Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features

MNHQ have commented on this thread


To think conspiracy theorists are an infuriating mix of arrogance, stupidity and lazy thinking

401 replies

EmperorTomatoRetchup · 29/09/2018 21:37

Having thought I'll leave it, I'll leave it, I found myself arguing with a conspiracy theorist.

Christ alight these people are utterly lacking in any sort of critical thought. This tool was trotting out one of the most popular of the conspiracy theories - 911 as an inside job, Madelline McCann was murdered by her parents, moon landings were faked, Diana was bumped off by Mi5 etc. and they seemed to be impervious to any of the logical flaws in their argument, that researching a matter didn't mean watching YouTube videos made by fellow conspiricists spouting unsourced, unreferenced nonsense and claiming that non adherents were 'sheeple' buying 'the official line'.

To take the example jokingly referenced on another thread, the Paul McCartney is dead conspiracy theory, how many people coroners, doctors ambulance staff, Paul's family and friends, would have had to be bought off in order to allow him to be replaced by a lookalike who could be trained to speak, act, play musical instruments left handed and pass for one of the world's most famous men in the full glare of the media . In 50 years not a single person involved in this dastardly plan, not a single one of this vast army of people cooped into it has blown the whistle despite their being unparalleled financial rewards for doing so.

No musicologists have detected a change in composition or playing or singing style. No one asking what happened to the bloke who became fake Paul', might their family not be curious as to why their son/brother disappeared off the face of the earth in the late 60s.After going to such extraordinary lengths the Beatles so desperate to cover up this audacious act, left a series of clues in their songs as a signal to their fans.

AIBU to think that this combination of scepticism, lack of critical thought, logic, probability twinned with overwhelming arrogance is infuriating and wonder how I should deal with these fuckers in future? Especially when any attempts to point out the flaws in their arguments are taken as signs you are one of the sheeple or a Co conspirator.

OP posts:

AlecTrevelyan006 · 30/09/2018 08:26

Jeremy Thorpe, the former Liberal leader, led a life which combined major political achievements with persistent rumours of scandal, culminating in a trial for conspiracy to murder and his acquittal. But was there an establishment cover-up to protect him during his political career? Tom Mangold has been investigating, in a programme containing both new evidence and material from the 1970s that has never previously been broadcast.


Ifailed · 30/09/2018 08:39

I also believe some people claim to believe in CT's so they can appear a bit quirky, and not main-stream.
In the same way every small town seems to have a local 'character' who wears something slightly odd, like a top hat, and has too many facial piercings. They think it makes them different and superior to the masses, when in fact they are the ones who are being conventional as all they are doing is picking up on someone else they've seen and copying them in an attempt to look unique!


user1457017537 · 30/09/2018 08:41

John Lydon (Johnny Rotton) of the Sex Pistols has said that he found it funny that they were the only ones with family values trying to protect young girls at the BBC. They were banned from the play list although as he says they were doing a good job of getting banned on their own! Saville was definitely protected by the Establishment. He quite openly felt young girls up on camera on TOTP’s. Vile man


user1457017537 · 30/09/2018 08:43

What about the spy who was supposed to have zipped himself up in a holdall. We are expected to believe a right lot of bollox!


Elementtree · 30/09/2018 08:53

I think general dishonesty makes conspiracies more plausible. To think that a plane could crash into a building, fall to the ground, with everything bar steel obliterated to dust and for there to be an intact passport of the terrorist sat on top.

I mean...come on. I don't think that the US government was complicit in the attack bit if you treat people like muppets they start to wonder what you are hiding.


Ifailed · 30/09/2018 08:59

user1457017537 Gareth Williams' death is recorded as "unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated", I think it was the media who got all worked up about the idea he had padlocked himself in the holdall.

There was clearly secret service involvement after his death, presumably as they tried to retrieve stuff he was working on before the police did. As to who murdered him, it could have been anyone, but suspicion lies at the doors of the Russian, US or UK authorities.


SingaSong12 · 30/09/2018 09:02

I only care about this because it affects real people. CT that the school shooting at Sandy Hook in America mean that family members have not been able to just grieve, instead they are constantly moving house -


LaDaronne · 30/09/2018 09:06

Check out the current Croydon Cat Killer thread for a case study in how people will believe any old unscientific shite if it aligns with their world view.


malificent7 · 30/09/2018 09:07

I always feel that weed smoking and conspiracy theories go hand in hand.

Why anyone can be bothered to agonize about this stuff is beyond me. Why live in a perpetual state of paranoia? It's not like we can do anything about the powers that be anyway.


fieryginger · 30/09/2018 09:10

I always pity the preppers when their cases of tinned pilchards and pickled eggs DO eventually go out of date, that's a lot of rank fish and eggs to dispose of.

The MM case, so many people finger pointing, it just makes me sad for that child. It's missing the point almost.

I like a good ghost story, but I don't believe in ghosts, I think this logic applies to some conspiracy theorists too.


AssignedNorthernAtBirth · 30/09/2018 09:15

A lot of the time, yes.

It's certainly true that some things that would've been considered to be conspiracy theories later turned out to be true. And there are people who understood the reality early on, who were right and who would've been dismissed as conspiracy theorists.

However, I tend to think you have to believe in more than one conspiracy theory to really be a conspiracy theorist, if that makes sense? The sort of person you're talking about is effectively the equivalent of The Sun football gossip page. They give credence to every tall story they hear, so some of them are bound to be right now and then. Like a stopped clock twice a day. And they forget all the shit they initially swallowed because the Jimmy Savile stuff turned out to be true. Confirmation bias.

Someone who saw a few things they didn't like about the way the Rotherham police force were handling sex abuse allegations isn't a conspiracy theorist, but someone who came to believe there was a coverup because they read it on a David Icke forum and also believes that Sandy Hook was a hoax and that Madeline McCann's massively Catholic parents are Freemasons probably is. And the first person deserves respect, but the second person was correct by accident and is still generally full of shit.

Lastly, I don't think Gareth Williams is a conspiracy theory is it? The courts said his death was unnatural, as ifailed states. Someone saying he was killed by foul play is giving the establishment (and correct!) version of events.

Official secrets are released after 100 years and you can see that they are par for course of any government.

They are, but a century ago was an entirely different planet and some of the things people think are coverups, like Sandy Hook, would require so very many people in a world where we're now all connected. It's a different kettle of fish entirely.


MaisyPops · 30/09/2018 09:28

I think you have it there perfectly.

Being critically aware and not taking things at face value, having some questions about certain events and thinking there might be more to it doesn't make someone a conspiracy theorist.

But someone who seems fixated with the idea that everything is a cover up for 'thr man' and sit chatting nonsense with other paranoid supposingly woke folk online are ridiculous.


PiperPublickOccurrences · 30/09/2018 09:32

The problem with someone who believes fervently in a conspiracy theory is that any counter-argument is just further proof that "they" have brainwashed the sheeple into believing the official version. You cannot reason with them as they have the insight scoop, they know the truth and you're just a poor, brainwashed idiot.

Luckily I don't have those sort of people in my life. The David Icke forums are worth a read for a laugh though if you want to see people read conspiracy into absolutely anything and everything.


KlutzyDraconequus · 30/09/2018 09:35

some of the things people think are coverups, like Sandy Hook

I saw this a couple of years ago about Sandy Hook. The theorists had spotted a guy they said was an actor playing a grieving dad and a clumsy sniper.


PiperPublickOccurrences · 30/09/2018 09:43

On 9/11 - there's a difference between thinking that it was handled badly, and thinking the US government did the whole thing.

There's a lot of evidence of increased chatter online and increased terrorist activity leading up to 9/11. The lack of linked up thinking between different US government departments meant that nobody identified the threat and acted on it. I don't think anyone would argue with that. Not so much taking your eye off the ball, but never having your eye on the ball in the first place.

But there are a lot of people who think that planes never crashed, that the whole thing was done by either the US government or Mossad, or both. That's the scale of cover-up which you just can't keep secret, in the 17 years since it happened someone would have said something.

It's like that flight which disappeared - most rational people agree with the official line that the pilot for whatever reason flew over the sea and crashed it deliberately. But conspiracy theorists blieve the plane was flown to some secret island which doesn't appear on maps for... well they're unclear on why. But ignoring that it would take hundreds of people in on it to get a plane somewhere, land it and somehow spirit away all the passengers.



AssignedNorthernAtBirth · 30/09/2018 09:43

Humans like patterns and links and neat explanations. We don't do well with the idea that sometimes things just happen for no reason, or for reasons we don't understand or control. Look at how many traditional and pre-scientific societies developed concepts of witchcraft, evil spirits and similar to explain why things like death and disaster happen. There are still peoples who think this today. Because it's easier to cope with than the alternative.


AssignedNorthernAtBirth · 30/09/2018 09:48

On 9/11 - there's a difference between thinking that it was handled badly, and thinking the US government did the whole thing.

There's a lot of evidence of increased chatter online and increased terrorist activity leading up to 9/11. The lack of linked up thinking between different US government departments meant that nobody identified the threat and acted on it. I don't think anyone would argue with that. Not so much taking your eye off the ball, but never having your eye on the ball in the first place.

Yes, very much so. If you have a choice of explanations between a bad thing happening because of a fuck up or because someone allowed it due to a massive global conspiracy, go for number one. Humans make lots of mistakes. Sometimes inability to not make certain mistakes is baked into our structures, even.


JustBecauseYouAreUniqueDoesNot · 30/09/2018 09:51

Yes YANBU. It makes people feel powerful to believe a conspiracy. It also links to the fact that the less you know about a subject, the more you perceive yourself to know (unknown unknowns).

That being said, healthy scepticism is a good thing and a very different beast. The differences are 1. acknowledging the limitations of your own knowledge/understanding of the topic and 2. having a base level of trust in authority figures unless there is a good reason not to trust.

Once you start distrusting every institution that disagrees with your preferred theory there is no turning back because now every fact that disagrees with you is a cover up.

No point arguing with them.


JustBecauseYouAreUniqueDoesNot · 30/09/2018 09:53

And agree with what PPs have said - the correct answer is usually the simplest one and if someone is covering something up it is most often their own incompetence.


MedSchoolRat · 30/09/2018 09:57

The world is a scary unpredictable place.

CTs are appealing because they give a sense of control, that someone is in charge, bad things don't just happen for no reason. There may be injustice, but it's someone's fault; they can be blamed, hated, persecuted, maybe even punished. The CT gives an explanation (with comfortable confirmation biases about how the world works) and someone to blame. What's not to like? Moreover, a proper CT implicates very powerful people, so then there's a sense of absolving ordinary people (typically ourselves or people we identify with) of blame that they didn't prevent the bad thing happening (coz the powerful people stopped them).

There's a set of psychological traits that strongly correlate with who tends to believe CTs. The strongest predictor is already believing a CT, too.

Read Scott Adams Bigly book where he says "You should believe in whatever seems to help you out". Truth is irrelevant and impossible to establish anyway (he argues).


Hanyu · 30/09/2018 09:58

Oh, I love a good conspiracy theory thread.

I can't understand why anyone would blindly believe anything the government tells them. Yes, some conspiracy theories are very unlikely, but some are a lot more plausible.

There's been no credible evidence of an elite level paedophile ring operating amongst the establishment or that Saville procured children for anyone other than himself.

I disagree with this. There is plenty of evidence that there was an elite paedophile ring in operation and that there was a high-level cover up. Especially, the evidence against Cyril Smith is very credible. I don't know if Jimmy Saville was a part of it or not. Interestingly, he was a close friend of Prince Charles, who is also a close friend of several people who have been outed as paedophies.


MedSchoolRat · 30/09/2018 10:00

ps: oh, and promoting a conspiracy theory is an effort to increase your social status, since you know something special people might listen more to you, respect you more. Spread of Fake News was shown to be driven by real people who were new Twitter joiners with relatively few connections (NOT Bots): Vosoughi et al Science 2018.


Hanyu · 30/09/2018 10:03

Also, it's difficult because what is a conspiracy theory? Watergate could have been considered a conspiracy theory at the time, but then they built up enough evidence that it is no longer defined as a conspiracy theory, just a conspiracy. At one time suspecting that the UK government lied to start the Iraq war would have been a conspiracy theory, but now it is accepted as fact. This is the problem with conspiracy theories, once they are proven, they are no longer conspiracy theories.


AssignedNorthernAtBirth · 30/09/2018 10:05

Would the Iraq thing really have been considered a conspiracy theory? I thought it was a pretty mainstream idea even at the time, just not proven.


bobbinsand · 30/09/2018 10:09

I still think the moon landings were faked Grin

They didn't even have the technology for mobile phones then.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?