The Religion of Conspiracy (*not my religion)

I have always had an inquiring mind. That is a curse instead of a plus if your main goal in life is to be happy and unbothered by anything. But it has proved to be of benefit to me as I have become an old coot who actually cares about what is true. Yes, I am willing to personally suffer to bring to light that which is actually true and that which must be disbelieved before it truly hurts us.

Don’t judge me yet based on this next question;

“Did you know that the Democratic party is funded by billionaires who want to use the “Deep State” to promote their Satanic rituals involving the murder and cannibalistic consumption of human children?”

I hope you know that I would never promote such a thing as being true. I am even careful of posting this pernicious lie in a question rather than a statement, because that’s one of the tactics the malign promoters of this religious belief use, not actually stating something that will be contradicted immediately, but taken merely as something to be considered and discussed simply because it is offered in question form.

So, how do you tackle such dangerous nonsense?

I prefer the scientific method which provides the structure for your thinking that will keep you on the most likely paths that lead you to what is true and what is not.

  1. Facts should be confirmed by multiple verifiable sources.

We don’t talk much about cold fusion nowadays because when it was discovered in 1989 by a pair of electrochemists whose single experiment produced more heat than what should result from the energy put into the tabletop experiment, it quickly blossomed into the huge, major breakthrough story that it really would’ve been if only it had been verified. But, as is required by the entire scientific community, it couldn’t be reproduced in more repeats of the experiment than those that turned out negative. So, even though Pons and Fleischman did an experiment that answered the dreams of science-fiction nerds like me, they are mostly ignored by now. Cold fusion? Only one flawed source, studied in 1989 and proved still basically untrue in 2004 by a multitude of scientists who wanted it to be true.

Consider the source for Q-Anon conspiracies. One (or possibly more) anonymous government whistle-blowers whose credentials have never been presented or identities revealed, and mind-blowing statements appearing on places like 4-Chan, 8-Chan, and Parlor to be picked up and amplified on such reliable sources of scientifically proven knowledge as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I hope you understand sarcasm after making that last statement.

Q-Anon is not the only conspiracy religion out there. My friend Giorgi (above) has a more benign, but no less ridiculous religion that chooses to replace God Jehovah, Zeus, Odin, Buddha, and other religious figures and deities with Ancient Aliens.

Here’s a second and third test offered by Carl Sagan to use against their ideas;

2. Encourage debate from knowledgeable people from all identifiable perspectives.

3. Do not accept arguments only from positions of authority.

Q-Anon arguments only have the authority of repetition because social media endlessly asks the same “questions” over and over. There is no debate from any recognizable “authority,” just a plethora of unsubstantiated statements and commandments.

In a way, the Ancient-Aliens crowd is guilty of the same thing. They never have skeptics and debunkers on their History-Channel show. You never see Michael Shermer, founder of the Skeptics Society, offering his opinions of their conclusions on that show. Neither do they allow Christian theologians or Buddhist scholars to offer their take on what probably really happened. They do employ physicists, engineers, and historians on their show, but never the ones that don’t agree with their radical theories and conclusions. Since there is no real debate on that show and no identifiable peer review, that show does not qualify as History, let alone Science.

4. Don’t get overly attached to your own ideas.

If you are going to investigate any conspiracy that holds thrall a number of “true believers,” approach everything with a truly open mind. I actually believe alien beings from “out there” have visited Earth. That is based on things, science, and testimony I haven’t even begun to go into here. But I reserve my right to be skeptical about everything, especially my own prejudices, theories, and beliefs. Otherwise I could too easily get trapped into believing in the truth of something that I otherwise would recognize as false. This is the factor that has pulled so many of my otherwise sensible Republican friends onto the flypaper of spurious Q-Anon claims.

5. Use numbers wherever possible. Math is quantifiable information that can “prove” the facts better than most ideas expressed in mere language. It is more precise, and reveals truth in verifiable ways that no poet ever could.

I am known to some in my family (here you could read wife and sisters) as the family conspiracy nut and generally crazy old coot.

But I am not so crazy that I don’t recognize the dangers inherent in some the ideas I am talking about here. As an English teacher I have learned some effective thinking skills that protect me and mine. I can honestly tell you that these thinking skills explained here will help you too. I learned them from a friend who pointed me to Carl Sagan as the source of these thinking skills.

And to any of my friends who might read this post and be offended, I apologize. But you were wrong about Pizzagate, and you are on the wrong side of this too. Aliens probably did NOT build the pyramids. But logic IS the primary structure of this essay.

7 Comments

Filed under aliens, conspiracy theory, humor, insight, Liberal ideas, religion, strange and wonderful ideas about life, tinfoil hats

7 responses to “The Religion of Conspiracy (*not my religion)

  1. I updated and improved this old post for today in response to politics this week. After all, it seems that politics has become a matter of choosing the lies you can live with.

  2. Carl Sagan is my hero of heroes right now.

    Anything can turn into a cult and religion seems cooked into the human psyche. I honestly think there are a large number of people looking to believe in something. Turn that brain off and let others do the thinking for you. The internet makes it easy to never have to communicate with people who disagree.

    The Devil’s advocate is NEVER welcome because that would require unwanted thought in the members and a present challenge to the leaders. The group excludes you from the true believers (true belief being how one gains acceptance and status) and you become “persona non grata.”

    A survey I saw once indicated that a majority of people have at one time or another taken up ideas they didn’t really believe in in order to better belong to a group. I can’t speak as to the accuracy of the survey but it agrees with what I have seen. Social acceptance is the only power a group wields and the need to belong gives it that power.

    Now, the religious right is clearly on its way out. Those people can read the writing on the wall. A wounded animal is the most dangerous. Corner it and it will lash out in ways a safe and comfortable animal would not.

    Don’t think there aren’t cults in the secular left. With the decline of the liberal left they are neither wounded nor cornered. For the moment you don’t see the same desperation.

    • Yes, I think we should all really go with tested, proven facts instead of what the cult leader or the opinion leader on Twitter has to say. I wish more people listened to Sagan’s advice and started caring about what is provable and what is opinion, especially spurious opinion.

  3. Mickey, terrific post and suggestions, my friend. A guy from NC went to jail for four years for showing up armed at DC pizza parlor because a conspiracy site said Hillary Clinton was running a child pornography ring from the back of the parlor. Recognizing she has imperfections, but a child pornography ring? Really? Then, of course, Alex Jones lost his court case when he defamed the families of the Sandy Hook massacre saying it was a false flag operation and untrue. Speaking of false flags, Tucker Carlson is saying the January 6 insurrection was one as well. I guess we should forget what we saw and heard and the testimony of officers and just believe Mr. Carlson. Keith

    • Tucker is the anti-Sagan. He verifies nothing and refers only to his own authority.

      • Mickey, we have discussed before that even Carlson’s employer threw him under the bus in court. At a defamation lawsuit on Fox News and Tucker Carlson, Fox’ leadership testified under oath that Carlson’s opinions should not be viewed as news as he is not a news person. Keith

      • He is not a person to listen to for any reason that I can see. I sometimes change the T in his name to an F when naming him to people who agree with me and won’t shoot me for it.

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