A government-backed study recently published in the UK has equated “conspiracy theorists” with violent terrorists, saying that belief in alternative viewpoints could be a warning sign of terrorist activity. The author of the study, Quassim Cassam, a professor of philosophy at the University of Warwick, also said that people who believe in alternative viewpoints have a potential of joining ISIS.
This week, he told The Independent: “The other explanation is that that these people are literally mad or mentally ill but I don’t really go for that theory. For example take 9/11 conspiracy theorists. Why do they hold onto their conspiracy theory despite the fact that there seems to be overwhelming evidence that it wasn’t an American government conspiracy to bring down the towers? The answer is they are overwhelmingly receptive to certain kinds of evidence for instance of website and they are overly dismissive of other types of evidence such as engineers’ reports on the towers.”
Perhaps Profesor Cassam is “mad” himself, or has not done his research, because despite his claims of evidence, an overwhelming number of architects and engineers around the world actually question the official story of 9/11 and are among millions of people worldwide who are demanding a new and independent investigation into the attacks.
Instead of actually looking into the alternative evidence that has been provided over the many years since the attacks, Cassam has instead decided to only believe the evidence that comes from “official sources”, and is now pathologizing anyone who dares to question authority and seek their own answers.
In his interview with The Independent, Cassam admitted that he knew very little about Islam, but then went on to say that conspiracy theories are a recruitment tool for ISIS terrorists, claiming that, “For example, I don’t know much about Islam but I do know that there is an absolute clear bar in Islam on suicide. So people who are told it is acceptable to be suicide bombers are ending up believing something which on the face has no foundation at all.”
In these comments the professor makes it very clear that he does not even research the topics that he is speaking and studying on, yet due to his position of authority, he feels qualified to speak on things that he knows absolutely nothing about. These comments are very telling, and show exactly why he does not understand people who subscribe to “conspiracy theories”: because we do our research, and he doesn’t.
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