Conspiracy theories

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Credit: xkcd

The Earth is flat.

The holocaust didn’t actually happen.

Lee Harvey Oswald was just a scapegoat.

The first moon landing was actually faked.

Every moon landing was actually faked.

Apollo 13’s “problem” was planned.

9/11 was an inside job.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are part of a child trafficking pedophile secret group.

The Russians hacked the election to give the victory to Donald Trump.

There are many conspiracy theories in our society. Some of them are very well known, while some are definitely underground. You might even believe in a few of them.

Most conspiracy theories have been debunked over and over. But most conspiracy theories have one thing in common, and it’s the fact that a (probably large) group of people is doing their best to hide the truth, which means falsifiying evidence and creating fake testimonies. This means that for pretty much any sort of debunking, you can counter the proof with “but that’s what they want you to think!” or an equivalent. It kinda make sense if you believe that the government wants to hide something, that this same government would create proof that “something” is false, to help in keeping the secret.

But it also means that as soon as you start truly believing a conspiracy theory, there’s pretty much no way to convince you otherwise, except by literally showing you the event (or lack of) in person, which is usually pretty hard to do for stuff that happened years ago, especially if you believe that all footage could have been faked.

Credit: xkcd

I’ll be blunt. There are some conspiracy theories that are true. But neither of us can tell for sure which ones. I bet it’s a very small minority of them, and they are probably not exactly like the believers think, but with centuries of lies, wars, corruption, crimes, it would be extremely impressive if there was never a group of powerful people that decided to hide the truth from the masses for their personal gain.

But at the same time, every single conspiracy theory has, by itself, incredibly small odds of being true. I see it as a lottery kind of situation. Every single ticket is almost certainly not the winner, but there’s bound to be one of them that is.

Credit: xkcd

What’s the biggest reason that makes me believe that a single conspiracy being true is unlikely? The fact that I just can’t imagine the government being that efficient at doing anything. And covering up events with hundred of witnesses (plus thousands of weirdos trying to find holes in the following decades) is a hard task. As for private organisations of rich people, well they’d still need to get some underlings in the loop, to do the actual work, and kill the other underlings who tried to talk.

If the entire world except for a few people were trying to convince them of a lie, it would be pretty easy. But the other way around, having a few people trying to warp facts for the rest of the world, seems incredibly hard.

And then there’s the fact that I would expect random people on the internet to make up stuff to mess around, which would definitely help some conspiracy theories gather attention. “randomredditor283 is a direct witness who has seen another shooter during the Kennedy assassination!”

Credit: xkcd

On the other hand, there are a lot of conspiracy theories that are probably true. Those are the ones that nobody is discussing or is even aware of their existence. I believe that an actual conspiracy created efficiently enough to never actually get proved, would also be efficient enough to not gather too much media attention. Basically, the real conspiracies are probably the ones we aren’t even theorizing about.

So from my point of view, if you ask me about any specific conspiracy theory, I’ll tell you that I think it’s false. But at the same time, I expect at least a couple of them to be true, I just have no way to know which ones. I also believe that there must be several real conspiracies that didn’t catch anybody’s attention. Nothing big like the Flat Earth Society, but probably a couple assassinations left and right. After all, humans are not known for being very nice or honest.

Personally, I think the biggest argument one can make against any given conspiracy theory is the fact that if it was true, some people would have gotten rid of the theorists when there were just a couple of them, so the number would never grow to the thousands that it is today.

But hey, labelling conspiracy theories as “crazy talk” is probably the best move any group of people actually creating conspiracies could make to avoid ever being found out. So maybe conspiracy theories are an inside job.