JFK Assassination Logic: How to Think about Claims of Conspiracy

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Potomac Books, Inc., 2011 - History - 308 pages
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The mother of all conspiracy theories concerns the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Many of its elements have even become part of American folklore: the single bullet, the grassy knoll shooter, and the mysterious deaths of interested parties.

JFK Assassination Logic shows 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 (or how not) to evaluate other conspiracy theories, including those generally considered dubious--such as President Roosevelt's foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor, desert staging of the 1969 moon landing, and U.S. government involvement in 9/11--as well as those based on fact, such as Watergate.

John McAdams addresses not only conspiracy theories but also how to think, reason, and judge evidence in such cases. By putting the JFK assassination under the microscope, McAdams provides a blueprint for understanding how conspiracy theories arise and how to judge the evidence.

 

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Contents

1 The Frailty of Witness Testimony
1
2 Problems of Memory
19
3 Creating False Memories
44
4 Witnesses Who Are Just Too Good
54
Stripping Context Misleading Readers
77
Things that Defy the Odds
88
The Mysterious Deaths
98
8 Did People Know It Was Going to Happen?
113
12 Too Much Evidence of Conspiracy
185
13 Beware False Corroboration
194
14 How Bureaucrats Act
201
The Single Bullet Theory
217
Putting It All Together
247
Time Line
255
Notes
261
Index
299

Seeing Things in Photos
121
10 Think Scenario
134
Using Reliable Evidence
157
About the Author
307
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

JOHN MCADAMS is an associate professor of political science at Marquette University. His articles have appeared in journals including American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Sociological Quarterly, and Law and Contemporary Problems.

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