Why You Shouldn’t Believe Conspiracy Theories

May 6th, 2010

When I was younger I dabbled in conspiracy theories.  I wrote a column for a now-defunct music magazine where I came up with Stream of Consciousness Conspiracy Theories (TM).

Man, was that fun.

Some of my theories included:

  • Mechanics are a communist plot to bankrupt hard-working americans by chanrging a ton of money for fixing your car thus causing people to rise up in  revolution
  • Bugs Bunny is responsible for framing OJ Simpson.
  • Stevie Ray Vaughn faked his own death and is now living in Alaska.
  • Kurt Cobain was an alien (never published due to his untimely death)

I did it for entertainment purposes only. I thought it was hilarious.   Of course, that is until I got letters from people claiming to have “spotted ” Stevie Ray Vaughn. Then, I knew it.  You’ve gotta be nuts to believe some of this stuff.

But it persists.

And frankly, I am surprised how willing a lot of people are to buy into a conspiracy theory that makes absolutely no sense.
So, since it is my job to prevent you from believing crap, I will take on the whole conspiracy theory “thing.”

And I’ll put it simply:

Conspiracy theories are great for the movies (X-files, etc.), but they aren’t reality.

And to put it out there, here are a few things you should know about me:

  • I think Lee Harney Oswald killed Kennedy
  • I believe NASA landed on the moon
  • I think 9/11 was caused by al-Qaeda

And there are a lot more things I believe but that should give you my feelings on conspiracy theories.

And why don’t I believe them?

There are a few reasons:

1. Occam’s Razor

Occam’s razor says: The simplest conclusion is usually the right one.

So, if you need some guy to draw a big map on a chalkboard before you’re able to see the “truth”, then chances are the dude on the chalkboard is feeding you a load.

This is especially true when the alternative is a sentence long.
Hmm…thousands of people were involved in assassinating and covering up Kennedy’s assassination.

OR

The guy caught with the gun in his hand did it.

2. I don’t go around trying to prove what’s NOT true

A lot of conspiracy theories once debunked basically boil it down to: you can’t prove it’s NOT true!

No kidding.

No one could prove that Bugs Bunny didn’t frame OJ Simpson.

And to this day, no one could prove to me that mechanics were NOT part of a communist plot to overthrow the government.

And no one could prove to me that Stevie Ray Vaughn did NOT fake his own death.*

* Just to give an idea..if someone shows me Stevie’s body, I say it’s not his real body.  If someone does a DNA test, I say the lab was in on it or the results were swapped…see how easy that is?

You gotta theory, you should make claims people can prove or disprove.  If they’re disproven, move on.

If I tell you I’m an elf, you can’t prove it’s not true.  Even though saying I’m an elf makes me nuts.
3. I look at the evidence and THEN draw a conclusion

The one thing I notice about conspiracy theories is that they feed into someone’s already-established worldview.  You can go no further than holocaust deniers.  They look for “evidence” that the Holocaust didn’t happen because they don’t like Jews.  That’s why David Irving got his a@* kicked in court when he tried to sue someone for calling him a holocaust denier.  The judge basically said he ignored evidence that didn’t support his view.

If interested, read this legal butt-kicking.

Yep.  Most conspiracy theories work that way.

I’ve never seen one guy promoting some conspiracy theory that contradicted his world view.

Not a one…

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