My New Year’s resolution is to get my blog back on track. So let’s do it! What’s been happening in the conspiracist world?
Well, for one, David Shariatmadari published an unusually balanced piece in the Guardian, entitled The truth is rushing out there: why conspiracy theories spread faster than ever. It is strongly from the psychological angle – which is to say, conspiracy theories are a way of thinking, but at least it is not presented here as a necessarily aberrant way of thinking. Because if it is, then psychology and religion and many other ways of thinking that posit unprovable primum mobiles are aberrant too:
For Ryan… [a] world that pitted him against the forces of evil had all the appeal of a spy drama. But real life was less like a story – and in some ways more depressing. What does he think are the forces that really shape things? “Most of what is wrong in the world nowadays – well, I would put it down to incompetence and greed. A lack of compassion.”
A more typical report at Epiphenom, which argues that people make more appeals to conspiracy theories when they feel they have less control of their environment. Which almost certainly applies to much more than just CTs – millennialism, for one, and jingoism for another, and ‘religion’, whatever it is. The problem is, as with much psychological work on CTs, is that it assumes we know what a CT is. We might as well say “People are prepared to accept different evidence the more desperate they get.” Which is obviously true, but doesn’t tell us a great deal.
This blog post explores the connections between CTs and religious ideas. Not academic, but good to see this idea spreading beyond the academy.