Tuesday, June 06, 2006

From Urban Legend to Historical Revisionism

Brussels, June 6th, 2006 AKA 06/06/06

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts."
Bertrand Russell

Through Internet, we are overwhelmed by several types of lies targeting us at different period of life.

Teenagers all over the world are forwarding each others urban legend. One of the latest one that even convinced some adult people I know was about Bill Gate giving away all his money. To be on the beneficiary’s list one just has to forward the e-mail informing the good news to his friends.

After a few years of being flooded with urban legends, the typical teenager, now a young adult is ready to get into conspiracy theories. There are plenty of them available. The most famous are all about September 11. there is an amazing number of people still arguing today all over the internet about remote controlled boeing and other totally insane theories.
The method used in developing conspiracy theories consist of the use of several types of logical fallacies (see also here) that are not always easy to counter, especially if you are wise (and thus “full of doubt” as stated at the beginning of this page :-))

Unfortunaly, logical fallacies used to develop conspiracy theories are quite often used for promoting historical revisionism also known as negationism.

To say that a conspiracy theorist is a negationnist would be a logical fallacy in itself but it is troubling to realize that there is some kind of rope linking Urban Legend, Conspiracy Theories and Negationism. The three phenomenons are denying reality, using doubts that exist in the mind of each reasonable person.

Therefore, it is reasonable to say that paying attention to the spread of these multilayer levels of reality denials is important, especially with youngsters.

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