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Reply #59: From Wikipedia - must meet several of the criteria. [View All]

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applegrove Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jan-05-06 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
59. From Wikipedia - must meet several of the criteria.
Edited on Thu Jan-05-06 09:16 PM by applegrove
Orifinally posted by LoZoccolo here:


"Allegations exhibiting several of the following features are candidates for classification as conspiracy theories. Confidence in such classification improves the more such features are exhibited:

1.Initiated on the basis of limited, partial or circumstantial evidence.

Conceived in reaction to media reports and images, as opposed to, for example, thorough knowledge of the relevant forensic evidence.

2.Addresses an event or process that has broad historical or emotional impact.

Seeks to interpret a phenomenon which has near-universal interest and emotional significance, a story that may thus be of some compelling interest to a wide audience.

3.Reduces morally complex social phenomena to simple, immoral actions.

Impersonal, institutional processes, especially errors and oversights, interpreted as malign, consciously intended and designed by immoral individuals.

4.Personifies complex social phenomena as powerful individual conspirators

Related to (3) but distinct from it, deduces the existence of powerful individual conspirators from the 'impossibility' that a chain of events lacked direction by a person.

5.Allots superhuman talents and/or resources to conspirators.

May require conspirators to possess unique discipline, never to repent, to possess unknown technology, uncommon psychological insight, historical foresight, etc.

6.Key steps in argument rely on inductive, not deductive reasoning.

Inductive steps are mistaken to bear as much confidence as deductive ones.

7.Appeals to 'common sense'.

Common sense steps substitute for the more robust, academically respectable methodologies available for investigating sociological phenomena.

8.Exhibits well-established logical and methodological fallacies

Formal and informal logical fallacies <1> are readily identifiable among the key steps of the argument.

9.Is produced and circulated by 'outsiders', generally lacking peer review

Story originates with a person who lacks any insider contact or knowledge, and enjoys popularity among persons who lack critical (especially technical) knowledge.

10.Is upheld by persons with demonstrably false conceptions of relevant science

At least some of the story's believers believe it on the basis of a mistaken grasp of elementary scientific facts.

11.Enjoys zero credibility in expert communities

Academics and professionals tend to ignore the story, treating it as too frivolous to invest their time and risk their personal authority in disproving.

12. Rebuttals provided by experts are ignored or accommodated through elaborate new twists in the narrative

When experts do respond to the story with critical new evidence, the conspiracy is elaborated (sometimes to a spectacular degree) to discount the new evidence. "
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