For conspiracy theorists, truth is less about fact and more about what they want to believe.
I believe that extra terrestrials probably exist. I just don't believe any of them have ever been here. I believe that 9/11 was an inside job — inside Al Quaeda, that is. I believe the global warming hoax is... well... a hoax. I believe J.F.K. was assassinated by an American — just not one working for the CIA. I believe NASA's moon landings were faked for the HBO specials in 2001, but not in 1969. I believe that the world will end in 2012 for somebody, but the rest of us will be fine. Conspiracy Theories are utter nonsense, and I am about to demonstrate why.
Why People believe in nonsenseWhich do you think is easier to believe? The truth or a lie? I put it to you, dear reader, that the human mind is better able to cope with lies than truths. Why? Because lies by their very nature are evolutionarily more sustainable than truth. If it were not for lies, then the entirety of human existence would have imploded in one violent burst of manic desperation as we ran around like animals killing each other like the barbarians we used to be over 3,000 years ago.
Lies facilitate cognitive evolution, and I'll prove it:
Everyday Lies we believe
It is easier to believe that your husband loves you and only you than to believe that your husband married you because you're the best he could do as far as women are concerned. It is easier to believe that size doesn't matter, than to believe that women do get more pleasure from a bigger penis (and would gladly have sex with your best friend if given the opportunity).
It is easier to believe that all men are created equal than to believe that some races of men are superior to others. It is easier to believe that men actually think that women deserve to be treated as economic equals than to believe that men don't like the idea that a woman should still be paid for going on maternity leave. It is easier to believe that god exists, than to believe that our lives are the result of a cosmic fluke that has no intrinsic value whatsoever.
It is easier to believe that every time you hear about someone being killed that they provoked the killer, than to believe that the killer just enjoys killing. It is easier (for women) to believe that Rihanna caused Chris Brown to beat her to a pulp, than to believe that Chris Brown is just an a**hole. It is easier to believe that world peace is possible, than to believe that only the country with the bigger gun gets to rule the world. I could go on, but you get the idea.
We believe in lies not because we think they are true, but rather because they make life less of the bitch that it really is. Without any of the lies I mentioned earlier, we would never have a United Nations. We would have ended our civilization with a nuclear war 40 years ago. Black people would still be slaves. Women would still be second class citizens. The institution of marriage would have never survived this long. We would never have a Geneva Convention, a World Bank, or even Democracy. Lies are a fundamental component of the human condition.
In fact, ask any diplomat and they will tell you that the subtle art of diplomacy is learning how to say "nice doggie" until you can find a rock. Diplomacy is the science of learning how to gently pull your hand out of the lion's mouth until you can reach your shot gun. Every form of politics is predicated upon making promises to the stupid people just so that they can win an election.
So as you can see, without lies, we would never have learned to say things like "it's all going to be OK", knowing perfectly well that the target of such a phrase has no chance in hell of making it. The very act of pacification and the concept of euphemism is based on lying. We lie because we have fragile sensibilities. We lie because the human mind is most times devoid of the ability to process the truth. Sometimes however, we get so good at lying to ourselves (and have done it for so long) that we tend to forget where the lie ends and the truth begins.
—or if there was any truth to it at all. Enter:
The Conspiracy Theory
Now that you see the evolutionary necessity of lying (especially to ourselves), several things should automatically fall in place. Lies shield the human mind from the cold, brutal, harshness of the truth. That's part of the reason why religion thrives, providing subscribers with the beliefs and rituals that bring them peace of mind. It's really just a far safer way to get drunk.
Consequently, you may think that conspiracy theories are a recent phenomenon. I assure you, they're not. Conspiracy theories have been with us since the dawn of human intelligence. Ancient men used to blame natural events on the whims of gods who had strikingly human like propensities. They believed that whenever volcanoes erupted, earthquakes shook or storms struck, that the gods were in a consortium of immortals perniciously conspiring against man.
We humanised these powerful forces of nature to make them appeasable and reasonable. We did this to give ourselves the hope that if we prayed hard enough, or sacrificed enough, then the gods would be appeased and withdraw their wrath. It is because we believed that these supernatural beings existed why we could haplessly believe they would conspire against us.
Homer's Iliad is rife with such stories of Gods versus men. So is the Roman pantheon, Hindu's Bagharvad-Gita, Judaism's Torah and Christianity's Bible. In fact, the Bible has one particular story that tells of how God and Satan played with the fate of a man just to see who was more influential. The man in question was subject to both great fortune and grave misfortune. So you see, we have actually been believing in conspiracy theories for several thousand years.
Wrapping things that frighten us in a cloak that can be easily managed makes it easier for us to deal with the horrors of our reality. We have done this so often and for so long that it is now an automatic process that is subconsciously ignored by most people. In fact, it is not inexplicable to find a man of science today who would readily dismiss the Greek Gods as ancient hocus pocus, but still believes in an identical level of hocus pocus in Christian dogma.
To this day, we still believe in Karmic justice. Some of us still believe that what goes around, comes around. We still believe that God is going to punish us for something bad we did. Some of us still literally knock on wood so as not to "jinx" a hope we say out loud. We still say things like "they will get what's coming to them" to assure ourselves that there is justice in the world.
The primary reason why conspiracy theories survive is because they appeal to our fear. Fear is the most primal and most powerful survival tool. Without fear, humanity would probably have gone extinct a long time ago. We would have walked into the dens of dangerous animals and eaten poisonous food if we weren't instinctively more inclined to respond to fear more readily than any other emotion. Thus conspiracy theories are nothing more than a manifestation of our evolutionary fear factor that is now an anachronistic remnant of our more primitive selves.
Apropos, if you have ever examined the nature of any of the more recent conspiracy theories, you will find that most of them are based on the same delusional, unprovable conjectures that are designed to pacify their fear of the unknown by replacing it with a fear that is known. It is easier to process a fear that is manageable (the Government did it) than a fear that is not (terrorists did it). That is why we can split most conspiracy theories into 3 broad categories:
Type 1: Appeal to Fear Theories
These are designed to invoke fear and distrust. They serve no other purpose other than to play upon fears that may either be born of inherent prejudice or genuine fear to provoke a desired response. They are usually based on observations that are now obsolete. These types of theories are particularly dangerous because they can incite mass hysteria and panic.
Type 2: Fear Management Theories
These are conspiracy theories that are designed to reduce the severity of a (usually) tragic event by making it out to be something more deliberate, accidental, diabolical and thus familiar instead of being one that is more random, spontaneous, unpredictable, inexplicable and thus, more frightening. Fear management theories always seek to blame an identifiable, familiar, usually powerful organisation that relies on secrecy. This can range anywhere from the Free Masons to the US Government and may even include older organisations that no longer exist.
Type 3: Appeal to Ignorance Theories
These are designed to exploit what is generally unknown by the wider public about something that requires a very deep investment of technical knowledge. They are usually concocted about ideas and events that are heavily based on technology or science. Appeal to ignorance theories are really fear management theories that empower their target by filling the void of their ignorance with faux knowledge that would conveniently pander to their pre-existing bias.
Appeal to Ignorance theories are usually purported by non-technical individuals who have no training or experience in the field, but can be compelling in the way they present their fallacious arguments. Because they usually sound like they know what they're talking about, most of the proponents of appeal to ignorance conspiracy theories are often taken seriously.
A Few Examples
Over the next three pages, I will highlight some of the more popular conspiracy theories that you have probably heard of. A suitable break down of the circumstances surrounding them is also included, along with descriptions of how the theory was likely concocted, followed by reasonable explanations that would have (in other circumstances) sufficiently debunked them:
9/11 was an inside jobType: Fear Management
You've seen the websites. You've heard the wild speculations. You've seen the enhanced photos. You're very familiar with this one. The psychological trauma of 9/11 was so profound, that it left the greatest country in the world in utter bewilderment as to how a bunch of delusional Muslims who could barely fly a plane could have done this much damage and killed this many. It's like being the biggest kid in school who got his ass kicked by a scrawny nerd.
It is no small wonder then that people, still unable to manage their grief and disbelief, started to push their pareidolia into overdrive, and literally saw things in the dust and debris that would make sense of it all. First, unable to deal with the horrific deaths of the passenger jet, they speculated that the plane that hit the building had no windows and so it was a cargo plane, not a passenger plane. Then when that wasn't enough, they speculated that the building was rigged to implode. Then finally, they speculated that George Bush planned it all.
Every 9/11 conspiracy theory was designed to reduce the culpability of what appear to be hapless terrorists who got lucky. America is a nation that knows very little of anything outside of its own boundaries. Therefore while it always knew Muslims were inside its borders, it didn't know anything about their religion until radicals blew up one their most treasured landmarks. So how exactly does American hubris respond to this sort of tragedy? With even more hubris.
American hubris is so profound that some of its people would rather believe that their own government orchestrated the deadliest terrorist attack on foreign soil in modern history than to believe the obvious; that 19 half witted, hapless terrorists brought the greatest nation on earth to its knees. This conspiracy theory is all about fear management. America can't come to grips with the idea that an enemy exists that doesn't fear death. So it invented one that does.
You can see a comprehensive debunking of the theories here.
The world will end in December 2012Type: Appeal to Fear
If an ancient civilization that demonstrated an uncanny level of intellect ran out of stone in their epic calendar making exercise, which theory do you think is more likely to take traction among modern observers: that they ran out of stone or that the world will end on the last date of the stone they used? The latter of course. It appeals to our evolutionary need to respect our fear. In fact, we fear the end of the world more than we fear our very own death.
Debunking the theory
Despite the fact that the Mayans never made any explicit declarations in any of their writings that the world will end on December 12, 2012 (which is more of a mathematical fluke than it is a prediction), we already have a big budget Hollywood blockbuster and enough mass hysteria surrounding the subject to actually cause the world to end on that exact date. If you think this will actually happen, then I invite you to recall similar end of world dates from the recent past:
- November 11, 2011 A.D. — Remember the 11.11.11 date where something special was supposed to happen? Heck I didn't even notice this one until after the fact. I'm surprised a Mayan apocalypse wasn't predicted for December 12, 2012 (12.12.12). These mathematical flukes are nothing new. It shows just how caught up we are with the nonsense of numerology.
- January 1, 2000 A.D. — remember the Y2K glitch where computers all over the world which were wired for two digit years were supposed to fail simultaneously, with planes falling out of the sky and nuclear bombs going off spontaneously? Well... that didn't happen.
- September 9, 1999 — What can I say? We have an unhealthy obsession with numbers. We instinctively think numbers are significant because we rely so heavily on mathematics for everyday use. So when a lot of the same number shows up on a date, we tend to freak out. The same thing happened on:
- January 1, 1000 A.D — There was a great war, but the world did not end. Can you see a trend here? I have a feeling the exact same thing is going to happen on January 1, 3000 A.D. Even then, after we have conquered space and time travel, we will still freak out about round numbered dates.
Not even with an extinction level meteor strike.
I can say with certainty though that the world will end for some people on December 12, 2012. I can say this with confidence because the date is not unlike any other date where people die. Their world will come to an end not because of that date, but simply because it is a matter of coincidence. If you picked any arbitrary date on the calendar, I'm sure you will find that someone had died on that date. However, December 12, 2012 will also be someone's birthday!
The Government is hiding AliensType: Fear Management
|Ralph Ring talks about how men built flying saucers — plus the chick on the right is cute.|
Even though mankind is capable of some truly breath taking inventions, there are those among us who still believe that aliens crash landed here in Roswell New Mexico and that from that wreckage, we pulled technology that gave us lasers, transistors and integrated circuits. Our lack of faith in humanity is one thing, but to say that aliens were responsible for recent advancements in technology is the identical to thanking god for helping you to pass an exam.
But to think that the government is hiding knowledge about aliens on this planet is stupid for a number of reasons. Firstly, if there's an alien civilization out there advanced enough to build a vessel that can traverse the vastness of space / time, they would not be playing hide and seek with the denizens of a backwater planet. They'd make a go of it and take over the world.
...in about 5 minutes.
Secondly, the US government has been building advanced war machines for decades. The stealth bomber was a top secret craft for a long time and because of its peculiar shape, has been mistaken for a UFO on multiple occasions. The reason why these vessels are top secret is because a country as powerful as the United States has a lot of smart enemies. If their enemies got wind of their technology, they could usurp their global supremacy. Suspecting the US government of hiding aliens only provides a free smoke screen to aid them in this secrecy.
Thirdly, and most importantly, an unidentified flying object does not automatically mean that it is of extraterrestrial origin. In fact, I do not believe any extra terrestrial vessels have ever been to this planet for all the same reasons why Christopher Columbus didn't come to the Caribbean without making a history changing impact. There is a great deal of evidence to suggest that every flying saucer that has ever been spotted is nothing more than a new type of omni-directional craft that can rapidly change vectors based on research by Nikola Tesla.
In other words, all flying saucers that have ever been spotted (and I do believe they have been spotted) were made right here on this planet by humans. I believe that just like the SR-71 Blackbird, the first ultra sonic military craft, the many UFO sightings that have been spotted were nothing more than newer more advanced experimental machines that do not use chemical based propulsion. The physics of flying saucers has been successfully replicated in a lab. Therefore it's not inexplicable that we are dealing with machines made by humans.
This conspiracy theory is clearly a fear management psychological phenomenon. Our fear of the unknown (aliens) is so debilitating that we have replaced it with a fear that is more temporal (the government). Despite the obviously ludicrous nature of the fear (how could an earthly government negotiate with a species from clear across the galaxy?), it helps conspiracy theorists in this school of thought humanize their fear in the same way we humanize gods.
HAARP is a Weather/Earthquake WeaponType: Appeal to Ignorance
|This Antennae Array is being blamed for things that have always occurred naturally.|
It is precisely because of this function why HAARP is being accused by conspiracy theorists of everything from controlling the weather to causing earthquakes at targeted locations around the world. I find that most of the people talking about what HAARP is capable of neither work there, nor understand the subtleties of electromagnetic radiation. Yet somehow, they are now experts on the dangers of a technology they barely understand. Wait, that sounds familiar.
Do you remember when Microwave ovens were first commercialized? The very same kinds of conspiracy theories existed. Microwave conspiracy theorists came up with a full spectrum of the same kind of nonsense spanning the range of everything from them causing cancer to them killing birds mid flight. Whenever people barely understand new technology, their first, most instinctive reaction is to suspect it of being more dangerous than it actually is. Remember that Teflon / Cancer scare? Yeah. We have a sordid history of propagating such nonsense.
All HAARP conspiracy theories fall squarely in this boat. Therefore everyone who has ever had anything negative to say about this project has either never worked there or has no idea how electromagnetic frequencies work. So as soon as someone speculated that the HAARP frequencies could be potentially dangerous (and note I said "speculated", not "demonstrated"), the ample imaginations of conspiracy theorists immediately went to work filling in the blanks that never existed in the first place. Rampant speculation in a void best appeals to ignorance.
Debunking the theory
Arguments about HAARP literally operating off the grid are usually based on the fact that it is not regulated by the FCC, which has enough on its plate trying to ensure that the hundreds of radio stations in the US stay within their designated frequency ranges. Well if you think about it, the FDA doesn't regulate food and drugs used in the military. The NTSB doesn't regulate military aircraft, Tanks and Humvees. The municipal court doesn't conduct court martials. I think it's safe to say that the Military is autonomously regulated — perhaps for good reasons.
Therefore every argument based on HAARP's non-regulation by FCC is not only silly, but is a clear attempt at grasping at straws — and you know when people grasp at straws right? When they know they are talking nonsense. HAARP's use of these military grade radio frequencies is precisely why it is located in the Alaskan wilderness (and not in the middle of a metropolitan hub). The cross talk from its activity would put out every radio and television signal for hundreds of miles. That would also explain why it's inaccessible to the wider public.
That includes you, Jesse Ventura (you moron). I'm pretty sure that a facility that can generate up to 3.6 million watts of microwave energy is extremely dangerous to just walk around in. You can't just allow people too stupid to know dangerous equipment when they see it to just waltz onto the property. I'm sure the military would not like to be accepting liability for inadvertently baking trespassers to a crisp, toasty blotch of irradiated exploding human kibble.
As for HAARP controlling the weather, you do realize that because they are radio antennae, the EM signals are omnidirectional (going everywhere at once) and so cannot be directed at a target beyond the circumference of the earth. Yes, we know that heating the ionosphere can cause weather distortions — directly over the facility (with possible fallout within a few hundred miles). However, it can't radically change the weather in Muslim dominant Indonesia.
...nor create the Tsunami in 2004. That's just wishful thinking.
That brings us to the topic of HAARP and earthquakes — a strange correlation of ideas, if I might add. If you have any idea of how radio antennae actually work, then you will know that the idea of a base in Alaska causing an Earthquake in China is complete nonsense. The idea is that HAARP uses targeted blasts of EM waves to the ionosphere, thereby affecting the ground water under certain locations, thereby causing massive earthquakes. There are several reasons why this theory (even on the surface of it) is totally ludicrous, if not downright stupid.
Even if HAARP scientists were able to bend a microwave signal of 3.6 million watts powerful enough to dramatically raise the ground water pressure under a continent to the other side of the planet, how do you explain the fact that the country that was targeted didn't have any incidences of radiation induced combustion on the earth's surface? Wouldn't it kill someone?
You do realize that microwaves don't selectively heat water based compounds, right? So if it heated the ground water under China, naturally it would have passed through the dozens of villages on the surface. It should have killed a few thousand people like exploding pop tarts in a microwave — and yet, there are no such reports coming out of China (or anywhere else).
Also, why would the US government target the ground water to cause an earthquake, when there is far more magma sitting under the earth's crust that can cause such a quake than there is ground water? Wouldn't it make sense for HAARP to target the magma deep underground instead? Oh right, magma is liquid rock, not liquid air. HARRP's microwaves wouldn't move it like water. Thus to pacify their fears of nature's unpredictability, conspiracy theorists manage their fear by investing it in suspect, but rational men, thereby reducing it.
You cowardly fools.
Did you know that Szechuan province in China has a long history of devastating earthquakes, dating back to the times of antiquity? The strike/slip faults that criss cross Szechuan province and the under sea subduction faults that gives the Indian ocean its massive earthquakes have been there long before mankind appeared on this planet. Perhaps it is most important to note that the HAARP project was only built in 1993 while earthquakes have been here forever.
Yeah, you can feel stupid now.
Oh by the way, those dazzling rainbow clouds that you think predict the occurrence of an earthquake are not side effects of a HAARP attack. They're actually called Circumhorizontal Arcs and they are a natural phenomenon that occurs all over the world (even in places that do not have a history of earthquakes). Ergo, I think that safely rules out HAARP and earthquakes.
All the other cloud formations that you would like to blame on HAARP (like the circular space, and other distortions in a cloud cover) are really the result of supersonic jets whose engines condense the air particles dramatically at the moment they engage their afterburners. Everything else is a natural phenomenon that has been documented for ages. So there. Nyah.
Obama is a Muslim / Socialist / Kenyan citizenType: Appeal to Fear
The American Public (specifically denizens of the American south) are notoriously xenophobic. Anyone who isn't a conspicuously white, Christian capitalist who enters the public eye is immediately a source of suspicion among what's largely a southern white majority. Therefore it is not altogether inexplicable that when a black man with a Hebrew name finally took the reins of the most powerful nation on earth, conspiracy theorists went totally nuts about his origin.
Perhaps the most fascinating conspiracy theory surrounds Obama's birth certificate and his true citizenry. Despite producing both forms of his birth certificate, it didn't pacify the (possibly racist) throng demanding more proof. As the conspiracy theory goes, Obama was born in Kenya and smuggled into the United States via Hawaii making him ineligible to be president.
Debunking the theory
While one could argue that the non-Anglicized name of the first black president is what triggered this xenophobia, you have to wonder why similar sentiments were not expressed of former US presidents who also had non-Anglicized names. This includes men like Martin van Buuren (a Dutch name) and Dwight D. Eisenhower (from Eisenhaur a German name meaning "iron worker"). Despite the fact that America appears to have strong leanings towards Israel, the fact that "Barack Obama" is a name of Hebrew origin means nothing to conspiracy theorists.
Not only does this expose the hypocrisy of America's supposed Jewish affinity, but it certifies the very likely possibility that what obtains for a name of Middle Eastern origin, does not obtain for a name of European origin. One would think that a German name like Eisenhower would trigger post World War II anti-Nazi uproar. However, because Obama's middle name Hussein is very common among the Muslim community, the post 9/11 America, still fresh off its recent terrorist debacle, made sweeping, unsupported claims that Obama is really a Muslim.
Despite the fact that Obama has repeatedly clarified that he is in fact Christian, that didn't sate conspiracy theorists. In fact, prior to his election, they spent a great deal of time with a brutal smear campaign about his affiliation to former incendiary Christian pastor Jeremiah Wright's declaration of "God damn America". So not only do most Obama conspiracy theorists suspect that Obama isn't actually American, they also suspect that he isn't actually Christian.
The claim that Obama is a socialist plays upon America's fears of its former Soviet Socialist enemies of the cold war. Socialism isn't in and of itself a bad thing. Many European countries have used socialism to their advantage. However, the association of the word "socialist" to "communist" and communist to "Nazi" has been so deeply ingrained in American history that like the word "gay", socialism has come to mean something more closely related to the word "enemy" than "system of fiscal governance". Obama Conspiracy theorists rely on this misnomer.
Anyone who knows what socialism is will be more than willing to clarify that Obama's policies are not even remotely socialist. The argument is typically levelled at the Affordable Health Care Act (affectionately dubbed "Obamacare") that seeks to provide health care for American citizens who can't afford health insurance. It is also levelled at Obama's attempt to bail out Wall Street and its failing car companies, while implementing reform to ensure that wealthy Americans don't pay less tax than poorer Americans. How could that be considered socialism?
This conspiracy theory is a classic appeal to fear type, that seeks to transform elements of xenophobia and racism to one that is cleverly disguised to erode support of a US President that just happens to be black. Appeal to fear is a well known logical fallacy. It is based on the fallacious idea that if an argument can incite fear, it is therefore valid. Most of religion is based on this idea: that fear (of eternal damnation) is thus a valid reason to serve an invisible, god.
Similarly, the conspiracy theories surrounding Barack Obama appeal to the American fear of Islam, Muslim extremists and pre-existing fears of black people that are deeply rooted in institutionalized racism that has been apart of American culture since the old days of slavery. Barack Obama's rise to power is perhaps the best example of poetic justice: a descendant of slaves who built the White House hundreds of years earlier, now living in the White House. He is the embodiment of how a European culture of white supremacy has finally evolved full circle. It's just that some white Americans can't handle that; hence this ridiculous conspiracy theory.
The JFK Assassination had multiple shootersType: Fear Management
|Despite evidence to the contrary, many still believe there was a second shooter.|
Debunking the theory
There's no question that there were three shots. Oswald was a trained marksman. What most people failed to understand was that the first shot was never captured on any camera recording. It occurred just after JFK's caravan turned the corner at the library. Eye witness accounts can back this up. The second and third shots are what were captured on 8mm. The third fatal shot entered JFK's skull at such an angle that it caused his head to kickback, giving the impression that it was coming from the opposite direction. There was no second shooter.
Naturally, this one just won't go away because JFK was one of the most beloved American presidents of all time. Many in the black community shed tears for this president as he was the forerunner of the Civil Rights act that outlawed racial segregation in America. He was also dearly loved by many Catholic Americans and even younger Americans who at the time were inspired by his youth. The tragedy of Kennedy's loss is one that is severe enough to inspire conspiracy theories precisely because of the vile, unbelievable savagery of his assassination:
His skull was blown wide open in a public scene — in broad daylight.
Like many other theories in this category, people who uphold the conspiracy theory never go through every stage of the grieving process and are either stuck at the first or the third of the five stage process. They are either in a perpetual state of denial (theorizing that JFK was still alive, but disabled until his actual death in the mid 1980s) or become stuck at the bargaining stage (which is where the conspiracy theories about a second shooter tend to be developed). The theories serve to replace the savagery of the assassination with one that was calculated.
A similar conspiracy theory is:
Flight TWA 800 was brought down by a missileType: Fear Management
|The reconstructed wreckage of Flight TWA 800|
This is the type of airline disaster no one wants to hear about. Any time a passenger jet crashes (or explodes mid flight), people like to know that there was a logical explanation — a culpable failure that can be sufficiently blamed for the disaster. They would like one of the three usual suspects to be involved: 1. Pilot Error (ruled out since it blew up mid flight) 2. Mechanical Failure (ruled out since the flight data recorder only showed weird fuel tank readings) and 3. Terrorist Attack (ruled out since there was no evidence of a bomb on board).
Further investigation revealed that the best possible explanation for the center fuel tank explosion was a spark from wiring inside the tank. As the official report goes, an electrical short likely overloaded the wiring in the center fuel tank that would determine how much fuel was left in the plane. This would corroborate why the captain was recorded on the cockpit data voice recorder declaring the weird fuel readout he saw just before the plane exploded.
But this didn't satisfy grieving family members and observers.
That's when eye witness testimony started to flood in regarding the fireball from the TWA flight crashing into the ocean. Just before the plane exploded, eye witnesses claim that a second vapour trail was seen rising up from the ocean to meet the craft mid flight. The second vapour trail was attributed to a missile launch, possibly from a nearby sub or US navy warship. Even though investigators ruled out this possibility since no missile debris was found among the wreckage, the conspiracy theory arose that the FBI was protecting the military's gaffe.
Just like the theorists who couldn't let go of the death of a favourite US president, conspiracy theorists couldn't let go of the likelihood that the US military accidentally brought down TWA Flight 800. As the theory goes, the navy was conducting war games in that vicinity. This was verified by investigators. Theorists assert that a navy vessel fired a missile at the precise moment TWA's 747 was climbing above the vessel's location. Upon realizing that a commercial jet was in the vicinity, the military frantically neutralized the missile before it could hit the jet.
However they were too late. As the theory goes, the missile detonated much too close to the craft, setting off the explosion in the center fuel tank, severing the plane in two, ultimately killing everyone on board. Theorists assert that the FBI covered up the investigation to protect the military (or was directly ordered by President Clinton—depending on the theory version).
Debunking the theory
The military was conducting training exercises in the vicinity of the TWA craft. However, none of the vessels in the vicinity carried missile launch capability. There was no missile debris found among the TWA wreckage. There was no bomb debris found among the wreckage. They did however find traces of chemicals used in explosives (like missiles and bombs) among the wreckage. This was attributed to bomb sniffing dogs who perused the craft prior to loading.
The electrical spark theory was tested with similar fuel tanks—they exploded in exactly the same way as the explosion that destroyed TWA Flight 800. The violence of those test explosions was unprecedented. Even so, no other 747 before or since has ever exploded like TWA Flight 800. This means that either the anomaly has an extremely rare probability of recurring, or something else, something that hasn't yet been considered, destroyed that craft.
Either way, the second vapour trail that eye witnesses saw was likely the second half of the plane (after the first explosion which no one would have seen) careening out of control as it climbed higher and higher before becoming obliterated in a second fireball that destroyed the rest of ill fated craft. The first explosion tore the cockpit from the body of the plane. The sound from that explosion would not have been heard until eye witnesses saw the 2nd explosion. It is for this very same reason why we often will see lightning flash before we can hear thunder.
That's because light (and therefore vision) travels faster than sound.
Physics explanation aside, this will not convince conspiracy theorists that the TWA Flight 800 tragedy was not an incidence of friendly fire from the military that the US government covered up. Despite the fact that the US government has regularly exposed incidents of friendly fire, one can never pacify the minds of people grieving at what appears to be an inexplicable loss. Some explanations defy human intelligence while others are so devilishly simple, that they lack the grandeur to fill the void left in the lives of the families who have suffered this tragic loss.
So long as their grief survives, this conspiracy theory will live on.
The Moon landings were fakedType: Appeal to Ignorance
Some conspiracy theories are just plain stupid. This numbers among the most stupid of them all. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, non-technical speculators have come up with a vast array of theories to posit that the moon landings never happened. Aside from the obvious fact that their non-technical status makes their wild speculations laughable at best, I do not think it is necessary to spend much time on this one. Instead, I shall happily point to you a far more comprehensive list of these theories being thoroughly debunked here.
Global Warming is a hoaxType: Appeal to Ignorance
|Christopher Monckton Debunked: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5|
|Christopher Monckton Debunked: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5|
|Christopher Monckton Debunked: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5|
|Christopher Monckton Debunked: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5|
|Christopher Monckton Debunked: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5|
Again, like the moon landing doubters, the global warming phenomenon is only contested by non-technical speculators who have drudged up fallacy after endless fallacy in an effort to go up against trained scientists who have spent decades studying this global phenomenon. Whether the trend is man made or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that there are greater incidences of more violent storms, hotter summers, melting glacial caps, longer hurricane seasons and considerably milder winters that we are ultimately worsening with our activity.
The conspiracy theory asserts that the global warming warning is a hoax designed to sway the public towards technologies and legislations that would suit the supporters of a particular political entity. The adage about arguing with fools applies here. The only point in debunking something that is as obvious as daylight is to silence its protagonists. In fact, the global warming conspiracy theory is proof that one fool makes many and Lord Christopher Monckton is possibly the lord of them all. That's why he is thoroughly debunked in the five videos above.
ConclusivelyThere are many more conspiracy theories out there — far too many to be covered by this post. Instead, I invite you to peruse the best of them and use your newly sharpened sceptical mind to debunk them yourselves. Some of them will be pretty obvious while others will require a little more detective work. Either way, always try to examine the motivation behind the theory.
Every conspiracy theory is a manifestation of human emotions that would be more useful when our world was notably less sophisticated. Consequently, you will find that conspiracy theorists are less interested in the truth and more interested in reinforcing their own fallacious ideas, whether they be born of emotional mismanagement or a vacuous, uneducated guess.
Please note that even in the face of proof, most conspiracy theorists will hold their ground. Why would they do something so illogical? Well that's precisely because it is not something logical at all. It's an emotional propensity that is called "Confirmation Bias". It is where we attach such emotional weight to a preconceived idea that we will only validate evidence that corroborates our preconceived ideas and immediately discard any other evidence that doesn't.
That's why Christians were so willing to believe that a natural land formation in the Turkish mountains validated the Noah's Ark fairytale. It is also why despite evidence to the contrary, conspiracy theorists prefer cover up theories over facts. Confirmation Bias traps one's mind in a bubble of obsessive speculation because the truth is either less pleasant or less satisfying. For conspiracy theorists, truth is less about fact and more about what they want to believe. Be gentle with their fragile minds. Some of them can't handle the sheer simplicity of the truth.
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