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conspiracy Not so very long ago, I briefly delved into the wacky world of conspiracy theory. That had to do with the kooky ideas that arose immediately following the Boston Marathon bombings. Sources of dubious lineage were quick to report that things were not always what they seem.

I think most of those theories have died the usual death from “lack of credible evidence”. No make that NO evidence.

Still, around every corner there is another waiting, pulsing just beneath the surface, ready to raise its bizarro head.

We’ve looked at he usual suspects here, and frankly I’d not be inclined to go further, but seriously when people you think you kinda know and kinda think are MOSTLY rational, start bringing forth this stuff, it makes you stop and think. Well, it makes me ever so slightly paranoid that people  I think I know are a bit touched if you get my drift.

I know a few folks who believe in aliens visitations and so forth. They seem for the most part fairly tame. Everybody (well a lot anyway) have at one time or another seen something in the sky that appeared strange. If you believe, as I do, that in such a vast universe, it’s more probable than not that other beings of intelligence exist besides ourselves, it’s not an utter stretch that we may have been visited.

But a number of things should be taken into account first:

  1. We appear not to be in the center of “life activity”. The solar system is out in the boonies of a fairly nondescript (as galaxies go) galaxy. We are deeply primitive vis-a-vis any species who had the wherewithal to both find us AND visit us, and personal visits would be something much more unlikely say than, simple monitoring by technologically advanced devices.
  2. A species more evolved than we are, (and they would all have to be to visit us) must have passed through some sort or sorts of species ending dilemmas of their own. Morality codes probably work against “interference”, i.e., a species must prove it can come through its crises before contact would be established.
  3. What in the world would they have in common with us. It’s like asking me to relate to a beetle.

But lets assume that even given that, a species chooses to hang around the earth, watching and presumably interfering. You say what? Interfering? And I say, yes, because most of your full-blown aliens-are-here believers, think that they either help us, or leave clear signs of their visits. They think for instance that humans couldn’t have built the Pyramids (although plenty of experts disagree). They would argue that the large drawings found in South America along vast rock plains are made by them, and can be described as “spaceships” in some cases. Hieroglyphics are often pointed to as having what purport to be “cell phones” or other modern technology which apparently is evidence that the aliens actually helped carve out the structures.

Which all leads to the theory held by “they are here” folks, that the government is and has been aware of this stuff for decades. This is a clue by the way.

Conspiracies usually involve at some point the awareness of the government and their fairly successful attempt to cover them up.

The problem with that of course is that it fails to understand the basic problem of conspiracies. A conspiracy of more than one is doomed to fail almost always. A conspiracy that must be constructed of tens of thousands and handled over decades is ludicrous, quite plainly.

The second reason such a conspiracy is silly is there is no good reason for it. The usual reason for why the government covers up the fact that aliens are among us is, that “panic would ensue and chaos result.” Watch any disaster movie ever made and the reason given for not informing the public is always this one. So we take it for granted without thinking.

Yet is this at all true? If the governments of the world sat down together and presented this information as theorists claim (i.e. aliens have been around since we got up on two legs), then what are the implications? THE FIRST IMPLICATION IS THAT THEY AREN’T MEANING US ANY HARM.  The second would be, “wow we aren’t alone”. The third might be, “I bet they can cure cancer if we ask them nicely.” You get my drift? Why the panic in the streets? No reason.

So much for why the government would hide the information. And down tumbles the house of cards, since there is a plausible explanation for most of the “evidence” usually presented.

So why are we prone to this stuff?

And how do you tell when your friend has slipped off the rails of sanity and entered into bizarro land?

  1. If you friend already believes in any conspiracy about anything, he/she is more likely to accept another one. Once you have tipped over into the realm of “the government/church/political party is an evil entity bent on attaining power and wealth at any cost” anything goes, nothing is too bizarre to contemplate.
  2. A conspiracy believer is not so much the product of a series of convincing pieces of real evidence as it is the product of a mind with a worldview that inclined to think that there are groups “out to get us” however “us” is defined. It’s popular you know in some circles to believe that secularists are “out to get Christians”.
  3. Those prone to such ideas are usual cynical about the capacity of humans to be moral, and more likely to believe that politics is always about greed and power and never altruistic in nature. People are animals and left to their own devices are going to do bad things.
  4. Conspiracy believers generally have low self-esteem especially at it relates to the world at large and their growing belief that they are powerless to fight back. All great populist movements are inevitably based on the idea that if we join forces we can beat back the monster.
  5. Given that we live in perilous times with threats emanating from a variety of sources, the primitive brain reacts in a “fight or flee” mode by trying to make sense of conflicting data. The easiest way to come to some coherence is to lay it to a conspiracy. And of course that leads to “a few who get it” and the feelings of control and superiority that come from being in  the “in group” of those in the know.
  6. The computer makes it worse by giving people who have a general “feeling” that something isn’t kosher a means of finding those who are full-blown crazy people who live on this stuff. Thus, if you search for information, you will surely find it, even though it may all be so much nonsense.
  7. The more evidence you bring to bear to disprove the conspiracy, the more they will dig in their heels, convinced that misinformation is part of the conspiracy.

So there you have it. Now you know why people in the face of real evidence continue to believe in creationism, climate change denial, and aliens among us.

And if you haven’t had a new conspiracy to think about for a while, here’s the latest.

Unknown of course to the regular press, but well-known to the fringe, Edward Snowden has dropped another bombshell in Moscow. This one pertains to the solar flares that are scheduled to hit the Earth in September killing “hundreds of millions”. The governments have known of this for thirteen years through a psychic process known as “remote viewing” which allows us to “see” distant events now. The government of course has not told us to “avoid panic” and has been secretly preparing all these years.

No matter how deeply you probe this on Google, you will always get led to one article which is usually just reprinted or block posted in parts. Of course the reasoning for the “secrecy” is as faulty as that for hiding our alien friends. And of course, Snowdon’s initial “bombshells” pale in comparison to this one don’t they? Shouldn’t this be the lead?

So it’s time to get back to building that bunker.

Other Sources on the psychology of the conspiracist:

What a Conspiracy Theorist Believes

Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories

Paranoia and the Roots of Conspiracy Theories

Moon Landing Faked!!! Why People Believe in Conspiracy Theories

A variety of research papers on the subject

Note: the last three are particularly useful from Psychology Today, Scientific American, and research papers by experts in the field.