Tuesday, January 15, 2008

911 conspiracy tedium

I was very proud to study at Manchester University. I always look kindly on releases from this great seat of learning and reflect proudly on work to further understanding of the world and explore life saving sciences.

And then there's this.

Conspiracy theories which claim to shed more light on the 2001 twin towers disaster in New York are often closer to official versions than first thought – according to new research.

Dr Peter Knight from The University of Manchester who conducted the first academic study of 9/11 conspiracy theories says they are more popular today than ever before.

He also lists all major existing conspiracy theories in his report “Outrageous Conspiracy Theories: Popular and Official Responses to 9/11 in Germany
and the United States. Am I alone in finding something sinister and intellectually lazy about all this.

Dr Knight says: “Official explanations see America as an innocent victim of a catastrophic event that came out of the blue, explained by an all-powerful conspiracy motivated by Bin Laden’s evil lust for power."

Sorry, but what's to dispute about that?

As a journalist I see scepticism as a virtue, but there has to be a line. I haven't read Dr Knight's book, nor do I have the time or the inclination to delve into popular conspiracy theories about Princess Diana (killed in a road accident), 9/11 (nutters flew planes into buildings) or the Holocaust (the Nazis murdered 6 million Jews).

The bigger question, and I may be doing Dr Knight a disservice here, is why people want to question what is staring them in the face. Take any of the three examples above, who's interest does it serve to peddle a load of contrary nonsense? There's your conspiracy theory.

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