Author Topic: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?  (Read 1576 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2360
By "everyday conspiracy theorists" I don't mean the people who read Alex Jones (odds are they have never heard of him). I mean poeple who, everything else being equal, are more inclined to believe conspiracy theories are true than not. Such as that 9/11 was an inside job, or that the Islamic State is an American and/or Israeli set-up and that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Jewish CIA/Mossad agent whose real name is Simon Elliot.
"Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding." - Xi Zhi

Offline Noisy Rhysling

  • Seasoned Contributor
  • ****
  • Posts: 699
    • Hyperwar, WWII in Hypertext.
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2016, 11:21:24 PM »
Nod, smile, shoot them.

If you're a wussy, skip the third step.

Seriously, unless you feel the need to educate them there's no point in bothering.

Offline lubbarin

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1626
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2016, 11:25:44 PM »
Maybe show them the deep, core conspiracy theory stuff. The stuff that trickles out to the relatively mild crap that your casual conspiracy theorist believes.

They'll either take the leap, or be horrified at the craziness. My guess is 99% of the time it'a horror.
And if they take the leap, they were probably on their way to it anyway.



Wow... that was a total mafia game answer. That game got in my head fast.
I am in favor of killing all whales on principle. Where is my avalanche of 'provocateur' money?

Offline SkeptiQueer

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4665
  • DEEZ NUTZ
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2016, 11:35:22 PM »
I've tried engaging, but I just got straight denial every time. "That's your opinion" or "That's what they want you to think" stuff. The conspiracy stuff usually is a symptom of another belief, whether it be 'race realism' or 'gender realism' or SovCit-ism or alt-med, the conspiracy thwpries about poisoning the water with fluoride or staging false-flag attacks are a way to make the world line up with the other beliefs. I don't think you can shake the one without shaking the other first, because conspiratorial thinking is centered around supposing answers where there is a lack of information.
HIISSSSSSSS

Offline arthwollipot

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4393
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #4 on: July 17, 2016, 12:40:06 AM »
I don't know anyone like that.

Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5164
  • Cache rules everything around me.
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #5 on: July 17, 2016, 12:44:12 AM »
The conspiracy theorists I've known were either crazy (e.g. chemtrails, nuclear reactors explode like nuclear bombs, etc.) or just people who followed the news closely enough to know Iraq didn't have WMD, Saudi Arabia was involved in 9/11, etc.  so it's a pretty mixed bag.  I don't find, "Conspiracy Theorist," to be a very useful concept to base generalizations on. 
Every soup ladled to the hungry, every blanket draped over the cold signifies, in the final sense, a theft from my gigantic paycheck.

Offline Tassie Dave

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1060
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2016, 03:39:16 AM »
If it's a friend or family member, I ask them why they believe it, then supply them with the huge amount of evidence that disputes it.
I find most reasonable people just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Everyone else, I ignore. They usually have an agenda that is supported by all their favourite conspiracies.


Offline Vicarious

  • Not Enough Spare Time
  • **
  • Posts: 223
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2016, 05:41:53 AM »
I don't know anyone like that.

Patriarchy? ;)

Offline arthwollipot

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4393
  • Observer of Phenomena

Offline Desert Fox

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 13420
  • Hopeful Non-Theist
    • Kitsune's Web Page
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #9 on: July 17, 2016, 07:46:14 AM »
I don't know anyone like that.

You know nobody who thinks that Oswald was not the only person involved in the killing of Kennedy?
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Offline arthwollipot

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4393
  • Observer of Phenomena
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #10 on: July 17, 2016, 07:55:14 AM »
I don't know anyone like that.

You know nobody who thinks that Oswald was not the only person involved in the killing of Kennedy?

Not personally, no.

Offline Desert Fox

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 13420
  • Hopeful Non-Theist
    • Kitsune's Web Page
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #11 on: July 17, 2016, 08:01:20 AM »
I think it is far more likely that you know people who believe in various conspiracies, you just don't know it. They are simply too common among society at large.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Online Ah.hell

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 10311
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #12 on: July 17, 2016, 10:55:20 AM »
If it's a friend or family member, I ask them why they believe it, then supply them with the huge amount of evidence that disputes it.
I find most reasonable people just need to be pointed in the right direction.

Everyone else, I ignore. They usually have an agenda that is supported by all their favourite conspiracies.

This, I've definitely been able to convince one friend that he was wrong about 9/11, but he wasn't really that deeply into the conspiracy world view yet.  I lot of people who are kind of conspiracy believers have just seen the "documentaries"  by the conspiracists.  They often are blatantly wrong or lie so all it takes for some people is to show them the counter evidence that the conspiracists say doesn't exist. 

Some folks, on the other hand, are too far gone and its not worth investing much time in trying to change their minds.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2360
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #13 on: July 17, 2016, 04:55:59 PM »
I think it is far more likely that you know people who believe in various conspiracies, you just don't know it. They are simply too common among society at large.

I think so too. Unless arthwollipot only hangs out with skeptics.
"Large skepticism leads to large understanding. Small skepticism leads to small understanding. No skepticism leads to no understanding." - Xi Zhi

Online Johnny Slick

  • "Goddammit, Slick."
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 11716
  • Fake Ass Skeptic
Re: How do you approach or handle everyday conspiracy theorists?
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2016, 08:07:30 PM »
I don't know anyone like that.

You know nobody who thinks that Oswald was not the only person involved in the killing of Kennedy?

Not personally, no.
Really? Here in the US it's like half the population.
Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict every thing you said to-day.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson