Psychology of Conspiracy Theorists

Discussion in 'Conspiracies' started by James R, Feb 18, 2015.

  1. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    What media are you talking about? In the US we have basically to flavors of media, the right wing media and the mainstream media. Now, because media organizations are driven by profits, they tend to favor sensationalism and that does generally favor the right wing. But if you pay attention, credible sources will report all of the truth. Case in point, was the swift boating of John Kerry. All the data was reported in credible news agencies like CNN; however that didn't stop CNN from sensationalizing everything else and dragging it out giving the appearance there was some there, there, when in fact there wasn't.

    Journalism and media institutions, with few exceptions, e.g. Fox News, change over time. CNN has changed. It's much less forgiving of Republican propaganda than it once was, though it still has a penchant for sensationalism. And as long as we have a free and independent press that will always be the case. Do you want a state controlled press a la Putin or a free press? I'll take the free press every day.
     
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  3. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    One can do the research on this one's self through Project Censored. http://projectcensored.org/


    The "free press" as you describe it is certainly at the whim of some very powerful systematic forces. A state-funded media with a mandate to publicize stories that get shafted because of these forces would be a powerful addition to democracy.
     
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  5. Dr_Toad It's green! Valued Senior Member

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    Bookmarked for the future, but that is one fugly webpage layout. Bad colors and fonts, like a child committed it.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    You mean like Putin's state funded and controlled media? While it has worked well for Putin, I don't think it has worked well for everyone else.

    In the US we also have a public media source, NPR, which operates a cable television and radio networks. It's partially funded by government and by private donors. Frankly, it's the best media source in the country. I also like some foreign media sources. NPR is in many ways reminiscent of what the media once was in The United States.

    Before Republicans repealed The Fairness Doctrine, media outlets were required to hold fair and honest discussions of issues of national importance. That's no longer the case, and that's why we have the partisan media like Fox News and right wing radio. I think The Fairness Doctrine should be reinstated. Democrats have tried in the past, but they have always been rebuffed by Republicans. As long as Republicans control both houses of Congress The Fairness Doctrine will not be restored.

    Republican media is a two edged sword for Republicans. It has helped them control Congress and smaller states. It has created a very enthusiastic base. But it has also made the party increasingly radical. That's how you get a guy like Trump on the top of the Republican ticket.
     
  8. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    Is that what I said? I said state-funded. Why are you trying to fight this?
     
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  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, I think I agree with Phys Bang: you seem to be posing a false antithesis between state-funded and free when what you have in mind, I think, is the antithesis between state-controlled and free.

    In the UK we have this thing called the BBC. It is not exactly state funded but it has a monopoly right to tax the public, via an annual charge on anyone owning a TV set, which is enshrined in law by the state. But it is not state-controlled, as any UK government minister who has been grilled by one of its interviewers will be keen to point out to to you.
     
  10. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    How so? We are talking about different mediums that you need to take into account. The the term "the press" refers to print medium an not television or wireless mediums. That would exclude the BBC as it is a television and radio operation. You have that thing called the BBC, and it's very good. It's one of the best and renowned as such around the globe. Our counterpart to the BBC is as I previously posted, the NPR, National Public Radio. NPR is funded by a tax dollars and private contributions, but it doesn't have the ability to tax.

    Unlike Mother Russia the Western press isn't funded or controlled by government. It's a private enterprise. The broadcast medium is a mixed bag, but it's mostly privately funded and privately controlled. However, in the US the one exception is NPR which is partly government funded and partly privately funded as charitable organization. It operates and exists outside of government even though it is party government funded. But in any case, content isn't government controlled as it is in places like Russia. Unlike Russia, the head of state has no control over content.
     
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Ah I see, you are referring to the "press" in its narrow literal sense, as print media, rather than the broader political sense in which the expression "freedom of the press" is commonly used: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_the_press
     
  12. PhysBang Valued Senior Member

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    Why are you being so obtuse?
     
  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    Donald Trump has exceeded every last one of these and more. You are prescient.
     
  14. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Because conspiracies happen.
     
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  15. cloud_9 Registered Member

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    Sadly it seems this forum isn't so much about discussing the science and proof behind "conspiracies" more than it is to outright debunk them and make those that question official narratives to look like fools.

    That's not science.

    Any scientist will tell you that science should be tested and questioned as nothing is above investigation, however the "science" professionals seemingly on this site act completely the opposite and instead make personal remarks to the posters rather than trying to prove points with SCIENCE. I mean this is a science forum isn't it?

    For these people I would suggest looking into a psychological phenomena named 'cognitive dissonance' to help understand their position. This occurs when new ideas or information conflict with previously formed ideologies and accepted beliefs. In other words your brain is refusing to accept that anything other than what you believe to be true, can be true. Hence why so many on here seem to make posts personal, ignore the facts and instead ridicule someone for having a different opinion and questioning science as scientists themselves say to do. How hypocritical.
     
  16. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    Hello cloud_9. Welcome to sciforums!

    If you review our threads, you will find many instances where the evidence put forward by conspiracy theorists is put to the test.

    However, in the end it is up to those who are proposing a conspiracy to come up with good evidence that it exists, not for others to have to go to the trouble to debunk every crazy idea from scratch.

    From your post, I'm guessing you believe in one or two conspiracy theories yourself. Are you perhaps worried that people here might attempt to debunk one of the theories you favour?

    That's confirmation bias, isn't it? Cognitive dissonance, as I understand it, comes from simultaneously trying to hold onto beliefs that actually contradict each other.
     
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  17. cloud_9 Registered Member

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    Hi James and thanks.

    Yes really I was referring to the "conspiracy" thread which admittedly is the only thread I have checked out. It was the one I landed on from a google search)

    You are right about people proposing evidence but that's where my point came from that (in this thread at least) posters mostly got shot down by people not looking at the evidence and instead lambasting the person that presented it. I guess for a science forum I just expected a more balanced, neutral assessment from both parties rather than mocking if something went against the "widely accepted belief".

    Having said that maybe I should be surprised that's the case. Let me pass you over to Arthur Schopenhauer - "All truth passes through three stages; first it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, third it is accepted as being self evident."

    Yes I do believe in one particular "conspiracy theory" in being correct. Or I mean I believe an opposite story to the one officially accepted. However what I don't like about the term "conspiracy theorist" is that is assumes if you believe in one conspiracy, you believe in them all. That's simply ridiculous. and not true. At least not for me.

    They are new beliefs that come to fruition that don't bode with existing beliefs so are rejected no matter how true or not they are relating to reality.
     
  18. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, let me offer a word in praise of cognitive dissonance.

    In spite of it having become to some degree a piece of voguish psychobabble, it is quite interesting, I think, in the context of science. It seems to me there is quite a lot of it in the experience of science. Consider something like the wave/particle nature of matter. These are two conflicting ideas and we (in chemistry at least) flip-flop quite happily between the two, according to the problem we are trying to address. We have many other instances in which we choose a model for a particular job, knowing that it conflicts with another model.

    In fact, I suspect that, more broadly, tolerance of cognitive dissonance may be essential to our sanity in life, as it is not possible to marry up all the apparently conflicting information we have about the world.

    Back to conspiracies, it seems to me they are not really the subject of science. They are, where they exist, social phenomena, more suited to investigation by journalists, lawyers, or even the police, than by scientists, surely?
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
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  19. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Member

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    Necro alert: The US was highly isolationist in 1939. By the Fall of France in 1940 public opinion had swung toward helping Britain even at the cost of going to war with Germany and Italy. By the last week of November, 1941, ~75% of the US population stated they knew we'd have to fight the Axis sooner or later. They favored arming merchant ships even if it meant going to war. This information is available in the Gallup records.

    (This is my area of specialization, so I couldn't let this slide.)
     
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  20. FatFreddy Registered Senior Member

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  21. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Member

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    ""Conspiracy Theorist" is tactic used to discredit those of us who can see through the government/media-bullshit that you, evidently, cannot"

    That's why I prefer the term "conspiracy nut".
     
  22. FatFreddy Registered Senior Member

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    Here's some revisionist info I collected.
    http://www.flinttalk.com/viewtopic.php?t=12196&start=0
     
  23. Gawdzilla Sama Registered Member

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    A link to a bunch of links...
     

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