Believe the government version of events? It’s official. You’re nuts.

New studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile

Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.

The most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites.
The authors were surprised to discover that it is now more conventional to leave so-called conspiracist comments than conventionalist ones: “Of the 2174 comments collected, 1459 were coded as conspiracist and 715 as conventionalist.” In other words, among people who comment on news articles, those who disbelieve government accounts of such events as 9/11 and the JFK assassination outnumber believers by more than two to one. That means it is the pro-conspiracy commenters who are expressing what is now the conventional wisdom, while the anti-conspiracy commenters are becoming a small, beleaguered minority.
Perhaps because their supposedly mainstream views no longer represent the majority, the anti-conspiracy commenters often displayed anger and hostility: “The research… showed that people who favoured the official account of 9/11 were generally more hostile when trying to persuade their rivals.”
Additionally, it turned out that the anti-conspiracy people were not only hostile, but fanatically attached to their own conspiracy theories as well. According to them, their own theory of 9/11 – a conspiracy theory holding that 19 Arabs, none of whom could fly planes with any proficiency, pulled off the crime of the century under the direction of a guy on dialysis in a cave in Afghanistan – was indisputably true. The so-called conspiracists, on the other hand, did not pretend to have a theory that completely explained the events of 9/11: “For people who think 9/11 was a government conspiracy, the focus is not on promoting a specific rival theory, but in trying to debunk the official account.”
In short, the new study by Wood and Douglas suggests that the negative stereotype of the conspiracy theorist – a hostile fanatic wedded to the truth of his own fringe theory – accurately describes the people who defend the official account of 9/11, not those who dispute it.
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4 Responses to “Believe the government version of events? It’s official. You’re nuts.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    At the end of the day, truth is truth.
    Just takes a while to sink in because of the smoke and mirrors.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Lets be honest, society is a construct of the very rich to keep themselvs in power, the ultimate sanity for them. But for the millions of worker ants (us) its complete insanity. And those who go along with it unquestioningly are mad.

    Thats why those worker ants who see the truth are villified.

  3. HORansome says:

    I have to assume you did not read the article in question. I have; Wood and Douglas are not arguing for the claim you think they are. Here are some choice quotes from it:

    “Since 9/11 conspiracy theories are (at least in the West) an opinion held by a vocal minority attempting to effect change…” (p. 3)


    “This pattern of results supports the idea that conspiracy theories have their basis more inopposition to officialdom than in beliefs in specific alternativetheories. For the adherents of the 9/11 Truth Movement examined here, the search for truth consistsmostly of finding ways in which the official story cannot be true.There is much less of a focus on defending coherent explanationsthat can better account for the available evidence.” (p. 7)

    Wood and Douglas are arguing that conspiracists (their term, not mine), particularly 9/11 Truthers, are not so much interested in proving their own conspiratorial explanations for the events of September 11th, 2001 as they are interested in proving the conventional-cum-official story incorrect. They do not claim that 9/11 Truthers are any more rational or sane than conventionalists and at no point do they say that the conventionalists are now in the minority (indeed, even they are suspicious that their sample is not truly representative); indeed, they argue that 9/11 Truthers are merely a vocal minority who try to look bigger and more influential than they really are.

    There is literature out there which argues that positing conspiratorial explanations/conspiracy theories is not, prima facie, an irrational thing to do, but Woods and Douglas’s piece is not one of those articles.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Horansome, what I was trying to say was, truth will out in the end.
    Some Law’s cannot be broken, like Newtons Law, F=mg.
    Once something can be proved by a Law, it’s no longer a conspiracy.
    So if the towers fell down faster than 32 foot per second per second, it broke the Law.
    Or if an aircraft flew faster than it’s design speed, it broke the design rules.
    It may take years for the smoke and mirrors to recede.

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