Insight on Conspiracy Theories

A few years back, Bill Nye — the Science Guy — angered a Waco, TX audience by pointing out that the moon “shines” because it reflects sunlight. Why? Because the Bible says the moon is a great light set in the sky by God during the creation.

Now, stay with me on this. If you honestly, truly believe that the moon is nothing more than a “great light” in the sky, you have to believe that the moon landings were a hoax. After all, how can Neil Armstrong have walked on a “great light?” It’s preposterous! Nor are you likely to change the mind of a person who believes this; if you put them on a rocket to the moon, got out a spacesuit, and invited them to take a walk around, they would smile and say what a lovely movie set — or are you doing it with CGI these days?

Likewise, many people have seen a car crash into the side of a house. The car is smaller than the house, and might take down a wall, but the house rarely falls. Maybe even they have seen a small airplane crash into a house. Again, the larger object prevails. So it is understandable that some people think the Twin Towers can’t possibly have been taken down by airplanes — one each. After all, a similar airplane [allegedly] rammed the Pentagon, and it didn’t fall down! One can see where they might want a better explanation.

Further, if you believe that American boys are have simple names like Bob or Jack or Matthew, you’ll probably have a hard time accepting that some crazy momma in America in 1961 actually named her kid Barack. Worse than that, to add insult to injury by giving him a middle name like Hussein! Maybe they knew somebody they called Barry once, but that guy’s given name was some old family name like Bertrand or Barnard. Not Barack! As if to emphasize this, Firefox’s spell-checking insists that Barack must surely be a misspelling, even though we’ve had a President by that name for 2 years now.

Don’t get me wrong. I think at this point most of the Birthers are just finding it hard to believe that America elected a (ahem) black man President. But when somebody has a this-or-that, for-us-or-against-us way of thinking, there’s no convincing them that they are wrong.

In closing: this story goes with this chart; defeat the meme; on workplace safety in China; end of the beginning; a couple of follow up items; Cynthia‘s got a point; and what exactly is the point?

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