Monday, May 22, 2006

The Conspiracy of the Idiots

One of the things that annoys me most with people is their sheer credulity. Do we grow more credulous and less sceptical as we grow up? Most of us certainly do, if the popularity of these utterly stupid conspiracy theories are anything to be believed. I mean I can understand Da Vinci Code, it is a work of fiction but what about the theories about 9-11. Just take a look at this wikipedia entry dedicated to the conspiracy theories surrounding 9-11.

Is it just the information glut that is fuelling this thing? When forwarding emails or publishing on the internet or sending smses has become totally free, the junk and the authentic have both been democratized (such is the leveling power of internet!) to a common level. So when you ask some idiot of the proof of his theory he will promptly send you a link to a shady website or forward you a chain mail. While internet has certainly fuelled the trend, I think there is an inherent predisposition in human nature towards believing in these conspiracy theories. It is just extremely difficult to digest for people that extraordinary events can be caused by perfectly ordinary reasons. Or perhaps this is just somekind of reverse scepticism. We distrust our governments, mainstream media, political figures and other authorities in our system so much that any information coming out of them becomes ipso facto suspect. I personally think it is the most important reason.

Michael Shermer, the sceptic extraordinaire, debunks some of the theories in Scientific American.

And this is Shermer's manifesto for scientific scepticism. Really worth reading.

No comments: