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Conspiracy theories

| Friday, November 16, 2018

Go to YouTube. Search for conspiracy theories. One can spend years sifting through all the videos explaining how the public lives in the dark, oblivious to the truth and inner workings of the world.

Search “conspiracy theories moon.”

Man landing on the moon in 1969? Fake. It’s been almost five decades since Neil Armstrong made history by becoming the first man to walk on the moon, but doubters say the U.S. government faked the landings. Desperate to beat the Russians, Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin acted out their landings on a film set. A secret film set tucked away in Hollywood Hills or deep within Area 51. Photos and videos are only available through NASA, so who is to say it was more than just a hoax?

Search “conspiracy theories 9/11.”

Terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001? Inside job carried out under President George W. Bush. Why weren’t the hijacked planes intercepted? Did the government announce a “stand down” to minimize interference with their plan to destroy the buildings and then blame it on Islamic terrorists? Also, jet fuel can’t melt steel beams. Some argue the steel could not have been melted from the heat of collision of the plane. Therefore, the building had to be brought down intentionally via explosives. Specifically thermite, which can melt steel and leave no evidence behind. And these examples are only the beginning. 

Area 51, an Air Force base outside of Las Vegas, is where remains of crashed UFO spacecrafts lay and government scientists are using the aliens’ highly advanced technology. Think humans run the world? Nope. Shape-shifting, elite reptilian humanoids are enslaving the human race. They are our corporate leaders, our beloved actors and singers, all those in the spotlight who are responsible for Sept. 11 and all other horrific events. These lizards are behind secret societies.

Conspiracy theories have gained traction with the American public, but why? Why do people believe these illogical theories? Why and how do these thoughts endure?

According to BBC’s article “The enduring appeal of conspiracy theories,” Karen Douglas, a psychologist and professor at the University of Kent, says “we are all predisposed to be suspicious or mistrustful of the government.” From an evolutionary stand point, she says, we are “adaptive to be suspicious” of others for our safety.

Looking deeper, those who believe them seem to have an intrinsic need for uniqueness, a feeling that he or she has access to information or alternative explanations. Other studies reveal conspiracy theories help people make sense of everything when they feel out of control. We are addicted to answers and are comforted when we can put a name to random acts of violence.

Some theories disturbingly persist after an abundance of evidence is presented and science consistently disproves them. In addition to Douglas, Stephan Lewandowsky, a University of Bristol professor of psychology, found that the stronger a person believes in conspiracy, the less likely they are to trust scientific facts. Any evidence is reinterpreted as evidence in favor of the theory.

It’s easy to laugh at the conspiracy theories mentioned above, but what’s worst? The actual theories? Or their long existence, easy accessibility on the internet and dangerous effects on society?

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About Meagan Bens

Meagan is a junior Visual Communication Design major and Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy minor living in Lyons Hall. She serves as a sports writer and hails from the suburbs of Chicago.

Contact Meagan