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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concerning the media innocence

We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National autodetermination practiced in past centuries.-- David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting in June of 1991

"and the truth shall make you free"
John 8:32

Innocence -- Seeing The Forest ...

"Here had new begun
My wand'ring, had not he who ... was my guide
Up hither, from among the trees appeared" (8.311-13)

Paradise Lost
by John Milton

The word conspiracy has been

linked with "fringe" and "paranoid". But Conspiracies do exist nonetheless.

Instead of the word "conspiracy", substitute the word "agenda", and then you will be able to see more clearly.

There are AGENDAS concerning,

New World Order,

Fiat Money,

Oil Monopolies,

Terrorism,

Globalism,

Loss of Constitutional Rights,

Power of the Federal Government,

Military Industrial Complex,

Global Domination.

They are not Conspiracies, they are Agendas of which the average American is not included.

Open Your Eyes.

So You're A Skeptic ...

... Are you then skeptical of who is behind the shift in the burden of proof when bizarre theories prevail as the conventional consensus of received wisdom among explanations of events?

THE PENTAGON, for example: The most secure building on the planet ... blah, blah, blah ... clean 16 foot hole, suppressed crime scene evidence. 'Inside Job' is the inescapable circumstantial conclusion to be drawn by anyone who approaches the facts skeptically assessing theories of outside complicity that just don't add up. A skeptic might ask ' who is offering the explanation; on what basis; and why ?'

Likewise, FINANCIAL SYSTEM RIGGED AT THE TOP: Too confusing to run the numbers, ... then run the letters and see how the decimals connect --FED; CIA; SEC; COMEX; PPT; DTCC ... On the subject of connections, how do you relate -- Goldman, Morgan, Treasury, FED, etc, to the institutionalized corrupt manipulations which operate with impunity above any law. Such blatantly illegal practices as naked short sales, insider trading, and derivatives shuffles defy any enforcement scrutiny as these practices are suborned by the very agencies ostensibly charged with preventing abuses. Is it really left field to suggest the system has been co-opted ?

Was it just coincidence that caused the suspicious options trading in key airlines stocks preceeding 9/11? Was it coincidence that decided such suspicious events required no further investigation nor mainstream disclosure?

No I would suggest a true skeptic would at least pause in the face of such incredible OFFICIAL THEORIES to inquire -- 'cui bono ?' .... and at least hold the party proffering such burden shifting explanations convenient to powers that be to some critical thinking analysis, particularly if the proferring party controls the evidence and declines to be forthcoming.

My Nut Job Theory of skepticism is that disussion of conspiracies should be a focus on questions. The answers I leave to be analyzed as a matter of critical thinking.

Here's the conclusion I suspect my theory will point to :

It's not a conspiracy ... it's a syndrome ... and you're in on it.

Scepticism concerning

Scepticism concerning particular conspiracy theories does not translate into wholesale acceptance of official dogma. Nor does rejection of official declarations translate into being a conspiracy theorist. We can be skeptical about all explanations, while offering another explanation that seems to fit the facts as well (if not better) than yours. It is also quite legit to doubt all offered explanations without having to offer any ourselves.

Yet if we do - if we do not fall in line with your explanation - then we are as much in on the crime (even if unwittingly) as the ‘enemy’ you perceive. I think what you write is a confirmation of some of the above.

After The Facts

Mens Rea

"A conspirator must have been a party to the planning the crime, rather than merely becoming aware of the plan to commit it and then helping in some way.... A person who learns of the crime after it is committed and helps the criminal to conceal it, or aids the criminal in escaping, or simply fails to report the crime, is known as an "accessory after the fact"."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accessory_(legal_term)

Socratic Skepticism vs. Aiding And Abetting

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpT8AouTEGc&feature=channel

Enemies Perceived

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HClpG2B8yqI&feature=related

E-mail CON. CON. request??

E-mail CON. CON. request?? http://www.dailypaul.com/node/139699

What are your thoughts?

JonQ.Publik

Resistance is not futile, what's futile is non-resistance.

Live Free or Die! Because if you are not free you’re dead already!

Bump, Bump, Bump

You state your case (and the case of many here, including myself) quite well. In fact, you state our case with simple honesty ... something that is obvious by the lack of vitriol and heated passion. For you (and for me, btw) this is a matter of the simple truth.

Many of the conspiracy advocates treat the skeptics on DP like they are blind, gullible fools. And to be honest, I love their passion for liberty, but I damn their tendency to ridicule rather than persuade.

You make a great point. The danger with our government seems to be their complete incompetence and incurable inefficiencies, rather than some vast (or even small but powerful) cabal of sinister forces. Wasn’t it Ben Franklin who said, “Two people can keep a secret, so long as one of them is dead.”
Conspiracy theories often take one aspect of human nature and carry it very far, while ignoring another quite obvious aspect of our nature.

I really appreciate it. I

I really appreciate it. I wish your post was on the top of this thread right now. It drives me mad when a conspiracy theorist accuses anyone skeptical of the theory as being "in on it".

anapaaron

I just read this whole thread. Where did anyone accuse you of being in on it? Did I miss one? I thought the answers were very sincere and thought provoking.

-quote-"Skeptics" are more

-quote-"Skeptics" are more often than not, more aptly described as "obuscators". It serves their needs for denial, at the least, or serves "somebody else's unspoken needs" at worst.-unquote-

Something like the above is what I was getting at. I see it a lot, and at least thats how I felt about what was said.

Excuse my ingorance

of the word obuscators. It isn't even in the dictionary I have here on hand. I am not familiar with it. I will look for it again later.

I think you should question everything. Which falls on the side of the conspiracy theorist and the skeptic. Be a skeptic,but never close your mind.
I used to think some of the things I heard about 4 years ago were out there too. Now after seeing at least 80% come to fruition I am not so quick to blow off what seems to be nutty. Truth truly is stranger than fiction.
You might think how it feels to so called conspiracy theorists when they are ridiculed after having things they themselves probably didn't want to believe or thought were crazy be proven to be very real. I don't get the people who don't trust the government on anything yet support all the wars. Lot of those in the the new tea party movement. They strongly believe the government is incompetent on almost everything, yet completely just and competent on all of our foriegn intervention.
Don't let a few insults remove your skeptisim, but don't let your skeptisism keep you from looking for the truth. In other words question if your skeptisism is equally researched. Don't ignore it because it seems to go against what could be indoctrinated (false) logic.
None of what I am saying to you is meant in any way to be an insult or to accuse you of anything. I am only speaking from the experience of a 4 1/2 yr journey for answers. Many which I have found and many which I am still researching.
People won't believe me when I tell them Ahmedinejad never threatened to wipe Israel off the map. Do you? How many times a day does the government and the media repeat that? If you don't beleive me research it and find out what he really said and the context in which he said it. I almost always get a negative reaction when I tell people that fact and they either don't believe me or just won't except it because the media has told them otherwise. Repeatedly! I am a traitor. Things like this are the reason it is so important to look in to some of the things you might consider to be conspiracy theories or crazy talk. There is much more to the story on Iran that I won't go in to. It is a drop in the bucket of the lies we are fed. You will find so much if you look in to the real history of this country and who is really in charge.
Good luck and keep looking for answers. Just remember to look in more than one direction and don't shoot the messenger. Sometime passion causes people to use anger when trying to get you to look at their point of view. Doesn't hurt to consider the information they provide and look for some of your own before doing nothing but trying to prove wrong. I see the accusations coming from both sides in these discussions. May open minds and research prevail~Peace. By the way nice topic and for the most part so far it has been an itteligent discussion by all. You can't and I hope you would't just want everyone to agree with you. If you did I don't think you would have posted it. I'm sure some will attack, but it still wouldn't hurt to consider any info they provide and some of it will be BS. Good luck;)

Thank you for the kind words,

Thank you for the kind words, and well thought out lengthy post! I'm trying to approach this with the most open mind possible. I'm not here to personally attack anyone. I rather enjoy the debate. I don't have all the answers, and none of these people here do either.

I don't think Ammadinjead(SP) ever said he wanted to wipe Israel off the face the earth. Now that doesn't mean I think Israel isn't the bane of certain Muslims existence. They have good reason to challenge Israel. There is a lot of bad blood between the two, and I can see why anyone would consider Israel an oppressor.

To take that a step further, do I think all Jews are in on some vast conspiracy to control everything, NO! In fact being a Non-Zionist Jew I'm quite offended by people who think that.

Illustration --

Do you believe the MSNBC Maddow attack on Rand Paul was an unorchestrated ideological confusion? Was it spontaneous and uncoordinated? Likely answer: some of it...

But that is the nature of good design. What you recognize is human nature. What you forget is -- so do They. (They also recognize how to effect that nature).

I think Rachel Maddow's

I think Rachel Maddow's "attack" on Rand Paul, is a very liberal one. She isn't the only liberal that holds that belief. I haven't really viewed it out of that context.

On top of that I think Rand Paul made some remarks that didn't need brought up. I agree with him, but It's not something I would go on Radio shows discussing considering the current political climate, and stigma surrounding us in general. He made a clear error in judgment, and I don't blame any media outlet, state shill or not, for bringing it up. I think it makes good sense for her to discuss it, whether you like Rand or not.

Fair answer ...

... How about some of the other questions?

Have you given them any thought?

There is a lot in this

There is a lot in this thread, and I honest to God don't have all the answers. I don't pretend to, and right now I'm almost lost due to the response this thread has. You'll really have to forgive me.

One guy when I logged in here in the middle of the day was mad at me for ignoring him. He was kind of calling me out. I honestly don't know what to say to them.

There are some people here I'm never going to be able to make happy, and there are some people here who are totally thought provoking. Some people are even hell bent on making me a punching bag and putting words in my mouth. etc etc.

Not a very fun scenario for me all and all, but when life sends lemons your way you make lemonade.

How about I start with Pentagon, since its territory I know fairly well.

An airliner full of jet fuel is going to be just as effective as car bomb. That much is clear just by reviewing the footage of events taking place in NY. The tidy hole in Ring C was 12ft wide not 16 ft. This is backed up by ASCE and you can kind of get a feel for that when you compare to the hole vs the windows in the background of this picture.

http://img203.imageshack.us/img203/6411/pentagonholede.jpg

From there we can take a look at what a 757 is minus hanger clearance because the plane is obviously not on the ground, landing gear extended. Here is my source for that.

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/757family/pf/pf_200tech.html

We can see the fuselage alone is 12ft 4inches precisely matching the pentagon hole.

When it comes to so called suppressed video evidence, take a look at what the media was doing with one of the worst things that has ever happened on American soil. They were sucking down every piece of video and they played it for months on end. We were practically bombarded with it. I can see someone saying, "perhaps we shouldn't make the footage we have public out of respect", and I would be willing to accept that.

We got two frames from the gate camera, and it's fairly horrible in terms of evidence, but you can make out an aircraft in it. The government doesn't like people video taping secure areas any ways, and the pentagon is a good example of a "secure" area.

Pro Hominem

Of course I understand such frustration. Yet this excellent thread, which I thank you for instigating, is so far relatively uncluttered by purposeful misdirection and distracting antagonisms. I imagine your skeptical mind recognizes such contrived designs occur to marginalize rational discussion while exasperating honest inquiry. Sure there is at times merely drunken snippiness from impatient partitans who forget the function of decorum in the orderly expression of ideas. Still, until the disinfo agents of distortion arrive, this thread can serve as a forward link ( like a frequently asked questions page ) to any intelligent witness ready to consider the issue with an open mind.

I mean this without any hint of patronizing -- I respect your intelligence, and presume your sincerity; accordingly, I won't do-see-do with you over particulars of physical evidence, or even ostensibly alligned motivations of lap dog media, all of which realities often square with divergent explanations of ultimate facts and conclusions. Some scenarios are sinister, some are solely pernicious, unfortunate or stupid. But can we agree prejudices can effect the perceptions of both conventional and unconventional thinkers? ... And can we agree that such prejudices are subject to manipulation by persons with agendas to distort the discernment and discovery of truth?

I agree with the negative characterization of many so-called conspiracy theorists who give Truth a bad name. Yet I'm not bothered by these side bars because I recognize their enthusiasm is most often well meaning (and happily anti-state); and I suspect much of the most extreme ad hominem red herring taunts is the work of ( at least inspired by) psy-op provocateurs ( and some of those provocateurs acting independent of those behind the actual deeds of concerted bad acts and it's immediate aftermath).

For me the Pentagon event points inescapably to a sinister bottom line: The official account of 9/11 is prima facia false; therefore, the official “investigations” have really been cover-up operations. Thus, it will be the questions any skeptic will ask that proves high levels of our government don’t want us to know what happened and who is responsible. What inferences must be drawn from that reality?

But now I see, that with a slight bit of investigation, the answers actually establish much more particular internal complicity than I expected could be proven by the evidence. I hope you and others haven't been put off by some of the sass here to avoid the links posted by Christopher Gadsden and Trapfive, for example. This was the first time I saw these compilations and I found them to be quite compelling and well presented.

Again, thank you for your forbearance and skepticism.

http://www.skepticforum.com/viewforum.php?f=16

Sisyphus Victorious

The man proved tougher than the stone.
A million and more uphill battles
built muscle, sinew and rage.
The rock, worn down to a missile,
forced skywards by triceps, deltoids
and adrenaline, struck,
and skittled indolent Olympians
from their hill.
The man remained
http://sites.google.com/site/skepticalpoetry/

Disinfo agents of distortion?

Disinfo agents of distortion? Have anyone in mind from this forum?

Prejudices can effect perception wildly. I'm not assuming anything about anyone here. Simply put I'm defending myself, and my views. I don't think I've made fallacious charges about anyone else on this forum. If I approached this in the same manner some of the others here have I'm fairly certain I would have received the ban hammer from someone.

The Pentagon event for me, was similar to the rest of 9/11. Highjackers took planes and ran them into buildings. What was afoot that day is was and always will be in my mind incompetence from the government.

James Ostrowski made a list I thought was interesting.

Pre-9/11 Incompetence

*
Sixty years of anti-Arab or anti-Islamic foreign intervention
*
Funding the Mujahideen
*
Banning guns in the cockpits
*
War on drugs funneling drug profits to al Qaeda and the Taliban
*
Federal subsidies to the Taliban
*
Failing to follow-up on leads that could have led to the thwarting of the attack
*
Locking the doors to the roof of the WTC because of bureaucratic infighting

9/11 Incompetence

*
No apparent air defense of Washington or our most important city, New York
*
No apparent plan for responding to mass hijackings
*
FAA receives accidental transmission from the hijackers and responds slowly
*
NORAD is confused, indecisive and slow
*
No fighters near New York
*
Total confusion in the chain of command
*
Complete confusion about what to do about hijacked planes – shoot them down?
*
Shoot-down order issued after the attacks but never relayed to the pilots
*
George Bush reads to children while the nation is attacked
*
Air Force One communications failures
*
Where are the hijacked planes?
*
Where is our radar?
*
Poor communications equipment after the towers were hit, causing many unnecessary deaths (but pension benefits had been fully funded)

Post-9/11 Incompetence

*
Killing non-combatants in Afghanistan, manufacturing new terrorists and new propaganda for existing terrorists
*
Occupying and trying to convert an ungovernable country (Afghanistan) into a Western-style corporate state "democracy," at a huge financial cost and loss of American and Afghan lives, creating even more impetus and propaganda for terrorists
*
Invading and occupying yet another ungovernable country (Iraq – invented by Winnie Churchill and the U. S.), and trying to convert it into a Western-style corporate state "democracy," at a huge financial cost and loss of American and Iraqi lives, creating even more impetus and propaganda for terrorists, and giving terrorists a rallying point for killing Americans

If there is any responsibility the government should have to take for the events that made 9/11 possible it should lie somewhere within that bulleted list. The idea that they were directly responsible, I don't buy into so much.

To be honest, I am very much so put off by sass. In can make a thread like this inhospitable. You and a few others here have carried yourselves well, and it speaks volumes as to your character as a person.

Good And Evil

Thank you for your kind words. As for calling out by name, rather than simply discerning the character of agents of darkness, I suspect you recognize they are not easy to keep track of by name tag.( In the real world such names don't change to protect the innocent).

I will carry further discussion to the front page, but allow me to briefly address our topic by invoking the fitting words of an article I came across when looking at the fundamental question which effects all of our perceptions:

"Personally speaking, I find evil a difficult topic to entertain. Like others, I am predisposed to want to do good, to be good not in the do-gooder sort of way or the goody-two-shoes but good, the genuine article, good enough... like finding a way to leave the world a better place than when I found it, or something like that. We like good. It makes us feel good, it makes us happy. We want to surround ourselves with goodness, to embrace it, to steep ourselves in its warmth and nourishment. Good is good. On the other hand, I'd just as soon not have anything to do with evil. It makes me feel bad. It is sickening and repugnant. It robs us, rapes us, tortures us and ultimately kills us, body, soul and spirit. We want it out of us and away from us. It is to be feared and hated. Evil is, after all, evil.
But evil is real and present in the world, inside and out. It's easy to recognize evil out there for anyone who reads the paper or watches the news or has lived long enough. It's another matter to recognize evil inside. To choose to ignore evil, though, only increases the likelihood of being surprised and perhaps overcome by its appearance."
http://www.cgjungpage.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=...

Your comment supplies an excellent catelog of mis-, mal-, and nonfeasance by the bureaucratic and policy arms of government operating to provide motive and opportunity to extremist suspects on 9/11. But we should be able to agree there are differing ranges of culpability between disregard and the highest moral turpitude even within government which is, in and of itself, aggression (and as your post agrees, is always ultimately destructive; in any event, never ultimately constructive).

I will attempt to address our topic more concretely elsewhere, but I will conclude here where the thread thins to allow you to have the last word. Our respective characters and experiences shape our individual perceptions, and thus our responses to reality. Thus, paradoxically, I view the answer to your seemingly objective question of how best to skepically deal with reality, even physical deceptions, to be a personal moral response requiring a somewhat surreal embrace of metaphysical truth as a matter of faith:

" Karl Menninger was an old man when he spoke to the World Congress of Psychiatry in Mexico City in 1972. The Vietnam War was on, ... He spoke about aggression. He said he had studied it for many years and had come to the conclusion that there was one and only one way to lessen the amount of aggression at large in the world, and that was to absorb it. He knew it was an unpopular idea, but he said as individuals if we wanted to combat evil we needed to contain our own inner aggressive urges and then, when faced with aggression from outside, to "turn the other cheek." Yes, that idea is about as popular today as it was 2,000 years ago, I suspect.
The battlefield of choice is within ourselves. The enemy is evil. The enemy is us."

Id.

I'm an agnostic ... faithfully engaged in a skeptical, peaceful search for Truth.

I'll turn my cheek, but not my back, nor tale (sic).

;-)