Critical thinking skills and conspiracies

Note to reader: This post originally appeared on Monday, 3/16, and the first reactions I got were that it was too long. I therefore decided to re-post it in three parts, the second and their to appear tomorrow and the day after. Comments that appear before 8:42 were in response to the entire post.
_____________________________
The post below was meant to establish that religion is an important part of human existence. Most people are religious, and it is a positive force in their lives. I note, however, that in matters of religious belief, by definition, there is no use for critical thinking. It is based on FAITH, which by definition requires no proof.

As noted in the post, religion exists and is a powerful force because people

  • need authority figures;
  • are suggestible;
  • and want simple answers

That is the human condition. I too am human. I have these same impulses.

It is my contention that most Americans who believe the official stories about the great crimes of our times do so based in a kind of religious faith. Critical thinking about say 9/11 or Boston or other crimes does not support the official stories. I called this faith “Americanism.”

Dr. Judy Wood, who examined the evidence around the events in the World Trade Center and destruction of the seven buildings there, came away with a completely different take on the matter, suggesting that the evidence points to use of directed energy in some form. Normal physical laws of matter and motion were not evident in the events that occurred that day. For example, buildings did not “collapse” but rather turned to dust before our eyes, and plasma (usually called “fire”) occurred without heat. It can be explained, but not in our normal frame of reference.

But beyond the physical evidence, she too speculated on why Americans are so quick to believe the official story, and postulated three reasons:

  • 1: Poor problem solving skills;
  • 2: Groupthink; and
  • 3: Fear of the implications if the official story is a lie.

This post is intended to offer some basic mathematical principles, not to school anyone, but rather to use as a backdrop when examining evidence in future posts. My writing for the near future will be about evidence, and I will rely on a skill set known as “critical thinking,” often easily forgotten in our busy lives. So this is merely review.

TO BE CONTINUED
Part 2
Part 3

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
This entry was posted in Science. Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Critical thinking skills and conspiracies

    • I took down two posts that I felt were long and tedious written on the Interstate these past two days. My blog, my business.

      I am also taking this post down later this morning as the initial reaction I got was “too long.” It will reappear in three shorter posts over three days, and your comment will disappear, so don’t get on me.

      And between you and me and the lamp, you glanced at it, and didn’t read it, and went right down to comment. Right?

      Like

  1. Big Swede says:

    The tipping point is 20%. The 80/20 Rule.

    I’ll expand/explain later.

    Like

    • Big Swede says:

      Have a little time now.

      “When 20% of the populace no longer believe the lies and begins questioning the state’s enforcement of the status quo, the government devotes its resources to punishing dissenters and resisters. Whistleblowers are charged with trumped-up crimes; those publicly refuting the status quo’s narrative of lies are harassed and discredited, and those who resist state enforcement of parasitic cronyism are set up, beaten, entrapped, investigated, interrogated and arrested once suitably Kafkaesque charges can be conjured up by the apparatchiks of enforcement.

      Why 20%? It’s the Pareto Distribution (the 80/20 rule): the 20% of any populace that accepts a new trend, technology or narrative has an outsized influence over the other 80%.

      Governments operate on the premise that propaganda and threats will always be enough to cow their populaces into compliance and bribes will induce complicity.When lies, bribes and threats no long work, the state unleashes its full pathological powers on dissent.

      The last mass campaign of political suppression in the U.S. occurred in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when resistance to the war of choice in Vietnam reached mainstream proportions.

      The U.S. government was accustomed to manipulating and managing the populace with very simple propaganda: Communism is our deadly enemy, we must fight it everywhere on the planet, etc. But when thousands of American service personnel started coming home in body bags from the latest “we must fight Communism everywhere because it’s dangerous to us” war in East Asia, this simplistic justification made no sense: what existential threat to the U.S. did a Communist Vietnam pose?”-Zero Hedge,

      Like

    • Craig Moore says:

      The proportions of a mixed drink? Or the proportions of Mark’s conspiracy theories? 80% conspiracy and 20% theory.

      Like

      • That’s a false statement, Craig. I am 80% evidence, and do very little speculating on who. With events like 9/11, the “why” is obvious (they needed public support for new wars), but the who is almost unknowable and “what” is confined to hard evidence. If you were to read Dr. Wood’s book, for example, you would find 500 pages of hard-sourced evidence, photos, graphs, mathematical formulas, and NOTHING about who or why.

        Like

  2. steve kelly says:

    “There are times when people feel they can take in a lot of new information, and other times when they feel their memories are terrible,” said Ranganath. “This work suggests that once you light that fire of curiosity, you put the brain in a state that’s more conducive to learning. Once you get this ramp-up of dopamine, the brain becomes more like a sponge that’s ready to soak up whatever is happening.” http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/oct/02/curiosity-memory-brain-reward-system-dopamine

    Don’t forget the dopamine factor. It’s different for everyone, and our institutions generally discourage the curious, but in the end it seems everybody has their own ways of getting that reward.

    Like

    • It also reminds me of something that we know about learning – it does not happen on a straight line. It happens in fits and starts. I might want to practice to be a good basketball player, and work hard at it but not progress for weeks, and then in two days find I have really improved.

      With me I go along knowing what I know and then something triggers, and I am off and running again.

      Like

  3. Craig Moore says:

    test. comments not appearing

    Like

    • Craig Moore says:

      Perhaps it was the link. Here it is again

      Replace Oliver with Mark and enjoy!!!! aeon.co/magazine/philosophy/intellectual-character-of-conspiracy-theorists/ Replace Oliver with Mark and enjoy!!!!

      Like

    • Craig Moore says:

      Perhaps it was the link. Here it is again

      Replace Oliver with Mark and enjoy!!!! aeon(dot)co/magazine/philosophy/intellectual-character-of-conspiracy-theorists/ Replace Oliver with Mark and enjoy!!!! and replace (dot) with .

      Like

      • I’ll go into SPAM and see what is blocking you. It is not me. Keep in mind, I am very familiar with the theorizing on the nature of conspiracy theorists. It originates in the same place as the term “conspiracy theory” itself, CIA, or Murder Inc., as I like to call them.

        Like

      • The problem with your aeon piece is that the author makes no reference to evidence, and merely ASSUMES that the government explanation is the correct one. That is flawed logic, and until he does actually review the evidence, the piece can be put on a shelf to collect dust. That is the nicest thing I can say about it.

        Like

        • Craig Moore says:

          The problem with your crippling conspiracy epistemology is that you are becoming more and more isolated as per your withdrawn Pogie post. http://www.psypag.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Issue-88.pdf

          Like

        • The nature of the propaganda system in the United States is to rely heavily on Grouthink to control public opinion . The use of the “conspiracy theory” meme is a psychological tool that walls off evidence – that is, there is plenty of very good and critical evidence to support the skeptics, but you will never see it because it is behind a wall.

          This is thought control, nothing more. You are a reasonably intelligent man, but you will not go near evidence. It’s a very effective regime we live under.

          I have read tons over the years, can separate wheat from chaff, and even identify government agents who mask themselves as conspiracy terrorists theorists, like Richard Gage and Dr. Steven Jones. I have a functioning brain and am able to look at evidence and decide for myself what is real and what should be ignored. I am not mentally ill, lame-brained, nor do I suffer from paranoia or any other debilitating diseases.

          I am not the one with the problem. It is you.

          Like

          • Craig Moore says:

            Go back and read the Aeon piece for real this time… intellectual vices and all.

            Like

          • steve kelly says:

            Sometimes theories are true. http://www.infowars.com/33-conspiracy-theories-that-turned-out-to-be-true-what-every-person-should-know/

            The UK piece. Facts, evidence, definition, all part of the mix. Sounds a lot like Mark’s approach. Yet you hold another opinion. Any meat on those bones?

            Like

          • Galileo suspected that the whole of the Catholic Church was engaged in a big lie. He got his.

            Like

          • Craig, this is rather humorous: Your inability to look at evidence means that your arguments are … epistemically self-insulating in their construction …

            In other words, it is you, and not us, that has a problem.

            Like

          • You’re kidding, right? You think I cannot read, parse, add, subtract, and think? That because someone wrote something down you agree with, and it sounds authoritative, that I too should fall for the argument from authority?

            “Conspiracy theories are unsubstantiated, less plausible alternatives to the mainstream explanation of an event; they assume everything is intended, with malignity. Crucially, they are also epistemically self-insulating in their construction and arguments.

            Every word in that sentence is false in regard to the evidence I have seen and read regarding JFK, 9/11, Boston. With 9/11 especially, the mainstream explanation is unscientific, incredible, requires a suspension of Newton’s laws and coincidence beyond what a rational person can absorb, such as a supposed hijacker’s passport in WTC rubble. Please! The mainstream conspiracy theory regarding 19 hijackers and a guy in a cave does not stand up under three minutes scrutiny. It’s loony!

            They also engage in lumping, another fallacy, wherein all theories, regardless of merit, are treated as one, so that those who don’t trust Obama’s citizenship are equated to those who question Diana’s death, and of course, those of us who have questioned the highly suspicious evidence around JFK [of which there are now mountains, all unexamined by you.] (You have to go to page nine to find moon landings thrown in.) This is hackery.

            These people who write this stuff obviously have never examined the evidence, just as you have not, and so have been corralled by the conspiracy theory meme. Therefore, they are hacks! But most in that profession are anyway, so what else is new.

            If you’d ever get off your duff and actually look at evidence, you would lose certitude, cockiness, and would start to question a little bit. As it is, you are in a state of thought control, and are afraid to venture out. This means, again, you have a problem, and not me.

            In the comings weeks, stay tuned, as I intend to upend the world and demonstrate that the skeptics who have investigated the major lies of our times are quite sane, and those who automatically believe government truth are having credulity issues.

            Like

  4. steve kelly says:

    “As truth is Washington’s worst enemy, everyone associated with the truth is Washington’s enemy.” Dr. Paul Craig Roberts http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41254.htm

    Like

  5. Pingback: Critical thinking skills and conspiracies (Part 2) | Piece Of Mind

  6. It is so refreshing to know you Mark…This is what I usually post in regards to the subject of the 9/11 coverup.

    Before you can charge someone with a crime, you have to know what crime was committed. Should a death be ruled a homicide by gunshot, there better be a bullet hole in the body…

    The order of crime solving, that one must first identify:

    1) WHAT happened before determining
    2) HOW “it” happened…before one can determine
    3) WHO did “it” or
    4) WHY they did “it.”

    Since writing her book, Dr. Wood has come to understand more clearly how cover-ups work. People are encouraged to skip step #1 and begin arguing about step #2. In order to argue about HOW “it” happened, people are left to IMAGINE what “it” was that happened. From then on, they are only addressing an imaginary problem, not a real problem. And they can never ever solve the real problem unless they begin with step #1, which defines WHAT the problem is they need to solve.

    THE DIRECTED ENERGY COVER-UP TEAM

    Other examples of Directed Energy (not necessarily used as a weapon) are radio waves, cell phone signals, TV remote control signals, wireless internet signals…etc.

    Those who want to cover up the evidence of what happen often falsely claim that Dr. Wood is talking about a specific weapon and a specific location of it (e.g. laser beam from outer space, or “spacebeams”). This disinformation campaign was initiated by Steven Jones on 11/11/2006 in a presentation he gave in California (available in the internet archives), telling his audience that “Judy Woods (Dr. Wood) says it’s a laser or maser from space” while showing how difficult it is to hold his hand like a beam from space. Not only does Dr. Wood NOT SAY THAT, she actually RULES THAT OUT. The mechanism of destruction of a laser beam would be from heat and produce a bright and blinding light. But we know the buildings were not cooked to death. The term Directed Energy is used because energy is directed to do something different then it normally does and it is directed to do this within a certain geographic zone. [As a mental example, think of directing the binding energy of matter to repel instead of attract. A solid object would turn to atomic-sized dust. Direct this to happen within the WTC complex and not across the street.]

    At the end of Chapter 20 in Dr. Wood’s book, she explains why playing “name the weapon” game is counterproductive. Name dropping trendy terms is not synonymous with understanding. The easiest example is HAARP. The full capabilities are classified. But people often name-drop the trendy term to APPEAR to know something. A tongue-in-cheek definition of HAARP stands for High Amplitude Advancement of Real Propaganda. They are just substituting “HAARP” for “Bin Laden.”

    In Dr. Wood’s book, the closest she comes to “naming a weapon” is merely describing what it creates: magnetic-electrogravitic-nuclear reactions (page 365). But as soon as someone starts talking about a name, people will stop looking at the evidence which is another form of a cover up.

    Early on, Steven Jones created a website he called “The Journal of Nine Eleven Studies” or J.O.N.E.S. It is referred to as a “peer-reviewed journal” but the only peer-reviewing was to screen out true scientific work and post what he wanted his followers to believe. For the first two years, it was primarily used to promote disinformation about Dr. Wood’s work. For example, Jones recruited a patent attorney for the oil and gas industry (James Gourley) to write hit pieces on Dr. Wood, refuting “ray beams from outer space.” This convinced his readers that “Judy Woods” must be talking about “ray beams from outer space” and that “such nonsense has been refuted.” Refuting false propaganda about Dr. Wood’s work does not refute Dr. Wood’s work — yet it creates the belief in the average person that Dr. Wood’s work has been refuted.

    Steven Jones and Greg Jenkins also claimed that it would take more than five times the world’s energy to destroy the WTC towers. Does that mean their thermite came from off planet or “outer space”? LOL Steven Jones used to ridicule Dr. Wood during his talks saying that “Judy Woods needs to make calculations to see if it is even possible to turn the buildings to dust”. But any reputable scientist knows that calculations are not a part of observing empirical evidence. What are the calculations for, to prove the buildings are still there or if the buildings are gone? Why not just look? No assumptions needed with empirical evidence.

    The bottom line is that no one has refuted anything in Dr. Wood’s book nor can they. They only refute their own false propaganda about her book, not her book. Other detractors claim that “she hasn’t identified the weapon that was used so she’s got nothing.” To the contrary. The evidence is PROOF that there exists a technology that can do what was done. It happened. That is, the fact that the buildings mostly turned to dust in mid-air shows that there exists a weapon that can turn buildings into dust in mid-air. It happened.

    The sub-title of the book, “Evidence of Directed Free-Energy Technology on 9/11” indicates that the book contains evidence of what happened on 9/11 and it is indeed evidence that a technology exists that can do what was done. But this technology does not have to be used for evil purposes. It can be used to provide free-energy to the world much to the demise of the oil and gas industry. That is, Dr. Wood is noting that the same technology that was used for evil can also be used for good. It’s a silver lining in the dark cloud… while also trying to stimulate thought about “what are we doing here? learning new ways to kill or to live”?

    “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” -Dr. Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

    (Dr. Wood provides extraordinary, overwhelming, and conclusive evidence.)

    CONTROLLED EFFECTS
    by Dr. William L. Baker*

    “The effects can vary in the type of damage mechanism (e.g., blast/fragment, thermal, or ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE [c-DEW: been there, done that]) as well as the magnitude of the energy deposited on the target so that it will be just enough to defeat the target while minimizing collateral damage.”

    “Scientists will have to overcome technological hurdles, such as the production and storage of antimatter, the ability to propagate sensory information, OR THE ABILITY TO HARNESS AND EXTRACT ENERGY FROM THE ENVIRONMENT [Hurricane Erin 2001: been there, done that], before these sciencefiction concepts will become reality.”

    https://web.archive.org/web/20040608025356/http://www.afrlhorizons.com/Briefs/Jun04/DE0401.html

    *Dr. William L. Baker retired on 1/2/10 as the Chief Scientist of the Directed Energy Directorate, Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. With an annual budget of more than $300 million, the directorate is responsible for all of the Air Force research and development of lasers, high-power microwave and advanced optical technologies. The directorate conducts advanced technology research to support major applications such as airborne lasers, large optical systems for space situational awareness, airborne high-power microwaves, long-range non-lethal weapons and improvised explosive device defeat. The Chief Scientist is the directorate’s primary adviser on scientific and technical matters and the primary authority for the technical content and quality of the science and technology portfolio.

    Dr. Baker was born in Columbus, Ohio. He received his doctorate in nuclear physics from The Ohio State University in 1969 and served four years on active duty in the Air Force as a nuclear research officer. In 1973 he became a civilian scientist at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory where he performed and led high-energy plasma and pulse power research to develop new techniques to simulate nuclear weapon effects. His work in directed energy weapon technology began with high-energy particle beam weapons. Dr. Baker led a joint effort to develop a unique accelerator and used it to demonstrate stable beam propagation in open air. He then created and led the Air Force high-power microwave weapon technology program. As Chief Scientist, he led research and development on high-energy laser weapons technology and the application of advanced optics to space situational awareness. He is a nationally recognized contributor and leader across the entire spectrum of directed energy technologies. He has been president of the Directed Energy Professional Society for the past two years.

    Dr. Baker has written more than 50 publications in nuclear physics, plasma physics, pulsed power and directed energy.

    https://web.archive.org/web/20131214121916/http://www.af.mil/AboutUs/Biographies/Display/tabid/225/Article/107794/dr-william-l-baker.aspx

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    • Thank you for this contribution. As always, it is useful for anyone not schooled in the scientific method (or critical thinking) to read the words and follow the logic of someone who is. This spreads the ability over a wider part of the population.

      Someone said that part of the art of cover-up is to get people to ask the wrong question. Once that is done, the answer does not matter.

      Like

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