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Old 16th April 2016, 12:05 PM   #1
markjohn
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Skeptics please answer

Hello!
I am currently working on a research project: "Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?" and I would very much appreciate the input of the skeptics on this forum. If you have time, please take the survey below:

https ://docs.google. com/forms/d/10vpHeI-8bw582-8U2-eaCpD4yzFwVHS3NX0jFqYOFnc/viewform

Remove the space between google. and com and https and :.

Thank you!

Also, if you are available to interview over email, please pm.
heh
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Old 16th April 2016, 01:07 PM   #2
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Because they want to feel special and it makes more sense to them that conspiracies exist and people are keeping them out of the loop thus making them feel not special. At it's heart.

A subset of them feels that for X reason(s) they cannot accept it only took a few people to do whatever it was they think must have required a large number of people to allow and cause something to be done, so conspiracy. The two are not of necessity co-existant but may be.
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Old 16th April 2016, 01:10 PM   #3
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Old 16th April 2016, 01:20 PM   #4
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Add to all of the above the fact that a section of American society seems to consider the government to be an enemy, and therefore assumes that government actions are malevolent. When these people can't find actual malevolence, they invent it, thus confirming their beliefs.
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Old 16th April 2016, 01:29 PM   #5
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Never attribute to malice something that can be attributed to stupidity! (not original, but forgot the author).
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Old 16th April 2016, 01:35 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Never attribute to malice something that can be attributed to stupidity! (not original, but forgot the author).
This, with other words, is my main argument against conspiracy theorists. I'm borrowing it.

Another reason: fiction in general, particularly movies.
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Old 16th April 2016, 01:38 PM   #7
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Another reason: technologies that allow rapid spread of information (I mean, The Internet).
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Old 16th April 2016, 10:30 PM   #8
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Because it is not just a theory
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Old 16th April 2016, 10:31 PM   #9
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I live on place in the world were many wars have occurred in past century and I can tell you people just don't normally hate their neighbours
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Old 17th April 2016, 01:23 AM   #10
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Mod InfoThread moved to Conspiracies and Conspiracy Theories from International Skeptics
Posted By:zooterkin
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Old 17th April 2016, 02:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Because they want to feel special and it makes more sense to them that conspiracies exist and people are keeping them out of the loop thus making them feel not special. At it's heart.

A subset of them feels that for X reason(s) they cannot accept it only took a few people to do whatever it was they think must have required a large number of people to allow and cause something to be done, so conspiracy. The two are not of necessity co-existant but may be.
^^ Pretty much this with the addendum that belief in an overarching conspiracy absolves them of any blame for the absolute car crash they've made of their lives in terms of career, education, ability to get dressed on their own, deal with normal people etc etc.

Quite often an acceptance of one conspiracy theory provides a chink in the world view armour that leads them to believe absolutely every piece of woo and alternative 'thinking' out there, like removing their intellectual finger from the hole holding back a cesspool of nonsense.
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Old 17th April 2016, 06:15 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Predrag View Post
I live on place in the world were many wars have occurred in past century and I can tell you people just don't normally hate their neighbours
Sadly, hating the out group is an all too normal human behavior.
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Old 17th April 2016, 06:26 AM   #13
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I too have observed enough (primarily among Apollo hoax believers) to have reached the conclusion that the conspiracy theorist is usually drawn by the idea that he (less often she) has discerned some great secret truth that the vast majority of people are too stupid to see, thus confirming for themselves their place among a rarified intellectual elite. Add in some narcissism and they see any attempt to dispute the veracity of their claims, however egregious their errors may be, as a personal attack aimed at making them look stupid. They generally don't seem to understand that it isn't being wrong that makes one stupid, it's the refusal to admit ones errors when they are clearly exposed. Thus they defend their conspiracy beliefs very much like a religious faith.
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Counterbalance in the little town of Ridgeview, Ohio. Two people permanently enslaved by the tyranny of fear and superstitution, facing the future with a kind of helpless dread. Two others facing the future with confidence - having escaped one of the darker places of the Twilight Zone.
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:01 AM   #14
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That has to be one of the most useless surveys ever.

I have no political affiliation - answer is mandatory.

"Do you believe in one or more conspiracy theories?"
My answer is no. How on earth can one answer the next, mandatory questions?
"Please write a short description of the ones you believe" and "Why do you believe so?"

Must try harder.

Seriously
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:44 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
That has to be one of the most useless surveys ever.

I have no political affiliation - answer is mandatory.

"Do you believe in one or more conspiracy theories?"
My answer is no. How on earth can one answer the next, mandatory questions?
"Please write a short description of the ones you believe" and "Why do you believe so?"

Must try harder.

Seriously
Agreed

"What got you into skepticism?" Followed by
"Has anyone ever tried to convince you otherwise? How did you respond?"
"Do you feel as if you could be convinced otherwise?"

Convince me of what? Convince me that I am not a skeptic? Convince me that the stated reason is not the real reason? Convince me of one or more conspiracy theories? Convince me that I should not be a skeptic?

As for being convinced of conspiracy theories, yes, I could be convinced if I were provided with quality evidence that explains all aspects of the event. I, like many here, can admit that I am wrong. All it takes is some evidence.

Lastly, if you have time, you should consider rewriting the survey. Your instructor can help you. You might also consider announcing a cutoff date for accepting responses. And if you do have an announced or unannounced cutoff date, then after the responses are tabulated, please come back and tell us what you were testing for and if the results confirmed your hypothesis.

ETA
I am assuming you are a college student or a graduate student. If you are in high school, then I apologize for the harshness of my response.

MORE ETA
Please note that some of your language may be ambiguous or distracting. E.g. "Do you feel like you could be convinced?" Should probably replaced with "could you be convinced otherwise?" Unless, of course, feel was the operative word in the question.
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:50 AM   #16
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Well, if you don't believe in any conspiracy theories, do not take the survey.
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
Agreed

"What got you into skepticism?" Followed by
"Has anyone ever tried to convince you otherwise? How did you respond?"
"Do you feel as if you could be convinced otherwise?"

Convince me of what? Convince me that I am not a skeptic? Convince me that the stated reason is not the real reason? Convince me of one or more conspiracy theories? Convince me that I should not be a skeptic?

As for being convinced of conspiracy theories, yes, I could be convinced if I were provided with quality evidence that explains all aspects of the event. I, like many here, can admit that I am wrong. All it takes is some evidence.

Lastly, if you have time, you should consider rewriting the survey. Your instructor can help you. You might also consider announcing a cutoff date for accepting responses. And if you do have an announced or unannounced cutoff date, then after the responses are tabulated, please come back and tell us what you were testing for and if the results confirmed your hypothesis.

ETA
I am assuming you are a college student or a graduate student. If you are in high school, then I apologize for the harshness of my response.
It's fine, I know the survey is bad. I'm just under a very strict time limit and this project is to just get a little experience.
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:52 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by markjohn View Post
Well, if you don't believe in any conspiracy theories, do not take the survey.
Then why did you title your thread "skeptics please answer" if our contributions are unhelpful? Are you confused by who we are and what we do here?
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:54 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by markjohn View Post
Hello!
I am currently working on a research project: "Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?" and I would very much appreciate the input of the skeptics on this forum. If you have time, please take the survey below:

https ://docs.google. com/forms/d/10vpHeI-8bw582-8U2-eaCpD4yzFwVHS3NX0jFqYOFnc/viewform

Remove the space between google. and com and https and :.

Thank you!

Also, if you are available to interview over email, please pm.
heh
It's been done. 9/11 Conspiracy Theories: Inside The Lonely Lives Of Truthers, Still Looking For Their Big Break
Fourteen years after 9/11, Truthers, as they’ve been pejoratively labeled since 2001, have not gone away. And odds are, you probably know one.
By Brendan James

I didn’t know my local bartender was a 9/11 Truther. Boyishly handsome with dirty blond hair and wearing his T-shirt inside out, he appeared to be eavesdropping on me at a Brooklyn tavern last week as I told a friend that I was working on a piece about “Truthers” -- Americans who believe the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania were staged or executed not by terrorists but by the American government.

“Inside job,” the bartender piped up, without making eye contact. I asked him if he was just making fun or if he was truly a believer himself.

“Yeah, man, I’m a believer," he said, pouring me a drink.

“Yeah, man, I’m a believer." http://www.ibtimes.com/911-conspirac...-break-2091474

Why Do People Believe in Conspiracy Theories?

Who believes in conspiracy theories—and why


By Michael Shermer on December 1, 2014
http://www.scientificamerican.com/ar...racy-theories/

Here’s Why People Believe In Conspiracy Theories

According to a pair of new studies published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, conspiracy theorists—and there are a lot more of them than you may think—tend to have one thing in common: they feel a lack of control over their lives. http://time.com/3997033/conspiracy-theories/

Bad thinkers
Why do some people believe conspiracy theories? It’s not just who or what they know. It’s a matter of intellectual character

by Quassim Cassam

You realize, of course, that Oliver’s theory about 9/11 has little going for it, and this might make you wonder why he believes it. The question ‘Why does Oliver believe that 9/11 was an inside job?’ is just a version of a more general question posed by the US skeptic Michael Shermer: why do people believe weird things? The weirder the belief, the stranger it seems that someone can have it. Asking why people believe weird things isn’t like asking why they believe it’s raining as they look out of the window and see the rain pouring down. It’s obvious why people believe it’s raining when they have compelling evidence, but it’s far from obvious why Oliver believes that 9/11 was an inside job when he has access to compelling evidence that it wasn’t an inside job. https://aeon.co/essays/the-intellect...racy-theorists
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:06 AM   #20
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As for your why-they-believe question, I don't have much to add beyond Foster Zygote's post #13.

CTers do have a fervency to their beliefs. It is hard to convince them that even one small aspect of their interpretation of the event is incorrect. There is very much an all-or-nothing attitude among people fond of conspiracy theories.

If you have enough time, read a variety of threads in this subforum. That will get you a better understanding of the skeptics' perspective and the non-skeptics' perspective.

When you write up your report be sure to include a definition of conspiracy theories (and an explanation of how they differ from criminal conspiracies).
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Old 17th April 2016, 10:33 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Jrrarglblarg View Post
Then why did you title your thread "skeptics please answer" if our contributions are unhelpful? Are you confused by who we are and what we do here?
Yes, I think I am confused to what skeptics are. Please explain.
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Old 17th April 2016, 10:39 AM   #22
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A skeptic is one who uses critical thinking tools to examine claims. Conspiracy Theorists are not skeptical but highly gullible about things which support other preconceived notions they possess.

A 911 CT, for instance, is not skeptical for "questioning" the "official story" because they do not use critical thinking tools when they do so, but rely, pretty exclusively, on logical fallacies to support their claims and to dispute contradicting evidence.
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Old 17th April 2016, 10:42 AM   #23
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Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?

Because the NWO/Illuminati/Reptilian Overlords have brainwashed the public, and the only people who can stop them are the brave, courageous Internet sleuths - armed with grainy YouTube videos, of course.
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Old 17th April 2016, 11:13 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by markjohn View Post
Yes, I think I am confused to what skeptics are. Please explain.
Explanation
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Old 17th April 2016, 11:32 AM   #25
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I suggest going back to the drawing board and doing a bit of basic research.
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Old 17th April 2016, 11:44 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by markjohn View Post
Well, if you don't believe in any conspiracy theories, do not take the survey.
I believe the theory that 9/11 was a criminal conspiracy involving 19 men hijacking four planes and attempting to fly them into various targets in the United States. Should I take the survey?

If no, why not?

Hank
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Hanks ”method” [of requesting evidence] is not going to [get me to] provide any evidence since it has a completely different purpose. To create the the illusion of me not providing evidence when requested to do so.
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Old 17th April 2016, 11:45 AM   #27
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Weren't those deluded people now known as 'truthers' originally known as "9/11 Skeptics"? That could be a source of the confusion.
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Old 17th April 2016, 03:51 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by markjohn View Post
Yes, I think I am confused to what skeptics are. Please explain.
Here is a definition of a "skeptic" - a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

Most of the skeptics here do not question anything that contradicts the official 9/11 story. Instead of skeptics you should call them "cognitive impaired".

Most people would actually consider the "truthers" to be the actual "skeptics", since they are the ones questioning the accepted opinions.
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Old 17th April 2016, 04:12 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by zooterkin View Post
Weren't those deluded people now known as 'truthers' originally known as "9/11 Skeptics"? That could be a source of the confusion.
Not to mention "Climate Change Deniers Skeptics".

On a more serious note, I'd prefer for the term to just go away, if I could come up with a more concise way of saying "evidenced based thinkers". Randi, or someone associated with him, was once promoting the term "Brights". That was extremely awful.
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Old 17th April 2016, 04:19 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by FalseFlag View Post
Most of the skeptics here do not question anything that contradicts the official 9/11 story.
I'm skeptical of this claim. How did you determine that 'most' skeptics here don't question things that contradict the official 9/11 'story'? Did you take a poll, analyze every post to determine which members are skeptical, something else? Please show your evidence.

Quote:
Most people would actually consider the "truthers" to be the actual "skeptics", since they are the ones questioning the accepted opinions.
Again, where's your evidence?
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Old 17th April 2016, 05:03 PM   #31
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I was a CTist for over 20 years.

My story in brief:

It all began at the age of 6. My dad had the abridged Warren Commission Report (like most Americans in the 1960s did), and a couple of books by Life Magazine with big photos of the day of the assassination.

"I don't believe one guy did it alone," he said. Now, when you're 6 your father is the smartest man in the world. He had seen Kennedy in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis when have came to review the troops. Dad had served in the US Army as a medic, and had some applicable knowledge of the basics.

From that day forward I was sold on the JFK Assassination being a conspiracy. In my teens and twenties I read every CT book on the assassination I could get my hands on: Mark Lane, Jim Mars, and a host of others. Mars got me into the Government UFO cover-up CT. So I bought a bunch of those books.

I looked into other vast CTs like the Rothschilds, Illuminati, Zionists, and a few others but decided they were just too stupid even for me to waste time on.

What changed?

Two key events: The Oklahoma City Bombing. Tim McVeigh had sought revenge for Waco, and many of the same evil, clueless things that came out of his mouth had come out of mine. This forced me to rethink many things.

Then in 1996 I visited my brother in Dallas, and he took me to the 6th Floor Museum housed in the old Texas Schoolbook Depository. It was glaringly obvious to me that not only was it an easy shot from the 6th floor to Elm street below, but that almost everything I had read about Dealey Plaza was wrong (or a lie). Moreover, there was no way anyone could have stood behind the picket fence on the grassy knoll and not be visible in every photograph and everyone there.

I left Dallas feeling like an idiot, and rightfully so. I had assumed all of those con men who'd written all of those CT books had done their research and knew what they were talking about. Turns out that few had. When I checked the notes in the backs of their books I found that most of their "research" consisted of other CT books.

From then on I started to do more homework before lending space in my brain for CTs, and found that most have no merit whatsoever.
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Old 17th April 2016, 05:51 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by FalseFlag View Post
Here is a definition of a "skeptic" - a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

Most of the skeptics here do not question anything that contradicts the official 9/11 story. Instead of skeptics you should call them "cognitive impaired".
But surely you accept the official story of the Moon Landing. So that means you accept some official stories and doubt the veracity of other official stories. Are you "cognitive impaired" because you accept the official theory from NASA? Also, how do you decide whether or not to accept the official stories on major events from the past 50 years?
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Old 17th April 2016, 07:42 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by Ladewig View Post
But surely you accept the official story of the Moon Landing. So that means you accept some official stories and doubt the veracity of other official stories. Are you "cognitive impaired" because you accept the official theory from NASA? Also, how do you decide whether or not to accept the official stories on major events from the past 50 years?
I've heard that the official story about something called world war I - obviously I question that it ever happened...

Yeah right
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Old 17th April 2016, 08:19 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Hans View Post
I've heard that the official story about something called world war I - obviously I question that it ever happened...

Yeah right
Even the most fervent Consiracy Theorists believe the the war occurred.
For the historical Conspiracy Theorists, the issue is how the war was started. Was it (A) the result of a complex series of alliances, changing cultural beliefs, the solidification of nationalism coupled with imperialism, an arms race, the general balance of power, and international economics on a never-before-seen scale or (B) the result of an elaborate long-range well-planned plot to manipulate the governments, the economies, and the cultures of the great nations of Northern and Western Europe aka The-Jews-did-it theory.
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Old 18th April 2016, 01:49 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by FalseFlag View Post
Here is a definition of a "skeptic" - a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

Most of the skeptics here do not question anything that contradicts the official 9/11 story. Instead of skeptics you should call them "cognitive impaired".

Most people would actually consider the "truthers" to be the actual "skeptics", since they are the ones questioning the accepted opinions.
Actually, this is an example of confirmation bias, not a definition of skepticism.
Skepticism, AKA critical thinking, evaluates all views based on the evidence put forward to support them.
Truthers like False Flag doubt all accepted opinions, except those accepted by their peers, and the truther echo-chambers from which they draw their arguments. These views are accepted without question, and often without any actual evidence. Indeed, many of these views are vigorously defended despite the evidence, not because of it.
False Flag: if you disagree, before you post, consider if you would which "accepted opinions" you question, and which you do not. Then compare that against the definition (yours or the real one) of skepticism.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:16 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by Axxman300 View Post
I was a CTist for over 20 years.

My story in brief:

<<snipped very good story>>

From then on I started to do more homework before lending space in my brain for CTs, and found that most have no merit whatsoever.
I had never questioned the JFK assassination, but I had that same thought looking out that window a few years ago when we finally went. Not such a hard shot at all.

It is odd to me that The Sixth floor Museum is a private non-profit.
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Old 18th April 2016, 11:27 AM   #37
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"Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?"

Because the devil died a few centuries ago and there are no witches anymore (they have been burnt). People now need to find another plausible cause for things which turn wrong in their lives or in the world.

Acknowledging that their own shortcomings or even mere coïncidences might by the cause of what goes wrong is not an option for them.
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Old 18th April 2016, 06:58 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
It is odd to me that The Sixth floor Museum is a private non-profit.
That's Texas for you.
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Old 19th April 2016, 05:26 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by FalseFlag View Post
Here is a definition of a "skeptic" - a person inclined to question or doubt all accepted opinions.

Most of the skeptics here do not question anything that contradicts the official 9/11 story. Instead of skeptics you should call them "cognitive impaired".

Most people would actually consider the "truthers" to be the actual "skeptics", since they are the ones questioning the accepted opinions.
So awfully wrong. See post #35 to understand why.
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Old 19th April 2016, 06:50 PM   #40
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There are so many reasons, many of them already posted here. There was a poem I read that had a line, "Isn't it wrong to wish for a great storm just to feel important?"

And I think CTers feel important if they insert themselves into the great storm where they are in the minority that see what really happened. They feel they are more intelligent, more special then most because of their ability to see The Truth, to have fit all the puzzle pieces together. And yes, they have a pathological paranoia of all things Government.
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