Why do people believe conspiracy theories?

Consider this a companion piece to my last bit on flat earth ‘theories’ (and I use that term very loosely). The idea of a flat earth relies exclusively upon belief in conspiracy, that NASA and countless scientists are not only wrong, but they’re actively lying to you. You’ll see stuff like this all over Facebook, Instagram, etc:

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Of course the interesting thing about memes like these is that there’s never a reason given for why NASA and the media would perpetrate such a massive hoax. We can assume that anyone who develops and perpetuates a conspiracy is doing it for some reason. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is rarely a motivation provided for these conspiracies. We’ll see why that’s not problematic for the believer in a moment.

Of course, the flat earth isn’t the only conspiracy out there. Climate change, vaccines, 9/11, cures for cancer or AIDS, weather control–take your pick. There are people out there who believe it and who disseminate that belief online via social media. The weather control one was a particularly new one for me, but I’ve seen it making the rounds lately:

Haap Patent Weather Modification Chemtails EMF

Well, at least here we have a motivation: military power. However, why would a secret government organization file a public patent for a top-secret weapon? That doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Whenever I look at these kinds of conspiracies, I’m struck by one common thread: they contradict themselves at an incredibly basic level. They set up these shadowy corporations or institutions as entities that are simultaneously both immensely powerful and yet completely incompetent. Take the HAARP example. Here we have a secretive government organization that has all this power and money and knowledge–they can even control the weather!–yet they’re so stupid that they file public patents, let photos of their devices leak onto the internet, etc.

None of that matters to the conspiracy theorist, because these conspiracy theories aren’t meant to appeal to a sense of reason or logic. That’s why they never provide evidence and they rarely provide a motivation. None of that matters, because conspiracy theories are designed to do one thing:

Mollify a perceived lack of control in the believer.  

But don’t take my word for it. There’s been research into why people believe conspiracy theories. This article from Psychology Today has some real gems in it for explaining the conspiracy theory phenomenon:

“Melley proposes that conspiracy thinking arises from a combination of two factors, when someone: 1) holds strong individualist values and 2) lacks a sense of control. The first attribute refers to people who care deeply about an individual’s right to make their own choices and direct their own lives without interference or obligations to a larger system (like the government). But combine this with a sense of powerlessness in one’s own life, and you get what Melley calls agency panic, “intense anxiety about an apparent loss of autonomy” to outside forces or regulators.”

To me, this makes perfect sense. When someone who values their independence see a lack of control or an erosion of that independence in their own life, they manufacture a scapegoat in these conspiracy theories. Research by psychologist Jean Twenge provides some empirical data for this:

“Twenge’s research examines how Americans’ personality traits have been changing over the past several decades, from the 1960s through the end of the century, looking at the personality scores for each year. For example, she finds that trait anxiety (or neuroticism) has been rising dramatically in both children and adults over this period. […] In another study, she shows that people have come to hold an increasingly stronger external “locus of control”; this refers to the feeling that external forces are determining what happens to you, as opposed to an internal locus of control, the feeling that you dictate your own outcomes. […] Individualistic values have also been getting stronger in our culture, with greater importance attached to personal freedoms and self-reliance. […] The rise in anxiety, individualism, and external locus of control may therefore underlie the rise in conspiracy thinking. This is somewhat troubling because these personality trends show no sign of leveling off. In fact, given the current pace of globalization and the “Americanization” of other countries, it seems likely that these personality traits (and conspiracy thinking) will be increasing elsewhere too.

That seems like a succinct and accurate representation of the people who I know that believe in conspiracies. In my last post, I featured a screenshot of a conversation on Instagram. Let’s take a look at it again:

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The bit about density is still circled, but this time let’s examine some of the other comments on the thread, starting with the one from mitch_and_tammy: “Who gives a fuck if the earth is flat or round. Either way, I’m still a middle class slave!” This comment doesn’t really tell us if this person believes that the earth is flat. But it does show a predisposition toward not questioning the conspiracy because of a perceived lack of power and control.

Then there’s the comment from bitabites: “I KNOW it looks flat I know about operation paperclip. I know not to trust anyone so I know not to believe anything…” I’m not quite sure what operation paperclip has to do with the flat earth. Nevertheless, let’s examine the other language. This person exhibits a high degree of individualistic values, with much emphasis on “I,” on what the individual “knows.” There’s a strong distrust of that external locus of control– nobody is to be trusted and nothing is to believed.

These two individuals, particularly the second one, exhibit the kind of anxiety and paranoia that psychologists commonly ascribe to conspiracy theorists. Their belief in a flat earth, therefore, are unsurprising.

It’s also unsurprising, therefore, that scientifically trained or inclined people seem less likely to believe in conspiracies. Science relies almost exclusively upon external loci of control–we need other scientists to independently confirm or refute our findings. And because science is a genuinely collaborative effort, there’s less emphasis on “I” and more emphasis on “we.” Science isn’t about the individual, it’s about the scientific community as a whole. Science as a collective body also tends to work toward the same goal, with mutual cooperation and respect. In short, science empowers people, groups of people, whole scientific communities.

So, what do we do to combat this? Well, from the research that’s been done the first and most obvious thing is to make individuals feel more empowered. We can do that on a political, social, and economic level. We can correct the massive income and wealth inequality that exists in this country for starters. We can stop moneyed interests and corporate lobbyists from influencing our political system. Those are probably the biggest causes of anxiety we currently face.

But we also have to do a better job educating people. Basic scientific understanding is floundering in this country. People don’t know how science works, and more importantly don’t know how to critically evaluate evidence or anything they read and see. Sadly, science has become one of those external loci of control, the “other” that’s trying to suppress you. Of course that’s farthest from the truth, but it’s the outcome of a society that doesn’t understand science and feels large amounts of anxiety and paranoia–we have a tendency to fear what we do not understand.

We in the scientific community need to do a better job of engaging with these conspiracy theories and their believers. If people feel a lack of control in their lives, what they really need is power. And I would argue that science is the ultimate provider of knowledge.

How to end the flat earth argument

Apparently people still think that the earth is flat despite an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. This stuff is all over social media, and it infuriates me to no end because we’ve known that the earth was a sphere for thousands of years, and if ancient man could figure that shit out then I would expect that someone who has access to satellite photography would also be able to figure it out. But alas, people are ignorant as fuck and thus we have the flat earth theory. Everyone’s favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, recently had to respond to an NBA star commenting that the earth is flat.

I had an exchange with someone on Instagram earlier today. Someone I follow posted something showing how the earth was curved, not flat. Well, cue the “woke” enlightened folk. So I asked how a flat planet could form in the presence of gravity. Well, apparently gravity is also a conspiracy. Here’s the response I got:

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See, guys, there’s no such thing as gravity because density! Duh. And no, I’m not blurring anyone’s name out on here because if you’re stupid enough to think the earth is flat and gravity isn’t real you deserve to be called out. And yes, I also realize that you all have my Instagram handle now.

But here’s why I asked about gravity.

I wanted to think of a proof or a thought experiment I could give a flat earther to get them to realize that they’re wrong. And I think I came up with one. And it all hinges on gravity. In order for a flat planet to form, gravity either 1) needs to not exist, or 2) not behave according to our current models. My response to good ol’ Jonathan there was this:

“There’s a very easy way to prove whether or not gravity is real. Pick an object, any old object will do. Next, find a place you can drop it from–a second story window, a tree, a rooftop–it doesn’t matter. Now, if you know the mass of the object and the height from which you’re dropping it from, then it’s a matter of simple math. Calculate the time it would take the object to reach the ground 1) by using the standard model of gravity and the equation time = √(2d/g) and 2) by substituting the value of g for literally anything else–like the formula for density. Then drop the object and compare the times to those given by your two equations.”

That’s really something any middle school student should be able to do. The response I got?

…total crickets. Nobody had a response. None of the flat earth geniuses, to nobody’s surprise, derived a new form of math to describe acceleration and motion that didn’t use gravity.

Because you can believe that the government lies to us about the shape of the earth and the ISS and moon landing are faked by NASA, but there’s one thing that doesn’t lie–GODDAMN MATH.

But just the fact that this needs to be explained to people is incredibly disheartening. It speaks to a broken education system. It speaks to a culture steeped in paranoia. It speaks to a political system wherein people are encouraged to openly deny evidence. People are so quick to latch onto conspiracy, but they can’t see that the way to to truly keep someone ignorant is to make them question observable, measurable, testable, repeatable evidence. THAT’S how you keep someone in ignorance. And the fact that this is happening speaks volumes about our social and political state.

So if you ever run into a flat earther, give them this proof and see what happens. My guess it that cognitive dissonance will be so great that their head will explode.

The vitamin and oil conspiracy

Folks, if you read me regularly then you know there’s nothing in the world I hate more than pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. Which is why I’ve been fairly perturbed as of late by my social media feeds being inundated by posts about “Natural cures they don’t want you to know about!” I’m sure a lot of you have seen the ads or sponsored pages pop up on Facebook or Twitter. Bullshit like this:

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Look at that. 100k people think that cannabis just cures cancer. That’s something I’ve seen pop up quite a bit these days. Crap like, “Man with stage 4 cancer gets rid of it in a month with simple cannabis trick!” It’s the worst kind of social media offender: it’s simultaneously clickbait AND pseudoscience.

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Just a cursory Google search yields all kinds of wacky bullshit results:

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I mean, come on guys, this is totally on the up-and-up. If you can’t trust premier research institutes like Leafly, MedicalJane, and cureyourowncancer.org, just who the hell can you trust? I mean, just take a look at what this promises. Seven months of cannabis oil treatment and poof, goodbye cancer. Six terminal patients taking illegal cannabis oil?! Holy smokes. Of course, this kind of nonsense isn’t relegated simply to cannabis. “Natural cures” are the herpes of the pseudoscience world.

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Which prescription meds is turmeric better than? For what diseases? Who knows! I think it’s safe to assume, though, that the claim will be something along the lines of “All of them, of course!” But we can climb one more rung up the bullshit ladder and arrive at the detox fad:

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Well look at all of the stuff lemon and flax does. Not only will it “detoxify” you, but it’ll also cure your diabetes and get rid of that pesky cellulite. Simply amazing. Especially in light of the fact that “detoxing” is complete and utter horse shit, with all of the evidence in the world pointing to the inescapable fact that such cleanses do literally nothing for your health. And would you like to know why? Because your goddamned body already has an amazing filtration and detoxification system that works 24/7 your entire life. Folks, meet the real stars that keep you free of harmful toxins, your kidneys and your liver!

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The unsung heroes

And there’s the granddaddy of all the natural cure bullshit: vitamin C. Motherfucking vitamin C, everyone. It cures everything, didn’t you know? Like, literally everything. Here, just take a look at this complete and utter drivel. What are some of things Natural News claims vitamin C therapy can cure?

  • Chickenpox
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Tetanus
  • Polio

Wow, that’s weird, exactly the diseases that vaccines eliminated. Almost as if these people are, I don’t know, trying to market something to a specific group of people, an untapped economic niche. It gets better, though. Here’s what else vitamin C can cure:

  • Herpes
  • Pneumonia
  • Hepatitis
  • Mono
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Alcoholism
  • High cholesterol
  • Ruptured intervertebral discs

The crux of this therapy is receiving high doses of vitamin C intravenously. Because somehow science. Who knows what the alleged mechanism of action here is because it’s never explained. In fact, no evidence or explanations are offered at all. Instead, the sell is in the fear.

Manufactured drugs are poisons that are slowly killing you all to make a profit! These natural cures are, like, way better, because natural always equals better. Duh. You can’t trust the government and Big Pharma. They’re all evil and just want your money. That’s why they make you sick, so that they can take your money!

Okay, let’s take the stupid one step at a time here.

First of all, vitamin C is water soluble. Meaning that whatever your body doesn’t absorb gets peed right out. In other words, there’s a saturation limit with vitamin C–cramming more than your body needs or can absorb into your veins is going to do precisely dick. Then there’s the matter of overdosing. Yes, even though it’s water soluble, you can still overdose, by doing something like, I don’t know, RUNNING IT INTO YOUR SYSTEM IV. Then you can suffer the nausea, vomiting, and kidney stones that nature apparently wanted you to.

Which speaks to another irony: there’s nothing “natural” about injecting vitamin C into your body intravenously. If you wanted to get your vitamin C the way nature intended, you’d fucking eat it, because that’s how your body was designed, to obtain vitamin C through diet.

As to the conspiracies, there are plenty. First, the idea that vaccines and modern medicine are a way to poison people and depopulate the planet. If that’s the plan, I’d say that they’re doing a super shitty job, considering the population continues to grow. Plus, isn’t it a rather stupid business model to kill your customer base? How the hell are you supposed to make money if you kill everyone?

Second, creating cures for things is not an excellent business model if you’re part of a conspiracy. Why bother creating vaccines when letting people just catch the diseases would result in much more profit? You’d think that the last thing Big Pharma would want to do is eradicate polio and smallpox, and yet…that’s precisely what they did. You’d think that they wouldn’t develop a cure for Hepatitis C, yet that’s exactly what Harvoni is. Again, this doesn’t really jive with the conspiracy theorists’ models.

“Well follow the money!” That’s what all of these people who think Big Pharma is out to get everyone and suppress the truth say. That’s an excellent idea. Why don’t we indeed follow the money…right over to the Natural News store! Well, that’s funny. Why are these guys making a profit if the only people who are motivated by profit are the bad guys?

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I mean, fuck getting vaccines for free (which actually causes doctors to lose money, which again speaks against conspiracy) when you could just spend $650.00 on a stupid herbal medicine cabinet. 

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Or you could spend $164 on a single bottle of vitamin E. Seems totally legit. But you know what, guys. Before you do any of that, you have to know what health dangers are lurking in your house in the first place. But don’t worry, because the Natural News store has you covered again!

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Better fork over that $379.00 to detect those electromagnetic fields before they fuck up your chi or reiki or whatever other bullshit you believe in. Never mind the fact that every electronic device and appliance in your house will emit an EM field, so the product is guaranteed to make you think you’re being besieged by electromagnet fields –electromagnets are killing you and giving you cancer! Ahhhh!

I mean, why on earth would you pay a $20 copay for a visit to a medical professional and get a generic prescription for $10 when you could fork over $1,029 to Natural News for an EM detector and some herbs? I mean, you don’t want those money grubbing physicians to win, do you? They’re only after your money!

Do vitamins play a role in health? Yes, obviously. Does cannabis have the potential to lead to new cancer fighting drugs? Yes. But simply claiming that if you shove the shit raw into your veins you’ll cure all diseases known to man is stupid in the highest degree, without a single shred of evidence or science to back it up. And, by the way, most drugs on the market are based in some way on something completely natural, like how aspirin is derived from willow bark, or ACE inhibitors came from the venom of pit vipers–most medication you think of as poison really comes from completely natural substances anyway.

Okay, one last thing to convince any natural cure advocates reading this. Let’s grant for one moment that cannabis really does cure cancer. And let’s say that vitamin C really does cure all of the things that they say they do. And let’s say that all those herbs really are curative. Why on earth wouldn’t Big Pharma take advantage of that? I can guarantee you with 100% certainty that if all of those things really did work, then drug companies would have already patented them and the only way you could get your vitamin C or lemon and flax detox would be by prescription. At the very least, if the conspiracies were true you’d think that the drug companies would still patent them and then just make them inaccessible to everyone so nobody could cure themselves. What kind of a stupid conspiracy is it to sell everyone poison but leave well known cures out there for anyone to use?

Maybe it’s because there is no conspiracy. Maybe the drug companies do rip you off as far as price gouging goes, but at least their products work. Or you could just fork over your cash to Big Vitamin and literally piss out all of your hard earned money.

Time travelers and moon bases

Well, it’s time to debunk some more bullshit, folks.

I’ve seen a lot of stuff floating around online that revolves around two premises: 1) we have photographic proof of time travelers! and 2) there are secret alien bases on the moon.

Like all good conspiracy theories, they appear to have some validity visually. There’s always a hook, right? Some tantalizing morsel just within reach of reason. In this case, it’s strange things in photographs that seem anachronistic and weird shapes on the moon. To avoid confusion, let’s address these topics one at a time.

Time Travel

We captured a time traveler on film! Aha! Surely some of you have seen such claims on the internet recently. Stuff like this:maxresdefault (1).jpg

This guy is apparently a time traveler because he’s dressed in “modern” garb that doesn’t fit the period: a graphic t-shirt, cool sunglasses, and some kind of device in his hands. He’s basically a time traveling hipster. And then there’s this lady:

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This is from a bit of film taken during the premier of a Charlie Chaplin movie. In the video, the woman walks across the screen, and it appears like she’s talking on a cell phone. And for something a little more recent, there’s this:

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Look! That guy has a smart phone and he’s taking video with it…but it’s 1995! Obviously he’s a time traveler. Duh.

Except that all of these pictures have perfectly simple explanations. As far as the hipster goes, sun glasses have been around a lot longer than most young people think, and his clothing actually is typical of the era–he simply sewed a patch onto the front of his shirt. And how about the cell phone lady? Well, it’s probably not a cell phone, but rather an old timey hearing piece. One of these thingies:

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Can you hear me now?

And what about the smart phone at the Mike Tyson event some 20 years ago, before your Nokia had that snake game on it and Minesweeper was the most advanced computer game known to man? It’s actually just a really early model digital camera. Turns out that Eastman Kodak built the first electronic camera all the way back in 1975. By the time the 80’s had rolled around, Sony invented a camera that stored pictures on floppy disks. The “real” first digital camera went on sale in 1990. Here’s a pretty interesting timeline of the development of the technology. You’ll notice that a lot of those cameras look super weird and futuristic, even though they’re 20-30 years old.

So no, nobody is time traveling. Sorry to burst any bubbles out there, but it just ain’t happening. Or if it is, it hasn’t been caught on film. And if you think about it, the whole “caught on film” thing is where this entire theory starts to come apart.

Let’s grant for a moment that in the future someone does invent time travel, and that eventually it’s marketed for tourism. Well, surely there would be rules, right? Like, you’d have to go back wearing clothing appropriate to whatever period you’re going to. So you don’t end up wearing a Banana Republic ensemble in the middle of the Battle of Gettysburg, sticking out like a sore thumb and drawing unneeded attention to yourself. So, there goes the time traveling hipster: it would be really stupid and dangerous to let people go back to the distant past in future clothing for obvious reasons.

One would also think that there would be a rule against bringing technology from the future into the past, precisely so that that shit wouldn’t be caught on camera. Or, more practically, what if you died during your trip, and the people of the past found all of your crap from the future? Can you imagine if the old woman from the Chaplin premier was a time traveler and keeled over from a heart attack right outside the theater? The police and coroner of the time would find her magic future cell phone and then everything would go to shit. So no, you probably wouldn’t be allowed to take technology back with you.

It’s fun to imagine time travel, sure. But all of these pictures and videos prove nothing other than the fact that people are totally gullible.

Alien Moonbases

Again, at first glance, this idea sounds remotely plausible. After all, if aliens were going to secretly monitor us, the best place to do that would probably be the moon. But when you look at the evidence and really dig into the theory, it all really starts to unravel, just like the time travelers. The ultimate claim is that there is leftover technology from aliens up on the moon, and NASA and the government know this and are altering or covering up the evidence to keep us in the dark. There’s a whole “documentary” about this on Netflix called Aliens on the Moon. It’s two hours, so I’ll summarize by telling you that it’s just a bunch of grainy pictures that have been retouched to highlight the parts that NASA supposedly altered. Like this crap:

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I mean, really, guys. Those are totally secret alien moon base things. And obviously NASA is hiding them and covering them up. That’s why we stopped going to the moon: the aliens kicked us off (I’m not kidding, that’s what these people think).

Alright, let’s start with the obvious. Those pictures are so grainy and blurry and enlarged that it’s impossible to tell what the hell you’re looking at. So to claim that you can tell that a smudge on an old piece of film is really an alien piece of technology on the moon is quite the claim. Most of those pictures look benign or like they’re photoshopped. And speaking of Photoshop, let’s talk about those allegations against NASA.

Let’s grant for a moment that NASA did indeed discover that there either are or were aliens on the moon. And let’s also grant that there is photographic evidence of this. The next obvious question is why the fuck NASA would release those images in the first place, even if they are doctored. It’s stupid on NASA’s part to release any of those images, even the doctored ones, if they want to keep it secret. Why wouldn’t NASA just point the cameras at some totally boring part of the moon devoid of alien technology and then release those, keeping the smoking gun photos a secret or destroying them? It makes no sense to go through a convoluted plot of doctoring evidence you want to suppress in order to release it for public scrutiny, when there’s no reason to do that in the first place.

Ultimately this conspiracy, just like the time travelers, is a load of crap. And you can smell it a mile away. I’ll never understand for the life of me why some people cling to this stuff as literal truth. What the hell is going on in the minds of people who jump into these obviously stupid conspiracies and hold on for dear life?

How to debunk a conspiracy theory

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Thanks to the internet, we live in an age of conspiracy theories. Anyone with a computer and copious amounts of free time can flood social media and other sites with their ideas and theories. The problem with that, of course, is that most people are just flat out wrong for a variety of reasons. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t conspiracies out there or that there never were. I’m sure they can and do happen. But how do you evaluate a conspiracy theory to determine its validity? Well, here are some easy steps.

1. Where are people getting their information? This is probably the most scientific way to look at a conspiracy: the data. Evidence is important in any claim, and as the saying goes, “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.” So, when one encounters a conspiracy theory, the thing to look at is the source of the evidence. Did this person get their information from the US census? NASA? Or did they get it from some place like climatechangeisahoax.com? Or GMOiscancer.com? If someone is culling their information from a place like that, then chances are their information is colored by someone else’s bias or lack of understanding. There might be legitimate data out there to support a conspiracy…but it isn’t Glenn Beck and it isn’t some place like curestheydontwantyoutoknowabout.org. And speaking of evidence…

2. Is there a confirmation bias? This is another big red flag. If any conspiracy involves a big, “I KNEW it!” then take notice. A good example of this is the vaccine fear-mongering out there. Every time someone has an adverse reaction to a vaccine, someone is always quick to jump up and say, “See?! I told you so!” Unfortunately, they’re just cherry picking data. The entire body of vaccine-related evidence points overwhelmingly to the fact that they’re safe and effective. But by cherry-picking some specific outliers, some people are able to confirm their own bias. Which leads me to…

3. Who gains and who loses in the conspiracy? Let’s go back to the vaccines again. The way conspiracy theorists would paint it is that big pharma is raking in billions of dollars while knowingly giving us poison. Sounds pretty bad for us and great for the pharmaceutical industry, right? Except for tiny little facts like thanks to vaccination nobody in this country gets polio anymore. Another popular trope out there concerns climate change and green energy. Don’t you all know that climate change is a big hoax perpetuated by green energy companies to drum up profits?! Duh. It’s not like anyone else would have a stake in that argument. I’m mean, nobody at all benefits financially from carbon-based sources of fuel. Psh. Which brings us to…

4. Follow the money. Let’s revisit the climate change conspiracies. If it’s all a plot to increase profits, then look at the profits. And if you did that, you’d see that in 2012 Exxon made $16 BILLION in profits. Now let’s take a look at the other side of the fence. LDK Solar, a Chinese company which is the largest solar company in the world, has posted 8 straight quarters of losses, and is $2.9 billion in debt. In 2010 it finally turned a profit of $101 million dollars, or 0.6% of Exxon’s profits. Yep, sure looks like that conspiracy is working out for renewable energy companies…

5. To what end? This is a question everyone should ask of every conspiracy. For example, a lot of people also believe that scientists around the world are in collusion to perpetuate a massive global hoax regarding climate change. Because I guess they’re all going to share the Nobel prize? Who knows. I have no idea what the scientists are supposed to be getting out of this. Fame? Well, I’d be willing to bet cash money that 99% of Americans couldn’t name a single climate scientist. Money? It always comes back to money. Obviously these scientists are rolling in the lap of luxury thanks to all of the payoffs from the green energy companies. The ones who are posting massive losses and are in debt up their eyeballs. Totally makes sense.

6. Just use logic. If all else fails, think about what the conspiracy is claiming logically. A lot of people, some people I know personally even, believe that mass shootings are perpetuated by the government as an excuse to confiscate all of our weapons. Except that if anyone thought about that for more than five seconds they’d realize that’s a stupid idea. For starters, mass shootings continue to increase–and how many gun control laws are on the table? Oh yeah, that’s right, a big fat zero. But beyond that, this scenario would obviously never happen because it doesn’t need to happen. Guns aren’t a threat to the government. The same government that has drones and missiles and chemical and biological warfare and controls the infrastructure of the country. No, the last thing they’re worried about is how many guns Billy Tim Bob has in his basement. But they DO care about his vote. You bet they do. And anything that even remotely resembles gun control is political suicide.

Greedy, corrupt politicians are concerned with money and power. And so if letting you keep your guns makes you feel powerful, they’ll let you have them. So long as they continue to get your vote. And your money.

So, why do people believe conspiracy theories? Well, this about sums it up right here:

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