JFK Assassination Logic : How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-09-11
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc
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The mother of all conspiracy theories is the supposed one about the assassination of John F. Kennedy (JFK). Many of its elements have become part of American folklore: the single bullet, the Grassy Knoll shooter, and the mysterious deaths of interested parties. JFK Assassination Logicshows how to approach such conspiracy claims. Studying Lee Harvey Oswald's character and personality, for example, doesn't help determine whether he alone shot the president, and our opinion of bureaucrats can often cloud our judgments. How people view the JFK assassination can be a model for how to (or perhaps how not to) evaluate other conspiracy theories, including those generally considered dubious'”the U.S. government and 9/11, the moon landing, Pearl Harbor'”as well as those that are real, such as Watergate. John McAdams does not just address conspiracy theories but also how to think, reason, and judge the evidence in these cases. How do we evaluate eyewitness testimony? How can there be 'śtoo much evidence'ť of a conspiracy? How do we determine whether suspicious people are really suspicious? By putting the JFK assassination under the microscope, McAdams provides a blueprint for understanding how conspiracy theories arise and how to judge the evidence. This book puts the reader into a mass of contradictory evidence and presents an intriguing puzzle to be solved. The solution, in each case, involves using intellectual tools. Eyewitness testimony, the notion of 'ścoincidence,'ť selectivity in the use of evidence, how to choose between contradictory pieces of evidence, the need for evidence to fit a coherent theory, how government works, and basic principles of social theorizing'”all provide the elements of how to judge not only the JFK conspiracy, but all conspiracies.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Prefacep. ix
The Frailty of Witness Testimonyp. 1
Problems of Memoryp. 19
Creating False Memoriesp. 44
Witnesses Who Are Just Too Goodp. 54
Bogus Quoting: Stripping Context, Misleading Readersp. 77
Probability: Things that Defy the Oddsp. 88
More on Defying the Odds: The Mysterious Deathsp. 98
Did People Know It Was Going to Happen?p. 113
Signal and Noise: Seeing Things in Photosp. 121
Think Scenariop. 134
Not All Evidence Is Equal: Using Reliable Evidencep. 157
Too Much Evidence of Conspiracyp. 185
Beware False Corroborationp. 194
How Bureaucrats Actp. 201
Putting Theory into Practice: The Single Bullet Theoryp. 217
Thinking about Conspiracy: Putting It All Togetherp. 247
Time Linep. 255
Notesp. 261
Indexp. 299
About the Authorp. 307
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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