Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Crazies

Damian Thompson has a great article in the British Telegraph on the crazies, Truthers, conspiracy nuts and just plain wearers of tin-foil beanies.
George Bush planned the September 11 attacks. The MMR injection triggers autism in children. The ancient Greeks stole their ideas from Africa. "Creation science" disproves evolution. Homeopathy can defeat the Aids virus.

Do any of these theories sound familiar? Has someone bored you rigid at a dinner party by unveiling one of these "secrets"? If so, it is hardly surprising. In recent years, thousands of bizarre conjectures have been endorsed by leading publishers, taught in universities, plugged in newspapers, quoted by politicians and circulated in cyberspace.

This is counterknowledge: misinformation packaged to look like fact. We are facing a pandemic of credulous thinking. Ideas that once flourished only on the fringes are now taken seriously by educated people in the West, and are wreaking havoc in the developing world.

What I see the problem is that before when a crazy spewed their tripe, people would roll their eyes and go "Yeah, Right, Whatever Dude", but now there are those that give credence to this crap, publish it, report on it in the MSM and give them avenues to spread their wacked out theories. Really all you have to do is read DKos or the DU to see them in action, ranting, raving, spewing and acting like monkeys on acid.

I don't know which is worse, those with the crazy theories or those that encourage them.


Mr Minority