Some conspiracy theories are more fun and more chilling than others - read this obit of Billie Sol Estes and see what you think:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/may/17/billie-sol-estes Billie Sol Estes obituary Spectacularly successful Texas fraudster who figured in conspiracy theories about the death of John F Kennedy View on www.theguardian.com Preview by Yahoo ________________________________ From: "seerd...@yahoo.com [FairfieldLife]" <FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com> To: FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com 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 wisdom, 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 challenges 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, Masters 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 views, 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”.