Why do people believe in conspiracy theories?


(image by New Life Media)

by Dr. Christopher S. Baird, SCIENCE QUESTIONS WITH SURPRISING ANSWERS – – August 12, 2013:


People are all different, so the reasons for them believing in conspiracies cover a broad range of factors.
In general, though, people tend to believe in conspiracies because of helplessness.
Ted Goertzel, professor of sociology at Rutgers University, found that belief in conspiracy theories is strongly linked to insecurity about employment, alienation, lack of interpersonal trust, and minority status – all forms of helplessness. Conspiracies are easily disproved by a wealth of evidence and some basic, sound reasoning, and yet sizable portions of the population continue to believe in absurd ideas such as the following:

The moon landings are claimed to be hoaxes manufactured by large-scale government collusion.

Aliens in UFOs are claimed to have visited earth but their presence is concealed by malevolent agencies.

Modern medicine is claimed to be toxic and “alternative” medicine is claimed to be miraculous, but a global conspiracy involving greedy drug companies conceals these facts.

Trails of ice particles left by airplanes in the sky (“contrails“) are claimed to really be toxic chemicals (“chemtrails“) being sprayed on the whole earth by a secret group intent on destruction and domination.

The AIDS virus was allegedly constructed in a laboratory and is deliberately used by a secret society as a tool of destruction.

Fluoride is claimed to be added to drinking water by secret government programs in order to exert mind control.

A New World Order of elites is claimed to be secretly controlling all governments for malevolent purposes.

The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and other terrorist attacks are claimed to be carried out secretly by the people’s own government in an effort to foment war.

Free energy devices are claimed to successfully create energy out of nothing, but their widespread use is suppressed by powerful conspiracies involving energy companies.

Genetically modified crops are claimed to be dangerous and a vast conspiracy is claimed to be suppressing evidence showing this fact.

Despite the fact that conspiracies such as these run completely contrary to a giant body of evidence, and indeed go against logical reasoning itself, such conspiracies continue to be believed by many people.
The main reason people believe in conspiracies despite their absurdity is helplessness.

Unemployment, under-employment, lack of education, substance addiction, chronic illness, dysfunctional families, and failing relationships all contribute to a person feeling helpless.

In order to cope emotionally with such situations, many people blame their helplessness on conspiracies; giant secret societies with amazing power that control everyone for sinister purposes.

The belief in conspiracies gives those in hopeless and destitute conditions something to hope for.

“If the conspiracy can just be exposed”, they think, “I will no longer be destitute”.
The belief itself becomes empowering to many in helpless situations.
They see the rest of the world as mindless sheep controlled by the elite, and themselves as the enlightened few.

The belief in conspiracies also enables such people to emotionally cope with the chaos that surrounds their life by believing there is an overall ordered society of elites that controls the world.
Even though they see this society as secretive and evil, the belief itself in an ordered, controlling society is enough to offer comfort to one who feels surrounded by chaos and helpless to their situation.

Although a person may be safely employed in a rewarding career, a lack of education can be enough to render him subconsciously helpless and therefore susceptible to conspiracy theories.

When a person does not understand the basic physical laws that govern the universe, daily events seem random and nonsensical.
Being confronted day in and day out with a jumble of incomprehensible events is harrowing.
To deal with this mental commotion, many people see conspiracies as the driving forces behind the seemingly random string of events.
In reality, the laws of science run the world.
But it is much easier to believe a secret society runs the world than to try to understand the laws of science if you have a poor education.

Helplessness can take many other forms.
Even wealthy, educated people get cancer.
The miserable, ongoing, and terminal nature of serious diseases can make even the richest and smartest of people feel helpless.

When modern medicine fails to help them (or just takes too long to help them), many people turn to conspiracies to cope. It’s more comforting to believe that a miracle cure is available but is kept just out of reach by a conspiring pharmaceutical industry, than to accept the reality that some diseases simply do not have cures.

It’s more comforting to believe that your cancer was caused by chemtrails, water fluoridation, genetically modified crops, aliens, western medicine, tooth amalgam, household cleaning supplies, or power lines than to accept that cancer is a natural part of life that just happens.

Goertzel states, “…during periods of insecurity and discontent people often feel a need for a tangible enemy on which to externalize their angry feelings.
Conspiracy theories may help in this process by providing a tangible enemy to blame for problems which otherwise seem too abstract and impersonal.
Conspiracy theories also provide ready answers for unanswered questions and help to resolve contradictions between known ‘facts’ and an individual’s belief system.”

Note that some conspiracies are real.
But the real conspiracies are quickly dismantled by the justice system and are well documented by mainstream scientists, journalists, and historians.
Also, real conspiracies tend to involve only a handful of people and are rarely successful.
Most real conspiracies fall apart before they even get started, while the rest are eventually exposed and dismantled.

Giant, powerful, successful conspiracies do not happen for the following reasons:

It only takes one whistle-blower to bring down an entire conspiracy.
The more people there are in a conspiracy, the more potential whistle-blowers there are, and the shorter the conspiracy lasts. T

he most successful conspiracies (such as Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme) involve only a handful of people, and they still eventually fail.
Sustaining a global conspiracy among medical doctors would require convincing every single one of the millions of doctors from all religions, nations, and cultures to participate in a coordinated cover-up.

People are inherently independent minded.
Sustaining a global conspiracy would require making millions of people from all walks of life have the exact same goals and motives, and be willing to do what ever they are told to perpetuate the conspiracy.
In the business world, people quit their job, move, start their own business, and campaign for reform whenever faced with too little independence.
These types of actions would doom a conspiracy.
History teaches us that the level of authoritarianism needed to sustain a global conspiracy leads to violent revolution by the masses.
A large conspiracy would be doomed by internal warfare before it ever got off the ground.

People are inherently decent.
The vast majority of people on the earth are ethical, law-abiding citizens that pursue careers and causes in order to benefit society.
A giant conspiracy would require a large number of people to lie, cheat, and purposely harm their family, friends, neighbors, and country.

We are all human.
Doctors get sick too.
Doctors therefore have a strong personal incentive not to suppress medical treatments that succeed.

Government employees live under the same sky and drink the same water.
They have a strong personal incentive not to poison the water or fill the sky with chemicals.

Large organizations are inherently too inefficient, cumbersome, and complex to carry out a large, coordinated plan of evil secrecy.
Even the most successful large-scale secretive agency in the world – the CIA – has security leaks (such as the Snowden affair).
The difference between the CIA and a conspiracy is that the CIA’s mission is supported by the will of the people and is seen as generally beneficial, so it survives its security leaks. A large-scale conspiracy would not.

Note that this website, Science Questions with Surprising Answers, does not attempt to disprove conspiracies.
I believe such an exercise is pointless and futile.
Presenting conspiracy theorists with logic and evidence won’t change their minds as such people are not thinking logically to begin with.
Because helplessness is the root of belief in conspiracies, the best way to dispel their paranoia is to help them get out of their destitute situation.
Improving the general educational level, career prospects, community involvement, and family relationships of conspiracy theorists will do more to dispel their myths than arguing directly against their myths.

Something as simple as participating in a town hall meeting can help a neighbor realize that the world is not as evil and colluding as he imagines.


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A blurry line between Christians and “Conspiracy Believers” – – it all depends on how far you want to go


(image, courtesy of Reality Entertainment)

Some folks label me a “conspiracy nut”.
Some others label me a “conspiracy debunker”.
It all depends on who is labeling me as such.
And I don’t mind when people label me either way because there is no topic as fascinating as “conspiracies” and “conspiracy theories”.

Conspiracies have always existed from time immemorial.
Nothing new.
Whenever two or more plot something detrimental to the third party, that is conspiracy.

Here is a good quote from Edward Epstein from WALL STREET JOURNAL:


Conspiracy, a word derived from the Latin “to breathe together,” has been a salient part of the darker side of recorded history ever since some 60 conspirators in the Roman senate, including Brutus and Cassius, plotted together to assassinate Julius Caesar in 44 B.C.

Nowadays the “C” word does not always sit well with journalists, who commonly employ it in conjunction with “theory” to describe paranoid distortions of reality.

Even so, a criminal conspiracy is not a rare phenomenon.
Not only was a foreign conspiracy responsible for the monstrous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center (as well as the previous attempt to blow it up in 1993) but, according to the Center on Law and Security at Fordham University, over 90% of routine federal indictments for terrorist attacks since 9/11 contain at least one conspiracy charge.

The government’s pursuit of conspiracies is by no means limited to terrorism. Conspiracy charges are the rule rather than the exception in cases brought against businessmen accused of fixing prices, evading environmental regulations, using insider information or laundering money.”


Yes, conspiracies exist.

But there is a difference beween “conspiracies” and “conspiracy theories”.
But many folks say that the word “conspiracy theory” is a creation of the CIA.
It also seems that a lot of folks believe in what’s described by psychologists as “delusional conspiracy theories”.
But it all depends on how far one wants to go with it.

When I post some articles about the role and effect of beliefs in “conspiracy theories”, then immediately some folks label me a “conspiracy debunker”.
Some even label me a “conspiracy nut” even though I only write about how beliefs in “conspiracies” affect a segment of the society in general.
Either way, you can’t win.

But here is one thing that people need to understand.
There is a blurry line between a Christian and a “conspiracy believer”.
It all depends on how far you want to go.

Many folks describe themselves simply as Christians.
Some describe themselves as “Bible-believing”, “Born-again” or “Evangelical” Christians.
But there are some folks who take pride in being “Fundamentalist Christians”.
Many of the so-called “mainline Christians” seem to want to distance themselves from Fundamentalist Christians.
Again, it all depends on how far one wants to go.

A Christian, by its own definition, is a person that believes in “conspiracies”, since the belief that Lucifer was the first “conspirator” against God is a major tenet of Christian belief.

I myself am a believer in Jesus Christ.
But how far I will go with it depends on circumstances.
(such as when I am in the company of a certain group – – perhaps this may not be right in the mind of some folks – -but I am a type of person who dislikes making dogmatic statements among certain groups).

Fundamentalist Christians (including most “Evangelical Christians”) not only believe in the Lord Jesus Christ but also believe that Satan also exists and that Satan is in control of this present world.

Such believers see the presence of Satan practically everywhere.
But at the same time, they believe that they can overcome the oppression of Satan through the power of Jesus Christ.

The bulk of Fundamentalist Christians and “Evangelical Christians” believe that in the near future, there will be a One World Government (more popularly known as the “New world Order”) led by the Anti-Christ, a re-incarnation of Satan, before Jesus returns in glory.



So, in this sense, there is little difference between those who believe in the New World Order conspiracies and “Bible-believing”, “Born-again” Christians.
It all depends on how far one’s belief goes

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Is the Ancient Alien theory correct? – – – by Trevor Wozny


– by Trevor Wozny, from the ANGRY UFOLOGIST site – – Cutting through all the UFO nonsense, blatant frauds and fraudsters – – March 4, 2016:


First, let me address any epistemology whining that people might do:
Anything is possible.
There could be a flying spaghetti monster, there could be a planet full of creatures that all look like Kate Upton, there could be a planet of sophisticated machines that can morph into trucks, and there could have been a race of humanoid aliens that visited us and messed with our biology and culture.
All of them are so utterly improbable that we are right in dismissing them as fantasy until we see otherwise.
Yes, it’s true that you can have deep philosophical discussions about the nature of knowledge and can argue that nothing can be known 100%.
It’s also true that pragmatically speaking, you can’t prove most negatives.
We do have limited knowledge of the physical and reality.
Established ideas in science and history can and do often change for the better.
So we can never be 100% certain of our current state of knowledge is complete.

Okay, now let’s get into it.

I was a big fan of Erich von Daniken’s books when I was in my teens.
I come from a middle-class professional family.
Those books blew my mind and fueled my imagination.
Later, I went to university and learned how to think logically and rationally.
I learned about the history of our species, how we came to be, the known reality of our place in the cosmos and much more about physics, biology, psychology and various other fields.
I can now look back at those books and easily see the psychological tricks and fallacies they perform to get people who don’t have those defensive skills on board.
But there is zero credible evidence that this Earth has ever been visited. There is a lot of hearsay, a lot of weird theories, and a lot of vague evidence retrofitted to further an ideological agenda, but when looked at skeptically, rationally and through the lens of Occam’s razor, there is nothing to suggest that history didn’t play out like the established scientific literature says it did.

Did E.T. modify our DNA for some malevolent hybridization program?

There is no biological evidence that suggests our DNA was altered by our space brothers.
If you mean “did aliens tamper with ape DNA or even mix with themselves” then the answer is no.
There is no possible way terrestrial and non-terrestrial would even have compatible biochemistry, let alone compatible genomes.
So no amount of mixing would ever create a viable creature.
It would be like mixing a Playstation 3 with a banana.
Just plain nonsense.
We have an outstanding fossil record of the evolution of modern humans from apes, and the timeline does not need outrageous explanations like aliens.
The speed of evolution of biped walking and the explosion of growth in the frontal cortex can be explained by things like harsh savannahs, ice ages, and sexual selection.

Now, I guess it’s possible that, like in the book 2001 by Arthur C Clarke, aliens may have guided our evolution, either subtly or more directly, just as we turned wolves into dogs by selective breeding. But again, going back to Occam’s razor, why jump to an extreme, improbable, evidence-lacking, fantastical, extraordinary explanations when we have perfectly good, simple, evidence-backed, sensible, mundane ones?

Hominids driven out onto the savannas, followed by some sexual selection perfectly explains the rapid evolution of the human language, imagination, intellect, and creativity. And our genes are clearly related, but different, to other apes in a manner conforming to what we know of evolution.

In terms of archaeology, there are some interesting examples but they always turn out to have a mundane explanation.
A mystery is only a mystery until we get a new information, and then it is not a mystery anymore.

It is not helpful to take existing gaps in our knowledge and just explain them by shouting “GOD!” or “ALIENS!”.
It’s not explaining anything, it’s just ignorantly and deceitfully papering-over genuine mysteries.
And the problem with it is that it often curtails genuine curiosity and genuine investigation.
And there will always be mysteries.
We don’t have the ability to explain all weird things in archaeology, but we just have to accept that.
Will future historians be able to explain everything about our culture if 99.999% of it has been lost through the ravages of time?



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The problem of illegal immigration


As everyone knows, the United States has been facing a serious illegal immigration problem, especially in states such as Arizona, which has a long, virtually unprotected border with Mexico.
Of course this is not to say that there are no problems at the Canadian border areas. But, not as much.
Illegal immigrants also arrive by air (and even land at international airports with fraudulent documents and the use of disguise), as well as from the sea.

If nothing is done now, I am afraid that the United States will begin to lose its identity in the near future, on top of everything else that comes with this problem, with adverse consequences.

I believe that enforcing the border is essential. Many nations of the world have stringent border policies and enforcement.

Tall walls such as the ones separating Israeli settlements and the Palestinian areas in Israel may not be realistic throughout the entire length of the physical U.S./Mexico border and may not be the answer, but something must be done to defend our borders besides just increasing the number of border patrol agents and the constant use of more advanced remotely-controlled aerial platforms (UAVs).

When discussing illegal immigration, the top priority of course is to immediately round up and deport all criminal elements of the illegal alien population in this country.


But what about those estimated 12 million illegals who have been here for many years already, with no criminal records other than the fact that they had made an illegal entry at one point in time?

Many of them are hard-working people and good residents of the U.S.
Many of them have children who were born in the U.S. and are now American citizens and many of them, in turn, have their own children who are also born in the U.S. Many of them attend colleges.
It is quite unthinkable to forcefully separate their illegal-status parents from their U.S. born children.

Indeed this is a big problem.

It is logistically impossible to deport all non-criminal illegal aliens en masse.
Dragging out people from their homes is inhumane and is just simply unthinkable. Going door to door and checking papers isn’t the answer either.

What should be done to these people?


Those who can prove that they have been here for 20 years or more and can prove it with documentation, should be made eligible for a Temporary Residence Status, (abolish the term Permanent Residency) with a provision that enables the process for future Naturalization procedure only by volition after 10 years from obtaining a Temporary Residence Status, provided that they pass a stringent background check (i.e., absolutely no criminal record), pay all backtaxes, all other taxes, pay a special penalty (e.g., such as $1200) and get a certificate of completion from an E.S.L. (English as a foreign language) school.

Those who can prove that they have been here for 10 years or more (but less than 20 years) with documentation, should be made eligible for a Temporary Residence Status, provided that they also pass a stringent background check (i.e., absolutely no criminal record) pay backtaxes, all other taxes, pay a special penalty (such as $1800) and get a certification from an E.S.L. school. A provision may be added for an eventual naturalization procedure only by volition, only after 20 years of receiving a Temporary Residence Status.

For those who have been here less than a year, the only recourse will be to voluntarily return to their point of origin, and re-apply for lawful entry, after a period of 5 years. Before voluntarily returning to their point of origin, those persons must file all all personal information with the new Immigration Department which will keep the individual files for future reference. If they do not voluntarily return to the point of their origin within one year’s time, they will be considered a fugitive, and if caught, will be immediately arrested and deported and will never be able to return to the U.S. under any circumstances.

Needless to say, the U.S. must enforce the law that penalizes the hiring of illegals, i.e., those who do not possess the U.S. citizenship or Temporary Residence Status.

By the way, everyone knows that it is extremely difficult to distinguish who is a U.S. citizen or not simply by looking at his or her physical appearance or by his or her speech.

Some have suggested that the U.S. may eventually have to consider giving each U.S. citizen a tamper-proof U.S. National Identity card to be carried at all times, together with a required filing of all personal data with the new U.S. National Biometric ID system. They say that such Biometric Data will include photographs, all 10 fingerprints, scanning of both iris, voice recognition, signature, hand ID and DNA.

Many nations of the world already require their citizens to carry national ID cards with them at all times.


This sounds very Orwellian, but I believe that it could inevitably happen in the near future.

We all carry Driver’s License at all times. Driver’s licenses, however, are only issued by each State, and not by the Federal government and is practically useless as a proper, valid ID.

The proponents of for a Federally issued, tamper-proof U.S. National ID card say that it will far surpass the quality and capability of a U.S. passport.

We all know that not every American citizen carries a U.S. passport at all times.

A U.S. National ID card will not be such a burden to carry at all times by every U.S. citizen, its proponent say.

It is true that we are already living in a world without much privacy. This is a fact.

This Draconian-sounding proposition may not prevent all crimes or stop terrorism, but it could be a first step in curtailing them.

Illegal immigration is not only America’s problem.

The European Union (as well as Japan) is also facing unprecedented influx of illegal immigrants from the so-called “Third World Nations”.

Some even say that the global illegal immigration problem will eventually lead to the creation of a Global Biometric ID system as predicted in the End-time Bible Prophecy.

What do you think?

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Why Japan should never expect Russia to return the Southern Kuril Islands; instead, Japan should sign the long-overdue Peace Treaty with Russia


In my opinion, Russia will never return the Southern Kuril Islands to Japan.
And Japan should never expect Russia to return them to Japan.
Japan should accept it (since it lost the War) and sign the long-overdue Peaty Treaty with Russia.
Japan will then tremendously benefit economically from more substantial investments not only in the Kuril Islands but throughout the entire Far Eastern Region of Russia.
By doing so it will benefit both Russia and Japan.



by Ajay Kamalakaran, RUSSIA BEHIND THE HEADLINES – – June 11, 2015:

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe recently invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit Japan for an official visit, where the countries could look at resolving a 70-year old territorial dispute.

Japan and Russia are still in a technical state of war, since the countries have not yet signed a World War II peace treaty. The bone of contention between the Asia-Pacific neighbors is a chain of islands between Russia’s Sakhalin and Japan’s Hokkaido.

The Southern Kuril Islands, which comprise of Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and the Habomai Archipelago, were first colonized by Japan in the 19th century. They came under the Soviet Union’s control at the closing stages of the Second World War, when Imperial Japan was evicted from southern Sakhalin.

Japan claims sovereignty over the islands, calling them the Northern Territories. Since the 1960s, Moscow has shown a degree of willingness to compromise with Tokyo by offering Shikotan and Habomai but Japan has been unrelenting in its demands for the return of the entire chain.


When Japan was evicted from the Southern Kuril Islands in 1945, 17,000 Japanese citizens were deported from the chain. Many of these people are still alive and reside in Hokkaido. “It would be political suicide for any government in Tokyo to compromise on the Northern Territories,” says Shigeo Tanaka, a political analyst based in the Japanese city of Sapporo. “The association of former Northern Territory residents has great political lobbying power and sympathy.”

Anytime a country talks about transferring territory, there is bound to be a section of the public that would be unhappy. In 2004, when Russia transferred Tarabarov Island and half of the Bolshoi Ussuriski Island on the Amur River to China as a final settlement of the border dispute, there were protests in many parts of the Russian Far East.

Tamara Chikova, a professor at the Sakhalin State University believes that a transfer of Shikotan and the Habomai archipelago (an offer made by different Russian governments) would trigger strong protests. “The logic of the nationalistic groups is that Russia should not return land seized from a country that allied itself with Nazi Germany,” she says. “Would Russia return Kaliningrad to the Germans,” she asks rhetorically.

Tanaka says such a proposal would also be unacceptable for Japan since it insists on the return of Kunashir and Iturup. “Japan already believes it compromised by accepting Russian sovereignty over the southern half of Sakhalin Island, which was legally a part of Japan since the 1904-5 war,” he adds.


The islands of Kunashir and Iturup are resource-rich and are believed to have an abundance of rare earth metals. The success of oil and gas projects off nearby Sakhalin Island has also spurred energy companies to survey the waters near the Kurils for hydrocarbon deposits. The islands, with their virgin forests, volcanoes and waterfalls, also hold immense potential for tourism.




Yet, the Russian government has given a cold response to such ideas and has kept the sparsely populated islands closed to foreigners and Russians, who are not residents of Sakhalin. The reason, most analysts say, is the immense strategic value that the islands hold.

Over the last few years, Russia has stepped up its military activity around the islands. On June 8, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered the speeding up of the construction of military facilities on the Southern Kurils. Russia will spend around $1.2 billion on the development of the chain, with a large part of that amount going into defense installations. Russia has already started building military garrisons on Iturup and Kunashir.

Shoigu also called for the rapid development of military infrastructure in the Russian Arctic. This is part of a grander design to connect Central Russia with the Pacific Coast via a new sea route.

In an article titled ‘The Strategic Value of Territorial Islands from the Perspective of National Security,’ the Japan-based Review of Island Studies says the increased Russian military activity on the Southern Kurils is largely in anticipation of the opening of the Northern Sea Route, a shipping lane that connects the Kara Sea to the Pacific Ocean. The route runs along the Russian Arctic Coast and would provide both military and economic advantages to the country.

“The route effectively makes Russia a major Asia-Pacific power,” says Tanaka. “At a time when we are seeing a new kind of Cold War, Russia and China possess the capability to blockade Japan, in case there is some sort of American misadventure instigated in the region.” Tanaka insists that this is only a deterrent against the United States, which still maintains bases across the region, including in Okinawa.

The islands of Kunashir and Iturup are an integral part of Russia’s Asia-Pacific defense and economic strategy. Under these circumstances, it seems like the only way a World War II peace treaty can be established between Russia and Japan is through a compromise on Tokyo’s part.



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