Skepticism

A Wee-Hours Conspiracy

I can’t be the only skeptic who used to be a conspiracy theorist. I thought I’d heard it all until I saw the latest (well, circa 2007) from the great minds at TED.

The daring poet Rives breaks down the conspiracy regarding the most boring hour of the 24-hour cycle.

I hope that they didn’t get him after this. After all, TED is easily accessible — Creative Commons licensed, even. Just because we didn’t hear that he was captured by them after giving this talk doesn’t mean that he wasn’t, right?!

Photo courtesy of Chris. Thanks to @luarien for sending me the link.

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Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy [hee-na dad-uh-boy] spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist, or, in other words, a Skepchick. She has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007. She is currently writing A Skeptic's Guide to Islam. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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26 Comments

  1. Conspiracy thoeries were totally what got me into skepticism!!! I spent way too much time of my first year of college high and started believing in The Illuminati and stuff. I was like one shroom away from getting on board with the shape-shifting reptiles. I snapped out of it during my summer vacation and was all “Wow. I can believe some REALLY stupid things if I’m not careful”… and that’s how I started practicing skepticism! :)

  2. The moon hoax was a wake up call that I wasn’t really being careful enough with my beliefs. Also the brutal teasing from my parents helped kick me out of it though in the end it was break down of the evidence that sealed it.

    1. Being a space-GEEK my whole life, this theory more than all the others combined actually gave me utter contempt for conspiracy theories.

      I think in general people believe in conspiracy theories for some of the same reasons that people believe in religions. It allows them to feel as if they are unique in knowing the “real truth” and makes them feel like they’re on the right side of an ongoing struggle.

      1. Also like religion, it gives you a feeling of there being someone in control of everything. Even if you feel that control is hostile, something to be opposed, it’s still a more reassuring concept to some folks than the notion that everything is cast adrift.

        After all, which is the less disturbing notion–that a small collection of people orchestrated dozens of genocidal conflicts all over the globe for the past three centuries, or that we all just really like killing each other over petty crap?

  3. I used to believe pretty strongly in the JFK thing, but I think almost everyone who isn’t a capital-S Skeptic believes that one. I never, ever believed that the Twin Towers were demolished or that 9/11 was a plot by Teh Jews, but I was oretty suspicious about how much the Bush administration knew and declined to prevent and I believed pretty firmly that they’d shot down flight 93–for good reason–and covered it up–also for good reason. But the thing that pushed me into Skepticism was a combination of Ghost Hunters, education about evolution, and ear candles.

    1. As usual, almost all of my comment is badly worded. I believed in the JFK assassination conspiracy, I did not believe that the Twin Towers were destroyed using building demolition methods instead of by the planes, I was pretty suspicious of Bush, and the things that pushed me into skepticism were the ones I mentioned.

    2. Personally, given the trades and some of the shady stuff that went down in the weeks leading up to 9/11, indicate that there was probably intelligence floating around that suggested it was probably going to happen. And that’s not so far-fetched… the attack was well-planned by Al-Qaeda so people WOULD have known, and if we’ve learned anything from the age of file-shares and leaks, people are SHIT at keeping secrets. Like some people knew what was up and what was probably going to happen, but they weren’t able to talk about it, weren’t being listened to or taken seriously, had no authority or ability to prevent it, or whatever. And maybe some it trickled down into simple, vague rumours.

      1. Well, the one proven thing is less conspiracy and more incompetence. The hijackers were training in Arizona, I think, to fly but not land planes and an FBI agent that was investigating one of them sent it in to advise, especially since Osama bin Laden was one of Clinton’s #1 targets. The FBI under Bush, though, ignored the warning.

        I don’t remember what page it’s mentioned on in the 9/11 Commission Report but I used to. Seemed like the dumbest thing I’d ever heard of in government.

    3. As I’m sure you know, a conspiracy theory isn’t wrong simply because it involves a conspiracy. It’s only wrong or more correctly unsupportable when the evidence isn’t there. Each conspiracy theory has to be judged on its own merit. As far as the JFK assasination goes, the various conspiracy theories behind his murder may be unsupportable, but so is the Warren Commission’s ‘magical’ single bullet explanation.

      1. I used to believe that the “magic bullet” theory was hooey too, until I saw the shot recreated with the almost exact same results in the Discovery Channel special “Unsolved History: JFK — Beyond the Magic Bullet”.

        They set up the shot using realistic analog models, the same gun, ammo from the same batch, ect. and the shot was close enough that I believe that the magic bullet, while more like the “lucky bullet”, was pretty close to what happened. The people who say that Oswald was not a good enough shot are suffering from a reverse version of the sharpshooter fallacy.

        They also took on the whole “back and to the left” business and proved it to be plausible. I would recommend the show if you can find it, it’s really an eye-opener for anyone willing to have their eyes open.

  4. Just because I believed half the things I saw in the first few seasons of The X-Files doesn’t mean I am…er, I mean was, a conspiracy theorist. It just means we don’t know what the government is doing yet. THE TRUTH IS OUT THERE!

  5. I love Rives, he really brought the whole “slam” poetry thing into focus for me. Check out his other stuff, Annie, and Mocking Bird are great.
    Interesting though isn’t it…
    “… because at the bar later that night, [in Ireland ladies and gentlemen] actually at four in the morning, we were at the hotel bar. Four a.m….”

    Hmmm. Twice repeated. This easy trope, 4 am… at four in the morning, we’re expected to believe, with no other evidence at all, that Rebecca Watson…

  6. I think what brought me around and away from the whole conspiracy thinking was some book or another on the topic where some lady who was, as I recall, a former adviser or something to one of the three-letter-agencies who said “it’s not that I think some of these people wouldn’t do these things. I just don’t think they’d be able to keep it secret for very long – they’re simply not that good at it.” or something to that effect. It made me think about all the people whose silence you’d have to rely on in order for these conspiracies to work.

  7. This is scary as it just so happens that I was awake this morning at 4AM driving towards an undisclosed remote location in the Mojave desert north of Los Angeles.

    Soon I fear everything will make sense.

    \BCT

    P.S. A song lyric by Luke Nelson (son of Willie Nelson) just popped into my head “It’s 4AM and no sleep to be found”

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