Monday, September 14, 2009


I don’t take anything at face value. I give credit to conspiracy theories, as they often seem as plausible as the mainstream interpretation of events. Many times though, I simply don’t care, and even if I did, I couldn’t do much about correcting any misrepresentations of history.

I want to throw another one out there.

I have written before how implying causality between correlations of changing global surface temperature and increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is statistical mumbo jumbo. But considering we know so little about whether the global climate will in fact ‘change’ (we still don’t know if that is for better or for worse) as a result of humanities combustion of fossil fuels, we seem to be taking quite radical actions. Households appear to want to do their part to prevent some hypothesised distant future even of low probability, while immediate and dire problems exists all around us (maybe more so in other parts of the world than the Lucky Country). So the question remains, how did such a fringe issue become so mainstream?

Today’s conspiracy theory is that a group of very powerful world business leaders (the big oil men) saw the imminent peak of fossil fuel production, and the resulting problems of a declining productive capacity of the economy. They wanted to get governments to act on this problem without having to admit that the problem existed. So, they utilised the fringe climate change movement, giving them a voice in mainstream circles. Any government actions implemented to curb climate change would conceal the peak of oil production for a little longer. Government research and subsidies may even assist in finding alternatives for big oil to invest in. All they while they can maintain that oil reserves are plentiful, keep confidence in their business and the share price high, while having governments unknowingly assist them to wean themselves off oil.

They use lines like “the stone age didn’t end because of a stone shortage” to show that change can happen voluntarily.

Anyway, that’s a nice one for today. I’ll leave you with this interesting comment from here.

I'm a bit of a conspiracy theory buff and one of my favorites is the meta-theory: all conspiracy theories that become popular are actually produced by the government to keep the paranoids occupied looking for aliens, bigfoot, and psychics instead of focusing on the more nefarious intrusions into civil and social rights. Meta-theory has a lot of benefits, such as that it explains why government explanations for things like Roswell are so terrible: a good explanation would leave only a few true believers, a bad explanation actually creates more believers in the conspiracy. As a final benefit, generating conspiracy theories as red herrings is cost-effective. A conspiracy theory works by arguing from the void/gaps. All the government need do is create a few vague clues and let the mind of the legions of paranoids do the rest of the work filling in the huge, ambiguous spaces. Why would anyone investigate mundane government corruption when there are aliens and psychics to research?


  1. I don't know, Cam; plausible, maybe, but I prefer the principle of parsimony when looking at an explanation for something.

    On the other hand, I could be wrong, and this guy is right.

  2. Oops html fail...

    Should be "and this guy is right."