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Re: [skeptics-137] Conspiracy theories: the science behind belief in secret plots

From: Penny
Sent on: Saturday, September 7, 2013 4:20 PM
I agree, Lynn.  On the one hand, conspiracy theories can serve as a substitute for weak thinking.  On the other hand, a strong critical thinker may be tossed in the "crazy bucket" as a convenient means of discrediting them.  Then we have the Edward Snowdens, who supply indisputable evidence or proof, and consequentially become the target of those in positions of power or authority.  Although the internet and electronic communications have become a breeding ground for all sorts of nuttiness, those same tools can serve as vehicles/platforms for transparency.

As to the matter of having sympathy for conspiracy theorists, for me it's situational.  If, for example, I make a new business acquaintance and that person's first order of business is to start an argument on the existence of god and which god is the right god, and throws in some conspiracy theories about Obama kissing rings at Bilderburg meetings, I'm probably going to throw them in the crazy bucket.

Penny



From: Lynne <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Saturday, September 7,[masked]:55 PM
Subject: Re: [skeptics-137] Conspiracy theories: the science behind belief in secret plots

Penny, every once in a while, people in high places actually do conspire and try to cover it up. That's what makes it impossible to get rid of the truely nutty conspiracy stories. That's why I have a bit more sympathy for conspiracy theorists than pushers of other kinds of woo-woo. -Lynne
On Sep 7,[masked]:58 AM, "Penny" <[address removed]> wrote:
Hmmm. Not sure why.  It is, however, a bit funny that The Guardian, on the same page as Dean Burnett’s article about those crazy conspiracy theories, features a link to a report on documents leaked by Edward Snowden:  Revealed: how US and UK spy agencies defeat internet privacy and security. $250m-a-year US program works covertly with tech companies to insert weaknesses into products.

The Guardian reports that spy agencies use covert measures to ensure NSA control over setting of international encryption standards, and through partnerships with technology companies and internet service providers have inserted secret backdoors or trapdoors – into commercial encryption software.

Would that qualify as a conspiracy?




From: Kansas City Skeptic <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Friday, September 6,[masked]:58 PM
Subject: [skeptics-137] Conspiracy theories: the science behind belief in secret plots

Conspiracy theories: the science behind belief in secret plots 

For every major event, there is usually a theory that argues it was due to a conspiracy. Conspiracy theories are seemingly more popular than ever, so how do supposedly rational people get caught in their tangled webs? 





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