Monday, December 11, 2006

Of Conspiracies and Conspirators.

Folks of the 'rational' bent of mind tend to want to dismiss 'conspiracy' theories. Too much has to go just so for a conspiracy to prosper, they'll say; and no one could rely on the other conspirators' silence, they'll say. "NASA Faked the Moon Landing" is a claim which often is offered to provide evidence of the improbability or implausibility of such claims.

I do not dismiss out of hand the possibility of conspiracies, even elaborate, seemingly impossible ones. Okay, I happen to think NASA didn't 'fake' the moon landings. But they could have, easily. Here is my take on the phenomenon:

Several years ago, iirc, some poor, demented soul began contaminating packages of over-the-counter medicines (was it Tylenol?) with poisons; several people died, and several more were injured.

When investigating these seemingly random crimes, the police uncovered a plot: the demented person had adulterated several random packages and caused several random deaths and injuries for one reason only, and it wasn't mere homicidal mischief: the medicines were poisoned whch strangers would be taking in order to provide cover for the intentional act of murder, by the same means--i.e., poisoned OTC medicines--within her/his own household.

This case has served me as a paradigm for trying to understand and interpret other, seemingly randomly associated events.

There are billions of people in the world, and room for all manner of coincidences to occur. It's just that, sometimes, folks try to manipulate the appearance of coincidence to cover intentional acts...and you might never know, unless you looked...


notwatchingtelevision said...

Amen, Woody. I get frustrated when people asking questions or probing facts and evidence are blown off as conspiracy theorists, paranoics or folks out to make a buck.

The "conspiracy theory" rubrick suggests some grand, unified explanation for everything, but I've seen very few attempts to do that. Most folks labeled conspiracy theorists are just skeptics -- either of the armchair variety or more hard-working types. And skepticism is what democracy requires of all of us.

Dirk Gently said...

speaking of coincidence, isn't it weird that not one of the many many instances of reported electronic vote problems favored the democratic candidate?

one needn't always even look closely.