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Tags jim fetzer , moon landing hoax , no planes

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Old 21st January 2012, 11:46 PM   #1
Obviousman
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Jim Fetzer & Conspiracies

Many of us would be aware of Jim Fetzer and the fact he believes in a lot (all?) of conspiracies: JFK, 9-11, Moon Hoax to name just a few. By iteself, that is not particularly strange, but what is quite curious is the particular position he takes within the groups who hold those beliefs. In most cases he takes the most extreme - even bizarre - positions within them. For instance:

9-11. He's a no-planer, supporting the idea of holographic aircraft and laser beams.

Moon hoax. Supports people like Jack White, Dave McGowan or John Lear and his "living Moon" theories.

He is also currently advancing the prediction that there will be a "false flag" attack on the USS Vincennes, to be used as a pretext for US military action towards on Iran... even though that ship has now been decommissioned, was in mothballs for a number of years and has now been reduced to scrap!

With the position he takes regarding the various conspiracies, it is almost as if he is deliberately setting himself up as a strawman in order to discredit conspiracy theorists. Even when discussing these beliefs, he commits multiple logical errors / logical fallacies despite actually teaching a university-level course in critical thinking.

Some people have suggested that Jim Fetzer is a "disinformation agent".

So: does Jim Fetzer actually believe in the theories he supports or are there other reasons for his supporting the most wacky of "out there" beliefs?

It's this I want to discuss and hear opinions on: does he actually believe what he says?
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Old 22nd January 2012, 12:00 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
Some people have suggested that Jim Fetzer is a "disinformation agent".
So your saying that because Fetzer believes crazy conspiracy ideas there should be some question about whether he's an agent for the super secret NWO global government? Makes sense to me. After all, no one really believes in that crap, right. No one really believes in no-planes at 9/11. No sir, it's all a ploy to discredit legitimate conspiracy theorists who, as we know, rational and thoughtful people, always sticking to the facts never and falling for stupidity.
Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
He is also currently advancing the prediction that there will be a "false flag" attack on the USS Vincennes, to be used as a pretext for US military action towards on Iran... even though that ship has now been decommissioned, was in mothballs for a number of years and has now been reduced to scrap!
And well-informed. Everyone knows that conspiracy theorists are always well-informed. So when Fetzer appears out of the picture, we all know he's 'disinfo'. Must be. It's the only explanation that makes sense.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 12:58 AM   #3
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It's that he seems to continuously take the more extreme view. We all know people who may believe in a conspiracy theory of some type. We may even believe a particular one ourselves. You'll normally find an extreme in only one area, though. You'll find a 9-11 no-planer but they don't believe that the Moon landings were hoaxed... or if they do, they have at least "CT mainstream" ideas.

Jim Fetzer seems to be different, not only for the range of his conspiracy beliefs, but the extreme position within those beliefs.

I find that unusual and want to hear if people think it is simply because he holds some extreme beliefs, or is there another reason for this.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 01:11 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
It's that he seems to continuously take the more extreme view. We all know people who may believe in a conspiracy theory of some type. We may even believe a particular one ourselves. You'll normally find an extreme in only one area, though. You'll find a 9-11 no-planer but they don't believe that the Moon landings were hoaxed... or if they do, they have at least "CT mainstream" ideas.[yt]
Do you? Is that your experience on the JREF Conspiracy Forum? That friends like Clayton Moore who are Truthers, Holocaust deniers and FEMA Death Camp advocates are the anomaly?
Do you find it strange that Jason Bermus of Loose Change fame believes just about every conspiracy theory imaginable. Or that David Ray Griffin believes in reincarnation, ESP and all of those other wacko New Age ideas? Or all the Truthers from the David Ike forums? Or the very reasonable fellows from the Let's Roll forums who believe that no one was really killed on 9/11. Or all the chemtrail Truthers? Or the FEMA Death Camp Truthers? Or the Birther Truthers? The JREF forums are packed full of these guys. Or is this just not extreme?

Who are these not so extreme reasonable Truthers that you know?
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Old 22nd January 2012, 02:05 AM   #5
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Well, if I understand your argument, you are saying he is not unusual, that many CTs hold "extreme' views in a variety of CTs?
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Old 22nd January 2012, 02:22 AM   #6
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If that's what you think, you would be right. Crazy ideas are believed by crazy people. Do you have any reason to believe differently?
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Old 22nd January 2012, 02:28 AM   #7
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Are you familiar with the idea of "crank magnetism"?
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Crank_magnetism

If one is daft enough to think that no planes were involved in 9/11, one will believe anything.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 02:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
Well, if I understand your argument, you are saying he is not unusual, that many CTs hold "extreme' views in a variety of CTs?
Quite a lot of the time I think they do.

From what I've seen, a distrust of government rapidly translates to a distrust of anything that remotely resembles 'official sources', which combines with an inability to exercise rational thought and poor education to throw out any kind of understanding of the world they learned from those official sources.

Simply questioning an official stance is seen as discrediting that stance, and contempt for those official sources translates into contempt for anyone who believes those sources. It becomes self-reinforcing.

They also want to be part of what they believe is a mass movement, and the whole "Emperor's new clothes" syndrome has a big part to play in the adoption of a CT mindset. The irony of a mass of delusional fools calling everyone they believe to be delusional fools "sheep", and that their own set of "official sources" may have their own agenda (making money from gullible idiots) escapes them entirely.

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Old 22nd January 2012, 02:41 AM   #9
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But Jim Fetzer holds views which "mainstream" CTs seem to shy away from. As pointed out, some think this is to try and discredit CTs, either in a particular belief (e.g. 9-11) or in general.

I can understand the general agreement with many conspiracy theories, but the extremity of the view within each particular conspiracy intrigues me. IMO - and of course I may be the only one who holds this opinion - he seems to pick the most extreme, wacky position within a belief set.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 03:41 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
But Jim Fetzer holds views which "mainstream" CTs seem to shy away from. As pointed out, some think this is to try and discredit CTs, either in a particular belief (e.g. 9-11) or in general.
What's a mainstream CTer? You mean like the guys who believe President Obama was born in Kenya? That makes them mainstream? How about the ones who think he's a CIA plant and they created his entire life story?

Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
I can understand the general agreement with many conspiracy theories, but the extremity of the view within each particular conspiracy intrigues me. IMO - and of course I may be the only one who holds this opinion - he seems to pick the most extreme, wacky position within a belief set.
You do? Like the geoengineering guys? Or the UN conspiracy? Or the secret one world government? Which ones do you understand? I don't understand any of them.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 09:41 AM   #11
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And as if by magic, an example of what I mean has appeared before our eyes. But my friend, it is neither magic nor interesting. It is simply the rule among the nut cases whose belief systems defy logic.

Originally Posted by therival58 View Post
This link was posted in the 'freeman and England' thread but no one really commented on it.

The premise of the video is that the 13th and 14th amendments, while abolishing slavery, created 'voluntary servitude' which, it claims, we are all now
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rvD-rOn2Zm0

I think this is where the FOTL concept originated. The video only 10 minutes I would highly recommend anyone interested to check it out.

There is no stupid music or anything distracting from the content. It appears to be a clip from a larger documentary.
Originally Posted by Sceptic-PK View Post
Have you ever met a conspiracy theory you don't like?
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:37 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post

He is also currently advancing the prediction that there will be a "false flag" attack on the USS Vincennes, to be used as a pretext for US military action towards on Iran... even though that ship has now been decommissioned, was in mothballs for a number of years and has now been reduced to scrap!
Personal Trivia: In the mid 90's I served on the USS Monterey with the guy who indentified the Iranian Airbus as a hostile.
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Old 24th January 2012, 03:39 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
What's a mainstream CTer? You mean like the guys who believe President Obama was born in Kenya?
Let's put it another way, if you sort CTs from "evidenceless" to "just reading it makes anyone dumber", Fetzer will go for the latter.

To use your example:
"Obama was born in Kenya" appeals do Republicans, Teabaggers, Racists etc, it doesn't require millions of dumb or involved scientists etc.

"Obama is really from Krypton" would appeal to Fetzer...
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Old 24th January 2012, 05:02 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by rambaldi View Post
Let's put it another way, if you sort CTs from "evidenceless" to "just reading it makes anyone dumber", Fetzer will go for the latter.

To use your example:
"Obama was born in Kenya" appeals do Republicans, Teabaggers, Racists etc, it doesn't require millions of dumb or involved scientists etc.

"Obama is really from Krypton" would appeal to Fetzer...

+1

For example:

Among "mainstream" truthers the idea that the World Trade Center was destroyed by pre-planted explosives is an article of faith. Fetzer, however, supports Judy Wood's claim that the towers were destroyed by directed energy weapons, which is at least an order of magnitude crankier.
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Old 24th January 2012, 06:28 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by rambaldi View Post
Let's put it another way, if you sort CTs from "evidenceless" to "just reading it makes anyone dumber", Fetzer will go for the latter.

To use your example:
"Obama was born in Kenya" appeals do Republicans, Teabaggers, Racists etc, it doesn't require millions of dumb or involved scientists etc.

"Obama is really from Krypton" would appeal to Fetzer...
If you're speaking metaphorically, this makes sense. If you're trying to describe what Fezter would really say, this is just your imagination.

Honestly, I have to ask how many other threads on this forum you've read. ever time I read something new, it's how this conspiracy theorist believes everything that's thrown at him or that the best predictor of belief in one conspiracy is belief in another.

I don't know how you have missed this. Do you really believe that Jim Fetzer is a NWO disinfo spy? The idea that someone conspiracy theorists believe any and everything is just standard here. It's just the way it is, and everyone here knows it.
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Old 24th January 2012, 06:48 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
So: does Jim Fetzer actually believe in the theories he supports or are there other reasons for his supporting the most wacky of "out there" beliefs?

It's this I want to discuss and hear opinions on: does he actually believe what he says?
Two little words that explain everything:

Head injury.
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Old 24th January 2012, 10:55 AM   #17
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I would have to agree that there is indeed a spectrum of woo, from innocent spin on one end to full-blown delusional fantasy at the other. I think every reader draws his own line on that spectrum where he divides something he considers patently incredible and something he might want to investigate to see where there's a nugget of truth.

And yes, I agree James Fetzer seems to aim for the heavy-woo end of the spectrum. Why he does it is probably something only he knows. I think it's less plausible that he's some sort of secret anti-conspiracy operative, than that he simply knows that in order to make a profit in the conspiracy industry (and let's face it: that's what he's been trying to do for years) you have to stand out from the crowd. Being just a little "woo" means you have to fight for an audience among the second- and third-tier journalists and the barely-mainstream news commentators. Being a lot "woo" means everyone's talking about you because no one else is that [expletive] crazy. And notoriety is the name of the game. If you're not noticed, you don't get appearance fees.

Fetzer, being one of the few fringe theorists with an advanced academic degree, gets to play another card that his competitors lack. His arguments more often than not boil down to, "Well I have a PhD in science, therefore anything I say is likely to be true and unless you have my education you can't even begin to argue with me." I wonder if he knows that doctorates can be withdrawn by their granting institutions for egregious behavior and/or misuse of them.
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Old 24th January 2012, 11:15 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
What's a mainstream CTer? You mean like the guys who believe President Obama was born in Kenya? That makes them mainstream? How about the ones who think he's a CIA plant and they created his entire life story?

If I may speak for Obviousman, I believe he means mainstream within the context of a particular conspiracy topic. For example, within the context of 9/11 conspiracy theories, explosive demolition of WTCs 1, 2, and 7 can be considered mainstream, whereas space beam "dustification" and holographic planes would be examples of the fringe.

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Old 24th January 2012, 11:59 PM   #19
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Cl1mh4224rd has it exactly right.
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Old 25th January 2012, 01:27 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Cl1mh4224rd View Post
If I may speak for Obviousman, I believe he means mainstream within the context of a particular conspiracy topic. For example, within the context of 9/11 conspiracy theories, explosive demolition of WTCs 1, 2, and 7 can be considered mainstream, whereas space beam "dustification" and holographic planes would be examples of the fringe.
I understand that's what he means, or at least thinks he means. But I believe he is wrong. I doubt there are any CTers who don't believe in multiple CTs. I can produce empirical studies that show this to be the case. It is my personal experience. It is a generally help position on this forum.

I'd say it's up to him to show me these uni-CTers.
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Old 25th January 2012, 03:05 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
I understand that's what he means, or at least thinks he means. But I believe he is wrong. I doubt there are any CTers who don't believe in multiple CTs. I can produce empirical studies that show this to be the case. It is my personal experience. It is a generally help position on this forum.

I'd say it's up to him to show me these uni-CTers.
Except that he's not saying there are any "uni-CTers." He's observing (correctly IMHO) that Mr. Fetzer not only believes in multiple CTs, he believes in the fringe of the fringe of the fringe for all the multiple CTs.

I read it as - within each CT there is a mainstream for that CT, and Fetzer is at the fringe for multiple CTs.

Just checking, given your occasional use of Poe-as-learning-tool -- are you being serious here?
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Old 25th January 2012, 04:02 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
Except that he's not saying there are any "uni-CTers." He's observing (correctly IMHO) that Mr. Fetzer not only believes in multiple CTs, he believes in the fringe of the fringe of the fringe for all the multiple CTs.

I read it as - within each CT there is a mainstream for that CT, and Fetzer is at the fringe for multiple CTs.

Just checking, given your occasional use of Poe-as-learning-tool -- are you being serious here?
Given the reputation I have built for myself, I feel compelled to clarify that my posts on this thread are intended to be taken seriously.

I understand what the OP is asking. I just think he is wrong that there is a mainstream of conspiracy theory that is relatively less nutty than some fringe of it.

In fact, the no-planer position on 9/11 is not a fringe position. Many Truthers continue to believe either this or positions that imply there were no planes that hit the WTC buildings. The whole idea that 'no planes' is a fringe idea began with Steven Jones and his Journal of 9/11 Studies. If you become a Facebook friend of Tracey Blevins, you will see that she has many supporters and in national probability surveys, many people continue to endorse statements about no planes hitting the buildings. The idea of 'no planes' is no less ridiculous or unscientific or bizarre than this whole thermite thing.

Does Fetzer advocate more conspiracies than other conspiracy theorists? My guess is no. Back in 1994, Ted Goertzel's survey of beliefs in conspiracy theories, found strong correlations between beliefs in all kinds of conspiracy ideas, including UFO conspiracies. You can download his original paper for free from Google Scholar. The results I'm speaking about are in Table 2 on page 7. They seem to cut & paste into the window, so I posting them. The whole paper is still worth reading. In case you're wondering, variable 8 'Japanese Econ' addresses the idea prevalent in the 1990s that there was a Japanese conspiracy to take over the American economy - "The Japanese are deliberately conspiring to destroy the American economy." These numbers are Pearson correlations between 4-point Likert type sclaes.

Table Two
Correlations Between Belief in Specific Conspiracies
Theory 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
1. Kennedy
2. Anita Hill .08
3. Aids Govlab .22** .28**
4. Aids-Gays .11 .24* .69*
5. Aids-Blacks .15* .24** .67* .78**
6. Flying Saucers .24** .15* .21* .19 .11
7. FBI-King .27** .27* .35* .33** .42** .16*
8. Iran Hostages .16* .11 .32** .31** .32** .17** .34**
9. Japanese Econ .07 .29** .20** .23** .22* .03 .24** .17**
10. Drugs-Gov .08 .34** .52** .54** .56** .19** .44** .29** .29**
N of cases: 348 One tailed significance: * < .01, ** < .001


But these findings are completely consistent with more recent research and with the posted opinions of members of this forum.

I think the confusion here is between the idea of a minority opinion and a fringe opinion. While I am sure that even Holocaust deniers and Lunar landing hoaxers have minority opinions amongst themselves, to call these fringe opinions or extreme opinions would be wrong. They simply variations of an opinion that is already so extreme that only insiders can even understand there is a difference.

Try talking to people outside the JREF about the subtle differences between NASA faking all of the Moon landings versus NASA faking only some of them. I think the what we here might see as a gigantic difference is a subtly lost on someone like my wife, who refuses to talk about any of this with me.
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Old 25th January 2012, 09:43 AM   #23
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Scott, I think you are over analyzing things.
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Old 25th January 2012, 10:02 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Alareth View Post
Scott, I think you are over analyzing things.
How? This is the real answer. If you ask people about different conspiracy beliefs,

Besides, if I just give a simple, under analyzed response, people keep posting the same question over and over and over and over and over and over again. People who believe one conspiracy theory also believe others. The difference between these beliefs is not important. That's why believing in Watergate or Operation Gladio does not make you a conspiracy theorist.

No, Jim Fetzer is not some extreme example of conspiracy theorists. Lots and lots of them have almost identical belief systems. It's a little different here and a little different there, lunar landing is replaced with UFOs or something else. But who's counting? Try talking about any of this stuff with your normal friends - I mean the ones who don't hang around the JREF forums all day talking with conspiracy freaks. They don't make this fine distinction between thermite and no-planes, or even CD. It's all just stupid conspiracy theory.

Oh...but didn't I say this all before...at least 3 times...and still had to answer the same question over and over and over until I over analyzed it? Maybe I've made my point this time.
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Old 25th January 2012, 01:12 PM   #25
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I've been writing, speaking, and appearing in print and on television now for about 13 years on the subject of the Moon landing conspiracy theories. I certainly see a gradation of belief among believers in that theory, based on how parsimoniously it may appeal to the mainstream.

And since everyone who knows me outside of the web experience knows what I do, I see a vast array of "real world" beliefs ranging from, "The missions were real, but some of the results may have been faked" (which was ex-astronaut Brian O'Leary's position until he and I chatted), all the way up to, "The shape-shifting aliens forced the CIA ex-Nazi cabal to make the white-supremacists at NASA fake the Moon landings in order to protect their base on the Moon." I even debated John Lear directly, although to call it a debate is generous -- that guy has some serious woo power, and little if any connection to reality.

But the point stands that not everyone is a John Lear. Yes, I agree that belief in one conspiracy theory is very likely to lead to belief in other conspiracy theories. No argument there. And I think that's indicative of a higher level dysfunction that's not tied to any one particular theory. But the notion that any one conspiracy theory has flavor variations from mild to picante is not one that I feel comfortable lightly sweeping under the carpet and ignoring.
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Old 25th January 2012, 07:43 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I've been writing, speaking, and appearing in print and on television now for about 13 years on the subject of the Moon landing conspiracy theories. I certainly see a gradation of belief among believers in that theory, based on how parsimoniously it may appeal to the mainstream.

And since everyone who knows me outside of the web experience knows what I do, I see a vast array of "real world" beliefs ranging from, "The missions were real, but some of the results may have been faked" (which was ex-astronaut Brian O'Leary's position until he and I chatted), all the way up to, "The shape-shifting aliens forced the CIA ex-Nazi cabal to make the white-supremacists at NASA fake the Moon landings in order to protect their base on the Moon." I even debated John Lear directly, although to call it a debate is generous -- that guy has some serious woo power, and little if any connection to reality.

But the point stands that not everyone is a John Lear. Yes, I agree that belief in one conspiracy theory is very likely to lead to belief in other conspiracy theories. No argument there. And I think that's indicative of a higher level dysfunction that's not tied to any one particular theory. But the notion that any one conspiracy theory has flavor variations from mild to picante is not one that I feel comfortable lightly sweeping under the carpet and ignoring.
I'm not denying this. I'm just saying that these graduations only make sense to us. It's like gradations of pedophilia or gradations of serial killing. Was John Wayne Gacy, Jr. worse than Ted Bundy? The Net is full of these discussions. Does it really matter to you? It obviously matters to people who spend all their time trying to buy clothing worn at some time by a serial killer. And since, as you agree, conspiracy theories cluster together, the point is not whether one belief is less crazy than another, but whether that cluster of beliefs is crazier than another cluster.

Is Fetzer's cluster of belief's crazier than Jason Bermus'? Are Steven Jones' beliefs crazier than John Lear's? Could Superman beat The Hulk? Can Reid Richards become smaller than the Mighty Atom? Sure I could join in all these discussions, but do they matter? Or are they just thought experiments that give meaning to the lives of people on the JREF?
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Old 25th January 2012, 08:02 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
Many of us would be aware of Jim Fetzer and the fact he believes in a lot (all?) of conspiracies: JFK, 9-11, Moon Hoax to name just a few. By iteself, that is not particularly strange, but what is quite curious is the particular position he takes within the groups who hold those beliefs. In most cases he takes the most extreme - even bizarre - positions within them. For instance:

9-11. He's a no-planer, supporting the idea of holographic aircraft and laser beams.

Moon hoax. Supports people like Jack White, Dave McGowan or John Lear and his "living Moon" theories.

He is also currently advancing the prediction that there will be a "false flag" attack on the USS Vincennes, to be used as a pretext for US military action towards on Iran... even though that ship has now been decommissioned, was in mothballs for a number of years and has now been reduced to scrap!

With the position he takes regarding the various conspiracies, it is almost as if he is deliberately setting himself up as a strawman in order to discredit conspiracy theorists. Even when discussing these beliefs, he commits multiple logical errors / logical fallacies despite actually teaching a university-level course in critical thinking.

Some people have suggested that Jim Fetzer is a "disinformation agent".

So: does Jim Fetzer actually believe in the theories he supports or are there other reasons for his supporting the most wacky of "out there" beliefs?

It's this I want to discuss and hear opinions on: does he actually believe what he says?


I learned a lot about humanity by observing truthers. People like Jim Fetzer really, really disturb me.

I guess before I heard of him I had an idea of what insanity was. I thought if you were insane there was an institution you went to..... Or hand long term home care, paced around in a house coat..... Something. I never actually thought you could be highly functionally insane. I'm sure he drives. He taught reasoning didn't he? I just don't understand it.
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Old 26th January 2012, 08:26 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
I'm not denying this. I'm just saying that these graduations only make sense to us.
Who is "us?"
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Old 26th January 2012, 08:39 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Caper View Post
He taught reasoning didn't he? I just don't understand it.
He taught philosophy of science. That's basically a humanities curriculum, but is not as heavy on logic as that which is taught in other fields. But because "science" appears in the name of his field, he manages to convince people that he is a scientist -- and he most certainly is not. And because he deals with the philosophical underpinnings of scientific inquiry, he believes that makes science (and therefore scientists) subordinate to him. He rides into every question waving his PhD and arrogantly proclaiming that the ultimate authority has arrived. But no, he has no useful skills or practical knowledge. He's a good argument against the tenure system. If my kid had been in his class, I'd have pulled him out and sued the college for a refund of tuition.

As far as mental illness goes, you have to tread carefully. Those are exceptionally hard to diagnose, even when the psychologist has extensive access to the subject. And as I argue above, I think Fetzer does this just to get attention. It vaults him out of the obscurity of a small-town college professor into the limelight of -- well, something. He has thousands of people either praising or criticizing him. Oscar Wilde said the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. I don't think Fetzer's crazy; I just think he knows what he has to do to stay vital in a competitive field. Just like Shakespeare's Hamlet he "puts an antic disposition on."
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Old 26th January 2012, 08:49 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
Who is "us?"
"Us" here at the JREF. There are people who spend all their lives looking for things that have been touched by serial killers. They have exceptionally detailed typologies of serial killers. There are people who spend their lives thinking about imaginary creatures and people that have appeared as drawings with script. They have exceptionally detailed typologies of comic book characters.

There are people who spend a great deal of their free time typing messages about conspiracy theory into tiny boxes on a computer screen. They too, it seems, have exceptionally detailed typologies of people who believe in conspiracy theories.

Just because these typologies have no relevance to the world beyond their creations doesn't mean they don't capture something that's meaningful. But just because most people have read a comic book doesn't mean it's useful to ask whether Superman could take The Hulk.
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Old 26th January 2012, 09:01 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
"Us" here at the JREF.
I've spent all but the last six months of my 13 years of relevant scholarship in substantial ignorance of JREF or anything that was discussed here. In my experience, gradation of woo does matter to people outside this forum.
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Old 26th January 2012, 09:30 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
I've spent all but the last six months of my 13 years of relevant scholarship in substantial ignorance of JREF or anything that was discussed here. In my experience, gradation of woo does matter to people outside this forum.
I'm sure how that changes my point that people who spend their lives thinking about things develop typologies that are meaningless outside their focus. My original point is that the idea of "crazier" conspiracy theorists is akin to the idea of the "worst" serial killers or "strongest" superhero.
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Old 26th January 2012, 11:10 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
My original point is that the idea of "crazier" conspiracy theorists is akin to the idea of the "worst" serial killers or "strongest" superhero.
And my point is that I disagree with that idea.
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Old 26th January 2012, 04:28 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
I'm sure how that changes my point that people who spend their lives thinking about things develop typologies that are meaningless outside their focus. My original point is that the idea of "crazier" conspiracy theorists is akin to the idea of the "worst" serial killers or "strongest" superhero.

I also disagree. To return to my earlier WTC example, if you were to talk to 20 randomly selected Americans, you'd undoubtedly find that a majority would say that it's at least remotely conceivable that the WTC towers were destroyed at least in part by pre-planted explosives. Space-based energy weapons, not so much.
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Old 26th January 2012, 04:48 PM   #35
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As strange as it may seem, Fetzer drew the line at full-scale Holocaust denial, or rather drew the line at instantaneously endorsing the bloviations of one of the head honchos in denier-land, and was hounded off CODOH forum as a result.

http://holocaustcontroversies.blogsp...er-fiasco.html

It's nice to know that cranks can be relied on to alienate even each other....
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Old 26th January 2012, 09:21 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
And as I argue above, I think Fetzer does this just to get attention. It vaults him out of the obscurity of a small-town college professor into the limelight of -- well, something. He has thousands of people either praising or criticizing him. Oscar Wilde said the only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about. I don't think Fetzer's crazy; I just think he knows what he has to do to stay vital in a competitive field. Just like Shakespeare's Hamlet he "puts an antic disposition on."
So you think it is attention seeking, not really believing his position and with no ulterior motives?
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Old 26th January 2012, 09:27 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by SpitfireIX View Post
I also disagree. To return to my earlier WTC example, if you were to talk to 20 randomly selected Americans, you'd undoubtedly find that a majority would say that it's at least remotely conceivable that the WTC towers were destroyed at least in part by pre-planted explosives. Space-based energy weapons, not so much.
Have you tried to talking to people you didn't meet in conspiracy world about all of this conspiracy stuff? My guess is this another one of these thought experiments, just like 'who is the strongest superhero?'

But if you do try and take this out of the world of imagination and actually talk to people about conspiracy theory ideas, you have to be careful with 9/11. I don't know about anymore, but in the past, there has been so much confusion about the facts of 9/11, I have no doubt some people think the commonly agreed position is something akin to a conspiracy. Try lunar landing conspiracies or holocaust denial or FEMA death camps.
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Old 27th January 2012, 08:33 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by Scott Sommers View Post
Have you tried to talking to people you didn't meet in conspiracy world about all of this conspiracy stuff?
Yes.

Quote:
My guess is this another one of these thought experiments, just like 'who is the strongest superhero?'
I'm not sure what you're arguing. The people I meet agree that belief in one conspiracy theory is likely to predict belief in others. They also agree that there is a gradation of "crankiness" associated with variants of these theories. I have seen no evidence to support the claim that those gradations are trivial or are somehow equivalent to a bogus imposition of gradation on well-defined actions.

With respect to the Moon landing hoax theory, there is more widespread acceptance for a claim that some genuine landings occurred but our record of them is incomplete or partially fabricated, than there is for a claim that no missions occurred and that the entire Apollo program was a fabrication. Although I no longer debate 9/11 conspiracy theories with much vigor, I have noted that there is more widespread acceptance for claims that the attacks occurred largely as claimed, but that there was some inaction or complicity, than for claims that exotic technologies were used to stage the entire tragedy.

If I understand your argument correctly, you want to bifurcate the question into "sane" and "kooky," and assert that it is pointless outside of JREF to consider gradations or severities of kookiness. You attribute any perception of such a gradation to a focus and/or confirmation bias endemic to JREF. Instead I see that bifurcation as an imposition of a simplified model on what I've observed in the field to be a phenomenon sufficiently rich in variety to support the allegations in the original post. Namely, since there is a gradation of kookiness in conspiracy belief, why do certain people gravitate toward the extreme end?
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Old 27th January 2012, 08:49 AM   #39
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I think the point trying to be made here is if there are two versions of a conspiracy about a plane exploding and one is "Someone hid a bomb inside a suitcase in the cargo hold" while the other is "Giant cats with rocket packs stuck it with a needle and it popped like a balloon", Fetzer is more likely to advocate the latter.
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Old 27th January 2012, 08:57 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Alareth View Post
I think the point trying to be made here is if there are two versions of a conspiracy about a plane exploding and one is "Someone hid a bomb inside a suitcase in the cargo hold" while the other is "Giant cats with rocket packs stuck it with a needle and it popped like a balloon", Fetzer is more likely to advocate the latter.
I agree entirely.

I endorse the premise that gradations of kookiness in conspiracy theories appear outside the conspiracism-skeptic forums and are recognized by the general public as such.

I concur that Fetzer tends toward the extremity of kookiness, where given a choice.

And to answer Obviousman's question, it is my belief that Fetzer gravitates toward extreme kookiness to get more attention than other conspiracy theorists. Since Fetzer writes and lectures on conspiracy theories, you could consider the pecuniary interest in that to be possibly an ulterior motive, but I fold that in with simply trying to be Alpha Conspiracist.
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