Site Index (Start Here!)
Here you will find a handy index, as well as capsule summaries of the various articles on this blog. They are arranged by category.
Full Debunking of Thrive, Part I. This article, by our contributor SlayerX3, is the first of three to try to go through Thrive very quickly, tackling many of its claims in sequence. Not every claim in the first third of the film is dealt with here, but you’ll find comments on the film’s intro, the “torus” shape with which Foster Gamble is so entranced, the “Flower of Life” claims, the supposed 64 energy units, Steven Greer and his UFO claims, more UFO material from Edgar Dean Mitchell, Clifford Stone, Harry Allen Jordan, Dwynne Anderson and John Callahan; and finishing up with crop circles.
Full Debunking of Thrive, Part II. SlayerX3’s second outing, this one at the middle section of the film. Here you’ll find debunkings of the UFO and energy claims of James Gilliland and Daniel Sheehan; the movie’s nonsensical distortions of the work of Nikola Tesla; free energy suppression; Adam Trombly (himself the subject of two additional articles), John Bedini and John Hutchinson, who all claim (falsely) to have invented “free energy” machines; and Eugene Mallove, who was not killed (as the movie claims) because of his work on cold fusion.
Full Debunking of Thrive, Part III. The third in the full debunking series by SlayerX3 debunks the following: oil and energy empires; Foster Gamble’s misstatements about the Green Revolution; loss of biodiversity and environmental harm; Vandana Shiva; free trade agreements and globalism; a fake quote from Henry Kissinger; NEA and the Rockefellers; John Taylor Gatto; Deepak Chopra; alt-med quackery from R. Royal Raymond Fife, Rene Cassie, and Max Gerson; and the controversial Hoxsey Therapy.
Debunkings of Specific Topics and People
Ancient Astronauts—Debunked! This article takes apart the ridiculous notion that Egyptians, Mayans and Incas were too stupid, backwards and ignorant to have created great works of ancient engineering, which Thrive claims must have been built by aliens instead. As you’ll see in the article, this idea rests awkwardly on a single untenable assumption that manages to offend historical fact, scientific reality and cultural sensitivity all at the same time. If there’s an old paperback copy of Erich von Däniken’s Chariots of the Gods on your bookshelf, you need to read this article.
Crop Circles—Debunked! This article demonstrates how and why we can be sure that crop circles are not created by extraterrestrials, are not mysterious or unexplainable, and certainly are not messages from aliens telling us how to turn spinning electric donuts into “free energy” machines. For some reason the notion that crop circles are created by human beings seems especially offensive to fans of Thrive. In terms of page views and comments, this is the single most controversial article on this site, engendering ferocious attacks by believers in the paranormal origin of crop circles, who are among the most intractable, dogmatic and combative holy warriors in the vast universe of woo-woo beliefs.
False Flag Attacks—Debunked! This article attacks a small section of the film where Foster Gamble is guilty of serious historical distortions, especially regarding the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident that was a prominent milestone on the U.S. road to involvement in the Vietnam War. In the article I explain why Gulf of Tonkin was not a “false flag” attack, how and why conspiracy theorists get the whole idea of “false flag” attacks totally wrong, and why, contrary to what the film asserts, belief in the bizarre and ridiculous “9/11 was an inside job” theory is in fact declining rather than increasing.
Follow The Money—Debunked! This article, by our contributor SlayerX3, examines the various financial-related conspiracy theory claims made in Thrive, including misstatements about the Federal Reserve, distorted explanations of fractional banking and monetary policy, mangled economic theory, fraudulent and misleading statements about the causes of the 2008 economic crisis (and other economic downturns), loans and “debt slavery,” John Birch society poster-boy G. Edward Griffin, Libertarian right-winger Bill Still, and other related topics.
Global Domination Agenda—Debunked! This is my personal favorite of all the articles on this blog. In it I debunk the idea that the Illuminati or New World Order, which Foster Gamble calls the “Global Domination Agenda,” actually exists and is trying to control the world. In fact it does not exist, but the article attempts to explain why believers in this bizarre conspiracy theory are not only utterly convinced that it does exist, but why everything they see and hear seems to confirm their belief. Hint: it’s a self-reinforcing delusion that is specifically designed to be impervious to anything in the way of reason or evidence. My one regret about this article is that its length probably scares away most casual readers, but you can’t really describe the issues involved in Illuminati/New World Order conspiracy theories without using a lot of words.
One World Governments–Debunked! This article by SlayerX3 dissects the notion that multinational organizations like the European Union, or vague plans for multinational organizations that don’t yet exist, are the tools of the “Global Domination Elite” in their horrific plan to take over the world. In truth these organizations are extremely problematic, don’t do or can’t do what Foster Gamble and David Icke claim they do or will do, and some of them (like the Pacific Union) don’t even exist yet and probably never will. This article shows the profound lack of understanding that Foster Gamble has of how politics and economics function in the real world.
World Domination Conspiracies–Debunked! This article by SlayerX3 covers some additional ground that the “Global Domination Agenda” article missed. Subjects debunked here include the “New World Order,” global tax, the idea of a global currency, false flag attacks (again), super dooper laser beams from outer space, FEMA camp nonsense, and an out-of-context quote by David Rockefeller.
Who Is Nassim Haramein? This article is a profile of Nassim Haramein, the person who makes the “Flower of Life” claim and most of the “ancient astronauts” claims in the film. As this article shows, Mr. Haramein has a history of making pseudoscientific and pseudohistorical claims that are met with extreme skepticism by members of the legitimate scientific community. An example of such a claim is his inventive “Schwarzschild Proton” theory, which postulates that every atom is a mini-black hole, despite the fact that this theory flies in the face of established physics. Yet, according to many Thrive fans in the comments, Mr. Haramein is a scientific visionary right up there with Galileo, Copernicus and Einstein. I’m not ready to book my plane tickets to Oslo for Mr. Haramein’s Nobel Prize acceptance ceremony quite yet.
Who Is David Icke? This article profiles British conspiracy theorist David Icke, who, if Thrive had a conventional cast list, would probably get top billing as the star of the film. Mr. Icke believes that the world is secretly run by an evil race of reptilian shape-shifting aliens. “But wait!” you protest, “he doesn’t say that in Thrive!” This article explains why, and it also explains why Mr. Icke’s reptilian shape-shifting alien theories are especially dangerous and offensive.
Who Is Adam Trombly? This article must be read in conjunction with Exclusive: Allegations About Adam Trombly Present Potential Credibility Crisis for Thrive. The first article, the earliest person profile on the blog, began our descent into the Adam Trombly saga. Adam Trombly claims to have invented a “free energy” machine that will solve all the world’s energy problems. As you’ll see in the second article, another inventor, David Farnsworth, came forward in March 2012 and claimed that the machine shown in the movie and identified as Trombly’s was actually invented by him (Farnsworth), and that it can’t do what Thrive claims it can do. I don’t know what the truth is here. Despite a lengthy back-and-forth between Mr. Farnsworth and Mr. Trombly, as well as additional comments from Mr. Trombly’s daughter and Foster Gamble himself, the two questions I have about the machine—(1) did Adam Trombly really build it? and (2) can it do what Thrive says it can do?—remain unanswered. (See another article about Adam Trombly here).
Articles Tangentially Related to Topics or People:
Thrive Makers Back Down on “Flower of Life” Claim: This article details an extremely rare event—a factual correction by the Thrive makers. In this case they admitted that the claim, made in the movie by Nassim Haramein, that the “Flower of Life” design at the Osirian Temple in Abydos, Egypt is somehow “burned into the rock at the atomic level,” is in fact false. Nevertheless, despite this retraction, many Thrive fans continue to believe that the “Flower of Life” was put there by aliens and not by crafty Egyptian artisans.
Crop Circle Wars! Fake Video Shakes Credibility of One of Thrive’s Main Sources. This article, while not dealing with material in Thrive, showcases a recent controversy involving BLTResearch.com, which is the major source Foster Gamble draws upon for his information on crop circles in Thrive. In a nutshell, Nancy Talbott, the force behind BLTResearch.com, is defending an obviously fake video showing “spirits from beyond the grave” made by a noted fake psychic, Robbert van den Broeke. This controversy demonstrates just how far believers in the paranormal origin of crop circles will reach to support their bizarre claims.
Articles By, About and In Response To The Participants of the Movie Who Repudiated It
To understand what this section is about, you must understand that on April 10, 2012, nine (eventually ten) persons who are interviewed in Thrive, including John Robbins, Deepak Chopra and Elisabet Sahtouris, signed a letter repudiating the film and stating that Foster Gamble had misrepresented it to them to secure their participation. This event almost single-handedly torpedoed the credibility of Thrive in the eyes of the public.
Throwing Thrive Under the Bus: Progressives Interviewed in the Film Distance Themselves From Its “Dangerously Misguided” Ideas. This is the first article we did about the repudiation letter, which was drafted and circulated by John Robbins, a noted progressive leader and author of books on food and health. He is also a personal friend of Foster and Kimberly Gamble. The article summarizes the issues behind the repudiation and some of the press coverage of it. One of the main issues the repudiators had with the film was its promotion of baseless conspiracy theories.
Why We Fight: Progressive Leader Who Repudiated Thrive Explains Why Its Conspiracy Theories Are Harmful. After repudiating the film, John Robbins provided me with a statement explaining in more detail his reasons for doing so. They dovetail almost perfectly with my own reasons for disliking the film: namely, the movie spins elaborate webs of harmful, divisive and factually false conspiracy theories in an attempt to paint the world in an “us vs. them” mentality that ignores the real problems our society faces.
Gambles Fire Back, Accusing Thrive Critics of “Disinformation Campaign.” Foster and Kimberly Gamble returned John Robbins’s fire in a lengthy and shockingly paranoid statement accusing him and the other repudiators of engaging in a “disinformation” campaign against Thrive. Here are the Gambles’ words, with commentary by me. It’s not pretty.
Humanity and Sanity: The Full Text of John Robbins’s Repudiation of Thrive and its Conspiracy Theories. In June 2012, John Robbins revised and embellished his essay criticizing Thrive. It is presented in this article in its entirety, unedited, and with a minimum of editorial comment by me. This is probably the single best and most eloquent statement we will ever have about the Thrive phenomenon and why it’s harmful.
Articles About and In Response to This Blog
Free Energy Fracas: Adam Trombly Attacks Me (And Thrive)—But Is There a Silver Lining? In this article, so-called “free energy” inventor Adam Trombly (who, to his credit, later did sign the disassociation letter) attacks me and anyone else who dares to ask for evidence that “free energy” machines actually exist. The “silver lining” I found in Mr. Trombly’s statement is the suggestion that he is uncomfortable with Thrive for, possibly among other reasons, Foster Gamble’s stance of denial of the scientific facts of man-made global warming. As it turned out, Mr. Trombly has now distanced himself from the film.
My Open Letter to Foster Gamble: Turn Your Back on Conspiracy—Don’t Let Thrive Define You. In the midst of the repudiation crisis I wrote an open letter to Foster Gamble, warning him that he may be permanently associated with unsupportable and fringe conspiracy theories—a position that I think he may reconsider in the future. I felt I had one shot at communicating with Mr. Gamble before he turned his brain off to anything I had to say. This is that one shot.
Foster Gamble Responds: Thrive and its Solutions are (Evidently) Only For Conspiracy Theorists. Here is Foster Gamble’s response. He doubles down on the tinfoil hat nuttery, rails at me for paragraph after paragraph, and then claims that his “solutions” will change the world. As it turns out, his “solutions” are all aimed at ending the horrible conspiracies he thinks are screwing up the planet, and they have virtually nothing to offer anyone who doesn’t share his conspiracist worldview. This represents (probably) the end of any effective dialogue that could have taken place between Thrive’s makers and its critics.
The Lonely Battle Against “Disinformation Agents”: A Conspiracy Theorist Analyzes Me. This article stems from an email a reader forwarded me, written by an unknown person who read this blog and then proceeded to analyze me and my motives in creating the blog and in pushing back against Thrive and its ridiculous conspiracy claims. I have no idea who the person is, but it’s obvious they operate from a deeply paranoid world view, accusing me of being (yes, you guessed it!) a “disinformation agent” and suggesting I’m “very dangerous.” The article would be amusing if it wasn’t so sad. Unfortunately this is the mindset of many of Thrive’s fans, who see conspiratorial evildoers around every corner.
Thrive Is Free: New Fans, New Approach, and a Fresh Welcome to This Blog. I created this article to welcome the new Thrive fans who were just discovering the movie upon its free release on the web on April 5, 2012. It’s largely a summary of the blog itself, and in fact the blueprint for this index.
Thrive’s Philosophy, Purpose and Broader Context
Paranoid Utopia: The Nightmare World That Thrive Would Give Us. This article takes the philosophy, conspiracist worldview and proposed “solutions” offered by Thrive (and its ideological progenitor, Zeitgeist: The Movie) and projects them into the future to imagine a world as conspiracy theorists and Thrive fans would build it. Do you yearn for feudalism 2.0, political anarchy, environmental devastation and totalitarian enclaves ruled by monopolistic corporations? If so, you’ll love the world Thrive is designing for you.
A Post at the Sister Blog: Thrive Demonstrates How the Conspiracy World is Changing. This is a portal to an article I posted on my other blog, which is not specifically limited to Thrive, dealing with how the world of conspiracy theories is changing in the wake of the ignominious death of the “9/11 Truth Movement.” The article mentions Thrive as an example of how conspiracy theories are increasingly being deployed either as recruiting tools for particular groups or as marketing angles for ideological, political and even religious belief systems.
Progressive Think Tank Slams Thrive’s Political Agenda. This article could also go into the feedback/response section, but I put it here because it’s a good exposure of the neo-libertarian, pro-Ron Paul political subtext of the film, which many viewers who don’t follow politics may miss entirely. Much of this article is my critique of a progressive reviewer’s take on the film, and my thoughts on how conspiracy theories, such as those advanced by Thrive, are increasingly becoming intertwined with libertarian political ideology. The progressive reviewer herself chimed in in the comments section, as well as an especially shrill Ron Paul supporter.
Should We Give Thrive a Pass on its Facts, And Instead Praise its “Message?” This article answers many of the objections Thrive fans have to why I don’t just go quietly into the sunset. Although the point of the movie seems to be to establish conspiracy theories as a theodicy for New Age belief systems (see the article for an explanation of what that means), it does still purport to be a documentary, and as such it has a duty to present the facts responsibly.
Thrive, Zeitgeist and the Illusion of Conspiracy Activism. This article again examines the “solutions” proposed by Thrive and its website and explains why they are almost all versions of the lazy mouse-clicking, Internet-petition-signing non-activist-“activism” that conspiracy theorists believe (erroneously) will change the world. This article also examines how Thrive follows in the footsteps of the granddaddy of conspiracy theorist “activist” groups, the infamous Zeitgeist Movement.
Reception and Reaction to the Film
Another Negative Review of Thrive Hits the Nail on the Head. This article presents the thoughts of a noted UK environmentalist blogger and activist on Thrive. Predictably, he savaged it, and many of the arguments he made against the film echo criticisms that had already been made on this blog. Be sure to see the comments on this one, where the UK blogger himself chimes in, and gets some heavy flak from outraged Thrive fans.
JREF Reviews Thrive! This article, fairly short, showcases a review the film received from a writer for the James Randi Educational Foundation, a group devoted to skepticism and busting woo beliefs. Needless to say, the Randi folks didn’t exactly have Thrive on their best-films-of-2011 list.
Noted Canadian Skeptic Show Reviews Thrive–And Tells the Truth. This short article details a podcast released by the Winnipeg Skeptics, a Canada-based group of critical thinkers, in July 2012 specifically dealing with Thrive. Not surprisingly, they found its muddle of half-truths, outright lies, and conspiracy peddling to be a bewildering tornado of nonsense and crazy. This blog was utilized as a source to check many of the facts in the film, and in fact a portion of one article is read verbatim during the show.
Thrive—A Flop? This article is somewhat outdated. Thrive became much more popular in April when Foster Gamble stopped charging people $5 a pop to see it, but in December there were some indications that it had peaked. Nevertheless, there is still some topical material here, such as the controversy among conspiracy theorists as to whether the film is “disinformation” and especially whether its promotional poster contains “Illuminati symbolism.”
Just for Fun
Poll: Is the Creator of This Blog a “Paid Disinformation Agent?” This article is a specific response to those readers (you know who you are) who insist that no one in their right mind could ever criticize the shining truth of Thrive, and therefore anyone who does so must be an agent provocateur paid by _________ (fill in the blank—the government, the Rockefellers, the oil industry, or whoever you most love to hate). In the poll at the end of the article you get the chance to vote on whether I am really a “paid disinformation agent,” but be careful—I might be logging your IP and telling the Illuminati death squads exactly where to find you!