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You are a Conspiracy Theorist

Updated on July 8, 2008

Bush on Conspiracy Theories

Bill Clinton, disgusted

Bill O'Reilly on Loose Change: Don't Watch

People are catching a lot of flack these days for being “conspiracy theorists.” Whenever Bill O’Reilly uses the term, he almost unerringly attaches the phrase “nut job,” “loon,” or “America Hater”. Apart from proffering minor insults, other commentators have gone so far as to suggest some conspiracy theorists be “locked up,” “gotten rid of,” or as suggested by radio commenter Michael Reagon, “take them out and shoot them.” President Bush tells us not to tolerate conspiracy theorists. Bill Clinton bristles and growls at them “How dare you!”

When most people hear the term “conspiracy theory,” applied to an assertion made by some individual or group, the common response is usually to dismiss the assertion offhand. It is what is often called a loaded term. According to wikipedia, loaded language is “verbiage that attempts to influence the listener or reader by appealing to emotion rather than logic.” People associate the term conspiracy with paranoia, irrationalism, ignorance, prejudice, intolerance, and all sorts of other things nobody wants to be.

The use of loaded language is actually an excellent indicator of a person’s intolerance. Loaded language abounds when those using it do not want to engage in a rational, open-minded debate. Racial epithets are a common variation of loaded language. So are terms like “bible-thumper,” “baby-killer, and even “pro-life” or “pro-choice.” People react to the emotional content of these words, not their literal, conceptual content. Another example of a loaded term:


Lets take a look at an actual dictionary definition of “conspiracy:”

1. a secret agreement between two or more people to perform an

unlawful act

2. a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act (especially a political plot)

3. a group of conspirators banded together to achieve some harmful or illegal purpose

By this definition then, you are a conspiracy theorist if:

• You believe the Bush administration lied or exaggerated to motivate America into the War in Iraq.

• If you believe Democrats are lying about Bush lying about getting us into the War in Iraq.

• You believe that Christian Right is trying to force religion into schools and government.

• You believe the Secular Left is trying to force religion out of schools and government.

• You believe the gay rights movement is trying to force us all to be homosexuals.

• You believe the anti-gay rights movement is trying to force us all to hate homosexuals.

• You believe that there are secret groups of terrorist criminals who want to destroy America.

• You believe that there are secret groups of corporate criminals who want to enslave America.

• You believe your parents lied, and even attempted to cover up, the truth about Santa Clause.

And finally, you are a conspiracy theorist if:

You believe you have been lied to, at any time, by any group of individuals consisting of two or more people.

Now, by this definition, I’m a conspiracy theorist. So are Bill O’Reilly, Pat Robertson, and Noam Chomsky; and the chances are pretty good that you are too.

There, now you know the truth. How do you feel? Not too bad I hope. No worse than before? Good. Now, go out and have some fun with Conspiracy Theories! Sure, a lot of them probably aren't true, but thats ok. Its up to each one of us as individuals to decide what is and isn't true for ourselves. The key is to be open minded. Don't denounce a theory just because it is uncomfortable or paints a less than flattering image of the guy you voted for. Learn to accept uncomfortable truths and move past them. This is how we grow as individuals, and a as a society.

Robert Anton Wilson - Great Conspiracy Theorist


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    • Marshall Hammond profile imageAUTHOR

      Marshall Hammond 

      10 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I have a lot of problems with Steven Dutch's arguments.

      "Apparently, the melting of steel signifies the use of explosives or thermite cutting charges. The purpose of either is to cut steel, not melt it." Thermite (or most likely, thermate) cuts through steel by MELTING IT. The bigger the building, the more cutter charges, the larger the amount of molten steel.

      "For the umpteenth time, nobody ever claimed the steel melted. It got hot enough to lose its strength." This statement is false. The firefighters in the youtube link from my last comment claimed to see molten steel, like "lava". The metal "meteorite" in the video could not have been formed unless the steel had melted first, and then cooled and hardened.

      The molten steel was there. How did it get there? Steven Dutch offers no answer.

    • profile image

      Hugh E. Scott 

      10 years ago

      Dear Marshall,

      Before continuing your defense of 9/11 conspiracy theories, you should visit the following Web site:

      Here are two examples (contradictions) from the site that debunk 9/11 myths:

      Apparently the melting of steel signifies the use of explosives or thermite cutting charges. But the purpose of either is to cut steel, not melt it. A controlled demolition simply does not produce large amounts of molten steel. You might as well argue that all the concrete dust shows the World Tower buildings were taken down by an army of gnomes armed with grinding wheels.

      In a paper by Steven E. Jones, who bills himself as a "Physicist and Archaeometrist," there are pictures of glowing material falling from the World Trade Center, together with this comment: “Who can deny that liquid, molten metal existed at the WTC disaster? The yellow color implies a molten-metal temperature of approximately 1000o C.” NOTE: 1000o C is about 500o C below the melting point of iron.

    • Marshall Hammond profile imageAUTHOR

      Marshall Hammond 

      10 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      If its true that the materials on the pentagon lawn are "without a doubt" (and I'm curious as to how you know this) peices of American Airlines B757, it still falls far short of debunking the entire inside job theory. I haven't studied what happened at the Pentagon as much as what happened at the twin towers, but I do know this much: A lot of pilots, especially the ones involved in Pilots for 9-11 truth, do not believe that a man who had never piloted a commercial airliner before could be talented enough to strike the pentagon in the manner that we have been told. I recommend watching the movie Pandora's Black Box on Google video to see what pilots for 9-11 truth have to say.

      I have gone to the Popular Mechanics 9-11 Debunking site many times, and, apart from apparently debunking theories I've never heard of such as "pods on airplanes" and "seismic spikes" they do little to answer any of the scientific evidence brought forth by people like Richard Gage and Stephen Jones.

      Finally, the law of contradictions of course applies to the government's official story. They claim that fires in the WTC buildings were caused by jet fuel and building and office materials. Neither of these types of fire burn hot enough to melt steel. Yet, at all three WTC sites, pools of molten steel were found, burning for weeks underneath the rubble.The existence of molten steel directly contradicts the official story.

      Here is a 3 minute video on 9-11 molten steel:

      You'll notice that Popular Mechanics does not mention the actual existence molten steel or iron on their site. They say the metal was only "weakened," not melted. That is because there is no scientific explanation that can fit the governments' story. According to their story, the fires never got hot enough to actually melt the steel. But melted steel, there most certainly was.

    • profile image

      Hugh E. Scott 

      10 years ago

      I erred by implying ALL conspiracy theories can be easily debunked. An exception is JFK's assassination, which I studied extensively. Clearly it is an unsolved conspiracy because of evidence pointing to a second shooter.

      That’s not the case with 9/11. The September 11 conspiracy theory is easily debunked – IF one invokes the Law of Contradiction that goes back to ancient Greece.

      As you know, Marshall, the rule means that two antithetical propositions cannot both be true at the same time. All logic depends on this simple principle. Rational thought and meaningful discourse demand it. To deny it is to deny all truth in one fell swoop.

      Rightwing Republicans hate the Law of Contradiction. It's why they resort to lies, word-spinning and secrecy to avoid condemnation created by their numerous and careless contradictions.

      Scripture clearly affirms the Law of Contradiction. First John 2:21 is explicit: "No lie is of the truth." Many other passages, such as 2 Timothy 2:13, ("[God] cannot deny himself") either assume or reiterate the Law of Contradiction.

      Titus 1:2 tells us that "God . . . cannot lie." Therefore even God's Word must be in harmony with the Law of Contradiction.

      One clear contradiction is often enough to destroy the trustworthiness of the whole. That's why atheists try so hard to prove that God's Word contradicts itself.

      Now let’s apply the Law of Contradiction to your challenge about Bush – i.e., can I prove that Dub-ya and his cronies “aren't just highly advanced robots manufactured by the mole people who live in the center of the earth?”

      Of course I can -- by using logic.

      The center of the earth is a hot and incredibly dense, solid sphere composed primarily of iron, with a diameter of around about 2400 km, Therein lies the contradiction; the earth's center would be an impossible living environment for “mole people.”

      Conversely, had you stipulated that the mole people lived just beneath the earth’s surface, my argument – or contradiction – would be different.

      Finally, the contradictions about 9/11 are numerous, which you can discover by googling “Popular Mechanic debunks 9/11.”

      There, you will see wreckage of an American Airlines B757 lying on grass near the Pentagon. Without doubt, the shattered metal pieces are from the same aircraft that carried Ted Olson’s wife to a horrifying death which cruel, unthinking 9/11 conspiracy nuts allege never happened. They should be ashamed.

    • Marshall Hammond profile imageAUTHOR

      Marshall Hammond 

      10 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Hugh, your first sentence either implies that all conspiracy theories are false a priori, or it implies that you love the conspiracy theories that are false because they are easy to prove false.

      If you meant to imply the first one, then I'd of course have to disagree because I believe some conspiracy theories are true. For the sake of argument, I'd like to define "conspiracy theory" as: a hypothesis pertaining to a plot to carry out some harmful or illegal act. By this definition, it seems irrational to think that such a hypothesis could not be true. After all, our legal system prosecutes people for the charge of "conspiracy to commit murder," or "conspiracy to commit ____" fairly often.

      Concerning the second implication that you like false conspiracy theories because they are easy to debunk - if a conspiracy theory is easy to prove false,it can't be a good conspiracy theory, just as any scientific hypothesis that is easily proven false can't be a good hypothesis. However, it seems to me that even obviously false conspiracy theories could be difficult to prove false. Can you prove to me that Bush and his cronies aren't just highly advanced robots manufactured by the mole people who live in the center of the earth?

      A good conspiracy theory should be falsifiable, meaning it should be possible to find evidence that could legitimately debunk the theory. Conspiracy theories are difficult to falsify because they imply deception, secrecy, cover-ups, etc, things that are by their nature difficult to prove true or false.

      Regarding your comment about 9-11 whistle blowers, I think there are probably multiple reasons why whistleblowers (I assume meaning people involved in the actual plot) haven't come forward. If the government wanted someone to keep a secret, they could certainly shell out a lot more cash than the National Inquirer. They also have the capability to kill and maim, or just discredit and embarrass people. There are also public barriers in place that make it hard for the truth to come out. Public opinion is not kind to people who hold controversial points of view.

      There are however, people like Richard Gage of Architects and Engineers for 9-11 truth who are screaming to prove that there were explosives planted in the WTC buildings. In my opinion, he has succeeded.

      As far as writing a hub about UFO's, I've thought about, and I'll probably get around to doing one eventually.

    • profile image

      Hugh E. Scott 

      10 years ago

      I love conspiracy theories because they are easy to debunk. Almost all are based on untruths and exaggerations. But the biggest flaw of conspiracy theories is that they defy normal human behavior – i.e. our inability to keep secrets, especially when money is involved.

      How much would the National Inquirer pay someone who could prove that planted explosives brought down the World Trade Towers and Building 7 on 9/11? Mega-millions, of course. So far, no one has blown the whistle, assuming there was one to blow.

      Some so-called conspiracies are not conspiracies at all, but are simply unconnected people acting in their own self-interest which has a common denominator. Greed, for example, can cause results that appear conspiratorial. Are oil companies conspiring to raise the price of crude? In my opinion, probably not. I believe oil companies are acting individually to maximize profits. Of course it didn’t help that Dick Cheney held secret meetings with petroleum industry big wheels, most likely to assure them the market place would not be regulated.

      The danger of calling yourself a “conspiracy theorist,” which Marshall has done in a tongue-and-check way, is to become stigmatized as someone who ignores facts and common sense. Through his writing, Marshall shows himself to be anything but a conspiracy theorist, which in itself is a loaded term. . Instead, from my perspective, Marshall is a SKEPTIC in every sense of the word who encourages people to think rationally by discussing controversial issues.

      I can't wait for an article by Marshall about UFOs.


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