Archive for the ‘Meta’ Category

Conspiracy Theories

Monday, July 21st, 2008

My last post concerned the conspiracy theories that surround the collapse of 7 World Trade Center on the 11th of September, 2001. In that post, I tried to provide an objective rationale for why the controlled demolition hypothesis should not be believed, owing to its unfalsifiability. The truth is that this and other 9/11 conspiracy theories provoke an almost visceral response in me. I am pretty certain that I’m not the only person who feels this way.

Right now, it’s pretty obvious that I don’t believe in the conspiracy theories (at least, the ones in which the US government or one of its agencies “made it happen on purpose”). However, I am no great supporter of the present US administration, and my political leanings (if transposed to America) would be somewhere to the left of the Democratic Party. Why then am I inclined to give Bush and his aides the benefit of the doubt? Of course it’s their sheer ineptitude: one need only look at the prosecution of the Iraq war for a rich seam of evidence.

But that doesn’t explain why I am so viscerally affected by the conspiracy theories: after all, I might be an atheist on the balance of probabilities, but I have no problem with people who have religious faith.

I think part of it is cognitive dissonance: we are raised to trust the government, and the idea that a government could be responsible for an atrocity like 9/11 is utterly incompatible with that preconception. I’ve already rationalised away the conspiracy theories, but perhaps not everyone would do the same.

Let’s assume that Democrats are more likely to believe and perpetuate the 9/11 conspiracy theories; and that Republicans and independents are more likely to recoil from them. There are photos of conspiracy theorist banners at Obama rallies. This is perfect ammunition for the Republicans, who can associate the Democrats with their “lunatic fringe” and exploit the cognitive dissonance in their base and the independents.

Here’s a conspiracy theory for you: Karl Rove sowed the seeds for the “9/11 Truth” movement in a deliberate attempt to discredit the Democrats and make them unelectable in the near future. Or maybe just to distract everyone from the true scandals of the Bush administration: tens of thousands of dead civilians in Iraq, thousands of dead soldiers, domestic spying on US citizens, the erosion of habeas corpus, inaction over global warming and the near collapse of the economy.

There are plenty of things that we still don’t know about 9/11, and we should as a matter of course seek the truth. We should discover the real reasons that the buildings fell in order to apply the lessons learned to future construction. But in finding the truth, we must retain an open mind, and not resort to intellectual dishonesty or partisanship.

Faking It

Monday, July 16th, 2007

Today I read with some distress that scenes from Gordon Ramsay’s The F Word were edited to make it appear that he caught several fish. He did no such thing. (more…)


Monday, April 9th, 2007

I know metablogging is just about the most tedious form of navel gazing, but this might just be amusing enough to make the cut.


Linky Love

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Blimey, it’s been a while since I updated this, hasn’t it? Well, rest assured that I have lots of interesting things to say, and I should be resuming soon. But, for the mean time and in the interests of an intriguing non-linear narrative, let me introduce you to my other website.

Fallen Bastion

Wednesday, April 12th, 2006

That painfully-familiar template surrounding this blog can mean only one thing. Not that I’ve decided, in a fit of irony, to retrofit the Kubrick template onto my hacked-together CMS; but that I’ve moved to Wordpress.

Back in late 2002, it was a fun idea to knock together a CMS in PHP and MySQL, and throw off the shackles of Blogger. Now, in 2006, and having taken a hiatus of over two months, I think the change to Wordpress will prove a catalyst for the resumption of blogging on this site. Hopefully, anyway.

For the moment, the old posts and content remain in situ, so that I can preserve the old hyperlinks. I’ll eventually create a home page (how 90’s!) that sits at, and directs you here or elsewhere.

In the mean time, sit back, relax, and watch as a torrent of exhilarating content pours forth!