How do you react to conspiracy theories?

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I think it is generally a mistake to try and disprove a conspiracy theory because in the time it takes you to find the evidence showing that it is complete bollocks 5 more could have cropped up.

If you're wanting to change someone's mind then either go the route of explaining the overall reasons that conspiracy theories are rubbish (i.e. How do you know? How could they have possibly planned that? If they have this much power why didn't they use a more straight forward plan without leaving cryptic clues? Why are the "truthers" still spreading the truth without being killed or detained? Unusual things do happen, they aren't always evidence of behind the scenes tinkering)

Hopefully instilling a good standard of evidence in them. Conspiracy theorists will be the first to tell you "you shouldn't believe everything that "they" tell you" but somehow don't extend this thinking to anonymous internet loonies.

The other way is to just to laugh, ridicule isn't a argument technique but sometimes its what people need to see that their ideas are ridiculous. I remember being told about Area 51 stuff and I was listening intently (interested in what others believe) and when he started describing this epic laser gun battle in 50's I just couldn't stop myself for cracking up.

I think a lot of conspiracy enthusiasts don't really care if any of this stuff, they just enjoy it as some kind of big game and I'm fine with that... up until the point they refuse to vaccinate their kids.

I went to a white nationalist forum and posted there for a little while proving everything they believe wrong. Man you should see what they think of Jews. I didn't know this but apparently Jews are trying to destroy the white race through multiculturalism and interracial mating.

If you wanted me to 'open my eyes' and 'believe', then don't call me 'blind' or 'sheeple'. Simple as that. If they'd be more concerned about converting people to their cause than 'calling out' people who rationally disagree, then perhaps they'd have a point.

But they don't.

Usually, I ignore them. I try not to pay attention to crazy people...

I usually respond to them like I respond to EternalNothingness' threads: Either I sigh and ignore them, or make it clear how little sense I think they're making.

I often find the biggest problem with most conspiracies is the level of imagination of the theorist is often far in excess of the alleged conspirator. Government conspiracies are the worst. Take the US Government, who can't even hide petty scandals, can't come up with creative ways (which the private sector repeatedly does) to solve it's biggest looming issues, and with politicians so buried under their own personal agendas to worry about mom and pop's telephone conversation, to believe these same people are capable of masterminding this James Bond villain level of master surveillance is just ludicrous.

The other issue is simply one of people not understanding the logistics of their theories. Surveillance conspiracies are always bad about this, people assuming that we are fully capable of doing Enemy of the State level of monitoring don't understand the logistical issues of that task. Yes we have all this amazing technology, tiny surveillance cameras, bugs, satellites, phone tapping, impressive software with amazing sorting algorithms but technology on the scale of what people theorize their conspiracies about is far more than a sum of it's parts. You would need an unprecedented amount of actual manpower just to filter through this alleged data just to find anything of relevance, it's more than a simple word search for "hotlisted terms". You cannot financially justify the amount of funding it would require to have such a massive surveillance operation, the manpower needed is too great, the amount of sheer processing power on behalf of the technology is too great (without an unrestricted budget), it's just ridiculous to assume our government would resort to such a silly act for a few extra pings on their GitMo Occupancy List.

Of course there's everything from cryptozoological conspiracies, alien conspiracies, government conspiracies, disaster conspiracies, even geek culture theories on intent behind movies, games, and tv show creators.

They are fun to look at it, but I implore everyone to actually try and better understand the conspiracies they read before believing them out of turn because one person seems to make an arguable case, get your own facts.

I don't take exception to them unless it goes to far. Conspiracy theories are part of our evolutionary process that gave humanity pattern recognition, but it also gave us the possibility of false positives. They can be fun. They can also sometimes have a grain of truth.

However, try to act on them without real proof and you deserve a trip to the looney bin. The people who expose real conspiracies are the people who are part of them (Snowden, the Kohk brothers' climate change covering up scientists). If you scream and try to get people to change their behavior, you'll just end screwing up something.

Hi Bachman, how about those vaccines.

Often with uncertainty. I'm a terrible fact checker, and don't dwell on current events much, so I often lack the knowhow to even prove their arguments are weak. As a result, I just shrug and move on. As a big advocate of order over chaos, I really don't care much if unseen hands are manipulating world events.

Well, depends.

You have the people that say the US government knew about 911 in advance. Which, to some extent, is kinda true, there were warning signs that should have gotten more attention, but people didn't connect the dotes.

You have people saying the US government was behind 911. Which is pure fantasy, something out of a bad movie.

You have people saying the Illuminati/whoever controlling the US government were behind it. Yeah, really, really no.

Then you have people saying that the Illuminati controlling the US government organised it well in advance. You know the bit in Terminator 2 when John Connor is being chased down a canal or whatever it was? He goes under a bridge, and there's a warning sign saying the clearance is 9' 11", which is the Illuminati giving people secret clues about how the world is being run (no joke, there are people who believe this).

OTOH, you have stuff like how there's an evil conspiracy about getting the US, Canada and Mexico to adopt the same currency. I bet all the cool conspiracy types make fun of them.

One of my favourites was how there's a conspiracy running a secret breeding program, to produce special humans...to become pop stars. That's why Lady Gaga is a hermaphrodite (which is what bisexual people are), because as we all know that's caused by incest. If that wasn't so offensive to various groups, that's a hilarious idea, one worth stealing.

...

As an aside, there's a conspiracy theory that the KGB would egg conspiracy theorists on, because they worked to discredit the US government. Only, that's exactly the sort of thing that the KGB would want to do, and have the resources for, so I don't think it counts.

MeisterKleister:
Someone else once put to me that the Bilderberg Group conference, an annual meeting of world leaders, was a very suspicious, because it's secret, implying that they plan nefarious stuff there. Of course there was no evidence again. And without evidence you cannot make any honest claims.
I looked it up and the secrecy has the purpose of ensuring that the people speaking there will give their honest opinions.

Funny enough, the Bilderberg conference used to be ended by a press conference about what had been discussed but they discontinued the press meeting after, I think, only a single reporter showed up to the last one.

thaluikhain:
As an aside, there's a conspiracy theory that the KGB would egg conspiracy theorists on, because they worked to discredit the US government. Only, that's exactly the sort of thing that the KGB would want to do, and have the resources for, so I don't think it counts.

What nonsense, the KGB would never stoop so low!

It's extremely easy and convenient to simply dismiss all conspiracy theories as paranoiac and ramble, but people need to realize that there's ALWAYS a political backdrop to everything. There's always a purpose that we can't see. Decisions are not made simply for the sake of convenience, but for millions of things. So while some conspiracies may sound utterly lunatic, you just never know how much truth there might be to them.

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