Whilst waiting for the drier to complete its assigned task I spread my consciousness across the internets to learn what I could of kooks, crooks and liars. One of the most interesting members of one or more of these is Bob Schnoebelen, who has been a real vampire, a Satanist, a Freemason, a Christian Minister, the Dogstar (actually no, although that wouldnâ€™t be much a stretch for him, I think) and belonged to so many secret societies that he can cure pancreatic cancer with herbs and lecture to you on biochemical weapons all at the same time.
He is, indeed, a Renaissance man, which is a little problematic since weâ€™re into the much more cynical 21st Century now and your modern Paracelsus and Count Cagliostro now need something in the way of evidence to back up their claims.
Part of Schnoebelenâ€™s problem is that he is a man unstuck in time. According to the various accounts he has written of himself it turns out he was a real vampire living in a Catholic College, which must have been awkward to say the least. The rest of his life story makes even less sense if you follow strict chronological views of temporal succession. Defenders of Mr. Schnoebelen claim that what matters are the generalities of what he asserts; he was a Freemason. He is just a little confused as to when. He was a vampire twenty odd years ago, or possibly thirty… Whatever the case, the time he was or belonged to this or that is immaterial to the truth of what he claims about said this or said that.
Which, luckily enough, happens to be related to some of the Testimony material I am currently reading. A lot of Conspiracy Theories rest upon the claim that person A asserted a proposition p (to be true). This is to say that a lot of Conspiracy Theories rely on the notion that people do not assert falsehoods. This is a form of the prima facie claim about the warrant of testimonial beliefs; it is (seemingly) reasonable to claim that when person A asserts a proposition p that they assert something they sincerely believe in that people are more inclined to assert truths than falsehoods (and to back this up you get some fancy commonsense linguistics, which I will go into one day). Of course, Conspiracy Theorists donâ€™t make as naive a claim as this version of the Assertion Model (not do philosophers, but that post is yet to be written) in that Conspiracy Theorists do recognise that there are great deal of what look like assertions which are actually falsehoods, usually propagated by corporations, government organisations and the like. The claim, more properly, for the Conspiracy Theorist is something along the lines that individuals (usually) assert the truth whilst organisations can assert falsehoods (it might be that individuals, acting along, assert the truth whilst associations or individuals of associations, can assert falsehoods as well; Iâ€™m not sure as of yet).
Bob Schnoebelenâ€™s case is interesting because if you want to take anything he says as true you have to extract something from the assertion or recharacterise assertions themselves. For Schnoebelen to be correct then some content of his assertion is true even if the whole statement is, in fact, false. Or the truth of any given assertion isnâ€™t either true or false but rather weighted depending on your view of how utterances of this type (to do with purely internal states of mind) are generated via memory.
Or it could just be that he is just lying.
Food for thought.