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Dutchess_III's avatar

What is one question that stops conspiracy theorists in their tracks?

Asked by Dutchess_III (27179 points ) January 6th, 2014

For me, when dealing with “The government is going to attack its citizens so we need to be armed!” the question “Why would they even do that?” tends to stop the debate and is never answered.

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28 Answers

bolwerk's avatar

The pig state does attack its citizens. It’s just not the white males who are conspiracy theorists who get the brunt of it.

Coloma's avatar

Tell them they need to get help for their, clearly, paranoid and delusional thinking. lol

kevbo's avatar

How about “Do you know I’m with the government and have to report this conversation?” Lolz.

Dutchess_III's avatar

LOL Kev! Good one!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Coloma That would stop the argument like pouring gas on a fire would put the fire out!

zenvelo's avatar

“How do you think they’re able to keep it all a secret?”

The problem with most conspiracy theories is they involve too many humans.

talljasperman's avatar

Mom saying , Dinner time.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Dutchess_III Well in my area it would be to suppress our rights. You can make up anything that’s perceived as ‘scary’ to most of these people. Remember Y2K?

When Obama was elected, it was ‘they’re going to come get our guns’, and ‘they’re going to restrict our ammunitions’, thus driving up the demand for both.

YARNLADY's avatar

I prefer to base my opinion on the facts.

tom_g's avatar

Like @zenvelo said, “The problem with most conspiracy theories is they involve too many humans.”

Also, I get a kick out of conspiracy theorists using legitimate conspiracies as evidence of their current conspiracy theory. They know about the conspiracy in their example because of the difficulty in keeping such things secret.

A conspiracy theorist might actually be correct about whatever they are rattling on about. But the time to believe it is when there is evidence. Only then. For many conspiracy theorists, however, the lack of evidence is more evidence of a conspiracy.

So, to answer your question? Nothing. Every question serves to strengthen the conspiracy.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Well seriously, it really depends upon the conspiracy in question.

Not all conspiracy theorists are wrong.

elbanditoroso's avatar

The question I would ask – and the irony of the whole conspiracy meme – is that the various things that they say that believe are in contradiction to each other.

On the one hand, the conspiracists tend to think that the government is ineffectual and corrupt and staffed by incompetent idiots.

Yet at the same time, these conspriacists believe in things that would required extreme coordination, extreme competence, split-second timing, and brilliant planning. And on the continued silence of tens of thousand (or more) people essentially forever.

[Just look at 9/11. If that was a US government conspiracy, look at all the thousands of people that would have to have been in on it, from the airlines to the pilots to the US army and Air Force, to the Congress and the Executive Office – and then all the way down to the NYFD, the FBI, the Pentagon employees, and so on. Not only would they have had to be in on it, but 12 years later, they would have to keep silent. That’s just not realistic.]

So to the conspiracy lovers, I would ask “How do you square your allegations of government incompetence with the utter success of the conspiracy?” – and the answer would be “I can’t” – because there is no conspiracy.

Seek's avatar

I usually repeat their claim back to them, with all the fancy-pants words removed.

My favourite is the chemical contrails thing.

“You’re telling me the government is poisoning the air with mind-control chemicals loaded onto airplanes, and the only thing that can save us is spicy lemonade?”

stanleybmanly's avatar

Begin the response with “Back on my planet, before I moved into the asylum——”

flutherother's avatar

Saying ‘I believe you’.

Symbeline's avatar

I get the passion and the interest of exploring such things, but I can’t be convinced, because if conspiracy theorists were right on mark about the government, they would all disappear into the night. So what I do is ask them what their basis is, and I find that most time, it’s personal opinion, usually based on entertainment.

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III That’s what would make it fun, c’mon baby light my crazy fire! lol

MadMadMax's avatar

What if the conspiracy exists. The word conspiracy isn’t synonymous with nutjob.

People do conspire to do pretty nasty things.

josie's avatar

See @MadMadMax
The question implies that each and every conspiracy theorist is some sort of idiot that needs to be put in their place.

And perhaps in some cases that is true. In which case the question you seek is “Why should I believe your idiotic and capricious theory?”

But in some cases, the theory may be valid. Why would you want to shut them down in that case?

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not into labels, and there’s a fine line in being reasonably suspicious with good reason (even before being proven true) vs outright believing very absurd things. Many conspiracy theories have been proven true. I’m aware of the ‘if it’s true then it’s not a conspiracy theory anymore’ mantra, but conspirators aren’t going to come out and outright admit something.

I would have to admit that some people are so much into conspiracies that they had never met one they didn’t like. Some people make a living off of them with radio, tv, the internet and books. On the other hand someone can just believe in only one conspiracy, but be locked into their belief that something other than the ‘original’ story must have happened because it would upset them if it actually didn’t.

To answer your question, and to define what a real conspiracy theorist really is as far as I’m concerned, there is no magic question. There’s no question that will stop those types of people dead in their tracks for obvious enough reasons. I’ve debated 911 truthers, and I live around and work with conspiracy theorists, so I think I would know this.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @Paradox25 100%.

Symbeline's avatar

@josie I don’t doubt for a second that the government isn’t out for the best interest of the populace. (and some countries don’t even try to hide it) What I have a hard time believing are people trying to tell me that since 1939, all the food you eat is contaminated with DNA altering nano machines, or that Nazis created the Internet.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Most theories are really funny and entertaining which is one reason they stay alive. Gullible people are everywhere. That said it’s important not completely reject some that may have a grain of truth. Like some of the Wallstreet corruption for example. I really don’t think that uncle sam is going to attack GMAFB. I do think that a good % of the political left want to take our 2nd amendment away through nit picky rules, bans, propaganda and outright smearing any who disagree. What that looks like to the conspiracy types is that there is a conspiracy to disarm the populace for sinister ends. If the anti-gun left would just STFU and leave gun owners alone a lot of this B.S. would stop. Thank Diane Feinstein for stirring up all of the conspiracy nonsense.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@elbanditoroso In response to your comment that they seem to contradict themselves…yeah. They can’t really believe this stuff or they wouldn’t be so open about it. On the outskirts of town there is a funky little building. On the property is a sign. For about 3 years the guy who owned the place had the sign reading something about “Thanks for the USSRA, Obama,” or something like that. I just remember shaking my head. If the guy believed it, he was a fool to post that comment on his own property. Wasn’t he afraid the government was going to take him away and torture his family?

@josie, I wasn’t implying that they need to be put in their place. There was no implying at all. It was a straight forward question….in regard to the various conspiracy theories that abound, what is one question that seems to stop the debate right there. As pertaining to the “government is going to turn on its people,” the question “Why would they do that?” just ends it.

mattbrowne's avatar

When was this published in the XYZ magazine?

XYZ could be Nature, Science, History Magazine etc.

Alternative:

Which is the Wikipedia article showing consensus on this finding?

Dutchess_III's avatar

But that doesn’t stop them, @mattbrowne. They’ll say “There is a TON of evidence out there. Just Google…unless you’re too lazy.”

mattbrowne's avatar

Google indexes all texts. There are no peer reviews for all texts checking quality and validity. Google proves nothing.

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