Some conspiracy theories are more fun and more chilling than others - read this 
obit of Billie Sol Estes and see what you think:
Billie Sol Estes obituary
Spectacularly successful Texas fraudster who figured in conspiracy theories 
about the death of John F Kennedy  
View on Preview by Yahoo  

 From: " [FairfieldLife]" <>
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2014 1:46 PM
Subject: Re: [FairfieldLife] Re: David Lynch Questions 9-11

The term “conspiracy theory”,
though I use it myself, is a two-edged sword that may have outlived its
usefulness.  Those challenging mainstream
knowledge and conventions are routinely cast as conspiracy nuts – and implying
that such nut jobs glob onto many such “oddball” explanations of the universe
as a crutch to cope with reality, It has acquired a derogatory meaning and can
become a perverse tool applied to dismiss or ridicule unconventional beliefs, a
tool of suppressing sincere inquiry and challenging of prevailing norms and 
defying gut instincts (aka cognitive biases) and seeking truth no matter where
it takes you and at what costa.  
Many breakthroughs and new
understanding of how the world works, including counter-culture ideas, and 
to the establishment, have been initially derided as crack-pot ideas,
conspiracy theories, promoted by nut jobs. Derision of challenging and
troubling ideas is a core defense mechanism.  
A vast list of crack-pot ideas,
inflammatory, and/or conspiracy-driven dibble has unfolded and become in our
lifetimes mainstream wisdom – a few, both large and small (may) include (not in
any order of impact or importance:  the
Snowden leaks, Pentagon Papers, Lewinsky’s blue dress, lack of weapons of mass
destruction, Judith Bourque’s book, Iran-Contra, the Madoff scandal, genocides
and mass murder of German concentration camps, Stalin, Mao, Khmer Rouge, Sudan, 
Native Americans, “California
real-estate prices never go down”, the USDA’s food triangle, equal pay for
equal work, segregation, JFK’s affairs, Watergate, MY Lai, black site prisons,
priest pedophilia, the tech bubble (“you just don’t GET it”), the housing
bubble, Goldman Sachs, the extent of regulatory capture, animals having
emotions, Sandusky, celebrities coming out of the closet, the Higgs Boson, 
and Johnson, a black president, LBJ’s decline seek re-election, the value of
“health foods”, vegetarianism, yoga and meditation, game-changing technology,
global climate change, etc. More so over the march of time – much of mainstream
science came from those initially labeled heretics, crackpots, etc.
Though many weird, strange,
mind-blowing, unbelievable things have turned out to be true, that hardly means
that all weird, strange, mind-blowing, unbelievable things are true.  
Some core distinctions are willingness
to systematically, without bias or agenda, challenge one’s own and society’s 
models of how the world works, prevailing understandings and conventional
wisdom. These are high virtues, not something that is worthy of derision and
labels such as conspiracy theories.. 
However, it is hardly a virtue
to be driven by conformational bias in assembling facts to form an apparent,
though illusory random pattern in order to fulfill some inner need to cast
blows against the empire, exude elitism, deride others, irrationally attempt to
bring order and make sense of a seemly, at times, irrational challenging life
and universe.
A key distinction is whether one first shoots the arrow or
paints the target, is open to considering all evidence, a willingness to change
views as new evidence presents itself, always seeking to find alternative
answers to explain and overturn one’s current pet POV, having a healthy sense
of both skepticism and optimism, and  having
an identity independent of a particular “truth”.   

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