Skeptics, Denialists and Conspiracy Theorists

Many denialists call themselves “skeptics”. Many conspiracists call themselves “truthers”. However there’s very important differences with actual skeptics.

Skeptic cat is skeptical by aturkus

A conspiracy theorist is someone who has a theory and tries to find data to support it (lets call this “positive data”) while marginalizing and/or ignoring any data which falsifies it (“negative data”). When the evidence used to maintain a theory is falsified, a conspiracy theorist will either deny the evidence (see below) or move on to find new – and usually more and more arcane and obscure – evidence that supports it while retaining a positive belief in his theory based on faith until he finds it. A main characteristic of the conspiracy theorist is that the evidence which falsifies his theory will not make him reconsider the validity of his theory itself but rather make him strive to find new positive data instead.

Example is the 9/11 truther movement which sees various evidence of planned demolition of the twin towers (such as exploding windows, burning steel etc) but refuses to acknowledge the evidence of internal collapse and the information that explains burning steel and so on.

The same tactics are also used by Woo-Woo peddlers as well as the religious.

A denialist is someone who does not like a theory and is thus trying to find data which falsifies it. However he has a conspiracy theorist outlook on selecting them. I.e. In order to prove his falsification theories, he tries to find data to support them while ignoring those that refute them and constantly replaces negative data as previous ones are debunked.

Unlike a skeptic (see below) who considers various ways to falsify a theory as well, a denialist will refuse to acknowledge a theory when it withstands all falsifications. Whereas a skeptic will gladly accept a theory he (or the relevant expert consensus in the field) can’t prove wrong until such time as new evidence comes to light that falsifies it, a denialist will retain that the theory is wrong, no matter the evidence. As such, occasionally a denialist may run out of negative data but retain his denial on faith alone, while constantly trying to discover some shred of evidence, no matter how obscure, to grasp onto.

Example is the Anthropogenic Global Climate Change Denialist movement (that’s a mouthful) who’s been jumping from evidence to evidence to support their denial, while ignoring the mass of positive data for AGCC has accumulated and not considering the significance of all the falsification theories they used to espouse before they were debunked in turn.

A skeptic is someone who sees a theory that does not fit with the current collective knowledge of humankind (i.e. science) and look for ways prove such a theory wrong before accepting it. A theory will only be accepted when it cannot be falsified. However a theory that can bears no falsification (such as an afterlife) can be ignored when it has no corresponding positive data, as it is of no material consequence. For example,  “All humans are mortal” is unfalsifiable but also unimportant as is “Some humans are immortal”. Unless one can show who is immortal and why, the validity or not of such a theory is irrelevant as long as we can accept that by overwhelming evidence, all humans are mortal.

Similarly a proposition such as “afterlife exists” or “ghosts exist” are irrelevant to a skeptic unless positive data can be brought to light to show how those proposition might be true. Once such evidence is brought to light, a skeptic will try to falsify them in order to avoid deluding himself. Only if those theories survive falsification will they be accepted.

A skeptic also recognises that it’s impossible to be knowledgeable in all sectors of human knowledge and is content to defer to experts who have studied each scientific area. As long as there is a consensus of scientists in a given area, a skeptic who has neither the knowledge or the time to acquire it, is justified in relying on scientific consensus. However this is only an acceptable practice for skeptics who recognise their limitations, not a way of doing science. As such, a skeptical expert of a scientific area is within her rights to challenge a theory which has the consensus of her peers and attempt to falsify it when new evidence comes to light. In fact, I would say this is her duty.

In short, the primary difference between a skeptic and a conspiracy theorist is that the skeptic gives far more weight to the falsification of a theory rather than the evidence for it. The primary difference between a skeptic and a denialist is that the skeptic accepts a theory he or the scientific community cannot falsify which is also supported by positive data. The difference with both, is that a skeptic will be neutral towards a theory at the start, unlike starting positive to it like the Conspiracy theorist or negative to it like the Denialist based on some kind of gut feeling. A skeptic will become positive to a theory only when there is overwhelming evidence and/or consensus for it and negative to it when there is overwhelming falsification and/or no evidence for it.

On the other hand, the reason why so many denialists are also conspiracy theorists is because their methods complement each other. A conspiracy theorist would have a problem maintaining his theories if he did not consistently deny the evidence against them and a denialist would have a problem sustaining his denial if he did not avoid reconsidering his opposition when his evidence failed. As such, it’s easier for a denialists to be taken in by conspiracy theorists (think of those AGCC denialists who blame the scientific consensus to a global New World Order cabal) and conspiracy theorist or woo-woo peddlers are very likely to turn into denialists against theories which run counter to their conspiracy theories.

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Ασύμμετρες Βοϊδόπουτσες

Κλασσικός Νεοέλλην τι να πεις. Όταν πάνε όλα στραβά φταίνε οι…σκοταδιστές/εξουσιαστές/σιωνιστές/άθεοι/Μασώνοι κλπ κλπ. Ποτέ ο ίδιος ο Έλλην.

Αν μη τι άλλο, έτσι νοιώθουν οτί δεν φταίνε ιδιαίτερα που μας συμβαίνουν αυτά γιατί “Όλοι εναντίων της Ελλάδας είναι” και “θέλουν να μας φάνε λάχανο γιατί είμαστε γαμάουα“.

Μόλις σήμερα συζήταγα για αυτό το θέμα και τσουπ! έπεσε και η θεωρία ότι μας τις βάζουν τις φωτιές οι ξένοι. Θα πεταχτεί σαν την σφηνόπουτσα και κάνας [tag]Λιακόπουλος[/tag] όπου νά’ναι, για να μας πει οτι φταίνε τα λαμόγια οι νεοταξικοί που θέλουν να ξεκληρίσουν τους Ελληνορθόδοξους.

Μη Χέσω πια…


From the Way of the Mind I discovered this little test that at first sight seemed promising. I was initially skeptic of some of the questions asked within and I was pretty certain that one could get a 100% score by answering in a very paranoid/conspiracy therist way.

I was not wrong. I received a mediocre 67 which as the site puts it, make me a


As a Learner, you’re smart enough to know better, yet you’re still not fully informed about reality. Around 15% of the population are Learners. You have the critical thinking skills to be a truly free individual, but you haven’t exercised them enough yet. From time to time, you’re still manipulated by the powers that be, although you frequently learn from those mistakes and refuse to be exploited again. You buy things because they are practical, not because they’re cool. If you were in The Matrix, you would have taken the red pill, but you would still be in a state of mild disbelief about the nature of reality. You are essentially unplugged, but still untrained. With more knowledge, you could become a true free thinker.

Your architects: You have always been an independent thinker. You rebelled against your parents, schoolteachers and always chose to hang out with smart friends who weren’t necessarily that popular to the “in” crowd. Increasingly, you shape your own world by deciding what actions to take based on your own internal drive rather than what society tells you is right.

Action steps: Learn more. Educate yourself through alternative media and cutting-edge books. Read the answers below to get started.

All well and good, pretty much describes me. I was prepared to ignore the – immediately following – link to the author’s book, as it completely undermines the impartiability of the test. I continued to read though and my worries became true, although he seemed to have some very true points (like the Lying Goverment or the Federal Reserve), some of them were twisted in a way to make them seem so much worse, as in the case of the Carmine which, although it is indeed created from crushed bugs, (nothing wrong with that imho, unless you’re very squeamish) the author then goes on to try to scare people by saying:

carmine also poses the threat of causing a rare but fatal allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock

Well, no shit, Sherlock! As in the case of every person with allergies, you’d better not go near and especially eat stuff you are allergic to. This is not a problem of Carmine but a problem of people with the allergy who should be taking care of what they are eating.

The rest of the test builds results up to more and more dubious claims as in the case of cancer and finally ADHD. In the cancer explanation, I liked the fact that he is trying to move people away from the proven medical solutions into “New Age Cure territory”, to which I want to cry a humongous “BOLLOCKS!”.
I’ve had personal experience of my mother dying from cancer after she preferred homeopathy, new age cures and all that jazz, until her Massage therapist discovered that the pain leg he’d been trying to fix for the last 6 months was an actual tumour that found the time to migrate to her lungs…BOLLOCKS I say!

And then of course he goes around the say that ADHD does not exist and it’s all made up to feed the drug industry etc. Seeing as I am a person with this annoying disorder, it is extremely irritating for me to read him claiming that it’s all due to bad nutrition. Especially since my mother was completely against all the “pop” food and she kept feeding us organic products and stuff like that (Seriously, I did not eat white bread until after she passed away). Not that I’m complaining or anything but once again this completely undermines it, at least for me.
Then, after coming just one step before claiming that all [tag]ADD[/tag] people are “just lazy and need some firm guidance“, he goes on to link to a friggin’ Scientology site which, for me at least, just completely discredited almost anything he said up to that point, excepting the ones I already knew of…

Becoming extremely curious at that point, I started Googling around and I came upon a StumbleUpon review in which a user, having had the same suspicions as me, goes on to say:

I just spent several hours looking up Mike Adams, the guy who runs this web site and dozens of others. Why? I guess because I was bored. Also, because I found a Scientology link on this web page. The whole page seems to be some sort of Dianetics/Scientology ad, so I was convinced that this Mike Adams guy was a Scientologist. Well, despite all my searching, I couldn’t make the connection, though Google did give some somewhat interesting results. The most interesting result was a page that revealed Mike Adams has incorporated all his companies in Taiwan! Now, that’s a red flag. Why didn’t he incorporate in the U.S.A., where he lives and operates his businesses? Well, let’s go further. It also turns out that he’s a known internet scammer.
Here’s the evidence:

Lots of good information on him, if you do a google web search for “mike adams” scam (or scammer).
Please, people, don’t submit links like this.

Unfortunately I could also not find any link between Mike Adams and Scientology, although I’m positive there is one. It is a shame that he lumped this crap along with true stuff as it will lend discredit to the true.

So to all people that are extremely paranoid, take care to be paranoid on this kind of crap as well…

The Money Masters

I have just seen an amazing documentary. It is called The Money Masters and although it deals mostly in US economic, it carefully explains how the game is played from the inside. How wars are created in the name of wealth and which purpose they serve. How economic depressions come about what solutions we can pursue.

I really must admit that I have never even thought of these things before and I’m pretty much stunned by the enormity of it all. It’s almost depressing to think the kind of power that will be made to bear on any opposition to the International Banking Cartel.

It truly exemplifies how absolutely screwed we’ll all be if we don’t start to act sooner than later. It is not a wild conspiracy theories as there opinions from nobel prize economists as well as quotes from some quite important people inside.

Please, watch it for yourself. It’s 3.5 hours in two parts but it is totally worth it.