Conspiracy Theories

Talkin' Paranoia on Public Radio

Wisconsin Public Radio discusses conspiracy theories.


The eyes ARE a triangle.

The public radio show To the Best of Our Knowledge dedicated this past weekend's episode to the topic of conspiracy theories, and one of the people they spoke with was me. My segment is here; the whole show, which also includes interviews with psychologist Rob Brotherton, religion scholar David G. Robertson, and reporter Patricia Goldstone, is here.

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  1. I see that Jesse decided to work with the cabal…

  2. CIA black prison sites, the IRS targeting political enemies, the VA letting veterans croak, Flint Michigan’s water problems, etc practically to infinity. Oh, those did actually occur? I guess that’s why a lot of otherwise reasonable people buy into the conspiracy nonsense.

    1. It’s only paranoia if they aren’t out to get you.

      1. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you.

        1. It’s the shifty eyes, isn’t it.

          1. What have you heard?!?

    2. Was Michelle Fields manhandled? Is Milo real? Who ordered the Benghazi stand down? Is Donald Trump a feminist, or isn’t he?


      1. Because Patrick Swayze is dead, and the Swayze Express stopped running years ago. Bubbles is very sad.

  3. I’m not clicking that link!

    :looks around nervously:

    1. Everyone who watches the clip gets their FBI file updated to their nicest DMV photo.

    2. Nice head-fake there, BW. You just want us to think clicking on the link is a bad idea, don’t you?

      /narrows sideways gaze

  4. Always thought David Grimes study at Oxford on conspiracy theories was intriguing. He looked at the top few involving science conspiracies (moon landing, cancer cures, etc.), and even calculated the number of people who would have to be involved.

    At the top of the list? The conspiracy that science is engaged in fraud with climate change. He says it would take 405,000 people for that conspiracy to get off the ground. And with that large of a number, it would all unravel in 3.5 years.

    Did you bring up that conspiracy? It’s one of the biggest in the world today. Oh that’s right, you don’t think it’s a conspiracy.…..poil-plot#

    1. That’s a cue for all the conspiracy theorists who inhabit these pages.

    2. I’m impressed that you’ve “always” been intrigued by the Grimes paper, since it’s only been out a few months. At any rate, you can find some interesting critiques of it here and here.

      1. Still don’t think it’s a conspiracy, Jesse?

        1. Still don’t think it’s a conspiracy, Jesse?

          My position is the same as it was the last time I discussed this with you: Some versions of global-warming disbelief invoke a conspiracy and some do not.

          1. Fair enough. Thanks for answering.

      2. By the way, thanks for posting a piece from Little Atoms. You may want to consider this piece of theirs that suggests we may want to listen to insurers who say we need to prepare for the worst when it comes to climate change. Note they don’t suggest it’s all a conspiracy.…..nge-lloyds

    3. “The conspiracy that science is engaged in fraud with climate change.”

      Does this need to actually be a conspiracy? I mean all it really takes is the incentive of government handing out large grants to studies that confirm climate change and news that stigmatizes scientist who disagrees with those studies and you have a self confirming money machine. I think you have to look at it like you do with colleges and safe spaces. It wasn’t a conspiracy by the deans and professors that lead to the current bubble generation, but the results of bad government laws, biases in teachers and universities and the inevitable result of going down the path of identity politics. Just because no one planned it, doesn’t mean it isn’t occurring.

      1. Grants are given out for all sorts of studies, not just climate. Are they all fraudulent? Every scientist…do they all just come to findings in order to keep grant money coming in? All the scientific societies ( and that is every one), are they all doing the same?

        This would be one massive conspiracy. You can disagree with Grimes number of 400,000 (maybe Jesse does), but you can pick any number you want of all the scientists that would have to be part of such fraud…it would at a minimum be in the tens of thousands.

        It’s beyond comprehension.

      2. Well, there are a couple of pretty clear micro-conspiracies – “hide the decline”, anyone?

        But, the whole enterprise doesn’t need to be a conspiracy for it to be illegitimate. Start with some really bad assumptions/ideologues at the top, wrap it in scads of money based on those assumptions, et viola, you get what we have now, no conspiracy necessary but a total scam.

        1. Then that’s a scam that involves every country (see Paris), every single major science organization, and over 90% of climate scientists (please stop with the complaint it isn’t 90% or thereabouts. See the recent survey from AMS. You can pick whatever number you want. Go 80%).

          You know what that “scam” would then be? A worldwide conspiracy.

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