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The Paradise Conspiracy

I’m currently reading Ian Wishart’s ‘The Paradise Conspiracy.’ Wishart is most well known today for being responsible for ‘Investigate Magazine’, which isn’t exactly the paragon of rational enquiry, but ‘in the day’ Wishart was a ‘respectable’ journalist. In the second of the two prologues to ‘The Paradise Conspiracy’ Wishart talks about how his career could be ruined by publishing what he knew about the European Pacific controversy. Being in a strangely conspiratorial mindset at the moment I immediately mused about one possible story to explain Wishart’s turn to extremism. The whole promoting ID and whatnot might be that by keeping himself in the limelight (so to speak) he can’t be so easily ‘done away with.’ Sure, he has to play the fool, but better a living fool than a dead purveyor of the truth…

Not that I’m saying that this is the case (or that I even think that this is even likely) but it’s the kind of story that fits the facts and looks explanatory.

Which, some days, seems to be the point of conspiracy theories. That my initial reaction to events is slowly becoming the academic postulation of connecting stories probably should worry me. This is the beginning of a process that turns a sports journalist into someone who believes that reptilian overloards have inflitrated the world government and eat babies in the bounds of Windsor Castle.

Yes, every day I fear that I am stepping a little closer to becoming one of ‘them.’


About Matthew Dentith

Author of "The Philosophy of Conspiracy Theories" (Palgrave Macmillan), Matthew Dentith wrote his PhD on epistemic issues surrounding belief in conspiracy theories. He is a frequent media commentator on the weird and the wonderful, both locally and internationally. On occasion he can be caught dreaming about wax lions but, mostly, it is rumoured he works for elements of the New World Order.

10 comments:

  1. I take it that you were referring to David Icke in that last bit, but you should look a little further into what he’s all about. It’s all through bloodlines that he has traced and found many connections. He’s also spoken with thousands of people about these things and have found similar stories and connections. I mean if you watch Secrets of the Matrix, you’ll find a lot of connections between all of the happenings in the modern world. I’d say it’s definitely worth a look. Of course if you don’t want to sit through the whole six hours, there is a short 3 minute video too with David Icke in it, and some cool music. You can find it all on this link. We are definitely not alone.

    http://videoconspiracy.blogspot.com/

  2. Well, yes, Icke was the targert of that comment. I’m familiar with his particular brand of conspiracy theory but I’m not convinced by it at all. Even if you can trace political heads to certain bloodlines (which makes a certain amount of sense; the ruling classes of the Western World did their best to keep themselves in power; the Hapsburgs come to mind as a perfect example of a bloodline maintaining and building an empire) that doesn’t entail much more than powerful families trying to keep control of what they believe they have a right to (whether or not it is deserved or not). The further claim about the alien bloodline, though… Well, the evidence is not convincing.

    Icke’s theories, to me, seem like classic errant data fixing; his theory ‘explains’ more because it fits more data than the rival theories. However, just because a theory includes more doesn’t make it right; you need to question the background assumptions and see if they fit the best possible beliefs we can hold. In the case of alien intervention on the Earth our background beliefs show that to be unlikely.

    Then, of course, there’s the issue about Icke’s previous claims; whilst individual theories should be evaluated on their own merits one can argue successfully that Icke, with his previous claims about being the messiah, about the world coming to an end, et al, is not a good testifier for these views as he has been shown to either a) deluded or b) (worse) lying.

    Anyway, when it comes to alien intervention I always prefer von Daniken. Not because he I think he is even remotely correct but because he has a theme park.

  3. It’s certainly possible (even easy) to say Icke is mad. It is possible (and just as easy) to say the same of any religion that doesn’t happen to be your own, or for that matter even scientific theories like Darwin’s theory – after all, if they’re still “theories” then we can’t really accpet them as “facts” can we? I’m not saying such theories or religions or faiths or beliefs are untrue, just that – either by semantic definition or by our own epistemological limits – we do not know.

    HOWEVER. all the theories, faiths and beikef systems out there still have value. They are guaranteed to have at least as much value as any piece of fiction has, and fiction does have value intellectually and psychologically (otherwise we wouldn’t write it or read it). So that much is guaranteed. But also – whether we’re talking about religion, occultism, art, science, language, mathematics, or any symbol-based discipline (which means everything humans do with their brains) – there are additional levels of meaning available to those who can make it to the point where they view the symbols in the intended context and thereby come to understand the points being made (as opposed to simply being aware of how they appear against the conceptual grid of the collective consciousness).

    In other words – for religion, science, and conspiracy theory alike – it’s okay to say “this symbol is someone’s best current metaphor for describing something” – and then if you wish, you may try to learn what that metaphor means to him/her/them – rather than merely deciding “i believe it” or “i don’t.” To neglect this option is to limit your own understanding. To consider the decision final is to reinforce the viewpoint of the collective mainstream, and to trumpet such a declaration is an act of socio-intellectual divisiveness. In other words, the very coin of the Illuminati.

  4. Metaphose, I must call you on the following:

    One: In the discussion of Conspiracy Theories we are dealing with putative factual stories, not iterations of fiction (even the Ancients, to whom History was a form of narrative, would agree to this). If we treat any given ‘theory’ as merely psychologically and intellectually good fiction then we are, in essence, probably just rewriting ‘Foucault’s Pendulum.’ If our ‘theories’ are more than fiction… Well, we have methodologies for showing which are good and which are bad, some of which come from the Natural Sciences, some of which come from the Social Sciences. Well-constructed ‘theories’ (I don’t think you and I share a common conception of the term ‘theory’ here) with multiple levels of meaning can still be bad; the Ptolemaic model of the Geosystem had multiple meanings (circles as perfections, spheres as the locations of the higher beings, et al) but it was still a bad ‘theory’ as, ontologically, it was untrue. It may have been the best of all theories for the time, that is true, but that doesn’t tell us much more than that the Ancients had a vastly limited technology for the kinds of observations we take for granted.

    Two: Yes, understanding why someone claims to hold belief X is a good thing. That doesn’t mean, however, that you then have to entertain the belief as equal to one’s own or explore what this belief means. I understand a lot of the why of Icke’s claims; like most people he underestimates the statistical possibility of two events occurring at the same time, he, like many people, thinks that theories that collate errant data are better than those theories that don’t, and so forth. Thus, knowing a lot about why he believes in the things he does (reptilian overlords, et al) and knowing the background assumptions that he has, I can contrast them to the best theories we have in the public domain and, yes, I can find Icke’s views wanting, lacklustre, et al. My judgement comes from an understanding of why people like Icke think the way they do. There’s nothing innately wrong with consensus science or the collective mainstream; language is a consensus thing and advances in the Natural Sciences are made from a body of working scientists testing one another, et al. We have good working models of this that justify our beliefs as the best we can hold at this point in time.

    Three: As for this metaphor malarky… As far as I can tell, Icke’s metaphor of reptiles, et al, is a thinly disguised attempt to justify racism.

    Four: The Illuminati? You mean that Bavarian group who don’t exist any more? Or have you been reading too much of the Principia Discordia?

  5. Ah, you are a scientific materialist. In that case I cannot help you, but at least I know that your divisiveness comes from within your conscious worldview, and therefore is nothing more than a simple reflection of status quo. In other words, you are no more harmful than any other muppet. You are a speck of legion.

    There is something commendable about people who try to solve the problems of the whole mind by using only half of theirs. Something paradoxically inspiring, in a Zen Koan sort of way.

  6. Insults really won’t get you anywhere. I’m a Selectivist, but I don’t expect you to understand what that is.

  7. I hope you weren’t calling Icke a racist because he called a rich family of jews lizards because of their bloodline and the fact that they funded Hitler to kill off their own people.

  8. Check it out… When it comes to making accusations of racism, his superlative powers of “selectivism” suddenly go all soft & fuzzy on him. Is it the hard-on that does that? Gotta wonder.

  9. In what I hope to be the last word on the matter, I wish to utilise that quote. Did you actually parse this?

    \”I hope you weren’t calling Icke a racist because he called a rich family of jews lizards because of their bloodline and the fact that they funded Hitler to kill off their own people.\”

    One: Jews are not lizards. Even if you agree with that, see 3.

    Two: It is not a fact that the family is being referred to funded Hitler, let alone funded Hitler to kill Jews. Facts are statements which are true; this is a supposition, and a very not well founded supposition at that.

    Three: If you/Icke/etc wish to avoid claims of anti-semiticism then you can\’t claim that the family in question aren\’t Jews because they are, in fact, reptiles and then, in the same breath, claim that this family of non-Jewish lizards funded someone to kill off their own kind, to whit, Jews, because you\’ve already said that the family in question aren\’t real Jews at all but rather lizards.

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