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Paper On Conspiratorial Thinking Invokes Conspiratorial Thinking

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the elvis-lives-on-the-moon-with-hitler dept.

Science 371

Layzej writes "Last summer a paper investigating the link between conspiratorial thinking and the rejection of climate science provoked a response on blogs skeptical of the scientific consensus that appeared to illustrate the very cognitive processes at the center of the research. This generated data for a new paper titled 'Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation (PDF).' The researchers reviewed the reactions for evidence of conspiratorial thinking, including the presumption of nefarious intent, perception of persecution, the tendency to detect meaning in random events, and the ability to interpret contrary evidence as evidence that the conspiracy is even greater in scope that was originally believed. Some of the hypotheses promoted to dismiss the findings of the original paper ultimately grew in scope to include actors beyond the authors, such as university executives, a media organization, and the Australian government. It is not clear whether the response to this paper will itself provide data for further research, or how far down this recursion could progress. I fear the answer may be 'all the way.'"

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first (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806627)

recursion

turtles (5, Funny)

stoolpigeon (454276) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806633)

all the way down.

The turtles are behind it all in the end.

Re:turtles (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806823)

That's a nice pussy you have there. I think I'll fuck it off! Oh... that's an asshole, and you're a man. I think I'll fuck it off!

Re:turtles (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806959)

I think this is a prime example of how the government is working with aliens... er... what?!?

Re:first (5, Funny)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806697)

"from the elvis-lives-on-the-moon-with-hitler dept." - from the strapline of the title...

I was convinced beyond all doubt that Elvis was living with Diana in a guest house in Blackpool, but then again, I am a Brit, so I would think that...

Re:first (0)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807237)

See also: first.

Yo dawg (4, Funny)

dabadab (126782) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806647)

I herd you like conspiration theories

It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (0)

Bongo (13261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806649)

Let's all remember the study was objective and measured what people are thinking. Reality! Those conspiracy nuts better put on their tinfoil hats because the scientists know who they are!

Let's all forget that what we do about climate change is a political process and people's political views play a part on all sides.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (1, Interesting)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806733)

In the late '60s, it was predicted that ecology, as the study of the environment was then called, would be latched onto by the far left who, being denied more and more detailed economic control, would readily jump on an alternate rationale for control.

Well, look at that. There is a difference between science and what politics wants to use it for, even if the science is accurate.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (5, Informative)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807035)

The sixties would be a late time to come with that prediction/accusation. Keep America Beautiful, arguably the first corporate environmental front group, was founded in order to preempt and oppose laws restricting disposable products - in 1953.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (5, Insightful)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807247)

of course you're right, environmentalists aren't really interested in keeping the land, water, sea and air free of poisonous substances, its all just a big power play. (nice trolling)

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (1)

hey! (33014) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807407)

I remember that time... The irony is that your post illustrates the most infuriating thing about the way Communists like to argue: "I can explain X in terms of Y, so therefore Y caused X!"

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806741)

You wouldn't take people's freely written statements as being evidence of what they think?

Evidence does not have to be perfect to make an objective study. The brain may be an inaccessable black box as far as psychology is concerned, but if there are identifiable patterns in its output, you can still work from that.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (1, Insightful)

Bongo (13261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806857)

Yes sure, but there's a lot of room for how you interpret what they say.
The original paper says "conspirators" are defined as making a "secret plot by powerful individuals or organizations", and then the paper gives an example and says that the tobacco industry had a view that it was being attacked by powerful conspirators, ie. the tobacco industry had a conspiratorial mindset. But today people often say there is a conspiracy by big oil, just like the tobacco industry had a conspiracy. It seems all sides are conspirators, and conspiracy crackpots, depending on how you interpret them. So it goes nowhere fast.

There are just lots of people out there in society who by their millions, have different ideas about what is the good life and what they want. An environmentalist told me, it doesn't matter if CO2 isn't a problem, because by forcing people to reduce emissions, you force them to reduce production and consumption ––and then with a thoughtful pause she added, "It is about reducing greed." And I see that kind of view a lot, just like the free enterprise competitive types like Burt Rutan says the data doesn't add up and it is verging on fraud.

It saddens me as I used to vote for the Green party but it just seems to fracture into left vs right wing ideologies. It fails their own stated goals of making a just world –– "climate justice" ––when a shack in Kenya that's supposed to store medicines and have a bed for the sick, has to choose between either keeping the fridge on, or the fan and lights, because the solar panel they have can't do both. And that's "climate justice" ???? So just so say before someone interprets me as some USA type right wing neo con yahoo.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807289)

It seems all sides are conspirators, and conspiracy crackpots, depending on how you interpret them. So it goes nowhere fast.

Any time two people get together to bone a third person it is a conspiracy. The only overarching conspiracy of which I am aware is the conspiracy to deprecate the word conspiracy, and you're assisting with it.

An environmentalist told me, it doesn't matter if CO2 isn't a problem, because by forcing people to reduce emissions, you force them to reduce production and consumption â"â"and then with a thoughtful pause she added, "It is about reducing greed." And I see that kind of view a lot, just like the free enterprise competitive types like Burt Rutan says the data doesn't add up and it is verging on fraud.

It is about reducing greed. Where do the emissions come from? Making stuff. How much of that stuff do we need? HTH, HAND.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807379)

Any time two people get together to bone a third person it is a conspiracy.

Every time somebody tells me that, I have to give myself a time out in the bunker until I calm down.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (1)

mwlewis (794711) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806863)

Now if only the study used anything remotely resembling "people's freely written statements" about what they believe.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806945)

How does it not? It references posts people made on blogs whilst sat at home scratching their balls. Where is the pressure being put on them to write something not true to themselves in that situation?

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807303)

you're forgetting the influence of the mind beams.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (5, Funny)

KeensMustard (655606) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806793)

You do realise that a political allegiance doesn't actually allow to escape the bonds of reality? that the scientific method has nothing at all to do with negotiating a mutually acceptable solution for everybody?

"Cheese Makes you Fat!"

"Shows what you know! I'm in the CHEESEMAKING PARTY! Cheese will just give me a healthy glow!"

"I'm sorry Mr Ridebacher, you have lung cancer"

"No, that's unacceptable. You're interfering with my rights! Tell you what, why don't we compromise and say that I have a bad cold?"

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (3, Interesting)

Bongo (13261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807097)

Yes the politics comes in when people with different outlooks or values, try to decide what to agree to do.
Say your dog keeps relieving itself in my garden. Should I spend the money to improve the fence, or should you keep the dog under control?
Now take that simple example and multiple the complexity up to, if the climate shifts, and rain belts move, glaciers feeding rivers retreat, some forested areas increase, some storms reduce, some farmland becomes too cold, some warms up for better crops, etc. etc. how do you decide who is responsible and who should pay to act?
Some people say, it doesn't matter if China is emitting more CO2 than anyone else, it is the moral responsibility of the West to set the good example. Or even Germany, people say Germany should do the right thing, even if it'll make a negligible impact. And that is also weighed up against all the other problems, like disease in Africa, and so on. There's a value judgement that doing something about the climate is more important. Or not. Depends on you.

Re:It is Psychology, Science! Fact! (2)

turkeyfeathers (843622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807313)

Say your dog keeps relieving itself in my garden. Should I spend the money to improve the fence, or should you keep the dog under control?

False dichotomy: You're assuming it's the neighbor's dog, and not the neighbor.

A mirrored Recursive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806657)

A quick read of this paper's abstract indicates that the recursive can be applied to both sides of any argument.
I state and you rant
Therefore I win?
I rant and you state
Therefore I win?
Blah, Blah f*****n Blah.
We centrists are starting to get really sick of this BS..
No one wins, nothing changes Rome burns, the extremists fiddle. :-(
S***w you all!

Re:A mirrored Recursive? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806791)

P:"My science proves you are wrong."
R:"You are a conspirational droid"
P:"My science can never be wrong"
R:"Wrong"
P:"Wrong" ...
R:"Is the the right place for an argument?"
P:"Told you once"
R:"No you didn't"
P:"Yes I did"

C:....shit, my water ran out and suddenly I can not breathe..

Feck you extremest pseudo Greeny and Feck you right wing provocateur!.
Centrists want to live long and prosper!

Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806679)

Only turtles can do real science.

Cue conspiracy theories... (2, Funny)

Noryungi (70322) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806721)

In 3... 2... 1...

Re:Cue conspiracy theories... (2, Funny)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806765)

Why would you say this ... unless you have inside knowledge!

Re:Cue conspiracy theories... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806815)

pfft...I call: fake green person

Re:Cue conspiracy theories... (2)

Panaflex (13191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806911)

Yo Dawg, so like my theory is that some crazy mujahideen who happens to be really rich decided to attack America using airplanes. He conspires with a bunch of dudes who then steal the identities of some other dudes, so then they hijack and crash their stolen airplanes at 500mph into buildings! Meanwhile, crazy dude's freakin' brother Shafig is eating breakfast with the ex-president of the USA. Sick, huh?

Conspiracy? By definition - hell yes. True? Seems legit. The truth is already f*cked up enough - why add even more truthiness?

Wrong field (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806739)

It took them less than a month to put a paper out. I'm in the wrong field. I could have graduated in half a year.

Random Randomization (4, Interesting)

some old guy (674482) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806753)

Are we to presume, then, from the analytical model in TFA that the LIBOR affair, Watergate, and the 1919 Black Sox scandal are all just paranoid hysteria?

Re:Random Randomization (5, Insightful)

Vintermann (400722) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806761)

There were not a lot of people shouting in the desert that "LIBOR are fixing interest rates for their own gain!", nor a lot of people saying "Nixon is using illegal means to keep track of his political opponents. Guaranteed!". Conspiracy theorists tend to miss the real conspiracies, it seems.

Re:Random Randomization (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806817)

I think that's primarily because conspiracy theorists imagine that conspiracies are typically much grander than the ones that exist in reality. The very nature of a conspiracy tends to keep it small; human nature is not overcome so easily.

Re:Random Randomization (2)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807329)

Not only grander but usually physically and logistically impossible. e.g. the people who assert controlled demolition for 9/11.

Re:Random Randomization (4, Interesting)

some old guy (674482) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806833)

While true that the unbalanced ones will always be off the mark, I worry that too broad a brush will make people unwilling to acknowledge real collusion for fear of being lumped in with the loony lot. Just the sort of thing political and business spinmasters try to foster.

Re:Random Randomization (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807083)

That does happen. Anytime I point out what looks like price fixing, or market divying, there's always someone that says "stop being a conspiracy theorist".

Some people will say anything and everything to avoid having to address your point directly.

Re:Random Randomization (4, Informative)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807315)

That does happen. Anytime I point out what looks like price fixing, or market divying, there's always someone that says "stop being a conspiracy theorist".

I don't know about what you've pointed out, but it's very common that people point to something and call it price fixing when there's a clear and simple non-collusive market explanation for what's going on. Further, it's often likely that there is some more subtle dynamic that explains the apparent synchronicity of price changes or market division even when there is no clear and simple explanation. So while price fixing and market divvying do happen, there's a good chance that you often are being a conspiracy theorist, because they appear to happen more often than they really occur.

Re:Random Randomization (1)

Panaflex (13191) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806941)

That's true - but I also think a lot of really smart people dabble in conspiracy theories. You won't see many of them pulling together a movement, but mainly they watch and attempt to verify things that seem interesting.

In other words - conspiracy theories are just wild-ass guesses. In some limited circumstances, it's a start for deeper researching of topics. Most of the real conspiracies are leaked or eeked out by conversations with real people, not conspiracy boards.

Re:Random Randomization (1)

F. Lynx Pardinus (2804961) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807139)

There were not...a lot of people saying "Nixon is using illegal means to keep track of his political opponents. Guaranteed!".

Is this true? I wasn't alive in the early 70's, but looking at all the crazy thing people have accused recent presidents of, it's hard for me to believe that some group of people weren't ranting that Nixon was breaking into Democrats' offices.

Re:Random Randomization (1)

swillden (191260) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807341)

There were not...a lot of people saying "Nixon is using illegal means to keep track of his political opponents. Guaranteed!".

Is this true? I wasn't alive in the early 70's, but looking at all the crazy thing people have accused recent presidents of, it's hard for me to believe that some group of people weren't ranting that Nixon was breaking into Democrats' offices.

Not me. There are always plenty of crazies ranting, but they tend to think much bigger than burglary. Any crazy who ranted to his group about trespassing would get sneered at as naive and blind to the real scope of the evil plot.

Re:Random Randomization (5, Insightful)

dabadab (126782) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806981)

This paper is about the thought processes, not about the actual truth. Actually there are no guarantees that you can not arrive to a right conclusion using flawed reasoning (however, I don't recall conspiracy theory nutjobs speculating about the LIBOR fixing).

Re:Random Randomization (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807151)

The way people mentally respond to actual conspiracies, and conspiratorial thinking, are entirely different phenomena. It's like the difference in mental patterns between someone with body dysmorphia and someone an actual bodily oddity, or between someone who is being verbally abused by a family member and someone who is hearing abusive voices in their head.

Re:Random Randomization (2)

DrXym (126579) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807301)

Just because some conspiracies are real does not mean they all are. And paranoia is an adequate explanation for many of the conspiracies floating around the kook-o-sphere.

Is this a joke? (4, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806755)

People believe in conspiracies because they don't have anyone in authority they can trust. It doesn't help when authority lies to them about virtually everything.

Re:Is this a joke? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806889)

People believe in conspiracies because conspiracies actaully exist. The US really did get lied into two wars, for instance, and those who did the lying knew exactly what they were doing. The motives were profit and power. Period. That's about as evil as it gets.

Also, I think there is sufficient proof that government does NOT represent the interests of the people these days, that they do protect the interests of the rich, and that government gets seriously paranoid whenever there is an active movement opposing either it or the wealthy--see law enforcement's reaction to Occupy Wall Street for an example. The Bradley Manning case as another. The Aaron Swartz case as another. The list, unfortunately, goes on and on.

Does that mean every conspiracy theory is true? Of course not. However, I'm sick and tired of "conspiracy theory" and "conspiracy theorist" being some kind of get out of jail free card for people who don't want to truly address what's going on in our society these days.

Re:Is this a joke? (1)

equex (747231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807243)

It is absolutely a get out of jail for free card. And this points out the phenomenon of 'non-conspirational conspiracy' where a pattern of individual behaviour, when scaled up, effectively becomes said conspiration, only nobody knows. How these individual patterns arise, is another discussion.

Re:Is this a joke? (4, Insightful)

dabadab (126782) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807161)

People believe in conspiracy theories because it is way much easier than to actually learn the truth. The great thing about conspiracy theories that you don't have to know the actual facts (in the case of many theories it is actually a hindrance), you don't have to be very rigorous with your logic and if there's any hole in the theory you are welcome to make up any explanation. Compare that to the hard work required to be competent in a real area of knowledge.

Also, your reasoning does not make much sense: you cannot trust the authorities so you believe everything the first nut job tells you? Really?

Re:Is this a joke? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807203)

It seems to me that conspiracy thinking is closely related mind reading, people will feel threaten by some piece of information and then tell themselves what they want to hear or need to hear. They then say to themselves well I can just tell this, they never seem to realise that they are claiming to have access to information that they can not possible have access to, its enough that they can weave the story they want from what they know, without considering there are hundreds of possible stories that can be made to fit what they know, you can not know them all or which one is correct.

Re:Is this a joke? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807391)

An interesting counter-opinion to that is that actually people believe in conspiracies because they want them to be true.

They would rather believe there is a malign force greater than themselves, than that there is no force greater then themselves.

In other words, it's a proxy for God.

"the rejection of climate science" LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806797)

Slightly loaded statement, isn't it. Like "When did you stop beating your wife".

I think they mean "disagreement with the man-made global warming hypothesis", and I'm sure that all those who disagree use 'climate science' to prove their point.

www.climatedepot.com

There is no such thing as man made global warming, nor is there any 'global warming' occurring at the moment.

Re:"the rejection of climate science" LOL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807055)

When your living depends on the perpetuation of the biggest fraud in human history, you'll imagine what you perceive as the most clever, complex, nuanced, and impenetrable strategies to keep the fraud going, when in reality the house is crumbling around you and rational people see the fraud for what it is.

This has been happening to most religions over the last century. The minority of people who still support the hypothesis of man-made global warming are at the point of grasping at straws to keep their little pet fraud going, and for the most part they still have willing accomplices in government, but we all know who works in government and is responsible for scrutinizing these grant requests - the lowest common denominator.

One day, hopefully before we're bankrupt, they'll wake up and realize the rest of the world has moved on and that they'll need to find a new scheme.

Re: "the rejection of climate science" LOL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807249)

"The minority of people who still support the hypothesis of man-made global warming are at the point of grasping at straws to keep their little pet fraud going..."

You're joking, right? The minority? Pet fraud?
An unfortunate thing about the "it's not us" argument is that the trajectory is somewhat like that of "it's us, but no-one does anything about it", so that "minority don't even get the chance to point and say 'see? What did we say would happen. "

Sneaky scientists (5, Funny)

adamjv (2834307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806805)

Isn't it obvious? The researchers paid dozens of bloggers to come up with these conspiracy theories. The blogs were used as evidence to support the hypotheses in the follow-up paper, which will earn the researchers enough cash to pay more bloggers. And so on.

It's kinda like the way McAfee and Symantec have secret programmers who strategically release new viruses when business is slow.

My own conspiracy theory. (5, Insightful)

frivolous_taco (2834339) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806807)

MEMBER OF THE ROYAL FAMILY, KING RICHARD III, FOUND MURDERED IN PARKING LOT, POLICE DECLINE TO INVESTIGATE!! CONSPIRACY??!! - Leave out one key piece of information and it takes on a life of it's own, but there is nothing untrue about the above. Conspiracies seem to live on the interpretation that those who believe them have a better understanding of the issue at hand than those in charge, or that they have all the relevant information, when they don't.

Re:My own conspiracy theory. (4, Funny)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806957)

Leave out one key piece of information and it takes on a life of it's own, but there is nothing untrue about the above.

Conspiracies seem to live on the interpretation that those who believe them have a better understanding of the issue at hand than those in charge, or that they have all the relevant information, when they don't.

Nonsense. Even if you have all the evidence in plain view there can still be vast networks of shady dealings and huge cover-ups at work. Just look at the Kennedy Assassination!

Those bones matched royal DNA because they weren't from King Richard III, they were really from a current member of the royal family who has now been replaced with an evil doppleganger clone (made possible by recently discovered Nazi stem cell research and advanced eugenics). They just needed a convenient way to dismiss the evidence -- Oh, that body with royal DNA? Uh, oh, It's just the remains of King Richard! Which one? Why, the 3rd one! Now they've got an inside agent in the royal family... Hot on the heels of Kim Jong Un's replacement of Kim Jong Il, all while for the 1st time ever the USA presidency is held by a black man!?

Coincidence?! I Think Not!

Re:My own conspiracy theory. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806977)

It was a Car Park - we don't have Parking Lots over here.
That's probably why the police refused to investigate, they didn't know where to look for the evidence.

Re:My own conspiracy theory. (1)

will_die (586523) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807033)

Richard III was not a member of the ruling family, but a distant relative. A relative of the current queen had problems with him and had a role in death; that is why there is no investigatation.

"greater... THAT"... my god... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806851)

"is even greater in scope THAT was originally believed"

Let me guess - written by an American.

It's "greater THAN".

Re:"greater... THAT"... my god... (1, Interesting)

Bill Currie (487) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807087)

I've come to the suspicion that it's not so much lack of understanding of grammar or inability to spell that's at the root of the than/then problem, but rather the inablity to hear/speak the difference. The English sounds represented by "e" and "a" are not very far apart. Many of the people might be conflating the two sounds into one. If this is the case, you can correct them until you're blue in the face and they'll never understand because they can't hear the difference. Proof reading their own work won't help because they won't hear the mistake.

I started thinking this way for two reasons: too many people saying "I could care less" when they really mean "I couldn't care less" (understandable, that t can be difficult to hear) and having Japanese students think I said "pet" when I said "pat" (I've taught English in Japan).

However, for this particular case, I've got a slightly different theory, based on my own mistakes: the writer sub-vocalizes while touch-typing and something between tongue, brain and fingers short circuited and instead of N, T was hit. The tongue is in the same place for both sounds, and when touch typing, the index finger on opposite hands is used for both letters (and the movement is rotationally symmetrical). The vast majority of my typos follow a similar pattern (and swapping N and T is very common for me). Heck, I sometimes make the same mistakes with pen and paper!

Re:"greater... THAT"... my god... (1)

JustOK (667959) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807241)

I think it's part of a plot.

New suggested article title... (2)

Delgul (515042) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806877)

The paper was put forward in a slanted way. The report apparently concluded that: "those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from climate science as well as other sciences."

What it the report SHOULD have concluded is: "those who subscribed to one or more conspiracy theories or who strongly supported a free market economy were more likely to reject the findings from science" which is exactly as valid, is a far more neutral observation, and does not single out a specific group.

By including the "climate science" as a specific category the researchers make themselves suspect and people may (perhaps not entirely without cause) assume that this report was not unbiased and perhaps targeting "climate sceptists" rather than being an honest report on the behaviour of conspiracists in general. And of course this fuels a discussion. The authors could have known this and probably did. Therefore the article's title should be renamed to: "Those who play at bowls, must look out for rubs".

Re:New suggested article title... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806963)

The specific use of the phrase 'climate science' is down to the fact that the paper they studied reactions to here was based on 'climate science'. As such specifically naming climate science in their conclusions is not only not being biased, it is being scientifically accurate. If they had just said 'science' they would have been implying an unwarrantedly wide conclusion.

Re:New suggested article title... (3, Insightful)

Delgul (515042) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807039)

What part of "as well as other sciences" does not translate to "science" in general? If they didn't research science in general, they should not say they did. If they did research it, they have proven themselves that "climate" apparently doesn't have anything to do with it. However which way you look at it, it smells fishy. The fact that they did actually research the reactions to such a polarized and hyped field where unproven theories are floating around only makes matters worse. It is flamebait research and should be treated as such...

Re:New suggested article title... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807187)

well, "climate science" is by far and large the widest they observed (since, as mentioned, it was responses to climate science). Therefore, it'd still be less than accurate to only say "science." it's the one thing they all had in common, and then there was a hodgepodge of others. To leave it out would be bias. To think they should leave it out is bias. To read it as saying anything then exactly what they're saying is conspiratorial thinking. You're reading way too much into it and thinking they're saying something they're not. They did not say that climate skeptics are conspiratorial thinkers, which is what you're implying they are by taking such offense. There is nothing wrong with saying those who are conspiratorial thinkers also tend to be against climate science in general. It's like getting offended if someone said serial killers like violent games and other media and saying "well, they should have just said media and not singled out games." It's not being biased, it's just showing as much of their data as possible as succinctly as possible in one sentence. Why hide data?

"Yes! We're all individuals!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806885)

It seems to me that, in this day, ideas that don't come from a place of established authority, are frequently, without consideration, assumed to be incorrect, or even delusional, symptoms of mental illness or of flawed logic. It makes me think, what reception would meet thinkers such as Rousseau, Voltaire or Montesquieu were they instead alive today, challenging the current prevailing view of the world? Surely, never would we be so prejudiced as to label them as 'CONSPIRACY THEORISTS' as soon as they had made a statement that did not let itself conform with our current collective view. We, because we are so enlightened, would recognize that theirs were great ideas, and we would maturely judge said ideas by their merit. We would think freely and independently, and not ignorantly adopt the views of some figure of authority.

Re: "Yes! We're all individuals!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807207)

Once I got past your use of commas to get to your point:
We wouldn't call Voltaire or Rousseau conspiracy theorists because they were patently not conspiracy theorists. Not all controversial thinkers are written off as conspiracy theorists.
On climate change issues, virtually everyone must argue from authority, because the level of specialisation and the amount of time required to actually analyse all the data yourself is simply not available to most people.
Keep in mind that the 'authority' can be an organisation (e.g the IPCC, or national academy of sciences). The degree of 'authority' in these cases is the trust in the organisation making claims.

Flamebait (2, Funny)

LordLucless (582312) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806895)

Flamebait "study" provokes flames. News at eleven. I'm waiting for the next study showing the correlation climate alarmism and being a poo-poo head.

nothing to see here. MS use it.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806909)

this research is tantamount to calling a spade a spade, when most other people say it's a club. Doesn't change the fact that it's still a spade.

Microsoft (in order to drain talent into their sinking company) use a similar approach - an aptitude test with features that force you not just be right, but have the convictions to stand by being right.

Can't win (0)

Nick Milner (2826765) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806933)

The problem is that by calling out the first paper as BS science you're automatically labelled a conspiracy theorist. The second paper went on to do just that.

Re:Can't win (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42806973)

Not true, they explicitly state that they are not investigating the validity or not of any of the criticisms of the first paper. They are measuring psychological indicators of conspiracy thinking. Even the most out there obsessed conspirac theorist could be right, and this paper doesn't deny that.

Re:Can't win (2)

Nick Milner (2826765) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806989)

It's not a question of what they set out to measure. It was the methodology they used to measure it that was flawed.

Re: Can't win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807287)

Except that the previous AC actually addressed your 'bad measurement' comment, and did not comment on what the authors may have been trying to measure as such.

Anyone else remember the Sokal Affair? (1)

water-and-sewer (612923) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806937)

The horse crap in this one is so deep I can barely see the light. Does anybody else remember that paper on sociology that turned out to be a joke composed of mostly made-up words, but the sociology community accepted it and praised it in some journal? It was the Sokal Affair (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair [wikipedia.org] ) and the article was "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," an article that sounds about as interesting as this one.

Re:Anyone else remember the Sokal Affair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807115)

It's illustrative that the Sokal Affair didn't just use made-up words, it also randomly quoted the most often quoted sociology papers, and included classic coined phrases and slogans from socialist propaganda, which was the entire point of the Sokal experiment: to prove that the sole requisite to get a paper published in a sociology journal is to fill it with socialist quackery, the rest of the paper can be pure gibberish and it won't matter at all.

Thumb Awareness (2)

erroneus (253617) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806943)

The very mention of thumb awareness makes you immediately more aware of your thumbs. That is unless you don't have any in which case you are increasingly aware of that fact.

Gold mine for a researcher (1)

water-vole (1183257) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806951)

In this day and age when citations and publications determine your funding and job prospects as a researcher, it is a gold mine to stumble on a process like this. It recursively generates new articles, and so research funding will flow her way almost automatically.

Yada Yada Yada (3, Insightful)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42806979)

Wow someone writes a paper on conspiracy theory and targets it slap bang at climate sceptics and then complains when they cry fowl! It's like calling someone paranoid when people really are out to get them!

Re: Yada Yada Yada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807153)

Conspiracy theorist turkey is my favourite fowl.

Re:Yada Yada Yada (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807185)

You've got the causality backwards. The theory evaluated conspiracy theorists' tendencies to believe in climate change, not climate change deniers' tendencies to conspiracy theory. That's an interesting but significant difference, because the implications are different (in this case, that conspiratorial thinking leads to a more generalised rejection of orthodoxy).

Re:Yada Yada Yada (1)

Big Hairy Ian (1155547) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807269)

Sorry got switched around still valid though

Re:Yada Yada Yada (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807201)

You're interpreting this the exact wrong way. They found a link. There's nothing wrong with that. And they didn't cry "foul" (fixed that for you). They made another research paper that actually *SUPPORTED* their original paper. They didn't say all climate skeptics are conspiratorial nuts. They just said conspiratorial nuts are climate skeptics as well. That shouldn't be taken as offense by climate skeptics, unless you are indeed a conspiratorial nut.

Re:Yada Yada Yada (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807367)

Isn't referring to something with a bad connotation and than link it to some person you do not like on page three of the "how to get rid of pesky opponents" book ? As far as I know thats required reading for anyone wanting to become anything/move up in a larger organisation.

The problem with "conspiracy theories" is that they are either "forgotten" in time (just as with fear, "normal" people are affected by it for a limited time, after that the brain simply ignores it), or prooven. And when they are prooven you never hear about them either, as "having a gut feeling" isn't scientific.

Ofcourse, some people do really see all kinds of conspiracies where there are none. That is why its so easy to make fun about the ones who really do see connections (even if they can't be scientificaly prooven) between seemingly unrelated events.

Heck, Intelligence in most countries employ such people to keep on the up-and-up in regards to foreign/domestic threats.

Error (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807001)

"I'm going to call you a conspiracy theorist, and if you deny it, that means you are a conspiracy theorist."

What is it with you idiots? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807073)

Really.

Though every single one of you retards makes the same bollocks assertion to cover up your own goal here, that isn't even remotely the case here.

I call you a conspiracy theorist. If you go "Wrong, I'm not", then that is you refuting it. I don't call you a conspiracy theorist for denying the claim. But that isn't what you dumb fucks are doing, is it. You're saying "Nuh, uh, you're with the EcoNazis trying to make a New World Order and using this claim to ensure we aren't heard, therefore allowing you to Take Over Everyone".

WHICH IS A CONSPIRACY THEORY.

Re:What is it with you idiots? (1, Interesting)

smpoole7 (1467717) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807327)

> to cover up your own goal here ...

In other words, YOU believe that there is a conspiracy (even if only de facto) amongst those who question the conclusions of those who believe in anthropogenic climate change? We have indeed fallen into infinite recursion.

Me personally? I have no use for conspiracy theories. As a friend who used to work for CIA (vigorously) explained it to me, the more complex the conspiracy, the more impossible it is. SOMEONE will blab, or will forget a laptop with all the secret codes and handshakes in the men's room at the airport. Someone will invariably sell out the conspirators to the opposition. Hey, he can get rich AND become a hero in one fell swoop!

The purpose of this article is just as offensive as the Slashdot story from a few months ago, that those who question climate change theory are no different from those who reject evolution. That's patently offensive. Like many people, I am agnostic toward AGW theory. I haven't seen enough evidence to convince me either way ... so yes, I AM going to wait and see before I support drastic action that destroys the economy.

In the meantime, I *will* agitate for cleaner, greener energy, simply because it makes sense for the future. Whether we (meaning us hoomin' beans) are causing global warming is irrelevant to me. If I can reduce the gunk that I spew into the atmosphere, I want to do it. That's just common sense, and MOST people support that.

Has absolutely, utterly NOTHING to do with conspiracies, or a belief in a New World Order or anything like that.

Help! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807029)

I think I have irony poisoning.

Oh Jesus... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807049)

Typical libtard drivel we've come to expect on Slashdot. Everything in TFA was in the same vein as what's being vomited on the rest of humanity in the name of "intelligent" discussion. Or to put it in simpler terms, "I'm smart and have a college education. Ergo, everything I say must be true."

You liberals are going to be the death of civilization as we know it.

Re: Oh Jesus... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807349)

"You liberals are going to be the death of civilization as we know it"

Indeed. And it will be a crazy new world where people can expect medical treatment despite their financial circumstances; where having food to eat is actually considered a right; where quality education will be widely available, even to those on low incomes.
Civilisation is dead! Long live civilisation!

Also: (1)

lazyFatCyclist (2779453) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807071)

Being paranoid does not mean they're not after you

Climate science... (0, Offtopic)

thejynxed (831517) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807081)

To deny what is happening is beyond ridiculous. This planet now has less ice being formed at the caps and in glaciers and more water vapor, methane, etc in the atmosphere than it did even five years ago. The average temperatures for water at the caps alone is rising at an alarming rate.

I've actually gone to places where historically, there have been glaciers solidly covering the ground for well over 25,000+ years, and there was nothing but bare rock, with the glaciers having receded more than five+ miles up the valley towards the mountain tops.

Some of these particular glaciers, only receded that far within the last fifteen years.

The last time we've had these particular conditions occurring, there were tropical and sub-tropical forests and swamps in places where they are in no way currently found (aka when some dinosaurs still roamed).

What is happening, is our pollution is compounding on the natural cooling and warming cycles, and pushing us much farther into a warming cycle than we've ever dealt with in recorded history.

What is scary, is the CO2 we've pushed into the atmosphere in record tonnage, is melting permafrost layers in Canada, Alaska, Siberia and other places, releasing several hundred thousand metric tons of methane into the atmosphere every day, which is MANY times worse than CO2 (picture Venus), and just reinforces and pushes the global temperature rise even further.

What journal(s) did these papaers appear in? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807113)

Could someone tell me what journal or journals these papers appeared in? They were peer-reviewed weren't they?
  Just asking.

What is 'ideation'? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807189)

If you strip out the words that don't exist in the English language, the title of the work makes a weird sort of sense, if you excuse poor-grammar:

  'Recursive fury: Conspiracist in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist"

It's like schizophrenia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807217)

...when you tell them the voices in their head aren't real, they think you're in league with the voices.

I bet they will soon publish this: (1)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807245)

Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation

make a habit of reading pools to get big picture (5, Interesting)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807253)

If you make a habit of reading polls on a a variety of political and social issues, you'll learn a lot about Americans and specifically you might come to the conclusion that about 25-35% of Americans are basically so disconnected from scientific and social reality they're functionally insane and their opinion should ALWAYS and AUTOMATICALLY be classified as "non-truth related".

For instance, and famously, about 46% of Americans don't believe in evolution

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/05/americans-believe-in-creationism_n_1571127.html

But also 10% think that prosecutors who send innocent people to jail should not be prosecuted:

http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-texas-exoneree-testifies-20130204,0,3950542.story?page=2

25% think Obama is not an American citizen:

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20056061-503544.html [cbsnews.com]

30%^ think God decides the outcome of sporting events: http://rt.com/usa/news/super-bowl-result-god-337/ [rt.com]

And on and on and on. Watching polls what you'll discover is about 10% of Americans are just outright fascists who wouldn't hesitate to do whatever any right wing authority told them to do, and think it should have been started yesterday. This is also the finding of Bob Altemeyer in his seminal work on authoritarianism :

http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~altemey/ [umanitoba.ca] .

right.

About 25-30% believe that events on Earth are assiduously overseen by an all knowing God who "sees them when they're sleeping / and knows if they're awake / and knows if they've been bad of good..." and what happens in everything from their personal life to world events is really of no consequence except to the extent that it is a reflection of an eternal, ongoing battle between good and evil being fought on an unseen cosmic plane. This is something they have this is common with every Muslim extremist who ever strapped a suicide bomb onto himself.

Americans have a deficit of rationality, a deep and persistent belief that something other than outcome based, welfare of humans is the proper measure of human morality, are scientifically illiterate and constitutionally incapable of perceiving in their thinking just the kinds of bugs that the referenced article details.

There's not enough time to reform the American character before we have to take radical and decisive action on global warming. The fact is, democracy stops where science begins. This isn't going to lead to anything good.

The least divisive, least disrupting course of action is for the government to internally and secretly set up an Executive Action team within one the intelligence agencies whose purpose is to discredit, attack and dismantle and neutralize the leaders of the denier terrorist movement. We all know who they are. These *thought leaders* need to be attacked the same way we'd attack any group of terrorists building a bomb named which would have the same long term destructive power as global warming. Denialism is a bomb with the capacity to permanently destroy civilization and the people assembling that bomb are not working in secret. They need to be neutralized and their sources of funding and societal legitimacy attacked through and and all means necessary. They have forfeited their civil rights and constitutional protections. We simply need to deal with them like the world destroying terrorists they are.

You can come to this conclusion now when there's still time to do something about global warming or you can come to this conclusion later, when there's no possibility of doing anything about it and the starvation, the concomitant societal breakdown and mass, uncontrolled immigration, the tidal wave of anti-Western (Big Oil / Big Coal ) terrorism and collapsing centralized governments take not just the denier's civil liberties and Constitutional protections with them, but yours too.

Anything can happen in history if reality goes some certain way. One of the things that has happened in history is the most powerful nation on earth is incapable of stopping a pending world wide ecological collapse. This is because of their defective political system; because of a defect in their system that starts at their gerrymandered electoral districts and ends with to their inability to curtail and countermand the extremist religious and financial elements in their political system. That's just they way history unfolded this time in this place for this people. We are not beyond history and history will be consuming us like it consumed every other civilization unless our enlightened leaders choose to take arguably undemocratic and decisive action now .

The drone program is the best we can do in terms of precision right now; it leads to the least loss of innocent life that we can manage and still be effective against those who would destroy us. We wish it were more precise; we wish we had the intelligence to know exactly who is doing what where. We're working on it, but until we get here , we need to take action even if that action is imprecise and bloody and unfair. The same is true with global warming. We don't have the means to change enough minds in time to save ourselves anymore. They talked away the clock. Now the alternative is messy and imprecise and brutal and unfair and possibly undemocratic. The only thing the alternative has going for it is it's better than any of the other competing alternatives by about 5 billion times. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/05/11/poll-ten-percent-americans-environmentalists-intentionally-caused-oil-spill/ [rawstory.com] about 25-30% of Americans are

Switch Climate Change for 9/11 (0)

clifyt (11768) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807283)

I bet you'd get a completely different response on /. from people if the subject of the conspiracy were 9/11 instead of climate change. Climate Change is something that most liberals and libertarians agree on. However, you swap the conspiracy for one closer to home?

I pretty much stopped reading /. for a couple of years except the post here or there that I was referred to because this site started to get hijacked by wackjobs. Maybe it was a corporate thing. Who knows. Either way, the signal to noise was highly in the wackjob category with 'truthers' trying to prove how it was all an inside job. Unfortunately, I headed to Reddit to get away from it and it turned out to be worse there!

You'll always find wack jobs and dumb fucks that want to believe, if only because it goes to their beliefs that the other side is corrupt and they are the only side of truth, as if everything is black and white. I know a lot of conservatives that believe in climate change, but they also believe it has happened for natural causes in the past exactly the same and we survived. Or that pragmatically, there is no way to go back except to put on the Birkenstocks and start eating granola and that if science is so advanced, eventually it will catch up and fix things.

Either way, the fact that neither side wants to back down is going to cause a division that naturally leads us all to conspiracy theories...

Real Conspiracy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42807307)

There are two dark forces that come into play. One is Fear and the other is Greed. People who are infested with Greed will tend to have beliefs that justify them to continue doing evil things. And we also have people infested with Fear. These people may have at some level a knowledge that they are not really worth their daily bread and will do anything to maintain their status quo. Between Greed and Fear those with weak spines tremble and promote false beliefs such as there being no pollution problem, no global warming problem, no social problems, as well as whatever nonsense they feel they need to promote. These weak minds or defective souls do seek each other out. They do try to install other defectives in places of power in government and business. They may not be aware at the conscious level of what they do. It may be called net working or hidden under other terms that disguise what they really are. The unconscious conspiracy can exist, does exist, and will tend to persist. The author of fear and greed is a rather ancient devil who designs things to bring humanity to lower and lower levels. Those that serve this monster usually do not know what they are doing. As an easy example consider this: An employer pays low wages in order to compete with another employer who offers low wages. That employer reasons that he must pay less than any competitor in order to survive in business. He really will not be aware that fear is running him. He will rarely confront the fact that he lives a bit too well and that greed is running him. So there is his evil. It owns him. But the real evil resides behind the scenes in the creator of an economic system that permits any employer from paying a non- living wage. And very, very few will ever question a system that allows such practices. There is conspiracy at the majority level.

Political denial (5, Interesting)

grunter (35840) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807325)

One thing that many who believe that climate change is a "scam" or a "conspiracy" have in common is a political outlook that says that lefties, socialists, hippies, greenies etc. are just plain WRONG about everything, that their entire world view is basically incorrect.

So it really is hard for them to accept that the lefties and the greenies might be RIGHT about something - which seems to lead to ever more bizarre denials.

The corollary of this is that people with this kind of viewpoint tend to believe that climate change is a stalking horse of the left, to de-industrialise the economy, to promote their "business-hating" ideals, etc.

Nefarious intent? (1)

moeinvt (851793) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807331)

"the presumption of nefarious intent"

There is more than enough evidence to demonstrate that our contemporary institutions of government, media, academia, finance, etc. and the unholy alliances thereof have nothing BUT nefarious intent. It's only logical to assume that these people and groups are going to lie, cheat and obfuscate to fulfill their agenda at the expense of the vast majority of the population.

The label "conspiracy theorist" is simply their dismissive label for anyone who dares question the official narrative and a convenient excuse to avoid countering evidence with facts.

The odd thing is that a "conspiracy" is generally some sort of secret plot. Many of the so-called "conspiracy theorists" are simply highlighting evidence which isn't even in dispute.

Dunning Kruger effect (5, Insightful)

Martin S. (98249) | about a year and a half ago | (#42807399)

Conspiratorial Thinking is clear example of the Dunning Kruger [wikipedia.org] effect at work.

They overestimate their own intelligence or skill, and ignore contrary feedback. They disavow the intelligence or skill of others. These people are simply too stupid to invalidate their own hypothesis and recognise the validity of the alternative.

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