Among the Truthers: The Review
We have been talking about Jonathan Kay's new book Among the Truthers for some time now, but I have finally had the time to read it all. That doesn't stop the Truthers from reviewing it of course, all of whom have universally denounced it mostly without showing any indication that they actually read it.
Now I will be the first to admit that I am biased, since I was interviewed for the book, as well as quoted in it, and the book cites us as one of the major debunking resources, but then again I can also say that I know quite a bit about the subject.
Now first of all, what is this book about? As Truthers are pointing out, it is not a debunking book. They of course claim that Kay refuses to look at the evidence, while if you read the book Kay makes clear that he did look at the evidence, but found it wanting. Kay explains rather, that 1. he really didn't have much new to add to the debunking argument (he cites several books and Internet sites, including this one, as resources for this), and 2. his editor didn't think that there was a market for such a book, because the Truthers would not believe anything he put and everyone else didn't need to be told. I agree to a certain extent, although we have done a lot of debunking over the last 5 years, I have gotten to the point where about all I discuss is the psychology of this movement, because really, is much really added by our pointing out for the 15th time that the hijackers actually were on the flight manifests?
So Kay gets mainly into the composition of the Truthers and other similar conspiracy theorists and asks why they believe what they do. In this he does a pretty good job. The Truthers of course condemn him for ad hominem attacks, but in reality, he is actually rather kind to them, much kinder than I would be, although he obviously does not agree with their viewpoint. Despite this though he does primarily depict them as earnest and intelligent people, who just, for various reasons come to the wrong conclusions. Kay obviously did his research and quotes from interviews from various prominent characters in the Truther movement, and does provide some insight which a mere blogger cannot. His depictions of Michael Ruppert, Richard Gage and Steven Jones especially are among the most interesting.
The weakest part of the book, however, is the last section where he discusses the role of academics and then how we should address conspiracy theories in the educational system. It just seemed rather tacked on and not tightly connected to the rest. On the whole though, if you are interested in conspiracy theorists as a social phenomenon, and if you are reading this blog I assume you are, then it is a book well worth reading.