"Brandolini's Law" states that the amount of energy required to disprove a conspiracy theory is ten times the amount of energy required to produce it
Up to 40% of adults in the United States today agree with "young earth creationists", who believe that all humans are descendants of Adam and Eve who lived about 10,000 years ago. They believe that life is a product of creation rather than evolution and common descent. They established a creation museum where humans live alongside dinosaurs, when today's scientific knowledge states that man's ancestors evolved only about six million years ago, while almost all dinosaurs, except for their descendants the birds, became extinct long before that - 75 million years ago, and apparently due to A meteor hit the earth. They wrote and published research literature that does not meet the criteria of scientific research, because in scientific research the writer does not know in advance what the conclusion is, while the creationist "research" begins by determining the conclusion in advance, manipulating every piece of evidence to fit the conclusion, and ignoring any fact that contradicts the conclusion.
Paul Breiterman from the University of Glasgow in Scotland Claims Creationism has the characteristics of a conspiracy theory: creationists claim that behind the theory of evolution there is an entire universe in which organizations with their own separate laws determine the essence of evidence and scientific proof; that the scientific establishment that arrogantly and arrogantly promotes evolution is a morally corrupt elite; This elite conspires to take over all the jobs in the academy and all the research grants; That this elite is trying to promote a materialistic philosophy devoid of a higher providence, and in short, to promote atheism; And that the supreme goal of the conspirators is to deny any divine authority, and the supreme beneficiary and the main motive for the conspirators' action is Satan. Among those who claim it was so Member of the Science Committee in the United States Congress.
The study of the past is presented as unprovable
Creationists define the study of the past as research based on unprovable assumptions, while ignoring genetic, geological, andIce core research, dating using tree rings (Dendrochronology) and methods dating Radiometrics. Creationists attack falsification of evidence in science, such as Piltdown man scam, while ignoring the fact that it was science itself that discovered the forgery and denounced it using its own methods. The creationists criticize evolutionary studies from the 19th century and point out inaccuracies in them, while ignoring the fact that in the 19th century the theory of evolution was not as established as it is today. Countless fossils have since confirmed the predictions of evolution since then. The discovery of DNA and its role in the middle of the 20th century proved the existence of everything phylogenetic tree (lineage of species) whose existence evolution predicted. The creationists ignore all of this and attack the research of 19th century scientists, who did not have a single trace of the tremendous knowledge available to science today. Creationists though Purchasers advanced degrees in biology whose goal is to destroy the science of biology from within, as they unashamedly admit, thereby meeting all the hallmarks of a conspiracy.
Creationism, a response to the continuing accumulation of evidence for evolution, began in the 20s and gained momentum with its arrival in public education in the XNUMXs and with the publication of bestsellers such as "The Genesis Flood" by John Whitcomb and Henry Morris. Morris founded the "Institute for Creation Research", and other institutions arose in this spirit, with publications, websites and even museums. These institutions and their publications are hostile to science, but present themselves as scientific in order to receive a little of the aura of authority and prestige of science, as totalitarian regimes such as North Korea, the former East Germany and Cuba boasted and still boast of the title "democracy" or "people's democracy". Some of these organizations claim that science and religion can be reconciled, and rely on scientists such as Stephen J. Gould, who coined the term "non-overlapping kingdoms" (Non-overlapping magisteria), to indicate that science deals with facts, religion deals with values, and these should not be confused. Gold was one of the best public relations people of evolution, but his hasty words on the issue of values and morality were used by creationists to claim that science has nothing to say about values, and therefore every other secular theory - moral philosophy, humanism, liberalism, social democracy, etc. - has nothing to say either. say in these matters. This is how the conspiracy of the creationists, according to which evolution is the devil's messenger, also expanded to matters of morality, values and ethics. Scientific research findings, such as the observations and studies of France de Val About animals, can teach about natural morality. This is how science becomes relevant in understanding the human soul and in discussing social morality and social laws. Thus another component of the creationists' conspiracy theory is refuted.
Confused by the overwhelming abundance of information
But most of the people who follow conspiracy theorists are not conspirators themselves. They hesitate, doubt and are confused by the enormous, unprecedented abundance of information on the web, information that is mostly false. Because they are afraid, they do not look for reassuring news but for the scary news, to know what to watch out for. The evolutionary source for this is clear: in our ancient past, six million years ago, in the savannahs of Africa, we were mammals without natural weapons, in the middle of the food chain between the super-carnivores from which we fled and the small mammals that we tried to hunt. In these millions of years, complacency could have brought us to its end and fear served our survival. He who was afraid, survived, therefore scary things attract our attention more. We perceive studies on health risks - for example, food dyes and electromagnetic fields - as more reliable when their results indicate a danger, and less reliable when the results deny the existence of a danger. That is why conspiracy theories succeed in convincing: they are frightening, world-wide and offer unequivocal and simple answers to the question "Who is the cause of the danger?" They point to a politician, a tycoon, a limited liability company or a state as the arch-villain, thus making it possible to find one guilty factor, to give an apparent explanation for what is happening (an explanation that actually explains nothing), and to get rid of the terrifying feeling of not knowing.
Arguing with conspirators can cause harm in several ways: first, it gives the conspirator a public platform and an aura of respectability. The onlooker might think there is something in his arguments. Otherwise why does anyone bother to argue with him? Second, it's a waste of time. "Brandolini's law” states that the amount of energy needed to disprove a conspiracy theory is ten times the amount of energy required to produce it, and after the theory has been disproved, the conspirator moves on to a new conspiracy claim and attaches a link to a scientific article that he claims proves his claim. The link is usually unrelated to the claim, and sometimes even refutes it, but the general public reads the claim, sees that there is a link to scientific research, is convinced by the scientific appearance, and once again the conspiracy debunker is forced to start chasing the ghost. In the last year and a half, I consumed too much quality time and hours of sleep and expended too many nerves in refuting fake news that was casually put into the air but convinced my concerned relatives and therefore required hours of searching and reading from me to trace its source and refute it. For my peace of mind, I created a few rules of thumb for myself:
There is no doubt
- If the claimant states that he has no doubt and that he knows everything, it is probably a conspiracy theory. The basis of science is the opposite: recognition that there are things we still don't know. Until today, the public has only seen the result of science: the doubling of life expectancy within a hundred years; eradication of diseases that killed every second child up to the age of five; Improving the quality of life for most of humanity. But the general public has never seen the scientific process in real time, and now, during the Corona period, it is being exposed to it for the first time. Science is a process of learning, recognizing mistakes and correcting them, hypotheses and refutations, disputes, hesitations, doubts and intra-scientific debates. Regarding the corona vaccine, we know that the vaccine does not harm fertility and that the vaccine does not cause ADE (increasing the activity of the virus depending on the antibodies), but we still do not know how quickly the antibodies fade and what is the likelihood that a new variant of the virus will succeed in overcoming the protection provided by the vaccine. The public interprets this as evidence that science does not know what it is doing, but science has always acted this way, and this is the only way it has achieved all its achievements. Science admits ignorance, but no conspirator has ever cast doubt on his theory. When you hear a claim made with absolute certainty, it's probably a conspiracy theory.
There are cases that are better to ignore
– Better to pick your battles. Don't get into any arguments. The claim "the pharmaceutical companies are making billions from the epidemic" can be answered briefly: "Well, is this new? They made a profit even before the epidemic", or: "And they are worth every penny. Even before the plague, you never expected that whoever would save your life would do it for free." To the claim "vaccines are a conspiracy to thin out the population of humanity", one can answer with a shrug: "for now, the one who is thinning out humanity is the corona virus." And in fact, most conspiracy theories are best ignored, for two reasons: First, such answers may not help. Prof. Eyal Winter Load: "When there is a polarization in positions, advocacy not only cannot cast doubt among those who are already convinced of their position, but can even intensify the polarization." A person who comes across a figure that contradicts his belief, goes with his private feeling and does not perform an analytical analysis. When we silence rational thought, areas of our mind that are activated during pleasure are activated. In 2004, the brains of Americans listening to presidential candidates were scanned. When the subject listened to the segment in which his preferred candidate contradicted himself, a part of the brain associated with rational, causal and critical thinking became silent, and areas involved in processing emotions were activated. The respondents refused to acknowledge that their candidate was talking nonsense.
Exposure to information that confirms previous beliefs is associated with dopamine release and good feelings. We remember such information better than information that contradicts prior beliefs and knowledge. If the conspiracy theorist's opinion is contradicted, his opinion will only get stronger. When a conspirator spreads a conspiracy theory online, hundreds of likes will not motivate him to continue writing as much as one dissenting opinion, with which he can argue and thus strengthen his opinion, both in his own eyes and in the eyes of his followers.
And secondly, there are conspiracy theories that if you convince the holder that they are wrong, nothing will change. For example, if you convince an evolution denier of the fact of evolution, at most his education and way of searching for the facts will change. Conversely, if you convince a vaccine denier of the effectiveness of vaccines, his life may be saved, and if you convince a Kewannon supporter that the theory he supports is a conspiracy theory, the danger to the regime in the United States, as demonstrated by the invasion of Congress on January 6, 2021, may be at least significantly.
Therefore, both to increase the chances of convincing your interlocutor and not to waste your time, you should take the old "don't feed the troll" Internet debate approach: ignore the urge to debunk the conspiracy theory, and instead focus on the fact you most need to establish: e.g. , in the current corona crisis, how the vaccine works: a messenger RNA molecule is inserted into muscle cells. The ribosome, the protein replicating organ in the cell, uses the information that this molecule conveys to it to replicate the "spike" protein. The cell displays this protein on its envelope. The immune system is alerted and produces antibodies to the corona virus. that's it. It's a process that will either way happen when the corona virus enters our body, but the vaccine prepares the immune system in advance, teaches it to recognize the virus before it enters, and thus allows the antibodies to be formed earlier. All the studies and observations of those hospitalized due to Corona indicate that the vaccine reduces the likelihood of serious illness or death by more than 90%. This is what we need to emphasize in the public debate to encourage people to believe in science. Any deviation to discuss conspiracy theories - Bill Gates, G-Five or billions of dollars in profits for pharmaceutical companies - could be ammunition in the hand of the conspirators.
- There is nothing like saying the phrase "conspiracy theory" to upset people who believe in conspiracy theories. It is better not to use this phrase. The fight is about health, not about one expression or another, and not about the lost dignity of the health system or the pharmaceutical companies.
- Remember that it is much more likely that a wise man belongs to the camp of the skeptics, the wondering, the fearful, than that he initiates or actively supports the spread of a conspiracy theory. For everyone who firmly states that there is a conspiracy, or actively spreads a conspiracy theory, there are many who say: "I heard that...", express fear and look for information. Don't argue with them. Give them information and direct them to reliable and scientific sources of information. We can only hope that they will make the right decision, according to the scientific information currently known, and that they will slowly realize that if they scared them with one conspiracy theory, which was proven to be false, and then they scared them with another theory, which was also proven to be false, and this happens again and again, apparently the spreaders of conspiracy theories spread Not true, but - well, conspiracy theories are invalid.
Success for all of us.
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