Why Conspiratrial Thinking Is So Often Utterly Incoherent

I just blogged this over at UFO Religions, but it’s equally applicable here given the sort of pablum that I deal with so often in the world of paleobabble.

You just HAVE to watch the video below (7:00). It’s clear and to the point, and you’ll no doubt have a laugh or two – a video on how Luke Skywalker’s destruction of the Death Star was *really* an inside job. It’s very well done and has almost two million views on YouTube.

The value of the video should be obvious. Every fact presented in it is indeed a fact from the movie. And every connection drawn is “reasonable” in the context of the narrative created. But the conclusions are absolutely wrong. This is precisely how so much conspiratorial thinking works … and fails horribly. Conspiracy is all about narrative interpretation, not “facts”. ¬†Once one part of the narrative fails, the whole thing crumbles. The beauty of the video is that the viewer already knows the narrative is wrong, but can see how that bogus narrative is created using nothing but factual data.

In short, it’s not about the data dots; it’s about how the dots are connected — and that usually (nearly always) happens in the theater of the imagination when it comes to conspiracy theory.

Ancient Aliens and Pseudo-Academics

I invite you all to read Jason Colavito’s short post entitled, “Ancient Aliens and Credential Inflation.” Claiming false credentials is irritating to an academic, like myself (and as those who know me know, I have a healthy disdain for the snobbery of the academy — but I like lying even less). It’s just so disingenuous. The ancient astronaut crowd is infamous for criticizing mainstream scholars (just read the comments section of this blog!), and yet its most visible proponents want to pass themselves off as possessing graduate degrees and other credentials, the baptism of the mainstream. Pure hypocrisy, with intent to manipulate the audience.