Conspiracies and Pseudo-Skepticism, Part I

Barrett Brown

I am the founder of the distributed think-tank Project PM and a regular inactive to Vanity Fair and Skeptical Inquirer. My work has also appeared in The Onion, National Lampoon, New York Press, D Magazine, Skeptic, McSweeney's, American Atheist, and a couple of newspapers in the U.S. and Mexico as well as a few policy journals. I'm the author of two books and serve as a consultant to various political entities and private clients.

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14 Responses

  1. Sergey Romanov says:

    Eh, Barrett, even Raimondo has a better sense on this issue 😉Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to Sergey Romanov says:

      Raimondo didn’t know any of the most basic details of the case but nonetheless acted as if he did and otherwise based his position on his hatred of Israel. As I’ll discuss tomorrow, Raimondo’s chief motivation is opposing Israel. I know that you think he’s right in conclusion, but seriously, look at the manner of this argument. He started making claims without knowing basic established facts, such as who was arrested and when, but nonetheless he spoke as if he did and did not feel embarrassed when I called him on it. He has no intellectual honesty, but rather emotional stances that trump any journalistic decency.Report

      • Barrett Brown in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        At any rate, I would prefer to debate with you on this as Rauimondo is – and I only make such charges after a great of analysis – intent on ignoring the Russian attacks merely because the “neo-cons” hate Russia and neo-cons are in favor of Isreal. He is a journalist and commentator who pursues truth only to the extent that it damages Israel. I’ll expand more on this soon.Report

  2. Michael Drew says:

    “Special Operations agent”? You sure that was his title?Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to Michael Drew says:

      Sorry, you are right; Directorate of Operations is correct division.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Barrett Brown says:


        Americans employed by CIA: “Officers, Analysts, Operatives,” etc.

        “Agents”: Foreign nationals and others paid or recruited based on access to or ability to infiltrate structures and organizations that Americans would have difficulty penetrating.Report

        • Barrett Brown in reply to Michael Drew says:

          Yes, I understand; I was using “agent” as sloppy conventional shorthand for “covert operative,” which in turn is more accurate. Meanwhile, the Directorate of Operations is now called National Clandestine Service.Report

  3. DensityDuck says:

    “Justin: the only fashionable, socially acceptable conspiracy theories seem to be anti-Russian. that in itself could form the basis of a very convincing conspiracy theory”

    9/11 troofers? Birthers? Moon-landing-hoax? Exploding Pinto? There are plenty of “fashionable, socially acceptable conspiracy theories”. Just because it’s on doesn’t mean it’s not a conspiracy theory; such thinking comes from the same place as urban legends.Report

    • Barrett Brown in reply to DensityDuck says:

      Even though you’re speaking against my opponent, who is off-base in his self-serving assessment, I would take issue with your idea that Obama birthism and 9/11 conspiracies are “fashionable” and “socially acceptable.” What do those terms mean, in your view?Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Barrett Brown says:

        Perhaps they aren’t fashionable to you, or socially acceptable in your preferred society, but “I don’t like them” is not transitive to “they’re not fashionable or socially acceptable”.Report

        • Barrett Brown in reply to DensityDuck says:

          I know, and didn’t say or imply any such thing. You are the one who agreed with Raimondo that these conspiracies are fashionable and socially acceptable, not me, which is why I asked you what your definition is of such terms. Please read more carefully.Report

  4. Moody B says:

    The trick is to retain the ability to remove an emotional response and view evidence objectively. Our media today is designed to ensure emotions control our cognitive reasoning. It is for this reason that no matter what any actual verifiable evidence may present itself, many are so emotionally vested (via the use of triggers/repetition/conditioning) in the lie that all evidence to the contrary is dismissed out of hand.

    “The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do.”
    B.F. SkinnerReport