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angrymushroom



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 108
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I would say, looking at polling data, that one third of Americans think that 9/11 was an "inside job." People wonder why democracies start imploding...










Last edited by angrymushroom on Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:06 am; edited 1 time in total
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:48 am
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DeadAwake



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Pick your poison but conform to the dress code.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:03 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
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angrymushroom wrote:
I would say, looking at polling data, that one third of Americans think that 9/11 was an "inside job." People wonder why democracies start imploding...


My guess would be a leading question skewed the poll. I'm willing to bet this result can't be duplicated easily. We learned so much from Nate Silver.

The real conspiracy is the Keith Olbermann and Nate Silver are on the same show now but it's on ESPN. Tangentially related: I hope Anthony Weiner gets a show on MSNBC where he shows each guest his little wiener before he goes on air to yell at them.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:49 am
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angrymushroom



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
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redball wrote:


My guess would be a leading question skewed the poll. I'm willing to bet this result can't be duplicated easily. We learned so much from Nate Silver.




Meh. It doesn't sound outlandish to me. The majority of people worldwide believe in the improbable (see: http://religions.pewforum.org/).

Looking at several polls there is an overwhelming amount of Americans that seem to think 9/11 was an inside job. Public polling is not without issues; I do not deny that. Leading questions from interviewers, unrepresentative populations, self-reporting bias, and other variables obviously lead to rates of error.

I trust the results from Pew and Public Policy Polling (including their published rates of error) for the most part to give a general insight into public opinion. PPP found that 13% of Americans think that Obama is the antichrist and that another 13% weren't sure. In the same study 37% of the Americans polled said that global warming is a hoax (see: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/04/conspiracy-theory-poll-results-.html).

Now imagine how these people vote.
Oh the joy!
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:15 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
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angrymushroom wrote:
Meh. It doesn't sound outlandish to me. The majority of people worldwide believe in the improbable (see: http://religions.pewforum.org/).


Right, and that's human psychology. Science tells us a lot about religion. It might not justify it and it certainly doesn't prove it, but if you study history, a little psych, and perhaps some theology you'll find that there's a very good reason why so many people still believe this.

To summarize, though, it's largely because the way we shape our perception of the world largely serves to define ourselves as being good. When you present evidence against religion to someone who has been raised to believe they will take that in context of their worldview. They will reject what they need to reject to avoid feeling stupid or wrong. They'll find alternative theories that fit within that worldview.

Most people who change such strongly ingrained views do so either quite gradually, say because their parents lapse as churchgoers, or dramatically because of negative experience. College is actually huge for this because it changes the social context into one where you likely fit in better if you question your beliefs and look at the world holistically and analytically. High school is another important time because of various psychological factors.

Representative group here is Catholics. They flee the religion largely citing issues with the church rather than a complete loss of faith. Then again, if you break down the liberal Catholic worldview you'll find it's likely not far from your own.

angrymushroom wrote:
Looking at several polls there is an overwhelming amount of Americans that seem to think 9/11 was an inside job. Public polling is not without issues; I do not deny that. Leading questions from interviewers, unrepresentative populations, self-reporting bias, and other variables obviously lead to rates of error.


Is it overwhelming because you have a hard time believing that any significant number of Americans would answer a question like that positively? It certainly isn't a majority, and I don't think citing the one study showing that high of a number is representative. Published rates of error do not account for leading questions or biased forms of interview.

angrymushroom wrote:
I trust the results from Pew and Public Policy Polling (including their published rates of error) for the most part to give a general insight into public opinion. PPP found that 13% of Americans think that Obama is the antichrist and that another 13% weren't sure. In the same study 37% of the Americans polled said that global warming is a hoax (see: http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2013/04/conspiracy-theory-poll-results-.html).


Did you open the full results of this study? Look at those questions. You'll notice a few things on it. First, the questions are fucking ridiculous. No margin of error can account for people who might not take the poll seriously at all. Second, every single question in the poll is leading and biased. All of them. Third, it was an automated telephone poll. Now this point is debatable but people tend to both take automated polls less seriously and also be more honest with them.

There is, then, this:

PPP conspiracy poll wrote:
Do you believe the United States government
knowingly allowed the attacks on September
11th, 2001, to happen, or not?
Do 11%
Do not 78%
Not sure 11%


Which shows a few things. It shows how that 33% number is a cherry pick, because here we have a far lower number of 11% with another 11% unsure, while 78% are sure it wasn't an inside job. It also shows how I could easily cherry pick my data as well to make a counter-argument.

Most telling is how in this poll that purports to show the number of Americans that believe in all these conspiracy theories we'd see such a low number on the 9/11 truther question. The results are actually quite baffling. More people believe in Bigfoot than that 9/11 was an inside job. More people believe Saddam Hussein was involved than our government was.

angrymushroom wrote:
Now imagine how these people vote.
Oh the joy!


My guess would be apathetically, since that's the norm. Though I'm not exactly sure what group this applies to. The information on that page uses "Americans" and "voters" interchangeably. If they're applying a likely vote model on the data then it can change the results considerably.

If I had to take a more educated guess, I'd say these people will vote for whoever makes them feel better about their worldview. Whoever convinces them that all these arguments are class warfare, or whoever convinces them that there's hope for change. That way their vote can match their morals and make them feel like they've done what they can to improve the world.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 9:23 am
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angrymushroom



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 108
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redball wrote:

Right, and that's human psychology. Science tells us a lot about religion. It might not justify it and it certainly doesn't prove it, but if you study history, a little psych, and perhaps some theology you'll find that there's a very good reason why so many people still believe this.


Psych is one of my majors unfortunately. I know theories as to WHY people believe in nonsensical ideas (like deities) but none of that is going to weaken my personal opposition to religion and nonsense in general.
redball wrote:

They will reject what they need to reject to avoid feeling stupid or wrong. Most people who change such strongly ingrained views do so either quite gradually, say because their parents lapse as churchgoers, or dramatically because of negative experience


People who are strongly opinionated about certain topics often reject contradictory information before it even is channeled through central-route processing IMO.
redball wrote:

Most people who change such strongly ingrained views do so either quite gradually, say because their parents lapse as churchgoers, or dramatically because of negative experience.


Often they never change. I am not even attempting to change strongly opinionated people who believe in nonsense. I feel that is a lost cause. I would NEVER argue with people who strongly believe in nonsense one on one. What I am trying to do is lessen the influence that some of these people have on others who are in the middle or who are easily influenced (e.g. children). There is good reason to fight against the nonsense.
redball wrote:
if you break down the liberal Catholic worldview you'll find it's likely not far from your own.


Meh. I don't know about that one.
redball wrote:

Is it overwhelming because you have a hard time believing that any significant number of Americans would answer a question like that positively? It certainly isn't a majority, and I don't think citing the one study showing that high of a number is representative. Published rates of error do not account for leading questions or biased forms of interview.


I am inherently interested in how public opinion impacts society. I never said it was a majority. However, 13% still answering as "not sure" is concerning to me when another 13% answered yes (regarding the antichrist question). I cited one study because this isn't a university paper. PPP uses registered voters as their sample.

redball wrote:
Did you open the full results of this study? Look at those questions. You'll notice a few things on it. First, the questions are fucking ridiculous. No margin of error can account for people who might not take the poll seriously at all.


Of course I looked at the full results of the study. What constitutes ridiculous is subjective. You and I think these questions are ridiculous.

redball wrote:
Published rates of error do not account for leading questions or biased forms of interview.


Published rates include measurement errors (if properly done). These account for interviewer error, question order, question wording, and more.
Problems like these are limitations involved with self-reported survey research. However, I think an automated recording is less likely to be leading than a live (and possibly biased) interviewer.

redball wrote:
It shows how that 33% number is a cherry pick.


What 33% number? Regarding 9/11 being an inside job? Are you talking about the same poll results? I may not be seeing what you are seeing. 33% of republicans (not the whole sample) answered that they believed Saddam was involved in 9/11.

redball wrote:
That way their vote can match their morals


Yes. Unfortunately.

One (yes, only one for the purpose: http://jmq.sagepub.com/content/84/2/353.short) study found "evidence that conspiracy thinking is now a normal part of mainstream political conflict in the United States." However, there is a great deal of empirical research on the topic of conspiracies and their impacts on society.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 10:09 am
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redball



Joined: 12 May 2006
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angrymushroom wrote:
redball wrote:
It shows how that 33% number is a cherry pick.


What 33% number? Regarding 9/11 being an inside job? Are you talking about the same poll results? I may not be seeing what you are seeing. 33% of republicans (not the whole sample) answered that they believed Saddam was involved in 9/11.


angrymushroom wrote:
I would say, looking at polling data, that one third of Americans think that 9/11 was an "inside job." People wonder why democracies start imploding...
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:22 am
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angrymushroom



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
Posts: 108
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redball wrote:
angrymushroom wrote:
redball wrote:
It shows how that 33% number is a cherry pick.


What 33% number? Regarding 9/11 being an inside job? Are you talking about the same poll results? I may not be seeing what you are seeing. 33% of republicans (not the whole sample) answered that they believed Saddam was involved in 9/11.


angrymushroom wrote:
I would say, looking at polling data, that one third of Americans think that 9/11 was an "inside job." People wonder why democracies start imploding...



Oh nonono. I wasn't deriving that from one poll. :lol:



I came up with that from looking at numerous studies over the years. Surely, I am being ambitious in my "one third" statement about 9/11 specifically (although a few informative studies found this number). However, I don't think it is unreasonable to think that a great portion of Americans, possibly larger that 1/3, believe in unproven conspiracy theories that may impact their actions.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:34 am
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redball



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I get what you're saying, though. People believe stupid shit. They convince themselves it makes sense. We're not so far apart.

My thing is that I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out how this happens and my conclusion is that it's often because of self preservation as well as overestimation of how smart we are versus how smart everyone else is. So much ego.

I think conspiracy theories are so tempting because not only do they seek to piece together a confusing world in a simple, seemingly reasonable fashion, but also because they make those who believe into the insiders, the profits of truth. Awakened.

But I don't think they're dumb people, and only sometimes truly laughable. Maybe some of them are even worth addressing. I'm just... tired of saying the same thing almost 7000 times.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:51 am
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angrymushroom



Joined: 13 Mar 2003
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I totally understand. I ignore a great deal of hogwash and then my rage seeps up.
It is hard for me to always brush off misinformation being spewed around that is clearly unsupported because I see it affecting the public. This is why this sort of thing is so important to me.
I think the 'truthers' and related are giving in to that need the human brain has to seek out patterns (sort-of like you mentioned). Surely this has helped our species in many ways but it also hurts us if we don't see simplicities as well. Here is an interesting paper that delves into causes: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9760.2008.00325.x/abstract (I assume you have access as well?).
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:06 pm
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T-Wrex
p00ny tang


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7 billion people on this planet.

And all of us think a bit differently.

It's pretty cool.
Post Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:27 pm
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crash



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i love it when someone says "i'm not one of those crazy conspiracy theorists" and then goes on and on about about a bunch of crazy conspiracy theories.
Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 10:40 am
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Limbs



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Yeah. Or and then say "I'm on the fence" about chemtrails. Cuz we can never really know anything, right?? But Jesus is totes stupid.
Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 12:13 pm
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Plum Puddin'



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Lolz!

Remember years ago, how all those crazy conspiracy guys said after we fucked up Iraq, because they were instrumental in the ongoing operations of Al Qaeda & had a hand in the 9/11 plan, we were gonna go fuck up Libya & Syria on the road to Iran?

What a pack of fuckin' losers man.
Post Wed Sep 18, 2013 8:14 pm
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Captiv8



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This world is fucked. Let's start over on the mooooooooon.
Post Thu Sep 19, 2013 9:31 am
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