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Episode from the podcastNot Conformed

Episode 27: Epistemic Establishment

Released Tuesday, 2nd March 2021
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The term “conspiracy theory” is often used to discredit accusations of elite political criminality and to silence opposition to the machinations of the powers that be. In this episode we discuss the definition of the term “conspiracy theory” and how it was weaponized by the CIA to deflect criticisms of the of the dubious conclusions drawn by the Warren Commission regarding the assassination of former US President Kennedy. Introduced also in this episode is the concept of the ‘epistemic establishment’, which includes knowledge giving institutions and authorities that are trusted by the general public to provide them with truthful information about the world. It is often assumed that since we live in a so-called ‘open society’, corruption of epistemic authorities is unlikely. However, as we illustrate in considerable detail, there are good reasons to distrust our current secular epistemic authorities, and to treat their pronouncements with a healthy degree of skepticism. We provide concrete suggestions about how to find truth in a society characterized by a failing, compromised and corrupt epistemic establishment. Finally, we discuss how framing elite political crimes in terms of “State Crimes Against Democracy” (SCADs)--as suggested by Professor Lance deHaven-Smith--removes the negative stigma associated with the term ‘conspiracy theory’ while facilitating a fresh look at patterns of elite criminality that would otherwise go unnoticed.

Episode Timeline & Notes

0:00:00 - Opening Segment

0:00:00 - The Not Conformed Salute!
0:00:00 - New Hypocrat Award

0:00:00 - Definition of Conspiracy Theory

0:00:00 - A basic definition
0:00:00 - Conspiracy theory as a derogatory concept
  • deHaven-Smith, Lance. Conspiracy Theory in America. University of Texas Press, 2013, p. 6.
0:00:00 - Conspiracy theories defined by epistemic authorities
0:00:00 - Conspiracies and Open and Closed Societies

0:00:00 - How did it come into present day usage?

0:00:00 - Conspiracies do occur and are common

0:00:00 - Examples of Verified Conspiracies
0:00:00 - Main Point
  • Pigden, C. (1995). Popper revisited, or what is wrong with conspiracy theories? Philosophy of Social Sciences , 25 (1)m p. 3-34.

0:00:00 - Lance deHaven-Smith and the SCADs Construct

0:00:00 - Need to follow the evidence
0:00:00 - A Note for Christians

0:00:00 - Summary and Closing


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Episode 27: Epistemic Establishment (.mp3)