Regarding many of the claims about public belief made in this essay, you should keep in mind the Lizardman Constant (https://slatestarcodex.com/2013/04/12/noisy-poll-results-and-reptilian-muslim-climatologists-from-mars/). To quote the conclusion:

"When we’re talking about very unpopular beliefs, polls can only give a weak signal. Any possible source of noise – jokesters, cognitive biases, or deliberate misbehavior – can easily overwhelm the signal. Therefore, polls that rely on detecting very weak signals should be taken with a grain of salt."

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Aug 12, 2023Liked by Alexander Webb

And don't forget the Fermi Paradox - https://www.space.com/25325-fermi-paradox.html

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So basically, the odds that there is a government/defense conspiracy is now close to 100%, it just remains to be seen what exactly is the nature of the conspiracy

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Aug 9, 2023Liked by Alexander Webb

Interesting. I don't believe in any conspiracies (beginning with JFK's assassination). But, I wonder about a couple of things:

Military secrets--we know that "Ultra" was kept secret for a number of years.--officially 29 years. There are other military secrets which were successfully maintained--U2 flights, US work on gas warfare, etc. etc. I wonder whether they could be treated as "conspiracies" and used to test the logic of the paper?

Another concern--when is a conspiracy revealed? There are a lot of conspiracies in American history. A lot of military people knew Ultra, at least as the provider of information, not how it was implemented.

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Nice post! I think the most compelling point you make is:

"But believing this conspiracy theory also leads us to believe several other implausible things:"

This is almost always the best evidence against specific theories: that, if they were true, it would require that certain other things were true, and those things are verifiably false to anyone who looks.

Worse, the more complex your theory gets to explain why those additional things don't actually matter, it implies even more other things that are required to be true.

It's very apparent when you compare to conspiracy theories are ended up being true, (say: "The US government was spying on tons of people in the US and internationally!") or those that could be true, the "secondary things" they imply must also be true.... are actually true. Like a puzzle piece.

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Aug 8, 2023Liked by Alexander Webb

Thanks for sharing, it’s nice to know something new👏👏 KEEP GOING

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Some "interesting" epistemology and (binary) logic going on in this essay. Far from surprising, but always interesting.

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