Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Proving Conspiracy Theories

The realization that humans and their institutions are in fact small and vulnerable overwhelms some people’s sense of truth. People resist the idea that one man who was a pretty good shot could kill the most powerful figure in the world, by himself, or that a small group of guys with box cutters could orchestrate a disaster that would plunge us into decades of war.

However, if you want to show that a sensational theory that contradicts loads of accepted evidence is true, you need very strong counter evidence—not some circumstantial bits and pieces cobbled together with your speculations about what seems likely to you.

You have to prove that an incredible thing is true, not prove that it hasn’t been disproven—or ask me to disprove it.

If you want me to believe that there is a species of giant hominid secretly lurking in North American forests, I don’t want to see your blurry pictures of something that may or may not be a guy in an ape suit, and I don’t want to hear your speculations as to why this idea “just makes sense.” I want the actual body of a Sasquatch, dead or alive. It’s on you to prove it with strong, undeniable evidence. It’s not on me to disprove your silliness.

This is important because when you become willing to play around with the truth and suppose the world really must be the way you feel it to be, you begin to think that your enemies may really be inhuman monsters, which opens the door for the worst forms of bigotry.

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