Re: Fw: 3rd Expert Claims Probe of Brown's Death Botched

Anders Sandberg (
15 Jan 1998 11:09:21 +0100

Michael Lorrey <> writes:

> Harvey Newstrom wrote:
> > I'm seeing more and more conspiracy theories posted to the Extropians
> > List. TWA 800, Man arrested for child abuse just for spanking his son,
> > Microsoft evil empire, Gun Politics, Survivalism and Self Defense,
> > Avoiding Taxes, and now this. They always seem to be posted without
> > comment or explanation. Am I the only one who wonders what the
> > Extropian connection is?
> How about posting news of what sort of stuff may reall be going on that the
> government and the media refuse to tell us. Its extropian in the
> libertarian sense that we must take responsibility for keeping ourselves
> informed of liberty related events, outside of government power monopoly
> channels.

True. But I'm becoming a bit worried about the prevalence of
conspiracy thinking; it is alsmot the secular religion of the 90's. I
almost daily hear people explain things in the world around them by
references to conspiracies, and it seems to be the favored rhetorical
tool for anybody outside the direct political mainstream (sometimes in
it too) to explain the situation by some form of conspiracy (ranging
from the patriarchal to the statist to the market conspiracy).

To me this is a sign of sloppy thinking. Sure, there are dirty
dealings and secret alliances out there, but that doesn't give
conspiracy theories explanatory power. A conspiracy theory usually
works by showing some suggestive but weak evidence, and then
explaining away the lack of confirmation by cover-up. It is
unfalsifiable ("Of course there are no witnessess, they have all been
scared into silence"), defends itself vigorously from criticism ("See?
They have indoctrinated you too!") and promotes spread (in order to
help others see the truth). In short, they make very efficient memes,
but they do not have to be true to spread well.

Keep an open mind, but not so open your brain falls out.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y