Personally I have never had much time for conspiracy theories, seeing them as unrealistic, often paranoid and a substitute for real argument on the issues in question. And twice in recent issues on which we have posted, there have been allegations of conspiracies, even involving this blog: heaven forbid.
Nevertheless, I thought it might be fun to set out some tips to improve conspiracy theorists thinking:
- History generally works more on screw ups than conspiracies
- When you think that the other side are conspiring, have a look round: your own side might indeed be conspiring, and you are all simply projecting your own shenanigans onto the other side as we humans love to do. And yes we the other side are human too, mostly anyway.
- Try arguing the merits of the case first, and if you can’t actually come up with any decent arguments, or manage to refute the other sides’ I guess you have no choice, but to allege conspiracy by the other side
- Most people, especially academics, could not successfully organize a conspiracy to drink beer in a brewery (polite version of traditional English saying)
- Most real conspiracies don’t stay private for more than about ten minutes, but gossip about conspiracies has no factual guarantee attached.
- As a conspiracy theorist, you have some pretty awful companions like Hitler, and Stalin, who among other things blamed their scapegoats for their own massive incompetence, not to mention that they were totally morally bankrupt
- Conspiracy theories are particularly inviting for those who feel their very identity is at stake: maybe work a bit more on the robustness of who you are, instead of looking for a conspiracy that is undermining who you are.
- If you really think there is a conspiracy, go looking for contrary data that there in fact no conspiracy, just some folk with different views and interests i.e. try to disprove your own conspiracy theory
- Remember of course that just because you are in fact clinically paranoid, does not for one moment mean that no one is conspiring against you. And this blog posting may be part of the conspiracy to lull you into a sense of false security.
- And of course, sometimes you are right: there is a huge conspiracy, though typically it is run with big bucks, by professional lobbyists on behalf of people with billions and special interests to protect. Prima facie it is, for example, more likely that if there is a conspiracy on climate science, it is by oil companies and not by poorly resourced climate scientists.