Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.
I have known this for years, but anyway, the article concentrates on this: the most recent study was published on July 8th by psychologists Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas of the University of Kent (UK). Entitled “What about Building 7? A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories,” the study compared “conspiracist” (pro-conspiracy theory) and “conventionalist” (anti-conspiracy) comments at news websites.
Building 7, as you hopefully know, was the third skyscraper to completely collapse on 9/11, despite not being hit by a plane, and in exactly the same fashion as a conventional, deliberate demolition. For this reason, it is, for many people, the biggest “smoking gun” to the 9/11 attacks being an inside job.
Not keen to unreservedly trust this state-funded Iranian English language media outlet, I did a little digging (which wasn’t too difficult at all) and found that one of the authors, Michael Wood, was keen on “Setting the record straight” about how, in his opinion, his findings have been misrepresented. Or have they?
He admits that in his studies, anti-conspiracy commenters were often hostile. This has been obvious to me all along. The entire findings from their study on online debates on articles either side of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by Wood and Douglas can be found here. In it, the authors conclude that,
Conventionalist comments (M = 2.08, SD = 1.02) were significantly more hostile than conspiracist comments (M = 1.44, SD = 0.79), t(2172) = 16.22, p < 0.001 (see Table 1).
This is hardly surprising, as “conspiracist” commentators have likely studied the events in far greater depth than those who believe the official conspiracy theory, which leaves the OCT defenders short on intellectual ammunition and so resort to insults.
I have found the same is true when I attempt to debate with Richard Dawkins’ adherents. I want to talk about the science, but they know little or nothing about it, so in what passes as defence of their beliefs, they resort to ridiculing scripture and personal attacks in an attempt to conceal their own lack of knowledge on a matter they vehemently defend for no other reason than that it suits their preferred worldview. I was banned from Dawkins’ blog for allegedly proselytising, when what I was doing was replying to the questions posed on scriptural matters by Dawkins’ little piranhas.
When Subrosa asked me to write a guest post on the tenth anniversary of 9/11, I was happy to oblige and also delighted to discover that she was also unconvinced by the official story. The majority of the comments at her place were supportive of an alternative narrative to the official story and later on, one B.J Edwards hijacked the thread with plenty of hostility and accusations of “denial” against those who dared to disbelieve the government’s story, because as everyone knows, the government never lies!
Then, very interestingly, when I reposted the same article on this blog, a commenter called ewingsc wrote,
bjedwards has been using the same old crappy suppression techniques for years – trying to bully and ridicule people into shutting up about alternate theories to the official version of events …
The following quote from Victor Thorn sums him up pretty well :
“A paid back-room moles to infiltrate every possible 9/11 chat room, message board, and forum to create as much din, disruption, “noise,” and chaos as possible which constantly litters and pollutes the soup; effectively preventing most people from focusing on Israel’s central role in 9/11.
A seeming obsession with minutiae where researchers spend an inordinate amount of time endlessly fixating on the tiniest of details without stepping back and exposing the bigger picture and its subsequent ramifications.
Or else they’ll engage in rhetorical debates for debate’s sake; all of which is sterile, self-contained, and circular in nature.”
One thing he can’t / won’t talk about – is the fast and symmetrical collapse of WTC 7….
I have found him to be a despicable person – when I have dealt with him in the past.
Well, he certainly likes to avoid the actual issues. Clearly a “denier” himself.
Back to this latest study, and Michael Wood writes that, conspiracists mentioned more unrelated conspiracy theories positively than conventionalists did – conspiracists were more likely to say something like “9/11 was an inside job, just like the JFK assassination.”
This is patently obvious, as once you have developed a distrust of government – which is healthy and wholly natural, I would add – other events laden with inconsistencies are bound to be viewed with suspicion. JFK, despite his many faults, wanted to change how the country was run in ways which were totally at odds with the real power-brokers, so he had to go. In the polls which I have seen, most people now view the Kennedy assassination as a government operation.
What we do glean from “What about building 7?” A social psychological study of online discussion of 9/11 conspiracy theories by Michael J. Wood and Karen M. Douglas is that those they call conspiracists are more able to debate without becoming hostile, so this could indeed be used as evidence that we are more sane than the so-called conventionalists (i.e. government/mainstream media believers).
This video from the first blog I linked to (orwelliania.wordpress.com) helps explain why people stick to the official conspiracy: cognitive dissonance kicks in. Talking to people face to face about this, I found that most agree that the government gets up to all manner of evil, but they have tried to come to terms with this by saying such things as, “There is nothing we can do about it, so there is no point worrying” and “Maybe it was done by the government for the greater good” and, “They wouldn’t do that, would they?” and everyone wants to change the subject! Cognitive dissonance is hard to deal with for most folk. As for me, I knew on 9/11 itself that what I was witnessing on television did not add up, so rejecting the official tale was easy, although it took me a couple of years to start looking at the alternative scenarios. Evidence of cognitive dissonance from yours truly, perhaps, or simple laziness. I sure made up for the lost time!