Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories?

by adjusted knowledge 43 Replies latest jw friends

  • adjusted knowledge
    adjusted knowledge
    My wife is taking a literature course at a local college. This was her final topic of the semester: Why Rational People Buy Into Conspiracy Theories?

    I automatically thought of this site and of JWs. The JWs I knew, were the kind of people that would believe in conspiracy theories, and I noticed a small following on this site.

    The article that was referenced for this course was: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/26/magazine/why-rational-people-buy-into-conspiracy-theories.html?_r=0

    I'm curious, what those on this site feel is the reason people believe in conspiracy theories such as "Moon Hoax", "911 was done by Bush".....

  • cofty

    I haven't read the article but I have a couple of ideas.

    I think it's a childish desire to know that there is something in control of everything.

    There may also be a strong element of narcissism. If you ever get into a conversation with conspiracy nuts they very quickly become abusive and arrogant. Their ego is fed by the delusion that they know better than everybody else.

    My patience with conspiracy sorts is nil.

  • Distracted

    There was a quiz I took not long ago about finding the hidden picture in the obvious picture and it had you tell what you see first. People who tend to be more literal and pragmatic pick the obvious picture. People who are good at abstract thinking pick the hidden picture.

    People want to put down conspiracy theorists as stupid or crazy or whatever. I think conspiracy theorists come in all sorts of intelligence levels and degrees of sanity. I think they are good at matching up small details, gestalts, etc. It is partly genetic, partly environmental.

    I also think people that look deeper may have had rough childhoods with one or more parents that had mental problems or substance abuse disorders. They have to become especially attuned to facial expressions, gestures, and their environment, to avoid getting physically or emotionally abused. They grew up believing the world is a very unsafe place and that they need to be aware and vigilant.

    People who grew up in stable loving normal environments never needed to develop these traits or abilities. They tend to take things at face value, because they never had a need to do any different.

    My two cents.

  • Distracted
    Of course, growing up being told that all the world's governments and all the religions and the commercial systems are all under the control of Satan and are going to be involved in persecuting you, and everybody but the JWs or Mormons or Sanctified whatevers are also part of the world ruled by the Devil...well that might make a person tend to be a little paranoid, too.
  • Simon
    Their ego is fed by the delusion that they know better than everybody else.

    I think that is a key part or it.

    There's also two sorts of conspiracy theories - the innocent ones, such as "does big-foot exist?" which can be a fun thought experiment or the trail of clues in pictures and tombstones (I can't remember the name of it, some place in France to do with the illuminati). They tend to feature the absence of information and facts or "what if" thinking.

    But then there are the more sinister ones: "did the holocaust really happen?" or "did the government really conduct the attacks in France?". There seem to be the product of someone's own political or racist agenda and have no basis for the belief whatsoever. They rely on trying to ignore or negate known facts and experiences.

  • littlerockguy

    Because some (not all) of the "conspiracy theories" have actually turned out to be true.

  • James Mixon
    James Mixon

    The crazy one that was going around, 911. We allowed it to happen, the aircrafts

    didn't cause the collapse of the towers.

  • TheMark

    I guess it all depends on the theory or the conspiracy. I do however believe that some could be true. If one wants to believe that none exist that's fine but don't treat me like a wacko if I choose to believe some.

    Since we're on an ex-jw forum, let's take that as an example. Are the JW leadership running a conspiracy? Damn right they are. The conspiracy is to keep members in the dark and suck every penny out of their pockets. Is it working? Yes it is. So if it can work on a small scale like the JWs, it can also work on a much larger scale.

    I keep to myself, observe and draw my own conclusions.

  • littlerockguy

    Google Operation Northwoods


  • NewYork44M
    The biggest conspiracy story ever is the Adam and Eve story where we face good versus evil in epic proportions. I think more that a few people believe this.

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