I have noticed that livescience.com as an online publication is more and more preoccupied at unveiling conspiracies based on various scientists theories. Something like if a certain thing isn’t white, it must be black. Someone said that he discovered a formula to prove that a conspiracy is founded or not. I believe that if you prove something, that thing ceases to remain a conspiracy (as a sum of information hidden from the public), it purely becomes a fact.
I’ve read a series of articles one after another more funny and full of nonsense, really entertaining. They say that people who claim that conspiracies exist, believe that “stuff just happens”, which is hilarious. And they came with the silliest examples of “conspiracies”, like the one that claims that Sandy Hook shooting never happened. Trying to explain, they affirm exactly the contrary, that a common belief is that people believing in conspiracies can’t accept that sometimes things happens for no good reason, and they are trying to look for patterns in everything. They want to find someone being in charge (an authority, of course) when bad things strike. So, a group of scientists made an experiment with psychology students and ordinary people recruited online.
They found no link between a conspiratorial mindset and a perception of randomness. The researchers found that people are good at detecting random-seeming character strings. They also found that people who believe in one conspiracy theory tend to believe in many conspiracy theories, even those that have nothing to do with each other, or even contradict one another. Someone who believes the moon landing was faked, for example, is likely to believe that Princess Diana was deliberately murdered.
Another scientist, a physicist, claims that he found a mathematical formula showing that if true, any alleged conspiracy will come to light within five years. It’s obvious that if it doesn’t, that means the conspiracy doesn’t exist, which I find hilarious.
The best thing I like (and that doesn’t prove a thing), is that he used the conjunction fallacy, a thing exposed in a 1974 paper by psychologists Tversky and Kahneman, which goes like this:
Linda is 31 years old, single, outspoken and very bright. She majored in philosophy. As a student, she was deeply concerned with the issue of discrimination and social justice, and also participated in antinuclear demonstrations.
Which of the following is more probable:
1. Linda is a bank teller (T)
2. Linda is a bank teller and is active in the feminist movement (T and B) (cited in Cartwright, 2008, p.155)
The results were surprising (or not, depending your mindset): A great majority of the subjects chose T and B, which, mathematically speaking has a lesser probability to be true. It is like saying that to throw a double with two dices (1-1, 2-2, …, 6-6) is easier than throwing a certain number (1, 2, 3, …, 6) with just one dice.
And all that, because of the pattern implied: she has to be a feminist, because she has expressed her deeply concerns of discrimination and social justice, but they took that she was a bank teller for granted, going past the fact that the probability for a philosophy major to be a bank teller is much less than for Linda to be a feminist, and to be both at the same time it’s exponentially more improbable.
The less funniest thing in all that physicist’s formula (obviously not revealed for the public) is that it rejects every major conspiracy theory from the start, and most of them are true.
Very Big Conspiracies
It has been officially announced that Princess Diana died along her lover as consequence of bad driving because a coroner’s jury declared: “The conspiracy theory advanced by Mohamed Al Fayed (Dodi’s billionaire father) has been minutely examined and shown to be without any substance. Diana and Al-Fayed were unlawfully killed due to negligence by their drunken chauffeur and pursuing paparazzi.” It is hard to believe because the theory involving the UK’s crown in the murder seems more credible.
Also, the 9/11 conspiracy was only a plot organized by Osama Bin Laden, al Qaeda and the Saudi plane pilots to crash the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. It has nothing to do with higher forces who covered some billions missing from the Pentagon budget, and the paperwork evidence about market manipulation by investment banks up to 1999, not mentioning a revival of Operation Northwoods, rejected at the time by Kennedy Administration.
As for Kennedy, the official thing is that the president has been shot by Lee Harvey Osvald, a lunatic with communist antecedents. Scientists even mock the theories on the market which is terrible, because this is a form of misdirection.
I have my doubts about scientists trying to prove mathematically what they don’t really control. Their “findings” in the matter are based exactly on the false assumption that Linda is a feminist and a bank teller. Surprisingly, isn’t it?
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