Sceptic conspiracies

Introduction

Research on the conspiracy beliefs of some parts of the climate sceptics movement is ongoing and draws upon the work of experts in this area. Every attempt is made to cite original materials and provide quotes in context (in full and sourced). I fully anticipate this will be controversial – thus I have sought expert opinions.

However I stand by the following statements

  • thinking climate scientists are manipulating data is conspiracy thinking
  • believing financial institutions are behind the “climate scam” is conspiracy thinking
  • believing the UN, “regulatory class” or agencies are trying to usher in a global government while using climate science as a “part of a power play” is conspiracy thinking

This section of the blog brings together posts from this blog, links to academic papers, videos, conspiracy media and genuine academic research that provides an understanding on those parts of the climate sceptics movement that have embraced conspiracy culture. This section will grow to be large, and thus I’ve structured it so that new readers of those interested can easily navigate its content.

In fact I regard this section of the blog – my own posts and links to materials – as the most important contribution (albeit small) I can make to understanding the denial of global warming. 

The library includes:

17 thoughts on “Sceptic conspiracies

  1. starscream says:

    Sorry, first words should be ‘New studies’

  2. starscream says:

    ew studies: ‘Conspiracy theorists’ sane; government dupes crazy, hostile
    July 12, 2013
    Print Version
    Source: Phantom Report

    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.

    Additionally, the study found that so-called conspiracists discuss historical context (such as viewing the JFK assassination as a precedent for 9/11) more than anti-conspiracists. It also found that the so-called conspiracists to not like to be called “conspiracists” or “conspiracy theorists.”

    Both of these findings are amplified in the new book Conspiracy Theory in America by political scientist Lance deHaven-Smith, published earlier this year by the University of Texas Press. Professor deHaven-Smith explains why people don’t like being called “conspiracy theorists”: The term was invented and put into wide circulation by the CIA to smear and defame people questioning the JFK assassination! “The CIA’s campaign to popularize the term ‘conspiracy theory’ and make conspiracy belief a target of ridicule and hostility must be credited, unfortunately, with being one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”

    In other words, people who use the terms “conspiracy theory” and “conspiracy theorist” as an insult are doing so as the result of a well-documented, undisputed, historically-real conspiracy by the CIA to cover up the JFK assassination. That campaign, by the way, was completely illegal, and the CIA officers involved were criminals; the CIA is barred from all domestic activities, yet routinely breaks the law to conduct domestic operations ranging from propaganda to assassinations.

    DeHaven-Smith also explains why those who doubt official explanations of high crimes are eager to discuss historical context. He points out that a very large number of conspiracy claims have turned out to be true, and that there appear to be strong relationships between many as-yet-unsolved “state crimes against democracy.” An obvious example is the link between the JFK and RFK assassinations, which both paved the way for presidencies that continued the Vietnam War. According to DeHaven-Smith, we should always discuss the “Kennedy assassinations” in the plural, because the two killings appear to have been aspects of the same larger crime.

    Psychologist Laurie Manwell of the University of Guelph agrees that the CIA-designed “conspiracy theory” label impedes cognitive function. She points out, in an article published in American Behavioral Scientist (2010), that anti-conspiracy people are unable to think clearly about such apparent state crimes against democracy as 9/11 due to their inability to process information that conflicts with pre-existing belief.

    In the same issue of ABS, University of Buffalo professor Steven Hoffman adds that anti-conspiracy people are typically prey to strong “confirmation bias” – that is, they seek out information that confirms their pre-existing beliefs, while using irrational mechanisms (such as the “conspiracy theory” label) to avoid conflicting information.

    The extreme irrationality of those who attack “conspiracy theories” has been ably exposed by Communications professors Ginna Husting and Martin Orr of Boise State University. In a 2007 peer-reviewed article entitled“Dangerous Machinery: ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ as a Transpersonal Strategy of Exclusion,” they wrote:

    “If I call you a conspiracy theorist, it matters little whether you have actually claimed that a conspiracy exists or whether you have simply raised an issue that I would rather avoid… By labeling you, I strategically exclude you from the sphere where public speech, debate, and conflict occur.”

    But now, thanks to the internet, people who doubt official stories are no longer excluded from public conversation; the CIA’s 44-year-old campaign to stifle debate using the “conspiracy theory” smear is nearly worn-out. In academic studies, as in comments on news articles, pro-conspiracy voices are now more numerous – and more rational – than anti-conspiracy ones.

    No wonder the anti-conspiracy people are sounding more and more like a bunch of hostile, paranoid cranks.

  3. Bill Jamison says:

    Is thinking that skeptic blogs are funded by Big Oil conspiracy thinking?

    • john byatt says:

      the deniers conspiracy theories cover everything from the one world government of the biblical revelations ( see steve b) to scientists having hatched a plan a century ago so they could buy yachts and condos in the Bahamas,

      the deniers see no difference in the funding of science by governments and the funding of misinformation and propaganda by contrarians,

      big oil is quite at liberty to fund as much science as they like,

      mostly they only seem to fund blogs misinformers like Carter and lobbyists,

      the 1000+ sceptic papers advertised on willard’s site are irrelevant when you go there and read paleo studies of CO2 following temperature as a claimed anti AGW study, most of those studies are also part of the evidence for past global temperature change due to the rising levels of CO2 that followed the initial forcing.

      non of the flying monkeys who come here would not even know that, so if all of watts FM are ignorant then who must we blame, watts of course

    • Gandalf says:

      Actually, it is the Koch brothers who are the primary funders of climate change denial.

  4. mark says:

    Whether or not those statements (manipulating data, financial institutions, and global government) are the thoughts of conspiracy theorists, they are for the most part, essentially true.

    • Gandalf says:

      There was a great Rolling Stone investigation on the banks, and the result was that he apologised for dissing all the conspiracy theories, except for one thing: most of the theories were wrong.
      The real enemy are the banks. Unregulated criminal activities that have caused the ruination of the economies of many countries.

  5. pinroot says:

    believing financial institutions are behind the “climate scam” is conspiracy thinking

    So, by the same token, believing that “Big Oil” is behind the “deniers” is conspiracy thinking, right?

  6. Ken Johnson says:

    Under “The library includes:” the link for “The “watermelon” theory” goes to “The Galileo Movement (Australian lobby group)”.

  7. […] Climate-change denier organisations such as the Galileo Movement continually promote conspiracy theories (although they are careful not to use that term) to attack the scientific consensus on climate change. They persist in claiming that the release of climate scientists’ emails in what’s known as ‘Climategate’ provided evidence of a conspiracy. Multiple independent inquiries have shown that this claim is nonsense. Update (04/08/2012): The Galileo Movement has uncovered a new conspiracy, with its manager, Malcolm Roberts telling Ben Cubby of the Sydney Morning Herald (here) that ‘climate change science had been captured by “some of the major banking families in the world” who form a “tight-knit cabal”.’ Watching the Deniers blog has a good compilation of climate denier conspiracies here. […]

  8. […] from the climate change debate HomeBest of WtDSceptic conspiraciesEvidence LibraryAboutSix Aspects of Denial Aug 19 2012 Leave a comment By Watching […]

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