The Conspiracy Theory Handbook By Lewandowsky & Cook

Yes, there was an actual conspiracy theory guide published in March 2020. Now, that date shouldn’t raise any suspicions whatsoever. This publication comes across as a form of gaslighting, cloaked in fake empathy and understanding.

At first glance, this small book may be dismissed as trolling or satire. However, the authors are very serious, and have put considerable effort into this publication. It’s also very interesting that such a publication can be put out with little to no concern for the consequences. Can you imagine a skeptic who questioned climate change publishing something similar to this?

Apparently people who feel vulnerable are spreading conspiracy theories. It can also be seen as a way to be contrarian in political circles. Instead of recommending that the truth be investigated, people seeking truth can be dismissed for a variety of reasons.

There is also a good deal of projection here. Many so-called “conspiracy theorists” are in fact searching for truth, and trying to make logical sense of what is going on. In the case of the (alleged) pandemic, it’s public figures and the media who keep shifting the goal posts. Also, this site has covered in great detail the amount of financial subsidies that mainstream outlets receive.

Conspiracy theories aren’t always the result of genuinely held false beliefs. They can be intentionally constructed or amplified for strategic, political reasons. For example, there is evidence that the Russian government recently contributed to the spread of various political conspiracy theories in the West.

Conspiracy theories may be deployed as a rhetorical tool to escape inconvenient conclusions. The rhetoric of climate denial is filled with incoherence, such as the simultaneous claims that temperature cannot be measured accurately but global temperatures have declined. Incoherence is one attribute of conspiratorial thinking, but it does not follow that climate denial is irrational—on the contrary, denialist rhetoric is an effective political strategy to delay climate action by undermining people’s perception of the strength of scientific evidence.

In confirmation, people selectively appeal to a conspiracy among scientists to explain away a scientific consensus when their political ideology compels them to do so—but not when the scientific consensus is of no relevance to their politics.

Prebunking
If people are preemptively made aware that they might be misled, they can develop resilience to conspiratorial messages. This process is known as inoculation or prebunking. There are two elements to an inoculation: an explicit warning of an impending threat of being misled, and refutation of the misinformation’s arguments. Prebunkings of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories have been found to be more effective than debunking.

This is a way to preempt a person from asking logical questions. If you implant the idea in their heads, any doubts that might later occur may seem like conspiracy theories setting in.

Source-based and empathy-based debunking
Source-based debunking attempts to reduce the credibility of conspiracy theorists whereas empathy-based debunkings compassionately call attention to the targets of conspiracy theories. A source-based debunking that ridiculed believers of lizard men was found to be as effective as a fact-based debunking. In contrast, an empathy-based debunking of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that argued that Jews today face similar persecution as early Christians was unsuccessful

When all else fails, a little emotional manipulation can do the trick. Think of how the targets of your theories may feel. Never mind the truth or accuracy of such suspicions.

Trusted messengers
Counter-messages created by former members of an extremist community (“exiters”) are evaluated more positively and remembered longer than messages from other sources.

Another technique is to recruit people who used to believe (or claim to have believed) in a conspiracy theory before. Apparently they entire thing comes across as more trustworthy this way. This may explain why crisis actors and “reformed” people are all the rage. They can conjure up a good narrative.

Show empathy
Approaches should be empathic and seek to build understanding with the other party. Because the goal is to develop the conspiracy theorist’s open-mindedness, communicators must lead by example.

Have to love the approach here. Let’s pretend to show an understanding with another person, which having already written them off as conspiracy nuts.

An astute reader will notice that these authors don’t really suggest that conspiracy theories get fact checked, and that people work out their accuracy for themselves. Instead, we have a variety of techniques to be employed to plant seeds of doubt in people’s minds

Perhaps we can take something from this. Since we know (in broad strokes) what techniques will be employed, it should become easier to counter them.

(1) https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ConspiracyTheoryHandbook.pdf
(2) Conspiracy Theory Handbook

5 Replies to “The Conspiracy Theory Handbook By Lewandowsky & Cook”

  1. Interesting that they didn’t mention that almost 99% of the conspiracy ‘theories’ turned out to be true. I read where the difference between a conspiracy ‘theory’ and a ‘conspiracy’ is roughly about 6 months.

    The other thing that is interesting is how they suggest people should not believe ‘theories’ when in fact we are forced to believe ‘theories’ about viruses and COVID. I’d say there is an obvious double standard at play.

  2. I couldn’ help myself!

    I looked up Lewandowski’s bio because I smelled a rat here…like a psychologist. Sure enough, he is a major proponent of climate change and is involved in the School of Psychological Science! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephan_Lewandowsky No doubt he wrote his own bio.

    This profession is 100% pseudo-science (and that’s being generous) and they still exist only because they can make their opinions sound like scientifically-proven facts. This profession is also the one behind the movement to legalize and normalize pedophilia.

    Remember that the Climate Change hoax and the pedophilia/pederasty movement are the brainchilds of the WEF and UN (New World Government).

    At this site, https://www.celebsagewiki.com/stephan-lewandowsky where it appears he would have completed the questionnaire, he is alleged to have gotten his BA at 22 years old, his Masters of Art at 23 years old and his Ph.D in god-knows-what 3 years later. And where did he get these? From the notorious University of Toronto — the suspiciously ‘pro-lockdown of all humanity’ institution that Canuck Law exposed a little while ago. And its home to endless numbers of ‘charities’ all funded by Gates, Soros and other globalist friends.

    He is a multi-millionaire according to this questionnaire, ‘… His net worth has been growing significantly in 2020-2021. Net worth estimated at $1 – 4 million in 2021. ” Can’t say for sure, but it appears that these professors that are not of much value to humanity, get great salaries if their ‘books’ come out at just the right time to benefit the globalists — don’t know for sure, but it sure seems like that.

    Perhaps this is only a ‘theory’ at this point, but my spidey senses tell me he is a bought-and-paid-for shill of the UN. And the UN is using all its assets to try to save its criminal neck.

    Now…drum roll please! there were allegations that his ‘research’ was fraudulent and when investigations started he ‘fled’ to the UK. See here yourself a 2013 report titled: ‘ Stephan Lewandowsky ‘flees’ Australia in wake of investigations’ https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/04/28/stephan-lewandowsky-flees-australia-in-wake-of-investigations/

    And like all bad pennies, he shows up again in 2020 with a book based on the very research he was being investigated for.

  3. I also looked at Lewandowski’s co-author who hails from the same cesspool of Australian pseudo-scientists. He was interviewed on CBC in June 2020, and not once did he mentuion that his and Lewandowski’s book (that was being promoted by CBC in that interview) was based on discredited ‘research’ methods and results in 2013′. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWIz5xOrINg

    In this CBC interview he claims that it is a ‘conspiracy theory’ that the Wuhan virus escaped from the Wuhan lab, that it was man-made, etc. What he does not say is that this was proven to be true, repeatedly. That the CBC would promote this obvious fraud is breathtaking.

    In 2013, when he was still promoting the UN’s Climate Change agenda, Cook was taken to task by genuine science researchers. Dr Jennifer Marohasy, a former Institute of Public Affairs free market think tankerer, claimed that the BoM (Bureau of Meteorology) had, in her words, “corrupted the official temperature record so it more closely accords with the theory of anthropogenic global warming”. See the article here: http://www.readfearn.com/2014/08/climate-change-conspiracy-theories-and-the-abc-interview-with-john-cook-that-never-was/

    But other clear thinkers were outright showing that Cook and Lewandowski were actually conspiring to promote false information to the public, particularly in their other book ‘Recursive Fury’. The article is titled “Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook – making things up”, where they show this pairs’ fabricated quotes and gross distortions that are used to paint skeptics and legitimate researchers as conspiracy nuts. https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/03/09/stephan-lewandowsky-and-john-cook-making-things-up/

    These two were shown to be frauds and ‘fake news’ in 2012 and 2013, when they were pushing the UN’s Climate Change hoax, yet in 2020 the CBC was promoting their work in COVID as ‘science’. No one asked how pseudo-scientists (fakes), suddenly went from being Climate Change promoters to ‘COVID is a real disease in nature’ promoters, yet they have zero experience in either. But they are associated with UN organizations and are masters at self-promotion.

    Doesn’t this sound like the COVID situation where the CDC have been messing with the data, and the WHO has been turning it’s shills loose to write articles to ridicule those who actually do ethical research and get at the truth?

  4. What I find hilarious is that these people are trying so hard to convince the public that people simply do not conspire, that conspiracies just do not exist and then they go on to say that there is currently a well organized conspiracy that involves people who intentionally construct or amplify conspiracy theories for their own strategic, political reasons, offering up their own conspiracy theory as an example, where they suggest that the Russian government recently conspired to contribute to the spread of various political conspiracy theories in the West.

    Hahaha
    WOW
    … Are you kidding me?
    I mean, is this some kind of incredible joke?

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