Ben Boyle

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me@benboyle.ca

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What To Do About Conspiracy Theories?

14 Dec 2020

I had an existentially worrying experience.

I was talking to a prospective friend when they started detailing a gigantic conspiracy theory.

I realized at that moment that we were living in two parallel worlds. I had no way of refuting his theory because the conspiracy stretched to infect every history text ever written.

No evidence or discussion would be sufficient to convince them otherwise. Mistrust was at the root of their belief system.

I didn’t know what to do in this situation, so I just allowed him to continue while I feigned interest.

I wonder what the upper limit is for a society to remain stable while a substantial portion of the population lives in incompatible worlds. What happens to society if hundreds of thousands of people believe that Earth is flat, or the Democratic party is a club of Satan-worshipping elitist pedophiles, or vaccines are poisonous and cause autism?

Really, what will happen? Will violence erupt in the streets because they think the conspirators are closing in on them, or will the sane world simply shrug off the deluded. I don’t know; all I can say is that it worries me.

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