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Thoughts on Conspiracy Theories

Posted in Politics and Justice by EloiSVM42 on January 15, 2021

Conspiracy Theory: This is a phrase that is used so much and so loosely that it has become a cliché and lost whatever meaning it may have had. Originally, I assume, it was used by people who believed that a group of malevolent “others” are plotting to harm them in some way. But let’s break down the phrase and examine.

According to the dictionary, a conspiracy is “a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful.” A week ago, I would have said this is stuff and nonsense, but it turns out that there was a group doing just that. The irony is that the group was a group that is always claiming to be victims of a conspiracy.

A theory, by definition is, “a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something, especially one based on general principles.” So, basically, a theory is what we understand today, based on what we know now, and for some theories, have believed for some time, years, or centuries or even millennia.

Examples of theories are found in geometry, such as, for instance, that parallel lines will never intersect. They never have, and they never will, but because no one has ever followed parallel lines into infinity, it’s still called a theory because it can never be proven, even though every known example has always indicated the same result.

(Note to really stupid people who want to argue with me about this this theory, you may argue that if you look at train tracks far into the distance, they seem to be merging. But it ain’t happening. It’s just an optical illusion. If you still doubt it take a train.)

Among the most popular current “conspiracy theories” is that a cabal of Jewish billionaires is funding Republican elites, including Hillary Clinton, who are running a pedophile sex ring out of a pizza parlor. This is a theory? Who would be stupid enough, or crazy enough, to believe such a ridiculous thing?

It was H.L. Mencken who said that “the primary occupation of most people is to believe things that are obviously untrue.” But this theory cannot be explained by stupidity or gullibility. Nobody is that stupid or gullible. (I hope.)

Academics have studied how people can come to believe such nonsense. One of the possible explanations (theories) is that people tend to believe what fits with their world view. I’m skeptical about this explanation. Pedophile sex rings run by Republican elites out of a pizza parlor can’t possibly fit into any ones’ world view. These people know this theory is not true, yet they choose to believe it. This is determined ignorance, the worst kind. They are using this canard as cover for their own acts.

So, I reject the whole idea of conspiracy theories. I will henceforth refer to them only as, paranoid fantasies, a definition closer to the truth, but which, like string theory, doesn’t quite explain everything.  So, channeling Steven Weinberg and Brian Greene (Google them), I’ll keep working on it.

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