Smashing Cars for Skepticism

Quick: Which would you rather be driving in a 40mph head-on collision: A 1959 Chevy Bel Air or a 2009 Chevy Malibu?

I hope you said the Malibu. From Dragonrock posting at the JREF Swift Blog: Of Cars and Conspiracies.

I went to view the video on Youtube and saw the different copies have hundreds of comments claiming everything from the Bel Air had the engine removed to the frame of the older car was rusted and simply broke. Others say that something was done to the Malibu because the new plastic car wouldn’t have a chance against one made of sheet metal.

These conspiracies spread because of what “everyone knows.” The list of things everyone knows is long and includes things like: Toilets swirl one way in the northern hemisphere and the other way in the southern; Silencers turn the loudest gunshot into a quiet “fffffttt”; that Bogey said “Play it again, Sam”; and, of course, older cars are stronger than newer ones. But, in all these cases, what “everyone knows” is actually wrong.


I suspect that this conspiracy will fade rather quickly while the JFK, moon hoax, 9/11 truthers will be around for a while.  But the root of all of them is the same and that’s a lack of critical thinking.  I’m of the opinion that the hard core conspiracy theorists are a lost cause, but educating children, not on conspiracies, but on basic critical thinking will cause belief in these stories to die a slow death.  It’s hard to fix our world, but maybe we can keep our children from screwing up theirs quite as badly.

That assumes, of course, that each generation gets its own world to screw up fresh. Unfortunately, for certain kinds of long-lasting screwups, the generational inputs are additive.

4 Responses to “Smashing Cars for Skepticism”

  1. knarlyknight Says:

    Nothing surprising here, now move along folks.

    Except that jbc seems to be confusing the hoi polloi noises in the comment threads with critical thinkers and qualified conspiracy investigators like shcb’s global warming skeptics. ;-)

    And except that, if one were to apply the same laws of physics that we’re told applied to the three WTC towers, then the two vehicles should not have slowed upon impact but should have continued to smash through each other until there was virtually nothing left. One hundred floors scrunched flatter than a stack of pancakes by gravity alone, that’s the new physics folks so obviously the car video is a fake.

  2. Smith Says:

    Damn, I was actually hoping that comment was going to be shcb giving his opinion on Bel Airs. I personally prefer the styling on the 1957 model over the 59.

  3. knarlyknight Says:

    Shortly after taking office on January 20, 2009 President Obama appointed Harvard law professor (and personal friend) Cass Sunstein to the post of administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In June 2009 Sunstein published an essay in The Journal of Political Philosophy entitled “Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures,” in which he provided an “analysis” of conspiracy theories, viewing them, as his title indicated, as “caused” by psychological conditions and requiring “cures”, i.e., elimination. The article led to an outcry by civil libertarians of all political stripes, who especially singled out for protest Sunstein’s call for covert “cognitive infiltration” by government agents of organizations the government deems “conspiracist”.

    Scroll down to read the full Review of the book “Cognitive Infiltration: An Obama Appointee’s Plan to Undermine the 9/11 Conspiracy Theory” here:

  4. leftbehind Says:

    People outside the hardcore stopped paying attention to the 911 Truth Movement around the time in Bush’s second term that the inevitability of his departure from the White House sank in. As far as most people were concerned, their attitudes regarding 9-11 Truth reflected little outside their attitudes about George Bush, anyway. It’s not terribly unfair to suggest that very few people outside an already established conspiracy community would have ever even heard of “911 Truth” had it not been for the resentment arising from the 2000 election, which left a lot of angry Democrats who had already proven themselves willing to give at least lip service to conspiracy theories – Police intimidation! Roadblocks! Hidden Ballot Boxes! – and seemed similarly willing to entertain at least the notion of a Bush plot to destroy the World Trade Center. As long as it was cathartic to do so, anyway. As soon as Obama was elected, the idea of a government conspiracy was clearly doomed to the margins because the people who benefited from, if only emotionally, no longer needed it. The current Birth Certificate controversy is the Republican manifestation of this same phenomenon.

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