Friday, July 13, 2012

5 Reasons why People keep Believing in Debunked Conspiracy Theories

I've wondered why do people still believe in certain conspiracy theories, even after they have been totally debunked, or proven to be logically improbable.

From my observations of conspiracy theorists, I believe that there are five main reasons why some people still believe in conspiracy theories, even after they have been debunked.

Here are those five reasons:

5. Misinformation

Some people keep believing in conspiracy theories simply because they haven't seen the correct information on certain incidents, or groups, and they might not bother to actually do any research on such things either, or, they have relied on and believed the misinformation for so long, they end up rejecting any factual information, because they believe that it is in fact, not factual.

4. Bigotry

Some people continue to believe in debunked conspiracy theories simply because they are bigots, and any conspiracies that involves people of certain races, or religions, or ethnic groups that they don't like, in their minds, must be true, because their bigoted minds won't allow them to think rationally about people who are different from them.

3. Distrust

Many people continue to believe in conspiracy theories simply because of distrust in either the government, or corporations, or certain political parties, or secret groups, or whatever, and they just can't get past their distrust to see the truth.

Most of these people tend to have grown up in environments where they are taught to distrust in people or groups with power. Other times this distrust comes from personal, negative experiences, with either the government, or a large business, or certain groups.

2. Stubbornness

There are some people out there who actually don't believe in conspiracy theories, but continue to proclaim belief in conspiracy theories, simply because they're to stubborn to admit they were wrong.

Sometimes this stubbornness is not simply because of ego, but because of the fear of losing friends that they have made within conspiracy theorist community, or losing contact with family members who might also believe strongly in conspiracy theories, or just the fear of being said "I told you so" by skeptics and debunkers.

1. Mental Illness

Sadly, some people just can't believe that a conspiracy theory isn't real, even if the conspiracy theory itself sounds so crazy, that most other conspiracy theorists wouldn't believe it, simply because their mind doesn't work right.

Because mental illness can prevent a person from thinking rationally, and or critically, and makes them either uncontrollably paranoid, or delusional, it might be impossible to change their belief in a conspiracy theory, unless of course they are given mental health treatments, and even that might not be enough to stop their belief in conspiracies.


  1. I suggest two more reasons:
    6. Personal loyalty. Some people have become close friends with, or even married, the people who first convinced them of the CT's. They don't want to lose that relationship and the investment they've made in it.
    7. Partial truth, combined with untrustworthy responses tot eh theory by the suspected parties. "A" steals a candy bar. A year later, stores belonging to relatives of the candy-bar-robbed shopkeeper are vandalized. The original candy thief has grown up and no longer steals, and has no connection to the later crimes, but he denies having stolen a candy bar in the face of evidence that he did it, and he then attempts to pathologize the accuser, "B". "B" might then somewhat reasonably assume that "A" is connected to the vandalism, and that "A"s continued denials are a cause for even deeper and broader suspicions about "A". It doesn't make false accusations OK, but it puts the phenomenon in some perspective.

  2. 8. I think it gives people an unearned sense of self accomplishment and confidence when they think that they are privy to 'knowledge' that other people might not know.These are usually the first ones to laugh at you, call you names and resort to personal attacks when you don't buy what they are selling.

  3. 9. An outlet for analytical faculties that one's job etc. does not challenge. Something to do with one's mind while the conveyor belts roll by. A way to stay awake all day.
    10. Role modeling by entertainment media. People look to media for guidance as to "what to do with themselves." Media provide storylines about aliens, secrets etc. Audience members think that's what they are supposed to be doing with their time: connecting "dots" into suspicious theories.

  4. This is some great stuff guys! I very much appreciate it!