What are your personal thoughts about 'conspiracy theories'

Just curious what most of you guys think about popular ‘conspiracy theories’. If you agree or disagree about certain ones how about posting them.

Conspiracy theories seem to stem from the following two causes.

  1. When an event is so tragic that a common explanation doesn’t seem good enough, even if it is the truth.
  2. When uneducated or ignorant people want to feel like they are more knowledgeable than people who have actually done viable research.

Some are more heavily one or the other. The JFK assassination is mostly reason 1, while the moon landing stuff is a lot of reason 2. 911 conspiracies theories are often a mix of both.

Although conspiracy theories seldom have any evidence that stands up to scrutiny, they are often more emotionally pleasing than the truth. Because of this, they often become persistent parts of pop culture. Sometimes, the pop culture understandings of the events become better known that the historic facts. For example, Oliver Stone’s presentation of events in the film “JFK” are often thought to be true, when in fact many key suppositions in the film are not based on fact.

that they are all made up by aliens being controlled by w bush who is a nazi spy working for the british government to destabalise luxormburg with the eventual goal being a better english football team.
takes breath

I recently heard that the recent Moscow bombings are a conspiracy, there are no videos of the bombs going off, so some say the Russian Government did it so they can cruelly execut all the rebels.

The more people are required to be in on it and keep their mouths shut, and the further out to the fringe (and further away from credibility) the theorists have to go to find authority figures who will back them up, the more untenable the theory becomes.

conspiracy theories are laughable, but i don’t like it when someone calls evidence of corruption or wrong doings a theory.

it’s not a theory if you can prove it, and some people throw that word around too much when talking about stuff they don’t agree with.

ex. the “theory” of evolution vs the “theory” that reptoid aliens control the US government.

i guess for it to be a conspiracy there have to be a lot of people in the know willingly keeping information secret, and if anyone on SRK thinks conspiracies don’t happen on a daily basis you must not have heard about this thing called the military. they keep just about everything secret.

Wasn’t the flouride in the water conspiracy true?

I think the whole thing with the fluoride business is that some say its good and others say its not

Where is AHVB when you need him…

Yes, in some municipalities, but anyone who claims it’s for “mind control” or whatever else besides dental health is nuts.

Not all conspiracy theories are crazy. Attempts at controlling the way people think by the government are well documented.

As a general rule of thumb, if the “theory” involves a shadowy group who’s only purpose is to be as malevolent as possible, it’s usually bullshit.

The problems with conspiracy theories:

  1. They generally aren’t true, at all.

  2. While full of errors and untruths, they become self-selecting in terms of population; If you’re hearing that, say, Lee Harvey Oswald was a bad shot, and it’s impossible to get 3 shots off in 9 seconds with the type or rifle he was using (or whatever the number people throw around is), but then you look into those claims, you then understand that neither of those things are true, and you move on. There is, therefore, an unfortunately large crossover between the group of people who believe conspiracy theories, and the group of people who haven’t looked into the theories to which they subscribe with a critical eye. Because the people who do research them are almost weeded out by doing so.

  3. They are, like many ideas, ideologically biased, if not ideologically based. Not only are you more likely to believe CTs about your opposites (conservatives are more likely to believe Obama wasn’t born in the US or that Clinton secretly had people killed, more liberal people are more likely to believe that Bush did [insert any accusation] etc), but even more importantly, you are less likely to question any ideas that fit with your world view. If you don’t like big business, some guy talking out of his ass about Haliburton or “Big Pharma” etc is more likely to find an audience with you. If you don’t like doctors (be it due to sour grapes, fear, expense or some other reason), you might find [media=youtube]YN5ihrECJms"[/media] seeming to make sense. The problem comes in when “do I agree with this” supplants “is this actually accurate,” and that happens easily when you’re making emotional appeals, and playing on peoples’ fears, etc.

  4. They spread virally. People who don’t/don’t have the ability to admit that they believe CTs will promote them. There’s a lot of “hey man, you should check this out,” or “spreading awareness” or what have you, because as noted above, they agree with the idea of the material, even if completely unaware of the facts. Another example I’ve used before is Zeitgeist, a 3-part conspiracy theory video which started making the rounds a few years ago. One third of the video is 9/11 CTs, one third is Federal Reserve CTs (evil bankers, etc), and one third is organized religion CTs. All three parts are filled with horrendous errors, and are false. However, if you’ve an anti-religious bias, you may be predisposed to believe a bunch of stuff about how the story of Jesus is based on old pagan sun gods, and thus how all religion is fake. In showing this video to people or suggesting that they watch it because it’s “interesting” or whatever, you’re not only spreading misinformation, but you’re exposing them to two other unrelated CTs, which are also horse shit. It is viral, and I certainly mean that in the negative sense of the word.

Etc, etc.

See also: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704238104574602042125998498.html

well i will never completey dismiss something just because its a “conspiracy theory”. Then i throw out all “evidence” about why they would do it or what they had to gain, as well as all circumstantial evidence… But if there is any hard evidence of them, i will look at them and consider them.

I founded a shocking correlation that most conspiracy theorist are also religious…

Except for the ones that aren’t.

Considering how many conspiracy theorists assume some sort of religion is the sinister force behind a tragic event, I’d say the opposite. Most of the people that concoct and buy into conspiracy theories are atheists.


You do know that Alex Jones is a Christian and often attacks Atheists right? (Not to turn this into an Atheist vs Christian thing…) I think it’s unfair to say that most followers are atheists when I have actually found the opposite to be true. There’s also this lovely site: http://www.patriotsaints.com/

Conspiracy theorists have a fair amount of both kinds of people, so I think it’s unfair to label both as “most.” They’re all crazy as hell, it has nothing to do with their religion.

At some point someone decided to apply a new label to “elaborate claims” and came up with the term “conspiracy theory”.

They could just as easily be called “elaborate claims” instead of “conspiracy theories”.

Conspiracy theories suffer from the presence of perpetual skeptics who seek to debunk things simply for the pleasure that debunking things gives them.

Recreational and professional debunkers the world over use the term “conspiracy theory” as a pejorative against those who make elaborate claims.

A disinterested observer who watches two opposing camps making competing truth-claims has to decide for himself which interpretation is more plausible. When one matrix of facts is labeled a “conspiracy theory” the other matrix of facts gets a slight bump in legitimacy regardless of whether or not the counter-facts are in fact counter-factual.

A better question is: Why is the term “conspiracy theory” used as a pejorative?

Depends on the topic, somethings I dont consider conspiracy theories as I see facts and evidence to support there case as being true rather then a theory but like anything in life there is always 2 sides to everything. You will find about as much truth as you will garbage, and hopfully you dont fall prey to the garbage.

The simplest answer is that a lot of conspiracy theorists–the really loud ones, with the really outlandish theories–don’t do themselves any favors. I would argue that the crowd that espouses poorly supported fringe theories like the moon landing hoax or Area 51 have unintentionally fostered a certain image of conspiracy theories, in the same way that the worst of the neoconservatives have come to typify their own movement.

I also think that this kind of conspiracy theory has been popularized and given a certain romance in the last few decades, which further cements a certain image. It is now a standard adventure/sci-fi genre trope that the most outlandish theory turns out to be true, and that the most paranoid and/or credulous character turns out to be right. Think Watchmen, or the X-Files.

The original, neutral use of the term “conspiracy theory” is probably gone for good. It has come to mean something a little more specific, which must be taken into account. It is to the point where you might as well not use it for any theory that is logical, is falsifiable, and incorporates the evidence in a way that is methodological and not unnecessarily complicated.

For related cases of terms evolving to no longer fit with their literal usage, see “UFO” for an example.