Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Dealing With Conspiracy Theorists

I'm surrounded by conspiracy theorists. Literally. Within several hundred feet of my house, in several directions, are vocal conspiracy theorists.

Originally, it was simply funny. When one of them was trying to convince me that diet soda was part of Obama's plan to test toxins, and that you can play people's speech backwards to discern their true intent, and that Michelle Obama is actually a man, it was just pathetically hilarious.

Now, of course, it's much more sinister. Because now it's all about how Covid-19 is a hoax, and there is no reason to take precautions, and the vaccine is a plan by the Evil Not-So-Secret Powermongers to make lots of money while simultaneously reducing the world population.

Today I was forwarded a video on this theme, with the following text appearing at the top of the video: "Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci are paying trillions of dollars to Big Tech to stop this video going viral!" It is just astonishing that people believe this stuff unquestioningly. Trillions of dollars? Really? Gates only has about 100 billion. And he's spending twenty times that amount to suppress harmful videos? And Dr. Fauci, a career physician his entire life, suddenly has trillions of dollars to spend on protecting his secret interests? And out of all the conspiracy material out there, it's this one short stupid video that they are spending all this money to suppress? But it's so appealing for people to think that they're getting to watch something that someone powerful tried to suppress, that it blinds them to questioning whether this, or any of the claims made in the video, are actually true.

Is there any point in arguing with conspiracy theorists? Not really. But it's important for everyone to be aware of the flaws in conspiracy thinking, to prevent them from recruiting more to their ranks. The basic logical flaw in all conspiracy thinking is that it negates Occam's Razor. Conspiracy theories look for the most complicated explanation of events instead of the simplest explanations. But the reality is that most events can be very simply explained by ordinary causes, whereas conspiracies require levels of organization and cooperation which human beings are just not very good at.

And there are all kinds of psychological mechanisms which make conspiracy theories appeal to people. As noted above, it's appealing to think that you have access to "suppressed" or "secret" information. And it can actually be psychologically reassuring to believe that events, including harmful events, are not random or unplanned, but are the calculated result of a plan - even if it being planned by evil forces. And in the modern world of social media and email, it's very easy for people thus inclined to hook up with many other such people to reinforce their attitude.

If nothing else works, perhaps we can point out to people how conspiracy theorists usually flirt with a whole range of conspiracy theories - and many of these involve antisemitism.

80 comments:

  1. Education. (Social) Media regulation through transparency / educational compacts & 3rd party vetting. Consensus Politics. Social/Political/Religious reform. All of these are in some shape or form necessary. Whether or not the applicable governments, communities and socaities are willing to recognize the need for some form of shared approach is doubtful. The Haredi and swathes of the MO are already lost for a myriad of reasons, until an epic reset (usually in the shape of cataclysm) such as the Shoah) changes things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Conspiracy theories are helpful in bringing balance. Falsehood highlights trut. The truth is always somewhere in the middle. What is most revealing is the very legitimate feeling of distrust for government.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "The truth is always somewhere in the middle." What rubbish. Is the truth in the "middle" between people who believe in the moon landing and those who don't? (Or Torah - God forbid?)

      Delete
    2. "Falsehood highlights truth" No, knowledge highlights truth - without knowledge we cannot discern what is true or false. Mi davar sheker tirchok - lies are to be avoided

      Delete
    3. I'm in no way into conspiracies but the game the mainstream media is playing now that there is no evidence whatsoever of election fraud makes it clear that anyone who believes cnn and the others is buying into actual fake conspiracies. If you believe them then you're just a fool!

      Delete
    4. "The truth is always somewhere in the middle."

      Nonsense.

      " that there is no evidence whatsoever of election fraud "

      There is in fact no evidence of election fraud. Please return to reality. There have been a handful of cases that got caught, three of which were individual Trump supporters trying to cast a single illegal vote, and one case in California where someone tried to register illegal voters for a local (nonpartisan) election. The voting machines have been proven to count ballots correctly.

      The only real problem with the election was that the US Postal Service was sabotaged by Trump in order to try to prevent on time delivery of mail in ballots in Democratic areas, and then Trump sent is legal goons in to prevent the counting of the votes that he had caused to be delivered late. And Trump did accomplish that, as even his propaganda rag admitted:

      https://nypost.com/2020/11/04/usps-says-huge-amount-of-mail-in-ballots-were-not-delivered/

      But he failed to steal the election because the pro-Biden vote was so humongously large. Just with the votes that were counted, Biden won by seven million votes. In no state was the election closer than ten thousand votes. If you don't believe that, YOU are the fool.

      Delete
    5. @Charlie Hall, I disagree. Trump gave a speech about election fraud. He brought out diagrams that showed a tremendous amount of fraud. It was like a third-world country. Dead people voted. Poll watchers were denied to watch the polls. It's pretty clear there was fraud.

      Trump has clearly stated that he would be willing to concede if Biden won a fair election. But Biden isn't president. He hasn’t won yet. He hasn’t been declared the winner. There's a lot more to go. There’s a lot of fraud.

      There's no evidence that the postal service was sabotaged. It makes no sense to me that Biden won by tens of thousand of votes in red states.

      Delete
    6. The 'mainstream' media is not saying anything of the sort. They are saying that the claims of fraud are unproven, disproven, or irrelevant.
      Not that no fraud took place. Because they can't know that. But they can know that the evidence thus far submitted is irrelevant or untrue.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    7. Yet another case of believe what we tell you not what your lying eyes are seeing. Just ignore the enthusiasm and massive crowds of thousands at Trump rallies around the country and pretend basement dweller confused Joe got more votes than Obama or any other president in history. Look at yourselves in the mirror!

      Delete
    8. I agree with elie. Some Trump rallies had more than 50,000 people or more. Biden could only match him with three or four. Biden told them to stand (or sit) inside circles. Does it make sense that Biden got more votes and one has to twist the facts like a pretzel, or does Occam's razor suggest fraud, a more simple explanation? I don't buy it and nor should you. I say fraud.

      Delete
    9. What do rallies have to do with votes?
      People believe in Occam's razor as though it was gospel truth. It isn't scientific, it is just a bias. There is no reason the simpler explanation is the more correct one. None at all. Especially when fraud claims are not simpler at all, they require a whole new set of facts that haven't been shown.
      Jason from Jersey

      Delete
    10. @Jason, Well, Occam's razor only suggests that the simplest explanation is generally correct, but not always. As a rule of thumb, the universe is probably more boring than we previously thought. In any case, there is plenty of evidence for fraud. Did you see the speech where Trump brought out these diagrams and was pointing at the diagrams? There's no denying it. And votes have everything to do with it. Doesn't it seem strange that Trump had all those supporters at rallies and Biden still came out on top when he could barely fill a gymnasium?

      Delete
  3. I disagree that this has to do with Occam's Razor, in fact I think it's the opposite. Life is complicated. The world is complicated. Covid-19 is complicated, where it comes from, how does it spread, etc. There aren't easy answers. But the conspiracy theorists have all the easy answers, summed up in that picture in the post. All the world's problems? They come from the shadow government at the top.

    By the way, it's not just fringe lunatics who promote conspiracy theories. Some conspiracy theories are very common among respectable people. One of the most obvious ones in the the US is "systemic racism". Another one is "dark money in politics" (see here that there is more money in the almond industry than in politics). Both of these conspiracy theories have very little basis in reality. Yet they are mindlessly peddled by otherwise smart, successful people. And when confronted with the facts, they give excuses, like "Ok, you're right, but you have to admit blah blah blah.."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Lucky, I agree entirely. The world is complicated. Its not flat or black and white, its round. On the other hand, things are usually explained simply. Occam's Razor does seem to be a law of nature. Its complicated.

      I agree that "systemic racism" is another wacky conspiracy theory. BTW, how are you able to link things into the "here" in the comments? Many thanks.

      Delete
    2. The Pope is in control of big government? Hilarious.

      Delete
    3. Systemic explanations are exactly not conspiracy theories. They attribute to systemic factors what conspiracy theorists ascribe to deliberate cooperation. For example, African-Americans have less wealth than other groups in the USA because they did not benefit from home ownership and rising property values, and they did not own property because banks “redlined” the areas where they lived as neighbourhoods where mortgage lending was higher risk; even if the Jim Crow segregation that led to the original bank discrimination has gone, the after effects persist, not only in the lack of wealth but also in attitudes towards people from certain areas. Conscious racism is not required to explain why these neighbourhoods are less prosperous and why those growing up there have fewer opportunities. That is not a conspiracy theory. The point is that discriminatory attitudes, both conscious and unconscious, give rise to structures, and these structures can perpetuate discrimination even when the attitudes are absent.

      Delete
    4. I agree with you, but some activists are engaging in a virulent anti-segregation hysteria based on ideological delusions and not on facts which has much in common with the conspiracy theories, f.e. the Bret Weinstein's controversy, I wonder if this isn't related to the puritan culture, you know "Salem's witches" and the like.

      Delete
    5. @Paul, this is the frustrating thing about conspiracy theorists. They freely mix well-known facts with unfounded speculation. Also, they freely redefine terms when it suits them. I think everybody can agree that the past effects of slavery and racism in the past could have an impact in the present, leading to black people have less wealth, for example, due to them not having any wealth as slaves. But "systemic racism" is not satisfied with that, they say there is widespread racism now, a loony conspiracy theory. And when pressed, the "clever" ones redefine the term. Racism doesn't mean people are racist, they say, it means that society is structured in a way that advantages people if they are already wealthy or well-connected (which most black people aren't). Freely redefining terms to suit their worldview.

      With regard to redlining, this itself is a conspiracy theory. Banks redlined areas based on credit risk, which often correlated with race due to the poverty of those populations. Saying this was because of racism is a conspiracy theory. Banks redlined many white neighborhoods as well.

      Delete
    6. TH, https://www.w3schools.com/html/html_links.asp will show you how to make a link, just copy from there.

      Delete
    7. Whoa: baby and bathwater.

      Systemic racism is not a conspiracy theory. It's obvious and true. Well, at least the basic definition is - that the system has been skewed against minorities and in part still is. (Look at studies about hiring trends for identical resumes but the names on them are John vs. DaShawn.) What proponents of this tend to forget is that THINGS ARE GETTING BETTER.

      And therefore, Happy, I agree that people redefine the term to suit their argument (hey - I did that myself!). And you are right that conspiracy theorists mix well-known facts with nonsense.

      [The claim that EVERYTHING ANY WHITE PERSON SAYS is racist - such as criticizing President Obama - is clearly a conspiracy theory, or at least an attempt to negate any validity to the criticism.]

      For example, that poster is ridiculous - in what way are Bill Gates and George Soros talmidim of the Pope, Queen Elizabeth, and the Rothschilds? (Are the Rothschilds still even around? Are they a Thing?)

      Delete
    8. Thanks, @Lucky. I appreciate your help.

      Delete
    9. Ok. If systemic racism exists then why did we elect a black man as president for two terms! and represent black people in the media, so much so, that a foreigner would think half of the US population are blacks when in fact they only make up 14% of the population? Even Candice Owens is getting a show on the Daily Wire. I'm not saying it's wrong to represent blacks in the media. On the contrary, it's wonderful. Republicans always supported blacks. Lincoln was a Republican and Republicans won the civil war and freed the slaves, and supported the civil rights movement. It is a damnable lie and a damn shame that the media tries to twist the facts and depict the KKK as right-wing when the KKK was a Democrat movement!

      I don't have a problem with minority rights. Republicans always supported minorities. I only have a problem when people say they are mistreated when they are clearly not. Systemic racism is a conspiracy theory.

      Delete
    10. @Yosef, if you want to say the US system is skewed against people who are already disadvantaged, I agree. But that is the same all over the world, it is practically an axiom of reality. If you want to say black people have prior disadvantage because of their history, that is also true. Again though, "systemic racism" says there is widespread racism in the system NOW, which is an epic conspiracy.

      I don't find the study about names convincing. The same study also found adverse trends against Asian sounding names. Systemic racism? Asians are clearly wealthy, educated, and successful! So I would speculate that both black and Asian names are hard to pronounce, and when you have 100 resumes for one job, that's enough.

      Delete
    11. Happy: Point about disadvantaged the world over: fair enough. I think there is a *specific* element in the US that is racial. It might even be present in other countries also (there certainly is a personal bias historically in Latin America - people pride in being more Spanish vs more Native vs more black). Again, it's getting better, and I hate that the race card is pulled so often. (And I'm curious about the Asian name study. Maybe there are different reasons for Asian discrimination. Maybe someone named Jiang Pho-Lin is assumed to have problems with English while someone named KeShawn is assumed to have problems with attitude! Also, Asians are wealthy? I'd say "successful" but not generally wealthy.)

      Turk: Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, yes? The election of a Black man President is a sign that racist inequalities in the US have IMPROVED, not that they have DISAPPEARED. He was not elected with a 100% popular vote, right? Or even anything resembling a landslide, right? Again, like I said to Happy, the race card gets pulled way too often. And Affirmative Action may have outlived its usefulness - or at least, had its flaws laid bare revealing that in some cases it does more harm than good. But don't deny that there IS still a pro-white flavor. And the old canard about Republicans and Lincoln is unfortunately out of date. In the modern day, Republican are unfortunately not the party that minorities shelter under - even if you want to argue that fiscal responsibility benefits everyone better than handouts!!

      Delete
    12. @TurkHill "I don't have a problem with minority rights. Republicans always supported minorities."

      It is well established that the Republican Party is the party of Emancipation and of Reconstruction. However, could you cite some evidence to support your claim that in addition to during the Civil War, which brought about Emancipation, and the couple of decades after the War during which there was a bona fide effort of Reconstruction, that the Republican Party supported minorities during the century after Reconstruction ended?

      "... the KKK was a Democrat movement"

      You mean Democrats like 1948 presidential candidate Strom Thurmond? Note that Thurmond subsequently became a Republican, with no evidence of any change of heart from his 1948 convictions, and remained one until his death.

      Delete
    13. To happygoluckypersonage: You don't know what systemic racism means. It has nothing to do with a conspiracy by anyone. Educate yourself before spewing forth nonsense.

      Delete
    14. @Yehoshua, I find it very common for conspiracy theorists to deny that what they espouse is a conspiracy theory. The shadow government believers also say the same thing "You don't know what shadow government means, educate yourself!"

      In the case of systemic racism, when you ask them what it means, the response is usually a stream of incoherent, nonsensical jargon. Like most conspiracy theories.

      Delete
    15. @Yosef R Agreed! America is always improving, so much so, that America has become one of the least racist countries in the world. True, Obama did not get 100% of the vote, but who does? The point is that Barack Obama was elected not once—but twice— something a racist country would never do. If you want an example, look at Japan. Have they ever elected a Gaijin as president?

      As for the “Republicans and Lincoln” argument out of date-thing. I disagree. While Democrats championed slavery and secession republics ended the civil war and stopped slavery. Guess who gave blacks the right to vote? Republicans. Guess who supported blacks during the civil rights movement? Republicans. I am not saying that all democrats are racist, but the Democratic party clearly cares little about the black community. Because they know the black vote is guaranteed. Meanwhile, Trump actually did something for blacks because he needed to win their vote. And he did. Trump, a Republican, received more votes from the minority community than any other Republican nominee.

      @Sar Shalom, For your first point (see above). In short, Republicans have support blacks during the civil rights movement, while the majority of Democrats didn’t. And Hollowed doesn't care about minority rights either. Old studio executive, white men didn’t have a change of heart. If they did, why didn’t they support the civil rights movement? Also, Joe Biden spoke at Strom Thurmond's memorial service: https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/henrygomez/joe-biden-strom-thurmond-eulogy

      Delete
    16. "virulent anti-segregation hysteria"

      It isn't hysteria to take a strong position in favor of civil rights and in opposition to discrimination. We still have housing and voting discrimination against Jews -- in New York State!!!

      Delete
    17. "In short, Republicans have support blacks during the civil rights movement, while the majority of Democrats didn’t. "

      That isn't quite true. Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan, and George H. W. Bush all openly opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Previously, William Howard Taft and Herbert Hoover had attempted (mostly successfully) to purge the Republican Party leadership of blacks. (Hoover was the major reason why most black Americans flipped their party affiliation in the early 1930s -- a dramatic realignment that has received inadequate notice.) Calvin Coolidge openly sought KKK support and in fact the Republicans elected two KKK Governors in 1924, in Indiana and Colorado. Coolidge had just signed the racist immmigration law and Hoover would openly root for a Nazi victory in WW2 in 1941.

      Basically, the only period after 1873 during which the Repubicans were better on civil rights was 1936 to 1960. Hoover's side was so destroyed by the 1932 election that the Republicans nominated supporters of civil rights for President in the next seven Presidential elections, in desparate attempts to get black support back. But the Democrats were just as strong starting in 1948 (FDR was pretty mediocre on civil rights but in 1920 he had been part of the only Democratic national ticket between 1876 and 1940 that did not include a segregationist.) Then came Goldwater, and Nixon's Southern Strategy. And the really sad part of this was that neither Goldwater nor Nixon were racists themselves.

      Going back further, by about 1873 the Republicans had pretty much given up the idea of helping black people. It became a totally corrupt pro corporate welfare party and would remain so for a generation.

      Delete
    18. @Charlie Hall, Biden also opposed the civil rights act, as did all of Hollywood. And Woodrow Wilson, a Democrat, was the first to show the racist movie, birth of a nation in the White House. The film celebrated the kkk (started by democrats) and other racist nonsense. So I could equally find democrats who opposed the civil rights act. though I agree that both Goldwater and Nixon weren't racist. Lastly, the Republicans, at least today, try to help blacks even if only to gain the black vote. Meanwhile, the Left doesn't do anything for blacks because they know their vote is guaranteed. Trump helped the black community, so much so, with the possible exception of Lincoln, that he received more votes from minorities than any previous Republican nominee. Even if Biden did win the election and even if it was not rigged with fraud, that doesn't change the fact that more minorities voted for Trump.

      Delete
  4. Boring. But better than anti-Torah diatribes I guess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I disagree. Its not boring. And where has RNS ever wrote something anti-Torah?

      Delete
  5. I once challenged someone online about the chemtrails theory he believed in. After only a couple of exchanges, he focused in on my Jewish sounding last name. He wasn't threatening, but it was very creepy.
    One of the very few conspiracies I believe in, one that might violate Occam's razor, is the killing of Muhammad Dura.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How does Dura violate Occam's razor?

      Delete
    2. The simplest (and wrongest) explanation is that the boy was killed by Israeli forces.

      Delete
    3. Or, couldn't it be that he was killed by Arabs to make Israel "look bad"?

      Delete
    4. Yes, that's Sedgwick's point. I think.

      Delete
    5. @Sedgwick You misconstrue Occam's Razor. Occam's Razor does not claim that you should look for the simplest explanation for a subset of the available evidence. Occam's Razor claims that you should look for the simplest explanation for the full set of available evidence and only reject that explanation when you encounter evidence that contradicts it in favor of the simplest new explanation that explains both the previously available evidence and the new observation.

      To take an example from physics, if you observe relative motion between objects at every day speeds, introducing complicated factors into your equation would violate Occam's Razor. However, if you to observe the relative motion of objects at relativistic speeds (a non-trivial fraction of the speed of light) equations without such complicated factors will give you clearly wrong answers. Therefore, you would need to introduce an adjustment by the Lorentz transformation. Introducing the Lorentz transformation is not a violation of Occam's Razor, it is applying the simplest available fix for what is observed at relativistic speeds.

      Applying that to the Muhammad Dura case, if the only information was that Dura stood at some place between the Israeli position and the Palestinian position during the skirmish, but closer to the Israeli position, and that Dura died during that skirmish, then the simplest explanation would be that Israeli fire is what resulted in Dura's death. However, that is not all of the available information. Because of tracks left by the bullets that passed near to Dura, we have ballistics data on where the bullet that killed Dura came from. Those data are inconsistent with the hypothesis that Israel caused Dura's death. Pointing out that information is not a conspiracy theory or a violation of Occam's Razor.

      Delete
  6. I find it hard to argue with conspiracy theorists.
    Take Jimmy Saville as a example, there were rumours when he was alive and that the police were protecting him and closing all complaints against him etc with instructions from higher etc.
    Occam's Razor would suggest that it is all nonsense and he was innocent. Unfortunately the conspiracists were correct in that instance. Of course I don't believe these lunatic theories floating about covid19 etc. One just has to use his common sense and decide whether a theory is likely and hope they will sense the fake .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or Jeffrey Epstein, to take an example that's potentially further reaching.

      In Saville's case, it was one pervert abusing many kids who had connections, though. No one is alleging that he controlled the world. Epstein...well, people do, but the explanation is probably not that complicated either.

      Delete
    2. The conspiracists were correct that Saville was a pedophile. They were presumably not correct about "the police were protecting him and closing all complaints against him etc with instructions from higher" because there is still no evidence of that as far as I can tell.

      Occam's razor does not really apply, because there weren't many complaints when he was alive. Proving sexual abuse is difficult in the best of situations.

      Delete
    3. @Shlomo
      there is a lot of evidence that cases were dismissed by police when there was a lot of evidence (when he was alive) see below:

      https://www.getsurrey.co.uk/news/surrey-news/second-surrey-police-officer-investigated-8041321

      https://www.justiceinspectorates.gov.uk/hmicfrs/media/review-into-allegations-and-intelligence-material-concerning-jimmy-savile.pdf

      https://jordanssolicitors.co.uk/2014/04/victims-of-jimmy-savile-who-had-their-claims-dismissed-by-the-police-may-be-entitled-to-compensation/

      Delete
    4. Someone DID kill Jeffrey Epstein. He was about to reveal secret information about many people like Bill Clinton who've been to Epstein at least 50 times a month!

      Delete
  7. I dislike conspiracy theorists theories. Most of them are anti-Semitic in nature. Some claim that the Egyptians did't build the pyramids or that the Titanic never really sank!

    ReplyDelete
  8. So you’re saying they’re not trying to control us with nanobots disguised as vaccines?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Woke up this morning to find that letter boxes in my building had been stuffed with a flier with a picture of Bill Gates with a syringe in his hand standing over a crying baby.
    Didn't read it, but the headline (in Hebrew) was something about a New World Order.

    Scary thing is that there are people who believe this stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  10. BTW Rabbi Amnon Itzhak is also promoting this conspiracy: https://youtu.be/0f0R86RJimo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And Rabbi Alon Anava believes 911 was an inside job, which there seems to be some evidence.

      Delete
    2. He also stated the Herzl was a pedophile to a TV journalist once. The journalist asked how he knew and AY said he read it in a book. The journalist did not follow up on the issue(typical). I looked for it...even of most extreme anti Jewish sites and found nothing. BTW he also states this on infamout anti Zionist video.

      Delete
    3. @TH 9-11 was done by Israel is or was widely believed by thousands of Muslims. Of course that is BS just like the claim 9-11 was an inside job. Acja

      Delete
    4. @ACJA, I didn't say Israel did it. Israel was against the Iraq war. I'm just saying that it's weird that the guy who owned those two buildings took insurance on them two weeks before the attack. Now those buildings must have been standing for about twenty years. Why only then did he decide to take insurance?

      Delete
    5. @ACJA- Of course the Israelis are behind 9-11! Didn't you know that not a single Jew died in the Towers?

      Oh wait, Jews did die? Well, never let facts get in the way...
      [do I have to have the /sarcasm tag?]

      Delete
    6. @Turk Hill, Re 9/11: The leaseholder of the WTC had just taken over a few months before, and he was contractually obligated to get insurance. See Snopes. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wtc-terrorism-insurance/

      Delete
  11. Through experience, bringing up anti-Semitism doesn't help. It's usually waved off with, "Well, you know, maybe they have some point there..."

    ReplyDelete
  12. Two points come to mind:(1) the definition of a conspiracy is two or more people planning, etc a illegal act. Some are true(like Operation Northwoods, Mockingbird from the CIA, or Cointelpro which was considered crackpot by the MSM of the late 60's thru the 70's which was indeed real from the FBI or the P2 plot in Italy and more). Some are just ideas which come to nothing and die.(2) People here, I think misunderstand Ocams Razor. OR states that one should seek the simplest answer to a mystery and most of the time it is correct. For example, Michelle Obama. OR would not leap to the extreme that is a crossdresser, trans or whatever. OR would say that she is on the mannish side in her mannerisms.

    ReplyDelete
  13. When someone believes in one kind of magic, it is easier for them to believe in other kinds of magic.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Conspiracy theories are as common as space aliens aliens looking to investigate our species with their anal probes.
    Oh wait, here’s another. This one tied to Israeli scientists and underground Martian astronaut bases.
    https://news.yahoo.com/former-israeli-space-security-chief-135211193.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You mean it's not true? I was going to ask the bracha to make when seeing an alien.

      Delete
  15. Here is a good one too:
    https://ibb.co/bbwbJnd

    ReplyDelete
  16. Scott Alexander had an interesting idea for combating conspiracy theories... prospiracy theories!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I wish there were an effective treatment for the illness which you describe.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Not all conspiracy theories are wrong. I generally don't agree with them and what's simple is usually the truth, but with Covid their definitely are many unanswered questions and we see the coverups and how governments and certain big tech are acting and making their policies.

    Ssvi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Other than the Chinese government keeping things quiet as long as they could and the American government being rather multiple personality about it, there ain't much conspiracy here. There is a lot we simply do not know, but not because people are hiding anything.

      Delete
    2. Biology is complex and that is why we don't always know everything. The best tool we have is experimentation to find out these kind of answers. And some things we very much DO know, but they are distorted or obscured by the media and its obsession with creating narratives and influencing politics with its news reports.

      Delete
  19. Once in awhile a conspiracy theory may be true but some people have a sick inclination to embrace an unreasonably high percentage of them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. You don't have to think that they cause the crisis and still accept (based on their actions) that they are taking opportunity to advance their sinister goals

    ReplyDelete
  21. Many rational people (i assume that’s why RNS wrote about it) have one or two “conspiracy theories” we may not fully believe in but feel there is some truth or non-satisfactory answers for. I know I have one or two that I’m at least open to the possibility but it’s a little classic Rabbi Slifkin to focus on the one detail of trillions and mock the entire thing. Let’s say the video would have said millions, would that have made it better?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you actually believe that Gates or anyone would be spending even a penny to "stop this video"?? It's not the trillions vs something more reasonable, it's how it's an entire unreasonable idea that ohbytheway is taken to completely unreasonable level.

      Delete
  22. There is only one conspiracy theory that I know to be true... it has been well documented that Elvis is still alive.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Just curious, do you think questioning the Jewish Mesorah falls into the category of a conspiracy theory? since on some level, the easiest explanation is that everything happened as we have it recorded. Otherwise, you have to come up with some sneaky way that someone (or a bunch of people) tricked people into buying into the Mesorah.
    On the other hand, some might argue that there are facts and realities that challenge the Mesorah (not getting into the merit of those specific items), and therefore it's not just a conspiracy theory.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, people who question the Mesorah are smarter than that. They usually say that the Mesorah is C"V simply a myth, no different than Zeus or Quetzalcoatl. Would questioning mythology be a conspiracy theory?
      I myslef see a clear distinction between the Mesorah and mythology (In fact, I think that even within Judaism itself, there are parts that are less historical, due to us not having a clear, undisputed Mesorah about them. Such as the Zohar, which even if authentic, was supposedly transmitted "in secret".) But I can also see how outsiders could make this mistake, equating the Mesorah and mythology. Not a conspiracy theory.

      Delete
  24. https://the-quash.captivate.fm/episode/stop-bowing-to-the-covid-liturgy-ah

    Covid-19 is the scam of the century

    ReplyDelete
  25. There is actually a lot of evidence that the Egyptians did not built the pyramids.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok, then who did? And why did history come to believe that they did, if they didn't?

      Delete
  26. Trump tweeted today: "VOTER FRAUD IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY, IT IS A FACT!!!"

    I can agree with that!

    ReplyDelete

Comments for this blog are moderated. Please see this post about the comments policy for details. ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED - please use either your real name or a pseudonym.

Shaken By The Lulav

There are many aspects of Judaism which make people feel uncomfortable. The mitzvah of arba minim sometimes falls into that category. Shak...