Posts Tagged Conspiracy Theories

Skeptics with a K: Episode #030

Bananaman, Vodafone, the Man in the Moon and Dennis Quaid.  Plus magnetic feet, deformed children and the three-legged football player. It’s the big 30 for Skeptics with a K!

Play

,

10 Comments

Skeptics in the Pub: David Aaronovitch

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History

by David Aaronovitch
When: Thu, Jul 15, 2010 8.00 – 11.00 PM
Where: The Vines (aka the Big House), 81 Lime Street, Liverpool

Summary

Our age is obsessed by the idea of conspiracy. We see it everywhere – from Pearl Harbour to 9/11, from the assassination of Kennedy to the death of Diana.

In his book Voodoo Histories, writer David Aaronovitch entertainingly demolishes the absurd and sinister conspiracy theories of the last 100 years. Aaronovitch reveals why people are so ready to believe in them and the dangers of this credulity.

Meticulous in its research, forensic in its reasoning, hilarious in its debunking, Voodoo Histories will arm anyone who has found themselves at the wrong end of a conversation about moon landings or the twin towers.

David will examine the need, when iconic figures such as Kennedy, Monroe or Princess Diana are killed, to construct an overarching explanation that mitigates the pain and anxiety of their loss – showing what happens when, as in the case of Diana, conspiracy theories actually make it as far as a court of law.

Read the rest of this entry »

, ,

3 Comments

(Cancelled) Skeptics in the Pub: David Aaronovitch

Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History – Cancelled

Apologies for the last minute notice, but after an unforeseen emergency eye surgery, our guest speaker David Aaronovitch has had to pull out of the event on Thursday. This is of course a huge shame, but we’ll be keeping the room for the date, so instead we’re hosting a social event in the Vines at 8pm. Please feel free to come along and chat to us about skepticism, conspiracy theory and other skeptical topics.

, ,

No Comments

Dogs, Doom and Dictators

Last weekend, the Bluecoat gallery in Liverpool hosted a day of events under the title Views From The Grassy Knoll. It was a mixture of talks, screenings and performances covering everything from conspiracy theories and art, to science and politics. It also included an overview of what Skepticism is by Gavin Schofield from the Greater Manchester Skeptics, which I sadly missed but which I heard was a very good talk.

The headline lecture was 2012 by Dr Bill Aitchison, a performance artist and researcher. I was lucky enough to be able to make this one, albeit fifteen minutes late, and found it a very interesting and entertaining, if strange, experience. Read the rest of this entry »

,

No Comments

Mad Journalist Syndrome

On the 14th January, Simon Jenkins published an article online at the Guardian’s Comment is Free section entitled: “Swine Flu is as Elusive as WMD. The Real Threat is Mad Scientist Syndrome.”, in which he criticised both scientists and the government for what he saw as scare tactics and misinformation in the handling of the swine flu outbreak. The article annoyed me a little, but I had food in the oven, and as I’m a man who lives on his stomach (to paraphrase Dr. Bruce Banner, you wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry), I forgot about it and went about my merry way.

A week later, the article began to surface from the sea of my subconscious and I grew increasingly irked. I gradually came to realise that it was a much more frustrating article than I had initially given it credit for. Read the rest of this entry »

, , ,

5 Comments

Panic And Blame – The Daily Mail’s Bread And Butter

Alex Gibson,  friend of the MSS and board member of the National Federation of Atheist, Humanist and Secular Student Societies, drops in to offer his thoughts on the ‘great big swine flu pandemic scandal conspiracy’ in  the Daily Mail.

Today’s headline: newspaper accuses pharmaceutical companies of manufacturing the panic about the swine flu pandemic to sell more drugs.

This, of course, is the same newspaper that did its best at the time to report the facts and not create panic with articles such as this, this, this and this. I can’t bring myself to look at the articles that the Daily Express was putting out at the time: if the Mail is the malicious kid at school who spread nasty rumours about people, the Express is the gullible, panicky person he talks to first.

The article, in its rush to expose how Big Pharma leaned on the World Health Organisation to get swine flu bumped up to pandemic status, ignores the fact that swine flu met the WHO’s very basic criteria for a pandemic. Like any good conspiracy theory, it starts to unravel when you actually look at the facts. If there was any pressure from some Tamiflu-selling corporate mastermind it was fairly pointless, since swine flu far and away fit the bill for a pandemic anyway. Avian flu didn’t, and neither did SARS – two glitzy media diseases that you’d think would be ripe for making money.

The real spleen-buster is the Mail complaining that in the UK there have been “just 251 deaths overall”. They sound terribly disappointed by this. Poor show, swine flu. There is, of course, no mention of the UK’s excellent free healthcare services and the fact that worldwide about 13,000 people have died, but that’s not even the important bit. Read the rest of this entry »

, , , , ,

No Comments