Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Conspiracy Theory of the Week

The latest rage is to question where Obama was born? Hawaii? Kenya as the conspiracy theorists aver? Some far off galaxy as tweeted by Rainn Wilson? The Birthers? Give me a break. Next, we will start burning witches again.

This is a good week to consider conspiracy theories since this is the anniversary of either Man making it to the moon or the hoax as the conspiracy theorists argue.

And therein lies the rub: you cannot argue with conspiracy theorists because they are not really theorists in the scientific sense. We, scientists (social or otherwise), develop casual connections that we then seek to test against the best evidence--we seek to expose our theories to falsification. Conspiracy theory is really much closer to religion, as one cannot falsify a religious belief. Conspiracy theorists will argue that any evidence one uses to debunk the theory is actually part of the conspiracy. That the existence of any counter-evidence is just a ruse by the part of the clever conspirators.

So, they can argue that the Holocaust never happened despite the overwhelming amount of evidence; they can argue that 9/11 was a conspiracy by the US government despite the consistent record of Al Qaeda terrorism; they can argue that Obama is not a true American no matter how many documents are produced. Why? Because they BELIEVE.

I am starting to believe that the Universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and I dare the conspiracy theorists to prove my belief wrong.

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