Saturday, August 15, 2020

Conspiracy Theories - Whatever Happened to Thinking for Yourself?

 Conspiracy Theories:  Whatever Happened to Thinking for Yourself? 

Conspiracy theories abound.  Why?  Whatever happened to thinking for yourself?  Have people forgotten how?  Sometimes it seems like it!

If we were to give the times we live in a name, like, "The Dark Ages, or, "The Enlightenment," or, "The Industrial Age," what would we call the times we now live in?

Perhaps they should be called, "The Age of the Conspiracy Theory."
conspiracy theories

A conspiracy theory, according to the definition on Wikipedia, "is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable.  The term has pejorative connotation, implying the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence."

I must concur.  There, in the last part of the definition is the major characteristic of conspiracy theories:  The appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence.  And that, in itself, offers the antidote.

Again I will ask, "Whatever happened to thinking for yourself?" The number one reason for prejudice or insufficient evidence is:  ignorance.  

I'm really sorry if that offends anyone.  Well, actually, I'm not being truthful.  I'm not in the least bit sorry, because there is no excuse for such ignorance in today's world.

The number one reason that a conspiracy theory gains traction is the unwillingness of people to think for themselves.  They would rather be spoon fed their "facts" by someone claiming to be way better informed than they are, trusting that their research is excellent and therefore everything they say is the "gospel truth."

This is how the people who start such false narratives gain such a wide following.  They feed off the first one, prejudice, and create an antidote for the second, insufficient evidence, by simply making up evidence of their own.  Often, they have either real credentials they are willing to discredit for fame and/or gain, or they have cleverly made up credentials, much like their stories.  

Provided people are not thinking for themselves, it is the perfect recipe for starting a viral trend and gaining a large, in fact, a very large audience.  As long as people don't do any thinking for themselves, which requires digging for verifiable, unimpeachable evidence, the conspiracy theory just keeps on spreading.  Some of them are wildly successful, probably far beyond the wildest dreams of those who started them.

Remember, letters behind someone's name do not make them trustworthy!  People will go a long way to gain money and fame.

Conspiracy Theory Examples

Examples of ongoing conspiracy theories going are:

The Earth is flat.  Yes, believe it or not, this is believed by many.  Don't call them stupid.  The things they are able to accomplish often prove them to be very intelligent.  It is not about intelligence, no matter how unbelievable that may seem.  It is about belief, based on listening to the wrong information and not thinking clearly for themselves.

Don't even bother trying to prove to someone who believes a conspiracy theory that it is fiction.  They are usually so thoroughly indoctrinated by completely false, but apparently compelling information that they are beyond convincing.

If you provide them with the very best, empirically based, true science refuting what they believe, they will tell you that "they" or "the deep state" or some other sinister, secret cabal have control over every single bit of information on the planet and "they" have faked everything.  Just ask Q...

Man did not land on the moon.  This has been so thoroughly debunked it beggars belief that some people still believe it, but they do, and they are convinced that those of us who believe the evidence are fools.
moon landing conspiracy theories

Suffice to say, if this were true, at the very least, China and the Soviet Union would have blown the whistle immediately.  They really hated the fact that the US beat them to the moon.

But those who believe the conspiracy theory have a million reasons (okay, I am exaggerating slightly) why China and the Soviet Union were/are part of the global cabal or deep state.

9/11 was an inside job done by the CIA.  This also has been thoroughly debunked, but why let a few pesky facts get in the way?  Especially when people refuse to think for themselves and actually dig for verifiable, scientifically (reproducible) facts?  I have.  I had to go deep.  But again, I did, until I found the facts that could not be refuted.

Chemtrails.  I don't know how many times people have tried to convince me that the trails formed behind high altitude aircaft engines and wingtips are chemtrails.  No.  They are not.  They are contrails, made mainly of ice pellets formed at high altitudes by engine exhaust and sometime pressure changes at the wingtips.  It's just science.  
chemtrails conspiracy theories

"Q" or QAnon.  It is amazing who believes this one.  High level politicians in the United States government believe Q exists.  But the people behind Q are probably laughing hysterically.  Every bit of it is false, but many would fight you over that.

Never mind that none of the so-called information is true.  Like any big conspiracy theory, it is mixed with truth and makes educated predictions about what is coming, claiming an inside track.  These predictions often fail, but Q is a master of explaining how something happened to delay or alter the "plan," which changed things a bit.

There are two red flags those who think for themselves ought to consider:
1.  Q was a character on the Star Trek series who had godlike powers, able to manipulate reality.
2.  Q was a book published in 1999 by four Italian authors under the pen name of Luther Blissett.

QAnon is a very complex conspiracy theory that is very difficult to define or identify the source of.  Debunking or proving any of it is kind of like trying to nail jello to a tree.  For those willing to put in the time, I recommend starting with 4chan and 8chan.  Good luck!  If you find or know anything, your comments are very welcome.

The bottom line is, since QAnon cannot be proven to be anything but a conspiracy theory, it cannot be considered anything but a conspiracy theory. Furthermore, the biggest claims to date offer no proof, only promises that "soon" there will be mass arrests and incarcerations in Guantanamo Bay.  It has been coming "soon" since before Donald Trump became president...

5G.  Don't get me going.  Sigh.  This one is so simple to disprove, except no one will look at the evidence.  Suffice to say, 5G is WAY below the radioactive spectrum.  Radiation is simply electro-magnetic energy, like the waves picked up by your AM radio.  Radioactive and radiation are not the same thing.  Radioactive material gives off radiation, but far, far about the 5G spectrum.
5G conspiracy theories

Furthermore, amplitude is everything when it comes to the effects radiation of any kind can have on it's surrounding.  Picture trying to heat a house or cook a roast with a birthday candle.  Good luck.  But start a roaring fire in a furnace and you can heat a large house.

Where have you seen a 5G box anywhere in your neighborhood that is large enough to hold a power supply powerful enough to create damaging amplitude?  Remember, 5G waves are very short and can't travel very far.  That's why the little boxes are everywhere.

The Danger of Conspiracy Theories

Conspiracy theories have some real potential danger to them, when people do not think for themselves.  We face some real dangers in our world.  Right now we are in the throes of a world wide pandemic.  We still don't know how bad it really is, nor how long it will last.

Certain things have been proven effective at slowing it down, and thus not overwhelming our medical facilities.  These include frequent hand-washing, maintaining a distance of about six feet or two meters between one another and wearing masks in areas where there are a lot of people around, especially when they are inside.  

Thailand and Taiwan have proven this pretty conclusively.  They have plenty of reason to be hot-spots, even worse than most other places in the world, yet they are not.  Why?  They believe the problem exists, and they act accordingly.  Their culture admittedly has helped a lot:  social distancing and mask-wearing are already normal in those countries.

But in the west, starting with the US, but spreading everywhere, is the idea that it's all a conspiracy by - guess who? - the "deep state" to take away freedom and bring down the US president.
fake epidemic conspiracy theories

What the result of this has been is a very rapid rise in the number of people infected.  So far, this has not overwhelmed the hospitals, but as fall comes when more and more people return to the indoors, especially as you go further north, it could become a deadly danger.  Time will tell.

But the reality is that the facts do not support the conspiracy theory.  The "facts" quoted by those who believe the conspiracy theory are not facts, at all, but opinions, albeit some from medical professionals. But the danger is that by believing them, rather than the accepted science, much worse could occur.

The actual facts are those based on data collected, which is still not complete.  It cannot be complete until the pandemic is over, meaning that people must think soberly for themselves before they believe conspiracy theories.  They must also think for themselves when weighing the advice being given by those in charge.  Is it likely to make the situation worse?  Is it possible it will make the situation better?  Is it really infringing on my rights or is it possible that it is helping to protect me?  Is it possible it is protecting others?  Is it being administered fairly and without discrimination?  (The government of California has already discovered they cannot go against their constitution and discriminate against certain groups during this pandemic.)

But to date, give or take a surprisingly small percentage, according to even the most conservative think tanks, the global death toll will soon reach one million worldwide, more than double the yearly average for the flu, and it's only August.  It might be a good idea to be more careful to watch the data until this thing is over.  Once it is, we can all safely discuss and develop opinions over what was done correctly and what was not - if we are alive to do that!


Conspiracy theories make great books and movies, but they can have a very negative affect in everyday life.  Some theories are like the theory that if you flap your arms hard enough, you can fly...  

The antidote to believing unproven conspiracy theories is to examine the evidence - if you can find it - and come to an informed conclusion.  If you can't find any verifiable evidence in support of the theory, it is a bad theory and should be dropped.

Healthy skepticism is a good thing and should never be feared.  Truth cannot be changed or torn down if it is truth, so examining an idea, even if you're sure it's true, should never be feared.  Dig down until you come to the truth!  In the end, it is the truth that makes us free.

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