How facts backfire

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VanGoghs Ear
How facts backfire

Recently, a few political scientists have begun to discover a human tendency deeply discouraging to anyone with faith in the power of information. It's this: Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite. In a series of studies in 2005 and 2006, researchers at the University of Michigan found that when misinformed people, particularly political partisans, were exposed to corrected facts in news stories, they rarely changed their minds. In fact, they often became even more strongly set in their beliefs. Facts, they found, were not curing misinformation. Like an underpowered antibiotic, facts could actually make misinformation even stronger.

Most of us like to believe that our opinions have been formed over time by careful, rational consideration of facts and ideas, and that the decisions based on those opinions, therefore, have the ring of soundness and intelligence. In reality, we often base our opinions on our beliefs, which can have an uneasy relationship with facts. And rather than facts driving beliefs, our beliefs can dictate the facts we chose to accept. They can cause us to twist facts so they fit better with our preconceived notions. Worst of all, they can lead us to uncritically accept bad information just because it reinforces our beliefs. This reinforcement makes us more confident we're right, and even less likely to listen to any new information.

 This effect is only heightened by the information glut, which offers - alongside an unprecedented amount of good information - endless rumors, misinformation, and questionable variations on the truth. In other words, it's never been easier for people to be wrong, and at the same time feel more certain that they're right.

 http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/?page=full

 I see this here but also with some friends and neighbours who post link after link of conspiracy garbage about everything under the sun and refuse to believe any mainstream(read - legitimate organizations) news but will believe any website that spouts crap they want to believe. It very depressing to me.

Caissa

It leaves aside the debate of what constitutes a fact and whether a fact has any use without interpretation.

Yiwah

I think it brings up a really important issue, and highlights problems we see even in this particular subforum...not only do some people lack the ability to critically evaluate sources (eg blogs versus peer reviewed journal articles), but those same people also seem incapable of backing up their arguments with anything at all.  They will simply say "No, you're wrong" and fail to bring forth any argument whatsoever beyond that. 

 

Will the glut of information so readily available to people via the internet, something has indeed been lost...and it makes me wonder if we are teaching critical thinking skills at all anymore?

Sven Sven's picture

Yiwah wrote:

I think it brings up a really important issue, and highlights problems we see even in this particular subforum...not only do some people lack the ability to critically evaluate sources (eg blogs versus peer reviewed journal articles), but those same people also seem incapable of backing up their arguments with anything at all.  They will simply say "No, you're wrong" and fail to bring forth any argument whatsoever beyond that. 

That ("No, you're wrong"), or something akin to it, is a very common response "true believers".

skdadl

I know of one significant real-life example. People will recall that we have had [URL=http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Capturing+the+innocent%3A+Donald+Marshall,... number of cases[/URL] in Canada where suspects or people actually convicted of crimes have been proved innocent, often by DNA evidence.

I'm not sure which of the inquiries -- Milgaard, Morin, or Marshall -- produced this scene, but it was described in a G&M report on one of them and has stuck in my memory. The inquiry had produced exhaustive scientific evidence of the convicted man's innocence. There was simply no way any rational person could have argued against that evidence. And yet, when one of the lawyers interviewing a lead detective on the original case asked the detective repeatedly, "Do you accept now that Mr M[?] is innocent?" the detective simply could not bring himself to answer. He could not say yes -- he just couldn't. He had considered Mr M the perp from the beginning, and he could not be talked out of that conviction.

I understand that something similar was observed in the Baltovich case. It seems to be a real problem among police.

I've spent decades editing peer-reviewed books and articles. Sometimes peer review means something; often it doesn't. Some blogs are better analysis than you'll find in any corporate media; some aren't. Peer review is not the basis on which to distinguish between them.

6079_Smith_W

@ Yiwah

Yes, although the only difference between the misinformation on the internet and the misinformation in our history books is that the book is falsely regarded by many as an infallible source.

And the bigger the lie - like the notion that a despotic monarch was the cause of the American Revolution, or even the French one (to use an example) - the more it is believed.

I agree that critical thinking, and the realization that virtually everything we read is subjective, and very little in this world comes down to one thing, is a good first start in getting at some version of what is actually going on.

(edit) ...not to say that just because something is commonly believed it needs a conspiracy theory to balance it out.

 

 

Sven Sven's picture

I suspect that there are two critical things that "true believers" frequently ignore: (1) facts (as noted above) but also (2) logic.  True believers often have an aversion to both.

Yiwah

6079_Smith_W wrote:

@ Yiwah

Yes, although the only difference between the misinformation on the internet and the misinformation in our history books is that the book is falsely regarded by many as an infallible source.

Oh gods yes!  It's scary how much we were taught as rote ends up being false...my daughters recently had a lesson on the 'four taste areas' on your tongue.  I'd been taught that too, even in highschool biology.  I wasn't sure where the different areas were so I did some research...and found the whole thing had been based on one faulty study decades ago, reproduced over and over again in school textbooks.

 

Nonetheless, the ability to have experts in your field go over your work and pick it apart for errors is a huge benefit.  It would be nice if textbook publishers would have more expert fact checking.

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And the bigger the lie - like the notion that a despotic monarch was the cause of the American Revolution, or even the French one (to use an example) - the more it is believed.

I agree that critical thinking, and the realization that virtually everything we read is subjective, and very little in this world comes down to one thing, is a good first start in getting at some version of what is actually going on.

(edit) ...not to say that just because something is commonly believed it needs a conspiracy theory to balance it out.

I think what needs to happen in schools is that this focus on the banking approach to education (making educational 'deposits' in children's minds, filling them up with dates and discrete facts) needs to change drastically to focus more on critical thinking skills.  In particular, the skills needed to evaluate different sources of information and to recognise bias.  Bias doesn't invalidate a source, but it is the lens through which the source should be viewed.

 

 

NDPP

"Of one thing only can we be sure...

We shall remain stupid."

Voltaire

Yiwah

skdadl wrote:

I've spent decades editing peer-reviewed books and articles. Sometimes peer review means something; often it doesn't. Some blogs are better analysis than you'll find in any corporate media; some aren't. Peer review is not the basis on which to distinguish between them.

No, not THE basis, simply one of them.

The qualifications of the field of study itself, and the 'peers' also needs to be checked out.  Someone could have a PhD in "Karmic Release Techniques" from the "University of Karmic Shaminism", and be published in "Karmic Healing Monthly", which could be reviewed by other Karmic Release Technicians from around the world...you get my drift :)

If the blog in question is written by a reputabel scholar in a reputable field and actually on point...then yes, it could be an excellent source.

But it does take an exercise in critical thinking to recognise these things.

Sven Sven's picture

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

"Of one thing only can we be sure...

We shall remain stupid."

Voltaire

I wouldn't be quite so gloomy.  Volataire, and the Age of Enlightenment, is one of the reasons humans are as advanced as we are.

skdadl

Yiwah, that's not good enough either. You wouldn't believe how many idiots with PhDs from Harvard I have met.

Sheer credentialism is highly suspect in my book.

Sven Sven's picture

skdadl wrote:

Sheer credentialism is highly suspect in my book.

Indeed.  That's why a person must always "Question Authority" (whether the authority is from credentials, professional occupation, a self-declaration of expertise, etc.).

Yiwah

skdadl wrote:

Yiwah, that's not good enough either. You wouldn't believe how many idiots with PhDs from Harvard I have met.

Sheer credentialism is highly suspect in my book.

 

Hahahaha...I'm definitely not going to argue that having a PhD makes you qualified...and the problems with credentials are legion.  However, you also can't simply toss them out the window either.  I am going to trust a practicioner of law with 25 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation on issues of...medical malpractice litigation, over say, even a practicioner of law with equivalent years on the job who focuses on intellectual property. You have to do some evaluation of your sources and the subject matter.  Etc.

Yiwah

Sven wrote:

skdadl wrote:

Sheer credentialism is highly suspect in my book.

Indeed.  That's why a person must always "Question Authority" (whether the authority is from credentials, professional occupation, a self-declaration of expertise, etc.).

Well how effectively and usefully you Question Authority is going to depend on what you are questioning. 

If you want to question the qualifications of a professor, for example, you take a look at where they got their education (is it a reputable institution?), what sort of research they've done (has it been peer reviewed?  Vetted?  Is it very controversial? ), what their field is (are we discussing certain scientific fields where this person's research can be verified, or are we talking about social theories?) and so on. 

However, if you want to question what that professor is saying, but you have no background at all in their field...how are you going to go about your questioning?  How are you going to evaluate sources that claim said professor is wrong, and others that claim said professor is right?  You're probably going to have to go back to questioning the credentials of her detractors/supporters if you cannot actually evaluate the information/research itself.

Questioning Authority is just as nuanced as evaluating sources...because it's basically the same thing.

VanGoghs Ear

NoDifferencePartyPooper wrote:

"Of one thing only can we be sure...

We shall remain stupid."

Voltaire

agreed

VanGoghs Ear

Does a paranoia fit in here somewhere? 

they are lying to us.  sunblock prevents burns? - no it kills you, ect ,  a fanatic blows up a KFC restaurant in Pakistan- no it was Mossad/CIA - any evidence? NO but yes - they are lying to us  ...  vaccinations cause autism - uh no eviden ... WHAT PART OF THEY ARE LYING DON'T YOU GET.    Some even think "They"  are so all powerful that they can't be human like us - psss - they are actually reptiles disguised as humans.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Yiwah wrote:

However, if you want to question what that professor is saying, but you have no background at all in their field...how are you going to go about your questioning?  How are you going to evaluate sources that claim said professor is wrong, and others that claim said professor is right?  You're probably going to have to go back to questioning the credentials of her detractors/supporters if you cannot actually evaluate the information/research itself.

And it is doubly/triply difficult depending on who recorded the original sources, under what circumstances, what they had access to and might have left out, and who translated them. Beyond the interpretation of scholars, there are still layers of subjectivity even in so-called hard evidence.

 

jas

Yiwah wrote:

I think it brings up a really important issue, and highlights problems we see even in this particular subforum...not only do some people lack the ability to critically evaluate sources (eg blogs versus peer reviewed journal articles), but those same people also seem incapable of backing up their arguments with anything at all.  They will simply say "No, you're wrong" and fail to bring forth any argument whatsoever beyond that. 

Agreed. In a thread here someone titled Burden of Proof, someone cited a blog written by one anonymous writer as being representative of 123,000 members of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was a gross distortion that someone else pointed out rather quickly in the same thread.

jrootham

jas, I really don't think you want to expand that thread into this one.

You do understand that when I saw the description of the research, you and Fidel immediately came to mind?

There are also others, like Yiwah, and Micheal Nenonen, whose comments on the 9/11 thread are consistent with thinking the same thing.

 

 

jas

jrootham, your post makes no grammatical or semantic sense.

VanGoghs Ear

Thanks Jrootham - if we could please use this thread to discuss the points raised by the article in Post #1 - Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite.

I think there are examples that we've all seen on babble, that don't need to be brought over here to be understood what is being referred to.

jrootham

OK, in words of (close to) one syllable.

Other people have given you facts that show you are wrong and you keep saying things that are wrong.

 

jas

jrootham wrote:

Other people have given you facts that show you are wrong and you keep saying things that are wrong.

This is so...profound...so.....damning... I had no idea... Cry  Cry  Cry

milo204

i can see why people wo have believed one thing for so long refuse to change their minds.  It is an admission that "I WAS WRONG" something noone these days wants to admit, even thoug we all all wrong sometimes.

just look at religion.  Some still cling to the most fanciful ideas of "truth" without proof, they can't even contemplate the fact they might* be wrong.

At the root of the problem is what i often see on this board.  That when you challenge someones facts or beliefs it's routinely taken as a personal challenge to them and their character, like you are calling them an idiot or a liar, and they will defend themselves at all costs rather than either defend their views or admit they were wrong (or just hadn't thought about it that much)

Yiwah

jas wrote:

Agreed. In a thread here someone titled Burden of Proof, someone cited a blog written by one anonymous writer as being representative of 123,000 members of the American Society of Civil Engineers. It was a gross distortion that someone else pointed out rather quickly in the same thread.

Good example of missing the point in order to further your own point of view.  After all, you were the one saying the support for the 'truther' cause was overwhelming.

Lol, instead...out of hundreds of thousands of professionals, only a few have openly questioned the official report.  Makes your numbers of 'truthers' appropriate insignificant.

 

Yiwah

VanGoghs Ear wrote:

Thanks Jrootham - if we could please use this thread to discuss the points raised by the article in Post #1 - Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite.

I think there are examples that we've all seen on babble, that don't need to be brought over here to be understood what is being referred to.

Apologies.

 

 

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I went and graduated from four colleges and universities - not particularly with an eye towards employment, because if I had remained with M&I in the 1970s, I could probably be earning a six figure salary by now - but, rather, to learn as much as I could in different fields of study. I find that a lot of stuff I read online is nonsense, but there's also some great stuff as well, and I try to discern what's useful and what ain't. But, still, even I make blunders sometimes. Embarassed

jas

Yiwah wrote:

Good example of missing the point in order to further your own point of view.

Curses! I guess you didn't cite a one-person blog in which you tried to imply that 123,000 civil and structural engineers were all speaking out in support of the NIST report. I guess I'm just imagining it.

Fidel

Joe Keohane wrote:
Facts don't necessarily have the power to change our minds. In fact, quite the opposite.

What a laugher. They've been lying to Americans for over 50 years concerning just about everything under the sun. Americans have bever been more afraid of the warmongering plutocrats as they are today. It's harder to pull the wool over peoples eyes when a few well informed people speak out, but not too much harder. It's not too difficult when 98% of the news media are privately owned and controlled, and with communications spectrum auctioned off(ripped off from the US public) since 1996. I think Joe Keohane is part of the mind-fuck creating so many unthinking sheeple in America. We have them in Bananada, too. They wouldn't say SHHHugar even wiih a mouthful.

[url=http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20102]Are you a PERFECT CITIZEN[/url], Joe? The Pentagon rules, Joe. Any questions stupid or otherwise, Joe Keohane?

Yiwah

jas wrote:

Curses! I guess you didn't cite a one-person blog in which you tried to imply that 123,000 civil and structural engineers were all speaking out in support of the NIST report. I guess I'm just imagining it.

No, you're misrepresenting it.  I said 123,000 civil and structural engineers have not spoken out questioning it, which is a far cry from speaking out in SUPPORT of the NIST report.

See how changing a few words can radically alter what was actually said?

I'm sure it was merely a slip of the tongue on your part.

 

 

Pants-of-dog

While critical thinking skills are important and are indispensable to any intelligent radical, they are not enough by themselves to achieve a freedom from this apparent tendency to "backfire", as the article puts it, when confronted with information that is in comflict with what we believe to be true.

It also requires self-analysis, for lack of a better term. The ability to focus the lens of your critical thinking skills on your own deeply cherished beliefs.

Boom Boom pointed out that a comprehensive or well rounded education is important. I would like to echo that statement, and add why I think it is a good idea: it helps you see things from different perspectives. And sometimes your different internal perspectives don't agree.

So you roll the ideas around in your head, changing them, until they do. But you have to find some crteria for deciding which idea is better or more correct than the others. This is where critical thinking comes in.

 

Fidel

Yiwah wrote:

jas wrote:

Curses! I guess you didn't cite a one-person blog in which you tried to imply that 123,000 civil and structural engineers were all speaking out in support of the NIST report. I guess I'm just imagining it.

No, you're misrepresenting it.  I said 123,000 civil and structural engineers have not spoken out questioning it, which is a far cry from speaking out in SUPPORT of the NIST report.

See how changing a few words can radically alter what was actually said?

I'm sure it was merely a slip of the tongue on your part.

I think what Anders Bjorkman said to Frank Greening sums up support for the Government side of things:

Bjorkman wrote:
"So, sorry! I cannot see anything that confirms your model and theory, Dr. G. But I wonder! Why do you invent such a stupid model and theory and publish it in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics? Are you working for the perpetrators of the controlled demolitions of WTC 1, 2, 7 or some agents of those? Do you think you can convince anyone with your unscientific nonsense? Why do you do it? Why not simply shut up like most other poor bastards and don't say anything. I don't expect you to be like me that can do real structural damage analysis and quickly see that WTC 1 destruction is not caused by crush down or PE>SE that NIST suggests."

Absence of active support for NIST 9/11 theories among architectural and civil engineering associations in America is not evidence of support. Thousands of professionals haven't signed anything stating their support for an unscientific government-sponsored conspiracy theory regarding the WTC collapse end of things.

Pants-of-dog

So, now that we have shown that throwing facts, detailed and clear explanations, quantitative analyses, pictures, videos and other assorted evidence at these partisans only makes them "backfire" into further denial, how do we get them out of it?

Yiwah

I don't think you can.  I honestly don't think those kinds of people can be reached. I have no doubt they believe they are being reasonable. 

 

I suppose the only hope is in teaching our youth enough critical thinking skills so they can avoid the cultish nature of such sloppy reasoning.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I think it is less that they think they are reasonable than that they "know" they are right.  And that is enough.

It's the same with my SIL and the Jesus thing.

Fidel

Has anyone ever heard of the Vienam war and the blatant US government lies perpetrated on millions of people in order to keep the warfiteering in SE Asia going as long as possible?

So how many believed crazy George I's official government propaganda concerning the "Nurse Nayirah" fairy tale leading to a US-led medieval siege of Iraq, a desert nation, for ten years and causing the deaths of 750,000 children? 

Were there just enough sheeple sucked in to believing crazy George II's colossal lie regarding WMD in Iraq leading up to shock and awe and mass murder?

How many sheeple have they sucked in to believing [url=http://www.ucsusa.org/]the Dubya regime's climate science denial?[/url]

Yes some of the wackos might never be convinced that 9/11 was a false flag Military-Al-CIA'duh intelligence operation. They must be the ones who believe Osama bin Laden is hiding under their beds waiting to shove the Koran down their throats. It's a variation on the cold war era mass hysteria of "reds under your beds" and the fomenting of extreme paranoia to justify an over-bloated military budget and massive corruption, kick-back and graft that is obviously destroying that country for a long time. And anyone who questions the American inquisition on 9/11 is automatically labelled a heretic.

Quote:
"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition!

Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise....

Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency....

Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....

Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry... are such elements as fear, surprise....

I'll come in again." (Monthy Python, The Spanish Inquisition

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

I first heard of the Internet in 1971 while at Fanshawe College (London) in a class on communications. The teacher was a high-energy futuristic guy who gave us Alvin Toffler's new book Future Shock to read, among many others. I had just gotten over my father's death six month's earlier, and was sort of bewildered by the rantings of this college guy, just couldn't take him seriously - but all the stuff he told us about back then - 39 years ago! - has come true in one form or another. Damn, I wish I brought Microsoft and Intel stock back then when it must have been going for peanuts.

Fotheringay-Phipps

Last year Farhad Manjoo wrote a book called "True Enough: Living in a Post-Fact World." He sees the problem not as an entirely psychological one located between the ears of the true believers, but also as a social one, brought about in part by the unparalleled increase of information in the Internet age. Almost fifty years ago we had only one grainy home movie of the assassination of President Kennedy. That led to a plethora of theories about the killing. The shot came from ahead/behind/to the side/there was more than one shot etc. The sheer number of images of the 9/11 disaster didn't lead us to a single truth, though. Instead it spawned a whole raft of conspiracy theories. In a world awash in data, you can always find a "fact" to support your pet position.

This process leads to things like the partisan media in the US, where, Manjoo suggests, not only are opinions different for members of the various tribes: facts themselves are. And it's not so much that committed partisans don't take opposing facts into account. The atmosphere has become so poisoned that it's easy to discredit any fact because "they" always lie. There is very little trust any more and that can't help but eat away like acid at the mortar of society.

trippie

I have learnt over the years that everything I believe needs to be put to the test. I enter and start debates on the things I believe. Not to be right or wrong but to see what is right or wrong. Were is it that I need to change and what is it that I need to build on.

 

At one time I was religious. I fight hard for my beliefs. In the end though, fact had to win the day.

 

Keep precenting the facts in all your arguements and eventually they will sink in. People will change; over time.

Fidel

trippie wrote:
At one time I was religious. I fight hard for my beliefs. In the end though, fact had to win the day.

Keep precenting the facts in all your arguements and eventually they will sink in. People will change; over time.

I struggled with my own faith.I questioned the corruption of the Church and its many hypocritical policies. But science has not really declared your abandoned spirtituality dead in the water. Not really. There's a lot they just don't know or understand about the "fabric of reality" all around us so to speak. I believe as many scientists do today, that it's a lot bigger universe than was ever understood by science. A voluntary survey of Buffalo University scientists and associated collegial scientists reveals only a little more than half declare no religious affiliation. And I think the majority do not believe simply because they are empiricists living in a material world. Einstein was a materialist thinker who doubted some of his own theories. Einstein is considered the godfather of quantum physics, or the scientific point of view which overthrew Newtonian atomic theory around turn of the last century. And since John Stewart Bell, there are mainstream scientists today who reject the materialist view of reality. Our atomic world comprising you, me, this planet, and all stars and galaxies around us is now thought to represent just 4 percent of all matter in this universe. And there could be more than just "this" universe. They still don't know.

There are some smart people who realize that science isn't in the business of disproving something it can not possibly know, or at least, not at this stage of human development.

Pants-of-dog

I looked back at the WTC thread and found several instances where I had contradicted myself. It wasn't that I claimed two different things that were irreconcilable but that earlier I made one claim and later on I made another. I wasn't trying to be contradictory. It was simply that when I made the first claim, I was unaware of certain pieces of knowledge.

You see, I've never debated this topic before. Consequently, my contradictions seem to be based on a lack of knowledge that is corrected later in the thread. I do not apologise for this or even think it is all that important except in one way. The one importance it has is that it highlights where I learnt something: where I had a gap in my knowledge that was then filled.

For me, that is the purpose of debate: to learn, to arrive at truth. And your words and ideas should change to reflect that new found truth. I like to believe that helps me from backfiring myself into my old beliefs. I think if we focused on learning rather than knowing, we would see a little more clearly.

Fidel

No one of us can know everything, Pants. I think we can understand better when we consider what others have to say. Thanks for your input in the 9/11 threads. I think that you keep us babbler-truthers on our toes for sure.

siamdave

(removed some sarcastic stuff after second thought, for those curious - but I see a lot of problems with this thread - I should just keep out of it, but 'truth' is such an important thing if we ever hope to have a good society here, and closely related to 'truth' is 'honesty', and I often wonder just how honest some people are being in discussions like this - beliefs indeed do not necessarily equate to fact, and you really should not believe everything you read in the newspaper, as the purpose of the modern media is surely not to give people 'facts' when 'facts' would interfere with what the rulers (and owners of those newspapers and television channels) want to do, or want you to believe. And to immediately say that any website which dares to question the 'facts' so presented in the mainstream media must be wrong is very 'uncretical thinking'. And it seems to me this is just going to turn into the 911 OCT-believers vs those who question the OCT under another name, with the associated 'we're going for a win here and facts be damned' attitude of so many participants, and I don't have the time or energy today, so I guess I just better leave. Which I am sure will not disappoint some whose idea of 'fact' is at variance with mine...)

Fidel

It is the ignoble task of non-truthers to actually prevent the facts from being discovered, SiamDave. They are the equivalent of a modern day inquisition whose job it is to label people heretics for daring to question the cult of crazy George II and his government of war criminals of the recent past on their most excellent 9/11 false flag act of domestic terrorism. We now suspect it was bipartisan collaboration in Washington all along and with their own Al-CIA'duh leftover gladios warmed over from a cold war era which the whole world was fooled into believing was finally over. It's not. There really was a vicious empire during the cold war, and we realize now that it's bent on world domination.

jas

I don't know, Fidel. They seem to actually believe that the tops of buildings will be pulled through the bodies of buildings via gravity. Because one dishonest scientist calculated that 15 floors could crash through one floor, so they therefore could crash through 90 floors --- all in less time than it takes to read this post. Not only that, but that 15 floors would become 15 plus one rubble floor, and then 15 plus two rubble floors, and so on, like something we might see in the Flintstones.

We can understand that most of America doesn't realize that this is what the official collapse theory actually says, and for that we can forgive them. What's unbelievable is that several Babblers here are aware that this is the official collapse theory, and they not only believe it, they defend it.

Fidel

I think that Americans and Canadians have been lied to constantly about 9/11 terrorism. The first lie is that there was a thorough and transparent investigation of the building collapses. There wasn't. The second lie important to the official 9/11 narrative  is that there is an international terrorist group named Al-Qa'eda and led by Osama bin Laden. This is a lie that began in a court room in New York City apparently. [url=http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=2030]BBC now admits Al Qaeda never existed[/url] 2009 video

Sure they trained terrorists to wage antcommunist jihad against the Afghan PDPA government and Sovs in 1980s Afghanistan. But when the Sovs pulled out by 1989, they had all those Mujahideen on the Dept of Agriculture's(CIA) payroll with nothing to do. So they transferred thousands of them to Bosnia and Serbia in the 1990s where Islamists there were more Europeanized than they were radicals. And some have travelled to Azerbaijan, Dagestan,  Chechnya etc. It was all about destabilizing countries with terrorism. But the CIA and US Military never severed ties with their Asian terrorist friends after 1992. No, in fact the American CIA and MI6 still hadn't severed ties with their Islamic radical pals even by 9/11/2001. Al-Qa'eda is really Al-CIA'da. Their hijacking specialist was a former Egyptian military officer who came to the US to train with US special forces. The CIA even maintained a special visa program for expediting Islamic jihadis' travels to and from America from such far away places as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey and UAE. It was much easier for "Al-Qa'eda" to criss-cross in and out of America than the most legitimate immigrants and refigees.

So I think what they've strived toward all along is to create public demand for a struggle of sorts with obscure goals against a non-existent enemy. This invisible enemy is used to justify the hundreds and hundreds of military bases and marching across and violating international sovereignty in the name of democracy and struggle against international terrorism that does not actually exist.

Mein Kampf apparently described the "masses as stupid", and Jospeh Goebbels himself believed "the people want to be bamboozled." I think people do not desire to be bamboozled, but this is what's happening regardless. Many Americans fully believe today that if some country like Iraq or a Taliban led Afghanistan refuses to deal with energy companies or deprive the rest of the world of their natural resource wealth, then those countries should be invaded militarily. Sad but true. The fascist dictators of the 1930's and 40's worked hard to present themselves as charismatic, fearless and inteligent leaders who would achieve everyone's goals by being tough on their enemies, and whether enemies existed or not. All the world's a stage as they say, and the fascists are typically prepared to give a three-ring performance at any given time. Fascism is said to be sexy and fascism is said to be entertaining. The people are never bored with fascism.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Well, they were certainly proven the fools over the H1N1 $cam.  I'm not totally sold on your theories either jas or fidel but I appreciate it being open.  I doubt we'll ever get the truth but my intuition leaves my gut with a feeling.  But that's just quackpot or delusional.

 

Thanks for questioning!

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

It makes me laugh how some will just go with the status quo, never questioning anything.  Where did they go to school?  Not Hard Knocks U, that's for sure.

Pants-of-dog

RevolutionPlease wrote:

It makes me laugh how some will just go with the status quo, never questioning anything.  Where did they go to school?  Not Hard Knocks U, that's for sure.

It is important to question the staus quo, and I am glad there are activists and radicals and progressives who do so, and I like to believe that I can count myself among that number.

And I think this questioning can be applied even deeper: to our own beliefs and ideas. Our internal status quo, as it were.

Yiwah

siamdave wrote:

(removed some sarcastic stuff after second thought, for those curious - but I see a lot of problems with this thread - I should just keep out of it, but 'truth' is such an important thing if we ever hope to have a good society here, and closely related to 'truth' is 'honesty', and I often wonder just how honest some people are being in discussions like this - beliefs indeed do not necessarily equate to fact, and you really should not believe everything you read in the newspaper, as the purpose of the modern media is surely not to give people 'facts' when 'facts' would interfere with what the rulers (and owners of those newspapers and television channels) want to do, or want you to believe. And to immediately say that any website which dares to question the 'facts' so presented in the mainstream media must be wrong is very 'uncretical thinking'. And it seems to me this is just going to turn into the 911 OCT-believers vs those who question the OCT under another name, with the associated 'we're going for a win here and facts be damned' attitude of so many participants, and I don't have the time or energy today, so I guess I just better leave. Which I am sure will not disappoint some whose idea of 'fact' is at variance with mine...)

Some of us haven't been MSMing it for nigh over a decade.  I don't even own a television.

I think the whole issue of fact is up for discussion, which is kind of fun, because it helps us get at the process we engage in to access facts.  I like that process-centered approach, because it accepts that we are always learning.  There is absolutely no topic that any of us can, however focused we might be, wrap up and put away because we know it all.

To me, the entire point of having debates with people is engaging in a process.  I want to see the opposing views, because then I can analyse my own stance in the light of contradictory information.  If you're simply talking to people who agree with you 100%, it's very difficult to continue to develop.

I too have questions about people's honesty when engaging in these discussions though.  I think I suspect the people that you feel are being honest, and you seem to suspect those that I feel are honest, so again...what are the 'facts'?  All of us at one point or another probably fall back on rhetorical devices, or believe things about the person we're debating which causes us to engage them in ways that are counterproductive (perhaps with hostility, or derision, or unfounded support).  It's difficult to avoid doing this, and it's frustrating when it is done to you.  I don't think we can totally avoid it, but being aware of it can be helpful.

I try to maintain my approach which is that I want to understand what someone is saying, regardless of who that person is and what I might think they mean.  I also want them to understand me.  Very difficult, on either side.  Someone mentioned earlier that it takes trust...well I think that's absolutely true.  If we don't trust that the people we're discussing something with are honestly trying to understand and communicate honestly, then right there, we've got a barrier that almost guarantees a fruitful discussion can't be had.

I also think that even if we do once in a while fall back into bad habits, we should have the opportunity to shake it off, and try again.  Most of what we're shaking off is not WHAT we're talking about, it's HOW we talk about it.

Anyway, that's my goal, both for myself, and in terms of trying not to decide that 'well I've had this experience with this poster and therefore I'm going to read hostility/derision/dishonesty into his/her posts'.  Again...it's not always easy or successful, but if at first you don't succeed...

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