landings…..hooray for the USA!

  9. Heres anotherconspiracy theorythat nut jobs like me ponder. We have always had deficits, we have to borrow as taxation simply does not bring in enough money to administer a nation. Now we find ourselves in an age of austerity. We go after small change crooks like illegal immigrants, and benefit cheats, and not the big money bag crooks like the international bankers that have committed a economical coup and gross acts of criminality sanctioned by the political deregulation of the financial industry (well intentionally) and then bailed out and forgiven by the tax payer and then business as usual. More, I also feel that any currency that may pose a serious threat to the power and predominance of the US dollar for oil trading (billions of dollars are held by nations all over the world for goods and services- oil imports mainly) say, THE EURO!!) will be and probably has been deliberately compromised. Now, these 2 events must be the biggest con job ever pulled on the general public one of my hypothesis os proven fact....as the the other......lets say this is one of my crazy conspiracy theories!

    • In reply to #21 by GarryHarriman:

      Heres anotherconspiracy theorythat nut jobs like me ponder. We have always had deficits, we have to borrow as taxation simply does not bring in enough money to administer a nation. Now we find ourselves in an age of austerity. We go after small change crooks like illegal immigrants, and benefit che…

      There isn’t a conspiracy about deficits, just a massive Con based on the ever popular Ponzi scheme. The world economy and traded currencies haven’t been backed by the gold standard since Nixon broke the link in 1971….making every currency at once a ‘Fiat’ economy.

      The reason taxation doesn’t bring in enough is simple. With the gold-backed dollar, one could only spend what one had. For the sake of clarity, lets call this 1. If the government has a plan that needs 2, it goes to another country and asks to borrow it. That second country wants interest (3).

      So…next year, instead of spending 1, it is spending 3. The 3 doesn’t exist, it is merely an IOU, a deficit on paper. So, that country goes to another to borrow more…this will also require interest. You are already committed to spending 1, and 2 and 3 are the loan repayment – and you have to borrow from this new investor in order to pay the interest.

      Thus is grows and grows, never gets paid down and the deficit gets ever larger, causing an even bigger mess. Fiat economies can also print their own currency, leading it’s spending power per denomination to drop if enough is produced, because ultimately it is trading by force – it isn’t linked to any actual definable measure of wealth – ie gold/silver/platinum etc.

      Ultimately there comes a reckoning, contraction as the fiat economies run out of investors, there is no more new blood, and the scheme collapses. There have never been any successfully run fiat economies without collapse.

    • In reply to #21 by GarryHarriman:

      Heres anotherconspiracy theorythat nut jobs like me ponder. We have always had deficits, we have to borrow as taxation simply does not bring in enough money to administer a nation. Now we find ourselves in an age of austerity. We go after small change crooks like illegal immigrants, and benefit che…

      Don’t forget Libya and the Gold Dinar. To bring it full circle, there was not enough money in the world to land on the Moon, despite ample resources. The inherent inefficiency of monetary systems preclude great achievements (like housing and feeding every human). Nixon took us off the gold standard, and landed us on the Moon. Fiat currency, Fiat Lux!

  10. Conspiracies happen all the time: people actually DO conspire to accomplish certain goals. Discrediting ALL theories of conspiracy as “Conspiracy theories!,” as if they are all necessarily, automatically, and equally nutty is a remarkably effective tool used to silence criticism and dissent.

    The US invasion of Iraq was a conspiracy against the world (against the interests of the US, Iraq, and international law, but in the interests of a handful of inside conspirators). Oh, there I go again, with my “conspiracy theories”!…

    • In reply to #22 by McCourt:

      Discrediting ALL theories of conspiracy … is a remarkably effective tool used to silence criticism and dissent.

      That’s what gives me the chills. Seeing it work. Including right here, where any time the “conspiracy theory” topic comes up, there are loads of responses that do the broad-brush lump-them-all-together thing:

      You don’t believe [ insert officially sanctioned lie here] – you must be one of them Conspiracy Nutters, bet you believe Elvis is still alive and Area 51 is full of alien corpses and crashed UFOs and and….

      Repeated often enough, this seeps right into the bedrock of our Cultural Assumptions. It can be mentioned, unquestioned, in asides, in any topic of conversation. The lie is safely buried, because only a lunatic would dig it up and expose themselves to ridicule by questioning it. Until the Emperor can parade naked, and nobody dares to breathe a word about it.

  11. I suspect that many people who subscribe to conspiracy theories do so because they attribute motive or intent to what most people do. They see what others would normally see as an accident or thoughtlessness by someone and decide that the person deliberately did it to them. They also see events that have an effect on them as being deliberately done to them, rather than just being a side effect of something totally different. A small example might be two office colleagues whispering or closing the door to talk. A man who believes in conspiracy theories would have a greater likelihood of believing the colleagues are talking about him. It’s like an overdeveloped sense of “I’m nobody’s fool.”

    • Sure. I really believe everybody’s talking about me all the time. About as much as I believe the moon landing was faked (which I don’t). But I do believe that “corporate free speech” is wrong; it prevents those who do not have enough money from being heard and it undermines the democratic process. I also believe that Wal-Mart and others who were caught buying life insurance for their employees without their knowledge or consent and sued for it are just the ones who got caught. I believe privatized prisons are a scam to make money at the expense of people in the lower classes. I’ve got reason to believe these things. It’s not my imagination.

      I also believe, as I state on my blog, “A system that allows a very small number of people to gain and maintain more than 80% of the wealth, especially when that system disdains, ostracizes and demonizes anyone with little or no income or anyone who criticizes it, is hardly much different from a corrupt aristocracy.”

      In reply to #23 by Erik:

      I suspect that many people who subscribe to conspiracy theories do so because they attribute motive or intent to what most people do. They see what others would normally see as an accident or thoughtlessness by someone and decide that the person deliberately did it to them. They also see events that…

  12. One good thing about conspiracy theories is that they are great for testing one’s rational thinking process.

    Like a good magician, challanging us to see how the trick is done. (Shame that there are so many bad ‘magicians’.)

    • In reply to #25 by old-toy-boy:

      One good thing about conspiracy theories is that they are great for testing one’s rational thinking process.

      Like a good magician, challanging us to see how the trick is done. (Shame that there are so many bad ‘magicians’.)

      Exactly. Trouble is, we take short cuts (ref the “cheat sheet” discussion). So, for example, the old joke:

      Q: How do you know when a Government Spokesman is lying?
      A: HIs lips move.

      Upon finding out that governments lie, the natural, sensible and reasonable “cheat sheet” response is to treat everything they say as a lie. Even if it’s true. As “the boy who cried wolf” story tells us, this is not a new phenomenon.

      So even when they tell the truth – and land on the freaking moon, such an amazing thing to do (no matter the motivation) – there will be a substantial number whose BS Detectors tell them that’s a lie too.

      I first calibrated my BS Detector in 1970s Northern Ireland, where there were two daily newspapers, one for each side of the political/cultural/religious chasm. I read both. Some days, the only thing they had in common was the date. So, instead of lies, damn lies, and statistics, I learned to recognize several different kinds of truth, including official truth and provisional truth. Puns intended.

      These days the role of investigative journalism as watchdog is largely unfulfilled by the major corporate news outlets, so it is taken up on the fringes, where it does appear, on the internet, without corporate sponsorship or resources, without professional editing, without censorship, muddled with the nonsense of cranks and the lies of deliberate mischief makers and disinformation pushers. Plenty of fodder to test one’s rational thinking processes, and calibrate one’s BS Detector. No wonder even sensible folk (present company included) don’t always agree on the results.

  13. Confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and mind-bending feats of ignorance are needed to be a conspiracy theorist. Heck, they’re not even theories, they are irrational hypotheses.

    • In reply to #26 by MilitantNonStampCollector:

      Confirmation bias, cognitive dissonance and mind-bending feats of ignorance are needed to be a conspiracy theorist. Heck, they’re not even theories, they are irrational hypotheses.

      Of course, you and I are among the fortunate few who are free of such nonsense. At least, I am. I’m not so sure about you.

  14. Most of these people (who I have had the extreme displeasure of dealing with in internet chatrooms and bulletin boards) can’t seem to decide who to point their finger at. Some days it’s the Rockefellers, some days it’s the Rothchilds, the Freemasons, Skull & Bones, or whatever. None of them can seem to go for more than a paragraph without mentioning “chemtrails,” “fluoridated water” or (their favorite), “building #7.” One thing they all appear to agree on, is that Ron Paul is God.

    • In reply to #30 by IDLERACER:

      Most of these people (who I have had the extreme displeasure of dealing with in internet chatrooms and bulletin boards) can’t seem to decide who to point their finger at. Some days it’s the Rockefellers, some days it’s the Rothchilds, the Freemasons, Skull & Bones, or whatever. None of them can seem…

      Right on cue, a perfect example of broad-brush. Wonder if I can trademark that? And for those who think IDLERACER is my sockpuppet, I deny that absolutely. You can’t prove a thing. I wasn’t even there. I dint doo that (to quote from Hotel Transylvania).

      Sorry, Idle, we both know you’re not me. But while I have your attention, tell us the one about building#7 again? Is that the one in Area 51 that has the alien autopsy room? Or was it the one that was the headquarters of all the nefarious agencies you mentioned, before it died of shame. Or the one that never existed, except in the deranged minds you’ve been having displeasure with?

    • In reply to #30 by IDLERACER:

      Most of these people (who I have had the extreme displeasure of dealing with in internet chatrooms and bulletin boards) can’t seem to decide who to point their finger at. Some days it’s the Rockefellers, some days it’s the Rothchilds, the Freemasons, Skull & Bones, or whatever. None of them can seem…

      I say the super-rich have set themselves up as a modern aristocracy, but you won’t hear me say anything about “Building #7,” Freemasons, or Skull and Bones. I only mention the Rockefeller’s as a historical reference: the US Supreme Court ruled that Standard Oil was an illegal monopoly and ordered it broken down. I use this reference, as do others, to question why we bailed out banks and big business almost a century later.

  15. Just watching a repeat of a QI episode, where one of the panelists commented in relation to people who refuse to believe in the Moon landing. “We’d be in big trouble as a species if we only believed in things we could do ourselves”.

  16. Why trust the “official word” when it is so
    Questionable. I believe the question is
    the foundation of all science. When the
    wet paper “Official word” is given from a
    untrustworthy source, do we discredit
    science by not questioning?
    Does a reasonable mind betray us?
    I should hope not. Where there is smoke,
    there is usually fire. I don’t mind being called
    crazy if it means a better understanding
    of a questionable event in history.

  17. As we can see, many of the loons this article referred to have made comments and will continue to do so. The irrational loons will remain irrational despite all the evidence. There definitely is something wrong in the heads of these freaks.

    • In reply to #41 by sasss91:

      As we can see, many of the loons this article referred to have made comments and will continue to do so. The irrational loons will remain irrational despite all the evidence. There definitely is something wrong in the heads of these freaks.

      Nice bit of broad-brushwork there sass.

    • In reply to #41 by sasss91:

      As we can see, many of the loons this article referred to have made comments and will continue to do so. The irrational loons will remain irrational despite all the evidence. There definitely is something wrong in the heads of these freaks.

      Which ones of us are the freaks? Just wondering, since I’ve been speaking my mind on the subject. I talk a lot about things that are not necessarily conspiracies, but verifiable, documented facts about which people have different perspectives. The one I repeat the most is “corporate free speech.” It’s real; it’s out in the open. It’s just we do not all agree about how it effects us, democracy, and the world.

      And yet, people still lump me in with “conspiracy theorists.”

      Yes, I sometimes interpret those facts in ways that sound like conspiracy theories. In fact, some of what I talk about could properly be called “conspiracies.” But I always start with facts as my premises.

      I’m not so stupid as to believe the moon landing never happened, for example. If I thought that, I’d have to deny the existence of ICBMs and satellites, too. The Saturn 5(?) rockets required a hell of a lot more fuel than others, but it’s not a big stretch to use that kind of technology to get from here to the moon.

  18. Though agreeing with the article, conspiracies do happen and are uncovered. Look at the truth finally coming out about the 96 dead at Hillsborough for example.
    If the state and police can cover up something like that it is hard to blame people for “mistrusting authority”.

  19. I’m curious to know what you all think about the fact that Lynn Margulis is “among the truthers”. She can hardly be described as being anti-science or as having a “crippled epistemology”, and bases her criticism primarily on the unscientific nature of the NIST’s investigation into the demolition of the twin towers and building 7 on 9/11. Among the problems she cites are the NIST’s decision to not conduct a single test for the presence of traces of explosives and their refusal to reveal the code used in their computer simulations of the “collapses”. She argues, correctly, that science must be both as thorough as possible in evaluating evidence and totally open to examination by outsiders. Before she died a couple of years ago she made it very clear that she believed that 9/11 was a sophisticated PR stunt. Doesn’t ignoring her existence as this and similar articles discussing conspiracy theorists do detract from the argument they present that such skepticism directed at 9/11 can only be a result of a psychological deficiency? Here is Prof. Dawkins on Margulis: Richard Dawkins: “I greatly admire Lynn Margulis’s sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I’m referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.” Why do we never hear about her, only about obvious charlatans like Alex Jones?

    • Maybe they’ve finally realized how unscientific the NIST and 9/11 Commission reports are? I mean, at some point they’re going to have to own up to not actually having read either one…

      In reply to #48 by OHooligan:

      Interesting. This topic went quiet after comment #46. Everybody just left the room….

      • In reply to #49 by Rational Skeptic:

        Maybe they’ve finally realized how unscientific the NIST and 9/11 Commission reports are? I mean, at some point they’re going to have to own up to not actually having read either one…

        In reply to #48 by OHooligan:

        Interesting. This topic went quiet after comment #46. Everybody just left the…

        I have a couple of serious and massively major problems with this video. First is the editing – there are jumps and disconnects which lead me to wonder what the full unedited transcript is that she says, there are times where I feel she is ‘feeling’ her way through the material and she repeats herself an awful lot. There is nothing wrong with this, but the way in which the editing takes place I wonder how often she repeats, or digresses or says something contradictory. This is a minor point, but given the content of what she doesn’t say could be important.

        Please not, what she didn’t say…I will be returning to this….

        Firstly, though, what she did say. Fully half of her talk was about her credentials and what science is – she is setting herself up as an authority and impressing on her audience her credentials. I also notice that she is talking about an area in which she doesn’t hold her qualifications.

        She then talks about about evidence. What it is, how it is used and why it is important to shore up hypotheses. She then tells us about a red/grey crystal. She tells us that evidence has been removed and potentially destroyed, that people didn’t look for evidence at that time and how wrong it is.

        So, after telling us that you need to find evidence, there is a lack. She tells us that the evidence wasn’t looked for and then removed and potentially destroyed. She tells us about a crystal.

        She then attacks others who she claims have been unscientific with their claims because they don’t hold up and uses gasp smoking gun evidence of hearsay, eye-witness accounts. Anecdotal evidence of the kind offered in the evidence of things like…oh, say…prayer.

        Occam’s Razor time: evidence is required to prove hypothesis, but there isn’t any. Which is more likely? That it doesn’t (or didn’t) exist or that person’s unknown removed it? That it wasn’t found because it wasn’t looked for, or that it wasn’t there in the first place?

        Lastly: what she didn’t say…. these red/grey crystals. No explanation of what they are, what they are supposed to prove or what hypothesis they are supposed to support.

        All in all, given the authority she clothes herself in at the start of the clip, what she presents to me, as a viewer, is nonsense. There is no science in what she says, she cannot back up her assertions and is making a claim – a hypothesis – which can’t be contended because the evidence was moved / destroyed etc. Further, she then compounds this exposition with half-veiled comments on these crystals, without ever coming out and explaining what they are, before then laying into the other reports.

        Deeply unconvincing, deeply unscientific and no evidence offered.
        For those of you who might take this as an ad hominem – I have only conjectured on what was said / not said, and confined myself to the projected arguments and editing. Not her personally.

        • The only thing I will grant you is that the editing was annoying. It did not, however, change what she said or actually meant. She is absolutely right to impugn the official reports on scientific grounds–in the first part of the interview she lays out the basics of the scientific method, and later explains how the official reports do not conform to any notion of scientific rigor. Note that she isn’t saying what is true, she is saying that the government’s claims on the subject were arrived at so unscientifically as to be meaningless and likely falsified, i.e. not true. While she focuses on the destruction of the WTC, for which the available evidence is abundant, the in the form of eyewitness and more importantly video testimony, the shoddiness of the official investigation extends to every aspect. So you don’t like “hearsay, eyewitness evidence”? Great, so why do you accept that the 9/11 Commission report uses Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s interrogation as a primary source for its conclusions, despite the fact that the commissioners later admitted they had no idea if he was even telling the truth? Or why do you support the commission’s conclusion that the peculiar trading in companies affected by 9/11 before the fact did not indicate foreknowledge, based on the SEC’s say so, which it based on the claims of the very people it was supposed to be investigating? Why do you accept these things as fact, when the evidence in both cases was admittedly destroyed? Why do you accept the NIST’s conclusions when they won’t allow anyone to see the code they based their simulations on? And when their explanation depends on ignoring clear video evidence of molten iron or steel (something, in any case, glowing bright orange/yellow) that jibes with what firefighters describe at the scene as “molten steel, flowing like lava”? I could go on and on, you know, and at no point will you reply with a defense of the NIST or 9/11 Commission’s methods. Or will you? Will you or anyone else actually address the problems with the official investigation, or will you continue transparently resorting to distortions and distractions?

          In reply to #51 by DancingAtheist545:*

          In reply to #49 by Rational Skeptic:

          Maybe they’ve finally realized how unscientific the NIST and 9/11 Commission reports are? I mean, at some point they’re going to have to own up to not actually having read either one…

          In reply to #48 by OHooligan:

          Interesting. This topic went quiet after…

        • With regard to the “crystals” allegedly found in the dust, that’s something I will have to admit to being suspect, simply because while the crystalline chips themselves do seem to be a high tech nanoengineered form of thermite (iron oxide and aluminum), their provenance is less than clear since all four samples that were studied were collected by Prof. Steven Jones, and so are only as trustworthy as he is, and that, I’m afraid, is in question. The fact, however, is that whether or not there was nanothermite in the dust or in the towers is irrelevant when you realize that something other than planes had to have been used–something that produces molten iron (which regular thermite does) and something which can rapidly break apart the structure while also pulverizing concrete, office furniture, people, and all the other things conspicuously absent from the debris. Absent a sound scientific explanation of the nature of the alleged “progressive collapse” of the twin towers (the NIST says the floors did not ‘pancake’, but offers no alternative model) we can’t be blamed for wondering how anyone can be so sure explosives aren’t the answer, and why they were ruled out a priori (as evidenced by the absence of a single test for their presence.)

          In reply to #51 by DancingAtheist545:

          In reply to #49 by Rational Skeptic:

          Maybe they’ve finally realized how unscientific the NIST and 9/11 Commission reports are? I mean, at some point they’re going to have to own up to not actually having read either one…

          In reply to #48 by OHooligan:

          Interesting. This topic went quiet after…

  20. Here is an excerpt from the much-touted Popular Mechanics book Debunking 9/11 Myths, where they take issue with the notion that molten steel in the rubble pile invalidates the official story:

    “But three experts who support the mainstream account of the towers’ collapse tell Popular Mechanics that the issue is a red herring. They note that the debris pile sat cooking for weeks, with the materials at the bottom of the pile getting increasingly hot because the fires were confined and lost minimal heat to the atmosphere. As a result the fires would have easily reached temperatures sufficient to melt steel, not to mention most of the other metals found in the buildings.”

    Note that they do not say “there was no molten steel”. They say that there could have easily been molten steel because the rubble pile was covered and could get hotter and hotter. Huh? Since when does covering a fire make it burn hotter? And how could the temperatures “easily” reach 2800 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature required to melt steel, when even the jet fuel, which had already burned off according to NIST, could reach a maximum, under ideal controlled conditions, of 1800? Though they go on to quote some scientists on related subjects, they don’t make clear who these three experts were. Absent their input, does anyone care to venture an explanation, or real world examples of covered fires getting progressively hotter, reaching 2800 degrees F?

  21. Each twin tower was around 60 million cubic feet (203’ square by 1368’ high.) 10,000 gallons of jet fuel is roughly 1337 cubic feet, or a cube 11 feet on each side. Think about that for a second, and then consider the following:

    From mainstream trade journal Chief Engineer:

    “The two decided to ascend the stairs to the C level, to a small machine shop where Vito Deleo and David Williams were supposed to be working. When the two arrived at the C level, they found the machine shop gone. “There was nothing there but rubble,” Mike said. “We’re talking about a 50 ton hydraulic press, gone!” The two began yelling for their co-workers, but there was no answer. They saw a perfect line of smoke streaming through the air. “You could stand here,” he said, “and two inches over you couldn’t breathe. We couldn’t see through the smoke so we started screaming.” But there was still no answer. The two made their way to the parking garage, but found that it, too, was gone. “There were no walls, there was rubble on the floor, and you can’t see anything” he said. They decided to ascend two more levels to the building’s lobby. As they ascended to the B Level, one floor above, they were astonished to see a steel and concrete fire door that weighed about 300 pounds, wrinkled up “like a piece of aluminum foil” and lying on the floor. “They got us again,” Mike told his co-worker, referring to the terrorist attack at the center in 1993. Having been through that bombing, Mike recalled seeing similar things happen to the building’s structure. He was convinced a bomb had gone off in the building.

    From the official NIST report:

    “Less than 15 percent of the jet fuel burned in the spray cloud inside the building. A roughly comparable amount was consumed in the fireballs outside the building. Thus, well over half of the jet fuel remained in the building, unburned in the initial fires. Some splashed onto the office furnishings and combustibles from the aircraft that lodged on the impacted floors, there to ignite (immediately or later) the fires that would continue to burn for the remaining life of the building. Some of the burning fuel shot up and down the elevator shafts, blowing out doors and walls on other floors all the way down to the basement. Flash fires in the lobby blew out many of the plate glass windows. Fortunately, there were not enough combustibles near the elevators for major fires to start on the lower floors.”

    Does no one else think it strains credulity to suppose that relatively small amount of jet fuel a) created the huge fireballs we saw outside the building, b) ignited several floors of the building at the impact zone and c) traveled down over 1000 feet (through lord knows what since no single elevator shaft spanned from the impact zone to the basement) to turn a parking lot and machine shop into rubble and crumple up a 300 lb. steel door like foil? No one? Really?

    Instead of surmising that maybe, just maybe, there were explosives in the basement like there were in 1993? And that maybe, just maybe, a real investigation would have actually tested for the presence of traces of such explosives, if only to rule them out?

    • In reply to #55 by Rational Skeptic:

      Each twin tower was around 60 million cubic feet (203’ square by 1368’ high.) 10,000 gallons of jet fuel is roughly 1337 cubic feet, or a cube 11 feet on each side. Think about that for a second, and then consider the following:

      From mainstream trade journal Chief Engineer:

      “The two decided to a…

      I have replied to the last of your posts purely for ease of reading back, and others that may still be inclined to follow.

      Firstly, I made no attempt to defend or contradict the ‘Official Report’ that she was naysaying. I was purely talking about her, about her arguments and the manner in which her ‘evidence’ for the report being unscientific was portrayed.

      Personally I hold a neutral stance on the issues of the reports as I have heard evidence from so-called experts from both sides claim that they have the truth of it.

      My biggest issue with first-hand accounts are that they can be right, they can be wrong; they can be of people with good character honestly stating facts; they can be dishonest people stating lies; most problematic of all is the fact that you also get good character people stating positions that they believe to be true, but often are completely wrong or mistaken about in the details. These are facts, and they do frequently undermine eyewitness testimony in law courts.

      Much has been made of molten metal, forgetting that the planes themselves are metal skinned.
      Stating the fact that ‘they got us again’ from a terrorist attack when no-one knows what is happening at the time is an assumptive stance, not a credible known, scientific and examined after-the-fact stance.

      Simple science: iron oxide = rust
      Metal skinned plane = aluminium

      If is highly feasible that small amounts of both materials could have combined as the planes struck and sheared their way through the buildings. I don’t know, but both materials could be innocuously present and in the ensuing aftermath achieve some mixing to throw in anomalous findings.

      In all, I commented on her video because I felt that it was attempt to shut the conversation down with an appeal to authority which I felt added nothing to the debate as there was nothing concrete in what she said. Again just so that it cannot be missed: I don’t know what happened that day, and I doubt we will ever know the full amount of truth but only pieces of it.

      • Wai, are you calling into question whether there were explosions in the basement? There is no question that there were. The question is whether it’s reasonable to suppose that the jet fuel from a single airplane could have been the cause, and the correct answer is “not in a million years”. Not only was there not enough, there was no conceivable path for it to take given the way the buildings were built. As for eyewitnesses, the more there are and more consistent their testimony, the more reliable we can assume it to be. Over 100 first responders referred to explosions in testimony collected by the FDNY. Compare this to the alleged testimony forming the basis of the official story (the interrogation of alleged al Qaeda operatives in custody) and it’s hard to see what you’re arguing for or against. Simple question: do you think the official account is satisfactory given what you know (or don’t)?

        In reply to #56 by DancingAtheist545:

        In reply to #55 by Rational Skeptic:

        Each twin tower was around 60 million cubic feet (203’ square by 1368’ high.) 10,000 gallons of jet fuel is roughly 1337 cubic feet, or a cube 11 feet on each side. Think about that for a second, and then consider the following:

        From mainstream trade journal…

        • In reply to #57 by Rational Skeptic:

          Wai, are you calling into question whether there were explosions in the basement? There is no question that there were.

          Yes, I am calling this into question – due to the lack of evidence.

          Unless of course al Qaeda also planted explosive devices in the basement, similar to the 1993 attack.

          • In reply to #87 by Tyler Durden:

            In reply to #57 by Rational Skeptic:

            Wai, are you calling into question whether there were explosions in the basement? There is no question that there were.

            Yes, I am calling this into question – due to the lack of evidence.

            Unless of course al Qaeda also planted explosive devices in the basemen…

            This looks to be back-to-front. Tyler doesn’t accept there were explosions in the basement unless al Q planted them? Shouldn’t it be the other way round: first, establish whether or not there were explosions, and only then go looking for the cause? Just because you don’t know the cause, you must deny the effect?

            The rest, and we’ve heard a lot of it, is argument-from-incredulity, gish-galloping away from actual testable evidence into hearsay and possible mis-reporting, appeals to (absent) authority figures, and a bunch of ad-hominem. Followed by the metaphorical hands-raised-in-exasperation, and withdrawal from further discussion, because it’s pointless, They just won’t “see reason”.

            Not the best example of the workings of a Foundation for Reason and Science. Sounds more like Creationists In Action. IMHO.

  22. Highlighting the OP:

    New psychological research helps explain why some see intricate government conspiracies behind events like 9/11 or the Boston bombing.
    Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax?

    That’s it right there. Declare all who question the official story of 9/11 to be just like the nutters and morons who believe the next three idiotic claims.

    So, the original article serves the purpose of helping to discredit those who have not been fobbed off over 9/11. To give the authors, editors and publishers the benefit of any doubt, it may be inadvertent. But in any case it adds to the meme that questioning 9/11 = loony fringe nutter, and so itself adds support to those who do not want the 9/11 can-of-worms reopened.

    I’m glad to see that on this forum at least it has not achieved that objective, and that some of the real unanswered questions can be raised, as befits a site that promotes reason and science.

    But also saddened that it should come to this. There should be no need to ask these simple questions. There should be no need for the amateur investigations. The facts of 9/11 should not need to be debated on internet forums.

    There should have been a genuine investigation of this, the crime of the century, not an immediate announcement of a verdict, followed belatedly and grudgingly with only meagerly funded, politically guided and narrowly constrained commission. No wonder conspiracy theories abound.

    As for the complaints about the poorly edited amateur video of Lynn Margulis, it appears to follow the usual format of expert witness testimony: first, her credentials, then an overview of what “doing science” entails, and finally the critique that the NIST report was not “doing science”. In a real judicial inquiry, an expert witness could be cross-examined, and that would either bolster or undermine her statements. But, and this is surely the biggest issue, this is not such an inquiry.

    • In reply to #58 by OHooligan:

      Highlighting the OP:

      New psychological research helps explain why some see intricate government conspiracies behind events like 9/11 or the Boston bombing.
      Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax?

      That’s it right there. Declare all wh…

      I agree with you on two things. First, that just dismissing any theory by saying “its a conspiracy theory” is not what people who believe in reason and critical thinking do. There have been documented conspiracies that people were mocked for and that later turned out to be true. That the US engineered and lied about the Gulf of Tonkin for example. I also agree that there certainly should have been and never was a real objective investigation of what happened on 9/11.

      The ironic thing to me is that the 9/11 Truthers have probably done more than any one else to make sure that won’t happen. Not on purpose but by filling the media with ridiculous theories that are absurd even at a casual inspection: DARPA death rays, planes that were diverted with passengers, missile hit the pentagon (even though many eye witnesses saw the plane), etc.

      The more you look at 9/11 its clear that there was massive incompetence by the Bush administration. A CIA analyst hand delivered a memo to Bush and read it to him (read it to him because by then the CIA knew that Bush probably wouldn’t read a report just sent via text) and that report was entitled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US”. I think that was in August and the attack was in October. And after being read the report what did Bush do? He said to the analyst “all right you’ve covered your ass now”. Some times I feel this has to all be a bad dream or movie because it couldn’t get more damning. But instead of focusing on things like that the Truthers created ridiculous conspiracy theories that make all of us that question the government seem like insane loonies.

      Oh and one more thing, someone commented somewhere (I can only stand to skim these comments) that there is no doubt that there were explosions in the WTC basement. That is nonsense. There were definitely people who said they heard explosions. But THE FUCKING BUILDING WAS COLLAPSING!. Elevators were falling down close to a hundred stories. Do you have any idea the amount of force released by those kinds of things? Of course it will SOUND like an explosion and people in those kinds of circumstances aren’t the most accurate of witnesses.

      • Two quick rebuttals–first is that we can’t control every ridiculous thing that people claiming to be skeptical about 9/11 believe. Instead of treating all of these “theories” as representative of genuine skepticism, some can only be explained by realizing that the craziest sounding things are being said by people whose goal is precisely to cast 9/11 skepticism in a bad light. Darpa rays, hologram planes, etc. are not genuine skeptics’s beliefs. The most important questions are those that I have already alluded to, which you could only bring yourself to skim. If you would actually take the time to learn about the real issues you would understand that the explosions in the basement occurred simultaneously with the first plane crash, well before anything was collapsing. You would also understand that there were no elevators connected to the impact zone that actually went all the way down to the lobby or basement, so that well-worn excuse of a falling elevator is simply not believable. The fact that no tests were conducted for the presence of explosives should be suspicious to anyone who thinks it’s important to know exactly what happened.

        In reply to #59 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #58 by OHooligan:

        Highlighting the OP:

        New psychological research helps explain why some see intricate government conspiracies behind events like 9/11 or the Boston bombing.
        Did NASA fake the moon landing? Is the government hiding Martians in Area 51? Is global warming a hoax?

        That’s…

        • In reply to #60 by Rational Skeptic:

          Two quick rebuttals–first is that we can’t control every ridiculous thing that people claiming to be skeptical about 9/11 believe. Instead of treating all of these “theories” as representative of genuine skepticism, some can only be explained by realizing that the craziest sounding things are bein…

          At one point for a while I was a Truther. As I said I believe in some conspiracies. The evidence is clear to me that it was not a “lone nut” that killed JFK and probably not MLK or RFK either. But the more I looked at the arguments for the 9/11 conspiracy theories the more I realized how unscientific and irrational they were. There is no proof that there were explosions. There is evidence that people reported explosions which is a very different thing and easily explained.

          The approach of the Truthers fits into the framework for Pseudoscience that Michael Schermer sketched out in Why People Believe Weird Things. There are a number of characteristics and because I’m bored (but not quote so bored as to start arguing about Thermite again) I’ll sketch them out here:

          1) Cherry picking. Conspiracy theorists don’t evaluate all the possible alternative explanations for an event. A classic 9/11 example is when they find the government is lying. Government is lying => they must be lying about our conspiracy! Ignoring that governments lie all the time and that especially with the Bush administration lying was SOP. Also, that lying to cover up incompetence is at least as credible as lying to cover up guilt. This was actually the first thing that made me take notice of the Truthers. I was reading a book by David Ray Griffin and he talked about how the FAA and NORAD were lying (which I agree they were) ignoring that an alternative explanation was they were lying to cover up how incompetent they were that day (which they clearly were).

          2) Slander. The second thing that made me question Truthers was when I read a book by Michael Rupert about the media coverage. He had a whole chapter about how people like Amy Goodman and Noam Chomsky got money from the government and thus were obviously part of the conspiracy. The idea that Chomsky was a stooge for Bush was really funny also Amy Goodman. If you don’t know Amy Goodman you should check out DemocracyNow.org. She has been a fearless journalist as long as I can remember. One time she literally put her body on the line in East Timor and was almost killed but she saved the lives of several activists who would have been killed otherwise. Chomsky and Goodman are two of the best communicators of the evils the US does that are alive today.

          3) Don’t understand conspiracies. The third thing was the nature of most of the Truther conspiracies. The whole point of a REAL conspiracy (e.g. Gulf of Tonkin which mentioned earlier) is plausible deniability. A conspiracy that requires people to fire missiles at the pentagon or to abduct plane loads of people is absurd on its face. This is kind of tied with 2 as well because one of the incorrect assumptions is that everyone who has ever worked for the US Department of Defense (and that would include me) is automatically a mindless drone who will do whatever they are told even if it involves killing Americans. I’ve worked with Colonels in the USAF and they aren’t drones, they are individuals (as are religious people btw but that’s another argument) and some of them are intensely patriotic and would never go along with an attack on the US.

          4) The nature of catastrophic events. One of my favorite bits of Truther nonsense (and there are already conspiracy theorists for Boston who do the same thing) is finding two inconsistent detail in an eye witness or after action report and pouncing on them as if that proves something. The military has a phrase for the mind set of people in combat called “the fog of war”. Its a lesson for people in command to understand that reports from people in combat are going to be exaggerated and innacurate. People in those kinds of situations are amazingly unreliable and you can’t pick up a few words here and there and make a case out of them. Examples here were that people reported explosions. Another example is the big deal about the owner of building 7 who said “pull it”. Chomsky actually had a good analysis of this. He points out that even in controlled experiments there is data that can’t be explained. To expect to explain every bit of data in an event like 9/11 is irrational.

          5) False experts. I went to a video from a “Nobel Prize Winner” who was talking about the engineering details of the collapse of the towers. I clicked on the video because most of the things I had read at that point were by people who had no background in controlled demolition. Often it seems like second rate academics who can’t get published elsewhere. I’m an engineer myself and as the guy was talking I thought “this guy sure doesn’t sound like an engineer”. I looked him up and found he won a Nobel Prize in drama. This happens a lot, people who don’t really understand how to design much less tear down a building suddenly pretend to be experts.

          I do agree that there are a LOT of unanswered questions about 9/11 and I’m still interested in reading about it from responsible sources. For anyone still reading interested in honest objective reporting I recommend the book The Eleventh Day by Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan. Its one of the best overviews I’ve read and it really shows how inept the Bush administration was. Criminally incompetent.

          But one thing Truthers don’t seem to get that at least many of the JFK researchers did is that to make fantastic claims you need overwhelming evidence and that its irresponsible to just report speculation as if it were facts. Of course that is actually true of the media as a whole these days as well.

          • In reply to #61 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #60 by Rational Skeptic:

            Two quick rebuttals–first is that we can’t control every ridiculous thing that people claiming to be skeptical about 9/11 believe. Instead of treating all of these “theories” as representative of genuine skepticism, some can only be explained by realizing that…

            The point is that no one conducted a proper investigation in order to find the evidence. So of course there’s no proof! As he said, they should have investigated more thoroughly at least to rule it out.

      • In reply to #59 by Red Dog:

        I agree with you on two things. First, that just dismissing any theory by saying “its a conspiracy theory” is not what people who believe in reason and critical thinking do … I also agree that there certainly should have been and never was a real objective investigation of what happened on 9/11..

        These are precisely the two points that concern me. I am very glad to see we have that much in common.

        I’ve tried to avoid the details of the various claims, but I do agree with Rational Skeptic that there’s likely to be active disinformation – such as peddling various crazy notions about death rays and stuff – to discredit all “Truthers”. Hate that word, by the way, it reflects dreadfully on all who use it. Like it’s insane to seek the truth. Well, maybe it is, given the state of the American-led Western World since that day.

        So, what would satisfy me, would be a proper investigation. But I don’t expect one.

        My natural instinct is to favor cock-up over conspiracy, but cock-up precedes cover-up, which is a conspiracy in itself. The GWB administration was notoriously incompetent in pretty much everything, and its only explanation for 9/11 is that it was taken by surprise, just bad luck, nobody saw it coming, nobody could have prevented it, or reacted swiftly enough to thwart it.

        So it is reasonable to expect an after-the-fact cover-up conspiracy to evade charges of criminal negligence, and for that conspiracy to continue to do its best to prevent further scrutiny.

        But my credulity remains stretched by the reported events of the day. Lucky attackers and incompetent defenders are still not enough to explain what happened, even if the luck and incompetence are taken to ludicrous extremes. Much simpler is the notion that both sides were playing a rigged game, the deck stacked against the defenders, by well placed insiders who wanted the attack to succeed, and had no intention of relying on luck.

        Therefore, I predict – there will never be a real, objective investigation.

        • In reply to #62 by OHooligan:

          In reply to #59 by Red Dog:

          I agree with you on two things. First, that just dismissing any theory by saying “its a conspiracy theory” is not what people who believe in reason and critical thinking do … I also agree that there certainly should have been and never was a real objective investigatio…

          I think we are mostly in agreement. Absolutely there should have been a real investigation. A real investigation requires people who can subpoena things (including things deemed secret) run by someone known for independence not a couple of political hacks as they actually did. And the “Georgie can’t talk without Uncle Dick” constraint was ludicrous, its just amazing that they got away with stuff like that. When you look at other events, Pearl Harbor for example, there were such investigations and people got fired who were responsible rather than promoted.

          So for what its worth here is something I think is close to a smoking gun: The CIA wanted to get double agents in Al Queda. As a result they paved the way for at least one of the 9/11 hijackers to come into this country (believing they could recruit him that way) even though his admission set of alarm bells and he most likely would have been deported if not for CIA intervention.

          The amazing thing is that everything I said in that paragraph is known and documented. Yet its seldom mentioned. And for once I will do a bit of pull it from my butt speculation: I think its quite possible that a few people might have known that something was in the works and were told to just let it happen. To me that is the believable kind of conspiracy, it has to involve plausible deniability. It doesn’t require that anyone in the government actually orchestrated the attacks or planted explosives. But it is possible that they greased just enough wheels to make sure it wasn’t discovered.

          • Sorry, but one doesn’t have to bring the government into the issue of explosives in the building. They were there regardless of whether it was arab terrorists or a crew contracted by the leaseholder who did it. No testing for them is itself a smoking gun, in addition to the impossible physics of the official account. There is no need to speculate, and no use in it, until these facts are acknowledged.

            In reply to #63 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #62 by OHooligan:

            In reply to #59 by Red Dog:

            I agree with you on two things. First, that just dismissing any theory by saying “its a conspiracy theory” is not what people who believe in reason and critical thinking do … I also agree that there certainly should have been and never wa…

          • In reply to #64 by Rational Skeptic:

            There is no need to speculate, and no use in it, until these facts (about explosives) are acknowledged.

            Yes. The destruction of the buildings is the weakest link in the official story, because pre-planted demolition charges means the attackers weren’t just a bunch of hijackers who got lucky. Which is why it is so important to deny, in the face of any and all evidence to the contrary, that the destruction was caused by anything other than the two planes.

            For those who still think the planes did it all, please take a few minutes to watch this video

          • In reply to #64 by Rational Skeptic:

            one doesn’t have to bring the government into the issue of explosives in the building. They were there regardless of whether it was arab terrorists or a crew contracted by the leaseholder who did it.

            Sigh. There were explosions in the building. That doesn’t in the least prove there were explosives. One of the best examples of how inane conspiracy theorists can be are the claims that explosions right before the complete collapse of one of the towers prove anything. When a skyscraper has been hit by a jet airplane and its structural integrity is compromised I would expect there to be minor explosions before the complete failure of the building. Its just common sense. There are all sorts of things in an office building that can cause minor explosions given enough heat and force and there is plenty of heat and force generated by a plane hitting a building and the building falling down.

            No testing for them is itself a smoking gun,

            No its not. Explosives were a fringe theory. It would have been unusual if they took it seriously. Explosives planted ahead of time are an example of people who don’t really understand the first thing about actual conspiracies. If there was some government involvement or complicity plausible deniability is critical. You don’t get plausible deniability by planting charges on your target that terrorists are going to hit but you aren’t supposed to know about it. And for Science sake John O’Neil was the guy in charge of security at the Tower. If you know anything about Al Queda he was the FBI guy most dedicated and hard nosed to fight them and he left the FBI (was essentially kicked out) because they wouldn’t take him seriously with his obsession to hunt down Al Queda. The idea that he was in on it or that he was so incompetent as to let people plant explosives on a building he was in charge of protecting is ridiculous.

            in addition to the impossible physics of the official account. There is no need to speculate, and no use in it, until these facts are acknowledged.

            Nonsense. I’ve read the “impossible physics” claim and its BS. They guy who started that stuff knows absolutely nothing about mechanical engineering or the demolition of buildings. He’s a failed academic who can’t get published for his real work so now he’s made a name for himself because shoddy work can find a home in Truther land. I’ve read and listened to interviews with actual engineers who know this stuff and just demolish (no pun intended) everything he says.

          • In reply to #81 by Red Dog:

            Explosives were a fringe theory.

            Only because immediately and absolutely ruled out of all official investigation.

            It would have been unusual if they took it seriously.

            Unusual? So, what’s the Usual approach to a massive attack on an American city? Is it to declare the verdict at once and work from there back to find an explanation that fits it? Answer appears to be Yes, though the sample size (1) is too small to make any general observation about what is “usual”.

            Explosives planted ahead of time are an example of people who don’t really understand the first thing about actual conspiracies. If there was some government involvement or complicity plausible deniability is critical. You don’t get plausible deniability by planting charges on your target that terrorists are going to hit but you aren’t supposed to know about it.

            This is an interestingly circular argument. There can’t have been explosives because they wouldn’t have been so stupid as to plant them, because then they’d be found out. But, they haven’t been found out, despite the “fringe” claims. Therefore there can’t have been explosives. Therefore we must only look for a non-explosive explanation.

            There was a conspiracy. That’s not in doubt. You can’t do synchronized hijacking without conspiring. The question remains only about the extent of the conspiracy, or conspiracies. If there are any surviving US based conspirators, they remain at large, and would have a deeply vested interest in opposing any further investigation. Ongoing damage limitation on the “conspiracy theory” front would be something they’ d just have to keep on doing, for the rest of their lives.

            Back at the events of the day, it comes down to the way your Incredibility Meter is calibrated. Mine is triggered by the totality of the destruction of those 3 NY buildings. I find it hard to believe that American architects and engineers in the 1960s, when the USA was leading the world in science and technology, and heading for the moon, could so thoroughly botch their work that both WTC buildings could be totally destroyed by a single plane strike on each. And that a third building could collapse for no obvious reason, looking for all the world like a controlled demolition. Incredibility Meter goes off the scale.

            Or maybe the 21st century politicians and pundits and government spokespersons told lies about what happened. Incredibility meter barely flickers.

            So there you go. The news videos show what looks to me like an awful lot of explosive destruction. The annotated replays by David Chandler (on YouTube) show this particularly well, sticking closely to what can be directly observed from the videos.

            All other “what really happened” stories, from NIST, from Popular Mechanics, from wherever, look like a whole lot of dog-ate-my-homework feeble excuses, which would be laughable if it wasn’t so enormously, terrifyingly serious. The really scary part is, these half-baked excuses don’t need to be any better, they have worked, quite well, for nearly 12 years. I expect they’ll continue to do their job until after the lifetimes of those who were adults at the time of the event, because there is nothing to be gained now by any US politician in reopening this prematurely closed chapter.

          • In reply to #82 by OHooligan:

            This is an interestingly circular argument. There can’t have been explosives because they wouldn’t have been so stupid as to plant them, because then they’d be found out. But, they haven’t been found out, despite the “fringe” claims. Therefore there can’t have been explosives. Therefore we must only look for a non-explosive explanation.

            No, that’s not the argument. The argument is that certain kinds of theories are highly implausible even before we look at the evidence because they aren’t consistent with what we know about conspiracies. I believe conspiracies are possible because I can point to examples of them. Iran Contra, The Gulf of Tonkin, Operation Gladio, and countless examples of the CIA paying right wing groups to plant bombs in South America and blame it on the left as documented by Victor Marchetti and other whistle blowers. Or Operation Northwind which was discussed but never put into action. And in all of those examples plausible deniability is an essential factor of the operation or planned operation.

            I’ve read the Pentagon Papers where they talk about the operation that led to the Gulf of Tonkin. They were open about wanting to provoke just such a reaction from the Vietnamese. And as they planned for it it was essential that they could deny that that was their actual motivation. Or when Marchetti was paying right wing terrorists in Ecuador. It was an essential part of the operation that the American diplomats in the embassy knew nothing about it so when asked they would sound like they were telling the truth when they denied involvement, they thought they were innocent. That’s the way it always is. So a conspiracy where they take the action to plant explosives before hand makes no sense. There are so many things that could go wrong. Have you read about what we know about the planning? They could have cancelled almost up to the last minute and then you have a bunch of explosives sitting in a building.

            And another reason the explosives makes no sense is the whole John O’Neil angle. Do you know who he is? Either he was incompetent or in on the conspiracy and he wasn’t incompetent and its really hard to imagine he was in on it if you know his history.

            None of those things is conclusive. Arguments in these kinds of discussions seldom are. There are always unanswered questions and incomplete information. All I was pointing out is that from the start I’m skeptical of these kinds of theories. But I still gave a look at the actual theories and they also are not at all convincing for reasons I mentioned before.

          • In reply to #83 by Red Dog:

            The argument is that certain kinds of theories are highly implausible even before we look at the evidence because they aren’t consistent with what we know…

            Therefore we don’t need to look at evidence? Hardly the usual stance for the rational, scientific outlook.

            The whole day was implausible, yet it happened.

            How, exactly, should not be something left to internet connected amateurs to ponder, but there they are, attempting to fill in for the utter dereliction of duty by the entire edifice of those branches of the US government responsible for defense, justice, law enforcement and public safety. There are amateur theories (or more accurately, hypotheses, conjectures) about this because there was never a genuine investigation. Which, in itself, looks like another case of criminal wrongdoing.

            the whole John O’Neil angle. Do you know who he is? Either he was incompetent or in on the conspiracy and he wasn’t incompetent and its really hard to imagine he was in on it if you know his history

            Isn’t he among those missing, presumed killed, on 9/11? We can only imagine what became of him. Or have I been misled by “The Troothers”, and he’s alive and well someplace and just not saying much.

            We don’t need much imagination to spend a while looking at the videos. David Chandler’s guided tour of this material applies simple high-school level physics, and tools that anyone can use to verify or refute his findings. Genuine science, not speculation, fantasy or goal-driven political conclusions. I dare you to take a look, watch all the way through. I’ll post specific links if you want, but they’re easy enough to find. Search “cutter charge” and “chandler”, that should get you close enough. You will find a lot of nonsense videos nearby, try not to get distracted.

            I do understand that the utter complete destruction of the three NY buildings, especially the third one, is the weakest link in the official history of 9/11. And that looking closely at the videos can be uncomfortable in many different ways, especially for those who have the TV imagery seared into their memories by endless repetition on the major networks.

          • In reply to #81 by Red Dog:
            And for Science sake John O’Neil was the guy in charge of security at the Tower. If you know anything about Al Queda he was the FBI guy most dedicated and hard nosed to fight them and he left the FBI (was essentially kicked out) because they wouldn’t take him seriously with his obsession to hunt down Al Queda. The idea that he was in on it or that he was so incompetent as to let people plant explosives on a building he was in charge of protecting is ridiculous.

            For Science sake, do some research. John O’Neill’s first day on the job as head of security for the WTC was 9/11/01. He would not have had any official role in preventing the 9/11 attacks. Also, he was not, as you state, kicked out of the FBI for his obsession with al Qaeda, it was more likely because of his “mishandling” of FBI classified information, which is a charitable way of saying he was thoroughly corrupt. See the NYTimes article:

            F.B.I. Is Investigating a Senior Counterterrorism Agent
            By DAVID JOHNSTON and JAMES RISEN
            Published: August 19, 2001

            But as others have suggested, one need only watch David Chandler’s presentations on the various physics-based proofs of the use of explosives to demolish the WTC to determine that someone did somehow succeed in rigging those buildings for demolition, paving the way for a state of the art complex to be built with insurance money.

          • In reply to #85 by Rational Skeptic:

            For Science sake, do some research. John O’Neill’s first day on the job as head of security for the WTC was 9/11/01.

            I should have known better than to even wade into this. This is my last message on the subject and I’m not going to correct every wrong thing you’ve said but just to pick a couple. What you said about O’Neil is false. From Wikipedia: “O’Neill started his new job at the World Trade Center on August 23, 2001, 19 days before the attacks.”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_P._O

            Therefore we don’t need to look at evidence? Hardly the usual stance for the rational, scientific outlook.

            I said in my earlier comment that I did still look at the evidence. The “thermite” stuff, etc. The Thermite is a good example of who tends to become conspiracy theorists. A failed academic in theoretical physics who can’t get published but can get fame and $$ by putting forth theories that sound scientific but that a real expert can demolish. My point (for the second time) was that even before you look at the Thermite “evidence” theories like explosive planted ahead of time are absurd because they aren’t consistent with the way conspiracies work.

            Anyway, its pointless to continue as you are ignoring what I say and making up your own facts. I just hope someone else was reading the interactions because they are a nice little example of how conspiracy theorists are immune to facts and reason.

          • In reply to #86 by Red Dog:

            Anyway, its pointless to continue as you are ignoring what I say and making up your own facts. I just hope someone else was reading the interactions because they are a nice little example of how conspiracy theorists are immune to facts and reason.

            Well said Red Dog. Ignoring the video presentation, and instead (em)barking down the tangled tale of Mr O Neil and/or the qualifications or otherwise of people who talk about thermite. The unwillingness to discuss evidence seems to be a feature of more than one side of this discussion. I attempt to hold no fixed opinion on details of personnel or the applications of chemistry, I’m completely ignorant of such things. I can tune in to YouTube, however. I’ve learned to ignore the rants, the stuff you all despise as lunatic fringe crap, and still, I’m stumped by the contradictions between Chandler’s presentation of the published historical video record, and the highly implausible but officially sanctioned notion that the 3 buildings fell down solely because of the planes.

            But I don’t expect you to break your word and continue, as, of course, it’s pointless.

          • In reply to #63 by Red Dog:

            it is possible that they greased just enough wheels

            Yes, that’s a plausible scenario. What we start to see are multiple interacting conspiracies, unaware of each other. A spook conspiracy that backfired, a cover-up conspiracy after the fact to cover criminally incompetent asses, and of course the universally acknowledged conspiracy to plan and execute the attack. And why stop at three? Stock market profiteers who got wind of something bad coming, especially for a certain two airlines? Multiple conspiracies seem to be a simpler explanation overall than none, or one.

            And they call conspiracy theories outrageous.

  23. If the Moon landing was faked, the Soviets were in on it, meaning a level of collusion between the two empires which implies the Cold War was just a charade. That’s the implication, and I don’t think Mooners think about that. If 9/11 was staged, surely the BushII administration could have rigged two federal elections without evidence (exit poll disparities, Katherine Harris, etc). If SandyHook was a conspiracy, just give the government our freakin’ guns cuz they are so clever and powerful we could never stop any of their efforts. If Boston was a conspiracy, it validates the Phryne defense that the beautiful are always innocent (One Direction!)

    • In reply to #68 by This Is Not A Meme:

      If the Moon landing was faked, the Soviets were in on it, meaning a level of collusion between the two empires which implies the Cold War was just a charade. That’s the implication, and I don’t think Mooners think about that. If 9/11 was staged, surely the BushII administration could have rigged two…

      Is this another example of the Broad Brush Meme? Lump once more “mooners” and I suppose “truthers”. Hey, TINA Meme, I thought there was more to you than that.

      And BTW, if the Bush crowd did rig 2 federal elections, they did it successfully, without leaving any evidence. At least, no evidence that anyone but a loony conspiracy theorist would notice. What was your point?

  24. Many conspiracy theorists sound almost indistinguishable from some of the devoted ‘career skeptics’ of the paranormal, for instance – the moment something is reported, they go into an almost manic state of paranoid denial and presumption concerning fraud and all the rest of it. Clearly the same mindset.

    In my opinion, it is a lazy way of posing as ‘intellectual’ without having to do all the hard stuff of actually studying something.

    • In reply to #71 by TanyaK:

      Many conspiracy theorists sound almost indistinguishable from some of the devoted ‘career skeptics’ of the paranormal, for instance – the moment something is reported, they go into an almost manic state of paranoid denial and presumption concerning fraud and all the rest of it. Clearly the same mind…

      I completely agree that “skeptics of the paranormal” and “skeptics of religion” have chosen for themselves a rather unchallenging metier–this may explain why they can’t seem to muster better arguments against so-called conspiracy theories. Declaring yourself skeptical of those who doubt official reports on events such as the collapse of WTC building 7 is the same as declaring your faith in the government’s reports. In this particular case (WTC7) you would be declaring your faith in the NIST’s alleged computer model–a model no one outside of NIST has been allowed to examine to confirm that it does what it purports to–accurately simulate the real-world collapse of the building, as opposed to simply generating a computer animation that somewhat resembles the collapse. You would be declaring this faith in spite of the fact that the simulation differs significantly from the NIST’s own measured observation of the actual collapse that showed the building to be in free fall for 2.25 seconds. You would also be declaring your faith in the belief that had the debris from the WTC been tested for traces of explosives, none would have been found–since no debris was ever tested for traces of explosives. You would, in other words, not be acting as much of a skeptic–you would be advancing faith-based arguments in support of the contention that no explosives were involved in the building’s collapse.

  25. Ugh…if this is what you mean by “conspiracy theory,” it’s no wonder skeptics dismiss them so quickly. I think things are going on, but I would never believe some of these things. I can recognize contradictions. Of course, I am the same person who said I’m “inclined to think it is probably true” (as a subjective evaluation of current events and historical precedents) that US government officials knew about and allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur. I do not commit to it, however, but I know that people in power will do anything to keep that power.

    Do you really think everyone who acknowledges that conspiracies happen believe NASA faked the moon landing even though the US military is hiding aliens in Area 51? Sure, we’ll reverse engineer Martian technology and still just pretend to go to the moon….

    I have always questioned the “moon landing hoax” idea. It’s ludicrous. Any time someone mentioned it to me I said, “But we actually do have the technology to do it. Why fake it?” The only reasonable assumption to make is that we didn’t have enough money…and I don’t believe that, either.

    Not all conspiracy “theories” take such extreme forms. Is it really paranoid to question why corporate profits are way up but wages are down, and to be critical of that? No one has to wonder who has refused the workers their fair compensation, and it isn’t difficult to figure out why. The “theory” is that a corporate oligarchy has taken or will take over the world. The facts are: profits are up; wages are down; corporate “free speech” has made bribes legal; corporations buy life insurance policies on their employees without those employees’ knowledge or permission (Wal-Mart was caught and sued for this–a slap on the wrist if you ask me); there are more empty/foreclosed houses in the US than there are homeless people; some privatized institutions keep people incarcerated (children at that) just to make a profit; and even 80-year-old ladies go to jail for exercising their rights. It is also a fact that there have always been groups of people living in the US oppressed by the government and the majority (in some way).

    All of these things are well documented, and they begin to make our country sound hauntingly similar to WWII Italy. It isn’t…quite. But it sure seems like it’s moving that way.

    As Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine said, “America touts itself as the land of the free, but the number one freedom that you and I have is the freedom to enter into a subservient role in the workplace. Once you exercise this freedom you’ve lost all control over what you do, what is produced, and how it is produced. And in the end, the product doesn’t belong to you. The only way you can avoid bosses and jobs is if you don’t care about making a living. Which leads to the second freedom: the freedom to starve.”

  26. I find these conspiracy shows pretty entertaining. Most are silly, but entertaining. The fact that the government lies to you even when the truth is a better story fuels these paranoid discussions. The fact the government does whatever it damn well pleases fuels these discussions too. I think RFK and MLK were probably killed by who was blamed. Who paid them to is the million dollar question. JFK, on the other hand, is a different matter. The only thing the Warren commission got correct was President Kennedy was assassinated.

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