Should We Give Thrive a Pass on Facts, And Instead Praise its “Message?”

As stated here, the purpose of this blog is to bring to light the many errors, distortions, and inaccuracies contained in the conspiracy theory documentary Thrive. My objections to Thrive are primarily fact-based. It presents many claims as fact which are simply untrue: for example, that crop circles are of extraterrestrial origin, that Adam Trombly has invented a working “free energy” device, and that an insular group of conspirators control the world. These things are not true, and many other claims the movie makes aren’t true either.

A common thread in many of the comments I’ve received on this blog, however, has been to take me to task for focusing on the factual veracity of claims made in Thrive. According to certain commenters, the factual accuracy of the film and its claims aren’t the point, and instead of debunking them, I should be praising what some people view as the movie’s “positive message.” This article will evaluate that assertion critically, or at least as critically as an essentially faith-based proposition can be evaluated.

Should we give Thrive a pass on its purported facts, or some of its purported facts, in favor of praising either its overall “message” or the good intentions of its creators, such as Foster Gamble? I would clearly answer no to this question, but it’s equally clear that many fans of the film would unhesitatingly answer yes. This difference in approach illustrates some interesting things about the movie itself and the audience at which it is aimed.

Do Facts Matter?

On the face of it this question seems silly. Of course they do. Facts always matter. Without ascertaining what’s fact and what’s not, the world is unnavigable. However, it appears that, when one delves into the strange New Age netherworld of the sorts of subjects covered in Thrive—UFOs, magical energy devices, ancient astronauts, and conspiracy theories—facts become a whole lot less important, at least to the people who believe in these things.

Let’s take, for example, Adam Trombly’s “free energy” machine. An early article on this blog presented the facts that, not only is there no evidence that Trombly’s machine works, but the principle by which it supposedly operates violates the laws of physics. In the comments on that and other pages, however, some defenders of Thrive don’t seem to be very troubled by this. Believers in “free energy” devices, when confronted with facts demonstrating that a particular machine has not been proven to work, will often start arguing about possibilities and potentials of unlimited energy devices, sometimes citing examples of other particular machines—whose operations have not been proven either. You can see examples of this sort of argumentation in the comments to that page. To them, therefore, what seems to be important is that a person believes in the possibility of “free energy.” When you come at it from that tack, whether Trombly’s specific machine does or does not work suddenly recedes in importance. The factual question of whether it does or doesn’t work is no longer the key issue you’re arguing about.

But what does this say about Thrive? It seems safe to conclude that Foster Gamble believes strongly in “free energy” devices, and promoting that belief to the public seems to be one of the key objectives of Thrive. One would assume, therefore, that Adam Trombly and his device are, if not the best and most compelling example of “free energy” devices that Gamble could find, at least a representative example. Even if Gamble, in preparation for making the movie, interviewed 50 inventors of so-called “free energy” devices and only Trombly was willing to sign up to appear on camera, it wouldn’t make sense that Gamble would put him in the movie if his specific device wasn’t capable of illustrating the point Gamble wants to make about “free energy.” Seen in that light, isn’t the failure of Trombly’s case to persuade us that “free energy” devices are real extremely damaging to Gamble’s argument in general?

Don’t misunderstand what I’m arguing here. One failed example is not an excuse to trash an entire idea. If you can show me a working example of a “free energy” device whose operation is clearly and publicly verified by reputable scientific sources—a “free energy” device whose operation and functioning are unmistakable, explainable by science and capable of being reproduced—I will concede that “free energy” exists, and the fact that Trombly failed to build such a device is irrelevant. But what I am saying is that if Trombly is the best example of this phenomenon that Thrive can offer us, and that example fails to make its case, doesn’t that diminish the ability of the movie Thrive to persuade us that its arguments are credible?

Again, just to be clear: the point I’m making is that, by using Adam Trombly as a (presumably) representative example of “free energy,” Thrive turns out to be not very persuasive that “free energy” exists. This may be just because Trombly is a bad example, in which case the makers of Thrive chose him poorly; or it may be because there’s nothing to “free energy” to begin with, in which case the makers of Thrive are asserting something they either know is false or ought to know if they had done proper research into the matter. Either way it seems inescapable that Thrive’s competence and credibility as a source diminishes as soon as you realize that the claims the movie makes about Trombly and his machine don’t pan out.

To at least some defenders of the movie, however, this analysis doesn’t follow at all. To them it doesn’t really matter whether Trombly is a good example or a bad one—they wish to believe that “free energy” exists, and the fact that the specific inventor showcased in Thrive has not created a working “free energy” machine is not permitted to impeach this conclusion. This is purely faith-based, result-driven reasoning.

I’m using the Trombly case as an example here, but it is by no means the only example. It would be one thing if it was the only unpersuasive example. But it isn’t. If you pile the numerous errors, distortions and unwarranted conclusions in Thrive atop one another, it quickly becomes clear that the movie as a whole has an extremely serious problem with basic factual credibility on multiple levels.

Should We Cherry-Pick the Claims in Thrive, Believe Some and Leave Others Alone?

Another thread that comes through in some of the pro-Thrive comments suggests that viewers are approaching it as a sort of cafeteria smorgasbord where you’re expected to take one or more claims it makes at face value while dismissing, or ignoring, others. The movie offers so many conspiracy theories and New Age perspectives, changing gears so rapidly, that it’s difficult to keep track of them all. The problem is compounded when one looks at the Thrive Movement website, especially its section on the “Global Domination Agenda,” and sees links to a bunch of other conspiracy theories that the movie didn’t have time to cover, as well as mentions of conspiracy theorists, like Alex Jones, who themselves espouse particular conspiracy theories not specifically mentioned in the film. It’s difficult to accept that anybody could believe the literal truth of all of the conspiracy theories mentioned in Thrive or referenced, directly or indirectly, on the website, but, as I have long experience dealing with conspiracy theorists, I know that it is (unfortunately) possible, perhaps even likely.

A good example of the “cherry-picking” approach concerns David Icke. As most people familiar with the conspiracy underground know, Icke, perhaps the most well-known conspiracy theorist in the world, is instantly identified with his bizarre theories that the world is secretly run by evil reptilian shape-shifting aliens. These theories are science-fiction redresses of the old anti-Semitic “Jewish world conspiracy” theories that were popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with aliens standing in for Jews. Icke appears in Thrive—in fact, although he isn’t interviewed until later in the movie, his face flashes on screen within the first seven minutes of the film—but does not talk about reptilian aliens on-screen. One of my strongest objections to Thrive is that Icke is involved in it and quoted as a reliable source about anything, even though he doesn’t push his reptilian alien crap in this specific film. Pro-Thrive readers of this blog have taken me to task for this. According to them, I’m supposed to overlook the fact that Icke believes in reptilian shape-shifting aliens and instead focus on positive things he says in Thrive. (Like what? The false claims of a “Global Domination Agenda”?)

I remain unconvinced that Foster Gamble put Icke on-screen just because he had something supposedly worthwhile to say that is unconnected to his reptilian alien delusions, as some Thrive fans have asserted. For one thing, Icke’s entire worldview stems from this delusion. If you read his writings it’s difficult to find anything he talks about that isn’t connected in some way to his elaborate sci-fi conspiracy mythology. For another thing, David Icke’s associations are so toxic that there’s no chance anyone who is not already predisposed to accept, or at least consider, Icke’s ideology could overlook them. The fact that David Icke appears in this movie at all is a not-very-subtle bid to market Thrive and its conclusions to Icke’s core audience, whom Gamble is obviously interested in reaching. Thus, don’t tell me that the fact that Icke believes in evil reptilians from outer space is somehow irrelevant to what he’s doing in this movie. Whether Foster Gamble himself believes in evil reptilians from outer space is not the point—he probably doesn’t (I certainly hope he doesn’t!)—but if you want to reach conspiracy theorists who dwell at that advanced level of fantasy, you can do no better than to utilize David Icke as a mouthpiece.

Again, as with the Trombly issue, if Icke was the only unreliable or questionable source in the movie, it might be easier to look past his presence and simply chalk up Gamble’s invitation for Icke to appear as a fluke in the “bad call, Ripley!” category. But in Thrive you don’t just get David Icke. You get Nassim Haramein, touted as a reliable source on ancient history but who plays fast and loose with the facts; you get Steven Greer, whose claim to fame is pushing the-gubbermint-is-covering-up-UFOs conspiracy theories; you get Edgar Mitchell, a former astronaut known for making outlandish conspiracy-oriented claims that NASA has officially denied; you get Deepak Chopra, well-known in New Age and alt-med circles; the list goes on and on. Inviting people to your movie to espouse controversial opinions is fine, and I have no problem with that. But these people are asserting as matters of fact many things which are demonstrably false. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. But nobody has a right to their own facts.

Good Intentions?

Okay. So Foster Gamble is wrong about crop circles, free energy, the Global Domination Agenda, the Rockefellers, alt-med cures, Nicola Tesla, UFO suppression, alien astronauts, and countless other things. One can certainly argue that he made a couple of poor decisions, credibility-wise, by giving the floor to Adam Trombly, whose claims cannot be verified, and David Icke, whose claims are something out of bad science fiction. Should Mr. Gamble’s good intentions in making Thrive insulate him from criticism on these points?

I’m sure Foster Gamble is a nice guy. On-screen he comes across as extremely personable. Before he made this movie he was widely associated with a campaign to ban (or reduce) industrial pesticide spraying—which I regard as a good cause and effort well spent. I’m quite sure he honestly wants to see the world improve and to see people lead better lives. I’m also quite sure he works very hard and puts a lot of effort into activities that he believes advances these goals.

Here’s the thing: so do I. However, I do not hear defenders of the Thrive movie arguing that my good intentions should insulate me from criticism for doing what I do on this blog.

Indeed, who doesn’t have good intentions? Who honestly doesn’t think the world can and should be improved, that people should live longer and more fulfilling lives, and that social justice should prevail? It’s not as if it’s so unusual to find a person as well-intentioned as Foster Gamble that a person with such intentions suddenly becomes immune from criticism on the basis of factual inaccuracies or logic errors, especially in a media piece that is, as Thrive purports to be, a documentary supposedly telling the truth about “how things really are.”

Personally, I devote a great deal of money and time to volunteer and charity activities. I believe strongly, for instance, in providing better access to education, especially higher education. I’m out there working on my ideas to “save the world” just as hard as Foster Gamble is working on his. What sort of special privileges or immunities do I believe this entitles me to? Absolutely none at all.

Here’s something else to keep in mind: peoples’ ideas for improving the world can, and usually do, conflict with one another. I believe that conspiracy theories impair peoples’ ability to think rationally and thus participate meaningfully in public discourse. Therefore, refuting conspiracy theories and promoting the facts is something I feel is a strong social good. I would venture to say Foster Gamble would disagree. He seems to believe that promoting conspiracy theories is a social good, or otherwise he wouldn’t have made Thrive in the first place. I do not question Gamble’s good intentions. But it’s a simple fact that Gamble’s activities in promoting conspiracy theories directly conflict with my own efforts to refute them. He has money to burn and an audience of millions, so he’ll probably make a lot more headway on his goal that I will on mine, but that doesn’t change that I think Foster Gamble is wrong. Am I not allowed to assert that view because I also believe that, however wrong he is, he at least is acting out of good intentions and pure motives?

What Is the “Point” of Thrive, Anyway?

Here we get to the real issue: why was Thrive created, what is its ultimate “message,” and who is it aimed at?

When I first began this blog I was reluctant to speculate too much as to Foster Gamble and the other makers’ motives in creating the movie, because those motives are extremely unclear. After studying the film and reaction to it for the past two and a half months, however, I believe we can make a reasonable hypothesis as to why this film was created and what it’s ultimately trying to say.

I’ve recently had a fascinating conversation over email with an academic, who happens to be an expert on conspiracy theories and New Age mythology. This person, whose credentials are impressive, is not a “debunker” as I am—he studies the phenomenon of conspiracy theories and why people believe them, whereas my study of them (and I do not study them in an academic realm) focuses on ascertaining their factual veracity. After my conversation with this person regarding Thrive, which helped me to see the larger context in which the movie operates, I think I understand the point of the film much better than I did in November. This topic is worth expanding upon and will probably be the subject of a self-contained article.

The upshot of my conversation with the expert was that Thrive was created as a means to explain, at least partially, the failure of New Age concepts—which have been around and popular since at least the ‘70s—to result in the transformative change that many New Age believers insisted would flow from the implementation of their ideas. Here is what he had to say on the subject (he asked that his identifying information not be disclosed on this blog, but he gave me permission to post his words): 

“I suspect that what’s going on is that New Age, now entering its third generation, has developed a theodicy. Now, this is a theological term, but it essentially means an explanation of the existence of evil – why bad things happen to good people. For some of those in the New Age milieu – Foster Gamble, David Icke, Whitley Strieber, Duncan Rhodes and others, all incidentally in middle age and with a long term involvement in the New Age milieu – an explanation is needed as to why, if we’ve entered the Age of Aquarius, is the world less peaceful, equal and progressive than ever? Conspiracy theories offer such a theodicy – the New Age hasn’t happened because evil people prevented it from happening.” 

Once you start to consider Thrive from this angle, everything falls into place. It suddenly makes sense why Thrive carefully strokes the various tropes of New Age belief systems: UFOs, ancient astronauts, alt-med miracle cures, benevolent aliens and magical free energy machines. It also makes sense why, once the movie has proclaimed its sympathy with these themes, it turns on a fire hose of conspiracy craziness, theory after theory thrown willy-nilly at the audience in an attempt to make one or more of them stick. The movie’s point, therefore, is this: “The reason that our New Age beliefs haven’t transformed the world is because the evil conspirators are thwarting us.”

This also explains why Thrive’s supporters aren’t generally swayed by factual arguments or applications of logic and critical thinking. The point is not to establish literal, verifiable truth (though the film seems, on the surface, to want to do this as well). The point is to validate an essentially spiritual belief system. At its core, then, seen from this angle, Thrive is basically a religious text. A Thrive supporter is no more likely to abandon his support for the film, when presented evidence that crop circles are terrestrial in origin or the Global Domination Agenda does not exist, than a Mormon is to leave the Church of Latter-Day Saints when told that there is no archaeological evidence that the Nephites and Lamanites actually existed.

That Thrive supporters take the movie this way—whether they are consciously aware of it or not—is borne out by comments like this one, which seems to equate criticism of the movie with some sort of assault on the primacy of the human spirit:

“Thrive is not out to get anyone other than the people that Gamble feels are responsible for the situation we find ourselves in today. I believe that all Thrive is trying to do is show people the power they have, which to me is amazing because all I see everywhere are reminders of how I need to better myself or change who I am because its not good enough. I don’t feel the need to back up any claims with links or anything of that nature because you can’t cite the claim I have which is this; Every human being has the capability of being amazing no matter what but there are people who try very hard to keep us unaware of this….I just love the movie Thrive because it gives me hope. All I want is for as many people to be inspired by this movie the way I was because it is too hard for me to see and hear about so many people living with so little while we enjoy the benefits of their destruction.”

So Thrive, then, is probably intended to be accepted on spiritual and philosophical terms—not factual ones.

That means that unless I’m ready to give battle on the supposed spiritual basis of Thrive, I need to delete this blog immediately, right? Not quite.

There’s Just One Problem…Thrive Purports to be a Documentary. 

Unfortunately Thrive doesn’t wear its intentions on its sleeve. On the face of it, it appears to be a documentary—a movie intended to state what the facts actually are. The fact that I had to talk to an academic expert on conspiracy theories and New Age beliefs to realize that it is not really a documentary demonstrates this. It also leaves the movie and its makes with the same fundamental problem that drew me to begin debunking it in the first place: the things that it says are facts are not, in fact, true. 

Appreciating the New Age context in which many supporters of Thrive perceive the movie is one thing. However, it doesn’t change that the movie is still out there claiming to be a documentary and telling people that the Rockefellers control their food supply and that evil oil companies are suppressing extraterrestrial technology. So long as statements of fantasy such as these are continued to be passed off as objective fact, attacking Thrive on the basis of its factual accuracy is, in my view, entirely fair game. To argue otherwise is to argue, effectively, either that (i) facts don’t matter; (ii) Foster Gamble’s good intentions in making the film should immunize him from criticism about its assertions; or (iii) that the purported “goodness” of the movie’s overall message outweighs the transgressions it makes against the truth. This article, I feel, has already effectively refuted (i) and (ii). Point (iii) makes me uneasy because it’s essentially an “ends justify the means” argument, which is always dangerous. 

Regardless of whether Foster Gamble would himself agree that the purported factual assertions in the movie should be taken with a “grain of salt”—and it would be very problematic if he did state that unequivocally—there’s no question that some people out there do believe everything Thrive says. I can state that, between comments received on this blog and replies directed to me on Twitter, I have, since beginning this blog, seen an example of an assertion of the direct factual accuracy of every major claim made in the film. Granted, this is spread among many different commenters, but if each individual claim in the movie is believed to be literal fact by at least one person, that still adds up to a lot of people believing in a lot of untrue claims. This is the problem with movies that play fast and loose with the facts masquerading as documentaries. It’s deceptive. If you’re trying to tell people the way things really are, here on Earth in our real world, by doing so you owe at least a moral duty to tell these things accurately, and that means doing diligent research to make sure the claims you want to make are really true. Given the ease with which I and the other contributors to this blog have debunked many of its claims, I’m left with serious doubts that Mr. Gamble and the others responsible for Thrive have done the research they should have done before passing off these claims as true. 

Should we give Thrive a pass on its facts and instead praise its motives or its message? So long as its makers offer it as a factual documentary, no, we shouldn’t. It’s just that simple.

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38 responses to “Should We Give Thrive a Pass on Facts, And Instead Praise its “Message?””

  1. The Locke says :

    When a person makes claims that are unsupportable, unprovable, false, or just plain crazy, then whatever real message you might have becomes lost….

  2. SlayerX3 says :

    The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

    Even if the goals are noble the means used to spread and motivate people into abiding its ideas aren’t.

    Scale things up and you can find the same situations where socialist and fascist leaders and parties have been “it is okay to kill half million people for our cause” or “it’s okay to arrest and deny civil rights to people to protect our nation”, using lies and manipulation to get your idea across while keeping a serious tone is a clear indication that it’s supporters and advocators are willing to give in to use less than noble methods to its implementation.

    Just take a look at The Zeitgeist Movement and The Venus Project supporters, you’ll see everything from mass murder to indoctrination, from forced birth control to out right eugenics, the exact same means the advocators and supporters of the utopian ZTM and TVP claim that the “international bankers”, the “select group of people” and “New world order Illuminati” are accused to use.

    I don’t know which is more scaring, if Gamble actually believes what he is spouting in Thrive or he actually knows he is full of crap yet wants to people to follow his lead in the pursue of a “better world” no matter how many people he has to fool, lie to and deceive to reach his goals.

    • Morten Lindhard says :

      First “Slayerx3″ is a creepy name and so is your gasmask pic. certainly not a person I feel like trusting. When reading you manipulating lies the sense of pure evil becomes overwhelming. Just a random pick “cropcircles are made by aliens because they are so perfect”. No that is far from the full argument. Add that some of the biggest has appeared within half an hour or so in full daylight next to Stone Henge and a busy highway and yet no one saw it happen, but everybody stopped and saw the result. How did that happen ?There are a number of cases in that category some associated with observations of strange flying orbs of light.
      So you are falsifying the argument so grotesquely that I will spend no more time here.

      • conspiracykiller says :

        “First “Slayerx3″ is a creepy name and so is your gasmask pic. certainly not a person I feel like trusting. When reading you manipulating lies the sense of pure evil becomes overwhelming”

        This just shows how easily manipulated you are. the fact an image scares you and makes you think of evil, pretty much shows you to be irrational and easily influenced. The fact that the image might have something to do with heavy metal, artwork seems to escape your limited perspective.

        “some of the biggest has appeared within half an hour or so in full daylight next to Stone Henge and a busy highway and yet no one saw it happen,”

        Anecdotes mean shit. Some old geezer drove past stone henge and didn’t see a crop circle driving into town, then saw it driving back home from town along the same road. How does this translate to aliens made it within half an hour ? It’s completely likely, that the old geezers memory and vision is not as perfect as ufologists want you to believe. The fact the guy makes a claim makes it no more likely than if he didn’t make the claim.

        The fact of the matter is there is no evidence that the crop circle occurred within 30 minutes other than some guys claims, and this is not good enough to convince anyone other than the easily led.

        “There are a number of cases in that category some associated with observations of strange flying orbs of light.

        The examples of these that have been brought up on the blogs here have already been dissected and shown to be of no real use as evidence. Many times peopel have passed by here thinking they can show evidence and have the twoof about ufo’s and crop circles, every time they end up being shown to be wrong.

        “So you are falsifying the argument so grotesquely that I will spend no more time here.”

        Goodbye then.

      • Joel T. says :

        “… some of the biggest has appeared within half an hour or so in full daylight next to Stone Henge and a busy highway and yet no one saw it happen, but everybody stopped and saw the result. How did that happen?”

        That’s actually an argument against it being aliens.
        Humans along a busy highway would have seen flying saucers in the sky.
        In contrast, because the area is rather flat, they would have been far far less likely of seeing humans walking around a crop field.

        That nothing was seen indicates that it was humans, not UFOs.

        Of course, I suppose one could argue that the aliens made their craft invisible. But then, that behavior would be in contrast to seeing orbs of light at night: why would aliens go to great lengths to hide their presence during the day, yet make themselves visible at night? That’s more in line with what we’d expect from hoaxers rather than aliens.

        As for speed, a flash mob can build a house in about 3 minutes. A complex crop circle made in half an hour is well within our capabilities.

  3. Hollywood Tomfortas says :

    muertos,

    I plugged your blog on this site I found in the UK. It actually advocates avoiding the movie THRIVE.

    It’s called
    TRANSITION CULTURE:
    an evolving exploration into the head, heart and hands of energy descent

    http://transitionculture.org/2012/01/09/film-review-why-thrive-is-best-avoided/

    So far there are 110 comments in the 3 weeks of its posting. Mine is #106. In the latest comment, a bloke named David, who happens to know Adam Trombley personally, pillories you as an “institutional thinker,” i.e. someone unable to think “outside the box.” I quote from the end of his very long comment:

    Transition Culture is about the new non-institutional mind set. Which is why thrive is such an important movie. Not only because it has succeeded in being publicised enough for many people to view it even though it breaks the conventional thinking codes of the institutions, but because it produces a differentiation between those still stuck inside the box, and those outside.

    Of course it goes against the grain of Institutional Thinkers. It blows apart most of their ideas, so they spend their life trying to debunk it, instead of learning from it.

    • muertos says :

      I don’t usually comment on other blogs where this one is mentioned, but I did post a response to that comment. Hopefully it will be approved. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • jacob chamberlain says :

      Agred and thx for helping the society by fixing it

    • Petrus says :

      That is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. The transition initiative is an organisation with serious problems in their own right.

      Transition basically goes into a given area, looks for all of the different organisations related to horticulture, permaculture, or land care in said area that it can find, and then tries to subsume the lot of them. We’ve got a Transition hub where I’m living. The group is a disaster, and the woman running it is a control freak.

    • Petrus says :

      As another point, Transition are part of the Michael Ruppert’s Peak Oil subculture, who again, also have ideas that are dubious, to say the least. The problem with the peak oil party line isn’t that peak oil is happening, in and of itself; but rather the apocalyptic attitude that once oil is gone, there is no possibility of any other energy source being found, so we’ll all have no choice but going to back to living in caves…the 10% of us who don’t die after the oil economy collapses, that is.

      Ruppert is like a lot of people in the fear porn industry. He has fundamentally positive intentions, I think, and occasionally he will say something that is genuinely worthwhile. His isolated valuable statements, however, tend to be overshadowed by a general level of extreme, tearful hysteria, which unfortunately is highly contagious.

  4. Grant Mingus says :

    This is without a doubt the most pathetic piece of “journalism” I’ve come across in years that isn’t sports related. And that is saying quite a bit. You have zero credibility. You come off with a condescending, superior intelligent tone as you “debunk” Thrive with no facts of your own. It’s very clear that you’ve bought into the system that the powers that be want you to buy into. This is literally just a giant turd. For Christ sake, you don’t even take issue with the Federal Reserve–which is FAR from a conspiracy. They don’t even hide it. WAKE UP, use your investigative and solid writing skills for some good. While I will admit that you can research and discover ANY side of a particular story, you can’t “debunk” something and say it’s un-factual based on reasons like, “NASA denied it.” NO SHIT SHERLOCK.

    • muertos says :

      Thanks for your comment. For the record, I’m not a journalist, so I’m not sure how apposite your criticism of this blog from a journalistic standpoint is. The conclusion that Mitchell’s UFO-suppression claims are false rest upon far more than the mere fact that NASA has denied them, but that’s beyond the scope of this article.

      If you believe there are factual errors in this article or elsewhere on this blog, please point them out, and provide reliable source material to back up your assertions. Please be specific. If readers bring to my attention factual errors that can be verified with reliable evidence, I’ll be more than happy to correct them.

    • Petrus says :

      While I think there probably is a certain amount of (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AgentScully) arbitrary skepticism, here, I think you are being unfair. This site does have some genuine value, as I have said.

  5. Grant Mingus says :

    Where are the reliable sources to back up your claims?

    • muertos says :

      Which claim in particular are you referring to? If you have a specific claim in mind that you think is not supported, identify it and explain why you believe it is unsupported. Be specific.

  6. TD says :

    As a liberal environmentalist type, I’m very sympathetic to Thrive’s uplifting message. I was mortified, however, to finally see the movie: could they have crammed more crackpot conspiracy theories from the left- and right-wing into one two-hour period?

    The film will undoubtedly do more harm than good: if environmentalism and progressive politics are tarred with this type of ridiculous pseudoscience and paranoid fantasy, there will be even less hope of achieving the uplifting future the film describes,

    Congrats on this superb site: it’s really a masterful take-down.

  7. jacob chamberlain says :

    *#+$ you guys
    Thive is trying to convay a perspective and not all facts. For example they never stated the ufo create crop cercles, also he never said that adam trobly (or however his name is spelt) had a working dinamo. Adam trombly said that his machien work. It is a simailr for the rest of the “loop holes” you point out.

    One more thing,you point out three or so fact and make it sound like the entier movie is fake. Is it possible that you say it’s false because you don’t like it’s statments getting out?

    • Professor Pious says :

      Funny, the Thrive movie starts with this text:

      “All facts in this movie have been independently confirmed.
      Sources are documented at thrivemovement.com.”

      Now you’re claiming Thrive is trying to convey a perspective and not facts? Please don’t move the goalposts.

      It’s incredibly deceptive and dishonest for Thrive to present so many demonstrably false claims as facts, then claim they are “independently confirmed” on the Thrive web site. Nothing could be further from the truth: the Thrive web site simply references the same sources presented in the Thrive movie. Citing the same source twice is not independent confirmation. Using the phrase “independently confirmed” has the implication that an unbiased, disinterested party has researched and endorsed the claims in Thrive; this is not the case.

      It’s quite ironic that a movie pretending to be a documentary begins with the logical fallacy known as a “fallacious appeal to authority.” Yet another reason to question carefully every “fact” presented in Thrive.

  8. Treok Walker says :

    When I was 20, I wanted to know how almost every country on the planet could be in debt and who are we in debt to. Banks print money, and sell it to us. That is called wage-slavery
    Banks and corporations are making billions of dollars off the resources that belong to all humans, and you are here trying to debunk whether there are alternative energy sources, or whether there are other life forms.
    You sound like a joke.
    Our governments spend so much money on military, on oil companies, on themselves, while most people on the planet have very little, and you have nothing to say about that, because you actually think they are doing their best to help us.

    Get a life. Join the Human race.

    • Chevy says :

      Amen. Granted, the movie freely mixes weakly researched data with self- evident truths, blurring the distinctions between the two; however Mr. Walker’s analysis of the behavior of governments worldwide concerning resources cannot be refuted. In at least this respect, the movie presents the brutal truth.
      IMHO, this film was produced in an earnest, genuine attempt to share what at least Mr. Gamble has concluded is the state of affairs. No one asked him to invest substantial time, effort, money and resources into a production that would, within hours of its release, cease to generate any direct renevue. His intentions are commendable, especially as he is himself a member of the financial elite. If anything, producing a movie like this can only serve to make powerful enemies within his own class. Yes, he’s been duped to some degree by parasitic BS artists- an inevitability of the a man of his wealth and worldview-
      but there are many seeds of truth among his beliefs. Keep in mind that his family’s position has enabled him to gain access to information unavailable to most of us- some of which may seem outlandish on its face, in light of what we’ve been told is true.
      I also got the sense that the Gamble family has had it up to here with the shenanigans of the banking elite (people they possibly have to deal with in their social class), and took the rather bold step of trying to erode their grip on humanity through widespread exposure of the rigged systems they employ.
      Again, a daring move, certainly not without consequences, on the part of the producers of this film.
      Sure, Thrive is flawed. Sure, some of it is demonstrataby bullshit. But I believe, as Mr. Gamble does, that the liberation of our world starts with improving common knowledge of what is possible, and what is being hidden from us. Progress is a process, and rarely without impurities. The movie is, in my opinion, a definite, and possibly important, step in the right direction, and my hat’s off to anyone trying to improve the sad state of affairs the world is presently laboring under.

  9. Gus diZeregag says :

    The reaction to Thrive that you are discussing is fascinating to me. As a political scientist by training I was initially amazed, then alarmed, by the decline of conservative thought into a complete disregard of any connection of its major assertions with truth. Among other casualties, it makes mutually beneficial discussion between most right wingers and the rest of us a waste of time. They reject facts and have no problem telling lies or claiming others’ lies are unimportant. They may ultimately destroy the country, because attitudes like this cannot dominate a democracy if it is to last.

    Now the same phenomenon is appearing in some New Age circles.

    It is an emphasis on facts where facts can be ascertained that enables people who have different perspectives to learn from one another. It enables them to often find common ground and to better understand why others do not share some of their beliefs. It thereby expands empathy and compassion, which the New Age is “officially” devoted to. But then “conservatives” were once devoted to facts as an antidote to hubristic overreaching, so a movement can hget lost from its own principles once self-righteousness and sincerity justify saying anything to advance one’s goals.

    Your post is excellent. Thank you!

    • Stryepy says :

      I consider myself an agnostic. I stopped believing in the Christian God and Santa Claus at age 12 or so, but I’ve learned too much about the scientific method and its limitations to stay an atheist. I’ve studied philosophy of western science, as well as taoism, buddhism, hindu and many other epistemologies. I try to keep an open mind, but also a functioning bullshit detector.

      I find myself in a similar position when it comes to the conspiracy underground. I don’t really believe in anything except the evidence of my direct experience, and even that I take with a grain of salt. Consequently I see no reason to believe mainstream explanations of history, current events etc any more than I would believe contrarian explanations for them. There is no doubt that crop circles exist. At this stage, ANY theory of their origin is a conspiracy theory, whether it proposes extremely well organised groups of hoaxers making them at night, alien taggers, or anything else.

      I find it amusing that many “debunkers” resort to the same kind of ad hominen attacks and logical fallacies as “believers”. I wonder if what we are seeing is the result of whole sectors of society who would normally be reading the sports news becoming politically engaged, and joining debates about the nature of reality for the first time? Many people involved in the 99% movement occupying public squares around the world are also involved with Zetgeist or other movements associated with the conspiracy underground (although of course there are others, usually ultra-conservative, who think Occupy is the work of the NWO, or the devil or both).

      In conclusion, while I agree with many of your points, I think it’s good that Thrive was made, if only to give people like you motivation to the debunk the various falsifiable and false claims that circulate in the conspiracy underground. Despite their retreat to the ‘he’s trying to do good defence’, most of them are adding your fair points to their bullshit detector, whether consciously or unconsciously. Natural selection applies in the realm of ideas, and people’s understanding can grow from being exposed to two convincing yet opposing viewpoints, and having to come to their own conclusions.

      What I’d really like to see is a documentary series that put both “believers” and “debunkers” of each conspiracy in a room together, and let them duke in out (rhetorically of course), filtering to increase signal to noise, and adding illustration and visual interest.

    • S. Haensgen says :

      “They may ultimately destroy the country, because attitudes like this cannot dominate a democracy if it is to last.” <<<this…wow
      Your country is already crumbling beneath your feet, I find it hard to watch as much as the next person. But to not consent to dissent on the powers that be of today, and to blame anyone with an opposing view for it's failure is is the height of putting your head in the sand.
      That said I am not sure of the validity of any claim made in the movie but would enjoy some long needed FACTS to the maters set forth in it. As of yet I have not seen those facts. Simply saying they are not true doesn't make them not true, as much as asserting them doesn't make them fact.

    • Petrus says :

      Assuming that you are an American, I assure you that your country has already been dead for some time now. The level of necrosis is simply reaching a point at this stage, where denial is gradually becoming impossible.

  10. Hunterer says :

    Nice blog. I like these sorts of conspiracy theory “mockumentaries” but with a hefty pinch of salt. I started laughing straight away at the distracting graphics everywhere, flying about in a torus. (oh yeah, I loved the bit where he says all the inventions look like a torus then he just super-imposes a torus over each one, even when there are no similarities, hehehe).
    I only watched 30mins of it before turning off as I’ve heard all of these claims myself. I do believe however that free-energy exists and that we’re being “shut-up” by those that be, but not necessarilly the same types of machines as are being shown here. I think it was teslars grandson who powered his village with a metal pipe going into the earth and absorbing some sort of energy, but I can’t remember where I heard this and can’t find it on the ineternet (I hope it wasn’t from another conspiracy theory film, then I’d just look stupid :p)
    My only bad point about this blog its that you seelm to be quite negative and you use the same tactics as those who wrote the film, you said that crop circles, alien visitations et cetera do not exist, or that they are false, but you don’t have the proof for that niether. I prefer to at least keep an open mind. Anyway, I read the entire post and that is rare for me, so keep up the good work.

  11. Humanæ Libertas says :

    Oh look a conveniently ready disinfo page.

  12. emcada says :

    Muertos, I know it has been awhile since you have made this post and asked this question, but I still have a response to your question of whether or not to praise Thrive’s message and ignore the facts. My short answer is no. The message of Thrive as I understood it is that the corporations and NWO are the sole reason why America is shit today. If we get rid of those two entities, then everyone’s lives will be better. The answer to this is no. The movie is playing the blame game and is pointing fingers at what millions of Americans have already started pointing fingers to. Just look at the Occupy Movement. Getting rid of the corporations will hardly solve anything. The reasons why people haven’t been able to thrive is because of the people themselves as well as their environment(community, parents, etc.). People cannot “thrive ” because of their environment. More importantly, the movie never made it clear what thriving is. How can we tell that someone’s thriving or not? If I’m happy as a small business owner making a few hundred a year, am I thriving? Or would I thrive if I’m the CEO of Microsoft? The message and facts are both shit, and message shouldn’t be praised.

  13. Petrus says :

    I can promise you that any defense I offer of David Icke, will not be defense that David Icke himself will likely appreciate, because it is provisional. I do not say what I am about to, to gain favour either with him or any of his followers who might read this. As far as you criticising the concept of cherry picking is concerned, with Icke that is exactly what I do.

    Yes, Icke may very well believe in shape shifting reptilian aliens. Do I? No. He also has some ideas about the moon that I don’t agree with. I know that if you were to do a Google search on some of the forum posts I’ve made on different topics, you would also likely conclude that I am deeply mentally ill, myself as well.

    I listen to David Icke in those areas, very specifically, where I am able to determine that he has accurate information. I believe that his assessment of the workings of the financial system is observably accurate. My judgement of Icke, relative to Thrive, is based purely on whether or not that specific information is accurate, and if it is, I don’t give a damn if he believes in reptilians, Satanists, or whatever else, because those things are not relevant to the subject matter of Thrive, specifically.

    I’m not trying to necessarily convince you of anything, here. You will very likely go on thinking what you think already, and I will do likewise. I am simply expressing, in the interests of honesty, what my perspective on David Icke is.

    I listen to a number of people from the so-called, “Truth Movement,” at times. Not everything they say is good, and not all of it is bad, either. Some of what they say is very interesting. Some of it is either non-factual, or negative to the point where I don’t consider it worth listening to, simply as far as defeatism is concerned. Some of those people are interested in making money, or they want attention and like being famous, or whatever.

    I don’t believe in throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I think that is a logical fallacy which far too many arbitrary skeptics make. As an example involving your own site, I found your article on Adam Trombly valuable, even though I am now taking issue with your attitude towards David Icke. If I was going to have the sort of attitude that you are condoning here, then I might interpret your criticism of David Icke as a reason why I shouldn’t consider anything on your blog to have any value at all.

    I don’t do that, because I know that if I did, I would miss out on a lot of important and valuable information. I understand that your motivation in writing this blog, is probably a desire to protect people from fraud or from being misled, and that is both altruistic and commendable.

    I don’t, however, think that making broad generalisations about people, because they might believe in or have said something which isn’t relevant to the topic at hand, is a good idea.

  14. David Kurth says :

    I think you could be better educated about the facts of free energy before you dismiss them so quickly as false. All mainstream physicists say the same thing…free energy violates the laws of thermodynamics, therefore, cannot exist. It’s like they all refuse to accept that some of these free energy experiments actually worked and I’m not talking about Adam Trombly. Maybe you’ve heard of Tesla? Forget David Icke and any “conspiracy theorist”. Follow the money trail and names like Rothchild, Rockefeller and Windsor will show up. You can bet they own a huge portion of the infrastructure of the world and it’s obvious to a child they don’t have humanity’s best interests at heart. That’s conspiracy fact. Unless of course you’re a coincidence theorist and would rather believe building 7 was demolished perfectly by flying debris and that an actual airline jet crashed in Pennsylvania and all the debris was magically cleared up in less than 24 hours. I wouldn’t be so quick to judge conspiracy theorists who base their conclusions in undisputable facts as all crackpot when your view of reality is not objective at all and highly opinionated marred worse by your mis/disinformed education. I would hope you do the research to support why you are right but you won’t and if you did it would be research based in your safe, dumbed down reality tunnel ideologies. Nothing personal but you really sound naive. I’m in no way defending Thrive or Foster Gamble but he’s done a lot more research on these subjects than you have. Lumping conspiracy theorists with New Agers and making generalizations about them all demonstrates to me once again your naivete’.

  15. Barton Routt says :

    The reason the machine cant be viewed is because the government issued a patent gag order on that machine the second it was patented in order to keep that technology from being spread and applied to other technologies. Your a fucking idiot.

    • Joel T. says :

      If there was a patent gag order, then Adam Trombly wouldn’t even be able to say anything about the machine. If such a gag order existed, he is already in violation of it by merely talking about it.

      Of course, if the gag order existed, Trombly should be able to provide evidence of his appeal to the Secretary of Commerce (even if the contents of that appeal couldn’t be disclosed). For every year since he first created it (as the orders expire each year, they have to be renewed each year, and so he can appeal each year). If he can’t show the machine, show evidence that the government is preventing him from showing the machine.

    • conspiracykiller says :

      @Barton Routt Speaking of fucking idiots, you must the leader ?

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