Conspiracies

Conspiracies happen. But when they start involving more and more people the complexity and secrecy required skyrockets, quickly overwhelming the agency involved. Humans have a bad track record for keeping secrets, especially big ones over a long period of time.

Consider that President Clinton couldn’t keep his sexual conduct private; We’ve done a miserable job of keeping relatively limited programs quiet and there’s always someone wanting to blow the whistle. Not that it would be impossible, but the difficulty of covering something up increases exponentially as the complexity increases.

Why believe in a conspiracy? Because of media distrust? That’s not much of a reason. Media people all want to reveal the next big story. Is it just popular to put the word “experts” in quotes? And why is the source of conspiracy material more accurate than others? It should require the same evidence as any other proposed theory.

If a conspiracy theory relies on large numbers of cooperating agents from a broad swath of disciplines, be leery. Don’t succumb to the conspiracy vortex, an almost mob mentality that takes on a life of its own. It becomes devoid of reason or logic and almost always relies on logical fallacies and emotional appeals.

Watch Michael Shermer explain 10 questions to ask when faced with a conspiracy or pseudoscience.

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