Excellent article in UK Telegraph

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Excellent article in UK Telegraph

Postby Zep Tepi » Sun Jan 13, 2008 10:30 am

I saw this at the Telegraph website and also noticed Jack Sarfatti posted the same thing to his list. Essential reading!

Page 1 of 3 below, read the rest of the article at the link below.

Lies, damn lies and 'counterknowledge'

Sunday Telegraph wrote:Outright fiction is being peddled as historical and scientific fact, warns Damian Thompson in an extract from his provocative new book

George Bush planned the September 11 attacks. The MMR injection triggers autism in children. The ancient Greeks stole their ideas from Africa. "Creation science" disproves evolution. Homeopathy can defeat the Aids virus.

Do any of these theories sound familiar? Has someone bored you rigid at a dinner party by unveiling one of these "secrets"? If so, it is hardly surprising. In recent years, thousands of bizarre conjectures have been endorsed by leading publishers, taught in universities, plugged in newspapers, quoted by politicians and circulated in cyberspace.

This is counterknowledge: misinformation packaged to look like fact. We are facing a pandemic of credulous thinking. Ideas that once flourished only on the fringes are now taken seriously by educated people in the West, and are wreaking havoc in the developing world.

We live in an age in which the techniques for evaluating the truth of claims about science and history are more reliable than ever before. One of the legacies of the Enlightenment is a methodology based on painstaking measurement of the material world.

That legacy is now threatened. And one of the reasons for this, paradoxically, is that science has given us almost unlimited access to fake information.

Most of us have friends who are susceptible to conspiracy theories. You may know someone who thinks the Churches are suppressing the truth that Jesus and Mary Magdalene sired a dynasty of Merovingian kings; someone else who thinks Aids was cooked up in a CIA laboratory; someone else again who thinks MI5 killed Diana, Princess of Wales. Perhaps you know one person who believes all three.

Or do you half-believe one of these ideas yourself? We may assume that we are immune to conspiracy theories. In reality, we are more vulnerable than at any time for decades.

I recently met a Lib Dem-voting schoolteacher who voiced his "doubts" about September 11. First, he grabbed our attention with a plausible-sounding observation: "Look at the way the towers collapsed vertically. Jet fuel wouldn't generate enough to heat to melt steel. Only controlled explosions can do that." The rest of the party, not being structural engineers (for whom there is nothing mysterious about the collapse of the towers) pricked up their ears. "You're right," they said. "It did seem strange…"

Admittedly, no major newspaper or TV station has endorsed a September 11 conspiracy theory. But more than 100 million people have watched a 90-minute documentary, Loose Change, directed by three young New Yorkers who assembled the first cut on a laptop. The result is super-slick: computer-generated planes glide menacingly towards their targets, to the accompaniment of a funky soundtrack; buildings collapse in a comic theatrical sequence. This is one cool movie – and a masterpiece of counterknowledge.

The makers suggest that a missile, not an airliner, hit the Pentagon; that the occupants of Flight 93 were safely evacuated at Cleveland Hopkins airport; that the panicked calls made by the passengers were faked using voice-morphing technology.

The directors make basic errors and play outrageous tricks: quotes from experts and official documents are cherry-picked and truncated. Airline parts are misidentified and pictures cropped in a way that leaves out inconvenient rubble and wreckage. "Expert testimony" is lifted from the American Free Press, a hysterical news service with strong links to the far Right.

Yet the makers of Loose Change are pushing at an open door. More than a third of Americans suspect that federal officials assisted in the September 11 attacks or took no action to stop them. September 11 conspiracy theories have gained such a following in France that even a member of President Sarkozy's government has suggested that President Bush might have planned the attacks. Christine Boutin, the housing minister, when asked in an interview whether she thought Bush might have been behind the attacks, said: "I think it is possible."

Another who believes this is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, who reckons that September 11 could not have been executed "without co-ordination with [US] intelligence and security services". Ahmadinejad is also a well-known Holocaust denier, having referred publicly to "the myth of the Jews' massacre".

In the world of counterknowledge, wild theories are constantly mating and mutating. As the editor of Skeptic magazine, Michael Shermer, puts it: "The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking, as well as creationism, Holocaust denial and the various crank theories of physics."


Cheers,
Zep
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Postby Access Denied » Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:53 am

Interesting read...

The battle between knowledge and counterknowledge is not just a struggle to protect the public domain from bogus facts. It has profound implications for the safety of the West. And, make no mistake about it: this is a battle we are losing.

Them's fightin' words!

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Postby ryguy » Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:06 pm

"The mistaken belief that a handful of unexplained anomalies can undermine a well-established theory lies at the heart of all conspiratorial thinking, as well as creationism, Holocaust denial and the various crank theories of physics."


Now ain't THAT the truth....

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Postby You Can Call Me Ray » Thu Jan 17, 2008 2:43 pm

Access Denied wrote:Interesting read...

The battle between knowledge and counterknowledge is not just a struggle to protect the public domain from bogus facts. It has profound implications for the safety of the West. And, make no mistake about it: this is a battle we are losing.

Them's fightin' words!


There may be no more literal truth than what you have just stated AD.

Long have I stated that "the next big war" will be waged on the battlefield of information. Our adversaries cannot overcome our weapons based in physical energy, but when used properly information can do more damage than physical weapons... with less energy input to begin with! :shock:

People like Alex Jones and the Loose Change kiddies may THINK they are trying to save America with their underinformed "research" and "reports" based on selective "facts". But in reality (whether they realize it or not) they are merely tools of those who would wish to bring down our Western way of life...yes, I am talking Al Qaeda.

Let's not forget that the internet was born out of a laboratory geared towards WARFARE. That is often lost on those who use it to spread BS. But in reality, they are willing participants in a global war... and most have no clue which side they are aiding and abetting.

I find it interesting when folks talk about Bible prophecy (e.g. "the big lie" and the Antichrist that will sell this lie to the masses, which causes the downfall of civilization) that no one seems to put two and two together and even SUGGEST that "the big lie" of 9-11 being an inside job could easily destroy society from within. And the Antichrist? Not a "single person" as we are wont to interpret, but a kind of "integrated beingness" that forms out of those who are "infected with the viral meme" and who cooperate together, as a system, to spread the meme and infect as many other people as possible.

Who benefits from having citizens think that their governments schemed to kill their own people? Al Qaeda...in one way or another... they are reaping the benefits of idiots like Alex Jones.

It's war out there folks, and I do NOT use that as any kind of metaphor.

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