On conspiracy theories and their legitimacy

Do you believe in one or more conspiracy theories?

Yes.
1 votes
I am on the fence, leaning towards yes.
2 votes
I haven't really thought about it.
1 votes
No.
2 votes

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pandemonium91

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This thread is a continuation of an interesting discussion in the Shoutbox. Maybe continuing it here can offer new perspectives and make it easier to read/follow.

The discussion began with an article (LINK) describing the traumatic events a father, Lenny Pozner, went through after his son was killed in the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012. The article highlights part of the media coverage around the event, but focuses on the virulent reaction Pozner experienced from many members of the public, who went so far as to accuse him of faking his son's death and send him death threats for it.

Next, flat-earthers were mentioned, as well as some ways to approach someone who brings up a ridiculous conspiracy theory.

According to Dictionary.com, a conspiracy theory can be:

Quote: 1. a theory that explains an event as being the result of a plot by a covert group or organization; a belief that a particular unexplained event was caused by such a group.

2. the idea that many important political events or economic and social trends are the products of secret plots that are largely unknown to the general public.

Most people use "conspiracy theory" to refer to alternate interpretations and/or causes of past, present or future events. These interpretations are not widely acknowledged as being valid, but are considered valid within the minority groups who believe in these theories.

Now, it's no secret that some of the more infamous conspiracy theories carry a lot of negative baggage as they relate to sensitive content - for example, Holocaust denial; I admit I haven't been interested in researching it further, as I find it preposterous and insensitive, to say the least. But still, there are people out there who do believe in it and try to bring others to their side.

So, there are several questions one can ponder when discussing conspiracy theories:

- At which point do they stop being mildly entertaining "what ifs" and become insensitive/erasing beliefs, or even dangerous to the believer?

- If you believe them to be ridiculous, would you try to change one's favorable opinion of them?

- If you don't believe in conspiracy theories and one was proven to be true, would you be more open towards them?

- In a world where you can find a source to validate any of your beliefs, how far can sources go to prove one's point?

I'd be happy to know your thoughts, as this is quite an interesting topic!

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HatedAngel

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I think conspiracy theories are interesting, some with more potential to be true than others. I'm not sure if I'd say I really believe in any, it's kinda one of those things where I believe some COULD be true but I wouldn't stand on a street corner shouting about it and calling people "sheeple".
There are others though that are just hilarious to me, such as the government being ran by lizards, that mt staff read pm's and can edit them, that the illuminati is ran by devil worshipers, and that Taylor swift is the clone of the person who "founded" Satanism's daughter. Honestly there's no limit to how wild a conspiracy theory can get.

The ones that do infuriate me the most are ones like what you mentioned - that the government fakes mass shootings for gun ban propaganda (when really at best the ones pushing for anything at all push for gun control not a gun ban). Theres also the vaccines cause autism one that has been disproved so many times costing so much wasted money in research all because somebody wanted to sell their vaccine like alternative and faked results. We can't even recreate the results. Whats more is people buy it and dont vaccinate their kids. Like hypothetically if it did cause autism- would you guys really perfer a dead child to an autistic one? What the hell?

As for changing somebodies mind- I'd try to but I wouldn't have a lot of hope in it. Hardcore conspiracy theorists are just trapped in their own little world it seems. Sometimes they can see reason but I wouldn't count on it. Which sucks especially when you consider the very harmful ones.

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pandemonium91

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I agree with you—some conspiracy theories are pretty mild and not that harmful if one were to believe them. I do think the government surveys us all in some manner, so practicing online safety and acting with caution is super important. Makes you wonder how awhile ago we were instructed to not give out too much info about ourselves online, and now a lot of people post everything on Facebook X-D It's wild how there's almost an 180 in this. I also believe politics is much more sinister than the public is allowed to know. But I don't want to entertain the thought of school shootings being planned to further someone's political agenda.

One thing to keep in mind is that conspiracy theories do stem from a nugget of truth; however, this truth is usually muddled among "evidence" that is either misinterpreted or fabricated completely. And if I were to count the times I've heard "but you can't disprove it either!", it'd probably be in the tens. But, unfortunately, some people hear a piece of information (often incomplete or false) and run with it because it sounds believable—like your example of vaccines causing autism, which (as I understand it) came up from autism being diagnosable around the age when children get lots of vaccines done. Last I heard, that "doctor" was stripped of his title and his thesis was pulled from scientific journals because he himself admitted to skewing the results to prove his point. Sounds 100% legitimate to me!

That Taylor Swift one tho ^^" I don't know where that came from, but I love the one about Nicolas Cage supposedly being a centuries-old vampire because someone found an old photo of a guy that looked a lot like him. Though considering how...interesting? Cage is, I'd be inclined to believe it X-D

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HatedAngel

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Oh as far as America goes the nsa does watch us so to speak. More like they are constantly feeding data back and creating a file on people that will mainly be actually looked through if you become a person of interest. I wonder what my file says :3c

Celeb conspiracies are fascinating to me, the more off the wall the more fascinating. There are some celebrities that just don't seem to age. I blame more so just aging better due to being wealthy than anything else though.

Some conspiracies though you have to wonder - what does x have to gain from lying about Y? Because most of the time there is no answer for that. Such as "Why would we lie about the earth being round when it's flat?" Well honestly there is absolutely no gain to lying about that? At all?

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pandemonium91

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Heh, while everyone's being tracked (government, ISPs and so on), I doubt most are as interesting as to really warrant attention. Some random person watching anime all day, looking at porn or flaming people on various sites isn't enough to catch the interest of any authority. Though I guess there's some benefit, such as having certain places—like forums encouraging terrorism, drug abuse and harming other people—be supervised for escalating behavior.

Quote by HatedAngelSome conspiracies though you have to wonder - what does x have to gain from lying about Y? Because most of the time there is no answer for that. Such as "Why would we lie about the earth being round when it's flat?" Well honestly there is absolutely no gain to lying about that? At all?

Amen to that! I think some just want to prove they're "superior" to others ("sheeple" is probably one of the most cringe-worthy words I've ever come across) and going against the current is their way of desperately trying to confirm their own uniqueness. But while affirming one's identity is good, I feel it shouldn't be only about what others don't like; I remember watching a video* analyzing a character and concluding that the character wasn't well written because they were defined solely as "NOT something" e.g. doesn't like X, doesn't do Y. And a character/person who only defines themselves as "not like X" lacks a personality of their own, IMO.

One thing that's been happening in my country is a facet of propaganda masquerading as a conspiracy theory. Without getting too much into politics—and I'll try to be as neutral as possible—, a certain popular political faction (so it's not just a small radical group), that follows conservative ideas, is pushing the idea of a "parallel state" mostly comprised of young people (25+) who go against this faction out of the belief that the faction is corrupt. So there's another interesting angle to view conspiracy theories from. They can certainly be used as tools, especially against an impressionable mind that only listens to one side of the story.

To answer my own questions, most of the time I don't find it worthwhile to even begin discussing these with people who aren't on the same page, mostly because it's cause for arguments that end up souring the relationship. If someone's got certain beliefs that don't intervene with their, my or anyone else's well-being, I don't see a point in trying to change them. I have encountered some cases where people became so entrenched into believing conspiracy theories that it was negatively affecting their mental health and relationships with others, but as much as I tried to reach out, it fell on deaf ears. You can't start a dialog with people who are adamant about being right, no matter what (legitimately sourced) arguments you bring to the table.

* Found it: it's Nostalgia Critic's review of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

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Here's an interesting interpretation of flat earthers:
https://youtu.be/8T-jrDd0f1M

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pandemonium91

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Quote by TheGarbageCollectorHere's an interesting interpretation of flat earthers:
https://youtu.be/8T-jrDd0f1M

Oh maaan I haven't seen anything from Soren Bowie in ages! I remember his articles being really good and funny.

You know, I haven't even considered the time zone argument when discussing this XD

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