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Conspiracy Theorists, and the Harm They Do

About the image above: President John F. Kennedy in the limousine in Dallas, Texas, on Main Street, minutes before the assassination. Also in the presidential limousine are Jackie Kennedy, Texas Governor John Connally, and his wife, Nellie. (Photo by Walt Cisco, Dallas Morning News [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

The more one explores history, the more you can see how it does not line up with the ahistorical, wild stories that conspiracy theorists prefer to tell. “History,” as Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski once put it, “is much more the product of chaos than of conspiracy,” with competing groups and divisions within groups often at odds with one another and unpredictable individuals frequently changing the course of human events for good and for ill. No event in the twentieth century did more to popularize conspiracy theories and confuse the general public than the assassination of President Kennedy, and it has served as a model for how to misrepresent the past ever since.

Lee Harvey Oswald, for example, was an oddball loner, raised by a conspiracy obsessed mother who seems to have been truly delusional. He was a man so reckless and impulsive that he defected to the Soviet Union and then tried to kill himself when they would not allow him to stay. This perpetual loser couldn’t hold down a job or keep his wife from repeatedly leaving him. These shortcomings, however, did not keep him from having visions of grandeur—he told his wife he would be “Prime Minister of America” someday. But this pattern of instability and incompetence doesn’t work for the yarns that conspiracy theorists weave together. They need Oswald to be a CIA agent, a KGB agent, a double agent, or perhaps an agent of a group so secret we do not even know its name. At the very least, they need him to be the fall guy (a patsy) for others, with whom he allegedly had a great deal of contact, so they could string him along and put him in the right place at the right time. The fact that Oswald barely hung out with anyone and was completely unreliable to be anywhere or do anything that others wanted from him presents no problem for conspiracy theorists. They just assume that we don’t know the real story about who Oswald “really” was and what he “really” did.

Jack Ruby was also an oddball. A strip club owner who loved John F. Kennedy so much he would carry a picture of the president in his pocket and kiss it, as one might kiss a photograph of a newborn baby. For conspiracy theorists, Ruby was a well connected Mafia hitman sent to silence Oswald before he could talk. In reality, Oswald had already spent many hours talking to the authorities. And Ruby, despite the fact that he had his gun on him as he always did, had previously walked right past Oswald at the police station and did nothing but say, “He looks like Paul Newman.” It was only later that Ruby decided on an impulse to shoot the assassin of his beloved President, completely forgetting that he had left his dog alone in his car.

Then there is Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, the Chairman of the President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy (aka the Warren Commission). This former District Attorney and California Attorney General had many years of experience with murder cases and a stellar reputation as a man of impeccable integrity. In fact, he was so well respected and liked by the people of California that he is the only person to have been elected Governor three times in a row. He was also one of the most independent minded and powerful Chief Justices the nation has ever seen, overseeing the desegregation of schools and the removal of mandatory prayer in schools, among other dramatic and often unpopular decisions. There is no reason to think that such a man would risk his legacy by covering up the murder of any President, let alone one he was friendly with and seems to have admired. But conspiracy theorists need Warren to be the chief lackey in charge of the official cover up, and so that is what he becomes in their stories, along with the four hundred people who worked on the commission’s report and the countless others who came in contact with them. For the conspiracy theorists, these people are nothing more than nameless henchmen who might as well be working for a super villain in a James Bond film—every one of them too cowardly or stupid to think for themselves. Before his death, Warren tried to point out the absurdity of such conspiracy fiction in his 1977 Memoir:

In the assassination of President Kennedy, there are no facts upon which to hypothesize a conspiracy. They simply do not exist in any of the investigations made by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, or the Departments of State, Defense, and Justice. The last was headed by the late Robert F. Kennedy, brother of our assassinated President, who certainly wanted nothing short of the truth. In addition, the authorities of the state of Texas, of the city of Dallas, and law enforcement agencies of other cities throughout the country were anxious to be helpful in every possible way. All of this was supplemented by nine months of arduous work by our own staff of outstanding lawyers independent of all of these official agencies. And none of us could find any evidence of conspiracy. Every witness who could be found was examined, and it is revealing to note at this late date—nine years after the Commission Report was filed—that not a single contrary witness has been produced with convincing evidence. Practically all the Cabinet members of President Kennedy’s administration, along with Director J. Edgar Hoover of the FBI and Chief James Rowley of the Secret Service, whose duty it was to protect the life of the President, testified that to their knowledge there was no sign of any conspiracy. To say now that these people, as well as the Commission, suppressed, neglected to unearth, or overlooked evidence of a conspiracy would be an indictment of the entire government of the United States. It would mean the whole structure was absolutely corrupt from top to bottom, with not one person of high or low rank willing to come forward to expose the villainy, in spite of the fact that the entire country bitterly mourned the death of its young President and such a praiseworthy deed could make one a national hero.

The so-called magic or pristine bullet

The so-called magic or pristine bullet—while it appears relatively undamaged from the side view, the bottom view shows considerable distortion that only makes sense if the bullet was rolling, end over end. Sideview (left), Endview (right). National Archives no. CE 399 and FBI C1.

Now, 40 years later, when so many people in the government are too young to even remember President Kennedy’s death, the criticism that Warren laid out has only sharpened because anyone who might have any information that might “crack the case” would have a huge incentive to share it. Think of the book and movie deals that would come to them, as well as the potential political career. Conspiracy theorists simply ignore the fact that personalities and motivations change in any organization over time. They prefer to think in terms of “the CIA,” “the Government,” etc., as if these were monolithic, eternal entities in their own right, whose goals and near absolute power never changes.

Conspiracy theorists’ causal concern for reality and truth can be seen in nearly every claim they make. Consider the following five examples related to President Kennedy’s assassination:

1. One of the most impactful scenes in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK is the courtroom presentation by Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) depicting the path of the “magic bullet” that passed through both President Kennedy and Governor Connally. This is the keystone in the bridge that Stone builds to conspiracyland and one of the most often repeated reasons why people do not believe the Warren Report. I agree that the so-called magic bullet is “One of the grossest lies ever forced on the American people,” but it was not the Warren Commission that created this lie—it was conspiracy theorists.

The Warren Commission’s findings are also grossly misrepresented during the infamous “magic bullet” sequence in Oliver Stone’s film JFK. From a screenshot of JFK (1991).

In Exhibit 903 from the Warren Commission’s Final Report the path of the bullet is roughly estimated with a metal rod to be a straight line.

By contrast, in Exhibit 903 from the Warren Commission’s Final Report the path of the bullet is roughly estimated with a metal rod to be a straight line. The rod is held by Arlen Specter, a lawyer working for the Commission who went on to be a U.S. Senator.

One of the earliest JFK conspiracy theorists, Mark Lane, coined the term “magic bullet” in his 1966 book, Rush to Judgement. I first saw this misrepresentation of reality in a graphic (below left) published in the 1989 printing of Robert Groden’s book, High Treason: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

These diagrams are presented as if they were taken from the Warren Commission even though they completely misrepresent the Warren Commission’s findings. From Rober t Groden’s book, High Treason: The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (1989).

Notice how this “remarkable path” is labeled in the lower right hand corner (click image above to enlarge) as “according to Warren Commission,” suggesting that these drawings appeared in the original report. Similar graphics appear in the background of Stone’s courtroom scene, which is no surprise, since both Lane and Groden were advisers on Stone’s film.

If the Warren Commission had claimed that this bullet needed to zig and zag to pass through these two men, then it would be foolish to believe them. However, the Warren Commission made no such claim. They said the bullet traveled in a straight line.

Stone’s courtroom staging of the shooting and the phony graphics that nearly every JFK conspiracy theorist points to make you think that Kennedy and Connally were seated at the same height, as if they were in chairs of the same size on a flat floor, facing the same direction. In reality, Connally was in a pulldown jump seat, set in from the side of the limo and lower than Kennedy’s seat. Additionally, the car was traveling downhill to go under the railroad tracks at the triple underpass. To make matters worse, conspiracy theorists often make it seem as if Oswald was further to the President’s right than he actually was and they ignore the fact that Connally turned toward the right when both men were hit. When you correctly position both men with the vehicle in its proper location on the road, you can see that no magic is required for a single bullet to pass through both of them.

The trajectory of the bullet. Adapted from images in the National Archives.

The trajectory of the bullet. Shown here are Dealey Plaza; the Texas Book Depository Building and its 6th floor window (known as the Sniper’s Nest) from where Oswald fired his three shots; and the positions of President Kennedy and Governor Connally in the limousine. The bullet that hit both men traveled in a straight line. Adapted from images in the National Archives.

There is yet another problem for the conspiracy theorists—reality keeps getting in their way. The entry wound on Connally’s back was an oval, rather than a circle. This is because the bullet that struck him was tumbling end over end through the air (see below) the way a bullet often does after it has passed through human flesh and exited back into open space. If Connally had been hit by a different bullet than the one that passed through Kennedy, there would not be an oval wound—unless you want to believe that this second gun malfunctioned in a very odd manner that just happened to make the bullet yaw.

How the bullet tumbled after exiting President Kennedy’s throat.

How the bullet tumbled after exiting President Kennedy’s throat. Adaptation of a drawing in John Lattimer’s book, Kennedy and Lincoln: Medical and Ballistic Comparisons of Their Assassinations.

The conspiracy theorists also have no good explanation for where all these other alleged bullets went. If one passed through Kennedy but did not hit Connally, who was the next person directly in the bullet’s path, then what did it hit? If Kennedy was hit in the back and the neck and neither bullet passed through him, where did they go? His entire body was X-rayed at the autopsy. But the most important question of all is why did conspiracy theorists choose to make up this phony misrepresentation of what the Warren Commission found? Why have they repeated this for decades, with false graphics, public demonstrations, and a dramatic movie reenactment? If they had a substantive case to make against the Warren Commission, they would have made it, and they wouldn’t need to grossly misrepresent what the Warren Commission actually found.

2. Besides making up “facts,” conspiracy theorists like to fixate on actual details taken out of context. I remember former Minnesota Governor, actor, and professional wrestler Jesse Ventura going on about the word “patsy” when I met him in 2003 at the 40th anniversary of the assassination in Dealey Plaza. Why did Oswald refer to himself as “just a patsy?” Why would he choose that word? The real question is why do conspiracy theorists never bother to look at or cite the full quote?

When reporters asked Oswald if he had killed the President, he replied, “No, they’ve taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union. I’m just a patsy.” The first sentence is key to understand what Oswald was actually claiming. He was not alluding to a vague, unknown group, he is pointing fingers at the Dallas Police and saying “they’ve taken me in because of the fact that I lived in the Soviet Union.” It is no different from if a Black man had been arrested and said, “they’ve taken me in because I’m Black. I’m just a patsy.” You wouldn’t conclude from this that he was suggesting a massive conspiracy set him up. You would understand that he was claiming the police were wrongfully targeting him out of bigotry.

Oswald was claiming that the police were wrongfully targeting him because he was a communist and the police were anti-communists. He was claiming to be innocent, which was a lie, but he was not claiming that any outside party or parties had set him up before the shooting took place or that he knew of any conspiracy to murder the President, as conspiracy theorists wish to imagine.

3. Besides making things up and taking things out of context, conspiracy theorists downplay the weight of the evidence that was available to the Dallas Police and later investigations like the Warren Commission. One frequently repeated claim is that no one saw Oswald shoot Officer Tippit and the police found spent cartridge shells at the scene of Tippit’s murder. If you just killed a cop, the conspiracy theorists say, you wouldn’t stop and unload empty cartridges, then leave them right there for anyone to find. Therefore the cartridges must have been planted by someone.

In reality, there were several witnesses who either saw Oswald with Officer Tippit, saw him shoot Officer Tippit, saw him standing over Officer Tippit’s mortally wounded body, with a gun in his hand, or saw him flee the scene holding a gun. Multiple witnesses also said that they saw Oswald unloading and reloading his weapon, or fiddle with his gun in some way, as he left the scene. It sounds stupid (in hindsight) for a criminal to leave evidence at the scene of a crime but criminals do it all the time. If you have already shot a cop, in a residential neighborhood, in the middle of the afternoon, with multiple witnesses nearby, after shooting the President of the United States, you might not be all that concerned about leaving cartridge shells on the ground. In fact, it might be the last thing on your mind, with your only thoughts being “Get out of here” and “reload.” It should also be noted that when Oswald was caught in a nearby movie theater with the hand gun on him, he pulled it out and tried to shoot another officer. Luckily there were enough police this time to overpower him.

4. When faking and misrepresenting the evidence fails, many conspiracy theorists turn to the question of motive. If Oswald was a true believer in communism, they claim, who shot President Kennedy to advance his cause, or if Oswald was a nut looking for attention, wouldn’t he proudly admit to what he had done?

There is little in the way of evidence when trying to determine “normal” behavior for a presidential assassin, since it doesn’t happen all that often, and the people who succeed at it tend to be mentally unbalanced. What an assassin would or would not say, if he was truly guilty, is highly speculative. Oswald’s wife, Marina, who knew him better than anyone in the last few years of his life, felt Lee’s lack of indignation after being arrested proved he was guilty. Lee was not a man to take any slight or perceived wrong without great protest. The fact that he was not yelling about the injustice of the police trying to pin these crimes on him told Marina all she needed to know about her husband’s guilt. Similarly, his brother and only sibling, Robert, was convinced that Lee committed this heinous act in a desperate attempt to feel like he was important, which isn’t all that different from many other shootings of public figures and innocent groups of people that have taken place before and since the assassination.

It should also be noted that Oswald lied, over and over again, while in custody. He claimed he never owned any guns, even though he was arrested with one on him. He claimed the backyard photos of him holding his weapons, taken by his wife at his request, were faked by the police or someone else. He claimed he took no package into work the morning of the assassination, despite the fact that the guy who drove Oswald to work that day said Oswald had a package which he claimed contained “curtain rods” (about the size of a disassembled rifle). No matter how obvious the lie, Oswald would still try to get away with it and then just laugh when the police caught him telling another. All of the authorities who interrogated Oswald agreed that he was the most unusual suspect they had ever seen. He almost seemed to be enjoying all the attention, rather than being worried or upset, and he may have wished to prolong being the center of attention. After all, the longer he held his cards close to his vest, the more everyone longed to see them.

It is true that teenaged Oswald had been professing Marxist beliefs even before he went into the Marines or tried to defect to the Soviet Union, but that does not mean that he necessarily saw the advancement of the communist cause as his motive. Who can say what Lee might have done had he lived longer and gone to trial. His refusal to admit his crimes upfront doesn’t prove his innocence or a conspiracy. In fact, Oswald’s behavior on this point is similar to Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City Bomber, who did not come right out and admit to his crime either, but certainly believed in his causes every bit as much as Oswald, if not more so.

5. In a last ditch effort to appear reasonable, conspiracy theorists claim that Congress completely refuted the Warren Report in the late 1970s and said there was a conspiracy. It is true that a Congressional Committee, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA), did reopen the case in the 70s, spending a couple million dollars of taxpayer money and a great deal of manpower on the effort. This was a highly political investigation spearheaded mostly by people trying to advance their own careers in public office and desperate to find anything at all that would make themselves look like heroes. They were highly critical of the Warren Commission and did their best to present their own work as more diligent and scientific.

Skeptic 23.2 (cover)

This article appeared in Skeptic magazine 23.2 (2018)
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Nevertheless, the overwhelming weight of what they found did not change the basic facts of the case or support any of the nutty conjecture and wild claims that conspiracy theorists wish to believe. The HSCA concluded that Oswald fired three shots and one bullet missed the limo, one traveled through both the President and the Governor, and one killed President Kennedy with a fatal head wound. They also concluded that, “on the basis of the evidence available to [them],” none of the usual suspects were involved with Oswald or with the assassination in any way—not the Soviets, the Cubans, anti-Castro Cuban groups, or organized crime. The HSCA went even further and said flat out “The Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Central Intelligence Agency were not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy,” with no qualifications or reservations whatsoever. The one piece of alleged evidence that the HSCA did find in favor of an unknown co-conspirator with Oswald was later refuted by every scientific expert who examined it.

From 9-11 to Sandy Hook, the paranoid and divisive view of the world that conspiracy theories promote has been gaining in popularity since the first false “facts” about President Kennedy’s death became widely accepted. Perhaps if we can educate people about what actually happened to JFK and how conspiracy theorists have deliberately lied about it, we can also get the general public to better see the lies (aka “fake news”) of today. That may be overly optimistic but one thing I know for certain is that no society has ever been made great by abandoning truth. END

About the Author

James K. Lambert is a documentarian and has taught film/mass media classes at several institutions, most recently as Program Chair at Minneapolis Media Institute. His feature film, Conspiracy Theorists Lie (2015) chronicles some of the people who have distorted the general public’s understanding of President Kennedy’s assassination.

77 Comments

  1. RAQUEL BARANOW says:

    Lol, you’re naive, fake news, not skeptical enough. Robert F Kennedy’s son believes CIAkilledJFK

  2. Bad Boy Scientist says:

    Thanks for that nice, tidy summary of the JFK conspiracies. It brings back memories: A friend of mine got sucked into the JFK conspiracies when they had a resurgence in the 1990’s. He’d share his summary of each book he read – each pointing the finger at a different culprit.. After recounting a number of different ‘theories’, he said, “Well, only one book can be right.” I pointed out that AT MOST only one can be right.

    However, despite the title mentioning harm conspiracy theories do … the final paragraph gave me hope that conspiracy theories could provide some very good lessons in being careful about ‘alternative facts.’

    Still, I am thankful for people like James Lambert for putting up with the endless logical fallacies of the conspiracy theorists in order to debunk them. I, for one, would prefer never again to explain why it’s usually best to dismiss out of hand statements that begin with “We don’t know but …”

  3. MBDK says:

    RAQUEL BARANOW
    Your statement sums up the thinking of conspiracy theorists in nutshell (pun INTENDED). You make a vague statement regarding someone’s opinion (if he indeed made such a statement), with no reference for such a thing. You make no mention of what case-breaking evidence he uncovered to make that statement. You rabidly believe such a thing with no collaborating evidence, yet call others naive and actual facts fake.

    Point out what is “fake” about this article and how you arrived at such a prejudiced conclusion. Including legitimate supportive references. Otherwise, your blather is as significant as, and less meaningful than, a fart in a tornado.

  4. 123elle says:

    Thank you for this intelligent article. Every exposure of conspiracy theorists that I read reassures me.

    I recall every moment of the day of the assassination, as do most who experienced that day. As a high school junior, I was rocked, shocked, and torqued for life, along with the rest of America.

    Following the assassination, I was dismayed by the conspiracy theories that emerged and spread like some sort of mold in a petrie dish.

    I am still dismayed at their persistence. I actually believe now that some people just have that “conspiracy gene” and there’s no other way for them to see the world.

    Even at that young age, though, I could detect the fabulism and special pleading of conspiracy BS as clearly as I could see the color red.

    The conspiracy gene extends to moon-landing deniers, Obama “truthers,” 9/11 deniers, Pizzagaters, anti-vaxxers, evangelicals, creationists, Sandy Hook deniers, and so on. If somebody believes in one of them, they are vulnerable to believing in all of them.

  5. Alex Wells says:

    Well said!…absolute nonsense and rubbish heap. Science, literature and reason will prevail!

  6. Mary Beth Gaik says:

    The comments thus far, to me, are rather black and white. It’s distorted thinking. As we are at this very moment trying to distill fact from fiction, Trump uses the tactics of his mentor Roy Cohn to deny and redirect blame. And it’s wirking. The truth doesn’t matter is the real problem.

  7. Al Cannistraro says:

    Several years ago I stumbled upon filmed interviews of James Files, who, with apparently credibility, claims to be the grassy knolls shooter. He tells his story as one who was drawn into the conspiracy as a bit player with no understanding of the big picture, but whose role was elevated at the last moment as a replacement for the intended shooter. His interviews are worth watching for the detail of his recollections and their internal consistency. If he is lying, then he is a great actor.

  8. NickR says:

    I would advise readers to desist from making adverse comments on this article as there are far too many points to be raised and the comments would be of necessity be extremely long. Of course, if you have the time available then that is down to you.
    I think it is pertinent to point out that the “facts” about this infamous and ghastly murder appeared to be malleable from the start and the authorities did not seem too concerned about this- which either suggests total incompetence- certainly, a factor, or the need to develop on a narrative which could be buttressed and maintained. This was at a time when news and information was acquired and disseminated by just a few outlets which appeared to be happy to accept whatever information they were given without question.

  9. Bill Morgan says:

    According to Pew Research, 18% of Americans trust the government to tell us the truth. 82% don’t trust the government.

    James Lambert uses as the facts for his argument government documents which are not trust worthy. The CIA and FBI have a long history of lying to the people. 75% of Americans believe there was a conspiracy in the JFK assassination.

    13% of Americans trust the Congress to tell us the truth. 87% don’t trust the Congress to tell us the truth.

    I have read over 200 books on the JFK assassination. The best one that gets closest to the truth is Michael Collins Pipers book Final Judgment: The Missing link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy. On May 30, 2015 Michael Collins Piper was murdered. The murder is unsolved. CIA? Most likely.

    The people are not fooled by government lies. And we know a CIA deep cover asset when we meet one. And there are deep cover assets in the Skeptic Society. I have met some of them. Mr. Lambert most likely has CIA connections. An ‘asset” as they say.

  10. Andy says:

    An interesting point about conspiracy theorists which links closely to religious belief is the answer to this question:

    Is there any single piece of evidence which could conceivably exist which would make you change your mind about whether the JFK assassination was a conspiracy?

    If there is not, because ‘it would have been planted by the government’ then you have a belief based on nothing other than faith.

  11. Mike Deakin says:

    Bill Morgan if you have read 200 books on this I’d say you are obsessed and your opinion on it is worth “Jack Sh-t”. If one person knows a secret it stays a secret. If two know, it may remain a secret. Any more and sooner or later it’s out there.

  12. Tom Strickland says:

    Bill Morgan! And I’ll bet everyone of those 200 books served to confirm what you “knew” all along??

  13. Bill Morgan says:

    Andy, Wrong! I have no faith. I’m an Agnostic. That shoots down your misguided comment.

    Mike D., You have a BS argument. It’s easy to keep a secret. The CIA and FBI are full of professional liars. If you want to trust the CIA and FBI to tell you the truth, go ahead. They don’t fool me for a nano second.

    Tom S., I have read the Warren Report. There are 26 Volumes all full of government lies. You don’t offer any facts. 82% of the American people do not trust the government. That is a fact.

    http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/41-admitted-false-flag-attacks.html

    https://www.riseearth.com/2012/09/33-conspiracy-theories-that-turned-out.html

    I have read the United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. The HSCA issued its final report in 1979, concluding that Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy.

  14. Andy says:

    Bill

    Wow. You totally missed the point didn’t you?

    Faith means belief without proof. It doesn’t have to have anything to do with religion.

  15. Bill Morgan says:

    Andy, I have no Faith in the government to tell us the truth! Every President lies. Every CIA Director and FBI Director lies. Lies and more lies. Iraq has WMD. Lie! Osama Bin Laden planned 9/11 on a lap top in a cave. Lie! N. Vietnamese gun boats fired on US destroyers. Lie! We did not know that 3 Japanese aircraft carriers were heading for Pearl Harbor. Lie! LHO fired 3 shots from the 6th floor window. Lie! Jack Ruby acted alone. Lie! RFK was shot from the front by Sirhan. Lie! Russia hacked the DNC server. Lie! The government lies to protect the guilty.

  16. Mike Logan says:

    I’m with Bill Morgan. The government lies about almost everything. The American people don’t trust the government. A 12 year old understands this. In 1963 my Dad told me he did not believe that Oswald shot JFK. I asked why? He said because the government lies about almost everything.

  17. Frank Matthews says:

    At a time when almost 50% of US adults believe in astrology (only 12% of Chinese believe), is it any wonder that people believe in all sorts of conspiracies? The level of critical thinking in the general population is low, and diminishing by the day.

  18. Mike Logan says:

    Frank M. I have a BS in Engineering, MBA in Scientific Management and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior. I teach a course in Critical Thinking, a course in Creative Thinking and a course called Discussing Controversial Issues at a graduate level, just to name a few. I taught executive development courses in a Corporate University which was named best corporate university in America by ASTD. I’m a past President of ASTD. I don’t believe in Astrology. Astrology is Bull Shit. Mike

  19. Lester Lomax says:

    Skepticism is the ultimate conspiracy theory.

  20. SkeleTony says:

    Bill Morgan,

    “Andy, I have no Faith in the government to tell us the truth! Every President lies. Every CIA Director and FBI Director lies. Lies and more lies.” – Bill Morgan

    Bald assertion fallacy (repeatedly). Also, even if you can substantiate that some politicians, FBI employees, etc. have lied, that does not at all support a claim that ALL politicians, agents, cops (etc.) ALWAYS lie and have lied in the way you would like to believe.

    “Iraq has WMD. Lie!” – Bill Morgan

    Yes that was a falsehood offered by a Conservative politician to advance a political agenda (a controversial war/invasion). Unlike your conspiracy theories we can follow the facts and evidence to determine this to be at least a falsehood and likely lying (I am allowing for the possibility that some or even all actually believed that Iraq had WMD). But the big problem for you is that lying about whether enemy nations have WMD to justify the greed-driven scheme to invade Iraq does not at all support your implication that conspiracy theories are true. You know who lies? People. Conspiracy theorists in particular have a strong reputation for lying! So you are arbitrarily choosing to believe one group of people whom we KNOW are lying about this very issue but not believe the agents, detectives, investigators who have not (as far as anyone can determine) lied at all because they are not telling you that what you want to believe is true.

    “Osama Bin Laden planned 9/11 on a lap top in a cave. ” – Bill Morgan

    Who said that?! Why do you think this does not sound believable? As far as we know Osama was not in any caves. He was sheltered by his followers and had access to what he needed.

    “N. Vietnamese gun boats fired on US destroyers. Lie!” – Bill Morgan

    They did fire on a U.S. Destroyer. The only controversy about this was in the details about ‘who-did-what and when’ because there were two alleged confrontations. The first, on August 2nd happened but the U.S.S. Maddox had fired three warning shots at the group of Vietnamese submarines because they were chasing the Maddox and had closed to within 10,000 yards. The Vietnamese subs then fired on the Maddox and the Maddox returned fire killing two people and damaging 4 subs.
    The second alleged confrontation never happened and was the fault of radar ‘ghosting’ errors.

    “We did not know that 3 Japanese aircraft carriers were heading for Pearl Harbor. Lie!” – Bill Morgan

    How so? I suspect you are dragging out the conspiracy theory that Roosevelt somehow knew about the attack and let it happen for some nefarious reason. But the fact is that Hawaii was 4,000+ miles away from Japan and most military experts and strategists felt Japan would attack in Europe or Singapore.

    “LHO fired 3 shots from the 6th floor window. Lie!”- Bill Morgan

    How is this a lie? A 70+ year old man was able to duplicate Oswald’s feat using the same gun with relative ease. It was a pretty easy shot as far as military marksmen training (which Oswald was and, contrary to what Oliver Stone believed, Oswald was a good shot

    “Jack Ruby acted alone. Lie!” – Bill Morgan

    Trolling? Is there some evidence that Ruby was working with someone else?

    “RFK was shot from the front by Sirhan. Lie!” – Bill Morgan

    RFK was shot three times. Once in the armpit, once into the same armpit but exiting through the abdomen and the ultimately fatal first shot fired into his head from one inch away behind his right ear. In addition 5 others were shot by Sirhan was the bodyguards tried to subdue him.
    So the only lie here is your lie that RFK was (according to any who would have known) said to have been shot in the front.

  21. Andy says:

    <> sorry Bill they are paid to lie. They are intelligence operatives and would not be able to do their job without lying.

    <> possibly but likely as not incompetence in intelligence analysis. Incompetence is far more believable than giant conspiracy because it involves less people.

    <> no reason why this cannot be true in principle. No one said it was planned in a cave did they? Bin Laden was not in cave during planning, he was out and about in Afghanistan and Saudi.

    <> Your opinion I’m afraid. Could be a lie but could also be a mistake. They do happen.

    <> Zero evidence to suggest a cover up here and much research done. Just because you think it couldn’t happen does not make it a lie.

    <> Your opinion only. Plenty of evidence to suggest this did in fact happen

    Honestly I can’t be bothered to keep quoting rants. These are your OPINION and not much else.

    It is a logical fallacy to suggest that because the government HAS lied before it now lies about EVERYTHING. This is childish and immature. Some of these might be lies by the government but does not mean the government lies about everything. Unless masses of public servants are persuaded to lie all the time.

    Don’t forget Area 51 and Roswell. Lies!!

  22. Andy says:

    Oops. Quotes didn’t come out but I’m sure you get the gist.

  23. SkeleTony says:

    Mike Logan,

    What does a degree in engineering have to do with anything? If you actually knew anything about critical thinking then you would know that engineering does not include much in the way of critical thinking in its training/education. Your other alleged degrees are just as ineffective at making your case.
    Now it is possible -though highly dubious- that you have actually taught a classroom of kids about critical thinking (there are countless possible reasons for an unqualified person to be allowed to do so) but this does not make your case even if we assume it true. Especially when you demonstrate NO understanding of critical thinking and what it entails.

  24. Andy says:

    So I assume that there is no conceivable single piece of evidence that could possibly change your mind on this?

    If so it’s just a belief because it can’t be changed by evidence to the contrary. Just like religion.

  25. Jon D. Girard says:

    To me, a modestly educated American, the most important facet of my working mind is to be able to continually practice differentiating information in an effort to dismiss falsehoods and reveal truths. I constantly remind myself that I must change my beliefs and opinions as better, more credible information becomes available.

  26. awc says:

    Sorry, logic, reason or facts are not how conspiracy theorists reach their conclusions so using it will not change their position.
    The conspiracy is a symptom or effect not the cause.
    Your starting point has to be the theorists twisted view authority and trust issues.
    By speaking of the facts you are treating the symptom not the cause.

  27. Hugh Aynesworth says:

    A fine article…but I am afraid very few will read it and believe it. For more than half a century I have been pointing out the fallacies of the more than 100 “different” conspiracy tales…and, if anything, the longer the JFK murder is recounted, the more bizarre the tales get. Let’s face it: There are a couple main reasons people foster these tales. The world is filled with “wanna-bes” and chances are if someone comes up with a new JFK theory, he will suddenly become “an expert” or an important “seeker of justice.” Sadly, the current political situation in the U.S. is contributing to this growth industry.

  28. JIM/WISCONSIN says:

    I don’t believe in any conspiracy theories.
    I looked at that Zapruder film over and over and over again.
    It sure looks like that Kennedy head shot came from the front.

  29. MBDK says:

    JIM/WISCONSIN
    “It sure looks like that Kennedy head shot came from the front”

    Yet ballistic tests and physics show the exact same phenomena as a shot from the back would impart. For a complete analysis look at https://www.npr.org/2013/11/22/246734533/using-modern-ballistics-to-crack-cold-case-jfk

    Here is a quote from that article:
    “HAAG: I think it’s important to note there too that I learned at a very young age from my dad that you go out and you actually shoot these things. You shoot that type of ammunition on materials that are similar, as close as possible, and learn from what you’re actually observing. So I mean that’s real true observable science. And we’ve been able to do that in this case as well. Whether it’s a mixture of neurological result or physics, we’ve been able to show the physics part of it.”

    So, as we all know…looks can be deceiving.

  30. B. L. Bacigalupi says:

    Back in the 70’s, I saw a program by one of the networks on the JFK assassination. They interviewed Oswold’s wife and mother in law. Both said, unequivocally, the he did it. They both saw him sinking into mental instability, and the mother in law said she had become afraid of him.

    The program also showed evidence that he had tried, but failed, to assassinate a military officer in New Orleans less than a year before.

    It may not be sexy, but he was probably a lone nut who killed JFK.

  31. Bill Morgan says:

    If you watch any films of an execution by firing squad where the individual is not tied to a post but is standing erect without a wall or anything behind them, 100% of the time the energy of the bullets push the body back. There is no incident on film where the body falls forward.

    The fatal JFK head shot was from the right front and entered in front of the right ear and exited the right rear making a large exit hole.

    Clint Hill said in the Warren Report he saw a large exit would on the right back of JFK’s head. Brain matter was on the left rear of the trunk. Yet autopsy photos don’t show this large hole. Why? Because they have been touched up by the CIA in a photo lab. ALL of the Parkland Doctors said there was a large exit wound in the right back of JFK’s head. Doctors don’t lie, but CIA agents lie all the time. Same for FBI agents. They all lie to keep their jobs.

  32. Rev BIlly says:

    I had just returned from a trip to Wisconsin when President Kennedy was shot. I was not quite 24 years old. It actually was taking place just as I was turning on my television for the first time that day in 1963. We (everybody in the world who were tuned in) watched the whole thing totally mesmerized and most could not leave their sets or had to have their radios on everywhere they went. It was unbelievable and extremely traumatic for many people. The obsession to watch continued all the way through the entire time and many of us witnessed the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald by Jack Ruby. And we all witnessed the entire funeral and also the burial of Oswald.

    When Marina, Lee Harvey Oswald’s wife and his mother spoke of what they were absolutely sure of, we also witnessed that and most people probably believed what they said. They had no doubts that he committed the crime and was a dangerous person who pretty much had gone wacko.

    So, no matter how much people love a good conspiracy theory and never want to accept the results of an entirely thorough investigation by an extremely reputable Chief Justice who simply had no motive to lie, if those people had been present on that day and were witness to the unfolding events, I believe they would not be so quick to make a judgement about the facts and circumstances personally experienced by many of us on November 22, 1963 and later. We also experienced the circumstances regarding Officer Tippet and the movie theater capture of Oswald as well as many other events.

    There is no doubt that people lie for their own benefit and, yes, I am sure there is “Fake News” because the world is full of corruption and scoundrels who want to twist the information into a pretzel. Most people do not have the time nor the inclination to research every little piece of “data”, so they must rely on the “media”. And we all know that the media is in it to make money,

    As far as the government goes, I believe there is more incompetence and stupidity than anything else. There is also no doubt people in government lie, By definition, they are people.

    Not only do people in government lie, but people of Faith also lie, as any study of History will show.

    I had the wonderful experience to actually meet President Kennedy and was totally blown away by his “Class” and Manner. He was a Great President for the time he was allowed to serve and most people thought he did the best job he could. He certainly did not deserve to die the way he did.

    Excellent Composition Mr. Lambert!

  33. Bill Morgan says:

    Rev. Billy, You have swallowed the government lies hook line and sinker. Don’t be so naive. The people in the government are corrupt and lie all the time. Wake up and smell the coffee! You need to peel back 5 layers of the onion to get to the truth. Bill

  34. OldNassau'67 says:

    “But the most important question of all is why did conspiracy theorists choose to make up this phony misrepresentation of what the Warren Commission found? Why have they repeated this for decades, with false graphics, public demonstrations, and a dramatic movie reenactment?’

    Why? Because the attention glorifies them; the attacks martyr them. Conspiracy theories, as with pseudohistory (Hitler still lives in Brazil) or pseudoscience (water dowsing; moon built by aliens) are ego trips defining and glorifying their creator.

  35. MBDK says:

    Bill Morgan
    “If you watch any films of an execution…”

    Irrelevant. Executions are done with shots to the body, not the head. Actual ballistic tests confirm the results of the head shot reported by the Warren Commission.

    “Clint Hill said… ALL of the Parkland Doctors said…”

    All neatly explained in accordance with the Warren Commission’s conclusion here (using only the testimony conspiracy theorists themselves deemed trustworthy):
    http://www.kenrahn.com/JFK/History/WC_Period/Reactions_to_Warren_Report/Reactions_of_left/WCR_and_critics–Cohen/WCR_and_critics.html

    You have nothing but prejudiced ignorance for support.

  36. Rev Billy says:

    Bill Morgan,

    I didn’t say the government don’t lie. I am only saying that people lie in general. If you are a human, you lie. I acknowledge that you, yourself being a well-read person is definitely entitled to receiving respect from others. I too have read very extensively many things in my life. However, I always remember that what I read is definitely biased by whoever writes the essay or report or novel or research paper. Why, because everybody wants to be respected for their conclusions, whether or not they are truly valid. And, when we read we are only “hearing” that persons thoughts.

  37. Tzindaro says:

    My theory is that Marilyn Monroe was pregnant by JFK and was blackmailing him, threatening to go public and name him as the father unless he got a divorce and married her, either of which would have lost him his blue collar Catholic base and cost him re-election, so RFK ordered the FBI to “solve” the problem. They broke into her apartment and substituted poison for her sleeping pills.

    Frank Sinatra was secretly in love with her and somehow found out what had happened, so he used his well-known Mafia connections to put out a contract on both Kennedys. Both were killed on orders of Frank Sinatra.

    This theory is much more consistent with human nature than those that suggest some political motive since humans are statistically far more likely to kill each other over sex and revenge than over politics.

  38. kenneth kirby says:

    Great article. The best evidence supplied by a single (but not ‘magic’) bullet comes from physicists who only deal with fact, I.e., the laws of physics. When there is someone who actually brings out documents or witnesses that categorically demonstrate Oswald had ‘friends’, e.g., KGB, Commies, and specific names, and actual photos or sitings of specific peoole assisting Oswald with the shooting, then there is an established argument that Oswald acted with assistance. But there is no evidence, hence, no argument.

  39. Michael Mac says:

    Conspiracies are often mislabeled as crazy distortions of facts. Current events in the DOJ and FBI show us they have grown into a powerful and unruly organizations with political appointees running unfettered opponent schemes. Would you really trust an organization built by J. Edgar Hoover who kept secrets on all his opponents for blackmail purposes? Yes, the everyday agent is not the culprit. The bad seeds are those at the highest levels who use their power to deceive us and force their political agenda on us. There are conspiracies, there are criminals appointed who use our law enforcement agencies to support their own agenda.

  40. Bill Morgan says:

    MBDK,

    Go to You Tube and watch executions where the victim is shot in the back of the head. They fall forward in the same direction as the bullet. That’s because of Physics.

    You use as all your sources government documents. The government lies all the time. Government sources are untrustworthy.

    The CIA and FBI are full of liars. Their documents are not trustworthy. John Brennan, Jim Comey, James Clapper, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, etc. all known liars.

    10 Exposed Government Cover Ups and Lies

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGfy58J051U

    Why would you trust any government?

  41. Andrew Smith says:

    In the Zapruder film JFK’s head moves backwards when hit with the bullet.

  42. Dave Rockwell says:

    Determination of truth is not simple or easy, but strong methods have been developed that yield reliable results. And use of these methods largely built our civilization, such as it is. Unfortunately human consciousness is (apparently) fatally flawed by the primacy of emotion; it is difficult (but not impossible) for any of us to set aside our fears and desires long enough to objectively evaluate an issue that deeply affects our interests. For any mutual investigation to be fruitful, at least two persons must make that effort, and most of us simply cannot; we would rather just shout “Liar!” loudly, over and over. I suppose I should be grateful that we came this far. I’m interested in knowing what historical and societal conditions contribute to the prevalence of rationality and its lack in a given society – but I am not hopeful that this knowledge could be put to use, when so many would reject it.

  43. Buck Field says:

    After reading both the article and the comments, I am still left wondering exactly what is the harm inflicted by conspiracy theorists?

    Is such harm significant in severity or scope relative to free market fantasies or our national religions of military worship & weapons fetishes?

    The title implied this article would examine believers and the harm that their beliefs entailed.

    Like UFOs or flat earth, the details of JFK believers’ reasoning, and how productive dialogue might be established with them is of much greater interest to this reader.

    For those interested in this topic, I would recommend Googling James Biddle from Georgia Tech University, his recent paper is entitled “Anti-science Zealotry”.

  44. MBDK says:

    Bill Morgan

    “Go to You Tube and watch…”

    I’d rather go to academic sources. Your confusion of facts is only nurtured by some of the cesspool-infused videos you watch.

    “You use as all your sources government documents.”

    Wow! And you claim OTHER’s lie! The last reference I provided you was written by Jacob Cohen, a history professor for seven years at Yale and Brandeis University, who has no governmental affiliation.

    “That’s because of Physics.”

    Too bad you don’t understand there are MAJOR differences in the physics of a handgun used at close range and a high velocity rifle bullet. But then, you have shown little understanding of anything based in actual fact.

  45. Joe says:

    It’s really very funny how rigidly close-minded Lambert, Shermer, and assorted Skeptics are when it comes to the topic of conspiracies. You needn’t even mention the term conspiracy but simply suggest that there’s more involved than meets the eye in any particular crime or situation and, like Pavlov’s famous dogs, so many so-called Skeptics rise and start barking “conspiracy theorist” in unison. It’s funny and kind of pathetic, too, that for all the self-congratulatory pride that Skeptics take in their “reasoning” abilities, in their “logical” analyses, when the question of conspiracy arises so many of the Skeptics’ brains lock down to accept the “official story” being peddled without ever questioning the source material or what their own eyes may tell them. It’s as though so many Skeptics all read the CIA memo on how to combat, suppress, and distort the challenges from people who refuse to accept the “official story” because the tactics they use (many of which were used by Mr. Lambert in this article) seem lifted entirely from that document:
    https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=53510#relPageId=2&tab=page

    That said, it’s entirely possible to refute virtually every word of Mr. Lambert’s piece . . . but who has time or interest for such a futile exercise? Skeptics are like everyone else: reluctant to let go of their confirmation bias. No writers on skeptic.com are ever given space to argue for the merits of any possible conspiracy because to do so would run counter to the obvious bias of Shermer and his cohorts. But I will offer a few criticisms of Mr. Lambert’s simplistic analysis and thesis from above, using the photos and diagrams he has provided.

    The first photo shows the “magic bullet”, ce 399. Mr. Lambert’s arguments leave out so many details about that missile, and many of the details he does present are erroneous. In the photo we see minimal damage to ce 399, it is slightly flattened on one end. This bullet is said to have passed through 2 men and inflicted 7 wounds. One of the last wounds was the shattering of Gov. Connally’s radius bone at the wrist, where the bone is thickest and densest. The bullet also took some bone from one of Connally’s ribs. In all experiments done shooting similar bullets into bone, the bullet flattens and distorts considerably. But this bullet (miraculously?), no. The bullet supposedly passed through at least 6 layers of clothing, possibly more (JFK’s jacket and shirt, Connally’s jacket and shirt on entrance and exit, frayed JFK’s shirt collar and tie, possibly making contact with Connally’s jacket and shirt sleeve), it entered and exited human flesh, muscle, and bone 7 times (JFK’s flesh and muscle twice, Connally’s flesh and muscle 5 times and his bone twice), yet the so-called deliverer of so much damage was found to have NO residue of blood, tissue, or clothing fibres on it. Isn’t that sort of “magical”?

    The photo of Arlen Specter and his steel rod is a nice photo of Specter but proves nothing about ce399 except to deceive the viewer. In order to enter “Connally’s” back in the required spot, Specter has placed his rod on top of “JFK’s” shoulder to the right of his neck. JFK’s back wound is considerably lower (at about T-3), the “exit” wound is significantly to the left of Specter’s rod, in the center of his throat. There is no way to know what Connally’s body position was at the time JFK was wounded in the back and throat as there is no film or photo of that moment, only its aftermath. Specter has conveniently placed Connally in the position which most satisfies Specter’s bias. Such shenanigans are found throughout the Warren Commission investigation . . . if one examines the Commission with an open mind.

    The diagram of the bullet’s trajectory has a significant flaw, unnoticed by Mr. Lambert or of no interest to him since evidence contrary to his “lone-nut theory” does not interest him. In the close-up of that diagram, we see the trajectory of the bullet pass through “JFK”, enter “Connally” too close to his spine or necessitating passage through his right scapula (Connally’s back wound was just to the outside – right – of the lowest point of the blade) and then exit from the LEFT side of his chest. But the wound in the front of Connally’s chest was on the RIGHT side, near the 5th rib. The diagram is completely inaccurate.

    The diagram of the bullet tumbling is also dubious and likely inaccurate. What would cause the bullet to begin tumbling after exiting “JFK”? According to the autopsy findings and the WC, ce 399 did not make contact with bone or any hard object while traveling through the President. It only nicked the collar and tie on exit. What would set it in end-over-end motion? The diagram depicts the bullet entering Connally’s wrist on the wrong side. The physician’s diagram of Connally’s wounds shows the entrance wound on his wrist to be on the top, or dorsal, side, the exit on the bottom, or volar, side. It’s never been explained how or why Connally would be holding his arm in such an awkward manner in front of his chest for a bullet exiting his chest near his 5th rib to then “tumble” and enter the outer side of his wrist first rather than the inner side. Try it yourself: Hold your right wrist in front of your lower chest. Which side is facing your chest?

    Several on the Warren Commission had significant doubts about the SBT (single bullet theory), Senator Richard Russell being the most prominent. Hale Boggs said J. Edgar Hoover “lied his eyes out” to the Committee, and it was Hoover’s F.B.I. that was charged with investigating the assassination. Gov. John Connally and his wife Nellie were convinced until their last breaths that Connally was struck by a different shot, a different bullet, than the one striking JFK. They were, after all, the closest eyewitnesses to that event. Two F.B.I. agents, Sibert & O’Neill, issued a report contradicting the SBT, but that was ignored by the WC just as it’s ignored by Mr. Lambert.

    This could go on. It’s exhausting trying to explain facts and details to Skeptics who want to believe what they want to believe and refuse to dig deep into the assassination of John Kennedy and question the “official story”. Mr. Lambert, Shermer, and assorted other Skeptics would much prefer to cling unquestioningly to their “Lone-nut Theory” and their “Single Bullet Theory”, but raise the question of a “Conspiracy Theory” and their minds snap shut like a bear trap.

  46. Mike Logan says:

    Joe, Thanks for your comments. I agree with you! Michael Shermer is a deep cover asset for the CIA. I’m sure he gets paid a lot of money to deceive people with unscientific BS. Mike

    TV Professor Michael Shermer “Disgraces the Academy” with His Ridiculous Self-Promotion as a “Conspiracy Theory Detector.”

    ANTHONY J. HALL, PROFESSOR OF GLOBALIZATION STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF LETHBRIDGE, Sets the record straight.

    https://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/07/29/the-puppet-conspracy-theory-detector-michael-shermer/

  47. MBDK says:

    Joe
    “It’s exhausting trying to explain facts and details to Skeptics who want to believe what they want to believe and refuse to dig deep into the assassination of John Kennedy and question the “official story” ”

    The problem with that statement is you don’t know “facts” from “conjecture”. Your exhaustion must come from trying to tax your imagination for another complicated scenario that would counter the evidence.
    Also, skeptics question just about everything, and the fact that they usually agree with the “official story”, is because the “official story” usually is the most congruent with the facts. Skeptics require evidence, not fanciful imaginings, to consider a change in their opinion(s). Your diatribe of counter arguments contains ZERO supporting facts – just conjecture based on scientific ignorance. Example: You contend Connally was shot by a different bullet (which was never found), yet the FACT is Connally’s entrance wound was an an oval consistent with a tumbling bullet. It is also a FACT that bullets that Oswald used will tumble upon first strike – not before (such as striking Kennedy first). It is also a FACT that the “magic bullet” traveled in a fairly straight line from the depository all the way to Connally’s wrist. You offer only unreferenced personal testimony, which amounts to mere conjecture. It is also a FACT that conspiracy sites often use inaccurate illustrations to exaggerate and/or alter the bullet’s actual path. Yet you believe such falsifications and claim the government lies. Obviously both do, but they both tell the truth, too. It is the FACTS that separate them, and the FACTS overwhelmingly support the “official story”. Too bad your mind isn’t open enough, or functional enough to understand that.

    So, when you actually have scientifically valid evidence to support your claim, then it will be considered. You just do not seem to have a real grasp on what is and what is not scientifically valid.

  48. Bill Morgan says:

    According to Pew Research, 82% of Americans don’t trust the US government. Why so high?

    75% of Americans believe there was a conspiracy in the JFK assassination. Why so high?

    87% of Americans don’t trust the Congress to tell us the truth. Why so high?

    The reason these numbers are so high is that the people don’t believe the government because of all the government lies.

    If you want us to believe “the official version of the facts”, you will need to get all of these numbers reversed.

    Until then “the official version of the facts” is nothing but government propaganda!

    We see through all the government BS.

  49. Rev Billy says:

    Bill Morgan

    It’s not surprising that those percentages are so high. People are suspicious of the government. Just about everybody, for whatever their own personal reasons, would not believe the government in any case because , as shown by history, people in power at those levels of authority usually abuse their power and deceive the masses for their own personal gains. Hence, most people by experience and necessity are right to mistrust the government. There is always going to be dishonesty and corruption. Pew didn’t have to do the research , it’s pretty obvious when you talk to others. People are not stupid, they are naturally wary of those in power.

    Conspiracy theories are only the manifestations of that wariness.
    It will never change because people will not ever change.

  50. MBDK says:

    Bill Morgan
    “According to Pew Research, 82% of Americans don’t trust the US government. Why so high?”

    Irrelevant to the facts. A.K.A. – a MAJOR logical fallacy.

    “75% of Americans believe there was a conspiracy in the JFK assassination. Why so high?”

    See above response.

    “87% of Americans don’t trust the Congress to tell us the truth. Why so high?”

    See above response.

    “I’f you want us to believe “the official version of the facts”, you will need to get all of these numbers reversed.”

    I don’t want you to believe, I want you to KNOW that facts do not change, and speculation is just that unless it is eventually supported with facts. You have actually just proven my last post, as you are using an opinion pole to support your version of history, and completely disregarded the scientifically valid facts. I really only wish for you to think critically in the most authentic way possible – examine ALL the evidence, keep what is verifiable, and disregard that which is not. Otherwise, you are pontificating without a solid basis.

  51. Rev Billy says:

    Beliefs are shortcuts that many people use to “prove” their expectations of what the world is like according to their personal conclusions. It is Confirmation bias at the most basic level. You “believe” something, then spend the rest of your life finding reasons to continue to believe it. It’s a weakness of the human brain, and It’s much easier than doing the hard studies to find the true facts.

  52. Bill Morgan says:

    A BS response. There are over 300 books that have been written over the last 50 years that debunk the Warren Commission Whitewash. If you want to believe government propaganda go ahead. But know that you are in a minority position. The rest of us in the majority have not been fooled by the propaganda.

    90% of the people believe politicians lie. When they are elected and run the government they don’t stop lying. They keep lying.

    The Mueller investigation is a sham. There was not any collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Even if there was, that is not a crime under any US statute. You probably believe that Mueller will tell us the truth since he works for the government. He won’t. He is a SOB on a hunt for some crime, and he can’t find one that proves collusion by the Russians with the Trump campaign. So he indicts minor players on minor issues that have nothing to do with collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. But since he represents the government, you probably believe he has the facts and truth. He doesn’t.

  53. Rev Billy says:

    Bill Morgan

    All those “over 300 books” that were written – there was a monetary reason for those publications. They wanted people to buy them so they could make money. Not to say that possibly a few of them didn’t necessarily have the profit motive in mind. But that is exactly why books are written – you have to have a “lure” to suck people in. It’s obvious that not all of them could be right in their conclusions. Yeah, maybe some have validity, it depends on how whoever wrote them really tried to be objective.

    Your remarks betray you – your biases show through loud and clear. It doesn’t look like you would ever come to a conclusion that would be objective, regardless of the facts.

    Like I say, “everybody lies”, which means every human..

  54. Nancy Mills says:

    So what happened to Dorothy Kilgallen (“The Reporter Who Knew Too Much”)? I’m not a big fan of conspiracy theories, but her death, and the utter disappearance of her volumes of notes on her investigation of JFK’s assassination, were very fishy.
    The government has been known to lie. And people who know too much have been known to coincidentally have unfortunate accidents or just randomly decide to commit suicide. Is this statistically as likely to happen to one of us regular schmoes who doesn’t have any dirt on anyone in power?

  55. MBDK says:

    Bill Morgan says:

    “A BS response”

    Sounds like a warning for the rest of your post.

    “There are over 300 books…”

    That contradict one another via speculation, often misrepresent evidence, and believe in different outcomes. Not a one of them relies on just the valid facts, as they ALL employ guesswork to draw their conclusions.

    “If you want to believe government propaganda go ahead.”

    When it agrees with the facts, I will believe the government, thank you very much, but if YOU automatically reject EVERYTHING they say out-of-hand, YOU are indeed the fool.

    “90% of the people believe politicians lie”

    Irrelevant. 100% of people lie, and 100% tell the truth. Perhaps the people lied when polled. Once again, it is the valid evidence (facts) that matter.

    “The Mueller investigation is a sham.”

    More irrelevance (see a pattern here?).

    You really can’t focus beyond your hate, can you? I recommend therapy, but pity the therapist.

  56. MBDK says:

    Nancy Mills
    “So what happened to Dorothy Kilgallen”

    Fishy? Perhaps, but speculation is the key here. No evidence beyond that has surfaced.

    “The government has been known to lie”

    And tell the truth. Facts separate the two.

    “And people who know too much…”

    Have normally been tagged as such AFTER their death. Again, it is usually speculation that makes them look mysterious – not the actual happenstance. Some people HAVE been knocked off to be silenced, but those crimes are generally proven to be such based on valid evidence. Don’t fall for a fanciful tale as representing the truth.

  57. Bill Morgan says:

    You assume only the government has “the facts” and any researcher outside of the government “does not have the facts”. This leaves you with a very narrow focus of only believing propaganda. Who do you really work for? The people or the government? I work for the people. And 82% of the people not believing the government is entirely relevant.

    https://www.amazon.com/Hillary-Bill-Murder-Clinton-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B0749BSXTZ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1529317473&sr=1-1&keywords=The+Clinton+Body+Count

    https://www.amazon.com/World-Order-Assassins-Victor-Thorn-ebook/dp/B074DKZGSL/ref=sr_1_6?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1529317550&sr=1-6&keywords=The+Clinton+Body+Count

  58. Michael Mac says:

    So many use the LFK story to attempt to debunk all opinions that contradict the government reported facts. Who would of thought there were so many appointees in DOJ and FBI that would use their position to thwart the rule of law and our constitution. Who is so intelligent that they know the secrets of J. Edgar Hoover, Clapper, Comey, Brennan, and many more. It is very easy to use an emotional word such as racist, extremist, or conspiracy to discount someone who does not follow the course the political or government establishment desires. Want to start a conspiracy, argument, or riot? Politicize it.

  59. Mike Logan says:

    JFK calls out the NWO. Then gets assassinated.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhZk8ronces

  60. Robert says:

    What a strange country. I assume that the subject of “mass paranoia in the US of A” has been extensively studied. If not, I am on my way to make my fortune.

  61. MBDK says:

    Bill Morgan says:

    “You assume only the government has “the facts” and any researcher outside of the government “does not have the facts”. This leaves you with a very narrow focus of only believing propaganda”

    Yawn…incorrect speculation…again. As previously noted, that is all you have.

    “And 82% of the people not believing the government is entirely relevant.”

    Still a logical fallacy, a.k.a. “The Bandwagon Fallacy”. Such logical fallacies are at the core of non-critical thinking.

  62. Loren Petrich says:

    Conspiracy theories remind me of a theory of religion: overdetection of agency. Instead of human history being the collective product of many small-scale decisions, it is instead the product of a few large-scale decisions. Like the alleged conspirators that wanted to kill JFK.

  63. Loren Petrich says:

    There is another aspect that I think is worth noting. Lord Raglan’s Mythic-Hero profile. Legendary heroes often fit very well, while well-documented ones seldom come close. One part of the profile is dying an unusual or mysterious death. Not many legendary heroes have died of old age in their beds in their houses.

    JFK conspiracy theories make his death seem more dramatic and spectacular than what it really was. Lee Harvey Oswald being part of some big conspiracy is more dramatic than him being a lone lunatic, someone like many others who have killed or tried to kill US Presidents.

  64. SocraticGadfly says:

    As Bugliosi and Posner both note, the only big mistake the Warren Commission made was which bullet missed.

    Otherwise, I lived in Dallas most the previous decade. I’ve been to Dealey many times, including the 40th anniversary. I’ve been to the Sixth Floor Museum.

    For a man of Oswald’s shooting skill who nearly skilled Gen. Walker in the spring of 1963, this was not that difficult of a shot.

  65. SocraticGadfly says:

    Oh, I read RFK Jr.’s new nuttery so you don’t have to
    https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2426903280

  66. John says:

    I get SO tired of conspiracy theorists. I get SO tired of “true believers” who will not change their beliefs or deal with actual demonstrable evidence.

    It seems to me that it is very difficult for disparate groups of people to understand each other if one group is spring loaded not to trust others and to assume that “everyone lies” and another group’s default position is to trust (until proven otherwise) and to strive to to tell the truth at all times (and are keenly aware and ashamed when they don’t.) I think that is what is happening in this discussion.

    I am disappointed if, even in this forum, where I have always assumed that most readers are committed to a good-will effort to accept evidence as presented, but like any scientifically-minded person is also prepared to change their position when new credible evidence appears, it turns out that there are the truly closed minded folks among us.

    I will admit to believing that in all such controversies, eventually the truth will be out. Especially in such a public controversy as the JFK assassination where the Warren commission and all of the associated police forces and other investigative agencies totaling hundreds if not more than a thousand individuals, that surely a hand full of those people were/are honest folk trying to do the right thing and surely now that their jobs are not in jeopardy will come out with a credible narrative based on facts that will settle the argument.

    Insofar as this has not happened, I must side with the presented facts of the official report, and realize that that I must simply continue to put up with the railing of the unhappy conspiracy theorists. Sigh….

  67. Joe says:

    Yes, it is exhausting attempting to deal with the lone-nut theorists and Skeptics and their emotional and fact free diatribes as they attempt to silence people who are not convinced by the “official story”.

    Let’s begin with Skeptic Loren Petrich and his/her fanciful claim that “JFK conspiracy theories make his death seem more dramatic and spectacular than what it really was.” This is an argument? This is a statement supported by facts? How much more drama and spectacle would be required than that of a U.S. President having his head blown to smithereens in broad daylight in front of a throng of people while his horrified wife sat next to him and the Governor of Texas sat immediately in front of him? And if more drama and spectacle were needed, the murder of the alleged assassin less than 48 hours later while in the custody of police ought to satisfy anyone’s needs for drama and spectacle. Finding a conspiracy at the root of both these deeds does not make them an iota more dramatic and spectacular than they are. It’s the truth that those who doubt the “official story” are after, Loren, not more drama and spectacle.

    Or let’s consider Skeptic MBDK, who closes his emotional and fact free diatribe in response to my original post with these phrases: “So, when you actually have scientifically valid evidence to support your claim, then it will be considered. You just do not seem to have a real grasp on what is and what is not scientifically valid.” How amusing then that nowhere in all that emotion laden diatribe does Skeptic MBDK provide a single fact. Certainly what he calls “FACT”s are not supported, have in some cases been disproved, and only hide the fact that he is simply coughing up angry opinion.

    In my original post I used the “FACT”s as presented by the author of this scurrilous article, James Lambert. I pointed out the flaws and inaccuracies in the charts and diagrams used by Lambert, which Skeptic MBDK studiously avoids addressing. It’s not my fault if Specter’s rod does not comport with the wounds as found by doctors at Parkland and Bethesda, or if the diagram showing the trajectory of the supposed “magic bullet” has the bullet exiting from Gov. Connally’s left chest when the doctors who examined him all say the right side of his chest was wounded. Perhaps it’s easier for Skeptic MBDK to ignore inconvenient “FACT”s while asserting his own “NON-FACT”s. One such “NON-FACT” is Skeptic MBDK’s unsupported claim that Gov. Connally’s back wound was due to a tumbling bullet. There are plenty of facts and expert testimony to show that Skeptic MBDK’s “FACT” is not the general conclusion. But Skeptic MBDK either doesn’t know enough or, like the Warren Commission itself, doesn’t want people to know this. If Skeptic MBDK and others here want to dig down in some facts and testimony, perhaps rather than unleashing these fact free and emotionally drenched rants, they’d be better served to do a little reading:
    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/5648-the-wounding-of-john-connally-%E2%80%93-burying-the-single-bullet-theory/

    That is a thorough analysis of Gov. Connally’s wounds and the testimony both admitted and not admitted regarding them. It’s loaded with facts, but they’re the sort of facts that Skeptics and lone-nut theorists like to dismiss and impugn with their wild rants and fact free speculations.

    Skeptic Socratic Gadfly is always good for at least a few empty, fact free salvos. He’ll make the argument that he’s lived in Dallas and been to the 6th floor museum, which may be factual, but what in Sam Hill does any of it have to do with the article or the comments? Do Skeptics believe that such testimony as his would carry any weight had Lee Oswald lived to go on trial, or that it should carry any weight or influence on one’s views of the assassination? He next mentions Oswald’s “shooting skills” in relation to a shooting at General Walker’s residence. Of course he provides no “FACT”s, seemingly like the good Skeptic he is, and he won’t tell you that Oswald’s skills with a rifle were measured in 1957 as 2 points above Sharpshooter status when, after weeks of basic training including many hours spent on the firing range, using a very different and more accurate rifle (M-1) and shooting at stationary targets; nor will he tell you that just two years later, in 1959, without that training and time on the range, Oswald’s skills had deteriorated so much that he only qualified by a single point (191 of 190 needed to qualify) and that his platoon mates all considered Oswald to be a lousy shot and thought Lee might have been given the “pass” in ’59 so as not to make the entire platoon look bad; nor will he acknowledge the fact that there is no known evidence to suggest that at any time from 1959 until his death did Lee Oswald ever fire a rifle. But Skeptic SocFly will wax on about Oswald’s skill, ignoring the facts of Oswald’s supposed skill, and accuse him of taking the shot at Gen. Walker, again without supplying any proof . . . because there is no proof, no evidence, no facts that show that Oswald did that deed.

    And Skeptic John is also fatigued by these discussions but his fatigue is due to “conspiracy theorists” being unwilling to change their minds or deal with demonstrable evidence. This is nonsense. Anyone who reads about the Warren Commission, its agenda, its purpose for existing, its predetermined conclusion, its manipulation of evidence and witnesses, its reliance on the F.B.I. among many other problems has to at least consider that the Warren Commission did not present all the facts to the American public. Skeptic John further speculates (still fact free) that people would have talked, that the truth will out, then concludes that this hasn’t happened. But it has. People have talked for years, since the day after the assassination. Slowly, over the course of many flawed investigations and undermined investigations, the truth has become for the most part known. Sadly, too many people who consider themselves Skeptics won’t listen to, won’t examine, and won’t question the many who have talked and the evidence they have provided. But to listen, to probe, to question is not what these close-minded Skeptics do.

  68. MBDK says:

    Joe says:
    “Yes, it is exhausting attempting to deal with the lone-nut theorists and Skeptics and their emotional and fact free diatribes…”

    Starting with a completely false statement does set the tone for the rest of your rant. For the more honest reader, I present a lengthy description of what skepticism is actually about here:
    https://skeptoid.com/skeptic.php

    This reference includes the sentences (and much more), “It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.” and “The scientific method is central to skepticism.”

    You then berate Loren Petrich’s claim, including saying “Finding a conspiracy at the root of both these deeds does not make them an iota more dramatic and spectacular than they are.” Hogwash. Now, as dramatic and spectacular ANYTHING is, if you add a far-reaching conspiracy to the narrative, that thing necessarily become magnified, otherwise the conspiracy would be meaningless. Look at how many articles on the assassination there are that mention a conspiracy vs how many just talk about the assassination. Your statement is completely blind to reality.

    You then claim my post was emotional and fact free, but provide absolutely NOTHING to show where I was emotional, nor where the facts I presented were not accurate.

    “I pointed out the flaws and inaccuracies in the charts and diagrams used by Lambert, which Skeptic MBDK studiously avoids addressing.”

    No, you pointed out your unsupported incredulity and a problem with a “rough estimate” in the use of Specter’s rod (as noted in the picture’s caption). It is no one’s fault but your own to believe that a rough estimate equals a clinical examination.

    “Perhaps it’s easier for Skeptic MBDK to ignore inconvenient “FACT”s while asserting his own “NON-FACT”s.”

    As I just pointed out, it is YOU that carried out what you claimed of me.

    “There are plenty of facts and expert testimony to show that Skeptic MBDK’s “FACT” is not the general conclusion.”

    Reference(s)?

    “do a little reading:
    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/5648-the-wounding-of-john-connally-%E2%80%93-burying-the-single-bullet-theory/

    I have, and it is a paper based on incredulity and guesswork, peppered with just enough science to sound convincing to those who cannot critically think for themselves. Example: he quotes the testimony of Robert Frazier who said, “that the difference between the weight of CE399 and the average for this type of bullet could be accounted for by normal manufacturing variation”. Now this is just a possibility, however, as such, a truly critical thinker knows that there is also the possibility the bullet weighed even more than the average due to normal manufacturing variation. Such a fact is clearly omitted by the author in an attempt to bolster his claims and the author actually goes at great lengths to obfuscate ALL measurements to only address the potential of differences in ONE direction and not the other. Other tell-tale signs of his lack of actual evidence is the constant statements that include words such as “very dubious”, “it is fair to say that”, “there is significant doubt”, “I think it reasonable to doubt “, etc. In summary, he provided ZERO further facts, but instead injects his opinion among them in an effort to convince those who gloss over such manipulations.

    And YOU claim it is “a thorough analysis of Gov. Connally’s wounds and the testimony both admitted and not admitted regarding them. It’s loaded with facts, but they’re the sort of facts that Skeptics and lone-nut theorists like to dismiss and impugn with their wild rants and fact free speculations.”

    Ha. Point out even ONE “fact” that I have dismissed. It is actually YOU who cannot tell fact from speculation, as noted in my synopsis of your reference.

    I do agree that living in Dallas, as Socratic Gadfly appears to do, is of itself irrelevant of facts presented, but it does provide a basis for his OPINION (he made no other claim regarding his residence). So, why do YOU try to make something out of it?

    You continue with a rant about Oswald’s shooting skills, and downplay the “facts”, as you even listed that he DID make marksman, but dismiss this “fact” with speculation. Just what you accuse others of doing.

    “Anyone who reads about the Warren Commission..its predetermined conclusion, its manipulation of evidence and witnesses…”

    Well, the mere inclusion of those words is wrought with predetermined conclusions and manipulations.

    “the truth has become for the most part known”

    Yep.

    “to listen, to probe, to question is not what these close-minded Skeptics do.”

    Nope. And all the lying in the world won’t make it so. To prove it, I again challenge you to point out one “fact” I have dismissed (as you previously claimed). And I will not accept as “fact” any kind of speculation, including testimonial speculation, nor should ANY reasonable person.

  69. Joe says:

    MBDK’s “contributions” , like the contributions of so many Skeptics is full of the very same flaws and fallacies that he accuses others of. Skeptics seem all too fond of pointing out the mote in their brother’s eye while remaining ignorant of the beam in their own.

    One interesting example appears near the beginning of his/her most recent and long-winded harangue. With much hubris and forethought, he quotes himself on the subject of skeptics, writing: ““It’s the process of finding a supported conclusion, not the justification of a preconceived conclusion.” This amuses since it’s precisely what the Warren Commission and those forming it did. Just days after the assassination, J. Edgar Hoover (whose F.B.I. was put in charge of handling all evidence and interviewing witnesses for the WC) expressed his desire that something be issued that would convince the American public that Oswald acted alone. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/jfk-assassination-files-hoover-said-fbi-must-convince-the-public-oswald-acted-alone/ These concerns were also shared with LBJ by the deputy attorney general Katzenbach. In other words, the Warren Commission, which MBDK is so eager to defend, has violated one of his foundational points for the skeptic, i.e., not justifying a preconceived conclusion. But I wouldn’t expect him/her to recognize that much less acknowledge it.

    MBDK’s criticism of my criticism of Loren Petrich’s statement seems to miss the point entirely, but that misreading may be due to MBDK being emotionally wrought up while responding. Petrich stated: “JFK conspiracy theories make his death seem more dramatic and spectacular than what it really was.” The key phrase there is “make his death seem . . . “. JFK’s death was dramatic and spectacular no matter who or what was involved. No amount of conspiracy theory and no amount of lone-nuttery will make Kennedy’s murder any more dramatic and spectacular. And it is fairly ludicrous to think, as MBDK asserts, that by merely mixing in a conspiracy theory to anything, presto you have more drama and spectacle. Things are dramatic and spectacular because they are so. If Julius Caesar had been murdered by a single person rather than a conspiracy, it would still have been just as dramatic and spectacular and Shakespeare would have still written a play, albeit with a slightly different plot.

    MBDK claims I provided no facts only my conjecture. He cites the Spector rod photo. What is the point of including a “rough estimate” photo in an article on conspiracy theories, what is the point of the photo in the first place, if not to deceive the viewer into believing the SBT? Why show something that is a “rough estimate”, or put another way “inaccurate” or “wrong” when trying to convince people of your theory? Where is the much vaunted (even by MBDK) science in showing rough estimates when precise details (wound locations) are known?

    MBDK attempts to chastise me for criticizing the photo for its inaccuracy, claiming that I am not being factual. But it is a fact that the photo is inaccurate, it is a fact that Arlen Specter is promoting this inaccuracy, it is a fact that this inaccurate depiction was used as an exhibit by the Warren Commission, it is a fact that Lambert reproduced the inaccurate photo to bolster his anti-conspiracy thesis. And MBDK is curiously silent regarding the factual analysis I provided of the other diagram showing the factually inaccurate exit of the “straight line from the book depository” through the WRONG side of Gov. Connally’s chest.

    MBDK wants to dismiss as mere speculation that Oswald’s low score on his second rifle range test suggests he didn’t have the skill to make the shots. I pointed out two facts (which even MBDK has to acknowledge but then adds his emotional perception that I “downplayed” those facts): in 1956 Oswald scored 2 points above sharpshooter and in 1959 Oswald was only able to score 1 point above marksman. This means, factually, that in 1959 Lee Oswald was 2 points away from failing to qualify with a rifle in the Marine Corp. Is that the sign of a skillful marksman? It would be factual to say that Oswald’s skill had degraded from ’56 to ’59.

    There is no evidence to suggest that Oswald fired a rifle at any time from when he left the Marines in Sept. 1959 until his death in 1963. What facts does MBDK present to show that somehow, against all sense and logic, if Oswald’s skill had deteriorated during the 3 years he was in service that they would improve in the following 4 years without ever firing a rifle? Is it really necessary to run a science experiment to understand that?

    MBDK protests “You then claim my post was emotional and fact free, but provide absolutely NOTHING to show where I was emotional, nor where the facts I presented were not accurate.”

    From his earlier response to me:
    “The problem with that statement is you don’t know “facts” from “conjecture”. ” is emotional, not factual.

    “Your exhaustion must come from trying to tax your imagination for another complicated scenario that would counter the evidence.” is emotional, not factual.

    “Also, skeptics question just about everything, and the fact that they usually agree with the “official story”, is because the “official story” usually is the most congruent with the facts.” is mere conjecture, what MBDK scolds others for employing and is unsupported.

    “Your diatribe of counter arguments . . . ” is emotional.

    “the FACT is Connally’s entrance wound was an an oval consistent with a tumbling bullet.” is a “fact” that has been contested (see the paper linked to in my earlier post) and the size and shape of Connally’s wound was distorted in the Warren Report, in a similar manner to the distortion of JFK’s back wound (near the 3rd Thoracic vertebra which was distorted to the “base of his neck” by Gerald Ford who sat on the Commission https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GDNZBfPkbPk)

    “It is also a FACT that the “magic bullet” traveled in a fairly straight line from the depository all the way to Connally’s wrist.” the “magic bullet” is the bullet of the SBT (Single Bullet Theory). You cannot call a THEORY a FACT, no matter how much you wish to believe it. This is the same conjecture lacking any factual evidence that you deride in others. You begin to come across as a hypocrite.

    “It is also a FACT that conspiracy sites often use inaccurate illustrations to exaggerate and/or alter the bullet’s actual path. Yet you believe such falsifications and claim the government lies. ” or so you claim, yet offer not a shred of proof for your so-called FACT, and it is true that some “conspiracy sites” are more legitimate than others, and some sites may use inaccurate illustrations just like Lambert has done and the Warren Commission has done, but it is emotional to say “conspiracy sites” without qualification. And it is extremely emotionally and fact free to claim to know what “falsifications” I believe.

    ” Too bad your mind isn’t open enough, or functional enough to understand that.” is pure emotional rhetoric, nothing more.

    I am not going to unpack more of the distortion, faulty reasoning, inaccurate accusations, and emotional rhetoric MBDK makes about the article I linked to written by Russell Kent
    http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/topic/5648-the-wounding-of-john-connally-%E2%80%93-burying-the-single-bullet-theory/
    Let those interested readers, and true skeptics, read it for themselves and make up their own minds on the facts contained therein. For those Skeptics who plug their ears and begin ululating anytime the phrases “conspiracy” or “conspiracy theory” are hinted at, you’d best avoid it. You don’t want to disturb your comfortable, safe, and simplistic view of the world.

  70. MBDK says:

    Joe says:

    “MBDK’s…is full of the very same flaws and fallacies that he accuses others of”

    Naw. Let’s just dissect your little critique.

    “he quotes himself on the subject of skeptics”

    No, I quoted text from the site I referenced. You can’t even get your first specific complaint correct.

    “Just days after the assassination, J. Edgar Hoover expressed his desire that something be issued that would convince the American public that Oswald acted alone”

    Yes he did. But he did not fabricate or withhold evidence. What you don’t mention is that Hoover’s statement was made less than an hour after Oswald died (this from your own reference), and the day after Hoover warned the Dallas police of the possibility of an attempt on Oswald’s life. Trying to protect Oswald is hardly the machination of a person trying to cover up a conspiracy. Since there is no evidence Hoover suspected a conspiracy, his assumption of a lone shooter is understandable. Also, the Warren Commission did not have to answer to LBJ, or J. Edgar Hoover, so your attempt to link them to a preconceived conclusion is flawed and speculative.

    “And it is fairly ludicrous to think, as MBDK asserts, that by merely mixing in a conspiracy theory to anything, presto you have more drama and spectacle”

    My actual words were, “if you add a far-reaching conspiracy to the narrative”, which is way more than a mere “mixing”. Thanks for trying to obfuscate what I actually wrote.

    So, Joe goes on to whine about how I called him out for speculation and why the “rough estimate” photo was even included in the article. Joe never addresses his speculation, and never resolves why he felt it necessary to perform his original critique of it. What is laughable in that critique is how he complains that the rod was resting on the shoulder of the person simulating JFK’s position, and not showing the exact path. Well, that would require actually piercing that persons back and neck with the rod. That’s asking a bit much of that volunteer, in my humble opinion (and just one of the reasons it was a “rough estimate”).

    You go on to claim how people used this photo to misrepresent the facts, yet you seem oblivious to the actual fact that it was a “rough” representation and was never claimed to be anything more. Just because you don’t care for it does not make it a fabrication.

    And you continue with laughable “logic” and incessant whining. I may finish my roast of your incompetence later, but I have other things to do now, and I am sure my points have been made to the intelligent readers.

  71. Joe says:

    Apparently, distortion is the only game MBDK is capable of playing. That and some frequent cherry picking. Beyond that, he/she seems simply incapable of clear and rational thought.

    First he says I can’t get my first complaint correct, but the quote I’m referencing begins with MBDK as subject.: ” I present a lengthy description of what skepticism is actually about here:” As I’m not at all interested in receiving a lecture from the likes of MBDK regarding what “skepticism is actually about”, I chose not to waste more of my time with his links. His sentence introducing his link is ambiguous at best; it is reasonable to assume if he claims “presentation” rights that he is linking to his own output. It’s a very minor point, but that’s how MBDK operates, by selecting minor points in a misguided attempt to “disprove” major points. The remainder of his response is only minor, nitpicking points while ignoring many of the major points of my comments. For example:

    My point about Hoover (and Katzenbach which he avoids entirely, another example of MBDK’s cherry picking) is that Hoover had made up his mind about the assassination before an investigation had barely begun, before all evidence had been collected and examined, before all witnesses had been interviewed.

    MBDK whines that: ” But he did not fabricate or withhold evidence.” Did anyone say that Hoover fabricated or withheld evidence in the two days following the assassination? What sort of meaningless point is MBDK attempting to make here? He then feels compelled to point out: ” What you don’t mention is that Hoover’s statement was made less than an hour after Oswald died (this from your own reference),” Is it really necessary to “mention” what MBDK acknowledges was in my “own reference”? The childish absurdity of such complaints ought to embarrass any reasonable adult.

    Further attempting to distract from the major point that Hoover had made up his mind BEFORE an investigation had concluded, MBDK offers up this gem: “. . . and the day after Hoover warned the Dallas police of the possibility of an attempt on Oswald’s life. Trying to protect Oswald is hardly the machination of a person trying to cover up a conspiracy.” Aside from the fact we only have the dubious reasoning of MBDK that protecting Oswald “is hardly the machination of . . . cover up . . . “, Hoover, unlike MBDK, was smart enough to realize that if the “alleged assassin” were murdered while in police custody less than 2 days after the assassination, the smell of conspiracy would only spread greater not diminish. This is just basic reasoning, something MBDK is incapable of.

    Hoover was a powerful and corrupt individual, known to have his agency secretly tape and photograph various figures large and small in order to blackmail them or have something to hold over their heads. Since Hoover’s F.B.I. was going to be in charge of any investigation, Hoover could be confident that he could frame Oswald if evidence were lacking. From Hoover’s perspective, a living Oswald would make it easier to shape public perception than a dead Oswald. Especially (it has to be repeated since MBDK cannot grasp obvious points the first or second time they’re presented), a dead Oswald who was murdered in front of T.V. cameras while handcuffed to and surrounded by Dallas Police.

    Blindness being a salient trait exhibited by MBDK, it’s no wonder that he/she cannot see the obvious implication of this comment: ” Since there is no evidence Hoover suspected a conspiracy, his assumption of a lone shooter is understandable.” Right! Right! There is no evidence Hoover suspected a conspiracy. Within 48 hours of the assassination of the President and the prime suspect (repeating, while in the custody of police), before an investigation had really started, before all evidence had been gathered and analyzed, before all witnesses had been interviewed, with all sorts of provocative loose threads dangling, Hoover, in the quiet comfort of his Washington D.C office had decided there was no conspiracy. What a Super Cop! Make one wonder why he needed agents in the field at all since Hoover could decide innocence or guilt, lone-nut or conspiracy before an investigation had run its proper course.

    A recent story about a girl in Northern California who had an altercation caught on video with Humboldt State Campus Police is illustrative. When the campus police chief was interviewed, he correctly and professionally stated that he could make no judgement or comment on who was right or who was wrong, guilt or innocence, UNTIL AN INVESTIGATION HAD BEEN COMPLETED. This for a little contretemps with an auto and arresting officers. But for the assassination of a President, Hoover and “Skeptics” like MBDK, concluding that there was no conspiracy BEFORE an investigation is no big deal. It would be laughable were it not so pathetic.

    MBDK goes on whining: ” Also, the Warren Commission did not have to answer to LBJ, or J. Edgar Hoover, so your attempt to link them to a preconceived conclusion is flawed and speculative.” And, once again misses the point entirely. While, ostensibly, the WC “did not have to answer to LBJ” or Hoover, it was LBJ who appointed the commissioners, vigorously twisting the arm of Earl Warren who wanted no part of it, and it was Hoover’s F.B.I. who controlled the investigation, evidence, etc. and those agents answered to Hoover. But don’t expect “Skeptic” MBDK to ponder the problems that such an arrangement might produce.

    MBDK goes on to blubber about my obfuscating what he wrote: “My actual words were, “if you add a far-reaching conspiracy to the narrative”, which is way more than a mere “mixing”. ” Thanks for trying to obfuscate what I actually wrote.” As tiny, insignificant, distracting points go, this may be MBDK’s crowning achievement. Or maybe he can tell us exactly what the significant difference is between the verbs “to add” and “to mix”. Again, hilarious were it not so pathetic.

    But MBDK is not yet done with his small and insignificant points nor his small mindedness with his comments on the Specter rod photo. He lies and says: ” Joe never addresses his speculation, and never resolves why he felt it necessary to perform his original critique of it.” Well, perhaps he doesn’t lie exactly, perhaps he is simply unable to read. Once again having to repeat myself, here is the critique I’d made once before that MBDK asserts didn’t occur: ” What is the point of including a “rough estimate” photo in an article on conspiracy theories, what is the point of the photo in the first place, if not to deceive the viewer into believing the SBT? Why show something that is a “rough estimate”, or put another way “inaccurate” or “wrong” when trying to convince people of your theory? Where is the much vaunted (even by MBDK) science in showing rough estimates when precise details (wound locations) are known?

    MBDK attempts to chastise me for criticizing the photo for its inaccuracy, claiming that I am not being factual. But it is a fact that the photo is inaccurate, it is a fact that Arlen Specter is promoting this inaccuracy, it is a fact that this inaccurate depiction was used as an exhibit by the Warren Commission, it is a fact that Lambert reproduced the inaccurate photo to bolster his anti-conspiracy thesis. And MBDK is curiously silent regarding the factual analysis I provided of the other diagram showing the factually inaccurate exit of the “straight line from the book depository” through the WRONG side of Gov. Connally’s chest.”

    Rather than honestly deal with those valid criticisms and the point they made, instead MBDK wants to go small yet again and distract with yet more nonsense by saying: ” What is laughable in that critique is how he complains that the rod was resting on the shoulder of the person simulating JFK’s position, and not showing the exact path. Well, that would require actually piercing that persons back and neck with the rod. That’s asking a bit much of that volunteer, in my humble opinion (and just one of the reasons it was a “rough estimate”).” No! Really, MBDK? Is your level of intelligence so meager that you must point out that little besides the point point? Why not deal with the actual implications of that “rough estimate”?

    With arguments like these is it any wonder that one grows exhausted having to wade through such piles of tripe?

    Unfortunately, MBDK threatens to provide still more of the same laughable, pathetic, pointless, small minded arguments at a later date. Well, knock yourself out. I have seen, yet again, the “Skeptical” arguments of “Skeptics” like you. They are not worth the time to read them let alone respond to them. I’ve wasted enough time on the sad and ineffectual MBDK.

  72. Dale says:

    Just a quick synopsis of Joe’s last rant:

    An immature Gish Gallop of unbelievable assumptions, irrelevant material and circular reasoning.

    I have previously shown how weak and error-filled his argument are, and he continues to bolster that conclusion. I did not come here to provide a point by point deconstruction of Joe’s, or anyone’s, garbage heap of misinformation. Still FYI, the “magic bullet” trajectory is explained in much better detail with pertinent illustrations in the “JFK Cold Case” program as well as this page – http://www.jfkfiles.com/jfk/html/concl2b.htm
    And as an interesting aside, the next page on the jfkfiles site talks about the only real inconsistency in the bullet trajectories (as stated by the House Select Committee on Assassination), and it is with the kill shot, not the one that hit both JFK and Connally.

    Regardless, I am confident that the discerning reader understands my criticism of the reasoning and logic (or lack thereof) used by the conspiracy theorists, and how the actual facts and evidence point to a single gunman shooting from the 6th floor of the depository.

  73. js says:

    I blame that damned movie by Stone. People Believe what they see. When Jaws came out, the beaches were empty. When The Exorcist came out, Churches were packed. Even though people know it’s a movie, something takes hold, to the point you can write an article like this, full of footnotes and sources that can be verified, and people still can’t let it go.

    I call bullshit on idiots like Joe and Bill Morgan regurgitating misinformation that’s been debunked over and over again in comments sections like this. I was always want to ask these clowns: If you really believe this drivel about JFK, 911, Sandyhook, when’s the meeting down by the docks? If you believe the government murders its own people and masterfully covers it up at every turn ( sidenote-please have that same government fix the potholes in my streets, the local governments are nowhere near as brilliant and efficient as the murder department it would appear) then why are you squawking about it on the internet instead of organizing and resisting said murder machine?

    In the past, I would take the time to try to talk to people like this rationally, and when that broke down (and it always did) it was only a matter of time before the kooks break into their superiority complex and start talking about us “sheeple” relying on the “lamestream media” or some such garbage, like they are so skeptical and know so much more. From where? Some shitty facebook meme in a conspiracy group? I have no time for such arguments anymore. Honestly, deep down, I don’t think conspiracy nuts themselves even really believe it. I just think they like to feel special. Well, you’re not. Grow up.

  74. Joe says:

    You’ve just got to love the Skeptics and the magnificence of their irrationality while constantly pointing out and patting themselves on their weak little backs for being so rigidly rational. They couldn’t be a funnier, yet at the same time sad, little bunch.

    Dale says of my comments: “An immature Gish Gallop of unbelievable assumptions, irrelevant material and circular reasoning.” Yet can’t bring himself to provide a single example of his complaints and later excuses himself from having to do so because . . . well, I guess it’s enough that he says so and also says he’s already done so somewhere in a time long ago. Does that sort of posturing really convince anyone? Well, maybe Skeptics as they’re a rather gullible lot.

    The Gish Gallop accusation is particularly amusing since I limited my comments to just the SBT and some of its problems. But fair-minded Dale says nothing about the very obvious Gish Gallop of author Lambert who tosses out loads of misinformation about first Oswald, then Ruby, then Earl Warren before moving on to 5 points (many of which have sub-points): the Stone film, the “magic bullet”, a series of problematic diagrams; his contention that those who discredit the Lone Nut Theory take details out of context and omit facts; he then discusses evidence; then motive; then the HSCA. Yes, indeed, quite a gallop which would require loads of rebuttal. But Dale is not troubled by such Gish Galloping there nor by the many gallops MBDK takes up and down this thread, only by my attempt to focus on just the SBT.

    In offering so little, Dale then attempts to make a point about the 2nd bullet’s trajectory by providing a link to an article on trajectory cones. Of course, the problem with the article and its cones is that they begin from the assumption that the SBT is true and proceed to base their trajectories on that unproven and quite ridiculous theory. Wasn’t it MBDK who warned us about justifying a preconceived conclusion? Dale also ignores the obvious problem with his link which asserts that JFK and Connally were both hit at frame 223. This is another arbitrary conclusion, especially since JFK is not yet visible in 223, only a portion of his sleeve is and that sleeve is reaching up toward his throat (as will be shown in subsequent frames), thus had been hit at some uncertain point while hidden behind the Stemmons Freeway sign. Making matters worse is that Connally, despite the claim that he was already shot (and remember he receives a full 5 wounds, splintered rib, and shattered radius ostensibly from that single bullet), continues his act of turning to his right to look at the President for many more frames, not really responding to his wounds until about frame 280/290 as I recall. All of which conforms precisely to his and Nellie’s, his wife, unwavering conviction that he and JFK were struck by separate bullets. But Dale is incapable of seeing these obvious problems, all, it seems, because the notion of more than one shooter triggers his anti-conspiracy fit. Dale’s conclusion is laughable since he’s really neither established nor proven anything in his comment other than his inability to see the flaws in his reasoning and the article he provides.

    If it’s even possible, js’s comments are even more hilarious as an example of the “thinking” found among anti-conspiracy Skeptics. He begins by blaming “that damned movie by Stone”, as though reams of documents and witness statements and unbelievable SBT theories didn’t exist to create reasonable doubts about the Lone Nut Theory. But if that weren’t irrational enough, js attempts to draw some confusing comparison to “Jaws” and “The Exorcist” and the effect they had on the public into the discussion. You’ve really got to wonder who is wearing the tin-foil hats.

    His next paragraph is an even greater hash of half-baked notions claiming misinformation without providing a single example before launching into a laundry list of subjects like 9/11, Sandyhook, fixing potholes, and dull-witted questions. Honestly, this is the sort of argument that passes for rational, cogent, incisive reasoning among Skeptics? Yeah, sad.

    js then ends his hardly enlightening or impressive comment by explaining his history of debating with “people like this” and apparently suffering some ridicule at their hands. I wonder why? So, he concludes that what’s behind it all for those who criticize the Warren Commission Report for all its many flaws is their desire “to feel special”. If any of js’s commentary made any sense or seemed in any way coherent or persuasive . . . well, I can’t help but snigger. It seems to me that js is only exposing his own rather significant inferiority complex.

    Good luck Skeptics. You need it.

  75. MBDK says:

    Joe says:

    “Dale says…”

    Hahahaha! What MBDK says is, “I posted as Dale due to an auto-fill error.”

    Even a 3rd-grader could have recognized that. So, your lack of logical skills cleverly avoided another obvious conclusion, and makes 90% of your rant even more worthless than it’s intended content.

    Then, you lambaste js when he concludes the mass media influences the minds of the populace, which is EXACTLY the mantra expressed by conspiracy promoters. Oh, the hypocrisy.

    “You’ve really got to wonder who is wearing the tin-foil hats.”

    No. We all know that is YOUR signature attire.

    Then more off-topic js bashing ends with criticizing js’s remark that idiots like you want to feel “special” (beyond any reason to, I must add), yet that is at least part of the conclusion that has been reached by many psychologists and other human behavior experts.

    From: http://time.com/4965093/conspiracy-theories-beliefs/
    “those who tested high on the need to be special or were primed to feel that way by writing the essay were also more inclined to believe in various conspiracy theories”

    There are PLENTY more references available.

    “I can’t help but snigger. It seems to me that js is only exposing his own rather significant inferiority complex”

    And you finished your discourse on js with your own psychological tell-tale. Repeat that which I just quoted to a therapist. Please.

  76. Joe says:

    Does MBDK have anything of any substance to add to a discussion or, in time honored Skeptic tradition, is the entirety of his contribution only personal attacks, insults, and wildly irrational remarks?

    His opening remarks:
    “Joe says:

    “Dale says…”

    Hahahaha! What MBDK says is, “I posted as Dale due to an auto-fill error.” ”

    seem written by a child, and a spoiled and rather stupid child at that. He follows that with this bit of additional irrationality by way of explanation:
    “Even a 3rd-grader could have recognized that. So, your lack of logical skills cleverly avoided another obvious conclusion, and makes 90% of your rant even more worthless than it’s intended content.”

    There’s simply no point to further engagement with such a man-child.

    But consider more evidence of MBDK’s inability to make a coherent statement or supply a pinch of logic: “Then, you lambaste js when he concludes the mass media influences the minds of the populace . . . ” when any half-way intelligent reader (which obviously leaves MBDK in the dust) can see that js offered no such conclusion. All js did was complain about the movie “JFK” and then pivoted to some non-sequitur about “Jaws” and “The Exorcist”.

    Finally, in the absence of any other argument, any hints of rationality, any even feeble attempt to deal with substance rather than the very personal attacks that Skeptics are forever whining about others making, MBDK closes his little diaper load of petulance and whining with the blanket statement that those who see where conspiracy occurs simply want to feel special.

    That’s the Skeptic way, after all. Don’t address facts, don’t address challenges, don’t address questions raised or problems identified, just attack the messenger and call it a day.

    MBDK , I nominate you for Grand Skeptic of the Year award. Don’t forget to wear your clown nose when accepting your trophy.

  77. Sivaprakasam Ratnam says:

    Darwinism, the atheistic science paradigm and the group, which calls itself Skeptics, all of them aid and abet in regard to the existence, survival and continuation of this manmade, industrial machine. This atheistic science based civilization is purely Darwinism based and Freudian psychology based, whereas it should be based on the science of spirituality, the kind of science that Jung, Einstein and the physicist Bohm, practised and this civilization should be based on the principles of Buddhism and Vedanta, if it considers itself to be rational-scientific .civilization. In this manner, this Skeptic organization used to be a bastion for fundamentalist Darwinism and atheism and later evolved to become more agnostic than atheistic. However, its support for capitalism, the modern society and the future of human civilization and its criticism and non-belief in conspiracy theories goes on unabated. They are still passionately defending their civilization from any kind of negative criticism. The controllers use such organizations to discredit conspiracies, which involves them. As I said before, the controllers have to only create or support, organizations, which have these kind of agendas. The rest will be taken care of by these organizations and their collective ego.

    As you can see they are doing the job for the controllers., discrediting and ridiculing conspiracy theories, which involves the controllers as the main accused. Yes, there are not-cases and the UFO kind of conspiracy theories, but we cannot class all conspiracy theories within that crazy category. First of “”conspiracy” is not a dirty word, never be used in any serious discussion or debate. Conspiracy is a very natural phenomenon and tactic, which humans have used for thousands of years to achieve their goals and defeat their enemies or to silence critics and those opposed to their agendas.

    There are three types of conspiracy theories:

    1) Very much possible, enough evidence and information pointing towards such a conspiracy, but cannot be proved. 9/11 and JFK, Bob Kennedy, Martin Luther King assassinations, fall under this category.
    2) Possible, but very speculative, but enough evidence exists to take up the issue.
    3) Totally speculative, no evidence and the claims are almost crazy and unbelievable. UFO and “Moon Landing is false” kind of conspiracy theories fall under this category.

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