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46 of 62 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Hypocritical elements of truth, 25 Jun. 2008
This review is from: Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History (Hardcover)
Firstly, the good points. This book points out many of the more dubious beliefs held by sections of society, and indeed justifiably, it seems, calls for people to open their eyes to many of the highly suspect techniques used by pioneers of 'counterknowledge' in the conveying of their work: 'Loose Change', for example, taking situations out of context and cropping photos to bias their account of events, thus encouraging sceptism of such notions as 9/11 conspiracy theories.

However, the book's downfall is ironically preset in its own approach to 'facts'. Unfortunately, Thompson's reasoning, scattered citations and poorly disguised subjectivity in his portrayal of counterknowledge ultimately mirrors his criticism of how counterknowledge is spread in the first place. For example, in the same paragraph of describing how the 'cultic milieu', in their stupidy, basically think everything is conspiratorial and unrealistic once they accept one conspiracy, he goes on to make the generalisation that since 9/11 is supposedly an unjustified conspiracy, so must be the case with ESP, UFOs, Bible Prophesy, near-death experiences, and so on. This sort of generalisation becomes ubiquitous as the book progresses; and thus Thompson forms his own 'cultic milieu', which should probably be renamed 'sceptic milieu' - as it seems just about as valid to presume that all conspiracies and unlikely events are false as it is to presume that all are true. I see this book as a piece of counterknowledge in itself by the way it arrogantly presents all its inferences and conclusions as fact, thus being as misleading to the weaker-minded reader as the likes of Dan Brown - only on the opposite end of the spectrum.

This said, 'Counterknowledge' does have SOME valid points and, albeit at the expense of its integrity, is an entertaining read.
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