Saturday, February 8, 2014

Should we call Conspiracy Theorists "Conspiracy Theorists"?

Of all the things that I have observed about conspiracy theorists one of the things that has always stood out about them to me is that they hate the terms "conspiracy theorist" and "conspiracy theory". This is for two different reasons:

The primary reason is because they consider the terms to be insulting. This is actually understandable because skeptics and debunkers have used these terms in insulting tones and in an insulting way.

The secondary reason is because they claim that both terms to be "shill" words that were created by the CIA to discourage people from believing in a conspiracy theory (the terms actually first came into use in the late 1800's to early 1900's and pre-dates the CIA, it only came to be used in a derogatory way in the mid 1960's, but there is no evidence to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with that). Some even claim that only "shills" use the terms conspiracy theory and conspiracy theorist. Whether they actually believe this or are just claiming this inorder to get people to stop using these terms and/or to scare a skeptic off is another question entirely.

Regardless of the reasons why, the fact is that conspiracy theorists do not like the terms conspiracy theorist and conspiracy theory, and to be all honest I don't really like those terms either. The reason for this is that simply put a theory is based off of facts and evidence. Conspiracy theories are rarely made up of facts and evidence, and even the ones that do have some facts and evidence behind them are often mangled by conspiracy theorists and is manipulated into something that it is infact not...

To put it bluntly in my personal opinion using the word "theory" in conspiracy theory (and by extension conspiracy theorist) is actually inaccurate and inappropriate.

So what would be an accurate and appropriate term to replace conspiracy theory and theorist with?

From the conspiracy theorist side I've heard the terms "conspiracy realist" and "conspiracy fact". Both are obviously (atleast to a skeptic) inaccurate as hell due to the fact that conspiracy theories are rarely proven to be fact (most conspiracy theories that exist today either have been either disproven, or atleast have never been proven) and that most conspiracy theorists (especially the hardcore ones) aren't that realistic about... well anything really.

On the flip side however you have suggestions by skeptics like myself who have suggested terms such as "conspiracy lunatic", "conspiracy nut", and ofcourse paranoid conspiracy theorist and theory. While these terms may be more accurate (although the last one still uses the word theory) it is inappropriate because it does blatantly insult a person that seriously believes in conspiracy theories.

So the question remains is this: if none of these terms are either accurate and/or appropriate, then what would be an accurate and appropriate term to use in place of conspiracy theory and theorist?

Well, I have heard one suggestion that I feel is both appropriate and accurate, and it comes from a surprising source: Conspiracy theorists.

The term I am talking about is conspiracy hypothesis and hypothesizer.

These terms would be far more accurate as a hypothesis is what a person logically guesses (this varies from person to person) based off of an observation, as this is what a conspiracy theorist (or should I say hypothesizer) tends to do (minus the logic part): make observations. The only difference is that they often time just jump straight to the conclusion without gathering any real evidence.

I know that some of you will disagree with me on this, but think about it, aren't all conspiracy theories just based off of the opinions based off of someone's observations rather than actual facts and evidence?

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