Don’t give up on this video. Watch it and listen closely, i think you’ll get a laugh out of it :)
In Skeptoid Episode #364, Brian made a statement regarding conspiracy theories that I’ve since used many times in my continued battle against tinfoil-helmeted nonsense. It’s simple, direct, and 100% true:
A less-elegant and wordier way to say this is that there has never been a popularly held conspiracy theory, ie, a non-evidenced belief that a group of powerful people secretly worked together to do something harmful, that later had compelling evidence to prove that said conspiracy was real.
Whenever I use this argument in social media, I’m invariably sent one of about half a dozen different internet listicles that attempt to prove me wrong by going through a number of conspiracies or conspiracy theories that were later proven to be real. One is a really long slog from Infowars. Another is from Cracked. There are still others from Listverse, Style Slides and True Activist.
What much of the content on these lists, as well as those who send them to me, get wrong on a pretty consistent basis is that there is a difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory. Conspiracies are real, and many of them have been proven conclusively to have taken place at all times throughout history. Some of these include the conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln, the conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler (the so-called July 20th plot), the conspiracy to throw the 1919 World Series, American tobacco companies conspiring to suppress scientific research that painted their products as harmful, and so on. All of these are real and none of them are theories.
Likewise, things like 9/11 being an inside job, JFK being shot by multiple gunmen, chemtrails, the existence of an all-powerful New World Order, FEMA camps and any number of banking and currency related plots are all conspiracy theories. That is to say, they are all theories that a conspiracy took place – and most have little to no evidence supporting those theories.
Not only is there a difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy theory, there are all manner of reasons why people would “conspire” about something – and they’re not all bad or harmful. There are perfectly legitimate reasons why a government or corporation would want to keep something secret, whether it’s a patented technology, proprietary research or a sensitive national security matter. Like it or not, not everyone gets to know everything.
With all of this in mind, I want to take a look at one of the lists I’ve been sent a couple of times. It’s representative of the general tone and content of the other lists, and has the added advantage of being from a reputable source, Business Insider. This is a good example of a list of “conspiracies” that is not a list of conspiracy theories, and isn’t even all “conspiracies.”
That’s a lot of qualifiers. To be on this list, the plot has to be huge (whatever that means), driven by the government, and proven to be a conspiracy that with compelling evidence to support its existence.
This is completely true. The Treasury, in its capacity to enforce the Volstead Act, added deadly chemicals to the industrial alcohol that was being used by bootleggers as a substitute for grain alcohol. While the poisoning became public knowledge very quickly, over 1,000 people still died in New York alone, thanks to this true conspiracy.
Another true conspiracy, and one that the CDC openly acknowledges – making up for decades of knowingly sickening hundreds of poor black men. But even during the heyday of the experiment, it was never a popularly discussed theory, and it’s been public knowledge for four decades.
Here’s a perfect example of something that’s not a conspiracy, certainly not a government conspiracy and not even true. The Business Insider piece relies on debunked testimony from anti-vaxxer Barbara Loe Fisher to back up the pseudoscience claim that millions of doses of Jonas Salk’s original formulation of the polio vaccine contained the “cancer causing virus” SV40. But no compelling evidence exists that SV40 actually causes any harm in humans (SV stands for simian virus), and virtually every source that makes this claim is strongly anti-vaccination.
The author of the BI piece is either anti-vaccine or fell for anti-vaccine propaganda.
This would indeed be a “huge government conspiracy” if it were true. As I wrote about in my piece on false flag attacks, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident was actually two separate attacks on a US destroyer by North Vietnamese torpedo boats in August 1964. The first was an actual attack, with bullet holes in both the destroyer Maddox and the North Vietnamese boats to prove it.
The second was theorized even at the time to be a phantom attack, featuring jittery US sailors shooting at shadows. While we now know that this “attack” didn’t happen, there was a tremendous amount of confusion in the White House shortly afterwards, and subsequent tapes show President Johnson openly wondering what happened. It could be argued that there was a conspiracy to make the Incident fit the Johnson administration’s desire to expand US involvement in Vietnam, that’s a conspiracy of a different color.
[ . . . ]
10: Beware of Cognitive Bias
Our brains are designed to make sense of the onslaught of sensory stimulation and information that they get from the world by filtering and organizing. We have a tendency to focus on certain details and ignore others, to avoid being overwhelmed. And we habitually organize information into patterns, based on things we’ve seen or learned about before. That leads us to process what we hear, read or see in a way that reinforces what we think we already know. That phenomenon is called cognitive bias (source: Science Daily).
To make matters worse, some theorize that we also engage in selective exposure — that is, we pick sources of information that tell us what we want to hear. Ohio State researchers, for example, found that when college students spent a few minutes reading news articles online, they selected ones that supported their already-held views 58 percent of the time (source: Hsu).
So, we’re vulnerable to information that fits what we want to believe — even if it’s of dubious authenticity. That’s probably why the infamous photograph of the Loch Ness monster, taken in 1934 (source: Nickell), was so convincing for many people. The silhouette resembled a long-necked dinosaur, which was something they had seen pictures of in natural history textbooks. And the idea that ancient creatures might have survived extinction already had surfaced in fiction such as Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel “The Lost World,” so it wasn’t too much of a leap conceptually. It wasn’t until 1994 that researchers got an elderly man who had been part of the hoax to reveal that the monster in the photo actually was a foot-high model, fashioned from a toy submarine (source: Associated Press).
9: Pay Attention to the Unspoken Message
If you’ve ever sold used cars or peddled vacuum sweepers door-to-door, you probably know this from experience: Researchers have found that an attractive physical appearance and positive nonverbal cues, like eye contact, smiling and a pleasant tone of voice, may have as much or more of an influence upon us than the actual words that the person is saying. In fact, someone who is skilled at nonverbal messaging can actually foster what communication experts call a halo effect. That is, if we think that a person looks good, we assume that he or she is intelligent or capable as well. That’s a big help in fostering credibility (source: Eadie). But just as a salesperson can learn to project a convincing demeanor, a swindler or a dishonest politician can practice the same tricks.
However, other nonverbal cues provide useful information for evaluating whether someone is telling the truth or a lie. Researchers who’ve studied the questioning of criminal suspects, for example, note that even highly motivated, skillful liars have a tendency to “leak” nonverbal clues to their deception in the course of a long interview, because of the difficulty of managing facial expressions, physical carriage, and tone of voice over time. The trick is to watch for those tiny flaws in the subject’s demeanor to emerge.
When making an untrue statement, for example, a person may flash a “microexpression”– a frown, perhaps, or a grimace — that reflects his or her true emotions, but clashes with what the person is saying. Since some of this microexpressions may happen as quickly as the blink of an eye, the easiest way to detect them is by replaying a video. But it is possible to do it in a real-time conversation as well. U.S. Coast Guard investigators trained in spotting such leakage, for example, have been able to spot such clues about 80 percent of the time (source: Matsumoto, et al.).
8: Watch for the Big Lie
Throughout history, purveyors of falsehoods seldom have bothered with piddling minor fibs. Instead, they generally have opted for what propaganda experts call the “Big Lie” — that is, a blatant, outrageous falsehood about some important issue, and one that’s usually designed to inflame listeners’ emotions and provoke them to whatever action the liar has in mind. The Big Lie is most often associated with Adolf Hitler, who advised in his book “Mein Kampf” that the “primitive simplicity” of ordinary people makes them vulnerable to massive deceptions. “It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and would not believe that others would have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously,” the Nazi dictator wrote.
Ironically, even as he explained the method of the Big Lie, he used it to promote an especially brazen untruth — that Jews and Communists somehow had deceived the German people into thinking that their nation’s loss in World War I was caused by reckless, incompetent military leaders. The Nazi dictator was onto something, though perhaps even his own twisted mind didn’t grasp it: Some of the most effective Big Lies are accusations of someone else being a liar (source: Hitler).
Hitler, of course, didn’t invent the Big Lie, and a liar doesn’t necessarily have to be a bloodthirsty dictator to pull it off. But the best way to protect yourself against the Big Lie is to be an educated, well-informed person who’s got a broad base of knowledge and context. Sadly, we live in a culture where fewer and fewer people seem to have that background. In a 2011, Newsweek gave 1,000 Americans the U.S. citizenship test; more than a third scored a failing grade — 60 percent or lower — to questions such as “How many justices are on the Supreme Court?” and “Who did the U.S. fight in World War II?” That’s kind of scary (source: Quigley).
By Mason I. Bilderberg,
One of the most intriguing mental disorders i’ve ever come across is called “Prosopagnosia,” a disorder that impairs a person from distinguishing one face from another.
Prosopagnosia – also called face blindness, is a disorder of face perception where the ability to recognize faces is impaired, while other aspects of visual processing (e.g., object discrimination) and intellectual functioning (e.g., decision making) remain intact.
This is why some conspiracists believe the people associated with tragedies like Sandy Hook are actually staged events using professional actors. They watch the video footage of a tragedy or a political event and they see what they think are familiar faces from the world of hollywood or the mainstream media playing a role. This mis-perception only reinforces the conspiracists’ belief that nothing is real, that we’re living inside a matrix where everything is being orchestrated by “them” to fool us and control us.
Actor Kevin Bacon has been VERY busy the last several years playing Press Secretary Jay Carney:
As a fan of all things brain related, i find this extremely interesting and i thought maybe you would too. It certainly explains some of the more bizarre assertions made by conspiracists following a national tragedy.
If you want to get a bit creeped out by how the conspiratorial mind interprets our world through the lens of prosopagnosia, i suggest visiting wellaware1.com. That’s one of the two sites i perused in preparation for this post – MetaBunk is the other.
Mason I. Bilderber (MIB)
The artificial sweetener aspartame is falsely accused of being the cause of nearly every disease
Read podcast transcript below or Listen here
As a kid I remember hearing that the artificial sweetener aspartame would neutralize your digestive enzymes, and anything else you ate that day would turn to fat. Although this makes no sense biochemically at any level, it sounded scientific enough to me and I was satisfied with it — at least enough to justify my dislike for its awful flavor. It turns out that my fat-producing claim was about the mildest of many arguments made by a growing anti-aspartame movement, and biochemically-nonsensical as it was, it was among the sanest of the arguments. Take a look at websites such as AspartameKills.com, SweetPoison.com, and Dark-Truth.org, and you’ll see that a whole new breed of aspartame opponents has taken activism to a whole new level. Here are a few quotes from those web sites:
Thank you Montel Williams for having the fortitude to say: “Multiple Sclerosis is often misdiagnosed, and that it could be aspartame poisoning”
NutraSweet® killed my mother and has killed and/or wounded millions of innocent people in the US and abroad.
Aspartame converts to formaldehyde in vivo in the bodies of laboratory rats.
Did O J Simpson Have a Reaction to Aspartame that led to the deaths of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman?
THE FDA, THE INTERNATIONAL FOOD INFORMATION COUNCIL (IFIC), PUBLIC VOICE AND OTHERS ARE SCAM NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS AND PAWNS OF THE NUTRA-SWEET COMPANY.
After more than twenty years of aspartame use, the number of its victims is rapidly piling up, and people are figuring out for themselves that aspartame is at the root of their health problems. Patients are teaching their doctors about this nutritional peril, and they are healing themselves with little to no support from traditional medicine.
Donald Rumsfeld disregarded safety issues and used his political muscle to get Aspartame approved.
The Nazi Scientist’s Poison Projects: Poison adults with Aspartame
Because of your and/or your forbearers [sic] exposure to toxics like Aspartame, a summation of immune, mitochondrial, DNA, and MtDNA (genetic) damage has occurred in your body that has made your body unable to deal with chemical insults.
The doctor that was in charge of the lab to study Aspartame, reported that the substance was too toxic and he mysteriously dissappeared [sic] and all the paper work somehow was destroyed.
The Nazis actually won the war. They just pretended to lose so that we wouldn’t notice them take over our government.
Well, that’s enough for now. And if you haven’t heard those, you’ve almost certainly received one of several hoax emails that people have been forwarding around since 1995, according to Snopes.com, giving an equally long list of untrue claims about aspartame being the cause of nearly every illness. One is even falsely attributed to Dr. Dean Edell. Suffice it to say that every possible kind of attack is made against aspartame: Pseudoscientific attacks where they throw out whole dictionaries of scientific sounding nonsense; guilt by association attacks where they mention aspartame alongside Adolf Hitler and Donald Rumsfeld; non-sequiturs like pointing out the evils of the corporate structure of pharmaceutical companies as if that is support for how and why an “aspartame detoxification” program will “heal” you of all disease; and even Bible quotations attacking aspartame. The anti-aspartame lobby appears to include everyone from alternative treatment vendors trying to sell their products, to fully delusional conspiracy theorists. Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired surgeon turned anti-pharmaceutical author and activist, believes aspartame is part of a massive government mind-control plot . . .
- Diet – sugar free – is a killer term (drelainemcnally.wordpress.com)
- The Truth about Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi (theislandjournal.wordpress.com)
- Coca-Cola’s New Ad Campaign Is Hazardous to Your Health (readersupportednews.org)
- Aspartame is GMO Poop (southweb.org)
- Why Coca-Cola’s New Ad Campaign May Be Dangerous to Your Health (alternet.org)
This is a slightly dated story going back to Alex Jones’ completely humiliating appearance on the Piers Morgan show. Still, i can’t help posting anything that criticizes my favorite moron with such humor. Enjoy! :)
ALEX Jones is the result of an intense conversation between Adolf Hitler and the angry midget prospector, Yosemite Sam, psychiatrists have confirmed.
Brain experts leapt into action after millions of people saw Jones being interviewed by Piers Morgan and immediately asked what on earth was wrong with him.
Dr Martin Bishop said: “Like Hitler, the International Jewish Banking and/or Communist Conspiracy is the foundation stone of his meandering, psychotic paranoia.
“But it is mingled with the indomitable wild west spirit of the greatest outlaw philosopher north, south, east and west of the Pecos.
“I suspect that if we peer inside Alex Jones’s head when he is being quiet we would see either Hitler writing Mein Kampf in Landsberg prison, or Yosemite Sam being lifted into the air by firing his guns directly into the ground.
“I would not be surprised if Jones is writing a 3,000-page book about rabbits.”
Jones left Morgan almost speechless with his theory on how ‘international bankers’ want to take his guns and his gold, before advising the CNN presenter to ‘say his prayers’.
Bishop added: “Like Sam, Jones will never surrender his weapons despite being blown-up repeatedly by his own dynamite.
“But most importantly he will never admit defeat to a no-good, low-down, varmint. Who is also from New York. Like Woody Allen.”
- With Absolutely No Evidence, Alex Jones Calls Boston Marathon Explosions a ‘False Flag’ Operation Conducted by the Gov’t (illuminutti.com)
- Was The FBI Responsible For The Attack At The Boston Marathon? Alex Jones Seems To Think So (addictinginfo.org)
- Alex Jones, Un-patriot, the first to spout off about “false flag” conspiracy (doubtfulnews.com)
- Alex Jones on CNN: ‘1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms’ (bobusnr.wordpress.com)
“Searching for Hitler’s DNA in Antarctica.” This is the bizarre headline that made the news a few months ago, launched by Russian news agency Ria Novosti and picked up by the world media after scientists were able to successfully drill into Antarctica’s Lake Vostok. The lake, a massive liquid reservoir cut off from daylight for fourteen million years and buried beneath two miles of ice, is the object of a years-long project to study its waters, which may house life-forms new to science. But what immediately caught the imagination was what seemed to be a revamping of the long-held myth that Adolf Hitler did not commit suicide in his Berlin bunker in May 1945 but was able to escape via submarine to a secret base at the South Pole.
Such an idea started circulating immediately after the end of the war. In 1952, President Dwight D. Eisenhower said: “We have been unable to unearth one bit of tangible evidence of Hitler’s death. Many people believe that Hitler escaped from Berlin.” Stalin’s top army officer, Marshall Gregory Zhukov, whose troops were the first to enter Berlin, flatly stated after a long thorough investigation in 1945: “We have found no corpse that could be Hitler’s.” The chief of the U.S. trial counsel at Nuremberg, Thomas J. Dodd, said: “No one can say he is dead.” Former Secretary of State Jimmy Byrnes in his book Frankly Speaking stated that, after the war, at the Potsdam Conference of the Big Four, he met Stalin, who “left his chair, came over, and clinked his liquor glass with mine in a very friendly manner. I said to him: ‘Marshal Stalin, what is your theory about the death of Hitler?’ Stalin replied: ‘He is not dead. He escaped either to Spain or Argentina.’ ”
If so many Nazi officers and criminals, like Adolf Eichmann or Joseph Mengele, were able to escape undisturbed from defeated Germany, who’s to say that a diabolical mind like Hitler’s could not have set up a plan in order to simulate his own death? After all, it was known that, like many dictators, he used doubles in order to disorient his enemies. What if he had left the body of one such double in Berlin while he was fleeing to the South Pole?
It appears that in the early 1930s, the imaginations of Nazi hierarchs and maybe Hitler’s as well was captured by theories that the Earth was hollow inside and inhabited by a superior race. In particular, Madame Blavatsky’s esoteric theories had inspired the notorious Thule Society, the extremist right-wing German secret group that later reorganized and became the Nazi Party. Anxious to demonstrate the superiority of the Aryan race, theorists accepted legends of advanced civilizations living inside the Earth: such a superior breed had to be the Reich’s progenitor.
Nazis on Ice
Proof is lacking, but some claim that Hitler had ordered an expedition aiming to find the entrance to the inside of the Earth and that this had been located at the South Pole. Admiral Karl Doenitz referred to this during the Nuremberg trial when he stated: “The German submarine fleet has even now established an earthly paradise, an impregnable fortress, for the Fuhrer, in whatever part of the world.” Although he did not specify where the exact location was, many believed it was Antarctica.
After the war, Nazi sympathizer Ernst Zundel claimed that Hitler and a trusted group of men had been able to escape aboard a ship in which they entered the Earth through a hole at the South Pole. Inside the Earth, Nazi scientists worked to build a new army with which to take over the world. An army that could count on revolutionary round, flying vehicles: UFOs.
- Tokyo denied role in Hitler’s reported plan to escape to Japan: declassified documents (japantimes.co.jp)
- Hitler assassination plotter dies (bbc.co.uk)
via The Soap Box
Everyone knows that John Wilkes Booth assassinated President Lincoln, and that twelve days later on April 26, 1865 he himself was shot and killed by Union soldiers after he refused to leave the barn that he was in that the soldiers had set ablaze, but there are rumors that Booth was not killed that day, and that in fact a look alike had been shot and killed, and that Booth had actually lived even into the early 20th century.
There is of course no proof of this, but many authors and descendants of Booth have suggested that he did escape, and there have been several attempts by the family to exhume his body to be tested for DNA.
Probably one of the most famous outlaws of the Wild West, Jesse James and his gang robbed a number of banks, stagecoaches, and trains throughout his criminal career, until he was shot in the back of the head in his own house by fellow James Gang member Robert Ford on April 3, 1882 in and attempt to receive the reward on James’s head.
Now despite the fact that he was positively identified, there have been rumors going around even from back then that he faked his death, and that he may have lived under an assumed identity even into the 20th century.
On July 22, 1934 notorious American criminal John Dillinger was shot to death by FBI agents in an alley way in Chicago, but ever since then there have been rumors that he really wasn’t shot to death, and that who really was killed was just someone who just looked like him (perhaps even a payed body double).
The reason behind this is because many people said that he really didn’t look like he was suppose to. Of course there is a reason behind this: he had plastic surgery so that he wouldn’t look like himself (he even tried to get rid of the famous dimple in his chin). The most likely reason behind this is of course so that he could to live as a free man until he died (which in a ironic way is what happened).
Without a doubt the most evil person in history, on April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler and his wife Eva Braun killed themselves in an underground bunker in Berlin, Germany. There bodies were removed by Nazi Party loyalist and set on fire so that the Soviet Army couldn’t use them as propaganda pieces.
Despite the fact that the remains were found and that dental records confirm that the remains are that of the mad man, there are many people who believe that he did not commit suicide, and that he actually faked his death, and that he may have even lived past 100.
While most people believe that he escaped to either Spain or Argentina, some of the crazier claims are that he either escaped to Antarctica, or to the Moon, or to the inside of the Earth (which some Hollow Earth believers claim), and even another dimension or time period.
- Hitler Home Movies: How Eva Braun Documented The Dictator’s Life (businessinsider.com)
- Texas Legends: John Wilkes Booth (nightcaptv.com)
- I saw John Wilkes Booth shoot Abraham Lincoln (eogn.com)