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Mailbag: Conspiracy theories are tough to refute

Mailbag: Conspiracy theories are tough to refute


It is exceedingly difficult to refute conspiracy theories. Any attempt to do so becomes evidence of the existence of the conspiracy. Conspiracies, by their nature, rely on supposed secret information and/or sources. The information propagated by QAnon, for example, is supposedly derived from a secret agent, Q, within the “deep state,” passing along secret information. Since agent Q is anonymous and not accessible by anyone seeking direct access to that person, there is no way to independently verify any “facts” attributable to this person. Conspiracy theories depend on unverifiable facts and a constant repetition of the supposed facts.

Individuals and groups susceptible to conspiracy theories generally disdain nuanced and critical thinking. They are prone to accept simplistic answers to complex issues. Apparently, there are a couple such persons being considered for seats in the U.S. Congress, which may result in a QAnon caucus.

An example of this lack of nuanced thinking would be equating Black-on-Black killing to Blacks being killed by police. To do so ignores an analysis of the perpetrators of each violent act. Generally, Black-on-Black killings are gang- or domestic violence-related crimes. And these are terrible acts, often resulting in the deaths of innocent children and condemned within the communities in which they occur. Killings by police are especially horrendous since the killer is a person one expects to be a protector and with little accountability. And police kill usually unarmed Black people about 2.5 times more frequently than white people.

Robert B. Harris, Ph. D.



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