Out of a world of fear and paranoia.

Conspiracy theories and the people who believe in them offer nothing but fear and paranoia. Usually, when someone believes in them, they do nothing except post about them on the internet and share pictures on facebook as a means of raising awareness but never doing anything productive. Worse yet, the conspiracy theories usually being false means they're wasting their time on chasing shadows.

This is why I am so glad for places of discussion and truly critical thinking like this. Make no mistake that ya'll do good work by debunking these things. Some of us have difficulty seeing fallacies of logic or knowing when facts are wrong. It really helps people who aren't too far gone yet to read through debunkings. I'm a biochemistry major at my university and I am doing well for myself. I thought I was too smart to be fooled, which is probably why I was fooled so easily by conspiracy theories (EDIT: To better explain this part, I meant that I believed that I would just KNOW if something was bogus or realistic. I wouldn't believe in things like shape shifting reptilians, but the more "rational" theories that didn't involved interdimensional beings. But I could not see the fallacies in logic or reason or real facts that led me to believe in things like the NWO, Big Pharma suppressing cancer cures, our government is intentionally poisoning us with fluoride, etc). I know better now. I was never completely gone down the rabbit hole, but I found myself reading CTs for fun and then found myself taking them very seriously, to my detriment.

I started out mostly with alternative medicine and all sorts of diets and natural remedies for things. My obsession for physical and dietary purity led me to darker places. I started reading about NWO and Illuminati stuff. It was funny at first, but then I began believing that the existence of these groups would prevent me from having the purity I wanted. I believed the FDA was putting things in our food to get us to consume chemicals to poison us. I suddenly wanted to believe in reports of all the good things happening against the fight of the "global elite". Then there were others who claimed that the people I followed were actually disinfo agents. Then those people were disinfo agents. Everyone is a disinfo agent in this world. It's a huge clusterfuck of nonsense.

I stopped reading those things for my own health, but I hung on to the belief that things weren't right. Then years later, I find blogs like Thrive Debunked, Contrail Science, and this site to finally kill off these paranoid beliefs.

I was diagnosed with OCD and an eating disorder long after all this. In the peak of my conspiracy theory days, I was posting about them everywhere. Fairly convincingly too, yet I was mentally ill. It is difficult to tell when someone is mentally ill, across a computer or even in person, but thanks to my mental illnesses, I found myself being obsessed with CTs.

Nowadays, I read debunkings for fun and because I find the psychology is conspiracy theorists very fascinating, being I was one myself. Lots of behavior I still find odd and unbelievable, but I know better than to take any claims seriously without some solid evidence. I used to go with my gut on things, but that doesn't tend to work too well when you have a legitimate anxiety disorder. Haha.

So thank you, for those of you who debunk. You help extinguish the insane wildfires of paranoia and fear and can stop people from really ruining their lives as well as helping people like me try to think things through before jumping to the worst conclusion. Thank you so much.
 
Last edited:

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Thanks for sharing.

Nowadays, I read debunkings for fun and because I find the psychology is conspiracy theorists very fascinating, being I was one myself.
That's a similar motivation to mine. Just seeing how easily truth can become something it's not, and learning how to guard against that, is fascinating.
 
I wholeheartedly agree. I also find it very interesting how conspiracy theorists tend to respond to debunkings. Rarely, if ever, do they truly engage in a logical debate. How some people can hold onto weak evidence and minor logical inconsistencies to hang onto a completely asinine viewpoint. Though I can never diagnose anyone as I am not a psychologist, a major facet of my OCD can be that I won't be satisfied with an explanation unless every single logical inconsistency is perfectly accounted for. So if 95% of evidence points to something, my mind would want to focus on the 5% that doesn't add up...very obsessively. Of course, that is if I don't treat the root problem, which is the OCD.

I spent my morning reading about Morgellon's on Mick's old blog. I find all of it truly fascinating. The idea of people believing in a made up disease, defending this viewpoint (which just prolongs suffering), the people who take advantage, the debunkers, the process of trying to get through to believers, etc. The whole thing is just a really fascinating dynamic, and I really mean that in the most unoffensive, humble way possible. I feel very bad for people who spend their lives chasing these shadows as that is exactly where I used to be.

Nonetheless, I am glad to be in a much better place and continue to occasionally indulge myself within this community. Conspiracy theories are fringe topics for sure, but debunking seems to be even further on the fringe. Not many people would put in the work and effort required to disprove things that are usually not seen to be even worth the time of day. But I guess that's what the illuminati is paying you guys for, right? :D
 

mrfintoil

Senior Member.
You're brave telling your story like this. I almost fell down the rabbit hole myself some ten years ago. And looking back at the experience has given me great insight in the mechanics of conspiracy thinking. Tunnelvisionary, you seem to have had a slower descent down the conspiracy bog than I did. But tell me if you felt the same way emotionally as I did during that time.

Many, many years ago a friend got hysterical for some reason, and he kept posting me videos from some aggressive man called "Alex Jones". I did not know who Alex Jones was at that time, and little did I know about conspiracies or scepticism in general. First I dismissed the videos because I didn't understand them, but once I took some time to see what they were I became quite upset and scared surprisingly. But again, that was because I didn't know much about any of this. Alex Jones was talking about the "elite" at the Bohemian Grove, and how this secret society was going to poison most of the population on earth and enslave the rest at the end of 2012.

Looking back at my reaction I can only feel embarrassed how easily I submitted to the fear, but it was really the fear that overrode all my rational thinking. I knew since before that something, a great change, was expected to happen at the end of 2012. Was this the thing that was supposed to happen?

When I was younger I had strong fears about various doomsday scenarios which I think contributed to this sudden fear that gripped me. I like to call it an emotional blow, and this blow caused me to feel very exposed and vulnerable.

Of course in such situation you grasp for any signs of comfort that things are going to be right, and there are only two paths to go down:
  • "Do the research", "wake up" yourself and others by preaching the "truth" and "fight the evil" - essentially becoming what I call a conspiranoid.
  • Use a more rational approach and dissect various conspiracy claims - essentially becoming a sceptic.
Luckily I happened upon debunking sites, which probably saved my sanity. And since then I have taken great interest in the psychology of conspiracy thinking, just like you Tunnelvisionary. I've also been an active debater and debunker for like seven years now. But it is only since last year I became a serious Metabunk member.

But you mentioned you suffer OCD? My interpretation is that this has actually helped you settle with only good strong explanations?
I know for a fact that many conspiracy thinkers also suffer ADHD, which must be hell to live with together with paranoia. This makes them unable to focus on the specifics they need in order to see if they really support the pre-established conclusion most believers have. A similar phenomenon can be seen with people who do not suffer ADHD as well, which I like to call the clustering illusion of evidence.

This theory (many people probably have similar concept) is that once you accept one piece of bad evidence, you are likely to accept more of them, and once you have accepted so many of them it becomes hard to study each of them objectively. It becomes hard because there will always bee this looming sense that there must be a conspiracy going on somehow, so if someone debunks one specific detail it doesn't really change much, because there will always be a huge pile of other (in reality false) evidence for you to rely upon. Hence you will have a cluster of bad evidence that creates the illusion of strong evidence.

trueIsFalse._smalljpg.jpg
At a glance things might appear true, but study the details and you find that you only have errors, misconceptions and lies.

Problem is that most conspiracy thinkers start out with very little knowledge, they submit to the fear and surround themselves with this cluster of bad evidence. I consider this phenomenon to be the reason why you often find conspiracy thinkers engaging in so called gish gallop debating style were they jump from between conspiracies and details all the time.
  • "Chemtrails" are true because the Bilderberg group exists.
  • The Bilderberg group is evil because government has done evil in the past.
  • And if you can't find information about it, it was covered up.
And so on.
 
Last edited:

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
so if someone debunks one specific detail it doesn't really change much, because there will always be a huge pile of other (in reality false) evidence for you to rely upon. Hence you will have a cluster of bad evidence that creates the illusion of strong evidence.
This is a good description of what I have seen over the years. The believers slowly build a mountain of false evidence and don't care if you debunk any or several bits because the mountain still seems solid. The mountain got built because each bit got declared "proven" and became accepted "fact" as it came along. To the believers it seems impossible that ALL of their mountain of "facts" could be false, but it is.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
great insights guys! I like the "clustering" idea, the mountain.

In my experience* with bunk/evil gov. , there IS a mountain of false info but I was surprised to find it only takes 1 debunk to make the mountain fall. (kinda like a Jenga tower). Of course which 'piece' being removed will make the mountain fall is the tricky part. Seems different for each person.

*this may not apply for Cters that have a pervasive fear of gov. My experience was with only one very specific 'coverup' of the government and those "cters" weren't "paranoid" overall.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
great insights guys! I like the "clustering" idea, the mountain.

In my experience* with bunk/evil gov. , there IS a mountain of false info but I was surprised to find it only takes 1 debunk to make the mountain fall. (kinda like a Jenga tower). Of course which 'piece' being removed will make the mountain fall is the tricky part. Seems different for each person.

*this may not apply for Cters that have a pervasive fear of gov. My experience was with only one very specific 'coverup' of the government and those "cters" weren't "paranoid" overall.
The mountain SHOULD fall, but it doesn't. I see it said all the time that there is no reason for any more debate- that it is all proven. Here is a quote from Youtube just this morning:
Of course that person is laboring under multiple false notions, such as that any aluminum found in invironmental dust MUST be part of a geoengineering program. :rolleyes:
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The mountain SHOULD fall, but it doesn't. I see it said all the time that there is no reason for any more debate- that it is all proven.
The reason for continued discussion of an overworked subject is largely to communicate. Often the fact-finding debunking has all been done, and the challenge is figuring out how to get people to look at it, like with the fuel dump video - how do you get people to even look at a debunk?

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/de...neering-film-footage-reality-fuel-dumps.3840/
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
The reason for continued discussion of an overworked subject is largely to communicate. Often the fact-finding debunking has all been done, and the challenge is figuring out how to get people to look at it, like with the fuel dump video - how do you get people to even look at a debunk?

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/de...neering-film-footage-reality-fuel-dumps.3840/
You beat my edit. It is on the chemtrail believer side where they assert that no further debate is needed.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
the challenge is figuring out how to get people to look at it
exactly. my hardest nut to crack (and I had tried all the data and tricks ) broke instantaneously one day when I just burst into tears. She never ever looked back either, it was weird. ; ) <so it takes different triggers for different people.
 

mrfintoil

Senior Member.
but I was surprised to find it only takes 1 debunk to make the mountain fall. (kinda like a Jenga tower). Of course which 'piece' being removed will make the mountain fall is the tricky part. Seems different for each person.
That must be a different kind you are talking about indeed, because most people I've debated are certainly not persuaded by one simple debunking. There are often so much more left to debunk that it takes a long process of going through most claims until the believer is neutral enough to rethink the general attitude.

You can visualize it as the scale of bias:

A---------0--------B
A means you are convinced about conspiracies, B means you doubt them.
I would consider that most conspiracy believers are at the far end of A.
A|--------0--------B
For each and every debunked claim, the believer moves closer towards 0.
0 is the threshold were the believer accepts that there is seemingly equal amount of evidence for the conspiracy as there is against the conspiracy.
The believer must reach the state of 0 before the the individual loses most of the bias that is pulling them back in. After losing it he or she becomes neutral and independent to do actual objective factual research into each and every claim. The looming conspiracy is by then uncertain, and the believer cannot fall back on this feeling. It's the state were it becomes okay to read your opponents arguments without mistrust. It's okay to read Contrailscience.com on your own.

I personally know former believers who in the attempt to prove their belief essentially debunked themselves by going over so much actual bad evidence that there was little left in support of the conspiracy. And it was when most claims have been rendered false that the clustering illusion of evidence is shattered and the individual regains an unbiased attitude.

As you probably know, it takes a long discussion and debunking to reach this point.
But it is easier to do it with young people rather than old. The older they get the more reluctant of revising held ideas they become.

But I agree that some claims are more important to debunk than others, which might have been part of your point.
 
Last edited:
You're brave telling your story like this. I almost fell down the rabbit hole myself some ten years ago. And looking back at the experience has given me great insight in the mechanics of conspiracy thinking. Tunnelvisionary, you seem to have had a slower descent down the conspiracy bog than I did. But tell me if you felt the same way emotionally as I did during that time.
Thanks for sharing mrfintoil! Hilarious avatar btw. Thank you all for reading my post and sharing your insights. I've been wanting to discuss this subject for a while now...probably to process it all as it was a fairly big part of my life if only for a relatively short span of time.

I'd say our descents into madness share similar qualities. An over-reliance on emotions and our lack of awareness of the fallacies of logic in what these conspiracy theories were saying.

For me, I think because I was coming from a more new-age background, it set the stage for me believing in more wacky things. I followed lots of Eastern philosophy and became very interested in consciousness as our true identity, chakras, energies, the law of attraction, a sentient universe, etc. I knew it defied logic to believe so, but I have an inclination to believe in things like that. I practiced meditation a lot and basically my spiritual identity was used as a way to alleviate the obsession and anxiety coming from my then undiagnosed conditions. So I became pretentiously open minded to the point where I didn't argue with anything. I suppose in such a state, it's easy to pick up beliefs you think are right because you won't stop to think about them. So my background in new age and strong emphasis on "intuition" meant that I would be ripe for hanging onto conspiracy theories. Especially since I began to have a personal stake in them once I thought the NWO/global elite were getting in the way of my personal happiness (which was achieving freedom from all dietary/chemical impurities at the time).

I believe all of that put me on the express lane to believing conspiracy theories. I wasn't totally immersed in that world, and lots of people came off as nuts just by the erratic way in which they typed, so I didn't like being there. But I remember distinctly a day when I was driving home from university very very seriously worried that the "good guys" were not beating the illuminati. I remember feeling happiness and elation whenever I would think that someone was out there fighting against the illuminati, that it was all going to happen "very soon", and "big changes" were on their way. For my OCD mind, finding that next juicy piece of info was like an addiction.

But you mentioned you suffer OCD? My interpretation is that this has actually helped you settle with only good strong explanations?
I know for a fact that many conspiracy thinkers also suffer ADHD, which must be hell to live with together with paranoia. This makes them unable to focus on the specifics they need in order to see if they really support the pre-established conclusion most believers have. A similar phenomenon can be seen with people who do not suffer ADHD as well, which I like to call the clustering illusion of evidence.
Well I wouldn't say OCD helped me settle with strong explanations, mostly that OCD would pick at one tiny tiny tiny irrelevant detail and fuel my doubts. If that detail was not solved or figured out, my mind would hang on to some doubt about the debunking. It's OCD perfectionism...it wants perfect explanations, but nothing is perfectly explainable.
 
great insights guys! I like the "clustering" idea, the mountain.

In my experience* with bunk/evil gov. , there IS a mountain of false info but I was surprised to find it only takes 1 debunk to make the mountain fall. (kinda like a Jenga tower). Of course which 'piece' being removed will make the mountain fall is the tricky part. Seems different for each person.

*this may not apply for Cters that have a pervasive fear of gov. My experience was with only one very specific 'coverup' of the government and those "cters" weren't "paranoid" overall.
I wonder how much education and the value of a traditional education plays a part. Being that I go to a traditional, accredited, university, I learned about the laws of thermodynamics and learned why free energy is a bunk concept. Yet, there are so many CTers with an ignorance of science that do not understand that the laws of nature do not allow a free energy device to exist.

I would think lots of them have a great ignorance of science. I feel like CTers have become a bit more sophisticated with appearing scientific so to the layman sometimes it can look very convincing.
 

mrfintoil

Senior Member.
Well I wouldn't say OCD helped me settle with strong explanations, mostly that OCD would pick at one tiny tiny tiny irrelevant detail and fuel my doubts. If that detail was not solved or figured out, my mind would hang on to some doubt about the debunking. It's OCD perfectionism...it wants perfect explanations, but nothing is perfectly explainable.
Oh I see. It was in the context of accepting debunks. I thought it was the other way around, accepting bunk.
But at this point it must be more like that, right? If so it must be a good tool for a sceptic :)
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Thanks for sharing mrfintoil! Hilarious avatar btw.
I second that notion!!!

EDIT:
Thank you all for reading my post and sharing your insights. I've been wanting to discuss this subject for a while now...probably to process it all as it was a fairly big part of my life if only for a relatively short span of time.
I think (also) it is therapeutic for you, and this is a great step forward in resolving and dealing. Our Human brains are interesting, for certain. What mysteries we hold.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
But I agree that some claims are more important to debunk than others, which might have been part of your point.
well yes. certainly the "big issues" need to be debunked. But my point was more that what is "important" to each CTer is different. That's why I babble a lot. Many times I finally got through to people, it was weird random statements or analogies I made almost 'by accident'.

Sometimes it was a team effort in that apparently I repeated something they had heard from someone else and the overlap of coming from two (different types of )sources was the key I guess. That's why I like Metabunk, you guys make a good team. Different debunkers with different approaches is important.
 
Oh I see. It was in the context of accepting debunks. I thought it was the other way around, accepting bunk.
But at this point it must be more like that, right? If so it must be a good tool for a sceptic :)
Well it can be either or. The mind is complex, as you know :) Anything that relates to my personal happiness, OCD can use to mess with me. But this is all if I engage it. I don't engage it nearly as much, so the need for perfection in anything is pretty much gone. As such, I can see obsessing over tiny details is really dumb when 95% of the evidence points to something else.

I think (also) it is therapeutic for you, and this is a great step forward in resolving and dealing. Our Human brains are interesting, for certain. What mysteries we hold.
I agree, it is therapeutic! I think it's natural for humans to want to discuss leaving behind old belief systems that one once held very close. I am totally different from the way I was only 2 years ago. Many things I used to believe were so intimately engrained in my identity. Part of my recovery process seems to be talking about this things :) Very glad we have an outlet here to do so.
 
Quick question: are avatars automatically generated here? I didn't upload this, but the "light at the end of the tunnel" pic is really fitting for my username. Unless this automatically happens after a certain level of forum achievement. Apologies for the off topic post.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Quick question: are avatars automatically generated here? I didn't upload this, but the "light at the end of the tunnel" pic is really fitting for my username. Unless this automatically happens after a certain level of forum achievement. Apologies for the off topic post.
it is the perfect pic. witty name too : )
 
Thread starter Related Articles Forum Replies Date
Mick West What does "Off-World" mean to the US Military? UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 9
Mick West Debunked: Pentagon has Evidence of "Off-World Vehicles Not Made on this Earth" UFO Videos and Reports from the US Navy 14
Mendel Debunked: The WHO did not take the Taiwan CDC seriously Coronavirus COVID-19 0
Rory Fake quote? "World events do not occur by accident. They are made to happen [...] by those who hold the purse strings" (attributed to Denis Healey) Quotes Debunked 12
Mick West TFTRH #21 Donald Friedman - After 9-11: An Engineer’s Work at the World Trade Center Tales From the Rabbit Hole Podcast 1
Mick West TFTRH 9: Joe - Former Chemtrail Conspiracist, Current New World Order Conspiracist Tales From the Rabbit Hole Podcast 51
Mendel Debunked: Air Map of the World 1945 is a flat Earth map Flat Earth 0
Mick West Explained: Flashes of Light During the World Trade Center Collapse 9/11 5
Mick West "UFO" Crash in Russia Near World Cup Match - Rocket Part UFOs, Aliens, Monsters, and the Paranormal 4
PepeLapiu Melting Aluminum in "Open" Fires, Like in the World Trade Center on 9/11 9/11 19
Mick West Explained: "Smoke Trails" On 9/11 World Trade Center Falling Debris [Dust/Powder] 9/11 10
Mick West Explained: Why a Phone Spirit Level Works Around the World [Accelerometers are Scales] Flat Earth 7
benthamitemetric Atlanta I-85 Freeway Fire and Collapse - World Trade Center Comparisons 9/11 9
D The World is Rudderless:Conspiracy Theory quote General Discussion 27
Mick West Vice: 'It Was Like a Cult': Leaving the World of Online Conspiracy Theories Escaping The Rabbit Hole 4
Mick West Did Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev say "World War"? General Discussion 28
benthamitemetric Other WTC7 Investigations: Aegis Insurance v. 7 World Trade Company Expert Reports 9/11 39
MikeC Aircraft weight and balance in the real world Contrails and Chemtrails 5
McGurnicle Brock Chisholm(first Director-General of the World Health Organization) Quote Quotes Debunked 30
Mick West Why People are 'Suddenly' Seeing Strange Beams of Light Around the World - The Reddit Effect General Discussion 23
Mick West Finding the Original Source in a World of Aggregators, Shares, and Reposts Practical Debunking 32
SR1419 Debunked: Obama "New World Order" speech Quotes Debunked 0
derwoodii [Debunked] Jeff Rothschild. In order to finalize the New World Order we need a 3rd world war [Fake] Quotes Debunked 6
Steviev55 Context: George Bush's New World Order quotes. Quotes Debunked 33
SabreSaint Debunked: SIRI Predicts End Of The World July 2014 UFOs, Aliens, Monsters, and the Paranormal 26
Mackdog Court Rules Negligence Didn’t Cause World Trade Center 7 To Fall On 9/11 9/11 103
MikeC Live in a world free of Chemtrails - support Orgonite City Contrails and Chemtrails 2
Mick West The Johnson and Johnson Settlement, where does it fit in the conspiracy world Conspiracy Theories 13
TWCobra Growth in World air traffic 1970-present Contrails and Chemtrails 12
Mick West Debunked: UN: "The World Won't Cool Without Chemtrails" IPCC Contrails and Chemtrails 9
SabreSaint Eisenhower Warns of New World Order, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria? Conspiracy Theories 55
AluminumTheory Conspiracists and Skeptics: (in your opinion) What is Wrong with the World Today? General Discussion 4
somnamblst Satanic New World Order Conspiracy Theories 5
Clock Debunking New World Order Index by Wake Up America (WORK IN PROGRESS) Conspiracy Theories 45
Clock Was World War 1 a giant plot to create The League of Nations? Conspiracy Theories 0
Mick West Debunked: Who In The World Is Spraying Contrails and Chemtrails 27
Chuck World War 3 & the Petrodollar Conspiracy Theories 52
HappyMonday Look up, get the app, save the world. Contrails and Chemtrails 4
Mick West Debunked: Coincidences. (Disney World Couple in Same Photo Before They Met) General Discussion 1
csotgr Chemtrails around the world Contrails and Chemtrails 3
Clock Analyzing the world of conspiracy theories in the early 21st century. General Discussion 0
Oxymoron Surveillance/Attack Drones... Coming to an area near you. Wonderful world. Conspiracy Theories 99
Clock Debunked: The World will be hit by an asteroid in 2036 Science and Pseudoscience 1
Oxymoron U.S. Seeks World Domination Through Mind Control, Abuse of Force and Lies Conspiracy Theories 2
George B Can End of the World Scenarios be debunked??? General Discussion 64
Mick West Factual Errors in "Why In The World Are They Spraying" Contrails and Chemtrails 57
Met Watch Notice to The World Conspiracy Theories 1
Mick West Debunked: Why In The World Are They Spraying - Wingtip Fuel Dump Photo Contrails and Chemtrails 26
Mick West Debunked: WHY in the World are They Spraying Contrails and Chemtrails 82
Jay Reynolds A Conversation With Dr. Lenny Thyme from "What In The World Are They Spraying" Contrails and Chemtrails 15
Related Articles


















































Related Articles

Top