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A Skeptical Studies Curriculum Resource

The Perks of Paranoia

Myths. Conspiracy Theories. Illusory Correlation. Do these things have an evolutionary basis in common? What type of thinking enables conspiracy theorists to correlate ideas that in truth have nothing to do with each other? In his book, The Believing Brain, Michael Shermer refers to these types of thinking as patternicity — finding meaningful patterns in meaningless noise.

In this video project by Christopher Griffin, a senior Graphic Design student at the California College of the Arts (San Francisco), these pattern-seeking ideas are visually illustrated, as if diving head-first into the mind of a true believer.

This project was designed in Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D, with assets built in Adobe Illustrator.


48 responses to “The Perks of Paranoia”

  1. William Dietrich says:

    Did you watch as David Fura suggested? Every single person in this 15 min. video can not be wrong and blown off as a conspiracy theorist. If you were a part of the inside job and told that if you talked your family would be killed first and then you would be killed next, then you would not talk. If you want to believe the government has told us the truth about 9/11 then believe that. I don’t. I see a lie and a coverup and there are many examples of that in history.

    • Zino Cigar says:

      William, I did watch the video and of course found many websites that deliver counter arguments against the statements from the AE911 people. Examples:

      Your argument on the threats to Whistleblower does not work. As we peel the onion … who is the one then to tell this and how is he threatened to not talk himself ? How do you keep up a forceful organisation that for the next 1000+ years makes sure that nothing comes to surface ?

      I count myself as the first true sceptic whom you have met (see you first statement on top …) that does not believe that government tells the truth (Yep, WMD was big lying bullshit from Bush, Cheney, Powell) and acknowledges that politicians make coverups all the time (“I did not have sex with that women!”). Olli North & Iran Contra Affair, Watergate, Abu Gharib Prison Atrocities etc. etc. – I gues we can both agree that there was massive coverup in place all the time.

      I as sceptic towards government as I am sceptic towards those that criticize it. The word TRUTH is the most abused word in this context. You can believe in Illuminati, Bilderberger, New World Order, Rothschilds world control etc. This proofs what Christopher Griffin says in his video about you avoiding the “Type 1 Error”.

      “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion but not to his own facts.” -Daniel Moynihan
      “Beliefs come first, explanations for beliefs follow.” -Michael Shermer

      • William Dietrich says:

        You give examples where you believe that the government did lie to us and did cover up crimes. We both agree on those examples. So if you catch a person in one lie after another lie over an extended period of time, what do you conclude? You conclude you do not trust that person because they have lied to you so many times in the past. That person has a credibility gap. The government has lied to us so many times and has engaged in so many cover-ups, that I’m one skeptic that doubts most things the government tells us. I simply do not trust my own government as do 75% to 80% of all Americans according to the Pew Research Center.

      • David Fura says:

        Hey Zino, have you actually read your so-called ‘debunking’ websites?

        Here’s a real beauty of an ‘explanation’ for Building 7 free-fall from .info:

        “So this short period of the overall collapse is predicted by the NIST computer modeling and well explained by their analysis of the collapse.”

        Here’s my first question for you Zino:
        1. What is your best evidence that the Building 7 free-fall is “predicted by the NIST computer modeling?” Again, the NIST model is a secret model, not available for independent review, and describes first-of-a-kind behavior not validated experimentally. I would like to learn your special insight into this matter. Please supply as much skepticism as you can.

        In the NIST description of their model, a floor beam is heated, expands, and pushes a girder off its seat on a support column. This single act supposedly causes the building to come down in the manner of a controlled demolition. Independent structural engineers have disputed the NIST data and calculations for this step as inconsistent with published building dimensions and accepted engineering practice. They have asked to review this step of the NIST model.
        2. (a) What is your best evidence that NIST got this step right? and (b) Do you agree that NIST is right to keep this step secret so as not to “jeopardize public safety” as they claim releasing it would? and (c) Do you agree with NIST’s apparent position that there is no need to validate this key step experimentally?

        There is a lot a good stuff to look at the Rube Goldberg machine promoted by NIST as their “probable collapse sequence.” But lets hold off on this for now so you can focus on 1. and 2.

        Thanks Zino, I look forward to your analysis.

        • Zino Cigar says:

          David, I am not an architecture expert. I see many arguments being exchanged for controlled demolition but also for being part of the plane attacks and the fires afterwards.

          This does not resolve the overall picture. The lack of all these arguments pro controllled demolition is how it was planned, executed and covered. When you leave the sigle detailed discussion on WTC7 and those few free-fall seconds … you run immediately into non-fact based territory.

          So using Ockhams razor I would say small picture WTC7 last seconds is maybe pair on arguments, but big picture is 1:99 against such a huge operation. Just one example: This must have been planned already be the Clinton administration as on 9/11 GWB was only in office a few months and the arab pilots were training already in Florida since 2000. When thousends of administration people are exchanged in January and a complete new governement comes is … this does not fit a US official event but definitely AlKaida based terrorists.

        • David Fura says:

          Hi Zino,

          I agree with you that when we leave the factual evidence surrounding the WTC collapses and enter the realm of how, how, and why, we are entering “non-fact based territory.” Your subsequent comments demonstrate this when you assume that the Clinton administration must have been involved in the planning of 9/11. We don’t know this to be true. What we do know is that there are secret U.S. government programs and budgets that we don’t know very much about. They might very well operate independently of the administrations. How can outsiders like us decide one way or the other about this?

          What we do know is that the available evidence favors the hypothesis that controlled demolition brought down the 3 towers over the official explanation that fire (and aircraft damage) did so.

          We know that the Bush administration did not investigate 9/11 as a crime scene, instead labeling it an act of war. The evidence compiled by AE911Truth and others has never been given a fair hearing and the conclusions of the government reports has not been properly analyzed.

          We also know that it is standard practice to investigate crimes that would seem to be hard to plan and execute. and involve large groups of people.

          What I and many others are calling for is to simply apply the accepted law enforcement standards used elsewhere on the 9/11 tower collapses. Let’s have a standard criminal investigation with aggressive use of subpoena power, testimony under oath, and no ignoring of relevant evidence. If this investigation concludes that fire really is the culprit, then nobody would be more relieved than me. My life would instantly become simpler and easier. This is all I have to say on this thread. It’s been a good chat. Take care.

  2. Zino Cigar says:

    @William Dietrich

    None(Zero) of the people you mentioned had any active role in the “conspiracy plot” of those 500-1000 people needed to plot the alleged willful demolition of WTC and Pentagon.

    Kevin Ryan – a chemist at UL, who got fired because of he published his personal conspiracy theories on WTC7 form his UL mail and under the UL company name. His court case was dismissed twice. What did he do before and on September 11, 2001?

    Sibel Edmonds – a translator, that was hired by the FBI after 9/11 and fired March 2002. Her main point is that terrorists are funded by drug dealing via Turkey, supported by some vague US operations and that possibly US politicians are bribed. [Irony on]Now that is breaking news ! I thought that terrorists were peaceful shepherds and not criminals and that no politician incl. Hastert would ever accept money [Irony off]. And she of course explains immediately the Boston Bombing as well. What did she do before and on September 11, 2001?

    Susan Lindauer – at what time was she ever a “CIA asset” as you state? She claims that, but no proof whatsoever. Another person riding on the back of the 9/11 train trying to make a story and money. Robert Precht, Dean of the University of Michigan Law School, said that Lindauer was more likely to be a “misguided peacenik”. What did she do before and on September 11, 2001?

    William, I always “Dig deeper and peel the layers of the Onion” (quoting you) and I find more crap, bullshit and nonsense then I ever thought. Give me more to dig!

  3. Chris Sarns says:

    “OBL and 19 hijackers attacked us on 9/11” is a conspiracy theory by definition.
    Therefore, Michael Shermer is a conspiracy theorist.

    These self describes “skeptics” are skeptical of anything the disproves the official conspiracy theory but not the least bit skeptical about normal office fires causing a building with a footprint the size of a football field to fall like a rock thru air for 100 feet.

  4. David Fura says:

    For anyone interested in a quick introduction into the evidence behind the collapse of the three WTC skyscrapers on 9/11, take a look at this 15-minute video:

    To sign the AE911Truth petition calling for a new and proper 9/11 investigation you can go here:

    If you don’t want to write 70 characters worth of bio and 9/11 statement, feel free to type in ‘xxxxxxx…’.

    • William Dietrich says:

      Thanks for the video. Well done. Removes all doubt. It was an inside job.

  5. Connie Smith says:

    Here’s my bottom line on 9/11:

    Four off-course commercial airliners were not intercepted by Air Force fighters on 9/11, although that is standard procedure.
    Half an hour after the World Trade Center was hit twice, the Pentagon still was not on high alert and was struck without any defense.
    The Secret Service did not take the required action to immediately remove the president to safety, nor to evacuate and protect the school children.

    The hijackers named were well-known by neighbors, bartenders, and girlfriends in Florida as drinking, drugging womanizers, entirely unlike devout Muslim fundamentalists.
    A one-day Islamic attack on America would accomplish nothing other than a dreaded “infidel” invasion and occupation of Muslim lands.

    Cheney, Rumsfeld, Jeb Bush and others had previously signed on to a plan (Project for a New American Century) proposing American military expansion into the Middle East.
    They acknowledged it would require “a catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a New Pearl Harbor,” to manipulate public support for war.
    On the evening of 9/11, Bush parroted those words, saying we now had “a new Pearl Harbor.”

    President Eisenhower had warned about the dangers of an ambitious “military/industrial complex” overtaking America, in a drive for their ever-greater profits and power from war.
    Not long before Gen. Douglas MacArthur died, he stated: “I am concerned for the security of our great nation; not so much because of any threat from without, but because of the insidious forces working from within.”

    But I suppose those high-level insiders were just “conspiracy theorists,” right?
    Skeptics of 9/11 Facts WILL have to painfully face how utterly naive they have been.

  6. GWS says:

    Though the creator of the entertaining video, Christopher Griffin, used the fruitful idea of “hyper-active threat detection” derived from evolutionary psychology to explain the tendency of some hyper-active brains to see conspiracies where there are none, he is only giving a part of the evolution picture. He overlooks the idea that–as people have evolved faculties to detect the good or bad intentions of other people, and as we try to detect the intentions for beneficial cooperation or nefarious conspiracies in other groups–we do so because deception and deception-detection are structural ingredients of evolution. It is not merely the simple case of evading predators.

    Initially deception and deception-detection were functional adaptations, not intentional strategies. If a species survives by deception it is because a gene in its ancestor randomly mutated and made its host into a deceiver, which gave its progeny an edge over its cousins and secured the longevity of the mutated gene (Dawkins). Then one member of the deceived species had the good chance of mutating into a deception-detector and thereby started its own line of ‘fitter’ progeny. None of these species do this intentionally. It just is the iron logic of evolution in which genes blindly cooperate to produce survival machines which compete in an environment of limited resources. Maybe only with the primates one can detect instances of intentional, strategic deception, but those are quite simple and short-term (de Waal). Then homo sapiens evolved partially through an unintentional cognitive arms race of hiding its own desires and detecting the desires of others (Pinker). Only with the onset of human self-consciousness, with its inner theater to run through alternate scenarios, the capacity for elaborate, intentional deceptions became established (Jaynes) and conspiracies and counter-conspiracies became important drivers of the historical process and became a structural element of the political process (Machiavelli; Peter Dale Scott). Making the whole picture more complex and dark is the idea that self-conscious individuals are sometimes bad liars when they try to deceive and will easily be detected. Nature’s answer to this dilemma is self-deception. Deceivers, who do not know they are deceiving, and will not display any signs of intentional deception, will have an edge over conscious liars who might get nervous.

    Though some ‘conspiricists’ (axiomatic conspiracy theorists who tend to make Type I Errors of false positives) can go overboard in making wild conjectures, conspiracy-detection is still a very useful faculty to counter the tendency of some groups to exploit other groups in a devious manner (there are plenty of true positives). Some (maybe many) conspire; others try to detect their plans; then the conspirators try to improve the secrecy of their plans, or, at least, even when found out, they will try to keep the plan going and reap the benefits. Many strategies and counter-strategies are possible (see Hamlet). So, of course, when found out, one strategy to keep a conspiracy from getting derailed, is by denying its existence and debunking those who uncovered the plan (or just getting rid of them, though that might fuel the suspicion). Another strategy is to have others, driven by their own genetically coded desires, do the debunking for you, preferably while not knowing what service they render. It is possible that Griffin and other ‘skpeticists’ (axiomatic skeptics who tend to make Type II Errors of false negatives) fall in the latter category, though Griffin, in the end, promotes the age-old aphorism ‘better safe than sorry’, because true positives in conspiracy-detection are still possible:

    “The truths they [conspiracy theorists] find may be heavily debated, but in this world of the unknown–a world in which evolution has taught us that caution equals survival–the truth might just save your life someday.”

    What is needed is an evolutionary epistemology by which conjectures can mutate till they reasonably fit the data and survive good faith attempts at refutation (Popper). Then we can discuss what constitutes a reasonable conjecture; which data need explanantion; and if refutations are lethal or can be absorbed by ad hoc mutations of the original conjecture. Meanwhile we have to monitor ourselves for our evolved tendencies to deceive, counter-deceive and self-deceive. Hopefully, in the end, truth is more fit than its opposite (Gandhi).

  7. William Dietrich says:

    Here is the short version.

    What? 9/11 attacks.

    Where? New York 2 planes, Pentagon 1 plane, PA 1 plane (intended to go to Washington, but was shot down when passengers stormed the cockpit.)

    When? 9/11/01

    How? NY buildings brought down by controlled demolition. Pentagon hit by missile with help of inside explosions.

    Why? New Pearl Harbor to justify new wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to feed the Military, Industrial, Banking Complex more war profits.

    Who? US Intelligence Agencies with help from a Middle East Intelligence Agency (hint think Israel), plus help from US security firms (hint think Blackwater).

    • Zino Cigar says:

      William, if take all of your assumed plot, here are all involved that it works:
      * Presidents Office – 10 core people minimum
      * US Dep Defence – 200 people (especially in the Pentagon, deploying the explosives and shooting a missile without notice)
      * CIA – apr. 200 people for an operation of that size
      * Blackwater – whole Top Management Team plus special Forces – 100 people
      * On Ground staff to deploy the explosives, prepare the buildings, do coverup before and especially after the event – apr. 500 people
      * Israeli Defense forces – 50 People
      * Israeli Mossad – 50 people
      * Special Arab Forces to plot the alkaida connection and recruit the core group – 50 people

      So – either you agree with my assumptions, then how do you coordinate over 1000 people involved and needed without any notice upfront and of course no whistle blower afterwards ? in this group sooner or later someone will start “singing”. Look at the highly secret mission to kill Osama Bin Ladden – everything possible is leaking.

      Or you explain how you would coordinate all thoses parties and do all the work involved without many staff needed. Remember, you are coordinating 2(!) work streams – a) you still need to get those assumed terrorists into the planes and fly into the objects (or miss …) and b) also get all the controlled damage work in place.

      It just does not fit the context … as Michael Shermer would say in his baloney detection kit.

      • William Dietrich says:

        Your assumptions may be too high. Could probably be done with less than 500 all sworn to secrecy. And a lot of people have been talking. You can find those stories on the 9/11 Truth web sites. Dig deeper. Peel the layers off of the onion past the first two levels. Don’t start with the assumption it could not be done. Here is how it has been done in the past.

        • Zino Cigar says:

          OK, then get me 1(one) person out of the 500 or so to talk … just one !

          And explain how you get those arabs in the planes, who are now not terrorists but special US/Blackwater agents to kill themselves.

        • David Fura says:

          This is the problem with starting with assumptions – you get nowhere. We don’t know how many people would be required and guessing about this is a waste of time. How do you keep them quiet? Here’s one way: you make it clear that any whistle blower would have his entire family’s gene pool removed from the face of the earth, and nobody dies quickly or quietly. Who are they going to tell anyway – the same mainstream media that didn’t report the scientific finding of explosive nano-thermite in the WTC dust? With all the phone tapping and general loss of civil liberties, how much time would a whistle blower have before being found out.

          In other words, it’s POSSIBLE that a small group could have pulled off 9/11 and kept quiet about it. It’s NOT POSSIBLE for fire to have caused the 2.25 seconds of Building 7 free-fall. Where a person begins their personal investigation into this matter says a lot about their abilities as a problem solver.

        • William Dietrich says:

          Former UL chemistry lab manager Kevin Ryan was fired after challenging his employer’s role in NIST’s WTC investigation.

          Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds is one of several government employees who was severely persecuted after blowing the whistle on 9/11.

          Whistleblower & activist Susan Lindauer talks to WeAreChange Connecticut on her background as a former CIA asset covering events that include 9/11, Libya, Iraq, & much more.

        • William Dietrich says:

          Dig deeper and peel the layers of the Onion. You are thinking too generally and with too many assumptions.

  8. hypatia says:

    Someone said:

    Ah yes, the ‘Troofers’ version of the infamous Creationist “List of over 400 scientists who doubt Darwinism”

    EXACTLY. These are paid whore scientists fielded by such bastions of intellectual brilliance as the infamous George Marshall Institute, which in the past sent out their lackeys to cast doubt in the public mind about: Acid Rain, the Ozone Hole, DDT, the dangerous of Tobacco — and no doubt a bunch of other issues I can’t think of right now.

  9. David Fura says:

    In case you have not seen any of the oral history from the New York City Fire Department describing explosions on 9/11, here are parts of the statements from two firefighters.

    “It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit, because we originally had thought there was like an internal detonation explosives because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down.” — Firefighter Ed Cachia

    “I thought that when I looked in the direction of the Trade Center before it came down, before Number Two came down, that I saw low-level flashes. In my conversation with Lieutenant Evangelista, never mentioning this to him, he questioned me and asked me if I saw low-level flashes in front of the building, and I agreed with him … I saw a flash-flash-flash, and then it looked like the building came down. … No, the lower level of the building. You know like when they demolish a building, how they blow up a building, when it falls down? That’s what I thought I saw.” — F.D.N.Y Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory

    Again, this evidence was not used in the NIST investigation.

  10. Michael Powers says:

    There’s a saying, originally meant to be simply witty, that has become the motto of every meth user I’ve ever met (meaning all three).

    Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean everyone isn’t out to get you.

  11. David Fura says:

    To Zino, SkeleTony, and all my other 9/11 non-truther friends:

    Let’s move beyond the assumptions that you cite and look at the facts. We have two competing scenarios for the destruction of Building 7. On the one hand, the official government explanation is that fire caused the building to come down. This is backed up by a computer model that is not shared with the public, including engineers and architects who design skyscrapers. The model is claimed to produce first-of-a-kind behavior that is not validated experimentally. Finally, the model results are contradicted by observations. Can you explain why the government’s explanations are satisfactory to you.

    On the other hand, the simpler explanation is that the building came down because of controlled demolition. The collapse looks like a controlled demolition. The 2.25 seconds of free-fall over 8 stories (100 ft) is consistent with controlled demolition. The finding of nano-thermite in the dust is consistent with controlled demolition. The finding of molten metal in multiple forms is consistent with nano-thermite and thermate (thermite plus sulfur) and, therefore, consistent with controlled demolition. The abundant evidence of explosions heard on 9/11 is consistent with controlled demolition. None of this evidence is consistent with collapse by fire.

    Given all this why are you satisfied with 9/11 ‘investigations’ that failed to properly account for the evidence of explosives? Why are people who request the government to investigate the building collapses properly still being demonized as “consipracy theorists”?

    I eagerly await your response.


  12. Polina Howe says:

    I love this! Thank you for the video. I always asked myself why so many intelligent and lovely people believe in something like Illuminati and conspiracy theories. But after reading the book by Michael Shermer and watching this video, it’s so clear.
    My husband and I always ague about the Illuminati. He’s a very intelligent and reasonable person, but it always baffled my how can you connect pop videos with a pyramid and an eye and get Illuminati world domination:) Now it all makes sense, at least his surviving instinct is way better than mine:)

  13. Alan Tower says:

    The part that is confusing to me is how skeptics like SkeleTony are so non-skeptical!
    Often so purely accepting of what is offered by governments and politicians wanting (naturally) to protect their reputations and jobs by feeding the pubic falsehoods when it serves them. (e.g. the 9/11 report was so inadequete with so many huge holes and misrepresentations that at one point NIST even backtracked and changed their story about that Bldg 7 was not free fall and admitted it was years later)

    I wrote earlier about a single issue in our arsenal of skeptic events – the irrefutable evidence and clear logic on so many counts about the building 7 collapse it can boggle the open mind (fire cant come within 1000 degress of melting steel) and yet SkeleTony denies it all, and then throws in a whole bunch of other assertions that have nothing to do with what i said or the facts. We are all good people who care about knowing the truth, but our lens can filter it out when its right in front of us. When did wanting the know the truth about things that affect our entire culture become such a thing of disgust for some skeptics?. It just confuses me. Maybe its the work of fear, which we are all familiar with, whether we identify ourselves as under a label called “skeptics” or “conspiracy theorists”. Can all the events that affect us ever fall under one label? Dont think its possible.

  14. Bill Pivnik says:

    Individual politicians lie, we know that because they get caught so often. But, because of either ideology, stubbornness, corruption, or even stupidity, they can’t agree on many simple pieces of legislation. It’s hard to imagine that any more than two or three of them would be able to keep a complex web of lies going, and all keep their story straight.

  15. Daniel Noel says:

    Oh my…It looks like some skeptics have fallen into idolatry for missing the elementary conspiracy class. Yet it is conveniently available at and simple enough for even people who have faith in Building 7’s disintegration by an office fire to understand it.

    So much waste e-space, so many silly beliefs…


  16. Georgio says:

    SkeleTony, what is the evidence that fire caused the collapse of WTC Building 7 on 9/11, as maintained by the U.S. Government?

  17. Tom Spellman says:

    Hummmm When I read the list of “reasons” why SkeleTony claims to deny the symmetrical collapse of WTC 7 it makes me sad. How can a person of almost any intelligence not understand that for symmetrical collapse (at least 5 video’s caught the symmetrical collapse) to occur that ALL the columns MUST fail simultaneously. If they do not all fail simultaneously then the building TIPS over. After 11+ years here is the absolute question Please describe a mechanical process (machine) that can pulverize 40,000 cubic yard of light weight concrete in less than 15 seconds???

    Peace Tom Spellman

  18. Zino Cigar says:

    A few points for consideration:
    a) It is not government, that lies to us but politicians. They have motives to do so, e.g. fear of turbulences, bad reputation, re-elections, the press, their wife/husband, etc.
    b) In all the mentioned acts (Pearl Harbor, JFK Assassination, Gulf of Tonkin, Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11) the officials were as surprised as the rest. If they were all “contructed” then at some time later usually something will leak through. Somebody is pissed off and will “blow the whistle”.
    c) In all discussions I had with people defending conspiracy theories those stall when going to the question “What is the motive of them one you see as the source for this?”. People like to connect only those dots for a pattern they like – or fear as Christopher Griffin points out. But they often struggle to deliver a rational motive, which you need to develop and execute such massive conspiracies as 9/11.

    • William Dietrich says:

      You say the politicians lie to us. Our government is run by elected politicians who lie to us. You know, Congressmen, Senators, Presidents, VP, Governors, Mayors, etc. Therefore, the government lies to us, because the people we elected to office are liars. They don’t suddenly become truthers when they enter office. Liars continue to lie. Americans are so dumbed down that they believe the lies.

      • Zino Cigar says:

        I fully agree with what you say, Will Dietrich. I just want to get people out of the phrase that “THE GOVERNMENT” is bad and lying and so on. This is transforming the problem from the real people who lie towards an institution that is first of all neutral. A stigmatizing of the institution will not change things and does not hit the core problems. E.g. it is not government that goes to war but politicians who declare war.

        In the course of the 9/11 discussion we need to get to the root cause/motive. The known version is that a group of terrorists led by AlKaida planned and executed these plane-based massive attacks. If Dave Fura stands up and declares that some building on NYC was a “controlled demolition” – then we need to get this in line with the whole story ! I do not accept that we discuss one fragmented detail piece (one building collapses) and no one gives a full acceptable and proven different version of the full plot. Who ? What ? When ? Why ?

        • David Fura says:

          Hi Zino,

          We cannot know the Who, What, When, and Why without an investigation. All we can do is guess. Do you agree with this?

          Rather than start with guesses and assumptions it is better to start with facts. If we as a country can agree that the evidence for explosive controlled demolition for Building 7 is too strong to ignore, then we should be able to agree on a new investigation that can answer the Who, What, When, and Why.

    • Luara says:

      “people defending conspiracy theories … stall when going to the question “What is the motive of them one you see as the source for this?”.”
      Here is a more minor conspiracy theory where I do see a reasonable motive:
      I think sasquatches (bigfoot) are likely real. If so, there would probably have had to have been a government coverup, because there have been massive disasters, like big forest fires that travel very fast, the explosion of Mt. St Helens etc., where sasquatches would have been trapped and their bodies would have been found. There are stories of government officials after these disasters, helping wounded sasquatches or carrying away bodies of sasquatches to be buried.
      So one has to ask, what motive to cover these things up? Well – it would cause a huge amount of trouble if sasquatches were found to be real – if there were wild quasi-humans living in our open areas. It would mean changes to the wilderness and parks system, changes to logging privileges. It might cause people living in remote areas to panic.
      And people working in the government would never be able to work in public service again if they spoke out publicly and without anonymity. Perhaps they would be prosecuted for revealing classified info, since the existence of sasquatches would be highly classified. They wouldn’t be believed anyway – bigfoot is a stereotypical joke. They would have to have super-solid evidence to be believed. They would need good nuclear DNA samples – just some hair wouldn’t be sufficient, because the hair shaft only has mitochondrial DNA. So they would need to somehow get a piece of sasquatch flesh, get it to science labs to be analyzed, and there would be the inevitable claims that their results must be contamination.
      Dr. Melba Ketchum released a sasquatch DNA study earlier this year, claiming that sasquatches are a hybrid of a human with a human relative, with human on the female side, so the mitochondrial DNA is human – but the nuclear DNA according to Dr. Ketchum, isn’t human, it’s a hybrid. The Erickson project at is where Dr. Ketchum got some of her DNA samples from. The Erickson project says they will be releasing a sasquatch documentary soon with telephoto images of a sasquatch that became somewhat habituated to humans.
      If all this pans out it will certainly be important for our understanding of human evolution – and humanity itself.
      I don’t think the “truther” claims are credible, or other kinds of conspiracy theories. But these claims have to be evaluated individually. There is no shortcut to the truth via derision.

      • Glenn says:

        The problem with your logic is that you begin with the conclusion (I think sasquatch are likely real). That is not the correct way research is done. You start with a hypothesis that needs testing, for example, suppose sasqatches(?) are real then you go to find evidence that would lead you to support the hypothesis. If no such evidence exists, it does not lead to the conclusion that neither do susquatches rather a confirmation that no evidence exist to suggest existence. I think that since negative cannot be proven leads to the continuation of conspiracy theories in of themselves.

  19. Jenny H says:

    Of course, just because someone says that they are a “skeptic” it does not follow that they necessarily are!

  20. Alan Tower says:

    What Mr. Dietrich says above are undisputed facts about building 7. Many many people are in states of denial to this day. 18,000 Architects and Engineers have assessed the data, show the facts in a film and merely ask for a legitimate investigation. Very unlikely to happen.

    A worthy followup project Christopher Griffin might consider would be to do a video piece on our remarkable human ability to go into deep denial when something challenges a foundational world view. Another exploration to this that would be the mirror of his original piece. . . which could be investigating what is behind Skeptics needing to lump all significant potential coverups (regardless of the data) into one mass label called conspiracy theory. He submits evolutionary reasons on the one hand, what are they on the other hand?

    • SkeleTony says:

      Ah yes, the ‘Troofers’ version of the infamous Creationist “List of over 400 scientists who doubt Darwinism”. Like the Creationist list the “architects and engineers” number is grossly exaggerated and very fraudulent. I don’t remember a single person on it having ever worked on a ‘Tower’ type structure and the “engineers” seem to run the gamut from software programmers to electrical engineers to exercise machine makers.

      And not a single scientific or rational case made by ANY of them! No one saying “Here is what happened (with accurate details) …” and “Here is why this does/does not work…”. It is the same old ‘Government is evil! I know because Alex Jones said so!’ nonsense repeated ad nauseum. You yourself repeat some of the most oft-debunked and refuted assertions out there! You are exactly like the guys who say the earth is 4,000-6,000 years old and won’t budge no matter how much contrary evidence we produce.

      Skeptics did not create the term “conspiracy theory”. It may have arrived in response to various post- Watergate myths (about JFK, Pearl Harbor, etc.) that were sprouting up and the reason you all get lumped together is because each of your conspiracy theories share these same defining traits of the term “Conspiracy theory”. Namely:

      1)Rube Goldberg devices – i.e. The government of Canada and the USA, along with thousands of Intelligence (CIA, FBI, Secret Service etc.) agents, police officers, emergency workers, journalists, videographers, and employees of the World Trade Center all worked together to perpetuate a massive act of genocide against their own friends and family, innocent men, women and children and keep the secret, ignoring all of the rewards for blowing the whistle on the actual perpetrators and instead choosing to take part in a crime that would result in death by firing squad if they were caught because any one of the tens of thousands of co-conspirators told someone (and we all know how good humans are at secret keeping).

      2) Denial and/or ignorance of the evidence contradicting their beliefs/claims. JFK CT-ists for example still claim Oswald was a poor shot who was too far away to have made the shot and that his LOS was obscured, even though you can easily find out that none of that is true. He was an excellent shot as a Marine and the shot was an easy one from a few hundred feet away using a scope.

      3) They all start as a result of innate sense of balance being disturbed. We hear that 3,000 people were killed in a clever scheme or that the President was assassinated and that the perpetrator(s) was a pretty mediocre lone nut or a handful of Middle Eastern terrorists and our minds snap. We construct a ‘villain’ or perpetrator who is as important or more important than the event itself.

      4) Always void of anything which directly infers or substantiates the claim – No bullets found at the scenes that did not match Oswald’s guns, no evidence of any ‘controlled demolition’ at the towers, etc.

      Every single conspiracy theory has these traits!

      • William Dietrich says:

        Would you please provide two examples in the last 100 years of American History, where you believe the government has told a lie to the people and covered up a crime committed by people in the government? If you can not think of any, then you are in deep denial. And by the way, I believe in the evolution of life forms over millions of years and the earth is over 4.3 Billion years old and oh yes, I believe the earth is a sphere and it revolves around the sun, and light does travel at 186,282 miles a second, so we don’t need to discuss those issues.

  21. Liam McDaid says:

    …but it’s OK, as this video was put out just to smoke out the paranoid into replying so we know who they are…

  22. Darrel Moon says:

    Not every true Skeptic believes the government and all it tells us. There is no one true source of truth as long as there are humans are reporting such. Paranoia; into your life it will creep…

    • William Dietrich says:

      95% of skeptics I have talked to believe there was no government cover-up of Pearl Harbor, JFK Assassination, Gulf of Tonkin, Oklahoma City Bombing, 9/11 Building 7 falling at free fall speed due to explosives, etc. They believe the government has told us the truth. I don’t understand why anyone over the age of 30 believes the government when politicians build their careers on lies.

      • SkeleTony says:

        Because there was no government cover-up of Pearl Harbor, JFK, OK City, 9/11 etc. That is where all of the evidence points. We are not obligated to believe an extraordinary claim or a conspiracy theory simply because you would really like for it to be real.

        • William Dietrich says:

          17 different video cameras captured Bldg. 7 collapsing at 5:20 pm after no planes hit it and the building falls at free fall speed. It can only fall at free fall speed if the central columns have been blown out with explosives. You can see the explosions blowing out the central columns through the windows. The people who believe there was no government cover-up can not explain this fact. And by the way old sport, there are no government conspiracies, only government lies and cover-ups.

        • SkeleTony says:

          Holy ****, this again.

          Building 7 did not fall at “free fall speed”. It collapsed in such a way as to damage and destroy other structures around it. It had a three story gash in it’s face from the other tower that toppled into it. Then Penthouse and top floor can be seen collapsing first, the weight of this topmost floor comes crashing down onto the next uppermost floor, and so on and so on with speed of the fall increasing with each added floor.

          There are no explosions (aka ‘squibs’) blowing through the windows. The effect you are describing is dust & debris blowing from between the floors and out other openings as the floors above crashed down onto the floors below. Place some powdered sugar into your hand then hold the other hand about 3 inches above the sugar-hand. Now bring the top hand down onto the other hand and watch the effect.

  23. William Dietrich says:

    Well, there you have it. The government does not lie to us and does not cover-up incompetence and crimes. Every true Skeptic I have met and discussed issues with believes the government tells us the truth and does not believe in government cover ups. Well Virginia, there really are politicians who lie and commit crimes and they are in your government staring you in the face!

    • Mark Palmer says:

      Really? Thats what you got out of that video, or are you just being ironic?

    • SkeleTony says:

      Straw man much? There are no skeptics taking the position that no politician ever lies or that the government cannot be corrupt to one degree or the other. Having said that, the fact that some/many politicians lie and the government has made some attempts to cover up embarrassing acts/events does not at all support the idea that conspiracy theories are real (ANY of them!). You have to remember that there is a vast difference between a ‘conspiracy theory and a conspiracy. Two or three guys planning to rob a bank is a conspiracy and it happens all the time. 5 million people ranging from everyday citizens to the President himself designing a Rube Goldbergian scheme to achieve a comparatively miniscule effect/result that could have been achieved much easier with much less risk and all the same ‘reward’…THAT is a conspiracy THEORY and it does not happen.

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