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A few days ago a watched the Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Enron ran a naive and sketchy business, resulting in desperate money-making schemes like flicking power plants on and off. When looking at the big picture, the entire enterprise looks like a legitimate and documented conspiracy. Enron worked congress to get the energy business deregulated, which led to the ability to lie about the company value, which led massive earnings, which brought other banks into their schemes, which resulted in the financial rape of their shareholder, customers, and the general economy.

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As Ashley pointed out to me, a common argument against conspiracy theories is that “too many people would have to know in order to pull it off.” So if we can believe this publicly documented event which involved countless people, then why not believe a faked moon landing, intentional 9/11 strikes, or the NWO?

Forgive the clich√© Nazi comparison, but the Nazis too were a large group who ran an unethical operation. We must remember, like the Nazis, Enron was extremely unsuccessful in their big picture goals. These organizations were so large, and their effects were had such an impact, that they did not survive. “All the people who knew” were either out of a job, imprisoned, killed, etc.

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Enron had countless participants, the Nazis too was a large organization, as in these examples the number of participants alone does not mean that they are incapable of doing harm. It is the scale of an organization, along with diminished individual responsibility that paves the way for potential ruin. What the Enron situation does not have in common with other conspiracy theories, is that it’s members all suffered by everything from job loss, prison time, and suicide, which the media has all documented. All those peope did know, and look what happend to them.

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For many conspiracy theorists, traditional conspiracy theories by nature can not be disproved because lack of available evidence can be seen as evidence of a cover-up, so no matter what the findings, theorists claim proof of a conspiracy. I guess one could argue that the Enron situation didn’t measure up to the severity of the moon landings or 9/11, so the same level of cover-up wasn’t required. Or maybe, Enron was prosecuted so that the institution could show the people that they don’t cover-up. This way the people will stop looking for the real conspiracies, tricky, tricky!

Not being able to disprove a conspiracy theory, is not supprting evidence for it’s plausability.

The God Who Wasn’t There

January 11, 2009

The God Who Wasn’t There, this movie was very disappointing. Several reliable sources online gave it good reviews; Amazon, IMDB. The intention of the movie was to:
1. Compare the story of Jesus to other mythological characters
2. Discuss the violence of Christianity and how the religon scares people into belief

Richard Dawkins (a.k.a. Darwin’s Bulldog) is one of the most well respected evolutionary scientists. He recorded a commentary track for this movie. Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) made the statement: “If atheists had a pope it would be Richard Dawkins.” I can’t think of a higher quality endorsement for a movie challenging Jesus and Christianity. It’s so depressing that this movie can’t live up to its potential.

This movie reminded me of Internet conspiracy movies like Zeitgeist and Loose Change. It has the punching techno-rock music underneath some cheap looking graphics while a narrator debunks “The Greatest Story Ever Told” being ironically dead-pan. Religious belief is completely illogical, but the people who believe don’t see it that way. In their heads, they are doing what’s right, they’ve had a lifetime of training to think this way. This film maker came across completely arrogant downright bratty. I don’t mean to pander to the religious, I’m not concerned with offending them. What does upset me is the ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’ tone this movie takes on. It’s like the creator wasn’t mature enough to to the subject proper justice.

Atheists profess their devotion to logic and reason. It’s unfortunate that in this movie those rules were broken for shock and awe. To exemplify a few monsters that Christianity has created, the movie profiles Charles Manson, some mom that killed her baby for god, among others. This ad hominem attack makes no evidence for religion being dangerous. One could just as easily say that being a white person can lead to committing crimes (all of the provided examples were white people). It goes on to suggest that the blood and gore in The Passion of the Christ is evidence that modern day Christians get off on death and suffering. This is an example of post hoc reasoning;¬† just because a bloody movie has a Christian theme and does well commercially, does not in and of itself mean that Christians currently find pleasure in suffering.

I think it’s also fair to mention the pitiful camera set up. I realize that documentaries get somewhat of a free pass on camera work when in the field. However this movie had it’s camera problems during sit-down interviews. The exposure was either blown out or under exposed. The white balance seemed to be somewhat optional, some shots were extremely blue, or very red. Overall very unprofessional.

What’s the Harm?

January 8, 2009

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What’s the harm in believing in ghosts, believing in astrology, believing in religious fundamentalism, believing in vitamin mega dosing? Off the top of my head I don’t know, but whatstheharm.net does. This website does nothing else but provide examples for how irrational thought can cause personal injury or death. The website lists popular pseudosciences such as alternative medicine, the paranormal, conspiracy theories, as well as lists famous people who had their lives negatively effected or ended due to their dangerous irrational beliefs.

Jim Henson who felt ill for several days prior to his death, didn’t go to the hospital due to his Christian Science upbringing.
Bob Marley needed his baby toe amputated to save his life but his religious beliefs forbade it.
Wesley Snipes believed that he didn’t have to pay taxes, he had to pay $12 million and spend 3 years in prison.