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Debunked: The CIA invented term Conspiracy Theory"
Posted by: riverhousebill ()
Date: November 02, 2017 09:13AM

Quote John Rose-A lot of y’all might not even know that the term Conspiracy Theory was coined by the CIA to try to discredit the JFK Assassination. Oh, you’re just a Conspiracy Theorist - you’re questioning the JFK Assassination.

Well John How about Y all explaining the above lie you quote, A form of propaganda? Just bamboozled like your 100th monkey fairytale?
Can you debate the lie CIA coined term? Does minting a coin with your ideology on face rate as a counterfit?

Home Metabunk > Practical Debunking >

Debunked: The CIA invented the term "Conspiracy Theory" in 1967 [in use for 70 years prior]

'Practical Debunking' by Mick West, Nov 29, 2012.

Mick West Administrator Staff Member

History of the Term "Conspiracy Theory"

The term "conspiracy theory" is used to describe any theory that attempts to characterize observed events as the result of some secret conspiracy. The term is often used dismissively, implying that the theory is implausible.

Although conspiracy theories (particularly aimed at Jews and Bankers) date back hundreds of years, the earliest usage of "conspiracy theory" do not always have this connotation, although the theories are quite often dismissed in other ways. Usually it's simply a way of identifying the theory from other theories - as in "the theory that happens to have a conspiracy"

The first usage I could find was from 1870, The Journal of mental science: Volume 16 - Page 141

The theory of Dr. Sankey as to the manner in which these injuries to the chest occurred in asylums deserved our careful attention. It was at least more plausible that the conspiracy theory of Mr. Charles Beade, and the precautionary measure suggested by Dr. Sankey of using a padded waistcoat in recent cases of mania with general paralysis—in which mental condition nearly all these cases under discussion were—seemed to him of practical value.

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1890 - Some kind of political conspiracy, mostly ridiculed
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The conspiracy theory may be well founded, but then again it may not. And rather than be dependent upon the evidence of it which may be furnished through the self-sacrificing efforts of the gentlemen who are so ardently engaged in that behalf, we should rather see the party stand on its own foundation, and Mr. Quay on his record, whatever it may be. Then the plot might be proved or disproved, and still the party could live for the further service of the country.

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Here from a review of theories about the causes of the secession of the South, 1895.

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Mr. Rhodes discards the theory prevalent at the North, that secession was the outcome of a conspiracy of Southern Senators and Representatives at Washington, and adopts the view expressed by all Southern writers except Pollard, that secession was a popular movement. As a matter of fact, the Southern leaders in Congress were pressed onward by their constituents. Davis and Toombs are classed among the conspirators. Yet Davis was in favor of delay, and Toombs, in spite of his vehement language at Washington, could not keep pace with the secession movement in his State; while the South Carolina radicals murmured that the people were hampered by the politicians. The conspiracy theory is based on a misconception

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Also on the same topic 1895
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NORTHERN writers generally hold that secession was the work of a. conspiracy of Southern Senators and Representatives at Washington, who “dictated the inception and course of the revolution." On the other hand, all Southern writers, except Pollard, maintain that secession was a distinctly popular movement. Northern writers instance the meeting held at Washington january 5, 1861, by the Senators from Georiga, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, and Florida, which, with South Carolina. formed the seven original States of the Confederacy. " In effect,” says Blaine, in his “Twenty Years of Congress" (Vol. I., p. 220) , these Senators “sent out commands to the governing authority and to the active political leaders, that South Carolina [which had already seceded] must be sustained: that the Cotton States must stand by her; and that the secession of each and every one of them must be accomplished . . . before the inauguration of Mr. Lincoln." If from this the conclusion be drawn that the Southern leaders, after having dragooiied the Southern people into secession, maintained the ensuing war by arbitrary suppression of public sentiment and by forcible appropriation of men and supplies, it will be difficult to reconcile such a conclusion with what the same writers say of the conduct of the Southern troops during the war and of the devotion of the non-combatants, especially of the women, to the cause of secession. The contention, on the other hand, that secession was a popular movement supposes that practically the whole of the Southern people, “mean whites" as well as slave-owners, believed that slavery was sanctioned by the Scriptures, that their material prosperity depended on slavery, that this institution was threatened by the election of a Republican President, and that a constitutional remedy was afforded by secession. It is interesting, in view of this conflict of opinion, to note that Mr. james Ford Rhodes, in his “ History of the United States” from the Compromise of r850, the complete and scholarly work on this period which has just appeared, discards the conspiracy theory, and adopts the view that secession was a purely popular movement.

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Given the multiple usages on the subject of succession, it seems plausible that this is a key point in the evolution of the phrase. It shifts from simple incidental use in language to referring to a specific thing. From "that theory which has a conspiracy" to "the theory that we call conspiracy theory"

1899, this is more like it, from an article discussing various conspiracy theories regarding South Africa. And an early debunking:

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Mr. Balfour proceeded to discuss one theory of conspiracy and to dismiss another. He tells us that he was a late convert to the doctrine of Dutch megalomania, and that he only accepted it because no other hypothesis could explain the ultimatum. That act made it clear that the Boers were not making a struggle for their independence, but were making a " bold bid for empire." A conspiracy, we are told, is ex hypothesi secret, and you must not expect proofs. Its existence is discovered by a process of elimination. But it may at least be required of a theory of conspiracy that it should be consistent with what is known. Mr. Balf our connects his theory with the armaments of the Boers and the alliance with the Orange Free State. Does that explain the readiness of the Orange Free State to co-operate with the Transvaal in 1881, when the latter had no armaments?
The other conspiracy theory Mr. Balfour, with an attractive and ingenuous innocence, elaborately misunderstands. Nobody has pretended that either England or Mr. Balfour will make money out of this war. When it is said that avarice is at the bottom of the difficulties in South Africa, we mean the avarice of those financiers who call each other empire-builders, and the growth of their own fortunes the advance of British civilization.

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Here it's seeming to move towards its current use with an implied "far-fetched" prepended.

Some people get a bit upset when you use the term "conspiracy theory", so I think it's good to be clear on what you mean. One might say "I know it when I see it", like say 9/11 no-plane theories, or fake moon-landing theories. I think Aaronovitch has something right here:

Aaronovitch, David (2010-01-19). Voodoo Histories: The Role of the Conspiracy Theory in Shaping Modern History (pp. 5-6). Penguin Group. Kindle Edition.


I think a better definition of a conspiracy theory might be “the attribution of deliberate agency to something that is more likely to be accidental or unintended.” And, as a sophistication of this definition, one might add “the attribution of secret action to one party that might far more reasonably be explained as the less covert and less complicated action of another.” So, a conspiracy theory is the unnecessary assumption of conspiracy where other explanations are more probable. It is, for example, far more likely that men did actually land on the moon in 1969 than that thousands of people were enlisted to fabricate a deception that they did.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/02/2017 09:23AM by riverhousebill.

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