All The More Reason

Il y a une taupe quelque part…il le faut.
September 11, 2006, 7:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Jonathan Curiel has an article with the San Fransisco Chronicle discussing the rise in popularity of conspiracy theories about 9/11. (here’s a rather tame example) One time someone told me, in justifying his belief that Americans were either behind the attacks or knowingly allowed them to happen, that he had “read a lot of books on the subject.” Let us change this sentence slightly and see what it brings us.

“I have drank a lot of wine from France.”

Now drinking a lot of wine does not necessarily make one a sommelier. It can just as easily make one a wino. The difference is in the degree in which one develops one’s palette. In other words, how well are we using our critical faculties to distinguish and appreciate the identifying qualities of a certain wine?

Now, it is perfectly possible that in reading a lot of books on the subject of 9/11, or on any subject for that matter, one will make oneself much better informed about the material. However, the sheer act of reading a large volume of material does not preclude the predilection of simply reading what we wish will confirm our initial bias or suspicion.

There is one quote within the piece that I particularly like, and which comes from Bob Goldberg.

“The fact that people who have advanced degrees believe in conspiracy theories does not surprise me because it’s not an issue of whether you’re smart or dumb. In fact, when you look at conspiracy theories, what distinguishes them is how rigorously logical they seem to be, that they are so intensely structured and that there’s a belief that every single fact is important and connects to another fact. There’s a rigor to (their) logic.”

“But,” says Goldberg, “there’s (an inflexibility to) the logic that denies things you can’t deny — whether it’s accidents, whether it’s bureaucratic process, whether it’s miscalculations, whether it’s simply mistakes. In these theories, there are no mistakes, no accidents, no bureaucracy — everything is crystal clear.”

Jonathan Smith


3 Comments so far
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‘Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.’

One of my favourite things about conspiracy theorists (and there are many) is that, despite their claims to be rational and ever-questioning, they are always willing to believe the account supported by the least evidence.

The beauty, from the theorist’s point of view, is that the lack of evidence can always be blamed on some shadowy sub-conspiracy to ‘surpress’ the ‘real’ facts at the expense of the ‘official’ account (conspiracy theorists like to use the word ‘official’ pejoratively. What they mean is the account that has been peer-reviewed, around which a consensus has been formed. i.e. the one with the most evidence.)

Comment by allthemorereason

Oh and for the record, the best 9/11 conspiracy theory is one propagated by ex MI5 agent David Shayler, who claims that the Twin Towers were hit by missiles disguised by holograms of Boeing 747s Shayler also finds it soothing to announce from time to time that he is a poached egg and wishes forthwith to recline on a piece of hot buttered toast*

(*pretty sure this is a Wodehouse quote, but it was used by the Hitch in a piece he wrote recently- any offers?)

Comment by allthemorereason

This link hopefully explains my usage of “drank” instead of “drunk” within the piece!

Comment by Jonathan Smith

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