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Dirk Marinus
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PostSubject: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySat 24 Aug 2019, 19:09

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Hatshepsut
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyWed 28 Aug 2019, 19:10

What? No Diana assassination conspiracy theories? Or who killed Dr David Kelly (and why is the autopsy report not released to the public domain for another 30 years?). Conspiracies abound and make engrossing reading......


Last edited by Hatshepsut on Wed 28 Aug 2019, 19:11; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Needed more explanation that the 'dinosaurs built the pyramids' tale appeared first apparently in a satirical magazine   Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyThu 29 Aug 2019, 10:04

I think with conspiracy theories it's always worth trying to find out what the origin might be of the theory.  There do seem to have been some April 1st jokes or articles that have appeared in satirical or humorous magazines that have been taken seriously by some people.  (I mentioned on the pyramids thread - and linked a video stating this - that the theory that dinosaurs built the pyramids seems to have first seen the light of day in an Israeli satirical magazine).  Could some of the stories of monsters from days of yore have been written tongue in cheek but the parody has been lost in time.  I mentioned recently that I had never realised that HK Andersen's The Princess and the Pea had a satirical element to it.  "Lost in translation" as the saying goes.

nordmann wrote quite extensively about legend and myth-making on another thread recently.

I'm not against a bit of fun with conspiracy theories.  I'd like Nessie to be real.  However taking into account the fact that the first reference to Nessie concerned St Columba in the sixth century BC and we are now in the 21st century BC, Nessie either has to be around 1,500 years old or there will have had to be breeding pairs of Nessies over the years nay centuries, I have to concede that the chances of Nessie really lurking in Loch Ness are exceedingly slim.  The fun can go out of conspiracy theories though pretty easily.  There seems to be an ongoing battle on YouTube and such like places between people believing the earth is flat and people trying to convince them of the truth that it is a globe.  I did fall into the trap of watching some conspiracy theory videos when I was getting over the effects of the coeliac disease in late 2016.  (Talking of being ill, I've gone back to bed today and am on the laptop ('dicky' tum) but I don't think what I've got today will be long lasting).  If people want to believe that the earth is flat that doesn't actually harm anyone.  I've seen videos where people accuse other folk of being Satanists with zero proof though.  Anyone can go on YouTube and make a video if they have the right equipment and some of the people who do so are either loony or charlatans.  I worry sometimes about people who believe in conspiracy theories turning violent.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 23 Feb 2020, 08:11

This is very sad - a flat earther in the USA has died launching his homemade rocket to try and get high enough in altitude to prove that the earth is flat. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-51602655  I might not agree with his opinions but I wouldn't wish anyone prematurely dead.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 23 Feb 2020, 12:04

Yes, LiR I read it too today on BBC world.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51602655 

But as I read it, I think that it is a daredevil gone ultimate mad in pursuing his fantasies and not so much about the flat earth myth. As I see it, he had done already a test flight going well.

I wanted to post on nordmann's "poverty of terror" thread, but I can do it as well here...
One speaks about the muslim terrorists, but one can as good speak about the Blank Supremacy terrorists, as recently in "was it Hanau and yesterday again shooting on a shicha bar, when it was closed...

I think one has everywere, so called fighting for their ideals, "mad"  people. Just that they in our "western" countries haven't that much occasion as in "war" ridden countries. I recall a recent documentary about among others, a man from our Belgian "Ost Kantons", who fought during the war on the German- Russian "Ostfront" and did as well the atrocities against the Russians and especially the Jewish Russians as their German counterpart soldiers. The genocide "par balles" as the French call it...

And recently Dirk and I spoke about "Mad Mike" in the Katanga war of the former Belgian Congo...

Kind regards, Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyWed 04 Mar 2020, 10:07

Deleted.  While I don't think it was all that likely my post would have brought conspiratards to Res Hist I'd rather not take the chance.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySat 09 May 2020, 10:46

I'm not linking anything but I was relieved that on social media people are questioning the motives behind London Real (the channel that had a certain ex-footballer/sports presenter turned conspiracy theorist on for an interview about 5G).  The chap behind the channel had started a fundraiser to start his own platform to, he said, fight for freedom of speech.  Some folk thought that when the person behind London Real said that YouTube had censored  his video with DI he might have deleted it himself.  There do seem to be a number of people who go with the DI narrative but some people will fall for scams anyway.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySat 09 May 2020, 11:36

LiR, what is "DI" ?
Kind regards from Paul.
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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySat 09 May 2020, 12:07

David Icke, I think Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySat 09 May 2020, 12:45

Yes, Paul those initials do mean the individual mentioned by MM.  Ever since nordmann mentioned receiving some thoroughly unpleasant emails on the Saluting the Flag thread under its former name I've been wary how I post anything remotely conspiracy related.  It's arguable that a history forum isn't really the place to discuss such things but I'd been disturbed by the news items about people burning down 5G towers and that had already been mentioned on another thread.  Some people who go 'down the rabbit hole' are well-meaning but confused and mistaken people but some are unbalanced and I don't want to the site to be bombarded by tin foil  hatters.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 10 May 2020, 09:51

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
... It's arguable that a history forum isn't really the place to discuss such things ...

Well, in my view that's not quite the case. What is arguable, I would suggest, is why someone would pursue a discussion thread on a history forum related to the issue of what we now might call "falling down a conspiratorial rabbit hole" without actually introducing a historical perspective on the topic.

History abounds with examples after all, and one that certainly should spring to the mind of anyone familiar with British history is that of Titus Oates. Now there's someone who, were he around today, without a shadow of any doubt would almost certainly have been a YouTuber, Twitcher, Tweeter or similar manipulator of social media. And not only for the historically infamous "rabbit hole" that he dug, fell into himself, and then took a sizeable portion of the gullible down the hole with him (including some very powerful people at the time), but also - when you examine him in a little more detail - for the uncanny similarities his personal profile, behaviour, obvious psychiatric issues, and general life trajectory share with any modern "rabbit hole" excavator at whom you could point a finger today.

Centuries before "Dunning-Kruger" became a (misused) euphemism for being too stupid to realise one is not intelligent, Oates had already as a young student been well sussed by his teachers and classmates as a prime example. His family put him through some very expensive educational institutions growing up and, in an age when advancement through academia depended as much on character assessments as exams, we have written evidence of how he was thus assessed en route. In the prestigious Merchant Taylor's School his academic progress concluded with a document that he must then present to his new tutors at the equally prestigious Gonville and Caius College in Cambridge, written by his former head teacher who, after saying that he was "unpopular and not for no reason [sic]" then instructed his new tutors not to "task the boy unduly with exercises". At Caius the staff arrived at a similar conclusion, describing him as "a great dunce" with "a good memory for everything except that which he has been instructed to remember", before abruptly terminating his stay there on the grounds that he was not capable of earning a scholarship through effort and that offering the same for a fee to his family would be tantamount to theft.

His family moved him to St Johns College, who apparently had less scruples about obtaining money under the false pretence of advancing the learning of a proven imbecile, but even they gave up in the end. His final few months there were an early example of "distance education" as Oates, with the college's encouragement, removed himself from the campus, took rooms in a local brothel, and technically continued his "education" with the promise of a degree should he just stay away from school. However, when even the brothel owner pleaded with the college to take him back as they were losing custom due to his "cants and ill behaviour", the college realised that the most politic solution was to give the family a refund and declare him graduated without a degree.

Oates, undeterred by this little setback, simply wrote his own degree and - unemployable through sheer repute in any respectable profession - fell back on that last refuge of dunces, knaves and deviants, a clerical career. Having obtained a licence to preach and ordination in the C of E, he soon started flexing his YouTube muscles, the social pulpit of choice in his day being quite literally the pulpit, from which his frequent attempts at social engineering in the small community of Bobbing in Kent disguised as sermon (encouraging the local squire, for example, to instruct the town's traders to extend him credit as well as to extend the hand of his daughter to Oates in marriage), eventually pissed the locals off. They refused to attend church and wrote to the bishop explaining they would gladly return to the fold once he sent them a godly man as their vicar, and the bishop agreed.

So, while his first attempt at setting up the 17th century equivalent of a YouTube channel as a primary source of income had failed miserably, he did what YouTubers still do - he retired to his parents' box room to relaunch and rebrand. In his case this meant taking a curacy in Hastings, where his father was the vicar. With his eye to the future he, like many of the worst instances of social media abusers today, realised that he needed to "influence" people who were at a more gullible age and targeted the post of local schoolmaster as a perfect platform. The only problem was that the post was already filled by a well liked and efficient teacher so, between less than subtle "hints" dropped in sermons and a one-man letter writing "campaign" to the authorities in which he impersonated sundry correspondents (the equivalent of "buying subs" in YouTube parlance) he set about accusing the teacher of sodomy.

This backfired a little - the accused, unlike Oates, actually had an intellect and a grasp of reality sufficient to mount a credible defence. Soon it was Oates who was under charge of perjury (in YouTube terms he was "under review") so yet another rather hasty rebrand and relaunch was required. He began to explore other media platforms, to use the modern equivalency, one of which seems to have been a sort of 1600s Grindr, then referred to as a chaplaincy in the navy. From his post on HMS Adventure he "reached out" to homosexual men working for the same employer, offering spiritual solace and guidance though in reality hoping to collect as much "dirt" as possible to allow him to embark on a lucrative blackmailing career. In true YouTuber fashion this venture also backfired and it was the intended victims who produced his letters to the admiralty, during the investigation of which there was found at least one proven incident where his "spiritual solace" had extended to "carnal solace". Oates faced the capital charge of buggery, was found guilty, but then released under pardon only because he wore a frock (that's how these things worked then).

This would eventually lead to his biggest platform switch of all, to Catholicism, but that is the point where further similarity to social media abuse and manipulation becomes so recognisably "Cummings" and so well recorded that it is not necessary to outline events here. Except of course to add that these exploratory rabbit hole excavations as mentioned above would culminate in the biggest rabbit hole of all, one that would eventually lead to the death of hundreds of innocent victims in one infamous period (though in truth probably many, many thousands more if the longevity of the false conspiracy he engendered is taken into account).

There is nothing new under the sun ...
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 10 May 2020, 13:01

I did once test the waters about whether it would be worth starting a thread on the history of conspiracy theories and the general opinion seemed to be that a fact based site wasn't really the place or that conspiracy theories had been touched on incidentally in other threads.  The term 'conspiracy theory' has become debased (in my opinion).  Not every conspiracy theory believer becomes dangerous but there was a case of somebody in America who opened fire in a pizza parlour because an online rumour had been spread that a child trafficking was being organised from there.  Fortunately nobody was harmed.

I watched a Sky TV video connected with the Covid-19 and while most of the comments underneath were sensible there were a few "It's a hoax" type comments.  But as ever you can't argue with conspiracy theorists.

Are there any recorded scams dating from the times of Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece or Ancient Egypt (or ancient anywhere).  I suppose viewed from a modern standpoint The Oracle at Delphi might have been a scam though it's not really possible to judge the mindset of someone living in those times with a 21st century mindset.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 10 May 2020, 13:27

Blaming the Christians for burning Rome down was probably an early proof of conspiracy theory in action. I say "probably" as Tacitus's use of the word "cresto" instead of "christus" has led some to conclude that Nero in fact blamed the "crestarii" - the local vigilante forces who were meant to spot and extinguish blazes in the capital. Either way, both Tacitus and later Suetonius were in no doubt that Nero had probably ordered the fire himself (he acquired quite a lot of "free" land to expand his palace and removed several notable opponents as near neighbours when their houses burnt down), and then immediately set about blaming someone else so that he could be seen as a champion of justice and friend of the people even as he greedily rebuilt the place to suit his own desires.

If you stick with the Christian theme however, and even if you hold reservations about the Nero episode, there are several subsequent examples of where they certainly featured as alleged conspirators within conspiracy theories put forward by others. And they're not the only such victims of conspiracy theory that fortuitously strengthened official policy at the expense of perceived minorities within Roman society who had little hope of defending themselves. Jews, Armenians, Copts, and even Vestals (despite their close affinity with authority) all found themselves, along with other small groups from time to time, the subjects of some very scurrilous and defamatory rumours in which they featured as conspirators, though a role suggested through simple historical analysis as having been concocted by others within another conspiracy entirely.

In a time when rumour was indistinguishable from any more authorised method of disseminating news the emergence of conspiracy theories, whether regarding falsely accused conspirators or not, was probably not only inevitable but in fact how authority largely operated when it came to advancing policy, especially policies that would otherwise stand to be opposed by the general population. It still goes on, of course, but in ancient civilisations I would wager that it would be nigh on impossible to find instances where popular opinion was marshalled to support such a policy in which some form of "conspiracy theory" did not play some kind of role.

It is a moot point regarding how much credence was actually afforded by ordinary people to "oracles" when they were in their heyday. If they represent a conspiracy of sorts it was one of a "nudge nudge wink wink" variety and in which everyone probably took part. Oracle declarations certainly acted as an imprimatur for political decisions taken by the ruling elite, but there is no evidence that anyone ever really formulated policy based on such declarations, rather that the declarations tended to uncannily support a decision already made by the elite and which required only a final "sheen of authority" before executing it. And for every one such decision backed up by an oracle in ancient Greece there are a thousand instances of the elite just firing ahead anyway without ever booking a trip to Delphi at all.
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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 10 May 2020, 18:10

There's the one this sort of refers to. Probably responsible for much suffering & many deaths.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qXkBoR80k
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySun 10 May 2020, 21:40

@Green George wrote:
There's the one this sort of refers to. Probably responsible for much suffering & many deaths.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8qXkBoR80k

Gilgamesh, what one learns here everyday...fully unknow to me...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sir_Hugh

Kind regards from Paul.
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 11:39

I've deleted this post because of nordmann's comment.  I mentioned the case referenced therein because (in my opinion) it showed - something like the Titus Oates case - how people you would expect to believe to be rational can on occasion believe really crazy things and thus conspiracy theories start.

Offering something else, I'd be interested to know when in history a theory that Richard III might not have been the author of his nephews' disappearances (and probably deaths) arose.  Margaret Beaufort was under house arrest at the time and Henry VII as he later became wasn't even in England.  Was it mentioned at the time it was noticed that the princes hadn't been seen for a while that someone other than Richard might have ordered the disappearances or was it years later?


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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 12:42

Can you perhaps explain why you introduced that topic?

Is it because the family were accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice? This is a very tenuous connection to the theme of your own thread if this is your point, I would suggest. After all, the same is true in every case where an accused pleading not guilty is being pursued by the prosecution to have that guilt revealed. In the McMartin case in fact no such guilt was established.

Or are you referring to the woo-woo stuff that some sections of the less than journalistically sound media profited from repeating during the course of the long trial, none of which had any bearing on either side's case in court, but which led to several expensive delays as jurors' exposure to the wilder "reports" could be used by the defence to repeatedly push for a non-trial?

If there was a true "conspiracy theory" attached to the case it was probably to be found in speculation about the suspiciously sustained and repeated attempts to derail the procedure through various methods over the seven years of the trial. The case, as with many child abuse cases, had a completely unsatisfactory conclusion for all parties, though its conduct did lead to a push for several reforms in the judicial system concerning collection of testimony from minors as well as much improved supervision and control of private child care businesses in the USA, not just in California.

But I really don't understand why you think this case even deserves a mention here at all. Maybe I should be asking you what in fact you intended the point of this thread to be?
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LadyinRetirement
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PostSubject: Edit: changed 'thread above' to 'comment above'   Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 13:40

Dirk started the thread, nordmann, so I guess it was to invite discussion on the matters mentioned in the links he provided.  I don't much like the expression 'conspiracy theory' - I'd prefer something like alternative explanation.  I have amended my comment above so I leave it to you whether you wish to amend your comment on it.

John Wilkes Booth plotted with others regarding the assassination of President Lincoln but for some reason he was the only one to put his part of the plan into effect.  I guess that matter was more 'conspiracy' than 'theory' though people might put forward suggestions as to why the other conspirators didn't carry out their part of the plan.  Maybe they got cold feet.


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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 14:29

I should have checked, sorry about that. I see Dirk's links all concern supposed "government conspiracy theory", something that certainly pops up with worrying frequency in the so-called bastion of western democracy as its politicians (and their audiences) apparently like to style themselves.

Since the McMartin case, for all its commentary by woo-woo merchants, didn't really entail state collusion I suppose it's as well you deleted reference to it - but I was genuinely interested in what had prompted you to remember it.

Genuine conspiracies are easy to spot, normally. They're the ones which ultimately fail or are ultimately revealed as they all have human involvement, and where there are humans there are tongues that eventually wag. It's part of the deal. Successful conspiracies are those which achieve at least part of the conspirators' aims before the cat gets let out of the bag, but they're rarely big in the sense of numbers of people involved. As the saying goes, the only really successful conspiracy of which we are bound never to hear is the one in which the conspirator conspires only with himself (and believe it or not the legal definition of conspiracy allows for this event).

Wilkes Booth, like Guy Fawkes, is typical of what happens with really ambitious conspiracies that, if carried out, are designed to produce highly visible results. Their very audacity tends to undermine them from within. When infiltrating subversive organisations intelligence agencies such as the CIA, MI6 etc, in fact use this as a tactic to expose operators - working within the organisation to push the infiltrated sources towards ever more ambitious plots. The more ambitious the plot gets the weaker the cohesion of the conspirators - one effect is leaving a patsy to carry the can while others see sense and bail out (normally into the hands of law enforcement) and another being that the ultimate aim of the subversive group is discredited when the whole thing goes awry, even among fellow subversives who otherwise might have worked more intelligently towards the same end.

I suppose the conspiracy most likely to succeed is therefore not the covert one at all, but one done in plain sight. Much like those presently conspiring to subvert British democracy from the top down, for example. We know nearly all of the actors. We are under no illusion what they are trying to achieve and how they are going about it. And they are blithely proceeding to their extremely ambitious aim, safe in the knowledge that public incredulity and apathy, no matter in what proportions, together in combination stand at a sufficient level to inhibit the normal processes by which they could be stopped. At least for now, though I see no evidence for optimism.
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PostSubject: Edit: To change date - see GG's comment below.   Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 15:10

I am genuinely interested in why conspiracy theories start though not in a woo-woo way.  I do wonder why seemingly normal people sometimes beleive very strange things.  The rumour mill likely is the reason why many begin.  Maybe this site isn't really the place to think about the origin of strange ideas.

I've never been a fan of Bo-Jo but he's craftier than I gave him credit for in that he managed to pull off a landslide victory in the polls for his party.  The country will have to have another election by late 2024 at the latest unless the government votes itself an extension of office.


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Green George
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 15:15

On another site I frequent the old "Britain tricked von Reuter into scuttling the High Seas Fleet to stop France and the USA getting their hands on the ships" canard is alive and well. I rarely buy "Government Conspiracy" explanations. Observing governments during my life so far predisposes me to beleive cock-up is far more frequently responsible, so if I apply Occam's razor I usually default to that position.
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 15:38

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
I am genuinely interested in why conspiracy theories start though not in a woo-woo way.  I do wonder why seemingly normal people sometimes beleive very strange things.  The rumour mill likely is the reason why many begin.  Maybe this site isn't really the place to think about the origin of strange ideas.

I've never been a fan of Bo-Jo but he's craftier than I gave him credit for in that he managed to pull off a landslide victory in the polls for his party.  The country will have to have another election by late 2004 at the latest unless the government votes itself an extension of office.
erm - should that read "2024"?
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 16:37

Quite right hawk-eyed Gilgamesh.  I still make loads of typos on the Android touch screen but I should have proofread my post more attentively.  2024 it should be

Edit: 'attentively' not 'attentibely' - blame it on the Android touch screen - blame everything on the Android touch screen even when I'm not on the Android (unless I blame it on autocorrect).


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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyMon 11 May 2020, 16:44

Isn't there a saying or quote though I don't know its origin that says something about not attributing to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity.


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PostSubject: Edit: 'any who which' is terrible English!!!!   Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyTue 12 May 2020, 12:57

nordmann, I did make a thread that was kind of connected to conspiracy and said in my first post therein that perhaps it would be a place where things that were somewhat unusual and had perhaps provoked unusual explanations could be discussed and anybody who thought the subject too lightweight could avoid it like the plague.  I'm prepared to avoid topics where weird things like Old Nick supposedly manifesting hooves, horn and all*, well certainly in a modern or living memory setting.  My thread (whose title I can't remember exactly) was so impactful that it has sunk without trace and even I can't find it.  I had no luck with a search on 'conspiracy' and having trawled through the first three topics on the Home page here I didn't feel like trawling through the fourth - not immediatelu anyway.

*I am interested why people believed in phenomena like the devils of Loudun and the Salem witches though those subjects may have been discussed here in the past.  I try to avoid the loonier part of YouTube these days and confine myself to serious subjects but I wonder why some people believe works of fiction are true and so forth but I guess this site isn't really the place to discuss that sort of thing.


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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyTue 12 May 2020, 14:59

First of all it's worth making a distinction between actual conspiracies, many of which undoubtedly have played an important historical role in shaping past events, and then what might be termed unfounded theories that conspiracies exist. These rarely carry any great historical impact, though certainly have been a factor in noteworthy historical events - such as the Salem witch trials - even if their noteworthiness resides primarily in their role as often uncomfortable reminders of humanity's darker side.

It is probably possible (is that a thing?), from a psychological point of view, to work out some common reason why people are prepared to invest belief in any theory that carries very little rational foundation. I imagine this would also then have to include all religions, belief in some of which has certainly had more than a profound effect on historical events. What marks conspiracy theories apart however is the particular nature of the unfounded belief that they almost all exhibit, which is that the alleged conspirators are working secretly and actively against the interests of the majority. On that basis one would have to admit that suspicion of one's fellows is the less than attractive human trait that lies at the heart of whatever set of motives drives one to believe such a theory. The amount of gullibility required does not seem to be as consistent a factor, though the more ludicrous the alleged plot the more of this trait would seem to be required also.

There is probably a whole discussion to be had on misinterpreting fiction as fact - this is something by no means confined to woo-woo and in fact forms the basis of all propaganda when encouraged or intentionally concocted, and even when unintentional plays a huge role in things as diverse as the question of national identity and even how we record and choose to interpret history itself.

So you can see why attempting to start a discussion on this broad theme is almost doomed to failure - it's just too grand and complex to lend itself neatly to any conversational discourse. It might be interesting, from an historical point of view, to restrict the discussion to what might loosely be described as the "weirder" examples of unwarranted belief that ended up playing a part in history (though keeping that discussion from straying into the topic of religion again would be difficult). Maybe trying to limit it to instances where we can be pretty sure there was no intention to deceive in any of it might have more success but then, when you think about it, it is difficult to find instances - even where the false belief arose completely innocently - in which someone hasn't then attempted to profit from the believers' gullibility. Which brings us back to religion again, I reckon.

So the solution, I suppose, is not to try to take on the whole gullibility thing as the main theme, and instead prompt a discussion restricted to one event in particular. Alduous Huxley certainly reckoned the Loudun incident was worthy of isolated scrutiny, for example, and examining the possible motives of the priest Urbain Grandier might well produce insights into modern conspiracy theorists and what motivates them also to commit so much credence, activity, time and effort into promulgating their own theories of choice. In any case, teasing out the historical facts of the case from the surrounding elements of the legend that built up around it certainly seems a worthwhile pursuit on any history board in my view.
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PostSubject: Re: Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's who knows but.....    Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptyTue 12 May 2020, 16:43

@LadyinRetirement wrote:
Isn't there a saying or quote though I don't know its origin that says something about not attributing to conspiracy what can be explained by stupidity.
 I was wrong.  It is Hanlon's razor and the saying is 'never attribute to malice......' (might be paraphrasing slightly)

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2016/12/30/not-malice/
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PostSubject: Edit: a 'd' which shouldn't have been there at the end of 'use' which I've removed.   Facts, myths , conspiracy, UFO's  who knows but.....  EmptySat 16 May 2020, 11:15

For some context, when I started posting about conspiracies the other day, I had been annoyed by a (to me fake at least) fake guru who shall not be named who had interviewed everyone's favourite (not) British conspiracy theorist who used to be a footballer and sports presenter who shall not be named starting up a fundraiser with the aim of "fighting for free speech" and I was annoyed and came here to vent and gave the conspiracy which I have deleted as an example of a dangerous conspiracy.  This board isn't really the place to vent about such a topic and maybe I should just have jumped up and down and stamped my feet - there's only the cat to think I might be barmy but she doesn't mind as long as I continue to feed her.  I won't use the board as my sounding board for venting - not about anything woo-wooey at least.
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