Thursday, June 4, 2015

Stopped Clocks and Syndromes


The above saying has given rise to the concept of Stopped Clock Syndrome, the phenomenon that even a crank, denialist or conspiracy theorist can be correct once in a while, even if only by chance.

Examples:

Adolf Hitler's promotion of anti-smoking research and strong support for animal rights.

Lady Nancy Astor (pictured above with husband Lord Astor), right wing British politician who supported anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic conspiracy theories, also supported women’s rights and homosexuality (her favourite son turned out to be gay).

The reverse of Stopped Clock Syndrome is Inverse Stopped Clock Syndrome where someone who is usually logical, rational, or correct does, says or believes something stupid, idiotic or crazy. Also referred to as "Sometimes even geniuses make mistakes," or the common phrase "Nobody's perfect."

Example:

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes, human rights activist, early opponent of racism, was also a dogmatic believer in spiritualism and was convinced that the Cottingley Fairies were real.


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