In 2014 I wrote an article entitled Conspiracy Theorists more Sane than Average because of a study done by a research psychologist called Prof. Karen Douglas. It appeared to come up with the amazing conclusion that conspiracy theorists are more logical and reasonable than skeptics in online debate, see: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2014/10/conspiracy-theorists-more-sane-than.html. I met Prof. Douglas at the ASSAP Serious Suspicious conference in 2016 and she told me that there was indeed more aggression in the tone of 9/11 official story believers than conspiracists, see: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2016/11/assap-seriously-suspicious-conference.html. However I met her again last Tuesday at Greenwich Skeptics in the Pub, see here for my HPANWO TV reportage: http://hpanwo-tv.blogspot.com/2018/09/prof-karen-douglas-at-greenwich-sitp.html. This time she told me it was actually not the case that conspiracists were more rational. She pointed me to the results of research carried out by Snopes.com, a skeptic website that fact checks urban legends. They mention a conspiracy theory website that drew a "series of baseless or incorrect conclusions from a study that looked at the online comments of 9/11 truthers." I wondered in they meant HPANWO, but they were actually referring to Natural News. They say that the claim made by Natural News, and myself, is based on a flawed interpretation of the evidence. The full conclusion of Prof. Douglas' study reads thus:
1. We found that conspiracist commenters were more likely to argue against the opposing interpretation and less likely to argue in favour of their own interpretation, while the opposite was true of conventionalist commenters.
2. Conspiracist comments were more likely to explicitly put forward an account than conventionalist comments were.
3. Conspiracists were more likely to express mistrust and made more positive and fewer negative references to other conspiracy theories.
4. Conspiracists were largely unwilling to apply the "conspiracy theory" label to their own beliefs and objected when others did so, lending support to the long-held suggestion that conspiracy belief carries a social stigma.
5. Conventionalist arguments tended to have a more hostile tone.
We had therefore taken number 5 on its own and assumed a hostile tone always comes from somebody lower on the sanity scale. Source: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/conspiracists-most-sane/.
Obviously we did misunderstand what was implied by Prof. Douglas' study; however Snopes is being premature in their celebration of avoiding what they call "a rather harrowing notion". Firstly, a project I've spoken about before by
that when taken as a whole conspiratorial ideas are held by a large proportion
of the population. In the case of the Kennedy assassination we are the
majority. As for the others; we are a minority, but a fairly sizable one. This
means that hardcore firebrands like me are actually a very small vocal tip of a
huge silent iceberg. Number 1 is not the case in my experience; for example Dr
Judy Wood has put forward an entire account of how the World Trade Centre was
destroyed, see: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2015/07/hellyer-checks-evidence.html.
Number 2 sounds like a contradiction to number 1. Number 3 is what you would
expect with what Michael Barkun calls "the Cultic Milieu", and I
don't deny that, see: https://hpanwo.blogspot.com/2010/12/andrew-johnson-newspaper-ad.html. Prof. Douglas made a similar point in Gallup ;
that if you believe 9/11 was an inside job you're more likely to believe in
ghosts and UFO's etc. I obviously do not go along with number 4, even though
I'm aware that the term has been used as a stick to beat us with; it is still
factually true. My own experience of online debates is that they tend to be
brutal and usually involve very scathing personal criticism. This can escalate
into abusive attacks and threats. I see the skeptic side as being the worst,
but that might be because it's the side for which I am a target. I know my own
side can almost as bad, or even equally so. Facts are the key here and evidence
is what matters; I make this point in my HPANWO TV reportage above. Are the
things conspiracy theorists say true or false? Prof. Douglas regards this as
outside her remit, but if any conspiracy theories are proven true, and many
many have been verified in the past, then would she switch her research to social
psychological studies of skeptics? Greenwich
See here for more information: https://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.com/2016/11/are-conspiracy-theorists-narcissists.html.