Truth and Conspiracy Theories


I have a theory about conspiracy theories.

America is so filled with conspiracy theories it is difficult to decide where to start and where to end. They are ubiquitous. They are literally everywhere.

I have been trying to explain why in my opinion that is so. I believe it is because of their particular devotion to believing without evidence. That devotion has been around so long many don’t even see. Many people think it is normal to believe wild theories without evidence.

Here is a theory I endorse: the more unlikely a statement, the stronger the evidence we should demand before we believe it. The weaker the evidence in support of a theory the more suspect we should be about it. For example, if someone says Barack Obama was born outside the United States that is a statement that is hard to believe, but it is not so outrageous that it could not be true. I would require some evidence though, because it is not obviously true. If you say that Barack Obama is part of an international conspiracy of elite pedophiles that are attacking very young children to kill them and drink their blood that is a pretty wild statement. Such a statement requires deep evidence to be believed. Nothing else will do.

Yet to a lot of people such a statement about Obama is made and it is believed. It does not matter how outrageous it is, if it sort of fits in with their own world-view they believe it without any evidence at all. These believers live in a world of conspiracy theories and they find the current world very congenial. They fit in. Increasingly, those who demand evidence don’t belong in this new world. Increasingly, the new world is a world of make-believe or FantasyLand. According to a recent study, 25% of Americans believe Qanon theories while another 24% are not sure about them! What is there to be unsure of?

Believing crazy theories without evidence is good evidence of not cherishing truth. A country that is soaked in conspiracy theories without evidence is a country that does not respect the truth. That is a country where truth is dying.

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