Just because it's a conspiracy doesn't mean it isn't true | Matthew Dentith | TEDxChristchurch

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hello Christchurch I am here to ask a very simple question what do you think about conspiracy theories some of you will be thinking about claims that the CIA have been harboring alien life on earth for decades others of you might be thinking of that secretive but strangely well-known organization known as the New World Order always up to no good what's been talked about in the media and some of you all think of the claim that 9/11 was an inside job not orchestrated by al-qaeda but rather by the by george w bush and his cronies conspiracy theory is a weird right except most of us are inclined to discuss conspiracy theories it's just that we do something like we say I'm not a conspiracy theorist but we're Jaffa means we're a conspiracy theorists in denial and of course this makes a kind of sense because when you think about it when we say I'm not a conspiracy theorist we're often defending our conspiracy theory by simply saying look I'm just positing that maybe a conspiracy explains this particular event and that actually does make a kind of sense because we know that conspiracies occur especially given those pesky WikiLeaks and NSA revelations I'll worry about conspiracy theories is that we don't know where belief in them is going to lead do we go down the rabbit hole once we start believing in conspiracy theories I mean we all know wacky conspiracy theorists this guy David Icke he believes in alien shapeshifters reptiles who control the world drink our blood and our emotional vampires of some kind and his views had salience in our own little political sphere this is the Prime Minister basically denying being an alien shape-shifting reptiles usually oh why a request he claims he doesn't own a green suit he's even been in a flying saucer and he got a vet to check that he wasn't actually a reptile so it's important to know John Key is no reptile then of course is Alex Jones Alex chances are much more prosaic thesis about the world he doesn't believe in alien shape-shifting reptiles he believes we're controlled by the New World Order and of course within our own local context there's even Wishart he believes that antigenic climate changes a scam that scientists are suppressing the truth of intelligent design oh and that Helen Clarke a former prime minister of this country was not under the control of alien shape-shifting reptiles but rather lesbians now obviously conspiracy theorists are weird and therefore conspiracy theories a weird - right indeed it seems that all conspiracy theorists ever do is engaged in what we might call negative argumentation and by negative argumentation I mean they tell you everything you believe is wrong and therefore all their conspiracy theories are in some way correct and if that's the case we don't want to count ourselves amongst those conspiracy theorists thus we can happily get on with ignoring claims that say the NSA spies on everyone that Cameron Slater ran black ops for elements of the National Party oh that the UK in the USA went to war in Iraq on a pretend conspiracies occur even the staunchest defender of the status quo is willing to admit that conspiracies do occur it's that niggling worry we have if I start believing one conspiracy theory aren't I going to start believing all conspiracy fair ISM what's stopping us from buying that tinfoil hat well the answer is philosophy specifically thinking critically about conspiracy theories I'm here to tell you that you can be a conspiracy theorist without becoming a David Icke or an Ian Rochelle and just look at my credentials I wrote my PhD on belief in conspiracy theories and there's my book the philosophy of conspiracy theories if there's anyone you're going to listen to when it comes to the claim that conspiracy theories have a bad and unjustified reputation then it's going to be made sometimes it's rational to believe conspiracy theories think of it this way we all know people who vote for say our preferred political party who couldn't give a good argument as to why to save their life in almost any topic in any field there are people who believe things for what turn out to be bad reasons and yet we don't typically dismiss the entire field of atheism just because Richard Dawkins said yet another stupid or bigoted thing or at least we shouldn't in the same respect the fact that there are weird conspiracy theorists out there doesn't actually tell us that belief in conspiracy theories is actually weird all it tells us is that sometimes people believe things for bad reasons now some of you will be going hold on surely the reason why we're so skeptical about conspiracy theories is that most of them are not supported by the evidence now I'm not going to disagree with that kind of sentiment everything we believe should be backed up by the evidence and yes there are plenty of conspiracy theories which failed to be good precisely because there is a lack of evidence that supports them at the same time there are lots of seemingly wacky conspiracy theories which when investigated turned out to be true indeed all it takes is a cursory glance at history to find examples of seemingly implausible and massive conspiracy theories which turned out to be vindicated by the historical record take for example 1930s Russia when it comes to plots and capers about bond-style villains Russia in the 1930s reads more like fiction than a Dan Brown novel the lead character in this particular melodrama was Joseph Stalin leader of the USSR and one of if not the greatest mass murderers of all time in the 1930s Stalin was obsessed there is former friend and now enemy in exile Leon Trotsky it was conspiring to take over the USSR Stalin asked a security police to investigate and when they found no evidence of a conspiracy by Trotsky to take over the USSR they manufactured the evidence they arrested people they physically and psychologically tortured them put them on trial found them guilty and then executed them all to prove the existence of a conspiracy that did not exist now at the time people who saw the available evidence you'd look these trial verdicts look like they're a bit of a sham but to cover up their conspiracy Stalin and his cronies cool D detractors conspiracy theorists and faced with dueling conspiracy theories the governments of the UK and the US sided with Stalin and dismissed his detractors and this turned out to be a mistake because when Stalin died his success in the key to Khrushchev one of the conspirators actually admitted to the deception conspiracy theorists use examples like these which are more common than most of us are actually willing to admit say look there could be conspiracies going on right here right now and given what we know from the NSA revelations and from WikiLeaks we should not dismiss these concerns lightly also it turns out that sometimes all you've got when it comes to explanations our rival conspiracy theories take for example the death of this man Alexander Litvinenko some of you might remember the story back in November 2006 Alexander Litvinenko a vocal detractor of Russian Federation president Vera Martin's regime died after he was poisoned with polonium 210 plenum 210 is an aggressive and vile prison it takes a very long time to die it took look then it goes three weeks to succumb to his poison and in that time he blamed elements within the Russian establishment as well as Putin himself as being in on a conspiracy to kill him now killing someone was is an unusual form of assassination given the sheer Causton if it takes to obtain and refer refine the radionucleotide and so it seems that it just doesn't seem likely that he was killed via mundane reasons but rather a conspiracy ie why didn't the assassins if they just hated that then it go pop down the chemist and buy simpler cheaper toxin like cyanide so the question is which particular can spit you make it Putin pictures very easy to find on the Internet why didn't the assassins pop down and buy cheap a cheaper toxin it just seems likely that actually his death is a result of a conspiracy but which conspiracy theory about his death should we believe was Litvinenko killed it the hist of the Russian state as a warning sign to other vocal detractors that Putin can get you at any time or was Litvinenko a patsy for the russian distance movement a calculated death designed to foster tensions between the west and Russia no matter the case it seems that the only way to explain Litvinenko's demise is by reference to some theory about a conspiracy we might not know which particular conspiracy theory is true although people do have their suspicions but a conspiracy theory is the only viable explanation for the death of Alexander Litvinenko and then of course there's 9/11 no matter what you believe about what happened on September the 11th 2001 in New York in Washington DC you turn out to be a conspiracy theorist so for example if you believe that 9/11 was an inside job committed by george w bush and his cronies then that's a conspiracy theory and the same respect if you believe that 9/11 was committed by al-qaeda as retribution for american foreign policy then that's a conspiracy theory as well after all the al-qaeda hypothesis posits a set of plotters operated in secret towards some end that is a classic definition of a conspiracy in this case a conspiracy to commit a terrorist act the big thing about 9/11 is the question which conspiracy theory is warranted by the evidence and that's the big issue isn't it because sometimes conspiracy theorists put forward arguments and evidence in support of their claims of conspiracy and in that kind of situation we are obliged to follow the arguments and evidence wherever they go so someone puts forward an argument in support of the conspiracy theory we are a place to analyze that argument rather than simply dismiss it out of hand if we dismiss conspiracy theories just because wacky people like David Icke or in Wishart believe them then arguably it becomes easier for conspiracies to get away with their conspiracies after all if all conspiracy theories are are bad examples then of course anything that gets labeled a conspiracy theory we can just push to one side it would be much better for public discourse if we were to consider conspiracy theories on their merits because I suspect like me you want to live in a world which you think is free of conspiracies son I am willing to embrace conspiracy theories the question is are you thank you you
Channel: TEDx Talks
Views: 360,370
Rating: 4.4484277 out of 5
Keywords: Global Issues, Philosophy, History, English, tedx talk, Psychology, tedx talks, ted talk, International Affairs, ted, ted x, Politics, ted talks, TEDxTalks, Journalism, New Zealand, tedx, Culture
Id: zlvS-GrA00I
Channel Id: undefined
Length: 13min 2sec (782 seconds)
Published: Mon Dec 15 2014
Reddit Comments

Just like flat earth, flat earth is the conspiracy, not round earth.

👍︎︎ 3 👤︎︎ u/CdRReddit 📅︎︎ Jul 06 2019 🗫︎ replies
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