Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Conspiracy theories - why?


Conspiracy theories - why? 

COVID 19 conspiracies – debunking the top 6 for entertainment purposes

Articles on Expert guide to conspiracy theories

Christine Sismondo notes that:
"People who believe one conspiracy theory are more prone to believe others… mistrust of authority and expertise… has been on the rise for decades as people have questioned established science, even when scientists have achieved consensus."

The growing distrust in science may owe much to the relentless 30 plus year campaign from the climate denial industry. Indeed, I suggest climate denial has been like a “gateway drug” for other conspiracy theories, by undermining faith in scientific expertise.

Conspiracy theories 

Belief in conspiracy theories is the product of normal human psychology, but can be extremely dangerous.

COVID: Top 10 current conspiracy theories



The Role of Cognitive Dissonance in the Pandemic

The minute we make any decision—I think COVID-19 is serious; no, I’m sure it is a hoax—we begin to justify the wisdom of our choice and find reasons to dismiss the alternative.

“We live in highly tribal and partisan times, and people are more likely to believe cues and signals from their political leaders than the scientists or the experts,” Cliff Young, president of Ipsos U.S. Public Affairs, told Axios. “People can see the world around them, they know it's different, but they still can think that the media and politicos are using it to go after Trump.”
140,157: The reported number of Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. as of July 20, as reported by the CDC.

We have been here before.

Right wing fundamentalists - including of the Islamic extrapolation - have been involved in disinformation campaigns spreading conspiracy theories to undermine the work of health authorities before this.


"It's all about the money - big business"


"In 1988, Steve Cokely, then Chicago’s coordinator for special projects, pronounced that Jewish doctors were infecting African American infants with HIV.54 The mainstream press eventually picked up on the circulating rumors; in 1990, a New York Times article reported the comments of a rap musician on the Arsenio Hall Show that:

AIDS was part of a “clean-up America campaign” intended to hit “target markets” of homosexuals and racial minorities: “I think they definitely have the cure already and I think it was definitely created by some sick person.”
 ... programs to slow the spread of HIV have been seen as the equivalent of a “genocidal campaign,”59 or, as (a) pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, put it, as “cooperating with the devil" 
This level of distrust envisions a government that pokes holes in condoms distributed for “safe sex campaigns” and maybe puts HIV into syringes for a “clean needle exchange program.”

I feel like they have the cure, and don’t want to give it out. (woman #3)

I definitely do think they have the cure. (woman #2)

They’re making so much money like. . . . (woman #1)

It’s big business. . . . (woman #2)

Conspiracy theories of HIV/AIDS

Notice the part about the "hero scientists", "cultropreneurs", "living icons" and "praise singers". Is this ringing any bells for you?

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention first reported the HIV/AIDS epidemic in 1981, rumors have persisted that the deadly virus was created by the CIA to wipe out homosexuals and African Americans. Even today, the conspiracy theory has a number of high-profile believers. South African President Thabo Mbeki once touted the theory, disputing scientific claims that the virus originated in Africa and accusing the U.S. government of manufacturing the disease in military labs. When she won the Nobel Peace Prize, Kenyan ecologist Wangari Maathai used the international spotlight to support that theory as well. Others insist that the government deliberately injected gay men with the virus during 1978 hepatitis-B experiments in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Still others point to Richard Nixon, who combined the U.S. Army's biowarfare department with the National Cancer Institute in 1971. Though the co-discoverers of HIV — Dr. Robert Gallo of the National Cancer Institute and Dr. Luc Montagnier of the Pasteur Institute in Paris — don't agree on its origins, most members of the scientific community believe the virus jumped from monkeys to humans some time during the 1930s.

"Deliberately manufactured in a laboratory for a nefarious agenda"

Annnnnd here's the connection between religious right wing patriarchy and this particular crop of conspiracy theories:

Doug Wilson and the American Family Association: HIV/AIDS Conspiracy Theorists

Yes. The same Doug Wilson listed in this roll call of pedophiles and sexual criminals in the leadership of conservative church circles. 

Do you really want your Coronavirus infromation and political stance dictated to you by the likes of Doug Wilson, et al? Do you expect these arch-authoritarian misogynists to save you from immorality and 'authoritarianism'? 


Congo's Ebola response threatened by conspiracy theories, rumors

The outbreak, centered in the opposition stronghold of the DRC, continues to spread as rumors undermine the effectiveness of treatment and health care.
In addition to combating a lethal virus, health workers are having to dispel rumors that the disease is manufactured and that the millions of dollars spent on the response are part of a money-making scheme derisively referred to as the “Ebola business.”

WHY do people constantly turn to fundamentalist religious leaders, with their sexism, racism and political bias, to tell them what to think in times of stress?

This pack of pedophiles is NOT going to save anyone's children from porn and pedophilia!

When we have this kind of historical precedent, why fall for it again?

"The virus doesn't exist" - heard that one lately?

Mention Ebola in Goma and you’ll hear a riot of rumors, half-truths, and conspiracy theories about the disease: that it doesn’t exist; that it’s been imported for financial gain; that it’s being used to kill people as part of an organ theft plot. A study published in September in the journal PLOS One found that 72% of respondents were dissatisfied with or mistrustful of the Ebola response and 12% believed that the disease “was fabricated and did not exist in the area.”  

This is like ground-hog day:

Misinformation is a key factor in making the outbreak so difficult to stamp out, say experts. “One of the reasons why things look so bad is the great suspicion of authorities: a great suspicion that this outbreak was propagated, that it’s not real, that it’s a big hoax,” says Anthony Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. “It’s made controlling Ebola very problematic.”

"FAKE NEWS", huh?

Fighting Ebola is hard. In Congo, fake news makes it harder

"Putting something in the vaccine" - like maybe a micro-chip??

Mistrust of governments and aid workers ran high and rumors were rife. That’s even more true in the DRC now. In September 2018, an opposition politician, Crispin Mbindule Mitono, claimed on local radio that a government lab had manufactured the Ebola virus “to exterminate the population of Beni,” a city that was one of the earliest foci of the outbreak.

Another rumor has it that the Merck vaccine renders its recipients sterile.


Noticing any familiar patterns yet?

What is the SARS conspiracy theory?

In 2003, the world was faced with a serious and highly contagious virus, which originated in Asia. The World Health Organization identified severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as a global threat. This particular virus was exceptionally deadly, killing nearly one in 10 infected people. By 2004, SARS infected more than 8,000 people worldwide, with the majority of cases in China, Singapore and Canada. Many people speculated that the SARS virus was not a simple viral epidemic, but rather an intentional attack on certain people and on the world at large.
Some believe that the SARS virus was man-made. In particular, many believe that SARS was created for biological warfare and that the United States intentionally attacked China with the virus.

".... the virus was man made .... biological warfare ...."

I guess trudging through screeds and screeds of measured research just doesn't have the same buzz as sharing a 4-line meme generated by a Russian troll farm or a YouTube "influencer" video, huh. 

Magical thinking is common when humans come under duress, but it's not helping.


Something about the deaths, the powerlessness — the seven months of limbo — left us dangerously susceptible to magical thinking.

Several forms of magical thinking have taken root

One portion of the population, of course, is living in complete or partial denial.

A quarter of adults believe a conspiracy theory that the pandemic was a planned political scheme and, as such, is not worth taking seriously.

 A number of these Americans, powerless to change anything, are acclimating to what they believe is just a new normal.

They are complacent. They are numb. They have spent so long in the chronic emergency that their 'surge capacity' — the ability to cope with life-altering disasters — is depleted.

Struggling with prolonged uncertainty, they are starting to move on mentally, pushing the virus so far to the periphery that it becomes nothing more than ambient noise.










The worst part about extremist, fantastical conspiracy theories, apart from the fact that they are vehicles for right wing fascism and detach people from reality, is that they deflect and distract from actual, real concerns that we all have responsibility to do something about.

Jeremy Lent explains here:

The Five Real Conspiracies You Need to Know About:

1. Conspiracy to turn the world into a giant marketplace for the benefit of the wealthy elite

2. Conspiracy by transnational corporations to turn billions of people into addicts

3. Conspiracy to plunder the Global South for the benefit of the Global North

4. Conspiracy to hide the effects of climate breakdown for corporate profit

5. Conspiracy to grow the global economy indefinitely, while killing most of life on Earth and risking the collapse of civilization.


How to help loved ones avoid disinformation tactics and come back to reality.

Freedom of Mind - Steven Hassan

Tools That Fight Disinformation Online

Global Network on Extremism & Technology

Institute of Strategic Dialogue

Rabbit Hole Podcast

Qanon Anonymous Podcast

The Conspirituality Podcast 

The Brainwashing of My Dad

The Conspiracy Theory Handbook

No comments:

Post a Comment