Self professed “skeptics” claim they promote critical thinking while doing the exact opposite
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009
The BBC cannot resist attacking anyone who questions the establishment line and counters mainstream accounts of events, especially if they make up part of the new and exciting alternative media that is contributing to the corporation’s ongoing fossilization.
That is why in a feature article  today, the corporation is promoting a group of “scientists and skeptics” whose declared mission is to vigorously debunk those who are questioning the “accepted versions” of events.
“While many people find them harmless fun, others believe there is a darker truth – that conspiracy theories are rewriting history, warping the present and altering the future. Enough is enough they say – it’s time to fight back.” the report reads.
The article centres around the “non profit” James Randi Educational Foundation  (JREF), which charges £175 a ticket to its conferences, events that equate to little more than rabid debunking fests on everything from 9/11 truth to research claiming mercury containing vaccinations are harmful.
In a deliberate Orwellian warping of language, JREF attendees are described as “skeptics” who are promoting critical thinking”:
“…scientists, writers and comedians target conspiracy theories – and their close cousins pseudoscience and medical quackery – in front of an audience loosely allied by their desire for more rational, critical thinking.” the report states.
“…some delegates prefer to call themselves rationalists, free thinkers or Brights. Out there in the audience is the next generation of bloggers and media professionals,” [JREF president Dr Phil] Plait says.
In what plain of reality is it considered “free thinking” to debunk and shut down alternative theories and questions in favour of a recieved reality?
Luminaries and speakers at the recent conference in London, titled The Amazing Meeting (TAM), included Glenn Hill, the son of someone who claimed to have taken pictures of fairies at the bottom of their garden, but later admitted it was a hoax.
The BBC report on JREF brazenly lumps in questions over the 9/11 attacks with moon landing conspiracies and individuals who claim to have paranormal spoon-bending powers.
It highlights the fact that those who have questioned and challenged the findings of the 9/11 commission have had a “massive impact”, however, the tone of the piece suggests this is thoroughly negative and even dangerous.
Presumably the 9/11 commissioners themselves should be a target for the JREF debunkers, given that six of the ten have openly questioned the Commission’s findings and described the whole thing as a whitewash .
Perhaps the same goes for the majority of the 9/11 victims’ family members , who also have unanswered questions regarding the attacks, according to the head of the biggest 9/11 families group.
JREF was officially established in 1996 to “help debunk paranormal and pseudoscientific claims”. How ironic it is then that the foundation seemingly supports the pseudoscientific claim that jet fuel, and office fires in the case of of World Trade Center 7, can burn at temperatures hot enough to cause multi-story steel framed structures to collapse and disintegrate at free fall rate.
JREF has comedians and a man who pretended to have a picture of fairies at its conferences, the 9/11 truth movement has heard from hundreds of architects, engineers and physics professors. How telling it is that the BBC paints up JREF as the credible organisation, while the 9/11 truth movement is reduced to the level of racist internet-dwelling freaks.
The ever present anti-semite smear against the 9/11 truth movement is present, tick that prerequisite off the list. Apparently British investigative journalist Jon Ronson (he who lied in his own book in claiming he entered the elite Bohemian Grove gathering with Alex Jones) posted a comment on a 9/11 truth forum and was, according to the BBC, “abused and ridiculed because he is Jewish”.
Demonization of the internet is there too, with the following lazy smear:
“Conspiracy theorists have used the internet to co-ordinate increasingly slick attacks on the accepted versions of events… Conspiracy theories predate the internet but the web has provided a fast, accessible platform for groups to unite, gather research and disseminate information without even meeting or leaving their houses.”
Check off another cliched attack.
The piece also intimates that a belief in a conspiracy regarding the assassination of JFK is something to be classed as kooky or revisionist. A reader comment nails the ridiculousness of such a claim:
So I guess you’re also including the “House Select Committee on Assassinations” who in 1970 concluded that “The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee was unable to identify the other gunmen or the extent of the conspiracy.” This was a three-year investigation carried out carried out by the US Government. Those loony conspiracy nuts.
If the BBC and JREF are trying to convince the general public to believe something different, they have a great deal of work to do, given that some forty years later 7 in 10 stark raving mad kooks believe the assassination was the result of a nefarious plot, not the act of a lone killer.
Another reader comment on the BBC piece injects some common sense into an otherwise blithering mess of an article:
Some conspiracy theorists are plain nuts, but the ability and right to question what is commonly taught is extremely important. To assert that all conspiracy theories are bunk is the same as saying “believe what you are told”. Surely this is dangerous thinking?
The BBC has routinely attacked the 9/11 truth movement and over the past few years has produced no less than four television hit pieces  laden with bias and emotional manipulation in an attempt to debunk legitimate questions that remain unanswered.
The corporation has also hacked its way through research into the 7/7 London bombings  that has raised concerning questions in the vacuum that exists due to the lack of any real investigation into the attacks.
In addition the BBC has taken to debunking  any deviations from the official version of events surrounding Lockerbie, The Oklahoma City Bombing, and the deaths of Dr David Kelly and Princess Diana.
All of these shows have been backdropped with so called “experts”, including the director of The X-Files, forcing ludicrous, cringe-worthy and cliched psychobabble down the throats of viewers to the effect of “the conspiracy theorists just want to believe that there is a big evil force, that they have no power to resist, manipulating and controlling everything.”
We have attempted to engage the makers of these programs directly. Alex Jones himself has appeared in many of them and has had their producers and creators on his show as guests. Each time they have had very little to contribute and have actively shown themselves to be completely uninformed  on the subjects they have supposedly spent months researching.
Trust in the BBC went down the toilet bowl a long time ago. The corporation was effectively castrated by the government following its role in the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction debacle  that preceded the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
After the Blair government appointee Lord Hutton astonishingly exonerated the government of any wrong doing over the affair, the Director General of the BBC, Greg Dyke, was forced to quit . The corporation was also made to issue a groveling apology for daring to act like an independent journalistic source when it ran a story claiming that the government had “sexed up” its Iraq weapons dossier with unreliable intelligence.
Greg Dyke has since spoken of a “Westminster conspiracy”,  on the part of the elite political class and the BBC, that is actively breaking down democracy in Britain. But then again I guess he is just one of the loony internet-dwelling spoon-bending conspiracy theorists that the BBC is proud to announce should be countered by the “critical thinkers” of the James Randi Educational Foundation.
I guess we should simply trust a giant media corporation that is directly subsidized by the government and feeds off enforced tax payer license fees to deliver our “critical thinking” for us.