10 votes

I'm a Skeptic

You'll have to forgive me if this is the wrong choice in forum to post in. I'm still fairly new to the DP. This is a discussion that is fairly important in my eyes though. Conspiracy is a subject that's often brought up on this website, and I would like to discuss it from my perspective in more in depth.

To start off, as the title of this thread suggests, I'm a skeptic. I don't have huge beef with conspiracy theorists, but I typically object to what they're saying until compelled otherwise. I'm kind of curious if there are any other RP supporting skeptics out there and what they think?

When a conspiracy theorist looks at bad things coming from the government, they claim it's all happening on purpose. That someone is behind it all pulling the strings. They have a tendency to ignore the fact that the failure comes from government being incapable in the first place. As a skeptic I'm not afraid of the government coming to "hurt me", I'm afraid of it coming to "help me." The government can't even run a school lunch program, how do you expect it to pull something off that requires precise timing and coordination? It's the biggest blundering most incompetent institution in the history of mankind. Government programs simply just don't work well most of the time.

As a scientist I cling to Occam's Razor. Conspiracy theorists often blast the media, and the mainstream story because they don't take their explanation of events seriously. The media has huge issues, and I'm not denying those. Thing is often times I find the conspiracy theorists explanation of events more complicated than the main explanation and therefore less useful. Typically an astronomical amount of people would have to be in on things
for the event in question to be executed without any whistle blowing. I'm not saying this isn't possible, just not likely.

The next issue is the lack of empirical evidence. This happens to be one of the most challenging things a conspiracy theorist has to present. Often times a conspiracy theorist has to rest his or her case on speculation. Even when that evidence is available the explanation surrounding it can differ from person to person, and then we end up back with the Occam's Razor issue. What is the most probable or likely?

Finally I ask the question, why don't the conspiracy theorists take any action against the so called conspirators? They'll point finger and complain all day long, but rarely do they actually do ANYTHING. Are the conspirators honestly that far out of "reach"? On the same note does adopting the theory actually do anything to counter the "disinformation"? I think the answer is no to both.

I have a feeling I'm probably going to get blasted right off the DP by the vast majority of you who are conspiracy "believers" here, however I am interested to see what people have to say anyway. It won't be the first time I've been blasted on the DP.




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I think you're right on the

I think you're right on the money.

They're just too incompetent to pull it off.

It's not because it's the government's incompetent, it's because the American people are incompetent. The government merely mirrors the best they have to offer.

I am out of touch with most Americans precisely because I am not out of touch with reality.

Love the signature

Was it getting stuffy in that closet?

I've never hidden the fact

I've never hidden the fact that I'm "part of the problem".

I am out of touch with most Americans precisely because I am not out of touch with reality.

Yes I agree, but remember, Occam's Razor many times

shows that the convoluted explanation presented by the media and government is usually not the correct one.

The media and government have woven their own tall conspiracy tales to hide the truth of simple corruption, greed, and power lust.

We don't need to get into all sorts of fancy tales about a mythical terrorist organization, we only need look in the mirror at our own demented, self-serving, statist politicians here at home.

There also doesn't need to be secret and nefarious collusion or conspiracy. Just power hungry people intent on doing what they will, everyone else be damned, especially if it includes hardship or even death for anyone else.

To say that there aren't people who collude to impose a statist model on America is beyond naive. To say that under every rock is a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered is paranoid.

But then again, is it still paranoia if they really ARE out to get you?

This isn't something new. Since the early days of the Republic we have fought the battle to avoid statism. Even the Constitution was a battle lost in that fight. We were much less centralized before then, and many in positions of power obfuscated and stonewalled merely to force the issue with a ready made solution - central government.

This battle won't end either. There will always be those people who think they know better than anyone else how everyone should live their lives, and those that think they own everything and that everyone else should be bestowed the "privilege" from them of having at all.

Our goal can never be to eliminate such people, because you can't eliminate stupidity and hubris.

Our goal should be to expose it for what it is and do our damnedest to see such people are removed from power when found and otherwise aren't put there in the first place.

Okay, it's a slow morning,

so I'll waste some time.

Regardless of whether a person is predisposed to be conspiratorial, or to slag everything off as "incompetence" is really irrelevant, isn't it?

There is ONE true explanation for any event, and the rest are false. No matter which one you or I might want to favor.

Example.
Let's say my neighbor comes into my yard while I'm at work, and kills my dog by clubbing him over the head with a concrete block, and leaves the block laying there on the ground.
Well, it could be reasoned that the dog was playing around, and banged into the pile of blocks, and one fell on him and killed him.
Perfectly plausible explanation. Could have happened just that way. "Incompetence" explains it, because I probably left the blocks stacked too high and unstable, and it was all my fault.
Simplest answer. Fills the Occam's Razor requirement. Doesn't attribute malice when stupidity could be the culprit. Fills the Hanlon's Razor requirement.

Only one problem.
That's not what happened.

I'm not sure it isn't pointless for me to . . .

respond, because once a person makes us his/her mind about conspiracies versus stupidity--

(as I see it, there's not much else that unhappy events can be blamed on)

. . . there really isn't any way for the other 'side' to change his/her mind.

But, what is the purpose of the stupidity? And why does it continue, unchecked, in spite of all the attempts to stop the stupidity?

If that is all it is--

That is my only question here on this post today.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

"...what is the purpose of

"...what is the purpose of the stupidity? And why does it continue, unchecked, in spite of all the attempts to stop the stupidity?"

Maybe stupidity is inherited...
I can't think of any other reason.

. @ @ . Power to the People!
@ O @ -----> PEOPLE
. @ @ . NOT Corporate Entities!

it's tempting to think that most people are 'stupid'--

especially those who portray an air of being intelligent.

But, if stupidity is behind all of the horror of this country's present situation--

then there really is no hope, except for annhilation--

and I have to believe there is something better for those of us who want freedom, than to become nihilistic.

Perhaps you were being 'funny'--

though I doubt it.

When I start to believe that everyone around me is stupid then I realize that *I* am acting like one of the elitists I like to blame for this mess.

If *I* am not stupid, and *they* are, then perhaps *I* should "control" *them"--

not a happy thought; I don't want to control anyone. I want to find out exactly what is happening. I want to get to the 'bottom' of this, and saying that most people are stupid and that is why the world is a mess--

doesn't lend to solutions.

But, if you are correct, I rest my case.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Since you seem to really be searching,

I will help you.

Stupidity precludes an agenda which spans many years. Stupidity would be somewhat randomly stupid.
An agenda can be determined by study of historical trend-lines, as to what actually took place over time, enacted by these supposedly stupid people.

While things began earlier, a good study of what has been enacted and put into place since about 1913 to present, should give you a very good idea of the trend-line.
It has been very linear and predictable.
That precludes the stupidity argument. Large numbers of people in industry and gov't don't continue a very visible trend-line with this kind of laser-like precision, by random chance of stupidity.
There is a guiding force or agenda behind it.
And it doesn't take a whole lot of digging to find out what it is.

Sure, anyone can point out any number of examples of things that didn't support the trend, but the overall trend continued, and continues, unbroken.

This is how you need to look at things.
Zoom-out a little and look at the whole road that's been built over time. Not focusing on each little pebble. Then, you can see how each little pebble fit into the road that was built.
A road doesn't just "fall together" randomly. It gets built. And it gets built by people who know where they want that road to go.
You might see somebody walk outside and put a pebble down on the ground, and think, "that was odd, but it doesn't seem too suspicious. Perhaps he's just stupid.". But if you notice next year that there have been 5000 pebbles laid out there by different people, and there seems to be some order to it, then we might think that there is something going on.
And there is.

I'm afraid I've already made up my mind that . . .

conspiracies are behind most debacles--

but I am trying to prove to *myself* that I'm not completely in error.

I am sure that all human beings are fallible. I'm not sure that everyone (anyone who wants to think about anything) even agrees on the definition of stupidity--

but I think that if people have good intent things either have a way of working out in the long run and/or that whatever a person is trying to do that is good will receive a tremendous amount of opposition.

And, yet, somehow, good prevails.

So, I'm not a nihilist, but I also am afraid that I don't see many of my fellow human beings as being very 'thoughtful' or searching--

I really do want to know the truth about the Gulf. As for 9/11 it doesn't really matter how or why it happened, because the outcome points to manipulation, whether it was just an accident or whether it was truly a non-American terrorist group or whether it was CIA involvement.

So, I, like most human beings, will look for evidence that confirms my bias--

When I was asking if it is possible that so much evil could come merely from stupidity, I was honestly asking, because I don't really believe that it could.
But I could be wrong.
If I didn't make sense, I'm sorry. I've been told my writing style is tedious and archaic.

Hurts, but life goes on.

Most 'stupid' people I know, if stupidity means a lack of intelligence, tend to land on their feet, however they fall.

it's hard to be awake; it's easier to dream--

Why is it so hard to believe

that stupidity might be inherited? Bi-polar disorder and schizophrenia are both inherited, so why not stupidity?

. @ @ . Power to the People!
@ O @ -----> PEOPLE
. @ @ . NOT Corporate Entities!

I find it hard to believe (ok

I find it hard to believe (ok I find it impossible to believe) that intelligence is not inherited.

Why can't dogs read? Because they're dogs. What makes them dogs? DNA! I rest my case.

Anyone who thinks intelligence has nothing to do with breeding hasn't got a lot of either.

I am out of touch with most Americans precisely because I am not out of touch with reality.

The explain why

I am entirely different from the rest of my family. I used to think I was stupid. Then I figured out they were idiots who think they are smart. I am not a genius, but have a lot more sense than they do and can actually think for myself. Figured out that's why they called me stupid. Thinking for yourself is a concept they just can't grasp.

Unlike the rest of your

Unlike the rest of your family, you're here on Daily Paul learning things they've likely not been exposed to.

I am out of touch with most Americans precisely because I am not out of touch with reality.

First, don't let anyone

First, don't let anyone 'blast you off' the DP. It's always good to have open minds and different opinions to consider.

...

What makes you so certain that all the government insanity is due to inability rather than by intent? They consistently rip-off the people and work to run our nation into the ground. Could it be that they actually want to do that and aren't just incompetent fools?

If you take the position that the many thousands of examples of the government doing us wrong are simply due to incompetence, could you prove it? No, you could not. That would make you a...? Speculator. What proof could you offer? I imagine there would be very little.

Now, on the flip side of that argument, that much or even most of our situation is intentional - there is a great deal of supporting evidence, although not direct proof. The most obvious evidence would be the fact that the vast majority of Congress do not honor and obey their sworn oaths to our Constitution. When politicians violate their sworn oaths it basically is proof that they cannot be trusted and that their intent is put into question. More proof: thousands of obviously unconstitutional laws, Congress not interested in making sure all new laws are Constitutional via an Enumerated Powers Act, Congress exempting themselves from laws that apply to the rest of us (even insider trading is ok for Congress), etc, etc.

There is so much indirect proof pointing to the fact that there is something really bad going on. There's enough of it that seems to heavily lean towards intent, rather than incompetence. Incompetence would be making mistakes some of the time, but what we have are serious violations almost all of the time.

...

Great way to open your post.

Great way to open your post. I'm still here, and I feel pretty comfortable talking to you.

Here is what I think

Big government statism fails because it's a flawed social construct in the first place. We can look at example after example of this when it comes to policy, and the state making an attempt at the impossible. The War on drugs- where in the state attempts to stop people from self destructing. Creating a one size fits all education system that can never possibly cater to the needs of every individual child it attempts to educate. Implementing policy that attempts to track everyone and everything for a multitude of reasons which include taxation and easier access to ones property. It's all simply so daunting that no organization could ever keep up.

So let me present you with a hypothetical. Lets say there is evil intent guiding the states every move. There is a malicious person pulling all the strings and simply running the system to achieve his own dark goals. Do you think the state would work if these people were removed? Is it even possible to salvage these sorts of programs and make them work? Or are they inherently bad ideas that have absolutely no hope of success to begin with?

If you believe there is something nefarious happening, what do you believe when that element has been removed? You touched on your answer to this question in this paragraph.

-quote-
There is so much indirect proof pointing to the fact that there is something really bad going on. There's enough of it that seems to heavily lean towards intent, rather than incompetence. Incompetence would be making mistakes some of the time, but what we have are serious violations almost all of the time.-unquote-

I don't think our problems with the state are going to go away any time soon, and that is where our big difference is. Absent our conspirators the state is going to be bad either way, and I think often times every little problem that arises due to major flaws in the design gets chalked up to malice. When you're looking at the so called "proof" there is plenty of room for this particular interpretation, even though malice may not actually be in play.

I wanna jump in here

This is something I've been thinking about myself for a while.

I've recently been approaching this topic from a few different angles and have had some difficulty fleshing it out so I'll throw them out here.

Big government statism fails because it is a failed social construct in the first place

Yes, this, for me, is the kernel.

The State is a monopoly on violence. (minute 2:14)

The State is a massive organization. Within this organization are people aware of it basic nature and those that aren't.

Those who understand its essential nature would be in a better position to fully utilize its power.

This study shows that 'People in power make better liars.'

Yet as with most popular reporting on research studies (say even global warming) the highlighted correlation is assumed to run in a particular direction.

It is equally possible that the correlation runs the other way where liars are more comfortable seeking power. See Robert Higgs' If men were angels

These observations would apply to other positions of power, whether they be in the media, in industry, or what-have-you.

But the organization that stands in a class of its own is the State, which we have outlined is a monopoly on violence, with power over any other organization.

Additionally, people belonging to one organization are members of another.

Now, I will posit that human beings are largely cooperative - the fact that we form such complex organizations in the first place, and produce for one another is a testament to this. With this in mind, many people in an organization will cooperate, within the full scope of their own knowledge which, in the scheme of things, is precious little.

Those who can mobilize people and resources are in a position to set events in motion.

Now, I just was reading Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago last night and he talked about whether there were good people within the Soviet States' Organs

To do evil a human being must first of all believe he's doing good, or else that it's a well-constructed conformity with natural law. Fortunately, it is in the nature of the human being to seek a justification for his actions.

He goes on to muse that ideology, expediency, and a certain 'threshold effects' are factors in people doing evil things.

Now I want to veer off a bit, playing off of Solzhenitsyn's reference to State Organs.

Human society can be viewed a macro-level organism, an organism comprised of organisms. This phenomenon is seen with social insects whereby the colony displays its own biological rhythms beyond that of its individual members.

The reason I bring this up is to ask, who knows what the hive mind of humans is doing? And I offer my answer, that we can't know. It is a system of which we are a part of, and is larger than us...beyond our ability to comprehend.

I believe this is consistent with the economist F.A. Hayek's observation that no one has the information to plan the society/economy from the top-down. (I'm lumping some 'conspiracy theories' in with top-down planning as some would qualify). To do so would be a conceit of knowledge.

This is good news, because it suggests would-be tyrants will ultimately fail. I believe this principle rules out a certain type of conspiracy theory whereby a small group of people orchestrate historical events purposefully with the end result manifesting as calculated

I do not suggest that there are not people who still do not attempt to wield power to influence the macro-structure. There are surely those people. I suggest however, that though history can be influenced by the few it cannot be determined.

The State is an apparatus, like any other organization, that acts to preserve itself. It naturally sets up an educational system whereby power is promulgated as the organizing principle of society, though it may veil this notion within popular myths. Those who believe the popular myths become the useful idiots for those who understand the State's true nature.

Genuinely conniving people wield State power to implement their own ends. And innocent people facilitate the operation of the State's machinations.

These are people who view people as cattle, or insects, people who view power as the organizing principle of society, people who view the 'collective' as the organizing principle of society, people who have no trouble lying to seize power, people who understand the essence of the State as violence. And they'll use ideology, expediency, whatever to justify their actions.

And when these people do try to implement order from the top down, there will be people, imperfect in their own knowledge, there to facilitate what is trying to be set in motion because we are a cooperative species.

With regard to conspiracy...there are events where no definitive evidence leads to any culpable agent, the question is, is this event to be ascribed to malice, or ignorance?

The State is violence. Wouldn't anything "it" sets in motion therefore be malicious?

With regard to particular events, places and people...Any speculation without solid evidence is just that... speculation.

Scientific inquiry is about maintaining logical rigor in the pursuit of truth and involves disproving things. Any conspiracy theory which contains unfalsifiable elements cannot ever cross over into the realm of conspiracy fact.

I would suggest this as one criteria for evaluating ideas in the intellectual marketplace. If its unfalsifiable its probably not going to lead to a productive conclusion.

My view is that many conspiracy theories give too much credit to the conspirators, who seem to be able to orchestrate everything, and manifest the reality they had calculated before hand.

Rather I think it is more realistic (more parsimonious) to assume that conspirators seize crisis, and other opportunities to amass power for themselves, but these opportunities are not planned, and the results are beyond their control because the conspirators are, well, human.

China...

isn't failing.

Virtual Artifact*

"These," he said gravely, "are unpleasant facts; I know it. But then most historical facts are unpleasant."
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Ch. 2

--- An accessory after the artifact:

"... one of the major instruments of social stability!"

http://www.dailypaul.com/node/95582#comment-1049365

"Till at last the child's mind is these suggestions, and the sum of the suggestions is the child's mind. And not the child's mind only. The adult's mind too-all his life long. The mind that judges and desires and decides-made up of these suggestions. But all these suggestions are our suggestions... Suggestions from the State."
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Ch. 2

--- De-Termination vs. Determinism

"And that," put in the Director sententiously, "that is the secret of happiness and virtue-liking what you've got to do. All conditioning aims at that: making people like their inescapable social destiny."
- Aldous Huxley, Brave New World, Ch. 1

http://www.dailypaul.com/node/137512#comment-1479999

"O brave new world," he repeated. "O brave new world that has such people in it. Let's start at once."

___________
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_artifact

"and I think often times

"and I think often times every little problem that arises due to major flaws in the design gets chalked up to malice. When you're looking at the so called "proof" there is plenty of room for this particular interpretation, even though malice may not actually be in play."

We all make choices and we all are responsible for the choices that we make.

It's all about choice.

Political leaders can choose to obey the law that they swore oaths to or they can choose to violate those oaths & law.

When a politician chooses to violate our Constitution it is not simply a design flaw. Rather, it is a flaw in the individual who chose to violate our law. Violating our Constitution is an intentional and illegal act. It's not just some silly issue to be brushed aside or blamed on something else.

Unless the politician truly is incompetent, I believe you're wrong that malice may not actually be in play. Anyone in a position required to take the oath is acting in malice against our nation when they deliberately choose to violate our nation's highest law.

The situation we are in, though, is one in which nearly our entire government is filled with individuals who choose to violate our Constitution on a regular basis.

We need to vote the bums out and elect individuals with enough integrity to abide by their oaths of office to obey our Constitution.

...

"So let me present you with a

"So let me present you with a hypothetical. Lets say there is evil intent guiding the states every move. There is a malicious person pulling all the strings and simply running the system to achieve his own dark goals. Do you think the state would work if these people were removed?"

Of course the state would work. Why wouldn't it? In a way, that is sort of like asking if the state would work if our political leaders actually started abiding by their oaths of office. I think it would not only work but it would work a LOT better without any 'evil' forces if they exist.

"Is it even possible to salvage these sorts of programs and make them work? Or are they inherently bad ideas that have absolutely no hope of success to begin with?"

I believe 100% in our Constitution, that it is meant to be followed and that there is an extreme level of importance for requiring that all of our political leaders, soldiers, judges, etc all swear oaths to it. So, with that said, I see no reason to salvage anything that is unconstitutional. The People either need to amend the Constitution to make these programs Constitutional or the programs must be ended.

In a nation of laws, it should not be that the highest / supreme law of our land is treated like dirt while very minor laws are enforced and used against The People, by the government, on a regular basis. If it's illegal for us to jaywalk, run red lights / stop signs, speed or rob banks then it should be illegal to an even greater extent for politicians to violate our nations HIGHEST law. If our highest law (upon which all other laws are based) is not important, then how can any other lower levels of law be important?

Whether or not the ideas / programs have a hope of success isn't really the point. If they are unconstitutional it means they are illegal. If someone is going to be supportive of unconstitutional illegal actions by the government then why not be supportive of thieves & other criminals as well.

"If you believe there is something nefarious happening, what do you believe when that element has been removed?"

I know that there is something nefarious happening. It is a fact. Violating our Constitution is nefarious. It is a blatant violation of our highest law. There really is no gray area regarding that as if it is somehow permissible for political leaders to violate the Constitution as long as they mean well. They all took the same oath, they are expected to abide by them.

Voting people out of office who have been violating our Constitution and running our nation into the ground would be a GOOD thing.

"Absent our conspirators the state is going to be bad either way"

Because you believe those vacancies would be filled with other conspirators?

...

You Megaphonies make Americans Sick

Ropes and Lampposts are in your future. Your chosen Tribe are the only people from the 'old countries' that found it very difficult to be loyal to the one that gave you all it had.

"Give a man a gun, and he could rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he could rob the world."

Baaaaaaaa

BAAAAAAAAA

2 Points

1) Isn't it true that the official version of the events of 911 are still just "a conspiracy theroy?"

2) Where you state, "They have a tendency to ignore the fact that the failure comes from government being incapable in the first place."

Did you ever consider what may be viewed as failure may be intentional? I remember FDR said that, "There are no accidents in politics."

Because: Some animals are more equal than other animals. -Animal Farm-

What the? > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MTIwY3_-ks

Okay I'll bite a little bit.

Okay I'll bite a little bit.

1) I'm with you. I don't think the official story is 100% factual, and there are conspirators involved. What I don't believe is the government purposely did 9/11, but the administration in power at the time used the even to invade Iraq and Afghanistan which they were planning to do with or without any sort of cataclysmic event taking place. With or without reliable intelligence.

2) FDR also instituted the New Deal, and was all sorts of a power mad soul. Maybe there was no accidents from his convoluted perspective, but I don't think anyone could ever say the government isn't screwing the pooch royally with a straight face.

From huge glaring examples like the botched bay of pigs, to smaller examples like the FDA blessing off on tainted meat.

It doesn't take "the government", just a few key people

Michael Springmann, formerly chief of the visa section at the US Embassy in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, claims that he rejected hundreds of suspicious visa applications, but the C.I.A. officer overruled him and ordered the visas to be issued. Springmann protested to the State Department, the Office of Diplomatic Security, the F.B.I., the Justice Department and congressional committees, but in vain.
Springmann observed that 15 of the 19 people who allegedly flew airplanes into buildings in the United States got their visas from the same CIA-dominated consulate in Jeddah. As a special favor to residents of Saudi Arabia (including non-Saudi citizens), applicants for non-immigrant visas can apply at private travel agencies and receive their visa through the mail. During the months following the 9-11 attack, 102 applicants received their visas by mail, 2 more were interviewed, and none were rejected.

In PsyOps Speak...a Limited Hangout

The Administration in power is the Israeli Lobby. They needed an event in their own text. And of course they needed the event to lead the chattel.

There is no accidents when it comes to political directives. They make it happen. News is emotional, not event driven.

Your examples are asinine in any historical perspective. Where would you really like to start with that...pre-WWI or the next invasion of Lebanon?

"Give a man a gun, and he could rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he could rob the world."

This discounts the religious

This discounts the religious rights(in america) role in it all. To place the blame solely on Israel is nonsense at its best. There were and still are plenty of people right here who are gung ho for both wars, and there isn't anything Israeli about them.

George Bush himself was an evangelical Christian. Sure their religious views are sympathetic with Israel, but they're not Israeli, and from a deeply religious stand point are actually at odds.

Bush is not a Christian

Though he claims to be. Google "Skull and Bones".

There you go again...

Who said this had anything to do with religion? Since when was Zionism a religious movement...You do know they're agnostic, at best?

Bush...christian...who are you trying to kid? I wasn't born yesterday...I really don't think you were either. Gung ho for war, yep, We Love Lies Megaphonie.

Solely...snap those Zionists in the Pentagon! Where's Rabbi Zakheim these days anyway?

"Give a man a gun, and he could rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he could rob the world."