Every morning at work we gather in the cafeteria of one of the buildings to check-in with the boss and find out what most of us will be doing that day. For me it’s the same thing, I run tickets, which I hate, but which I’m overly competent at so all the RC’s ask that I be put on tickets. Depending on what’s going on this little session can take an hour or so to play out and as we’re waiting we make small talk and bullshit with each other. This morning one of the guys, I’ll call him “Mark” for the purposes of this entry, starts talking about this amazing film he watched on the Internet last night and it’s clear he’s quite excited about it. Turns out it’s the Zeitgeist conspiracy documentary that not only tries to show that Christianity is false by using the Jesus is a copy of Horus argument which we’ve talked about here before, but also goes on to try and claim that 9/11 is a conspiracy on the part of the U.S. Government. When this movie was first making the rounds on the blogs I had a lot of folks send me the link and I watched it and was very unimpressed with it. I intended to write something about it, but so many other people have debunked it already that I didn’t see the point.
What I found really amusing about the discussion itself was the way “Mark” started it up. He began by saying that he thought the first third of the movie—the part that claims Christianity is made up of a lot of other older religions—is pure and utter bullshit while the rest of the movie was one hundred percent factual and dead on the mark. His argument was basically that you can’t prove religion true or false because it’s all based on faith so the “religion bashing” is bullshit, but all that other stuff was totally factual. I actually had to laugh at the fact that he was claiming that the filmmakers didn’t know what they were talking about when it came to religion, but that he trusted them implicitly about 9/11 and the whole Bankers Are Out To Screw Us conspiracy. My laughter was not well received and he challenged me to disprove the claims on 9/11 as he apparently thought that’s what I found so funny. I tossed him a couple of softball questions and then let it drop because at least one other co-worker was nodding along with him and agreeing that it was all one big conspiracy and the last thing I needed to do was start a big argument first thing in the morning.
If nothing else it was an excellent example of confirmation bias at work. Because “Mark” doesn’t agree with the first third of the movie he writes it off as bullshit, but because the rest lines up with what he already believes he accepts it as factual and fails to see the irony in holding these two opposing views on the same documentary. Maybe I’ll point this out to him later when it’s less likely to result in a huge scene, but considering how evident it was that he bought into the conspiracy theory hook, line, and sinker it’ll probably be a waste of time.