The History of Mass Delusions
That historically the majority of the population and even the intellectual elite have held ideas, that turned out to be wrong, is uncontested. That nowadays large numbers of people still hold irrational beliefs is also uncontested. This article investigates in five steps the question, whether there still could be such issues, where the conventional view is wrong and the mechanisms how this would come about.
1 Strange Belief-Systems, Religion and Psychology
2 Historic case studies of mass deceptions
3 Today: Idiocracy, Demography and “Political Correctness”
4 Conspiracies that turned out to be true
5 Controversies where the conventional view could be false
Strange Belief-Systems, Religion and Psychology
YouGov polled 8,215 US adults in 2018 to get a representative idea of America’s views on the shape of the Earth, with an astonishing result.
The believe in a Flat Earth seems to be spreading. How is this possible? When looking out onto the ocean, at the movement of ships, the curvature of the Earth can be seen. This is a simple “experiment” that anyone can do, with an unambiguous result. From the length of shadows, in different locations at the same time, the curvature was already calculated with reasonable precision over 2000 years ago. Perhaps some of the modern Flat Earth proponents are actually serious, perhaps they find it funny to promote the idea or consider it an exercise in debate?
How would common people, that have never heard about this idea before, that are challenged by “Flat-Earthers” respond, and “proof” the round Earth? Some of the very first possible interjections may be: “The scientific establishment believed in the round Earth for 2000 years”, “This kind of conspiracy is ridiculously, impossibly large”. How many people can actually spontaneously bring up actual experimental evidence? For example: elliptic motion of the other planets, Coriolis effect, Foucault pendulum, seasons depend on the hemisphere, that different stars are visible in different locations, prediction of astronomical phenomena like solar eclipses, milky way, stellar spectra, microwave background radiation, standard candle type Ia supernovae, gravitational lensing, gravitational waves etc.
Another line of though, concerning the spread of the “Flat-Earth” phenomenon is this: is it actively supported by defenders of other controversial topics, to create a “diversion” or “guilt by association”. E.g.: Obama used it to discredit “climate skeptics”!
Alien UFOs are probably not a thing
The best arguments to dismiss all “evidence of Aliens” are of conceptual kind:
The technology for interstellar travel is extremely far outside of range for humans. An alien life-form that has such means for interstellar travel must also have the means to conceal its presents.
The Great Filter thought experiment – in short: if it would be “easy” to overcome the “roadblocks” in evolution from the beginning of life to a space-faring civilization, there would be of those. And only one would have to be “evil” to wipe all weaker civilizations, like us, out.
Another common objection against the existence of UFOs is, that the “government” could not keep such such big secrete, because “someone would talk”. As will be shown in this presentation, this argument does not hold water.
Since the efforts of Carl Sagan, the scientific search for, and debate of, extraterrestrial life had been disconnected from the believe in UFOs. Believe in UFOs was and still is a thing for quite some people, but it is far from being a widely held belief. However, this might quickly change. “The War of the Worlds” was a radio drama, originally aired by Buffalo, New York radio station on October 31, 1968. It reported as if there was an invasion of earth by aliens going on. It was believed to be a real event by many people and caused panic. The show had a remake in 1968 and again, some people freaked out. While it is not true that the panic was widespread, what could have happen if the makers were actually trying to fool the public? Considering that there is a small number of people reporting Aliens already, they suddenly would have credibility as “eyewitnesses” and contribute to the illusion of “convergence of evidence”…
Religion is the epitome of mass delusion
The Priest-Class tells people what they want to hear and extort money by doing so. Prayer, false hope and wishful thinking are central to religion. Completely and utterly unscientific claims are taken at face value. Some ideas have been relegated to the status of “metaphor”, e.g. “Adam and Eve”. Some ideas are contradicted by evidence but ignored, e.g. the Israelites most likely never were in Egypt. Religions may also be viewed as an emergent property. Some are based on single founders and hierarchical structures, others do not have that, like Hinduism. Most people contribute to their religion not with a long term agency, but simple because it is a reasonable good thing to do. When looking at different religions as a whole, they are competing with each other: “survival of the fittest religion”. By analogy we can see how tens of thousands of journalists and politicians could contribute to the creation and maintenance of other false belief systems – without being aware of it. More noteworthy aspects of religion are:
- For very strong believers, only their own religion is perceived as correct
- Medium strong believers tend to simply ignore this uniqueness-paradox
- Nowadays, atheists often perceive the religious as stupid and uneducated
- In rich countries the importance of religion is strongly in decline
- Globally, and to the majority of humans, religion still plays a major role
- Some countries still have a death penalty for blasphemy laws
- At least historically, strong religious belief was not only for the “peasants”
- Superstitious beliefs were the norm among the intellectual elite
- Religious people tend to have a higher fertility rate
That being said, Metaphysics and Theology by themselves are not necessarily pseudo science, if approached correctly. These topics constitute the boundary of what can be learned via the “scientific method”. In this domain is also the greatest of mysteries, “What is Consciousness?”, at the frontier of the Natural Sciences. Some very reasonable attempts to explain it are the “Integrated Information Theory” and the “Mathematical Universe Hypothesis”.
The witch trials of the middle ages show a strange phenomenon that needs to be addressed: Voluntary confessions of impossible things, that lead to a painful execution. Why did the accused do that? Why did some women confess to having had sex with the devil or flying around on broomsticks? Most victim would have been certain that the allegations are false, only some of the witch trial victims would think that their “crimes” actually happened, because they were mentally ill or psychedelic drug users. The key factor most certainly was fear of torture. They must have assumed their fate was sealed anyway. And perhaps, in addition to that, they might also got some consolation and acceptance from their fellow humans. When they confessed, but claimed to have been bewitched or cursed by daemons, they confirm the commonly held belief-system. But would they refuse to confess, in addition to getting more torture, they would also be reviled because they would be unrepentant sinners.
There are some experiments and concepts in the field of psychology that everyone should have heard about:
- The Milgram Shock Experiment: Many ordinary people can be turned into torturers by only slight pressure from authority.
- The Stanford Prison experiment; People randomly assigned to be prisoner and guard in role-playing games quickly internalized their roles and became submissive and sadistic.
- The Asch Conformity Experiment: Group pressure from only a few strangers is strong enough to make people give obviously incorrect answers.
- The spiral of silence theory: Individuals have a fear of isolation, which results from the idea that a social group or the society in general might isolate, neglect, or exclude members due to the members’ opinions. This fear of isolation consequently leads to remaining silent instead of voicing opinions.
- Cognitive Dissonance: When people are presented with new facts that grossly contradict their previous knowledge, ideas and worldviews, the common reaction is not revising one’s position in accordance to the new information, but the new information gets distorted in the mind of the recipient
- Confirmation Bias. Some telling examples: “Stock Market Traders Who Forecast Changes In Market Won’t Adjust Predictions, Even With New Information” “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds. New discoveries about the human mind show the limitations of reason.“
- Pareidolia; The tendency to interpret a vague stimulus as something known to the observer, such as seeing shapes in clouds, seeing faces in inanimate objects or abstract patterns, or hearing hidden messages in music.
- Psychopathy and Leadership correlate. Studies: “Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work”, “Corporate psychopathy: Talking the walk”, “Great British Psychopath Survey” lists the 10 professions with the highest proportion of psychopaths as: CEOs, Lawyers, Media people, Sales people, Surgeons, Journalists, Police officers, Clergy, Chefs, Civil servants
- Prevalence of Lying. See: “How to spot a liar”: Ted Talk by Pamela Meyer, author of “Liespotting, People lie all the time, every day, mostly about small things.<
- Subconscious vs. Conscious Mind: The conscious part is responsible for Will power, Logical Thinking, Decision making, but it is estimated that only a small fraction of the brain activity is involved in this. The Unconscious is responsible for Filtering, Emotions, Desires, Intuition, Reflexes and requires the larger part of the brain. Some psychologists also see most of decision making happening before it becomes conscious.
The Right – Left Divide
Very often political and philosophical viewpoints come in bundles, the most obvious is the right-left or conservative-progressive divide. There are probable biological underlying mechanisms. One paradigm is the difference between Tournament- and Pair Bonding species. Humans are somewhat in between and are torn between these two extremes. Another, similar paradigm is called r-K Selection:
Definitions from Wikipedia: “In social science, agency is the capacity of individuals to act independently and to make their own free choices.” … “In psychology, agents are goal-directed entities that are able to monitor their environment to select and perform efficient means-ends actions that are available in a given situation to achieve an intended goal. Agency, therefore, implies the ability to perceive and to change the environment of the agent, but crucially, it also entails intentionality to represent the goal-state in the future, equifinal variability”
Can groups of people also have agency? In my opinion, yes, absolutely. Even whole “cultures” have agency, in a sense. A group could be working towards a certain goal or following certain patterns without the individual members being fully aware of that.
Historic case studies of mass deceptions
The strange Children’s Crusade
In 1212 a man named Nicholas from Cologne started an apocalyptic movement. Thousands of children joined him on his crusade. They moved across Europe with the hope of retaking the holy land by peaceful conversions. Wherever they went, they were hailed as heroes. Anyone skeptical was attacked. When the false prophecies finally collapsed, the Children’s Crusade came to a humiliating end. Some of the children were sold into slavery. However, much of the story is possibly a myth, i.e. it is disputed by some “revisionist”.
The Donation of Constantin
Emperor Constantine had, sometime early in the 4. Century AD, given his sovereignty over Rome and much of Italy to the Christian Pope. The document with which this was purportedly done was a fraud, concocted in the Eighth Century, and a priest named Lorenzo Valla published a book, De falso credita et ementite Constantiti, in 1440 that proved this conclusively. Over a century later, long after Valla’s death in 1457, his book was placed on the Catholic Church’s Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the list of books, issuing forth from the newfangled invention the printing press, that it was a sin to produce, distribute, buy, sell, or read in 1558. The actual death of the Myth of the Donation of Constantine is dated to about 1600, when a prominent Catholic authority declared it a nullity- 160 years or more after Valla had done the job insofar as research and commitment to writing are concerned.
Kopernikus, Giordano, Galileo
Nikolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) wrote “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium” and was able to research, publish and teach the revolutionary theory that seemingly inverted the movement of heaven and earth. The movement of the celestial bodies led him to create a model, in which the sun was stationary and the earth was moving. Intuition and interpretation of holy scripture said otherwise.
Bruno Giordano (1548-1600) was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition for his rejection of Catholic doctrines and promoting the Copernican model.
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), also had his quarrel with the Inquisition, but evaded capital punishment by recanting. He became the go-to example, if one tries to defend an exotic view and attack “truth by authority”. The difference in their fate was not so much determined by what they believed, but what they did with their ideas and on whose toes they stepped. Interestingly, from the modern physics point of view, both geocentric and heliocentric are neither completely wrong nor entirely correct.
The Semmelweis effect
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis, 1818 – 1865, was an early pioneer of antiseptic procedures. Described as the “savior of mothers”, Semmelweis discovered that the incidence of “childbed fever” could be drastically cut by the use of hand disinfection. The Semmelweis reflex or “Semmelweis effect” is a metaphor for the reflex-like tendency to reject new evidence or new knowledge because it contradicts established norms, beliefs or paradigms.
About ~200 a.d. Aelius Galenus proposed the idea that blood is “produced” in the liver. And if one was sick, a possible solution could be to let the “bad blood” come out, such that it can be replaced with new, healthy blood. William Harvey (1578 – 1657) showed that blood is circulated. Bloodletting continued to be a therapy method, taken seriously well into the 18th century.
Darwinism / Evolution
At the beginning of the 21th century about a third of the US population does not believe that “Darwinian Evolution” can account for all the diversity of life on earth. The main alternative is called “Creationism” and mostly comes from the teachings of fundamentalist Christians. In the past there was no alternative explanations for the development, creation and evolution of life-forms. When Charles Darwin came along with his book “On the Origin of Species”, there was some resistance from the catholic church and other denominations. They considered this theory could undermine the importance of God and thereby also their own power and raison-d’etre. Over time, the theory of evolution prevailed and has been merged into some religious believe systems. A common misconception among “Creationists” is to bundle Evolution together with Abiogenesis. While that indeed lacks an explanation, this has nothing to do with evolution. As certain as the Earth is not flat, Darwinian Evolution is going on in Biology, and is the mechanism that brought today’s lifeforms into existence.
Doomsday prophets with science degrees
In “An Essay on the Principle of Population” in 1779 Thomas Malthus predicted that population growth will outpace food production a gigantic mass starvation could be imminent. This is called the Malthusian catastrophe.
Later Paul Ehrlich argued along the same lines. He became known for his 1968 book “The Population Bomb”, which asserted that the world’s human population would soon increase to the point where mass starvation ensued.
These two, and other doomsday prophets were calling for the implementation of population control. It seems, at least so far, they were very wrong.
Unpolitical Scientific Paradigm Shift
The idea of continental drift was not well received at first. It can explain the similarities of life forms on different continents, but for lack of imagination regarding a possible “drifting” mechanism, other theories – like sunken land-bridges – were more popular.
Once upon a time cigarette commercials looked something like this: “9 of 10 doctors smoke CAMEL”. So there was the concept floating around that smoking is not unhealthy, in part due to wishful thinking by the smokers, in part due to propaganda (and conspiracy) by cigarette companies.
“Relativity” replaced Newtonian Physics without much resistance, even though it was conceptually revolutionary, there was no “Semmelweiß Effect” resisting this transition. The old models and theories remained valid within certain ranges.
There was no political, religious or social impact from these particular scientific revolutions, thus the transitions could happen more quickly.
Another noteworthy observation concerning the state and perception of science can be made by looking at this list: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_unsolved_problems_in_physics. In cosmology and high energy physics there are no political controversies. At least not outside of the “field”. Outrageous ideas to address the open questions, like the cosmological constant problem are acceptable. String theorist and their “opponents” from Loop-quantum gravity converse, debate and even jest together. Hilarious Reverse Physics Debate: String Theory vs Loop Quantum Gravity. Compare that to climate alarmists and sceptics. Imagine how different that would be if one theory would evoke feelings of immediate doom in the general population and the other would not. Or guess what would happen, if researchers in string theory would be showered in money but acceptance of LQG could take that away.
The tongue map myth
The notion that the tongue is mapped into distinct areas for different tastes is wrong. Now, this is a very harmless myth, but it would not have persisted so long, if people would trust their own judgement and experience enough to challenge the authority of textbooks. It is also strange that something so obviously wrong could get into school textbooks in the first place.
The Food Pyramid
Once upon a time “science”, approved by the government, has gifted the US population with a recommendation for the perfect combination of food. However, over time the food pyramid not only changed significantly, it also fostered an obesity epidemic and it turned out it was sold out to the highest bidder. Examples: Food lobbies, the food pyramid, and U.S. nutrition policy,
The Government’s Food Pyramid Correlates to Obesity
More examples of historically widely held false believes
That Alchemy could work. The Dreyfus affair. Martian canals. That diamonds were (are?) rare (De Beers Diamond conspiracy). Lysenkoism (anti-genetics in the USSR). The Y2K Bug Hysteria. Peak Oil, The biblical Exodus Story, Tulipmania (and other finance bubbles) etc.
The observation that this phenomenon exists, is not new. In 1841 Charles Mackey wrote “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds”, and gave among others the following examples: alchemy, crusades, duels, economic bubbles, fortune-telling, haunted houses, “Drummer of Tedworth”, prophecies, relics, the crusades, witch hunting.
Today: Demography, Idiocracy, Postmodernism
Before proceeding, let’s recall Carl Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit”:
- Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the “facts.”
- Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.
- Arguments from authority carry little weight – “authorities” have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.
- Spin more than one hypothesis. If there’s something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives.
- Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it’s yours. It’s only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don’t, others will.
- If whatever it is you’re explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you’ll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations.
- If there’s a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise), not just most of them
- Occam’s Razor. When faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler. However, always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified!
A few words on sources and “wikis”:
When Wikipedia was in its early years, it was considered a very unreliable source, and it was not recommended to cite it directly. That has changed a lot. There are now automatically generated links to Wikipedia on supposed “fake news” videos on Youtube. Wikipedia has is nowadays fully aligned with the “mainstream narrative” and the 5th most visited website worldwide. It has become increasingly difficult to descent from a certain line, when trying to contribute on Wikipedia. It would be naive to think, that interest groups would not try to influence Wikipedia and present the interpretation of events that puts them in the best light. Some people were unhappy with that, which has lead to the spawning and growing of several other wiki projects. There are hundreds of different wiki projects that focus on different topics, but only some have formed because of different opinions on politics and controversial topics. Some of them are:
- Wikispooks: the opposite position on conspiracies – that they are mostly true. Alexa ~ 300.000
- Metapedia: a heavy right wing, white nationalist bias. Alexa-rank ~ 40.000
- Conservapedia: Conservative Christian, pro-Zionist, hostile to Islam, Alexa ~ 110.000
- Rationalwiki: the “post-modernism” is through the roof, the writing style is very polemic: ~ 17.000
- Infogalactic.com: very similar to Wikipedia, only slightly less gullible on controversies ~ 100.000
- Sourcewatch.org: left leaning, critical on geopolitical issues, climate-alarmism, ~ 100.000
- Encyclopediadramatica.rs: satire on provocation various topics taken to the extreme ~ 22.000
- Wikia.com: 50 Million pages to more than 300.000 fictional topics. Alexa-rank ~ 60! This illustrates a very important point. Not only does it show that the general public has a huge interest in “irrelevant” topics, but also that, humans are very good at creating alternate realities with fictional figures, events and entire histories. The existence of “Wookipedia”, which describes the “Star Wars Universe”, “Lord of the Rings Wiki”, “Marvel” and “DC” Universe and others prove that everything can be invented to the greatest detail.
There are many articles on Wikipedia that contain misrepresentation of facts, misleading omissions and even outright lies. Where these occur they are always in support of the modern “political correctness”. Thus, when we find some article on Wikipedia to attack the “narrative” from “within”, we can assume that it is already “tamed” as much as possible.
Conflicting perspectives on world demography
There are definitely some good news on this issue, that are buried under ignorance of the general population and perhaps also of political figures: Deaths from natural disasters decreased to less than half in 100 years. The number of total years in school for girl is almost as high as for boys, worldwide. Percentage of people living in extreme poverty has halved in 30 years. Infant and child mortality is world wide at an all time low. Life expectancy is over 70 world wide at an all time high and growing. Child vaccination coverage is at about 80% world wide. See www.gapminder.org.
At least globally there is no general threat of overpopulation. Fertility rates are coming down in most parts of the world. Only the poorest countries still have a high population growth rate. “Saving” the poor could thus eliminate the overpopulation threat. Now consider this:
Could a large world population actually be a good thing? For comparison: Bee, Mouse, Monkey, Human have similar neurons, but different numbers there of. The most obvious difference seems to be in quantity not quality. Could main underlying reason for the technological and scientific achievements of modern Civilization might just be a larger population?
Now for some bad news regarding demographics trends: There is another a very common misconception. The believe in a general trajectory towards “improvement”. However, like for all life-forms. human destiny is driven by evolution. And evolution has no inherent aim towards complexity, and even less so towards what is commonly though of as “progressive”. The driving force is simply adaption. The environment of the past hundreds of thousands of years has indeed allowed selection for intellectual improvement. However, what civilization has done is: it altered the “fitness landscape”. The result is called dysgenics or the “idiocracy hypothesis”.
The idiocracy hypothesis
The concept become wildly know by a movie of this name. It is well worth watching the intro. Transcription:
As the 21 st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest reproduced in greater numbers than the rest …. a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man …. now began to favor different traits.
Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized, and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd …. it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most …. and left the intelligent to become an endangered species. ….
And so it went for generations …. although few, if any, seemed to notice.
Then the movie shows two “case studies”: A couple of two intellectuals, that worried to much about the responsibly of having children, waited too long and ended up not having any. A family of hillbillies, that is unable to coordinate their family planing and ended up having many children because of their irresponsible behavior.
Seemingly this effect also extends to other aspects of modern life, for example physical health: “curing the sick” makes them able to inherit their “weak” genes. While most people find the movie funny, the idea is very uncomfortable, and is often dismissed as being only a small and slowly acting effect. What does the evidence say? In the recent past the contrary phenomenon has been observed, the Flynn-Effect: People are getting smarter. That this was especially pronounced in developing countries gives a hint on what is going on: With better health and food supply young brains can grow to their full potential. However, there are plenty of studies confirming the inverse correlation of “Fertility and Intelligence”, as can be seen on Wikipedia. Other studies find no such correlation. While the idea is already unpopular in the context of the movie, a global perspective on this issue is even more “offensive”. This is the world wide pattern of fertility rate:
And this is the world map of IQ. To be fair, this is measured in a way that does not separate genetic from environmental factors. Yet, even with no assumed ethnically rooted genetic difference we this would suggest, that once a population get “smart” it dies out…
What should a democratic country do? It seemingly can’t do anything. Interfering with other peoples breeding preferences is not a welcome concept. Even considering only so called “positive” eugenics is taboo. What would a dictatorship want to do about it? An ignorant population can be useful to maintain power, but also weaken the country in the future. Could Idiocracy be a long-term doomsday scenario? Could Idiocracy be a universal phenomenon that prevents space colonization, a “Great Filter”? Right around the corner of this issue is the migration debate. More on that in the last part of this article.
The age of “political correctness”
There have been tremendous changes in culture within the last 50 years in “the West”. There are different attempts in explaining this phenomenon. One line of reasoning suggests that this is the result of deliberate planning, for example in a framework called “Cultural Marxism”. Alternatively, it is possible that the cultural shift happened in an organic, bottom up way. The latter view is mostly supported by people fond of the new norms, that call themselves “progressive”, whereas proponents of the former like to point out how well the alleged “plans” have played out. Perhaps these two views must not exclude each other: Institutions and whole movements that were fighting for just causes, e.g. racial and gender discrimination have reached their original goal to a good degree. But they have created self-sustaining structures and have overshot the mark so badly, that the situation is now reversed, e.g. “affirmative-action”, “women-quota”. And perhaps this in turn is giving rise to a new counter-current, a symptom of which could have been the Trump-Election.
Let’s look at some aspects of our “progressive”, “post-modern” culture:
- “Body-positivity”: the fostering and promotion of a culture and belief system where obesity is “not unhealthy”, “not ugly”, is solely due to genetic and environment factors. It is claimed that obesity can’t be overcome by free will from the “victims” and it is “offensive” to say otherwise.
- “Minority-Worship”: So many groups demand special treatment and get it. Such “protected classes” are for example women, Muslims, LGBTQIAPK (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, Polyamorous, Kink) and many others.
- “White Guilt”: In contrast to those, some groups that had the most privilege in the past have now become fair game, and are to be blamed for everything: white, christian, male. You don’t think so, and still believe there is a conservative patriarchy in power? Try replacing the words “white” with “black” or “Jew” in certain MSM articles!
- “Transgender-culture”. Transsexual and inter-sexual individuals have existed for a long time. Unprecedented is, that this matter became an issue for the masses. And children. With some bizarre things happening: “LGBT-groups” try to have former males compete in women sports. And when a lesbian, previously a figurehead of their rights-movement, speaks out against that, she gets attacked by such groups.
- “Racism”: Acknowledging the mere existence of races, and the certain biological racial differences, has become equated not only with moral judgement, but even implicit hatred of other races.
- One of the very positive aspects of “sexual liberation” is the push-back and decline of “physical sexual repression”, and old way of social control. See for example “Sex & Circumcision: An American Love Story” by Eric Clopper. On the other hand, “sexual liberation” has become a new way of social control, in a “Brave New World” kind of way. Consider this: Although the Porn industry does indeed make a lot of money, Porn is essentially free. Are these free samples to start a costly drug addiction, or is there a deeper agenda? See “Libido Dominandi: Sexual Liberation & Political Control”.
- “Feminism”: In “Sex and Culture” from 1934, Joseph Unwin studied 80 different nations and 6 civilizations throughout history, examined their individual rises and falls, and concluded that the causes of which were largely determined by the loosening of sexual conventions and lessening of monogamous relationships. “In human records there is no instance of a society retaining its energy after a complete new generation has inherited a tradition which does not insist on prenuptial and postnuptial continence.” After a nation becomes prosperous it becomes increasingly liberal with regard to sexual morality and as a result loses its cohesion, its impetus and its purpose. According to him this process is irrevocable. So, while feminism might has the moral high-ground on an individual level, it also becomes victim of its own success and leads to extinction. A modern, simple statistic confirms this:
The crisis of science
Critical thinking and the “scientific method” by itself are pristine and held in the highest regard by everyone, on every side of any debate. The practical reality is much more grim. One could say there is actually a real crisis of science. Examples: “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False”, 2005: journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124 “
Science is in a reproducibility crisis: How do we resolve it?” phys.org/news/2013-09-science-crisis.html
The astonishing magnitude of the corruption in the field of climate science came to light with the so called “Climategate” emails: lavoisier.com.au/articles/greenhouse-science/climate-change/climategate-emails.pdf. Even the most fundamental of all empirical sciences, particle physics, is not immune from emotional bias: youtube.com/watch?v=99hVAu1k6G8 (in German). For further information on this topic see: corbettreport.com/sciencecrisis
Contemporary Conspiracies that turned out to be true
- In 2004 George Bush was facing John Kerry in the US Presidential election. When Bush was asked in a TV debate what he thinks about the fact, that both candidates are part of a secret society called “Skull and Bones”, he happily replied: “Whatever the outcome of the election, it’s good for Skull and Bones” The American public did not bat an eye.
- Do influential and powerful people meet in the woods and perform occult rituals, like worshiping a giant owl? Yes, they do. Look up “Bohemian Grove”.
- The famous and controversial billionaire David Rockefeller wrote about himself in his autobiography: “Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as ‘internationalists’ and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure – one world, if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.”
- In the “kids for cash” scandal two judges in Pennsylvania in 2008 accepted bribe money in return for imposing harsh adjudications on juveniles to increase occupancy at for-profit detention centers.
- The “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis” was an infamous and unethical clinical study conducted between 1932 and 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service. The purpose of this study was to observe the natural history of untreated syphilis. the African-American men in the study were told they were receiving free health care.
- Members of the “Church of Scientology” were found guilty of “criminal conspiracy” in what they called “Operation Snow White” and “Operation Freakout”, with no lesser aim than a penetration of the US government.
- The VW emissions “scandal”: Actual conspiracies are sometimes rebranded with other designations, like “scandal” or “cover-up”. Do journalists deliberately or instinctively refrain from using it, because of the perceived “falseness” inherent in the term? Do they not want to squander their “power word”?
- Elite pedophile networks. Does “Marc Dutroux” ring a bell? Ever heard about “Jimmy Savile”? But at least the crimes that members of the Catholic Church committed and others swept under the carpet should have been noticed by everyone. Stories of pedophile networks are often reported in the main stream media, a large collection of such reports can be found here: swprs.org/geopolitik-und-paedokriminalitaet
State enforced interpretations of history
While it is easy for many people in the West to believe that other “less advanced”, states promote a false view of historical events and engages in wide spread censorship, they would never believe that their government could do such a thing. Let’s review some of these countries:
China: What do Chinese people really think and know about events like “The great Leap Forward” or the “Tiananmen Massacre”? Recently Xi Jinping made himself Dictator for life, and continued the course that may will lead to the “Thucydides’s Trap” scenario. The country is becoming more militarized and nationalistic. Communism has de facto been replaced by a “third way”.
Iran: The elite in Iran is painting the West as a dangerous threat for Iran, which may be true, but their elite is hiding their own corruption and greed behind the external boogeyman. Iranian protesters are mistaken, when they believe that an easy transition to a liberal democracy is possible. Once Iran’s dictatorially imposed order would be brought down by external intervention, the destiny of Iraq, Libya and Syria awaits: chaos.
Thailand: Criticism of the royal family is not permitted and also wildly rejected. The overwhelming majority engages in a seemingly freely chosen self censorship. This situation of taboo and censorship exists as a self sustaining system, distributed on many different actors, many of which have innocent motives.
North Korea: The local usurper is justifying his tough rule by claiming to save the country from the vices of Capitalism. Again, for outsiders in is impossible to understand what the population really knows and thinks. Some “experts” have claimed, that only 1 hour of seeing the reality, how South Koreans live, would lead to revolution, but on the other hand, three generations of brain washing are not easily undone.
Concerning the US …
Here is a selection of the most famous cases:
- Operation Paperclip was name for the secret program of the recruitment of more than 1600 German scientists, engineers such as Wernher von Braun at the end of WWII.
- Operation Ajax was the code name for 1953 Iranian coup d’état, the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favor of strengthening the rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
- Project MKUltra is the code name given to a program of experiments on human subjects that were designed and undertaken by the United States Central Intelligence Agency and which were illegal. Experiments on humans were intended to identify and develop drugs and procedures to be used in interrogations in order to weaken the individual and force confessions through mind control. The name appeared as early as 1953. Much of the documentation was destroyed in the 70s.
- The Bay of Pigs Invasion was a failed military invasion of Cuba undertaken by a CIA controlled paramilitary group in 1961.
- Operation Northwoods was a proposed false flag operation against the Cuban government in 1962. The proposals called for the CIA or other U.S. government operatives to commit acts of terrorism against American civilians and military targets, blaming it on the Cuban government, and using it to justify a war against Cuba. The plans detailed in the document included the possible assassination of Cuban emigres, sinking boats of Cuban refugees on the high seas, hijacking planes, blowing up a U.S. ship, and orchestrating violent terrorism in U.S. cities.
- The Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 was considered the justification and beginning of the “Vietnam war. It was reported that North Vietnamese gun boats attacked the USS Maddox. In 2005 a declassified study confirmed what many had already suspected all along: It was yet another US propaganda lie, and no “communist boats” were present.
- Lesser known about the Vietnam-war is, that the US had a “counterintelligence” program, that sanctioned torture and murder, by the name of “Phoenix Program”
- “Operation Condor” denotes the various South American regime changes, such as in Chile 1973.
- COINTELPRO: Once upon a time the FBI had a large program of investigating and subverting social movements and political dissident groups. 20,000 people were investigated by the FBI solely on the basis of their political views between 1956-1971.
- In 1975 the CIA admitted it has invented a poison dart gun that was supposed to be able to kill without trace. Chairman Frank Church, of the Senate Intelligence Committee, displayed the gun during the panel’s investigation of the Central Intelligence Agency at a Washington hearing.
- During the same time the name “Operation Mockingbird” became associated with a CIA program aimed at the infiltration of the US media. While the name may be incorrect, the existence of such measures is well confirmed.
- Operation Gladio; A program creating secret armies in different European countries, that could be activated in case of need, for example if the USSR would have conquered Europe.
- The Iran Contra Affair, 1985: Ones a government conspiracy gets exposed, it usually gets a name, like “affair”. As in the case of the events around Oliver North, the Nicaragua Contras and weapon sales to Iran. A funny cartoon explanation: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb1GfP5Rwys
- The “incubator lie” paved the way for the first Iraq war. Nayirah al-Sabah testified that Iraqi invaders threw babies out of incubators, killing them. It turned out she was the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador. She lied. It was atrocity propaganda. Her story was initially corroborated by Amnesty International and testimony from evacuees, even though the very setup was completely unbelievable to begin with: What are the odds for a random nurse from Kuwait speaking flawless English? While killings of children of course do happen, “reporting” on this is one of the most effective means of atrocity propaganda and should always raise suspicions.
- That the second Iraq war was based on shameless lies about WMDs that never existed, should by now be known to everyone. The details, of how this “conspiracy” transpired is well worth studying.
- Wikileaks made very important contributions in raising public awareness, for example with the “collateral murder” video
- Edward Snowden and the NSA: Did we really learn something new? Could this be only a “limited-hangout”?
Controversies where the conventional view could be false
The list of classical conspiracy theories and that what goes under the designation “controversies” is long, and the line between those is blurred. For some of these a short overview is presented here, loosely sorted from “easy-to-believe” to “hard-to-believe”. Examples of typical Conspiracy theories that are easy to believe and have many supporters are:
- “Peal Harbor was not a surprise attack”: The here is that, contrary to the original story, decision-makers in Washington knew of the Japanese plans, or at least expected them, and let the attack happen, to have a pretext for war. The evidence for this claims is strong and by now even entering the mainstream.
- “Princess Diana was murdered”: While the hard evidence is just not there, the circumstances are suspicious, and in the greater historical context murder within royal families was quite a common cause of death. In surveys the fraction of the population that believes in a conspiracy to murder her, is often above 50%.
- “The JFK assassination”: The claims that, the alleged killer of John F. Kennedy, L.H. Oswald was killed by Jack Ruby two days later, and both acted alone, are also not believed by a large fraction of the population. So many others had motives: LBJ hated him. The Fed feared possible reforms, the “Mafia” feared a crackdown, he could have stopped the Israeli Nuke program.
Then there are other topics, that do not involve much, if any, conspiracy, where some critics claim that the orthodox view is wrong. As the past has shown, whole scientific areas can be mistaken for prolonged periods, but simply crying “Galileo” does not cut it. Here are two examples of such controversies that have little political impact and are easier to believe. Personally I consider them possible but also not very convincing:
- Abiogenic petroleum origin: This is the idea that petroleum and natural gas is not only generated from the decomposition of organisms, but is also created by other processes deep in the earth’s mantle. A possible connection to the repeated postponement of “peak oil” comes immediately to mind, but other fossil sources seem to be able to account for that.
- Ancient Civilizations: The common narrative is that the agriculture began about 10k B.C. and before that no major civilizations existed. The alternative view is that early civilizations did exists worldwide, that they build some of the mysteries: Pyramids, Bimini Road, Baalbek etc. and that they had world wide connections and interactions. They were supposedly destroyed by floods from the melting ice sheets and possibly comets were involved.
There is also an interesting example where the conspiracy scenario is inverted: Large parts of the population believe in a conspiracy theory that is promoted by mainstream media and influential public figures. But it turned out to be false. For almost 3 year Robert Muller investigated illegal interference in the US election in favor of Donald Trump by Russia, before he concluded that there was no conspiracy. Various theories, for example involving blackmail or “hacking” were – and still are – floating around in internet forums that otherwise shun conspiracy theories.
In reality Russia has extremely little influence on US politics. It is not the case that a third of all US billionaires are Russian, and thus suspect of dual loyalty. The most powerful foreign lobby group in the US is not called ARPAC. Russia does not receives billions of $ in aid per year. It is not the case that several of the previous Federal Reserve Chairs were Russian. It is not the case that 3 of the 9 Supreme Court Judges are Russian. More than a third of the upper management of US media is not Russian. Because that would surely be suspicious, most US citizen would notice and make sure that this does not adversely affect their interests. Right?
Now for another class of issues, where some critics doubt the scientific mainstream, that require at least some degree of conspiracy but also require a wide spread delusion. There is a common pattern to them:
First, there is the “official narrative”. The responsible institutions barely concede that an other side even exists, and answers only in superficial arguments. It uses ad-hominem attacks, is arrogant and dominant. It has power words like “conspiracy”, “denier” that trigger a Pavlovian reflex in the average Joe to shrivel away from any “wrong-think”.
Second, there are critics. When first encountered, one may find their case is stronger that expected and they present a consistent alternative to the orthodox theory. Of course there are always various versions of competing theories and of different quality. Some critics are also very bad, in content and by methods.
Third, there are amateurs that passionately defend the official version. They often call themselves “debunkers”.
They engage in discussion with the critics out of their own accord and behave like very devout, religious believers. Here again: some are very competent, but some clearly cheat and use logical fallacies. One important point to take is: Being wrong or correct about one of those does not have any impact on being wrong or correct on the other topics. I will briefly outline some such issues, and give my personal verdict.
“The media is free and independent”, is a meme that is laughably false. This should be trivial to see for all, but the majority has their head in the sand on this one. Although many people do recognize a bias, few are willing to acknowledge the full extent:
In the West all mainstream media outlets of both sides of the political spectrum are owned by the same corporations. And above that most so called “alternative Media”, e.g. “alt-right” channels like Breitbart. It gets worse, even the “conspiracy theory” tier is integrated: into this network. For example: “Infowars” is part of Time Warner! To explain briefly how that makes sense: This way certain conspiracies can be discredited by presenting them wrongly and shifting the blame.
Thus debates and controversies are limited to an acceptable range, leaving the illusion of “freedom”.
The mainstream media in geopolitical rivialing countries, like Russia and China is going along with much of this “permissible range”, because it is also useful for them and also to avoid diplomatic backlash.
Executives and top journalists of almost all western, major news outlets have long been members of the influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the worlds most powerful “NGO”, founded in 1921. To learn more about it and how it made possible the long list of regime changes, covert operations and actual “government conspiracies” that the United States committed, a very good source is “Swiss Propaganda Research“, where this infograpic is from:
Not all hope is lost, however, there are many individuals that see this System and seek to expose it. Instead of suggesting some links or channels at this point I may suggest something different: find a “litmus test” for yourself. What is a “taboo” topic, that is outside of the “permitted” range, that you consider plausible or relevant, and then see: Is the source in question at least willing to debate it?
The main stream position of climate change is formulated by the IPCC, the International Panel on Climate Change. Humans are causing global warming by releasing “greenhouse gasses”, the most important being CO2. This is supposed to cause about 2° (formerly) 3° of warming by the end of the century. If no political measures are undertaken to limit the exhaust and therefore the temperature increase to 1.5°, the cost of the resulting environmental impact will outweigh the cost of said measures. Almost all media and politicians world wide support this view.
However, in the general public as well as the scientific community, the so called climate skeptics are much more numerous than the “climate alarmist” side likes to admit. This is a short summary of their position:
- CO2 is indeed a “greenhouse” gas” but any further doubling of CO2 causes only a linear increase in “back-radiation”. Alarmists claim 3 or more °C per doubling, critics claim lower values due to negative feedback, some even zero.
- The main fear from climate change or global warming comes from weather extremes and regions becoming uninhabitable. However this is unwarranted. No significant increase in weather extremes in the last 150 years is evident. The climate related death toll decreased significantly over the last decades.
- Food production increased faster than population. The CO2 increase helped in this regard with a fertilizing effect. Thus there is no reason to stop using fossil fuels as long as they last.
- As there is no problem, there is also no meaningful economic policy to counter a problem. Alarmists do not seem to know what they actually want – other than everyone else joining their belief system. Wind and Solar are not good enough to compensate for fossil fuels.
Is there a climate conspiracy? An organic emergence out of pseudo-religious behavioral patterns, corruption and confirmation bias seems to be a plausible explanation. Then again, there are certainly some organisations that do not care about the science but only of the political implications. Look up the bizarre comment in “The First Global Revolution” from “The Club of Rome”, 1991 under “The real enemy then, is humanity itself”.
Propagandists use mendacious debate strategies that are primarily based on emotional mechanisms. For example pretending to win the argument by having the last word: although the website with the misleading name “skeptical-science” seems to have an answer to every comment, that does not mean that the answer is correct or compelling. The climate-gate emails have shown that mainstream climate science is corrupted. The “hockey stick” graph that attempted to erase the medieval warm period from history has become the figurehead of the climate fraud.
My favorite sources for the critical position on climate change are: sealevel.info
Thus, my verdict on this topic is clear: anthropological climate change real, yet it is modest and benign.
It is neither the catastrophe that the political right sees, not is it as easy as simple as “opening the border” as the left sees it. One hopeful aspect is, that both political sides could agree one point: “Avoid creating causes for mass migration”. The proponents of “open borders” argue, that it is the morally just thing to do. They usually also believe that allowing for migration is beneficial for the target countries and can in the long run even be beneficial for the countries of origin as well. However, there are some facts that make the political left go into full cognitive dissonance:
- Migrants into the West commit more crime and have more unemployment than the natives
- Global poverty cannot be solved by migration (see youtube.com/watch?v=LPjzfGChGlE)
- The “replacement migration” is often called a conspiracy theory, but it is literally a recommended policy by the United Nations
- The majority of actual war refugees is stuck in poor countries
- Only the richest of the wannabe-migrants can pay for human trafficking
- The demographic makeup of 80% of the 2014-16 migrants into Europe being male, renders the idea, that most of them would be actual refugees, ridiculous. Also, consider this thought experiment: Would the majority of European women have supported “open borders”, as they did, if the gender-imbalance of migrants had been reversed?
- The modern left opposes all sorts of conservatism, traditional gender and family roles, religion, nationalism, group identity and borders. The culture and religion of most migrants is Islam, which endorses conservative, traditional family and gender roles. It has a strong group identity and strict in/out group criteria.
Is there a larger conspiracy behind mass migration into the West, like the “Kalergi-Plan” or is this happening “by itself”? My verdict: There are definitely many different players with different motives that work to bring about mass migration and profit from it. Is this also part of a plan spanning several generations with very sinister motives? Hmm… a tiny co-factor, maybe?
9/11 and the War on Terror
This is a mixed bag. On the one hand the majority of people worldwide and most main stream historians would consider the “WMD” claims to justify the 2. Iraq war, and the deliberate conflation between 9/11 and Iraq that was promoted by some US media outlets, a confirmed government conspiracy.
But questioning the events of the day by themselves and the claim that al-Qaeda did all of it alone and by surprise, are off limits in any public discussion. Any public figure that dissents from this line gets aggressively attacked in the media, and any reporter asking inconvenient questions risks loosing his job.
Then there is the “9/11 Truth” movement. Some of it is batshit insane, spreading nonsensical ideas like controlled demotion of the WTC by nuclear bombs or space weapons. There are also more reasonable theories involving controlled demolition. The details of the official explanations, especially of WTC7 can been proven to be incorrect and the circumstantial arguments from incredulity brought forth my some “debunkers”, like “hiding the demolition preparation is impossible” are simply pathetic. But not understanding the collapse does not automatically proof that nefarious methods were at play. No explanation is entirely convincing. The best site on the internet for studying the collapses is sharpprintinginc.com/911/. Either way, focusing on the physics of the WTC collapses is a mistake, it cannot reveal “who did it”.
There is however, a middle ground. The magnitude of this achievement was not in the ball park of Islamic terrorists. Several studies have shown that there is strong reason to suspect insider trading, i.e. investors profiting from having known in advance. The US air force had hijacking exercises going on at the same time the real attack happened! One important question to ask in all criminal cases is always: “Who benefits”? Then there was in the early days, admits the confusion, a lot of reporting in mainstream media that has now been memory-holed. This is collected on historycommons.org. Following these leads gives a fairly reasonable picture of what was going on, and that there were indeed also conspirators, other than al-Qaeda, at work. The most reasonable account of the 9/11 conspiracy and the War on Terror in general, that I have found, is ancreport.com. If “conspiracy theory” websites are not your thing, maybe try the “Urban Moving Systems” FBI report instead.
The mother of all conspiracy theories: “Did NASA fake the Moon Landing?” This is insane, you may think now, even if you would have considered this article so far reasonable. At first, the circumstantial counter arguments are so strong, the magnitude of the conspiracy seems so impossibly overwhelming. But let’s see in detail:
- “How could 200.000 people be in on it” – Only a few hundred at most, need to know it all
- “The USSR would have exposed it” – They would look like sore losers, would not be believed, risk war
- “There are many hours of video” – Created on a set, maybe in a Hanger or outdoor in Cinder Arizona
- “There are thousands of detailed, perfect pictures” – Exactly 🙂
- “There are Laser reflectors on the moon” – Robots? Or they could not even be needed for reflection
- “They brought back moon rocks” – Robots? Found on earth? Compared to what “real” moon rock?
- “No whistleblowers” – NDAs, threats, social pressure, MKUltra?
- “They did experiments and >>mood-stuff<<” – Have you ever seen a movie or a magic show?
Still, why would anyone believe that? Well, there are circumstantial and technical anomalies. Of the first kind, there are the following arguments:
- The Apollo program was born out of the cold war. And as we know: “All warfare is based on deception”
- The USSR dominated the space race, the US was always second, except for the moon
- Kennedy gave only a ~10 year ultimatum to do it and the the US made incredible progress, especially in the last 3 years
- The technological regress: Since Apollo no attempt was made. The Saturn V “moon rocket” was retired and the comparatively bad shuttle program took over. The “space efforts” are very slow ever since
- The “not interesting any more” excuse is doubtful. Some billionaire would want to go for sure
- The USSR had a top secret moon program that they could keep a secret for long and canceled because they could not do it.
- The Van Allen radiation belt was considered a problem before the Apollo program, what was none during. 40 years later NASA engineers suddenly seem to have a problem with radiation shielding, again.
- The Apollo 11 crew on “return”, at their first press conference, was behaving as if they were at a funeral and not as if they have just achieved the greatest feat in the history of mankind!
- Some astronauts have been challenged – and refused – to swear on the Bible that they have been on the Moon
Then, there are all sorts of technical anomalies, some people claim to have identified:
- There is no loud noise during landing and takeoff inside the LEM
- There are flags moving without being touched … and they are swinging too fast
- The reflection of the “sun” in the convex visors indicates the presence of a giant light
- There seems to be no radiation damage to the photo film
- The photo film should have become brittle and would not work under -40°C
- Many pictures seem to have “hot-spots” and “fall-off” suggesting a second light source
- The Mythbusters failed “debunking” the second light, by having “T-shirt” back-light and an inferior result
- There are diverging shadows. The Mythbusters failed in their “debunking” by using artificial light
- The footprints are much deeper and pronounced than in the Mythbusters “debunking” attempt
- There is always a separation line between foreground and background in pictures and videos
- There is evidence for wires to simulate moon gravity: falling objects, flashes
- Many shadows have soft edges, consistent among varying distances, indicating a close light source
- There are very few photos, showing the earth from the surface of the moon
- Even fewer video material of the Earth can be seen from the moon
- There is no crater under the landing module and there are even pebbles are still present beneath it
- One of the most suspicious technological anomaly is the missing exhaust plume in the ascent from the moon. There are many misconceptions and false claims about it, e.g. that this sort of exhaust is invisible in vacuum. But exhaust from the same kind of fuel is visible in engines that are 100 times weaker. Here is Apollo 17 at the ignition moment and a few seconds later, compared to the maneuver engine of a Soyuz:
Some sources for the moon skeptics are: www.aulis.com wikispooks.com/wiki/Apollo_program, “Jarrah White” and the movie “American Moon” by Massimo Mazzucco. A comprehensive list of all arguments and sources from both sides is compiled on: man-on-the-moon.info.
My verdict is: The video and photo footage really looks very fake, too me… But still … that seems to be too much, too big, it feels inconceivable that such a huge conspiracy would work, and that so few other experts openly share their concern with the authenticity. So I must consider the possibility that I have the misguided interpretation when I consider the footage fake…
To boldly go, where only few have gone before?
Well, there are many more conspiracy theories and controversies floating around, and while some of them seem to have at least a grain of truth in them, there are also others, where the “debunkers” have the upper hand. For last, some food for thought: suppose, hypothetically, that there was really no man on the moon so far: Would the fabrication of the moon landing be the greatest deception of all times? What could be even more insane?