Jasun Horsley, Socio-Spiritual Engineering |392|

#61
Conspiracy theories in the present time seem overwhelming and disturbing, as if they're largely a new phenomenon. I wonder if they are, or whether what's overwhelming and disturbing is the way that modern technology helps disseminate them so quickly and so widely.

We go on about fake news and the difficulty of knowing what to believe, but in the past it might be that we tended to believe the official line on most things -- mainly because we didn't have instant access to contrary information. Maybe what the internet has done is not increase CTs, just made them more accessible, and I think there's at least one potentially useful thing about that: it means that more people are tending to decide for themselves instead of relying only on a few "authoritative" sources.
 
#62
but don't use the proliferation of conspiracies as an excuse for digging in and doing the research.
Fair, but are all CTs created equally?

A mega thread on these forums was dedicated to the Sandy Hook shootings. I actually did dive into that one as best I could and read a fair volume of pro and con positions on that CT. I found the pro position utterly unsubstantiated. Frankly, there was no way, IMO, for a thoughtful person to take a pro stance on that one without direct access to investigate. Otherwise, it boiled down to appeals to authority of figures in rather dubious positions themselves. (i.e., shaming the Sandy Hook parents).

So, while you can't lump them all in the bad apple pile, its seemingly even more reckless to presume they all belong in the good apple pile until researched otherwise.
 
#63
one potentially useful thing about that: it means that more people are tending to decide for themselves instead of relying only on a few "authoritative" sources.
But is it a good thing? Are people qualified to make such decisions? Do they have access to the necessary evidence, etc to conduct an informed analysis? Do they have the skills necessary to do so?

I'm all for folks having the freedom to make all their own decisions. I'm not so sure said freedom yields any more truth is all.
 
#64
But is it a good thing? Are people qualified to make such decisions? Do they have access to the necessary evidence, etc to conduct an informed analysis? Do they have the skills necessary to do so?

I'm all for folks having the freedom to make all their own decisions. I'm not so sure said freedom yields any more truth is all.
In a world where experts were scrupulously honest, you would have a point!

David
 
#66
Not sure I follow. Whether its the mainstream authority or the CT authority, why would I assume one to be more "honest" than the other?
If one can't make up one's mind, fair enough; sitting on the fence is a perfectly valid option. Thing is, in the past one might not have known about any alternative to the mainstream view and simply accepted it by default.

Or, if one didn't like it, one might have constructed a personal reason for rejecting it. Now, one can investigate all sorts of alternatives because there's so much information out there. That has its drawbacks, but I'd say it also has its benefits, and maybe they outweigh the former.
 

Alex

Administrator
#68
Fair, but are all CTs created equally?

A mega thread on these forums was dedicated to the Sandy Hook shootings. I actually did dive into that one as best I could and read a fair volume of pro and con positions on that CT. I found the pro position utterly unsubstantiated. Frankly, there was no way, IMO, for a thoughtful person to take a pro stance on that one without direct access to investigate. Otherwise, it boiled down to appeals to authority of figures in rather dubious positions themselves. (i.e., shaming the Sandy Hook parents).

So, while you can't lump them all in the bad apple pile, its seemingly even more reckless to presume they all belong in the good apple pile until researched otherwise.
one of the strangest things about Sandy Hook is that no one is allowed to talk about Sandy Hook. I mean, my wife and I have 4 kids and I can't imagine the horror of losing one in a shooting, but never in a million years would I expect all investigations into the murders to be put on hold for my grief... it doesn't / isn't supposed to, happen that way. personal grief should never trump criminal investigations.

and I never understood why the counter position is never considered -- i.e. the parents need a full public investigation of why EMTs we not brought to the scene... and why a Subway lunch was. I'm not drawing any conclusions from this, just saying I don't understand the outrage some show over asking these questions. parents (both the Sandy Hook parents and all the rest of us) need to know this stuff... and again, it doesn't matter if they are storming the police station asking for it, or storming the police station asking for it to stop.
 
#72
But I would argue, Michael, that "most" people do not, in fact, have a decent grasp of history nor do they see the multiple games being played.
I didn't actually say that (I checked). I said if they had a decent grasp of history they would see the multiple games being played. I make no pretence at being a history buff, but I do struggle to read, listen to and watch as much quality history input as I can fit in. If you don't have a decent perspective then you think that some recently exposed outrage is novel, instead of just another sad episode in some tawdry drama played out by elites for millennia. Some people live lives saturated in the passions for power and control, and that is all they see. Others may live lives of struggle to make a decent life - and that is all they can see. Others might retreat into spiritual contemplation - and so on. We live in a shared ecology, so the lives of one group will impact on others - but not in the same game. A cleaner clears a spider's web, but that does not mean the spider should become obsessed with cleaners, only their own safety.

Before we can shared a discourse on what conspiracies are important we need a strategic perspective on what is important to us that is not some brave but ineffectual bleating about moral issues that are of particular moment to us - even if we are not actually affected by them. Our reality is that we care driven by a necessary level of self-interest, and we have limited time and limited resources - and limited capacity/ability. There are human miseries that we ignore. Our communities have people who are poor, homeless, abused, mentally ill and otherwise suffering - and we do nothing, or nothing much. And yet we are able to invest our moral outrage in affairs that have no impact on us.

Reality is full of 'conspiracies', and they are endemic at the upper echelons of our culture. It is astonishing how many perpetrators of immoral acts are celebrated and feted as pillars of our communities and held up as exemplars to be emulated. What are our values? What is important to us? When we figure that out then we can go hunting the conspiracies that are real things to us.

It is important to know that we are being lied to and manipulated routinely, and for some people that can be a captivating journey in which they think others should be as enthralled as they are. But it becomes normal - and that is not when you stop caring, its just when you start to learn to pick the fights you want to have. And I do mean fights or struggles to make something decent happen - and not the powerless and disempowering fixation on games you have no hope influencing or allegations and claims you have no hope of verifying.

I have been told the Williams sisters are transgender and aren't I outraged that they are allowed to play women's tennis? No. Don't believe it in the first case, and care so little about it I can't be bothered checking whether it is real or not. My informant thinks the world's sporting media has been paid off to not mention what is plainly obvious to anybody who looks. Well I have watched them play and it never entered my head that they were blokes in dresses. I have no interest in women's pro tennis and I will leave it to those who have an interest to give a damn and get outraged.

My informant has no interest in women's pro tennis either. They have contrived a passion over 'obviously' trans people playing sports in their assumed sex. Why? Well it is clearly a conspiracy about which we should express our outrage. Have they done that to anybody related to the sport? No. In essence they are entertaining themselves, and mistaking that entertainment for actually caring - like when your soapie favourite gets killed off and you shed a little tear. Conspiracies have entertainment value that should not be mistaken for anything real - and then there are those we should take a stand on. We need to be able to tell the difference.
 
#73
yeah, back to knowing about the abyss, but not staring too long. I agree with you about weaponization of mind control. I mean, if Darren Brown can do this on TV imagine what our evil genius intelligence friends (not to mention our 10,000-1M yr advanced space bros) can do:
I don't know how to interpret a video like that. I mean, the scenario is so contrived that I don't suppose the subject (picked to look particularly sweet and vulnerable?) really thought she would kill the kitten by pressing that button. Anyway, if I am wrong, I hope that President Trump and President Putin reject all attempts to hypnotise them!

Remember that the lady had to agree to be hypnotised.

David
 
#74
Is there really? Information that would meet an evidence-based standard? I think its a dubious proposition, at least for many of the CTs I've seen.
Well one piece of information seems clear. The total warming since 1880 is 0.8 C. Now, currently all sorts of weather events (and even the war in Syria!) are blamed on current global warming. I think anyone can make a judgement as to how plausible that is.

David
 
#75
Well one piece of information seems clear. The total warming since 1880 is 0.8 C. Now, currently all sorts of weather events (and even the war in Syria!) are blamed on current global warming. I think anyone can make a judgement as to how plausible that is.
Agreed. I mean any dope with a keyboard can boil down any complex issue through the analysis of a single data point. The wonders of the interwebs! Its a wonder there's even a debate on global warming.

/sarcasm off

I have no idea what to make of the data point you presented as a layman myself. I'm willing to bet there is a well intentioned soul somewhere who has a counter explanation supporting the notion of global warming to the data point you provided. On what basis should I evaluate your argument against from their argument for?
 
#76
Doesn’t this whole Khashoggi thing show us how hard it is to even keep a relatively minor conspiracy secret?
I would say yes and no. People believe what they want to. That is to say, people use their beliefs to shape data instead of using data to shape their beliefs. But I guess it really comes down to the conspiracy in question and the nature of the “data.” But I actually use that very same argument which you have put forth against flat earthers, so I don’t necessarily disagree with you. I always raise the point that not one single whistleblower has come forth stating that the Earth is flat, not even on a deathbed. And being that it would be the biggest conspiracy ever (likely) you would expect one single person to have come forward being as the necessary number of involved liars would be fairly large.
 
#77
Scott Adams writes in his book, "Win Bigly", that when you understand the psychology of persuasion, you are not impressed by the consensus of scientists because they are just as suceptible as ordinary people to mass delusions. According to the psychology of persuasion, mass delusion is actually the normal state of consciousness. This is particularly true for scientists studying climate change because their career and financial incentives are involved. In the following excerpt, 2-D is the normal world view and 3-D is Adam's world view that people are not rational but make decisions based on other factors and then use logic to defend their beliefs.

On top of our mass delusions, we also have junk science that is too often masquerading as the real thing. To the extent that people can't tell the difference, that too is a source of mass delusion.

In the 2-D view of the world, mass delusions are rare and newsworthy. But to trained persuaders in the third dimension, mass delusions are the norm. They are everywhere, and they influence every person. This difference in training and experience can explain why people disagree on some of the big issues of the day.

For example, consider the case of global warming. People from the 2-D world assume mass delusions are rare, and they apply that assumption to every topic. So when they notice that most scientists are on the same side, that observation is persuasive to them. A reasonable person wants to be on the same side with the smartest people who understand the topic. That makes sense, right?

But people who live in the 3-D world, where persuasion rules, can often have a different view of climate change because we see mass delusions (even among experts) as normal and routine. My starting bias for this topic is that the scientists could easily be wrong about the horrors of change, even in the context of repeated experiments and peer review. Whenever you see a situation with complicated prediction models, you also have lots of room for bias to masquerade as reason. Just tweak the assumptions and you can get any outcome you want.

Now add to that situation the fact that scientists who oppose the climate change consensus have a high degree of career and reputation risk. That's the perfect setup for a mass delusion. You only need these two conditions:

1. Complicated prediction models with lots of assumptions
2. Financial and psychological pressure to agree with the consensus

In the 2-D world, the scientific method and peer review squeeze out the bias over time. But in the 3-D world, the scientific method can't detect bias when nearly everyone including the peer reviewers shares the same mass delusion.

I'm not a scientist, and I have no way to validate the accuracy of the climate model predictions. But if the majority of experts on this topic turn out to be having a mass hallucination, I would consider that an ordinary situation. In my reality, this would be routine, if not expected, whenever there are complicated prediction models involved. That's because I see the world as bristling with mass delusions. I don't see mass delusions as rare.

When nonscientists take sides with climate scientists, they often think they are being supportive of science. The reality is that the nonscientists are not involved in science, or anything like it. They are taking the word of scientists. In the 2-D world, that makes perfect sense, because it seems as if thousands of experts can't be wrong. But in the 3-D world, I accept that the experts could be right, and perhaps they are, but it would be normal and natural in my experience if the vast majority of ciimate scientists were experiencing a shared hallucination.

To be clear, I am not saying the majority of scientists are wrong about climate science. I'm making the narrow point that it would be normal and natural for that group of people to be experiencing a mass hallucination that is consistent with their financial and psychological incentives. The scientific method and the peer-review process wouldn't necessarily catch a mass delusion during any specific window of time. With science, you never know if you are halfway to the truth or already there. Sometimes it looks the same.

Climate science is a polarizing topic (ironically). So let me just generalize the point to say that compared with the average citizen, trained persuaders are less impressed by experts.

To put it another way, if an ordinary idiot doubts a scientific truth, the most likely explanation for that situation is that the idiot is wrong. But if a trained persuader calls BS on a scientific truth, pay attention.

Do you remember when citizen Trump once tweeted that climate change was a hoax for the benefit of China? It sounded crazy to most of the world. Then we learned that the centerpiece of politics around climate change—the Paris climate accord—was hugely expensive for the United States and almost entirely useless for lowering temperatures. (Experts agree on both points now.) The accord was a good deal for China, in the sense that it would impede its biggest business rival, the United States, while costing China nothing for years. You could say Trump was wrong to call climate change a hoax. But in the context of Trump's normal hyperbole, it wasn't as wrong as the public's mass delusion believed it to be at the time.

I'll concede that citizen Trump did not understand the science of climate change. That's true of most of us. But he still detected a fraud from a distance. It wasn't luck.​
 
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#78
Doesn’t this whole Khashoggi thing show us how hard it is to even keep a relatively minor conspiracy secret?
Well it seems to be a great example of why conspiring can be dangerous - particularly if the plan is overly complex.

However, whatever you think of 9/11, one thing is clear - a big, complicated plan was kept secret for months at least before being 'successfully' executed.

David
 
#79
With global warming/climate change I think we are maybe dealing with a phenomenon almost as complex as our physical climate. That is that it has become a kind of scapegoat - a sin container - for an incoherent angst. It must be true because it should be true. And if its not true then it should be. The energy invested by the pro lobby is astonishing. There is no doubt that the science is right. But even if that were the case the moral energy is excessive. And what better environment for a real conspiratorial act of bastardy to be perpetrated?

When you say you have science on your side, employing insult and bluster as your chief weapons of debate seems suss. I am reminded of the tactics of those who were utterly certain they had God on their side - they tortured and murdered the heretics. And what history tells us is that those heretics were more right than the righteous orthodox. Going with the majority may signal a democratic spirit, but when it comes to matters of science it isn't the safe approach. Quantum science has struggled a century for wide acceptance.
 
#80
Doesn’t this whole Khashoggi thing show us how hard it is to even keep a relatively minor conspiracy secret?
Not at all. All it says is that the Saudis are crap at being evil geniuses. Many minor conspiracies, especially in years gone by, remain hidden. These days that is still the case, which is why anti-corruption bodies in some countries take a long time investigating things before acting.

Some conspiracies are known, like the rape of children by priests, but are not acted upon because other conspiracies protect them (like police being in league with the Church).

The conspiracies are flagrant and repeated, like the suppression of voter registration in some states in the USA. Unlike Australia, the US does not have an independent Electoral Commission - who conspired to bring that about?

To a fair degree our history in the west is a network of conspiracies - an infestation of dishonest, corrupt and debauched individual working in concert to benefit each other. Only the inept and the unlucky get caught. In this case the Saudis were inept.

Richard D Hall (Rich Planet TV) on YouTube does a detailed analysis of the Madeleine McCann case. The actions by the UK government and police, and the McCanns themselves border on the bizarre and ludicrous. The stench of corruption involving pedophilia among the upper crust of English society is so seemingly evident the determination to brazen out the growing accusations of gross and flagrant misconduct is breathtaking.

Its not on the scale of 911 in magnitude, but the evidence points pretty much to the same thing - corruption and conspiracy is so well-entrenched and normalised at the level of the 'elites' that even exposure of flagrant misconduct is treated with disdain. Apart from the inept getting caught out we need also to consider what the consequences might be. There is a lot of theatre about Khashoggi's murder, and there will be ritual outrage to placate the chooks (chickens), but nothing will happen.

Conspiracy is the psychic equivalent of fungi in a culture. It reaches everywhere. Now and then some unlucky/inept or punished sucker is thrown to the crowd, who bay for their blood - and it is duly shed. I have been in the public service in Australia off and on (mostly on) since the mid 60s. And even in a not especially corrupt country I can tell you that what passes for 'politics' is very often corrupt to some degree - that is to say that lies and hidden self-interest are involved. In certain respects, if we take a very literal perspective, public administration is always on the edge of being corrupt - in the sense that the public interest is not always served.

I say that is the home ground - taking a strong philosophical stand - that is present in even the best public service cultures. There is good evidence from psychology that we under-estimate our self-interest and over-estimate our capacity for fair-mindedness. So maybe corruption and conspiracy are not aberrations so much as normal expressions of human potential.

The ideal of pure selfless service is a fantasy. We are a community of folk with self-interest at stake, and some cultures create practices and values that support corruption and conspiracy, if they do not actually promote it. The USA makes a particular public issue about corruption - well it does abroad at least. It sets itself as the paragon of virtue and the finger wagger in chief. Ain't fooled by that!

Here's a question. In a democracy how can so much wealth and power end in in so few hands without conspiracies and corruption? It ain't merit or necessity that sets that outcome to run. Its a willingness to figure its okay to have more than you need while your neighbour has not enough.
 
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