The use of conspiracy theories to hide the truth

When Lewandowsky tried to attack climate sceptics as “moon landing conspiracists”, it opened my eyes to the possibility of using what he called “conspiracy ideationism” to attack groups and the possibility that it can be used to hide the truth.

The earliest evidence I know in which a conspiracy theory very conveniently appeared in such a way that anyone finding the truth could be dismissed as a conspiracy theorist was during the development of Spy planes.Lockheed_SR-71_Blackbird

And coincidentally as the number of supposed UFO sightings increased so did the number of government “studies”:

  • Project Blue Book USAF from (1947-1969)
  • Project Twinkle by U.S. Army/Air Force (1948–1951)
  • Project Blue Book Special Report No. 14 by USAF (1977)
  • Operação Prato (Operation Saucer) within its space agency Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) since 1977

And what have all these “studies” ever found? Nothing, but what have they produced? A perception in the minds of the public that UFOs might exist and that any unexplained light in the sky or plane sighting may have an explanation (other than being a plain boring military test). Of course, subterfuge and distraction were a hallmark of secret operations during WWII.

History of conspiracy: The flat earth

How may times have you heard the put down: “you’re just a flat earther”? it can be a very effective put down suggesting that someone is ignorant. But the truth is those using this slur are the ignorant ones!

I was reading up on the Latin meaning of “level” and came across a quote from a Roman writer who was describing a Roman device for a level. They cut a grove in a piece of wood and filled it with water. And as the writer said: “the water is flat … although of course according to the philosophers it follows the curve of the earth”. In other words, not only did they understand the world was a sphere, but they even understood the basics of gravity.

And if you go to Wikipedia to the article: Myth of the flat Earth you’ll find that there’s very little evidence the ancients did believe in a flat earth and what there is comes in the form of maps draw as a disc: much like any modern map. Does this prove we believe in a flat earth?:

cia-world-mapThe evidence is overwhelming and compelling:

During the early Middle Ages, virtually all scholars maintained the spherical viewpoint first expressed by the Ancient Greeks. From at least the 14th century, belief in a flat Earth among the educated was almost nonexistent, despite fanciful depictions in art, such as the exterior of Hieronymus Bosch’s famous triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights, in which a disc-shaped Earth is shown floating inside a transparent sphere.

According to Stephen Jay Gould, “there never was a period of ‘flat Earth darkness’ among scholars (regardless of how the public at large may have conceptualized our planet both then and now). Greek knowledge of sphericity never faded, and all major medieval scholars accepted the Earth’s roundness as an established fact of cosmology.” Historians of science David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers point out that “there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth’s] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference”.

Why then do we have this flat earth myth. The reason is simple: to denigrate the past in order to suggest that they were very simple and that we are somehow much superior. But more important the original purpose for its emergence was a way to denigrate those in the present who hold onto ideas from the past:

Historian Jeffrey Burton Russell says the flat-Earth error flourished most between 1870 and 1920, and had to do with the ideological setting created by struggles over biological evolution. .. and ascribes popularization of the flat-Earth myth to histories by John William Draper, Andrew Dickson White, and Washington Irving

But the reality is that “flat earthism” tells us very little about what the past believes, instead it tells us about our FALSE belief in the past and how people use this false belief that the past was “ignorant” in order to equate people today as ignorant.

The real truth, is that it is those asserting others as “flat earthers” who are the real ignorant ones!

The development of modern conspiracy theory – a Scenario

In a secret air-force base, during the cold war post WWII, a new plane has been developed. As far as possible engine noise has been minimised to allow it to overfly Russia with minimal risk of detection. This is a major advancement – but if the USSR knew they had this technology, they could work to counter it. To enhance secrecy, it only flies at night, where the plane itself is hidden, but the light from its engines is still unmistakeable at take off. The result is that local people are starting to talk about “lights in the sky” when there is no or little sound resembling an aircraft, the local press has been contacted and they have in turn contacted the airbase.

Someone is sent out to see what they can do, to stop the reports becoming headline news and thereby alerting the USSR to the operations. They ask: “What do local people think they are” … the response is as expected: “they think they’re a new plane you’re developing … and they want to keep it quiet”  so why is it a problem asks the airforce to the paper …. “because old Fred the drunkard in the bar … he claims their aliens … and he just won’t keep quiet … and he says if I won’t print it, he’ll take it to another paper”.

After a bit of thought and indications that Fred has sobered up enough to contact another paper, the air-force get back to the local paper to say: “The best thing you can do is to run the story – but just make it sound like it’s the most ridiculous story ever”. The paper runs the story, Fred is made to look a complete idiot and he (and anyone else wanting to talk about “the lights”) goes back to drinking beer.

330px-Apollo_11_Crew_During_Training_Exercise_-_GPN-2002-000032Another Scenario: NASA

In 1969, the US military landed on the moon. The aim was to demonstrate to the USSR, the US superiority in rocket technology and therefore the futility of the USSR trying to take on the US in war.

Of course, it was portrayed as a great scientific leap for mankind, but the reality is that only one scientist actually ever went to the moon all he did was bring back a few rocks (which could have been collected by an automated vehicle). And from a scientific point of view, the moon landings were almost a complete waste of time. That did not mean that from a Militarily and politically they were highly significant as they helped refine the technology for intercontinental ballistic missiles. But of course, with a growing anti-nuclear movement, in the 1960s/70s the military nature of NASA’s rocket work was hardly an asset. The military nature of NASA’s work had to be hidden behind an ostensibly and largely false “scientific investigation” and “space exploration” cover.

But unfortunately, for those working at NASA, the moon landings were too successful! Because after proving US superiority in space, there was little need for NASA. Thus the funding was cut and the last landing on the moon took place in 1972. Future work was cancelled and obviously the knives were out to cut back NASA funding.

NASA came under pressure from politicians in the new anti-nuclear age where the benefits of missile technology could not be cited as reasons for funding NASA. The typical line of attack was “nothing useful ever came out of the moon-landings that could not have been done on a Holywood set”.

And what is the best way to attack such people? To suggest they actually do believe that the moon landings were a fake. As Wakopedia puts it:

Various groups and individuals have made claims since the mid-1970s, that NASA and others knowingly misled the public into believing the landings happened, by manufacturing, tampering with, or destroying evidence including photos, telemetry tapes, radio and TV transmissions, Moon rock samples, and even some key witnesses.

We can imagine the interview. A Senator comes in to attack NASA to claim it’s a waste of time & money. But very quickly, the conversation gets turned around:

“so you think everything NASA did in 1969 could have been staged on a film set” …
“well yes …”
“what about the moon rocks” …
“well you could pick those up in the desert” …
“so you think someone could have just set up a film set with the same result?” …
“And where would this film set have been”?
“How would you explain … the gravity”

Very soon, the Senator is no longer discussing the budgeting of NASA, but instead in discussing a moon landing conspiracy with makes them look like they are agreeing with the “nutter” conspiracy theorists. But why did so many nutter conspiracy theoriests suddenly materialise just when they were so useful to NASA (and they had a lot of people with time on their hands)

LewdicrousIntentional Conspiracy Theories

So far I have suggested scenarios in which people would naturally encourage already prevalent ideas in order to stoke up a conspiracy theory in order to make any scepticism appear ridiculous.

And we saw the manner of this attack with Lewandowsky. He took very flimsy data that suggested that Sceptics were less quick to reject conspiracy theories – and from that he asserted we not only believed in conspiracy theories (which is not what anyone said), but that we believed in a specific theory about the moon landings (which not one single person had).

However, what is more important, is that Lewandowsky thought that by identifying climate sceptics as “moon landing conspiracists” he could undermine our credible arguments. In other words, he intentionally tried to link sceptics to conspiracy ideationism to use conspiracy theory as a weapon against us.

Indeed, where does this word “conspiracy ideationism come from” … it clearly is another of those over-complex words invented by academia. This suggests that there is a whole body of work devoted to this subject. And where there is research there is research funding. So who is funding this “research”?

801268-bigthumbnailAlien Probing

During and after WWII, US military carried out numerous medical tests which would now be considered totally unethical. There are reports of soldiers being fed LSD, being exposed to what we now know is criminal levels of radiation, to tests without consent. etc.

I can’t help notice, that one of the most ridiculous conspiracies is that aliens carry out medical tests on their subjects. Was this an attempt by those carrying unauthorised or immoral medical tests to discredit the accounts of these tests by their subjects?

911The World Trade Centre

There is very credible evidence that the security services failed abysmally before 911 – the very fact it happened is proof of this! There is also very credible evidence of a large number of conspiracies. In part, this must be because conspiracy theories make money. But it seems to me, that a secret service under pressure after 911, may well have tried to distract attention from its own failings by intentionally stoking up 911 conspiracies. As in “give the press a bone to chew on and they won’t bite you”.

So, there is a strong possibility that the CIA, etc. have employees dedicated to stoking up conspiracy theories and/or creating the necessary contacts and “evidence” to manufacture one at any time they require so as to hide any inconvenient truth.

So, hidden within the events of 911, it is quite possible one of the so called “conspiracies” is a truth  …. surrounded by a hell of a lot of total rubbish stoked up by people trying to hide the truth. All, we know, is that if the truth lies in the myriad of conspiracies somewhere, it is unlikely to be the most exciting theory around. And indeed, if there has been a conspiracy to use conspiracy to cover the truth, then it seems likely that anyone ever gets close to the truth … the media will be inundated with “new evidence” for another, far more sexy but totally ridiculous theory that is sure to take all the limelight away.

So, ironically, the prevalence and timing of conspiracy ideationism after an event, and the sophistication of the supposed “evidence”, may in itself be the strongest evidence for a cover up.

The Double Bluff Conspiracy Theory

Off course, how would you hide the fact aliens had landed? How would you hide a moon-landing that did happen on a Holywood set? You could hide the fact behind a cover of conspiracy. But when the truth is incredible enough on its own, all you then need is to let the truth be told.

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5 Responses to The use of conspiracy theories to hide the truth

  1. TinyCO2 says:

    I think to a great extent what you say goes on but at the other end there ARE conspiracy theorists. Climate sceptics are no exception… but then the other side has their fair share too. I suspect that UFOs were the invention of the public but thereafter governments encouraged it. I would suggest that all of us have a conspiracy theory in us. Each person has their own favourites and some have more than others. Dr Lew just tested for a few but a, informative study might determine whether different personalities were attracted to different types of conspiracies. Warmists for instance are convinced that there has been a massive ol funded conspiracy. What his work inadvertantly proved that even if his research wasn’t hopelessly bad, sceptics believe less conspiracies than the general public.

    The flaw in conspiracy theorising is that there is some master plan. Sure, life is full of mini conspiracies, including solo ones. It’s human nature to try and game the system and at any one time subody is up to something. But the real conspiracy theories involve a scale of planning and co-operation that isn’t easy to pull off. What generally happens is people have a common goal and seem like they act under direction. So 9/11 is a genuine conspiracy because it requires a wide range of people with many different outlooks to agree to cover up an atrocity. It requires Al Qaida to have been so much in Bush’s pocket that they conveniently confessed. No remotely likely. It doesn’t fit with basic logic.

    CAGW is different. It’s not a conspiracy to any great extent. I’m sure that there are mini conspiracies but they’re done by people who absolutely think that they’re doing the right thing and just nudge things along in the direction they think is inevitable. It’s not an uncommon habit and sceptics do it too.

    Conspiracy or not, the Dr Lews of this world miss the most important issue – what people do, not what they say. A warning that is ironically favourite with conspiracy theorists. Usually it’s meant to refer to The Powers That Be TPTB, but it applies equally to the public and warmists in particular. Almost nobody is acting like they believe in CAGW. Believing in it is an affectation so successful, they can’t see that they’re not acting in accordance with it. Indeed they get quite unsettled when you point it out. That’s not a conspiracy theory, it’s blind faith.

    The hardest part is that there is a kernel of truth to CAGW. Or several. Or maybe it’s all true and climate scientists are just inept. Or it’s just very, very complicated. If there is a conspiracy it’s in complexity denial. It’s the mass pretense that the whole things is well understood and is the subject of a consensus. In fits and starts, the smarter warmists have begun to realise that. Dr Lew isn’t one of them.

    • Scottish-Sceptic says:

      I totally agree with: “It’s human nature to try and game the system and at any one time subody is up to something. But the real conspiracy theories involve a scale of planning and co-operation that isn’t easy to pull off.”

      When you see real bureaucracies at work – you know that getting them to do fairly mundane tasks is complex enough. The 911 one is interesting as there is a group in the CIA, with at least one person who testified that – I think it is “if we had been listened to this wouldn’t have happened”. And it is possible that the agency intentionally stoked up the other conspiracy theories to try to detract from this small group.

      Global warming itself I don’t think counts as a conspiracy but instead arrogant academics taking on far more than they were capable and then being unwilling to admit when they were wrong … and not policing those rogue academics whose only interest was in the eco-politics.

      However, a lot of people used that gullible group for their own agenda. That part was a conspiracy – although I suppose, since they were misled by the inner group, they weren’t to know that what they were pushing was pseudo-science. So, perhaps “unintended conspiracy” might be a fair description.

      • TinyCO2 says:

        The biggest conspiracy of all is how governments dabble in complicated things with very little real understanding of them. Climate seemed like the perfect platform for heroes. Spend a bit of cash on renewables that would generate free energy. Go to a few conferences and look like a noble leader and then sit back for the plaudits for saving the planet. Well look how that worked out.

        • Scottish-Sceptic says:

          There was a time when politicians just loved to be photographed in front of a bird-mincer. You’ll notice that far fewer are keen to be associated with them.

  2. Deena says:

    Enbnuahreoa de nuevo, acabas de describir lo que me pasa a mi cuando cojo la cámara y tengo a las/los modelos delante de ella y me alegra que mis consejos te hayan servido.Un abrazo PD. El autofoco está muy bien, pero yo añoro la pantalla de enfoque con imagen partida de mi vieja Nikon FM, aunque fuese mucho más lento

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