When conspiracy theories clash: the contempt deniers hold for “other conspiracies” and special pleading

Stephen Lewandowsky has published an insightful piece on conspiracy theories on the ABC’s Drum website.

To summarise his points: despite all the evidence that contradicts the the belief that the US government orchestrated 9/11 or that scientists are engaged in a global conspiracy to fabricate data to manufacture “catastrophic global warming” (why, well…), many “believers” cling desperately to maintaining their belief.

The do so by expanding the players in the conspiracy. Lewandowsky makes reference to the HUN’s resident fantasist, Andrew Blog:

“…The scurrilous thinking of conspiracy theorists is best exemplified by an Australian tabloid blogger, whose “evidence” for a whitewash derived from the fact that Lord Oxburgh … rides a bicycle! Yes, Lord Oxburgh rides a bicycle. And being a cyclist clearly implicates one in a grand conspiracy designed to deny others the pleasures of life that are seemingly only attainable by emitting vast quantities of CO2.

The same tabloid scribe strayed close to psychiatric territory by hinting that the recent shut-down of European airspace after the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull was unnecessary because the decision relied on data from computer models which — what else! — were the same ones that predict global warming. Never mind that the recent ash clouds were traced by satellites and radar. And never mind that the last time a 747 flew into volcanic ash its four engines stalled and that only considerable skill and luck saved the lives of hundreds of terrified passengers. Never mind that a Finnish F-18 and a Belgian F-16 suffered engine damage from ash earlier this month. Never mind anything by way of actual evidence … never mind that countless lives might be put at risk by a conspiracy theory.”

I’d recommend the article.

For me, it’s the comments that are fascinating.

It’s here where the 9/11 Truthers and self proclaimed climate sceptics come out of the woodwork, and not only to defend their claims and heap abuse on Lewondowsky. Just as critically they heap their scorn on other conspiracy theorists.

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5 thoughts on “When conspiracy theories clash: the contempt deniers hold for “other conspiracies” and special pleading

  1. JMurphy says:

    Uh, oh : FRIENDS OF SCIENCE are being cited. This is the group who deny that mankind is increasing CO2 levels, that the Poles are warming or that sea-levels are rising. What a conspiracy !

  2. klem says:

    “explain how thousands of conspirators could keep the specific details of the conspiracy to engineer the 911 demolition out of the record.”

    I have no explanation for that, I’m not a 911 conspiracy theorist. Perhaps you should ask one, it would be good for a laugh.

    “explain how thousands of climate scientists could keep the specific details of the conspiracy of counterfeiting published evidence of AGW out of the record.”

    I can’t explain that one either, I don’t entertain that beleif. I’m not a conspiracy theorist for AGW either. Conspiracy theories do not influence my views.

    but perhaps your readers might want to hear how a scientist was kept out of the peer review process for two solid years because of his opinions. it’s quite revealing, and there is no conspiracy to be found;

    http://friendsofscience.org/assets/documents/McKitrick_gatekeeping.pdf

  3. manuelg says:

    hey klem,

    explain how thousands of conspirators could keep the specific details of the conspiracy to engineer the 911 demolition out of the record.

    then

    explain how thousands of climate scientists could keep the specific details of the conspiracy of counterfeiting published evidence of AGW out of the record.

    The burden is to replace the mainstream narrative with another narrative at a higher standard of argument backed by statements of certainty. A refusal to shoulder the burden is to buzz around the mainstream narrative like a gnat buzzes around a picnic. People go to a picnic for the spread, not for the gnats.

  4. manuelg says:

    My favorite description of this contempt by nit-wits for other nit-wits; from the great mathematician Augustus De Morgan in his 2 volume work “A budget of paradoxes” 1872

    In the English of that time, all these nitwit denialists would be called “paradoxers”. De Morgan wrote about the “paradoxers” who tried to trisect angles with a ruler and compass, against the proofs of impossibility by the mathematicians.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=qTYEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=de+morgan+flies+elephant#v=onepage&q&f=false

    > If I had before me a fly and an elephant, having never seen more than one such magnitude of either kind; and if the fly were to endeavor to persuade me that he was larger than the elephant, I might by possibility be placed in a difficulty. The apparently little creature might use such arguments about the effect of distance, and might appeal to such laws of sight and hearing as I, if unlearned in those things, might be unable wholly to reject. But if there were a thousand flies, all buzzing, to appearance, about the great creature; and, to a fly, declaring, each one for himself, that he was bigger than the quadruped; and all giving different and frequently contradictory reasons, and each one despising and opposing the reasons of the others — I should feel quite at my ease. I should certainly say, My little friends, the case of each one of you is destroyed by the rest. …

  5. klem says:

    I guess I don’t get your point here. You try to group 911 conspiracy people with AGW deniers but the argument is untenable and almost none of your readers agree with it, so you try to show that these people are all wacky too for not agreeing? Oh boy.

    What I can say is that I know alot of AGW deniers and none of them are 911 conspiracy theorists. None.

    I also know alot of people who believe that AGW is caused by human activity and none of those people believe that 911 was a conspiracy either. I have not seen any link betweeen the two groups in my experience.

    There must be some people out there who are AGW deniers and are also 911 conspiracy theorists but I think it’s a marginal number.

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