Greg Carlwood of The Higherside Chats on the difference between conspiracy data and interpretation.
photo by: Skeptiko
On this episode of Skeptiko, I’m joined by Greg Carlwood to talk about his podcast, The Higherside Chats
Greg Carlwood: …I consider myself a conspiracy talent scout. I scout out the researchers and I’m like, “This guy, he makes a good case for his position,” let’s have them do their thing and help walk them through their own research, because it’s often very dense… it takes a lot of framing to be like, “This is where we’re going to go today. We’re getting off on this level of the elevator today.”
… one aspect that’s important to me is separating data from interpretation. I know you talk about a lot of data here; that line is something Gordon [White
] has just drilled into my head… when you’re listening to a guy talk for two hours about [his] research, you have to be able to say, “Where was the research and where was the spin you put on it?” Because you can look at the same data and come to different conclusions, so it is important to separate data from conclusion.
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Today we welcome Greg Carlwood to Skeptiko. Greg is the creator and host of The Higherside Chats podcast
, a popular and very influential alt-media kind of thing that explores all manner of topics most people would lump into that category we so lovingly call “conspiracy theory.”
What was the first conspiracy? What was the first thread on that sweater that started you down this path?
Greg Carlwood: Well, I was always rebellious in general. I loved punk music, which is very anti-authoritarian. And I went to a really rigid private school, so I was just anti-authority from a young age. I guess I was always looking for excuses to keep that worldview in order to validate it. And so when you start digging into what authority is usually doing — which is unusually abusing people, abusing their position and the people below them — it really solidified me as just being an anti-establishment growing up. But [as far as my first conspiracy] it had to be 9/11.
Alex Tsakiris: Really?
Greg Carlwood: It’s kind of cliché, everybody says that now, but I was in high school and we came in and everybody had to get in the gym, and they announce this thing and we see it on the TV and even that day, I was like, “That doesn’t really look right.”
Alex Tsakiris: Really?
Greg Carlwood: Yeah, I was, “That doesn’t look right.” And I had a couple of good friends who…we could never offend each other. We loved the most offensive comedy, so I knew I wasn’t going to lose a friendship for bringing that up. I was like, “Yeah, it’s a little odd,” but it kind of went away. And then later, Loose Change
, the documentary came out and my buddy’s like, “Dude, this thing, we didn’t think it looked right, here’s somebody who’s like, ‘Yeah, it doesn’t look right. There’s a big conspiracy here. It could be an inside job.’” And that was kind of what set me off. I was like, “Okay, that’s not abstract anymore. It’s very real.” And I’d say as cliché as it is,