I have a formal education in logic and argumentation. Conspiracy theories are often dismissed outright for one reason or other, but as of late, I've started to rethink some of the logic and metaphysics behind the general attacks on conspiracy theories (and a range of other topics as are applicable).
I've come to a sort of mid-way where I can see some limitations in the logic used, and some rather hasty uses of logic that fail to address the issues.
It seems to me that very often whether or not there is any intent
behind a conspiracy is largely irrelevant. However, it is the intent
portion of the conspiracy that is usually attacked, and rather easily. Historicism
has been debunked along with philology
, but that doesn't stop people from taking Nietzsche
seriously. Among those debunking it are Karl Popper
and C. S. Lewis
, both intellectual juggernauts not lightly to be dismissed.
Still, it is precisely those patterns in history that in the practical world we see repeated. Logic be damned. It happens. We're talking about inherently stochastic processes, so any degree of logic will eventually meet with some form of paralysis. Logic throws up its hands in defeat in the face of pure chaos (the study of chaos is another matter though). (Incidentally, this is why "brute force" attacks are used -- because strong encryption maximizes the randomness of the stored data and the only approach to it is to start at the beginning of all possibilities and work ones way to the end.)
But those patterns exist. Whether there is intent behind them or not, they are there.
So while we may smugly sit back, confident in our pretty logic that the "conspiracy" is false and nothing more than the ravings of a madman, it doesn't change the reality. Something *is* happening.
As an analogy, consider the typical ways that people think about morality and ethics as being the standard fare for logic and reasoning in the Karl Popper anti-Historicism vein of things. Then consider Carol Gilligan's arguments for relationship-oriented morality and ethics as she puts forth in "In a Different Voice
" as being more like the way in which conspiracy logic works. (I am aware of the possible connotations there, so please do not read into that anything more than what I am saying. I am not trying to demean conspiracy logic or relationship-centric morality. I am merely trying to frame the system, or different systems, in a relationship to each other.)
So what we end up with is a matter of perspective or a matter of dealing with situations using different systems.
Any logician worth a damn will tell you that some problems cannot be solved using some systems of logic.
This is detailed in Gödel's incompleteness theorems
Well, I may be making some assumptions (that it is applicable to humans and/or history) and jumping a few steps, but close enough. For an overview of what I am skipping over see here
. Perhaps the most telling is Penrose's conclusion:
Penrose presents the argument that human consciousness is non-algorithmic, and thus is not capable of being modeled by a conventional Turing machine-type of digital computer.
Well, let's just assume that human's are just very good at switching logical systems, and that's their core logical system. Problem solved.
Anyways, that's the quick summary on why I believe that quick dismissal of conspiracy theories is premature. (I'm still waffling on a few things, but whatever. I'll make up my mind eventually. That is unless I'm inconsistent. Or maybe because I'm incomplete...