I’m posting the actual text from the article that appeared on P. C1, as well as two articles that appeared on P. C2, the 9/11 article and the JFK article. My reasons are (1) to provide the text for those who don’t have it, as it did not appear online (2) to solicit any comments that people want to make (3) let you know that the CT course advertised will apparently actually be offered in the first trimester of 2013 and (4) lay the foundation for some articles I intend to post concerning the articles, or advertorials, as I call them.
I also urge people to read or re-read the Cass Sunstein CT paper, as seeds of “beneficial cognitive diversity” are being sown in the heart of the 9/11 Truth movement, as prescribed by Dr Sunstein in his job application for the post of Information and Regulatory Minister in the Obama Administration, which he is now leaving with a less than stellar record, at least according to MSM.
I suspect he has had far greater impact than the public record shows, if the ramped up cognitive diversity campaign is any indication, although it must be noted that any propaganda efforts he made were not mentioned by the NYT as being part of his job description.
Here are the articles:
The Dominion Post Saturday, June 23, 2012, P. C1
[Headline] “Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction?”
[Subhead] “Believe it or not, a new Victoria University course will investigate the philosophy and psychology behind conspiracy theories – and what it takes for people to believe them. Kerry McBride looks at why people distrust the United States government, whether 3.5-metre reptilian humanoids rule the world and why New Zealanders still think Suzie the waitress poised the All Blacks.”
[Photo: Three quarter length by half page width colour photo of WCT1 shortly after impact, still showing fire from the impact fireball, and billowing white and black smoke. Caption: “Collapse: The destruction of the Twin Towers in New York.”]
History is full of events that were once thought to be conspiracy theories, but are now accepted as truth.
A philosophy course at Victoria University will give students the chance to get beyond the “nuttiness” of conspiracy theories and explore the reasoning behind them, philosophy lecturer Stuart Brock says.
“There are conspiracy theories throughout history that people now accept as true,” he says.
“The classic example is Watergate, which everyone now accepts as true, but at the time people really thought it was nutty.
“It’s about examining what it is that makes people buy into one theory, but not another. What common thread do these theories have that divides opinion so clearly?”
The course, which starts next year, looks at some of the more widely known theories, such as whether 9/11 was arranged by the US government, who killed John F Kennedy, and if men really walked on the Moon.
But it also delves into the realm of extreme theories, such as David Icke’s claims the world is controlled by an elite organisation of 3.5-metre tall, blood drinking, reptilian humanoids who have taken the form of world leaders, including George W Bush, Queen Elizabeth, and many wealthy business families.
But the course is not concerned with simply arguing about whether a theory is true, Dr Brock says. Instead, it challenges students to think about what it would take for a theory to be seen as credible, and how theories are formed over time. “The conventional wisdom is that conspiracy theories are nutty and you shouldn’t believe them. We try and show our students that you can’t write them off so easily, you have to evaluate them much more carefully than that.” Students tend to fall into two distinct categories – vocal believers of the theories, and vocal opponents.
“It’s nice to get a controlled dialogue going between the two sides, and we do that by thinking about theories in more abstract ways,” Dr Brock says.
Fellow course lecturer Marc Wilson examines the different categories of conspiracy theories and how likely people are to buy into each one.
The theories fall into four groupings: theories of elite world organisations, those involving the United States government, paranormal theories and corporate conspiracies.
“We find relatively few people believe the alien conspiracies, but are more likely to believe the others,” Dr Wilson says.
“People tend to believe things consistent with what we want to believe. If they have been slighted in some way by government or an organisation, they are far more likely to think there is something sneaky going on.
“But relatively few people have had paranormal experiences, so there is less belief out there that aliens are going to take he planet.”
Even a few uniquely Kiwi theories get an airing, with the course exploring “Suzie the waitress” allegedly poisoning the All Blacks, causing them to lose the 1995 Rugby World Cup final in South Africa, and the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior.
“New Zealanders are most likely to believe theories that relate to the local context, such as that big business is controlling our government, or that the All Blacks were poisoned before the 1995 World Cup final.
“That is far more relevant to them than whether or not there are aliens being hidden in Roswell.”
New Zealand Skeptics Society spokeswoman Vicki Hyde says the course is a brilliant tool for challenging thinking and getting people looking beyond what they read about oniine.
“lt’s valuable for people to have critical thinking tools to understand how to look at these issues with an informed eye. It’s the kinds of things we should be teaching from an early age.”
There will always be a risk people will leave the course even more convinced of some of the theories despite the evidence, Ms Hyde says.
“You can’t reason a man out of an opinion that he hasn’t been reasoned into. But I think it’s important to at least get people to try and think more critically.
“We are usually capable of being sceptical of the local used car salesman’s claims, but we need to apply it to other areas as well. Whether it’s thinking the Moon landings were hoaxed, or if aliens run the World Bank and we’re all going to be turned into genetic
It is not about removing all the magic in the world, but thinking harder about what to spend time on, Ms Hyde says.
“There is lots of mystery and wonder out there, but let’s make sure we give the mana to the things that really are mysterious and wonderful and recognise the areas where we are mistaken.”
Wellington-based paranormal investigator James Gilberd says the course is offering a unique viewpoint in New Zealand.
“It’s more the sort of thing you’d expect to find in an American university, and is quite extraordinary for here. But I’m in favour of anything that gives people the chance to research the paranormal and things outside the usual realms of science. While Mr Gilberd sees most conspiracy theories as “a load of bunk”, he says there is real value in getting reasoned discussion going.
“People are just drawn to this. We are sort of hardwired to believe there are bigger things out there and to take a more rational view is almost counter to our psychology.
“We have to force ourselves to think about things objectively, and most people are simply too lazy to want to do that.”
A more balanced academic study is the perfect way to get people looking outside of their own biases Mr Gilberd says.
“The more enlightened discussion there is the better. People need the chance to explore their own beliefs.”
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The Dominion Post Saturday, June 23, 2012, P. C2
[Photo of fireball on WCT2 while thick, black smoke billows from WTC1. Caption: “Terror: Moment of Impact.”]
[Headline] WAS 9/11 A CONTROLLED DEMOLITION?
WHAT HAPPENED: On September 11, 2011, hijackers from the terrorist group al Qaeda took over four commercial aircraft. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airline Flight 175 were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York, causing them to collapse. American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon in Virginia. A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, was headed for Washington DC but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania when passengers wrestled control back from the hijackers. In all, 2996 people, in-cluding the flight passengers and 19 hijackers, died in the attacks.
CONSPIRACY THEORY: Within hours of the fall of the Twin Towers, suggestions began to spread that the towers had fallen in too uniform a fashion – much like a controlled demolition. The early theories focused on anomalies in the public evidence, before moving on to the theory that the government of the United States had arranged the attacks in an elaborate coverup.
In the years after 9/11, growing resentment of the Iraq War and the reelection of George W Bush helped the theory to gain traction. The 2005 film Loose Change used archival footage of the Twin Towers and analysis of reports on the attacks to support a theory that the towers were destroyed in a controlled demolition. It argued that the North and South Tower, and a third tower in the World Trade Center complex known as Tower 7, were brought down by explosives set up inside.
The theory has been written about by dozens of authors; with most arguing that the impact of the aircrafts and resulting fires would not have weakened the buildings enough to cause such a large-scale collapse. They have said Tower 7 had only sustained minor damage when it too tumbled down.
However, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has stated that the crashes, plus the fires caused, led to the gravity-driven collapse of the buildings. It was said the fire caused the steel structure of the buildings to weaken significantly, leading to the collapses. They said Tower 7 was also brought down by the spread of fires from the nearby towers, which weakened the building’s structure.
Theorists have disputed NIST’s findings, stating the US government had orchestrated the attacks to give them a catalyst to begin a war with Iraq. It is often argued that the removal of the debris from Ground Zero without a forensic investigation is evidence that a coverup was being carried out.
However, most scientists and researchers have critiqued the theories, saying the science used is shaky and lacks evidence.
No investigations carried out have found evidence to indicate the US government orchestrated the attacks.
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The Dominion Post Saturday, June 23, 2012, P. C2
[Headline] WHO KILLED JFK?
WHAT HAPPENED: John F Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, during a presidential motorcade in Dallas, Texas. A 10-month investigation by the Warren Commission found he had been shot dead by Lee Harvey Oswald who had acted alone. However, Oswald was shot and killed by nightclub owner Jack Ruby before he could face trial.
CONSPIRACY THEORY: The United States House select committee on assassinations (HSCA) reported in 1979 that the president had been assassinated as part of a conspiracy. It stated that the original FBI investigation and the later Warren Commission report were both flawed, saying there was a high chance that two gunmen had fired shots, as four shots were heard. The HSCA did not name anyone who could have been involved in the conspiracy, but ruled out CIA, Soviet Union or organised crime involvement.
Most theories point the finger variously at the CIA, Soviet Union, the American Mafia, the FBI or even JFK’s vice president Lyndon B Johnson. It has often been described as the “mother of all conspiracies”, with more than 1000 books written on the subject. The lack of information provided to the Warren Commission has been cited as evidence of a coverup. Many have said the commission was only supplied enough FBI information to enable them to support the lone gunman theory.
While the commission concluded three shots were fired over a period of seven seconds, some have disputed the claim, stating Oswald would have struggled to fire three accurate shots in such a short period of time, indicating a second shooter. Oswald was said to have fired from the sixth-floor window at the southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository, but the 1979 HSCA report supported the theory of four shots, with one coming from the grassy knoll near Dealey Plaza.
Of the 500 witnesses interviewed by the commission, it is said those that raised concerns of a conspiracy were silenced or ignored in the final report. Around seven witnesses testified to seeing gunsmoke near the grassy knoll of the Dealey Plaza where the motorcade was driving, but their evidence was not in the final report. Author Jim Marrs compiled a list of 103 people he believed died in suspicious circumstances in the aftermath of the assassination, usually around the time of formal investigations. “These deaths certainly would have been convenient for anyone not wishing the truth of the JFK assassination to become public,” he said in a 2002 report.
A poll conducted in 2003 found that nearly 20 per cent of Americans believed Lyndon B Johnson had been involved in the assassination, out of hatred for the Kennedys and for political gain. He has also been included in theories of a CIA-planned assassination, with agents of the organisation plotting the president’s death after being angered by his actions as the head of the United States.
Other investigations conducted since the assassination have tended to support the Warren Commission’s findings, stating Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in his killing of John F Kennedy.