Ten "smell tests" to apply to conspiracy theories

If any one or more of these tests are true, then you can rest assured that the so-called conspiracy in question is false!

By Dan Cathcart

1: "Proof" of the conspiracy is gained from a pattern of connecting the dots between events that are not necessarily linked by causality. No direct, independently verifiable evidence supports the connection except the allegations of the party or parties perpetuating the conspiracy. The supposed evidence will easily fit equally well into other causal connections.

2: The persons (the government agents or corporate personnel) behind the conspiracy would need super human abilities in order to accomplish it. People are generally not as powerful as one might think, except in the comic books.

3: Conspiracy theories tend to be complex and in order for them to be carried out, requiring a large number of simultaneous or sequential elements or events.

4: Because of this complexity, conspiracy theories tend to demand large numbers of people who would need to keep silent about their "work". The likely hood of a "leak" grows nearly exponentially with the number of people keeping the secret.

5: If the conspiracy theory involves some sort of grand scheme to control a nation, economy or political system then this would require vast resources and hence, people to carry it out. If the conspiracy involves the ultimate domination of the world then even more people would necessarily need to be involved. You do the math based on number 4 above.

6: The conspiracy theory builds on a few small events, or small events within a larger event, that may be true in and of them selves, but then the parties perpetrating the conspiracy theory extrapolate them to gigantic, improbable events. (See number 1 above)

7: A conspiracy theory will assign some kind of sinister meaning to otherwise insignificant, unrelated events.

8: A conspiracy theory will commingle facts and speculation without distinguishing between the two. So much so, that after a while facts and speculation are so inter tangled that they are inseparable from each other.

9: The person who proposes or perpetuates the conspiracy theory is indiscriminately suspicious of all government agencies, corporations or private groups or clubs, which suggests that this person is most likely driven by emotional responses and unable or unwilling to pursue rational thought.

10: The conspiracy theorist refuses to consider alternative explanations (especially from a government. See number 9). They reject all other evidence and seek only that which confirms their pre-conceived notions of the "truth". One hundred percent of the time, the person claiming the conspiracy: (1) has no first hand knowledge of ANY of the allegations, or (2) does not possess the intelligence to assess the allegations (or both).

One final note: Conspiracy theories are found only on junk/unreliable/"content farm" websites, and not found on any mainstream media site, or science/social site. Additionally, the exact same article is simply re-posted on many of these junk/unreliable/"content farm" websites indicating there is no real journalism there; rather, it's just the same unsupportable nonsense.