Why Do People Believe In Conspiracy Theories?

Updated 1/1/2019

As we look at those that believe in conspiracy theories, one might wonder how so many people can fall for something so ludicrous.

The main reason that people believe in these ideas is they want to seem smart. By believing in something that is privy to only a small group of people, conspiracy theorists are “in the know.” They know what “really” happened.

Conspiracy theorists feel an innate sense of intellectual superiority to the rest of the “sheeple.” That’s why it’s so hard to get them to give up their beliefs even when confronted with overwhelming evidence that their pet theory is incorrect. It means that they have to give up their superiority and admit that their great insight was incorrect.

Often, conspiracy theorists will attempt to draw in hard to understand facts. Quantum physics is often invoked as few people really understand it well enough to tell genuine science from hand-waving nonsense. The layperson can often be convinced of a ridiculous claim by attacking them with a Gish Gallop of incorrect facts that sound just scientific enough to make sense.

Another important consideration is that many conspiracy theorists seek to make their own lives more exciting by believing in fanciful stories of reptillian overlords, CIA gangstalkers, and the Illuminati. Where the real world tends to lack clear morality in the form of drone strikes, proxy-wars, and terrorism, conspiracy theories provide an exciting world of Good versus Evil.

For some, it is far more comforting to believe that there is a clearly defined reason for terrible acts taking place rather than thousands perishing because of an unlucky roll of the dice by the hand of fate.

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