RationalWiki's 2020 Fundraiser

There is no RationalWiki without you. We are a small non-profit with no staff – we are hundreds of volunteers who document pseudoscience and crankery around the world every day. We will never allow ads because we must remain independent. We cannot rely on big donors with corresponding big agendas. We are not the largest website around, but we believe we play an important role in defending truth and objectivity.

If everyone who saw this today donated $5, we would meet our goal for 2021.

Fighting pseudoscience isn't free.
We are 100% user-supported! Help and donate $5, $20 or whatever you can today with PayPal Logo.png!

Donations so far: $3500Goal: $3500

Talk:John F. Kennedy assassination conspiracy theory

From RationalWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
This page is automatically archived by Archiver
Archives for this talk page: <1>

The "Reality" section has no useful sources to back its claims[edit]

The reality sections asserts: "Lee Harvey Oswald did it," isn't it odd to state your conclusion before presenting any facts?

It continues: "Why? It was due to a lack of bowling alleys and nightclubs. No, really.[12]"

The reference is a cracked article. Really? Is that a scientific publication or comedy website?

Continued: "More immediately, he hung out with Castro sympathizers in Mexico City during his unsuccessful attempt to get a Cuban visa, some of whom voiced the opinion that Kennedy should be killed in retaliation for his attempts to have Castro assassinated."

The source is an opinion article about a newly published book. Why is this held as irrefutable evidence when it is again not scientific in any way and has no way for us to verify the claims? Why is the book itself not referenced?

Continued: "Oh, and the KGB spread many of the other conspiracy theories, because they knew that given the climate of the time, the Soviet Union was likely to be blamed and they wanted to mitigate that to some extent — it appears to have worked more than they ever imagined. hey knew fairly early on that American intelligence didn't believe they were involved, but if the American public was to hold a widespread belief that the Kremlin had Kennedy killed, not only would the door be open for retaliation (some nutjob shooting up Soviet embassies, for example) but it could cause the public to press for war. If declassified Soviet materials are to be believed, they were just as surprised as the Americans by the assassination."

Again the source is about the publication of a new book, and is in no way scientific in its presentation. Why has "reality" only been revealed in recently published books? Isn't it odd that that's where all your sources come from - not even from the books, from articles about the books?

Continued:The "magic bullet" theory that so often pops up among the conspiracy theories is also based off the seating of the people in the car, Kennedy included. However, if one actually looks at the seating arrangements in the car, then the theory, and any that expand on the idea, are defunct instantly. The theories claim that Governor Connally was sitting in front of Kennedy, and that this proves that Kennedy couldn't have been shot by Oswald. In reality, Kennedy was in front, and Connally behind him on the right-hand side, and in the path of Oswald's shot. Indeed, the entire thing can be disproved by the way everyone was sitting when Kennedy was shot.

How is debunking one theory make this one credible? The total lack of sources for the claims means the "reality" section should be deleted. Not a single claim in it is backed with a good source. I have deleted the "reality" section. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

I'm not very well-versed in this thing, but I've seen a point of contention in your first argument, your problem with the Cracked article. Have you actually looked at the Cracked article? Here is quote from it.
"As Oswald himself wrote in his journal: "I am starting to reconsider my desire about staying. The work is drab, the money I get has nowhere to be spent. No nightclubs or bowling alleys, no places of recreation except the trade union dances. I have had enough."" And it links to here. So, they conclude that "[...]it was the lack of bowling alleys and nightclubs that drove him back to the USA, and back onto the path that would lead him to killing a president." Cracked isn't exactly a scholarly source, but it seems to back up its claims, even if it plays it for comedy. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 21:53, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
But that claim doesn't follow from the article, as you directly quote - it never in any way states that Oswald's reason for shooting (if he did in fact shoot) is a lack of nightclubs and bowling alleys. It's a diary quote that in no way indicates that Oswald was even associated with the assassination, let alone why he did it. How is this at all proof of "reality?" Sorry for deleting without discussion, thought Rationalwiki would want unsourced or false claims removed. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
I suppose it's all from inference, but what I'm getting is that the course of history would've been very different if a minor inconvenience from the past didn't happen. Oh, and RationalWiki ususally doesn't like unsourced / false claims, but I suggested a safer route because I feel you're more likely to get things done and a discussion running if you went through the talk pages first. Anyhow, I'm sorry if I can't engage any more with the other issues you have since I don't want to pretend I know this stuff. I hope someone else can look into this. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 23:30, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
The only people claiming Oswald's motive was a lack of nightclubs and bowling alleys is Cracked's assumption. No mainstream account makes that claim, and yet the article states that it is unequivocally "reality." That's completely irrational. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
It's not quite that. As I said, they're playing the inconvenience of nightclubs and bowling alleys that motivated Oswald to come back to the U.S.. Had that been not the case, he would've had less motivation to move to the U.S. and therefore wouldn't have been involved in JFK's assassination. This article does vastly oversimplify it, though, by saying just nightclubs or bowling alleys when it's overall a boring life illustrated by no nightclubs or bowling alleys. So, even with a critical eye, I rate it as a "sort-of" truth. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 04:02, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

On to your second statement. Here, I'm being critical again. The source here isn't quite an opinion article but more of a summary and analysis of what's going on in that book. Why we source the article instead of the book, I assume it's because those people at the article took the time to analyze the book, so it's a quick way to get information, not dissimilar to a summary in Wikipedia. This isn't held as "irrefutable evidence" anywhere in the article. It's a statement that seems to be taken from that article that summarizes a book. I don't see a problem with that. I've seen the article as well. Slate isn't scholarly as well, but do you yourself have any sources that contradict it? In fact, it seems like most of your problem with that section is the presentation of those sources rather than the content of the sources, that they aren't "scientific-looking". That's what I'm getting, but I don't think that's a very substantial argument. Of course, if you can provide more scholarly pieces that contradict or even support these "unscientific" articles, then it would be golden. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 04:08, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

How does simply reading someone's book make you qualified to report it as fact? You say "I assume it's because those people at the article took the time to analyze the book," this is totally absurd. The New York Times articles prefaces every claim with "According to the book," they have not verified any detail of it, read it yourself. They are merely presenting the claims of the book, they don't pretend it's fact. The Slate article, which you acknowledge is not scholarly, also posits it information as possible, not definitive. These journalists are condensing the main claims of the book into an article, they provide no evidence and the claims have not been in any way verified or corroborated by the journalists.
You ask if I have source to contradict the claims? Why are we even entertaining the claims when they are not sourced properly? It's not merely that they don't look scientific, it's that even the articles themselves don't claim to be factual. How can they be used to say what's "reality?"
Just think about this for one second - the article as it stand claims that Lee Harvey Oswald killed JFK as revenge for JFK's assassination attempts on Castro. That's an enormous claim that is not part of any mainstream account. That requires ample evidence beyond a Slate article promoting a book.
And yes, this truth is presented unequivocally. The article says "Lee Harvey Oswald did it," "Why? It was due to a lack of bowling alleys and nightclubs. No, really."
And then most absurdly of all it says: "More immediately, he hung out with Castro sympathizers in Mexico City during his unsuccessful attempt to get a Cuban visa, some of whom voiced the opinion that Kennedy should be killed in retaliation for his attempts to have Castro assassinated."
Why is this even here (especially since it's incorrectly backed)? This is speculating as to what could have caused the assassination. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:21, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
It seems that it is played for a joke rather than straight out truth, but I do agree the nightclub part needs to be reworded in a less misleading way. Just say, "a dull life led Oswald to travel to the U.S." and don't attach anything else more to it. Facts first, snark second. The Castro sympathizers part, I'll have to leave you at that as well because this subject, again, isn't something I'm sharp on. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 00:02, 16 March 2017 (UTC)

The "Reality" section is currently pushing conspiracy theories[edit]

The reality page unequivocally states that Oswald killed Kennedy because he was upset "due to a lack of bowling alleys and nightclubs. No, really." That is not supportable by any mainstream source, and the source given is the opinion of a writer for the comedy website Cracked. No mainstream source claims this is true, but it's put here as reality. It then goes on to speculate that it could have been pro-Castro sentiments that caused Oswald to do the assassination. Why is it speculating though? This is under reality. This is just another conspiracy theory. Why is it in the reality section?

Why was this part of the article ever allowed in to begin with? It's totally asinine. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

How about you read the section above. Probuscus (talk) 03:47, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Read which section? — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs
On talk pages, please sign your comments using four tildes (~~~~) or by clicking on the sign button: SigButt.png on the toolbar above the edit panel. You can also indent successive talk page comments using one more colon (:) for each line. Thank you. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 12:17, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Until it is time to (reset).

I know 'absence of evidence does not equate to evidence of absence' but as after 50+ years no 'that's it!' theory/explanation has emerged only a miscellany of information and theories all that can be said is - (a) John F Kennedy was assassinated; (b) Lee Harvey Oswald had lived a vagabond life, and had the means and the opportunity to shoot JFK - but left no details of his motive, (c) there were various parties who had reason not to care for JFK - but do not appear to have had any obvious contacts with the events and (d) most of the theories fall into the 'interesting information but Scots Not Proven verdict.' (talk) 18:21, 15 March 2017 (UTC)

Precisely, why Rational wiki would be putting forth a definitive motive when no specific known motive exists makes no sense. Just put Oswald did it with a proper source. Trying to fill in the details with half-truths is what conspiracy theorist are accused of doing. (talk) 21:47, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
'Oswald was not actually seen to do it and did not leave an explanation' seems to be the main problem. (talk) 23:33, 15 March 2017 (UTC)
Fair enough. --It's-a me, Lgm sigpic.png LeftyGreenMario! 00:02, 16 March 2017 (UTC)
The question to be answered - who would have benefitted from having JFK dead rather than 'un-re-electable-ated'/deciding not to run for office in 1964? Sometimes it does take time for the evidence to emerge (500+ years [1]) or the Greek sailor going round Africa whose observation about the Sun being in the north was disbelieved at the time), or merely for 'the evidence etc' to be gathered together and organized. In other cases the connections are indirect/due to misunderstandings (the 'will someone deal with this nuisance priest' scenario) (talk) 15:08, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
Not the old "Who benefits?" trope Facepalm What's next, "Follow the money"?
Regarding your examples — absolutely, science was wrong before.
But the thing to note here is that all those things you list were shown to be the case upon being shown to be the case. Not before, but after.
Anything else would amount to a textbook argument from ignorance on your part. Reverend Black Percy (talk) 17:18, 17 March 2017 (UTC)
The '50 years after' with several giga-hours (if not tera-) of research by people working from all different angles, material surfacing under the 50/30/20 year rule equivalents, the end of the USSR, 'Last will and testament - now the truth can be told' announcements etc and the most that can be argued is 'x had some slight reason for killing rather than exerting pressure' with a very weak Scots Not Proven verdict for anything more than 'Lee Harvey Oswald was materially involved in the assassination, and there are aspects of what has happened that remain unexplained.' (talk) 16:57, 20 March 2017 (UTC)

Why is the "Oswald did it" assertion still there? This has been discussed here for six months now, right? The wikipedia slogan is "be bold in editing", what's the rationalwiki slogan? "Let every child have a prize"?

(In general, this may be the worst page I've seen up at the rationalwiki. You want to be rational, try sorting through some of the evidence. You won't get to whodunit, but you won't end up at the Warren Report either.)

-- (talk) 01:06, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

IP - The 'Oswald did it' line is there #because the evidence as it is# indicates that he was involved - almost certainly as the assassin. The employees in the Repository #never# mentioned 'some stranger was wandering round the building' and the people in the street 'some person with a gun (not being Presidential security or the police) was acting in a slightly suspicious manner' - in the aftermath of a crime that would have had every bit of miscellaneous information (and attention seeker) passed to the authorities.
And - the subject has been discussed for the past 'almost 54 years' not for 'the past six months' - and with all the many, many theories propounded nobody has come up with a single piece of evidence to show that 'A, B, C... Z, A1, B1...' was actually involved (rather than having a motivation to wanting JFK out of the way).
The situation may well have been more complex than it superficially appears (people may have helped or inspired Oswald, not necessarily directly or intentionally) - and #it was a very different world then#. Anna Livia (talk) 10:18, 29 September 2017 (UTC)
Anna Livia: "IP - The 'Oswald did it' line is there #because the evidence as it is# indicates that he was involved - almost certainly as the assassin."
If you've got evidence for your position, maybe you should actually present it.
A quick summary of how I see the evidence:
First of all, taking official reports as "the outside view", we have two official reports, where the later report contradicts the first: The later report concludes there were multiple shooters, which is to say there was a conspiracy. Going with this, even if Oswald was one of the shooters, calling him *the* assassin is wrong, and flatly stating that "Oswald did it" is also wrong: Oswald, if he was in on it at all, was not alone.
The Warren report was, to put it bluntly, garbage: the magic bullet theory was a joke, and the doctors originally on the scene reported different bullet wounds. There were multiple films of the incident from different angles that show Kennedy's head being blown backwards, with Jackie reflexively jumping up and climbing onto the back of the car to grab a fragment of skull/brain tissue. Then there's the plausibility issues of the idea that one shooter using Oswald's hand-cranked rifle could've fired and aimed all of the shots, plus the oddity that Oswald is supposed to have passed up an easy shot to go for the more difficult one.
Why the Warren commission went with the story they did is one of the many open questions-- we don't need to assume they were in on the assassination, another popular theory is they wanted it settled quickly to "put it behind us" or some such.
There is also no particular public evidence that I'm aware of that shows what faction was behind this assassination-- a group of CIA/cuban/mafia actors is a popular one, but our conservative friends seem to prefer Soviet-agents, and if there's any way to know I haven't heard it.
Is the idea here that going with the Warren Report is supposed to seem sober and "rational", holding the line against those damn conspiracy theorists? Actual rational thinking doesn't work that way: conspiracies actually do happen, and sometimes the radical crazies get near the truth if only on the broken clocks principle.
Saying things like this may sound very wise and reasonable, but it just isn't: "The situation may well have been more complex than it superficially appears". I'm not talking about some hypothetical contrary to the obvious trend of the evidence, I'm talking about the direction that the obvious trend really points: A US president was assassinated, the official story was a lie, and none of us really know what it was about. -- (talk) 03:01, 13 October 2017 (UTC)
Weird things do happen - you can look for a putative criminal peer and find an actual criminal MP.
You state that there is no public evidence as to which faction was behind the assassination: it is 54+ years since the event and 'the world has changed considerably' as well as the releases of official documents under whichever version of the X-year rule is in operation, possibilities for statements made postmortem, plea-bargaining potential, newspaper-megabucks-for-confessions, factions within 'the conspiracy' falling out and releasing material damaging to other, and the possibilities for misplaced documents and unremoved cross references providing clues #and no evidence of an actual plan to assassinate JFK specifically#.
You make claims - #you# have to substantiate them. LHO was in the depository at the right time, and had the means of carrying out the assassination - but we do not know his motivation. There is no evidence of 'other assassins running around Dallas at the time' and the police/CIA/FBI had every motivation to find them/'the conspirators.'
Until and unless records are found proving the contrary we have to accept the official version in some form.
Who did it, and what were their means and motivation? Anna Livia (talk) 16:15, 2 May 2018 (UTC)

Other possibilities[edit]

The 'Oriental Express Scenario' - everybody did it (but why would most of them cooperate?).

Several different conspiracies and 'arrangements/pressure groups etc' managing to interlock and/or interact without the participants in each necessarily intending them to or realising that they will. Anna Livia (talk) 19:38, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

The Trump input[edit]

As DT has spoken on the release of files on the assassination, any comments necessary here yet? (And how many comments about 'yet more cover-ups' will there be?) Anna Livia (talk) 16:03, 23 October 2017 (UTC)

Following on from the above - can someone relevantly update the 'Popcorn' section - the October 2017 reference is still in the future sense. Anna Livia (talk) 21:51, 6 April 2018 (UTC)


Removing my contributions #without comment and some time after the event# annoys me - even if the Lord Lucan/John Stonehouse reference was obscure, requesting IP...154 to justify (IP possessive pronoun) opinions, and the comments on Trump and popcorn are valid (and there has been an incomplete release.

I did have a discussion point I was going to post, but no matter now. Anna Livia (talk) 14:26, 29 June 2018 (UTC)

@Anna Livia I apologize for that edit, it was completely unintended. That's what I get for browsing the wiki from an iPhone. Cosmikdebris (talk) 15:28, 29 June 2018 (UTC)

The car driver[edit]

As a possibility - the driver hearing 'one or several gunshots or noises which sound like them' (as he is looking at the road and for possible jaywalkers etc) automatically speeds up as a safety precaution - so pushing-through-inertia JFK back into the seat.

How likely an explanation is this? (It is simple, and a theoretical instruction 'if a potentially dangerous situation arises, speed off if practical' is plausible.) Anna Livia (talk) 11:15, 30 June 2018 (UTC)

The car driver did it Youtube video seems to have been deleted - can someone check (in case it moved). Anna Livia (talk) 18:05, 3 December 2019 (UTC)

Allan Dulles(who also was on the Warren Commission) & the CIA[edit]

I am not in a race to dismiss nor investigate it, to be frank. But this does not at all look like nutjob conspiracy theory fare to me..

https://www.democracynow.org/2015/10/14/the_rise_of_america_s_secret (its three parts) (talk) 21:43, 4 June 2019 (UTC)