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The challenge is to differentiate such warranted doubt from the style of reflexive skepticism that leads to the belief that yetis trained by Mossad killed Elvis because he could prove that the moon landing was faked.
This may provide us with a quick rule of thumb for judging the rationality of someone's skepticism. Suppose the powers that be announce that X is the case. If someone says, "I'm skeptical. It could be X+1, or it could be X–1 instead," they may be on to something. But if someone says, in effect, "I'm skeptical. It's both X+1 and X–1," you are probably dealing with a person who believes that Jimmy Hoffa is working under an assumed name as a backup singer for Lady Gaga.
Here on ATS we know that sometimes the truth is a convenient lie.
- Op Source
How do we distinguish between critical thinking and nutty conspiracism? Psychologists have repeatedly demonstrated a key feature of conspiracism, namely that people who believe in one type of conspiracy theory are more likely than chance to believe in other unrelated ones. In other words, it's a deep psychological trait, a world view that transcends any given case.
Conspiracism is an extreme expression of this need. It predisposes someone who intensely believes in one conspiracy theory to accept a similar theory about unrelated events: "There they go again, trying to pull off another fast one, so don't believe that official explanation either."
Recent studies by psychologists and social scientists in the US and UK suggest that contrary to mainstream media stereotypes, those labeled “conspiracy theorists” appear to be saner than those who accept the official versions of contested events.
Jimmy Hoffa is working under an assumed name as a backup singer for Lady Gaga.
I suppose that what I am saying is, if ATS hand picked the very best of its conspiracy theorists, and sent them to the WSJ to discuss this piece in some detail with the author, that author would have to either print a revised version of their piece, or retract it completely