It is very easy to mock, (and we should), people like Glenn Beck, who propose ever more paranoid conspiracy theories
It is not too hard to get intrigued, and then stop and think, “Woah, how come no large institution is buying this at all?” at the “wonders of the UFO” merchants when you first come across a weird thing you haven’t seen before.
You can explore the very many “theories” out there, or just stick to the most popular 25
It would also be easy, if a tad laborious to solidly disprove almost every one with evidence enough to satisfy a rational mind, but what would be the point?
People with rational minds, you may say, will not be interested in falling for such blatant sucker bait in the first place.
But there are many types and variations of conspiracy theory that people who I know and love, fall for – at least to some extent – people I know to be rational and prone to evidence based thinking in all areas,
…BAR this one of theirs.
The type of conspiracy theory that is most commonly held of course, is the type enshrined in our traditions as “religions”.
It relies so consistently on confirmation bias, suspension of rational thinking, appeal to tradition, and our deeply held fear of death of the consciousness, that it is found in every society the world over, and has been for as long as records allow us to see.
This very weight of tradition is sometimes referred to by religionists as “evidence” that there is definitely something to it –
This is the very thing that prevents people from so readily dismissing most religions as conspiracy theories; they fear death themselves, but they even more fear that their lone voice will be ridiculed among the mass of those who hold onto such primitive beliefs.
There’s a rub – the modern religions such as Mormons, Scientologists and Heaven’s Gate type groups are far more readily mocked and ridiculed in the same manner that occurs with conspiracy theorists. It doesn’t take too long though, before the claim to be a legitimate religion means that laws protect these groups from such basic human responsibilities as: taxes, and eventually, if the “religion should be adopted and protected by the state” tribe get their way, you will find that the Blasphemy laws that make Iran and similar Islamic states such a dangerous sink weight on human progress, will be accepted into some less alert societies.
Why do I draw these two groups of “believers” together?
Why isn’t belief in winged horses, angels, the devil, walking on water, raising the dead, and eternal Heaven & Hell kept apart from secret lizard elite rulers, Area 51, Elvis’s island of living dead rock stars, JFK’s chemtrails, and “the Government faked it!”
One reason: The psychological impulse is what I am intrigued about.
I have been a sucker for the desire for there to be some comprehensible reason for human mortality, and some kind of saviour from our losses. I have pursued slender leads based on people drawing pleasant visions, but these have never stuck for me. I can see why people want these things, plus a round comfy container for all our fears and woes. Religion targets these needs most specifically.
The typical religious fundamentalist goes a step further than the average English bishop, by seeking the idea of safety in the certainty that the Bible is the absolute truth and word of God.
He may have a knowledge deep inside, like the lie of a story you told as a child that has been repeated so often by your family, that you have now built your character around it and just accept that it is true after all.
It is incredibly threatening to the persona of such a believer to confront their construct with the solid evidence of it being built entirely on sand, or even worse, thin air – so the ardent believer will swiftly create a world in which his ideas are supported and your evidence is denied.
This is exactly like the conspiracy theorist.
Not only did they always harbour suspicions about those man made clouds that jet airliners create, they now have video after video, with testimony after testimony, often verified by eyewitness accounts from many hundreds of disciples.
You could say to them, “I’m sorry, but I have here every airline pilot in the world, and they are all laughing at you because what you are saying is this “chemical spray” is well proven condensation from jet engines flying at certain altitudes in certain conditions that I could explain scientifically… but inside you know your theory is stupid so why bother?”…
This, would, not, work.
The desire to believe has already taken them way past rational argument or evidence – they can see only their own evidence – just as the Christians tend to cite the Bible as ultimate proof that what the Bible says is true…
The Glenn Becks of this world, so sure that Obama is a wizard who can magically pull off fifteen of the most outrageously difficult conspiracies inside a period of 4 years, cannot be gainsaid, even by this simple and obvious flaw, “it’s impossible” in their ideas.
The desire for these outrageous things to be true both relieves them from the pain of contemplating the banality of their lives, and also from having to deal with the incredible level of uncertainty in a world run by failing human beings who could barely conspire to keep the cat in the back yard.
For some reason, people all over the world really want there to be fairies at the bottom of the garden, aliens living secret lives in Nevada, and a Heaven full of their selected relatives… and they will sometimes kill to preserve their particular conspiracy theory.