December 4, 2020 at 12:52 pm #198466
I want to ask what others think about why so many people apparently believe the crazy stuff they read on social media. Anti-vaxers, QAnon (look it up https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/53498434 )
conspiracy theories about Bill Gates, about the royal family, that the queen is a lizard etc. It’s all out there.
We know that some go on social media pretending to socialize, while their real motive is to spread their own political nonsense.
And we know there are those who organize hundreds of ‘trolls’ to generate millions of posts to give the (false) impression there are armies of believers believing in all sorts of ridiculous stuff.
And some even do it themselves, like the jonnies on here.
We also know there are sophisticated algorithms which are set up to automatically feed us more and more content based on whatever we’ve been looking at. This means we could spend all day just reading article after video, after article, e.g. about conspiracies involving Bill Gates and the royal family, because our online searching and viewing have prompted the algorithm to feed us more of the same.
So if you like Taylor Swift, here she comes again and again, which is harmless enough.
But it can be more serious. What started out as a vague suspicion about say, the effects of immigration, can quickly become a gut certainty about danger. Facebook and Twitter can leave us, as Andrew Marr said, ‘unwittingly entombed in a small echo chamber of our own prejudices’.
And that can drive you to all sorts of things, especially if you’re a bit unstable or gullible to start with. So, instead of becoming an expert on Ms Swift, a young man can become radicalized by ISIS. It’s also how a silo of criminals, lunatics and racists like UKIP can gain support, if not seats.
But some of the stuff online goes even further, like QAnon.
So, why is it that so many people appear so taken in by all this? Why don’t they just laugh at it and dismiss it as nonsense? Is it because some people are so readily taken in by what they read on screen, a bit like in the early days of mass media – that if it’s in a book it must be true, if it’s on TV it must be true, if it’s on the web it must be true? Or, are there other reasons? What do others think?December 4, 2020 at 6:30 pm #198484
There’s a poster on here who often directs us to a book of fairy stories that begins with a talking snake and ends with a four-headed monster.
Yet said poster looks upon this book as a manual for living his life. Not only that but he believes that anyone who doesn’t is pursuing a meaningless existence.
Of course he’s not alone. There’s still millions across the globe that still consume this nonsense.
But their numbers are decreasing. It’s the 21st century and science has shown that religion now belongs in history’s dustbin. However, in doing so it poses a whole catalogue of “what if” scenarios.
It all started with Gothic Horror noels followed by the works of Edgar Allen Poe, Jules Verne, R L Stevenson and H G Wells.
Asimov, Clarke, Dick. Even the good old TV staples like Dr Who and the Twilight Zone. And of course Mulder & Scully telling us “the truth is out there!”
It appears that many people still cannot separate fact from fiction. Perhaps they don’t want to! “Your lies are more attractive than the truth” sings Dave Gahan. What’s less boring than a phone mast (well anything probably)? How about a phone mast that implants thought waves into your brain?
A vaccination that merely protects you from a virus? Boring! So how about a syringe that injects a nanobot into your bloodstream enabling the Lizard Queen to control your actions? Yeah, that’s definitely more 21st century.
Of course if you’d come up with bollocks like this in the 20th century then you’d have been laughed at or locked up.
But now we have social media. The nutter on the bus only got to be heard by a handful of passengers. The nutter on Facebook can reach millions. Or should I say infect millions?
We contracted our own little virus on Iron Bru not so long ago in the form of Zoe Phinn-19. Then of course we have the minor sniffles, aches and pains from the usual “Johnnies”.
Some people just can’t help themselves. If you don’t like the world you live in, invent a new one. There’s bound to be someone out there who’ll buy into it!December 4, 2020 at 6:48 pm #198486
Good reading chaps. I don’t know where to start and end with this Gurn. It could be the subject of a thesis and very probably is, many times over. The only thing I’ll add right now to both your excellent summaries above is there seems to be a lot more people these days that can’t accept mother nature and how seemingly cruel it can be. I think being able to find answers to most things very quickly, whether they’re right or wrong, is party to blame. And too much instant gratification rather than research, analysis and providing empirical evidence. Conspiracy theorists constantly refer to some dark forces causing a lot of bad or nasty things we witness but question who ‘they’ or ‘it’ are and they can’t answer it.December 5, 2020 at 12:09 pm #198506
Thanks.. some good comments above.
True, it’s part of being human to enjoy a good story and let your imagination rip. In the past there were all sorts of mythical tales and legends which tried to explain things – to do with spirits in mountains, planets, gods and so on… then came the bible, and later on came other types for entertainment only, like Robinson Crusoe… before storytelling expanded with different genres like horror, sci fi, crime and so on.
Thing is, that people normally grow up to separate fact from fiction unless they’ve been told otherwise by parents and elders from an early age, like with the bible and religion in general. But if you were born into a family with the ‘full strength’ variety of religion, it can leave you dependent for life.
Yet, while most of us don’t have a problem separating obvious fact from obvious fiction, growing numbers do seem to have a problem separating the two. For some it’s a bit like hypnosis. Remember those Derren Brown shows, where apparently normal types were apparently put under a spell to say and do all sorts of outlandish things once they heard key words, sounds, etc. In the recent past the word ‘Brexit’ became a kind of special word which prompted a willingness in some people to mouth and repeat all kinds of gibberish.
And now it’s as if thousands if not millions have accidentally fallen under a spell which even they themselves aren’t aware of, and don’t even think of themselves as deluded or lying. (“The hypnotized never lie” – wasn’t that a line from a Who song?)
Maybe it’s due to the persuasive presentational style online, of say, Alex Jones, David Icke and co, who often sound like convinced and convincing evangelical preachers, particularly in America.
And if you like or need simple explanations for often very complicated phenomena, coming from apparently simple, straightforward, wealthy, ‘regular’ guys like Farage or Jones or Trump, it helps.
And coming unfiltered through social media from your Aunt Doris, or from apparently regular guys who support your football team, even better.
I suppose suspension of disbelief is also reinforced when those simple explanations come from official sources, like the government. This particularly applies to those with strong political convictions – like tribal Tories – for whom politics is like religion. And, politics has become a bit like religion in recent years.
Maybe politics always was in danger of becoming like a religion for some people, like with Nazism, or Mao’s communism, where people are unwilling to see any other view except that of the party, and what it says and does.
I mean, some will now actually believe a Scotch Egg is a substantial meal, simply because a government minister said so!
But I’m not sure we’ve nailed this. Any more food for thought?December 5, 2020 at 5:09 pm #198540alcazarParticipantOffline
Registered On: December 24, 2013
😄December 5, 2020 at 5:29 pm #198547
Nah, you’ve read every word Alcy, you just don’t know what to say.
Come on, it’s easy. Why do you think so many people believe so much rubbish – QAnon, conspiracy theories, Alex Jones???December 5, 2020 at 6:06 pm #198551
Craig Murray?December 5, 2020 at 7:23 pm #198557
I know of his earlier antics but what’s he been saying recently?December 5, 2020 at 8:12 pm #198559
I don’t know what he’s been saying recently Gurn, but I’m reminded of his unsubstantiated claim that Israel was behind the Salisbury poisonings.December 6, 2020 at 10:32 am #198585
Barmy. I’ve read his book ‘Murder in Samarkand’ which is pretty good at exposing the dark side of diplomacy, but outlandish comments like this, made without any substantial proof, cast doubt on his other work.
Course, as a married ambassador, carrying on with that Uzbek girl didn’t help either. I think he even wrote a stage play about it with the girl starring as herself!December 6, 2020 at 11:18 am #198587
Craig Murray is a crank defended by the most vile conspiracy theorists who will believe any irrational guff to defend anti-western forces under the belief that only the USA/UK/Israel and allies can be bad. Like many conspiracy theorists, this has unfortunately meant anti-Semitism taking root in his nonsense. Jews are the unfortunate scapegoat which often gets inserted into conspiracies to be the convenient explanation for the world’s ills.
And it’s this convenience which I think governs a lot of its need for existence. Reality is messy, science is complex, reasonings for real life issues (e.g. pandemic management, climate change etc) are complex, politics requires delicate balancing between factions and ensuring the issues are dealt with correctly. Issues have benefits and pitfalls among all solutions, which will upset some and please others. This can be confusing and when people often have strong opinions on some issues, where they see opposition to it as an affront. It’s comforting, in some way, for many to believe that a cabal of nefarious authorities are responsible for the woe in the world. Reality is a fine act of balancing situations, and this feels more chaotic and anxiety inducing. If it can be explained by the dastardly EU/Zionists/NWO/Deep State/Blairites/media/liberal elite it makes it seem much simpler and easier to fix. Remove the bad guys and it will be fine. Except it never is fine, because reality is more messy and issues are caused by mismanagement among all sides to some degree, the need to balance solutions, the reality of politics (politicians will often put party interests above fixing the solution, so they get voted in again on fixing the problem, for example) and perfect solutions rarely being viable.
So the problem continues. Take the coronavirus vaccine news. Now, I have not seen any evidence to doubt its safety just yet. However, public perception could be that it has been rushed out too fast. Building public trust is an important aspect of pandemic management and this should have been factored in to how the government approached a vaccine. The EU have been slower to release it in part because of this, though I am sure there are other reasons too, such as bureaucracy as alluded to by Bucks. A recent poll suggests that 35% think it has been rushed. I don’t agree, but putting myself in their shoes, where they won’t necessarily be experts, I cannot fully blame all of them. This has been partially caused by a government desperate to win the race against the EU for the sake of posturing. Unfortunately, it has forgotten the ultimate need to win people over; sure 35% is not a majority, but it is a large amount. This creates a culture where conspiracy can flourish; people will be confused and anxious, so thinking of it as some plot by authorities could take hold.
Of course you will also get those who love conspiracies because it makes them feel like they have access to esoteric knowledge which few others possess. They like feeling like they’re in the know while others aren’t. Ironically, I feel like they wouldn’t feel so pleased if everyone started agreeing with the validity of the conspiracy theory. In some ways they’re like hipsters who only like bands because they’re trendy and frown on anything achieving popularity (like those who ditched REM and Metallica when they got big).
I have familiarity with conspiracy sites and will come back later with some of my favourites. They do raise a good chuckle.December 6, 2020 at 4:17 pm #198614
Yes, please do BRI. I don’t really know much about these sites, generally just what people have referenced. I think we probably all know someone who finds aspects of it appealing. I know a few and we usually have a chat and I tell them they to back up what they’re saying and it’s never enough as far as I’m concerned. Occasionally we’ve fallen out about it. Most recently when one tin hatter tried to tell me Covid is a hoax. I find that particularly annoying when I have friends on the front line at hospitals risking their lives every day and giving me personal accounts of horrible deaths.
I think that’s a good analogy about bands. In my younger days being a fan of ‘the world’s best secret’ was not something I wanted sharing out too much, particularly if it risked derision. Sharing knowledge of those bands was reserved for those you could trust would appreciate them. Thus, I frequently see a couple of CT’s at work furtively looking at the latest tome of paranoia they’re sharing between themselves. I occasionally ask what they’re looking at and get that look of ‘you won’t buy in to and will only mock so do one!’. And yes, that was what I used to be like about treasured lesser known indie bands when I was a teenager.December 6, 2020 at 6:36 pm #198618
There’s definitely a segment of loonies for whom the conspiracy and knowledge of it is exclusive, and carried like a badge of honour. A bit like Little Britain’s ‘only gay in the village’ I suppose, who used to feel affronted or challenged if there were other gays around, claiming they weren’t genuine!December 7, 2020 at 9:43 am #198647
Yes, please do BRI.
Ok. Here’s some of my favourites.
https://www.godlikeproductions.com/ is a website dedicated to conspiracy theories and all sorts of crackpottery. Sort of like a conspiracy 4chan, pretty much anything goes. It’s hard to tell if people are trolling, given the wild claims made, but some are bound to be genuine, which is scary. Unfortunately in recent years conspiracies have faded as it has become a Trump supporting haven, though I guess that says a lot about the worldview of Trump fans.
https://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message3057356/pg1December 7, 2020 at 9:44 am #198649
Other good sites include http://www.reformation.org/. A site by a fundamentalist Christian who sees the British behind everything, who have been secretly controlling the world since Constantine (who’s birth place of York cements his evil status).
MI6 secret agent, Adolf Hitler was confident of victory in WWII, because his adversary was MI6 secret agent, Joseph Stalin!
The religion of Islam is an MI6 spying cover!
The British attack on Pearl Harbour!
Jesuits like Oliver Cromwell have attacked Ireland to bring the population to Catholic servitude!
Deadly druid cremation!
Druid Charles Darwin, they landed Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on the Moon, the Earth is the centre of the Universe and they will do anything but admit that the Holy Bible is true!
http://reformation.org/sputnik-stationary-earth.htmlDecember 7, 2020 at 9:44 am #198650
My final conspiracy site is that of David Chase Taylor. Truly glorious for its lucidity and multi-faceted insanity. Chase Taylor runs several sites. The main one, https://truthernews.wordpress.com/, is where he posts his warnings of false flags and attempted plots by the Swiss CIA to destroy the world through asteroid attacks, assassinations, terrorist attacks, nuclear warfare and many other means. He believes that by exposing such he foils the attacks, so it becomes a positive feedback loop for him, and as such has caused him to believe that the Swiss CIA are targeting him for assassination to stop the world’s greatest whistle blower from thwarting their goals. Therefore, every terrorist attack, assassination or similar event is judged to be a false flag by the Swiss CIA as a tester for getting him.
However, the site does have its moments of true glory, such as the time he claimed the Swiss CIA are constructing a Death Star(https://truthernews.wordpress.com/2015/08/01/death-star-appears-over-cern-switzerland-home-to-the-cia/). Or his attempts to claim asylum in Switzerland, because Switzerland couldn’t kill him if he became a Swiss citizen.
However, his true masterpiece is his pdf ‘book’ called Greenland Theory(https://sites.google.com/site/greenlandtheory/). Northumbiron and others may like this for its insane butchering of history and this is where it truly becomes layered. While his main site documents the dastardly deeds of the Swiss, here he exposes the puppet masters behind them. The Roman Empire, which hoaxed its collapse, fled to Greenland and rule the world from there in secret ever since.
This is where things get really stupid, such as:
Jews are the elves of evil Santa!
This geological stupidity matches Zoe Phin for insanity.
The Dark Ages didn’t exist!
The Romans blew up Doggerland with dynamite!
Vikings were giants who were the offspring of Romans and giants and spread terror to the world as agents of the Roman Empire!
Oh, and of course, he has declared himself (reluctantly) as the messiah (https://truthernews.wordpress.com/2017/08/04/messiah-alive-in-germany-28-reasons-why-whistle-blower-journalist-david-chase-taylor-of-truther-org-is-the-messiah/).December 7, 2020 at 10:00 am #198653
Now we know how you while away the long winter evenings! 🤪December 7, 2020 at 12:04 pm #198662
Great piece of research BRI, some gems there!
I might have mentioned this before, but it reminds me of a time when I phoned Southport Register Office asking for a birth certificate, and got into conversation with one of the staff about genealogy. In the course of the conversation she told me of a Facebook site that she ran on history and “people’s origins” etc.
Anyway, it sounded innocent enough so I took a look and saw it was all about the alien-made origins of the universe, how they’re still controlling us, and all kinds of nonsense.
Stupidly, I sent her an email about it. And in reply I got the most intense rambling reply, basically telling me her life story, how she’d been married to an Italian guy, lived in Rome etc., and then it quickly got quite suggestive, saying how she had a crush on George Clooney, and liked fingers (not the chocolate ones) etc. etc. and hinted at meeting up. I suppose it was an attempt at what’s quaintly known as ‘flirty fishing’!
In the interests of full disclosure, I showed the mail to Mrs Gurney, who wasn’t impressed. So needless to say the correspondence came to an abrupt halt.
Sadly, I can’t remember the name of the site now, but it was hilarious. I think the girl was actually quite pleasant, along with the obligatory alluring Facebook photo (probably false). She just needed help, preferably professional.December 7, 2020 at 12:49 pm #198663
Oh, and then there’s the well known David Shayler
AKA DeloresDecember 7, 2020 at 1:58 pm #198666
Thanks BRI for the extensive list. I’ll have a wee look at those at some point, with a VPN on I think! Don’t want some Phinn’like crackpot tracking me! Had a good chuckle at some of the headlines. I particularly like ‘the Roman’s blew up doggerland with dynamite!’. Reminds me of Michael Bentine’s Potty Time. I’ll have a look those too NI. I have a story about Shayler but maybe for later, or probably best not on here tbh.December 7, 2020 at 4:44 pm #198680
Now we know how you while away the long winter evenings!
I was once a member of an online community dedicated to poking fun at fundamentalists, conspiracy theorists and racists, which explains why I am familiar with such people. Consumption of time and other things have meant I am no longer active on it, so I am no longer as sad as I may have been!
I can’t take full credit for the last one, as that was found by someone else, but Reformation.org was my find and I was one of a few who frequented Godlike Productions for quotes.
I often think many need help, Gurn, and some of the more wacky are probably mentally ill. I think it’s telling that in David Chase Taylor’s piece on him being the messiah he mentions that he was betrayed like Jesus was with Judas, because his sisters have tried to have him get mental help.December 7, 2020 at 5:28 pm #198683
And from David Shayler’s Wiki page:
‘Shayler speaks positively about David Icke, an individual who has claimed to be the son of God: “David has done some enormously important work. I see him as the John the Baptist to my Christ.’December 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm #198741
Here’s a goodie from today’s “Currant Bun”!
Mulder & Scully are on the case…December 9, 2020 at 2:10 pm #198822
Yes it’s a classic. Reminds me of the Sunday Sport paper. The only believable thing in that was their notice of closure!
I guess this kind of stuff (Elvis on Mars, London bus crashed on the Moon, etc) is mostly harmless fun, and very different to when it gets political and taps into people’s prejudices and potential for violence.
Social media’s lack of regulation has led to the kind of sites we see above. While an apparent growth in public credulity may be due to a desire by some for simple, understandable explanations to complex problems, it’s certainly been aided and abetted by sites like these.
Now, I must get back to galaxy Gurn and the planet Finesword666, where preparations are underway for the Return of the Rover…December 10, 2020 at 8:23 am #198851HeathParticipantOffline
Registered On: August 5, 2017
The FTC in the US are starting action to reduce the Facebook business. What started as a way to keep on touch with families and friends has now grown into a business model that’s probably the biggest influence in people’s lives and the biggest recruitment sergeant for these groups. Bloke on the radio claimed that 60% of new followers of these wackos joined after seeing stuff that Facebook thought they might interested in.
Powerful stuff – interests, preferences however slight in the beginning, fed by demographics and algorithms. That’s a sentence I wouldn’t have written 8 years ago. They’ve got me as well!!!
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