From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Mon Jan 07 2002 - 10:54:57 GMT

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    Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2002 10:54:57 -0000 
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    Hi Everyone,

    I wondered how long it would take Paul and others to make this comment. A
    few problems with it though. First is the assumption of a causal
    relationship between widespread dissemination of Sep 11 attacks and this
    boy's actions- is there any evidence yet to confirm that this boy heard
    about bin laden through the media, as opposed to friends and family etc
    (teenagers are notoriously low consumers of news- including in the US), and
    thus open to interpersonal influence. Saturation coverage is no answer to
    this, because the second problem then emerges- such a view ignores why many
    others haven't done this. In other words if it is merely the dissemination
    of such actions that cause them to be imitated by others why haven't we seen
    more attacks, especially given the level of coverage globally?

    With Phillips-like research, in which such views are rooted, the 100%
    increase in people flying a plane into a building deliberately would be
    proof of cause and effect, but I see no evidence of this. Paul predicted
    such copy-cat attempts pretty soon after the original attack, but several
    months on there has been this one case. How long does media coverage
    resonate with audiences with contagious effect? In other words what is the
    period in which such contagions remain powerful? Is it only on immediate
    exposure, does it seep into people to reemerge weeks, months, years later or
    what? There's no coherence to this kind of contagion idea to my mind.

    This poor young lad obviously had particular problems that led to this. He
    also had access to flying lessons, and some ability to fly a plane. One of
    the problems with contagion theories is the problem of context- from social
    ones (e.g. why most people don't go on killing sprees after watching Natural
    Born Killers- we know it's wrong, or at least that we'd probably get
    caught), to logistical ones (in this case getting a plane, and having a
    skyscraper to hit).

    On a mor polemical note, again the risk of this kind of argument- even given
    its clear relevance to memetic debates- is not seen by its proponents. What
    solution is there, IF such things are being caused by information
    dissemination? There is only one, something both US networks and the US
    public (if the Pew Center surveys are anything to go by) agree with,
    censorship. Yet censorship of al-jazeera didn't stop this lad.

    Oh and a belated happy new year everyone!


    > ----------
    > From:
    > Reply To:
    > Sent: Monday, January 7, 2002 1:18 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: Re: CRASH CONTAGION
    > In a message dated 1/6/2002 7:56:33 AM Central Standard Time, Paul Marsden
    > <> writes:
    > Hi Paul.
    > ABC news here in the USA reported this evening (1/6/2002) that the boy had
    > left a 4 paragraph note applauding the September 11 attacks and expressing
    > support for Osama Bin Laden. The target building was also a financial
    > office
    > tower. The evidence strongly indicates that the idea of flying a plane
    > into a
    > building had propagated as a result of previous ideologically-motivated
    > crashes, and not as a result of some prior accidental crash or a prior
    > crash
    > whose cause remains unknown. I don't think anyone would suggest that this
    > Florida crash would have happened without the prior ideologically-based
    > crashes of September 11, and without the immense publicity that those
    > crashes
    > gave to the ideologies involved and to the idea of deliberately crashing
    > planes into buildings for ideological reasons.
    > --Aaron Lynch
    > > Kas Graham of kindly forwarded a link to today's BBC
    > > news report of what appears to be an example of contagion (thank you
    > Kas).
    > >
    > > I wonder if anyone seriously thinks that this would have happened had
    > 9-11
    > > not occurred?
    > >
    > > from BBC; Jan 6, 2002
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > A 15-year-old boy has died after the small private plane he was flying
    > > crashed into the side of a skyscraper in Florida.
    > >
    > > The teenager was supposed to be having a practice flight, but took off
    > in
    > > the single engine Cessna without permission, crashing into the 28th
    > floor
    > of
    > > the Bank of America building.
    > >
    > > Lesson
    > >
    > > As the young pilot, Charles Bishop, started his usual flying lesson,
    > his
    > > instructor told him to do a pre-flight check and walked away: but
    > instead
    > > the boy took off.
    > >
    > > Under-16s are not allowed to fly alone on the US, so the coastguard
    > sent a
    > > helicopter to stop the plane.
    > >
    > > The teenager ignored the coastguard's signals to land, but it's not yet
    > > known whether he flew into the building on purpose or couldn't avoid
    > > crashing.
    > >
    > > Reminder
    > >
    > > The FBI say the crash is nothing to do with terrorism, but it's a
    > reminder
    > > of the 11 September attacks when two hijacked planes slammed into the
    > side
    > > of the World Trade Center.
    > >
    > > Luckily there were very few people in the building at the time and no
    > others
    > > were hurt.
    > >
    > ===============================================================
    > This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
    > Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission
    > For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
    > see:

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