Conspiracy Tuesday: Critical Thinking

Posted: October 13, 2010 in Conspiracy
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To order a Duffy book, click on one of the covers to the left.

I found a new favorite podcast. Skeptoid is a debunking website by a guy named Brian Dunning.

Once a week he does a fascinating fifteen minute podcast that skeptically examines something in popular culture. He produced an excellent 40 minute video called “Here be Dragons” on how to examine things.

It’s terrific.

I showed it to my Addiction class last night before doing a lecture on the causes of addiction. I wanted them to know what it means to use the scientific method and what real research was.

The video looks at psychics, vitamins, new age medical treatment and conspiracies.

Dunning does a scene where he argues with himself about 9/11. One voice says things like:

“What about the fact that no steel building ever collapsed/”

“What about building seven collapsing and housing the SEC?”

“What about George Bush’s brother being a landlord for one of the WTC floors”

etc, etc, etc

Dunning answers all of the questions by countering with “Who flew the planes?”

His point was that everything else is a red herring. That when you looked at it there were a dozen or so guys who hijacked these planes and crashed them. There’s no evidence for anything else.

My class revolted. They argued about new age science, defended acupuncture and generally said that you couldn’t trust any research.

Dunning says people like conspiracies, easy answers and magic.

I know I do. I now know my college class does even more.

But could it be that the FDA, the CIA, the military and the government in general conspires against us? If they do what’s their motivation or reasoning?

Watch the video when you get a chance.

  1. D. B. Dean says:

    They cant get it together to pass a simple budget. No way in hell they are organized enough to conspire anything ever… They are a study in inefficiencies and redundancy. Conspiracy require the opposite – coordination and quick execution that none of the agencies are capable of handling. I believe this sort of thing of Israel and other small countries but not the US…our size makes it impossible. Its like a 700lb man running the 50m dash and jumping hurdles in record time…requires way to may people to help out.

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