Conspiracy Theories - Connecting The Dots

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People who are party to them feel more disengaged politically and are therefore less likely to vote. Climate sceptics are also less inclined to reduce their carbon footprint and support the politicians who promise to do so. Similarly, anti-vaxxers contribute to the spread of disease, which can harm and even kill the very young or those with compromised immune systems.

There does not seem to be an easy way for the truth to rule supreme. In fact, it can even make a false belief stronger. Lewandowsky found that the stronger a person believes in a conspiracy, the less likely they are to trust scientific facts. It is more likely they will think the person attempting to reason with them is in on it.

Tom Cotton's new Kavanaugh conspiracy theory quickly unravels | MSNBC

View image of Conspiracy theorists say signs on the US dollar bill shows Illuminati influence. This highlights the extent to which we live in a polarised world. One study looking at how conspiracy theories spread online, revealed that there is no overlap between those who share scientific news, and those who share conspiracies or fake news. He was so frequently trolled by conspiracy theorists in his science writing that he developed an algorithm to show how unlikely it is that big secrets can be kept for any significant length of time.

The more people involved in a cover-up, the quicker it would unravel, he showed. While there may not be a single solution, research looking into the psychology behind conspiracy theory participation is a start. The strongest predictor of climate denial, for instance, is a free-market ideology, Lewandowsky discovered. Through the work of Douglas and others, we now also know many of the traits that make people more susceptible to believing something without evidence.

View image of The vast majority of scientists agree that climate change today is caused by humans. Although technology has created the many echo chambers and filter bubbles we see today, it could also help overcome them. One pioneering experiment in Norway introduced a quiz to make sure the person understood what they had read before they were able to comment on an article. Another strategy that could help is educating people to better understand trusted sources, as well as holding public figures to account when they spread misinformation. That, he hopes, means we can overturn many conspiracies if people are provided with compelling, fact-based evidence.

Lastly, we can all look more closely at what we share on social media ourselves. People often share a clever-sounding headline without actually reading the contents of the article. This means that we really cannot always believe what we read and hear. If something sounds peculiar or contrived, chances are it might well be. If you are aware of just how many conspiracy theories circulate, then you are already ahead of the game in preventing them from spreading further.

Future Menu. What is BBC Future? Follow the Food. Future Now. In Depth Psychology The enduring appeal of conspiracy theories.

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Share on Facebook. Share on Twitter. Share on Reddit. Share on WhatsApp. Share by Email. Share on LinkedIn. By Melissa Hogenboom 24 January Lies, propaganda and fake news: A challenge for our age The labs that protect against online warfare How to avoid falling for lies and fake news Those that do not vaccinate often choose not to. He views his job as building flow charts of publicly available information to raise the big questions. And put together, I think it shows there's a bigger story.

If nothing else, I hope my work leads to more people doing their own investigative journalism. Just after the election, Khan quit his freelance consulting job to pursue the Trump investigations full-time. If he raises enough money, he may write a book. Left unsaid, a crucial caveat: Kushner investments, made via a venture capital company called Thrive, do not appear to give the Kushners operational control of the companies in which they invest.

The internet has historically been a near perfect incubator for conspiracy theories. A decade ago, conspiracy-minded bloggers made major contributions to reporting around everything from George W. Bush's National Guard service to intelligence failures in the run-up to the Iraq War. Once these sorts of efforts were largely confined to obscure message boards, little-known blogs, and occasionally AM talk radio.

Today, the work of the Blue Detectives and those on the far right is amplified and extended by same-minded people sharing what they want to believe — a byproduct of the social media echo chambers that birthed "fake news. In their coverage of the riot, far-right outlets including Breitbart News had suggested the Trump administration pull federal funding for the school. The post is a textbook example of a Blue Detective conspiracy musing.

And it ends, like so many Blue Detective theories, with a self-effacing nod to readers: Yes, I know how crazy this sounds.

Hey, internet companies: Pay attention to the FBI's new take on conspiracy theories

In person, Reich is more cautious about shifting the political discourse toward conspiracy theories. And that's why transparency is so critically important — we now have a responsibility to call a lie a lie. This desire for transparency is a key engine of the Blue Detectives. While the far right is building a media ecosystem that looks and feels a lot like the mainstream, some on the left are beginning to resemble the more conspiratorial fringes of the far-right.

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The resemblance is most uncanny when the two universes intersect, like this conspiratorial tweet about Infowars, which feels like it could have been written by Alex Jones himself:. But the emergence of the Blue Detectives is also a pointed critique of the mainstream press.

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Near the end of his Medium post, Zunger admitted as much. But it raises some very interesting questions for journalists to investigate.

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  • Why isn't anyone else pursuing this angle? In keeping with the tradition of the Blue Detectives, Khan is self-aware and by no means reckless. Members of the Upside Down media are paying attention, too. While Cernovich is still waging a Twitter war against the mainstream media and the left, his admitted softening highlights just how much the roles of the duelling media ecosystems of the far left and far right have reversed.

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    Contact Charlie Warzel at charlie. Got a confidential tip?