I’m heading away to China for 3 weeks, which is excuse enough not to write a blog post this week, however sometimes there is something that really interests me and so I’m quite keen to actually talk about it (just a little bit though).

This week in class we talked about the credibility of evidence that we find, and the various methods that can be used to illustrate just how credible something is, it reminded me of a video I watched a number of years ago concerning the twin towers.  The video is about the collapse of the twin towers in 2001 and some conspiracy theories that surround what happened.

Conspiracy theories are becoming increasingly common in our modern information driven society, if there is any major event, particularly one that includes the loss of life, particularly American life, then there will IMMEDIATELY be conspiracy theorists on YouTube and other popular channels spouting about ‘false flags’, Illuminati, New World Order, government control etc etc, the list is seemingly endless.

I sometimes tune in to watch a few of these videos purely out of interest and am consistently amazed at how people see things that just aren’t there.  There are classic quotes like ‘Here he was shot in the head at point blank range, but there’s no way a head exploding would look like that, its so fake!! Watch again in slow motion and grainy close up’ FALSE FLAG, CONSPIRACY.  Obviously – madness

The mama and papa of all conspiracy events though, are the moon landings (no way could they possibly have ever happened, and everyone involved has been covering it up for 50 years) and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  This weeks class reminded me of the following video, it was made by a rather sensible fellow who had taken it upon himself to load up with some actual science and facts and head down to Ground Zero.  Here he tries to take on the bandana wearing flag waving patriots that insist we have a conspiracy on our hands.

If you don’t want to watch the whole video then scoot forward to 6:35 and you’ll see why the discussion reminded of this video however I would recommend watching it all as its really quite entertaining)

Ifirst saw this video a number of years ago and it was the first time I ever heard the phrase “Peer Reviewed”, I didn’t know what it meant up until this moment.  Here you see the the conspiracy believers are happy to spout about this peer reviewed document. Being peer reviewed really seems to give it some credibility, that is, until you realise who reviewed it and where it was published.  As it turns out that ‘The Open Chemical Physics Journal’ (snappy title) is not a particularly reliable source of information. In fact the video goes on to explain how researchers submitted a random paper of scientific jargon, generated by a website called Sci-Gen, and it was ACCEPTED for the journal. I find this fact absolutely wonderful, although a little bit scary if journals like this can actually gain some traction. Many people are out there are simply looking for the answer that they want to see, so they might not dig too much deeper when they find it. That’s what has hapened here.

After discovering the power of Google Scholar I was keen to look up this article and see if it was cited and by whom.

The Google Scholar search found it pretty quickly, here is the result.

There are currently 49 citations, surely the more people that cite it, the more reliable it is? Does this give the paper some credibility?

Well no, unfortunately for SE Jones, this is not the case, the paper has mainly been cited in papers that discuss social media and 9/11 conspiracy theories.

I know this isn’t exactly what we are supposed to write about this week but I am far to busy with this China lark to do real work *quaffs another wine*