I’ve seen some surreal moments in our nation’s capitol, but few can compare to watching Republican members of Congress lecture John Holdren last week on the meaning of “science.” Here are some highlights.
Holdren, the president’s science advisor, was the lone witness at a hearing held by the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology to review the White House’s fiscal year 2015 budget request for science agencies.
You can watch the two-hour video here —or better yet, don’t. We’ve watched it for you. Plus, you don’t want to be more embarrassed than you already are about a science committee that includes a congressman who describes evolution as a “lie from the pit of Hell” and another who claims that climate change is a liberal plot to “create global government to control our lives.”
The only thing about this Imagine 2050 report that surprises me is that it barely mentions our old “friends” Robert Spencer, and Pamela Geller. Those two are normally at the forefront of spreading baseless conspiracy theories that demonize Muslims. Are they not at the top of their game or something right now?
The anti-Muslim movement recently capitalized on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to showcase their obsessive tendencies to connect any tragedy back to Muslims and Islam.
Now that the aircraft’s whereabouts have been determined, an ongoing investigation continues to understand what led to its fate. Experts say they are not ruling out an intentional diversion of the plane and that they are investigating all possible scenarios. However, this has not deterred the anti-Muslim cohort from taking to their respective platforms to stir up fear that Muslims played a role in the plane’s disappearance.
Once again, these writers, pundits and activists have “spirited away” the human pain and suffering in this tragedy in order to advance a collective anti-Muslim agenda and raise their own individual profiles.
Fox News continues to be a major culprit in this effort and has featured noted anti-Muslim activists — with no notable expertise on plane crash investigations — to comment on the disappearance. The most frequent guest is “national security analyst” Ryan Mauro, who works for Clarion Project, an organization known for its production of Islamophobic films.
Two years ago, a group of researchers published a paper with a provocative title: “NASA Faked the Moon Landing—Therefore, (Climate) Science Is a Hoax.” In the paper, they noted that a subset of the community that has a hard time accepting the evidence for human-driven climate change tends to more generally believe conspiracy theories.
Ironically, the community responded with… conspiracy theories. Which some of the original authors then analyzed in a paper that was accepted for publication in the journal Frontiers of Psychology. But shortly after its appearance, the article was pulled from the journal website and has existed in an unusual academic limbo since. Today, Frontiers has confirmed that the paper will be pulled permanently—not due to any flaws in it or misconduct by its authors, but because its “legal context is unclear.” All indications are that lack of clarity involves some of its subjects threatening defamation suits.
The initial paper produced results that weren’t entirely surprising. By surveying visitors to climate blogs, its authors found that free-market fans tended to reject scientific findings that had potential regulatory implications, something that’s been found by a variety of other researchers. But it also found that there is a population of people who doubt scientific findings simply because they tended to doubt nearly everything, ascribing a variety of things—the Moon landings, the World Trade Center attacks, etc.—to conspiracies. This might seem surprising, but the results held up when the same authors extended the study to the US population in general.
1. Jesus and Mary Magdalene:
The idea that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were actually married has been a hot topic of debate. Though glorified from The DaVinci Code, the basis of the theory comes from a document found in 1945 called The Gospel of Philip. The Gnostic Gospel says that Jesus had preferred the companion of Mary over any other disciple and that Jesus would kiss Mary on the mouth. The Gospel called Mary Jesus’ companion and is still being disputed today by religious experts.
13. Vaccination and autism:
Celebrity Jenny McCarthy has fought this fight for years and even Robert Kennedy Jr. voiced his opinion saying the politician believes there is a conspiracy between scientists and the vaccine industry to hide the truth about the ingredients in vaccine shots. McCarthy has said that mother’s from all over the world who have children with autism have said for years that, “We vaccinated our baby and something happened.”
11. Global Warming:
Global warming has been a hot topic ever since Al Gore brought it to the world’s stage but many theorists believe this to be a ruse in order to control the populations way of life, raise taxes and intended to lead to more controlling, tyrannical government.
10. The Holocaust:
Believe it or not there are many theorists out there who believe that the Holocaust is a hoax. Conspiracy theories claim that the Nazis never murdered over 6 million Jews during World War II but claims of the Holocaust was conspired by the Jews to advance their own interests and to justify the creation of Israel. The deniers claim that any deaths which occurred in concentration camps were from starvation or disease and not because of Nazi policy to exterminate the Jews. The Diary of Anne Frank the conspiracy theorists believe is a forgery.
8. The AIDS virus:
Conspiracy theorists believe that the AIDS virus was created in a laboratory and injected into homosexuals and African-Americans by ruse of a hepatitis-B experiment back in 1978. Thabo Mbeki, the former South African President, said that the scientific claims that the disease originated in Africa is false and that the U.S. government actually created the virus in a lab and is trying to place the blame on Africa. Theorists believe that the AIDS virus was created by the CIA to rid the country of homosexuals and African-Americans and to weaken the groups numbers.
6. The New World Order:
The Illuminati and the Freemasons are two of the many secret society’s that are out there. Theorists believe that there is a New World Order that is going to come into effect and run the world under one worldwide government. Signs, like the pyramid and eye on the American dollar bill is said to be the work of the Illuminati. Many believe that the Freemasons are behind the scheme to take over the world.
Though terrorists of Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility for the attacks that occurred on Sept.11, 2001 many believe that the U.S. government knew of the upcoming attack and did nothing. Conspiracy theorists believe that the way the two towers went down proves that the U.S. government either planned the attack or aided in the complete destruction of the towers to fuel hatred and to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
…a team of researchers at Northeastern University, led by Walter Quattrociocchi, decided to study how it is that erroneous information jumps the credibility fence and becomes widely believed to be true. Their theory ,… is that it has something to do with the kind of people who read “alternative” news, because they’re generally mistrustful of the mainstream media.
The team studied some 2 million Facebook users to see how they interacted with various pieces of content about the 2013 political election in Italy—stories from traditional news sites, alternative publications, and niche political sites. They then interjected 2,788 untrue or satirical “troll” posts to compare.
The researchers found that people engaged with the bunk posts even more and for even longer than the accurate reports, and they wound up triggering several viral stories, underlining “the effect of Facebook on bursting the diffusion of false beliefs when truthful and untruthful rumors coexist,” the report states.
Logically enough, the folks who were more prone to reading alternative websites (defined as “pages which disseminate controversial information, most often lacking supporting evidence and sometimes contradictory of the official news”) were also more likely to buy into a conspiracy theory. … those radical readers are A) less adept at parsing accurate information and B) already skeptical of mainstream journalism, and looking for an different take.
A newly apportioned state Republican representative in Wyoming is standing by claims he made at the height of the AIDS panic in a book entitled The Death Sentence of AIDS: Vital Information For You and Your Family’s Health and Safety.
Among the more outlandish claims in the book, which was self-published by Rep. Troy Mader (R-Gillette) in 1984, are that “[h]omosexuals…purposely infected women to pass AIDS infection into the straight population,” and that “[m]any homosexuals demand the right to have sexual acts with children of any age, including infants.”
Fox News will host discredited smear merchant Kathleen Willey tonight to attack Hillary Clinton. Willey is not credible — she has repeatedly been caught contradicting her own sworn testimony and has pushed absurd conspiracies that the Clintons killed her husband and former White House aide Vince Foster.
The website for Fox’s The Kelly File currently features the following tease for tonight’s episode: “She claimed Bill Clinton sexually harassed her, but former aide Kathleen Willey now says Hillary is the bigger danger to women! Don’t miss this explosive interview.” Megyn Kelly’s interview will likely cover the same ground as an appearance Willey made on WND reporter Aaron Klein’s radio program, during which she claimed that “Hillary Clinton is the war on women.”
Willey’s claims about Bill Clinton’s supposed harassment have been thoroughly discredited. In 1998, Willey alleged on CBS’ 60 Minutes that President Clinton fondled her against her will in 1993 during a private White House meeting in which she asked for a paid position in the administration (she was working as a volunteer at the time). Clinton denied making any sexual advance toward Willey, both at the time and in his memoir. The allegations were explored during discovery of Jones v. Clinton, the lawsuit in which Paula Jones claimed that Clinton sexually harassed her, and reviewed by Independent Counsel Robert Ray.
Ray’s report found that “Willey’s Jones deposition testimony differed from her grand jury testimony on material aspects of the alleged incident,” noting that Willey “said at her deposition … that [Clinton] did not fondle her.” Ray also pointed out that — despite Willey’s subsequent claims that she had been intimidated near her home shortly before giving her Jones deposition in 1998 — in her Jones deposition, she “testified no one had tried to discourage her from testifying.”
Ray also found that Willey contradicted herself on whether she had told others about the alleged incident; that Willey had sent repeated letters to Clinton after she claims he harassed her in which she “sought help or expressed gratitude”; that a Willey friend said Willey had instructed her to falsely support her story; and that Willey gave false information to the FBI. The Independent Counsel declined to prosecute Clinton due to “insufficient evidence.”
In fact, Alan Colmes (of all people) nailed her on that:
The Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia is planning to host a three-day training by John Guandolo, a notorious Muslim-basher and conspiracy theorist who resigned from the FBI before he could be investigated for misconduct, according to promotional materials.
It’s hard to believe that the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office would knowingly associate itself with such a disreputable character, who regularly attacks the U.S. government, claims that the director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a secret Muslim agent for the Saudi government and says that American Muslims “do not have a First Amendment right to do anything.”
Guandolo joined the bureau’s Counterterrorism Division in the wake of 9/11, but by 2005 he was posing as a driver for a “star witness” in the corruption case of former Congressman William Jefferson (D-LA). He made “inappropriate sexual advances” to that witness and soon was having an “intimate relationship…that he thought could damage an investigation.” He also unsuccessfully solicited the witness for a $75,000 donation to an organization he supported and carried on extramarital affairs with female FBI agents.
Guandolo’s actions risked tanking the government’s prosecution of Jefferson, and he faced an investigation by the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Though he later expressed “deep remorse” for his actions, he resigned from the bureau in December, 2008, ahead of an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility. Later that month, he became a full-time anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist — all under the guise of being a counterterrorism expert.