The conspiracy theories (1)

Conspiracy theories sell newspapers and get some people excited but where do they fit in the rational view of the World? Are they just an artefact of popular culture in which any way to capture public interest is legitimate or do they have a role to play in our never ending quest for the truth? Here is my take.

Logically, a conspiracy theory (much like an “official” version of the events) can be either true or false. The argument is not over a subjective view on, say, the merits of an art work. Apollo 11 either has or has not landed on the Moon – there is no middle ground here. We may have incomplete information at our disposal to determine what has really happened but only one out of a number of contradicting versions of the events is correct. The fact we are uncertain which one is correct does not somehow relativise the truth. One lot of theorists is still right and everyone else is wrong. So, what is a reasonable reaction when, by the water cooler at work, you hear another theory about the Apollo program? I for one refuse to engage people who are only poking holes in the official version but will not come up with their own complete story. As mentioned above, the Eagle either has or has not landed on the Moon and the fact someone questions the way the flag flapped in the grainy camera footage means little to me. Unless a complete and consistent alternative theory is presented I just fill up the glass and go back to my desk.

To illustrate my point I will now take a closer look at the 9/11 issues. Conspiracy theorists question a number of aspects of the official version of the events. Like the fact the Twin Towers fell despite having been designed for airplane impact or the mode of their collapse. One approach would be to address these issues one by one. For example: the Twin Towers have actually survived the initial plane impact (as they had been designed to do) but were severely weakened and eventually collapsed. Engineering design for catastrophic events involves a lot of guesswork and it is not surprising the real life situation did not unfold exactly as scripted. “Titanic” was designed to be unsinkable but sank – it happens. The problem with the one-by-one approach to the questions raised by the conspiracy theorists is that for every solved issue they will come up with two or three fresh problems.

This is why I always turn the tables on the proponents of the alternative theories. If the official version is wrong – what has really happened? Which other complete and consistent theory is a more sensible explanation of the 9/11 events than the one we are fed by the authorities? I am not interested in the shape of the hole in the Pentagon building. I am only interested in an alternative, full explanation of what has punched the hole. If it was a missile – who fired it? Where is the missing plane? If Building 7 was brought down by explosives – did Atta & Co plant them? If not, who did? Did Atta know about the explosives? Did the owner of the building know about the explosives? If they both knew, were they conspiring? All pieces of the theory have to fit together, much like we are expecting the official story to be consistent. To be able to decide what to accept as the most probable version of the events I want two full stories side-by-side. Only then is this a fair contest where both versions can be scrutinised and questioned.

Consequently, I have spent some time looking for an alternative, complete and consistent 9/11 theory and you will be surprised what my search has dredged up.

The conspiracy theories (2)

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