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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2013 > Oct > Oct 9

Re: The Conspiracy Of Conspiracy Theorizing

From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2013 16:10:30 -0500
Archived: Wed, 09 Oct 2013 08:14:30 -0400
Subject: Re: The Conspiracy Of Conspiracy Theorizing


>From: William Treurniet <wtreurniet.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Tue, 08 Oct 2013 09:58:39 -0400
>Subject: Re: The Conspiracy Of Conspiracy Theorizing

>>From: Jerome Clark <jkclark.nul>
>>To: post.nul
>>Date: Mon, 7 Oct 2013 15:25:19 -0500
>>Subject: Re: The Conspiracy Of Conspiracy Theorizing

<snip>

>>To think that I started this thread intending to protect the
>>good name of ufologists against the false charge that serious
>>interest in UFOs renders one a conspiracy theorist... I'd hate
>>to think I was wrong, but so far the evidence on UpDates -
>>though I realize from a very small percentage of Listfolk -
>>suggests I may have been excessively charitable.

>>I have no idea where William gets this crazy notion that I "hide
>>my head in the sand" about official misdeeds, which I have
>>mentioned in every posting I've made on this subject and which
>>anybody who knows me would recognize as beyond laughable. That's
>>why I make every effort not to debate conspiracy theorists -
>>they have trouble reading and comprehending, I've noticed.

>In scientific research, it is okay to generate a hypothesis and
>then look for facts that support it. But if the same is done in
>the social/political arena, the theory is often denigrated as a
>'conspiracy theory' without regard for supporting facts.

>Sometimes I agree with what Jerry says, then he comes out with
>something I cannot agree with, so I'm not sure where he stands
>on any particular issue. I like to think that my conclusions are
>fact-based, but apparently Jerry does not have the same facts or
>he rejects them. In the case of 9/11, for example, I think there
>are indisputable physical data that say the officially
>sanctioned theory is wrong. Jerry apparently does not know about
>this data, or does not believe it. So we accuse each other of
>having 'conspiracy theories' instead of agreeing there are facts
>to discuss.

>Jerry says, "Conspiracy theories, which as I've repeatedly
>observed have nothing to do with real-life misdeeds and
>conspiracies, are the magical thinking of the paranoid and the
>poorly informed." But he never mentions what criteria he uses to
>decide what are "real-life misdeeds and conspiracies". He says,
>"the promotion of wild-eyed conspiracy theories is a plot to
>draw attention from real conspiracies". But 'wild-eyed' is again
>a matter of his opinion. I get the impression that he believes a
>real conspiracy is one that has the official stamp of approval.
>It's easier to let some authority figure do the critical
>thinking.

>He also says, "Historians, investigative journalists,
>prosecutors, police officers, and even ordinary citizens have
>managed to uncover bad behavior, including (yes) actual criminal
>and political conspiracies, without being accused by any
>credible source of excessive imagination and unbridled paranoia.
>In the end, truth outs, and facts tell the story." Yet, in some
>cases (e.g., 9/11) apparent bad behaviour is uncovered, but is
>ignored by the powers-that-be, including the main-stream media.
>Then it becomes a power struggle instead of a rational
>discussion, and the name-calling starts.

>>That aside:

>>I will respond to the last quoted paragraph, where William
>>professes himself to be "a little puzzled." More attentive
>>reading would have solved the mystery. As I have written about
>>experience anomalies, I have observed in clear prose that the
>>answers are almost certainly unavailable to us because they lie
>>well beyond current knowledge; therefore, it's impossible at
>>present to explain their causation. We can only try to get some
>>sense of how they work on those who undergo their effects.

>A more careful reading should make it clear that I was puzzled
>by the apparent contradiction expressed in that sentence, not by
>your position on experience anomalies.

>>Unlike CTers, I make no claim to false knowledge. I can live
>>with uncertainty and ambiguity.

>Again, who decides what is declared as "false knowledge".
>Hopefully, it is based on more than one's cognitive dissonance.

>>Conspiracy theorists engage in a different form of argument,
>>namely that complex, labyrinthian conspiracies - by their nature
>>invisible to the usual run of historians, social scientists,
>>journalists, and law enforcement - operate in this world and can
>>be exposed and understood by those who hold the key to the
>>secrets.

>Your list of occupations should include physicists and engineers
>who can reason about any violations of the laws of physics.
>These were notably missing in the 9/11 commission investigation,
>such as it was.

>The conspiracies are traditionally represented as human
>>political plots. (On the other hand, it is true, some students
>>of the phenomenon have argued that at least some can be traced
>>to older occult doctrines; see, for example, George Johnson's
>>illuminating 1983 book Architects of Fear. It's also possible
>to >recognize in CTs a secular variety of old-fashioned
>demonology.)

>Since your theory about experience anomalies takes no position
>on causation, perhaps demons should still be on your list of
>possible collaborators in conspiracies.

>>CTers further contend that the conspiracies are aided and
>>abetted by those who, owing to (fill in favorite sinister
>>motive, personality flaw, intellectual deficiency, or whatever),
>>remain brazenly critical and unconvinced. Perhaps they _want_ to
>>keep unsuspecting humanity in the dark..

>>In any event I feel more and more as if I've been pulled much
>>further into the rabbit hole than I'd imagined when I naively
>>set out to defend persons who wonder if the full truth about the
>>Roswell incident has been told. Actually, I think I could use a
>>drink.

>I'm not an expert on Roswell, but I do believe the evidence
>points to government agencies hiding the more critical
>information on UFOs from the public. Since this is not
>officially recognized, you may well decide this makes me a
>conspiracy-exhaling barstool ranter.

>>Or maybe not. On second thought, that could place me
>>next to a conspiracy-exhaling barstool ranter...

William,

In short: be frightened. Be very, very frightened.

Your real quarrel is not with me but with historians,
journalists, prosecutors, political scientists, and others who
have rejected conspiracy theories as a useful explanation for
political and social phenomena. I suggest you take your beliefs
to them.

They can explain to you why Jews, Catholics, Masons, Communists,
Illuminati, and other conspiracy favorites are not in charge of
the world.

As is often said of pornography, conspiracy theories are hard to
define, but one knows one when one sees one. Too many moving
parts, for one, with shaky evidence trying to cover for shaky
speculations. As I've also noted, conspiracy theories amount to
the political equivalent of pornography.

There is a considerable literature, written by historians,
psychologists, folklorists, journalists, and others, on
conspiracy theory and its pathologies. You should read some of
that, but I know you won't, alas. I guess you prefer demonology.

Enough.


Jerry Clark




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