Cautions of Conspiracy Theories


Ever since I was little, I remember always being excited whenever someone brought up conspiracy theories. From Justin Bieber and Barack Obama being lizard aliens as a part of some secret society to the earth being flat, these wild accusations always made me wonder: What if?

Now, with countless documentaries and shows all about conspiracy theories such as “Extraordinary, Conspiracies, Top 10 Secrets and Mysteries,” and even Shane Dawson’s “Conspiracy Theories” series featured on his Youtube channel, I wonder what makes a conspiracy theory conspire, why is it so impactful, and what kind of effects does it have on society?

According to University of Kent psychologists Michael J. Wood, Karen M. Douglas and Aleksandra Cichocka in their work on “The Psychology of Conspiracy Theories,” a conspiracy theory, “Explains important events as secret plots by powerful and malevolent groups.”

After Shane Dawson released his documentary “Conspiracy Theories With Shane Dawson,” Youtube announced that it was changing policy regarding recommendations when it comes to conspiracy theories to reduce the spread of “borderline content and content that could misinform users in harmful ways.”

It cited examples of such content as being, “videos promoting a phony miracle cure for a serious illness, claiming the earth is flat or making blatantly false claims about historical events like 9/11,” according to the New York Times.

While some conspiracy theories end up becoming accepted as truth, some other theories are just allegations that can lead to widespread skepticism, hurting some organizations or discrediting some individuals’ reputations in the process.

One harmful conspiracy theory was the Pizzagate theory that went viral during the 2016 presidential election.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, had his personal email account hacked in an email spoofing attack, and the emails were made public by WikiLeaks.

People who were involved in the Pizzagate conspiracy theory claimed the emails contained coded messages referring to human child sex trafficking. The theories spread around the U.S. on social media such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, slandering the Democratic Party.

High profile political members associated with the Democratic Party were accused of being linked with the restaurant Comet Ping Pong, located in Washington D.C., which was alleged of being the center of a child sex and sacrifice ring. An unknown man from North Carolina fired shots from an assault rifle inside Comet Ping Pong to save trafficked children.

This theory has since been debunked, but that still does not erase the harm that was caused by this unfortunate incident.

Some people are extreme when it comes to their beliefs, which can involve the views of some conspiracy theories. As the saying goes, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. This saying applies well to conspiracy theories and how we refer to them to the world we live in.

Such conspiracy theories as Pizzagate, or ones concerning 9/11 and global warming being fake are incredibly harmful, and I do not think people realize the consequences of some of them until it is too late. That is why it is essential to look for credible sources when it comes to conspiracy theories. When people take conspiracy theories too seriously, it has a chain of negative effects.

Even though I love hearing about all the crazy conspiracies, I still try to separate facts from fictions and what we know from what we are skeptic about.

I recognize that global warming is not a hoax caused by China and that the earth is round. Aliens most likely exist, but we won’t have any ET friends coming to us personally anytime soon, and even though I honestly believe the Denver airport might just be a creepy spooky headquarters for some new world order, I also recognize that I will never know what the truth really is, and that is okay.

If life were all about separating the truth from fiction, we would all drive ourselves mad with our own ideas.

When it comes to separating fact from fiction, it is important to stick to your convictions. However, it is also important to stick to provable, credible claims because without proof to hold us accountable, lest we accidentally do something which causes unknown harm.