How to Respond to an Anti-Conspiracy Theorist

BlindBlogger ZenGardner has written a list of great talking responses to use when arguing with “coincidence theorists”: People who accept mainstream narratives and argue against what someone might consider clear evidence of a conspiracy at work.

Via ZenGardner:

“You sound like a conspiracy theorist.”

RESPONSE: “Conspiracy Theorist? Now tell me the truth, where did you hear that term…on TV? (Laugh.) …So let me get this straight. Are you saying that men in high positions of power are not capable of criminal activity and telling lies to the general public? Are you really that naive?” (Laugh as you say this.)

“I’m not saying that governments don’t lie, but a conspiracy like that would have to involve 100′s of people. You can’t hide something like that.”

RESPONSE: “You’re absolutely right. I agree with you 100%. It is impossible to totally cover up a conspiracy so massive. That’s why I know about it! What you must understand is that they don’t have to cover it up totally. Even a bucket that has a few leaks can still do the job of carrying water from here to there! They only need to fool 80% of the public, which isn’t hard to do when you control the major networks and newspapers. The 10-20% that do figure it out (and the fewer still who will dare to speak their minds about it) can be very easily marginalized with the propaganda label “conspiracy theorist.” The 80% + never take us critical thinkers seriously because they want to be part of the majority. This is known as groupthink.(*Note: When saying “conspiracy theorist”, always hold your two hands up as you make sarcastic quote marks with your fingers.)

Keep reading.

88 Comments on "How to Respond to an Anti-Conspiracy Theorist"

  1. Drinky McGee | May 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm |

    Oh, look. They’re trying to pretend that they’re rational. How cute.

    • Objectifying is a excellent technique at fooling some people. To others it just makes you look like a manipulative asshole.

    • I see you have at least one sock puppet waiting to be moderated. 🙂

      • Well, we can’t all have over a thousand comments. Some of us only have over a hundred.

        • It was a feeling, and I rolled with it. Perhaps I was totally wrong, but I like to be in the moment. I also think it’s funny. If I hurt you in any way, please sit on your head and think sideways thoughts. It won’t take the pain away, nor remove the memory. However you will have new experiences to contend with. Or ummm… right on.

  2. What gets the ball rolling in opening up to the possibility of conspiracies, is that marginalized people catch on to shenanigans in high places first. This is why “Patriots” and Black Panthers, Anarchists and and Evangelical Home schoolers” end up have similar conspiracy theories.

    Because they know they are in the minority, they know the system is against them already in different ways, and they have less of a vested interest in consensus views.

    But being marginalized, they may not be educated in a mainstream way, may not articulate things in the most sophisticated way, so initially its easy to pooh pooh this stuff.

    But what’s happening is the system is giving more and more people the shaft. Alienating more and more people in exchange for favoring a smaller and smaller pool of elites. More and more people end up on the outside looking in at the “American Dream” so then eventually white middle class majority type people start to realize things about the “system” poor minorities knew all along. Then its not so crazy.

    • Perhaps, maybe less absolute. To be clear, some of those middle class people may have traveled around and got a bigger picture of the big picture. Dared to be different and such.

    • Geoff Henry | May 7, 2013 at 9:42 pm |

      When the masses go hungry, the rich should get nervous. Arrogance inevitably prevails though. The rise and fall of Empire.

  3. If Alex Jones knows about it, its gotta be true! The jews and aliens covered up bostonmarathon to hide the lizard peoples chemtrails! You cant prove its not true, only me and alex have the proof! A friend of a friend has an actual official anecdote from a secret source that Monsanto made Obama sneak implants into the gmo food so that israel can use haarp to control your mind through fluoride. Only homeopothy is the true cure!

  4. Silentchujo | May 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

    So….just act all crazy and stupid, got it.

  5. Daniel Gill | May 6, 2013 at 4:32 pm |

    The world is entirely run by computers. There is no conspiracy. No one is in control.

  6. Here’s the problem. The mass media is the worst possible at reporting live events accurately. after their mess of wrong, inaccurate, preliminary information presented as facts, they then draw a specific and directed cause to the events that have unfolded.

    These “Conspiracy Theorists” present you with what they know, try to explain things, and leave with the conclusion as a question. “Did these people do this thing, with all of the evidence to the contrary? Make up your own mind”

    We all have a natural skepticism built into info on the internet, and that is a good thing. we use it effectively to ask better question, to get better answers. The Mainstream media will lack credibility until they can hold some accountability to criticism.

  7. brotherfire | May 6, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

    If there is evidence, then you no longer have just a “conspiracy theory.” Until you have evidence, all you have is a “conspiracy theory,” no matter how many people jump aboard.

  8. Justin Jones | May 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm |

    My response recently has been “but conspiracy theories ARE SO MUCH FUN!!”… which they are 🙂

  9. Luis Gabriel Aguilera | May 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm |

    Here are some undeniable facts on the corporate-state reform agenda that even the “denialists” are unable to refute. Enjoy this comprehensive essay on the matter:

  10. chrstnmchl | May 6, 2013 at 5:12 pm |

    This is a great compilation of logical fallacies all in one place – thanks for sharing!

    • List them off please, as well as why you perceive each one to be the specific logical fallacy. Please also explain to the audience how logical fallacies are used to coax a stance on a topic, instead of expressing the “truth” of a topic.

      • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm |

        I really don’t see how that would be effective use of my time. Are you denying the fallacious nature of these rants? They do nothing to reinforcement an argument and are only meant to obfuscate, snow, and browbeat the audience into acceptance.

        • Of course you don’t see how it would be a waste of your time.

          • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 2:41 pm |

            Oh, I see how it would be a waste. lol

            Do you think it would be good use of my time?

          • Only if you wanted to make your first comment in this string obsolete,

          • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm |

            Whether I take the time to prove to you that the rants are fallacious in nature or not would not change the fact that they are.

            Further, you still haven’t stated whether you deny that they are or not. Do you deny their fallacious nature? I’ll set up an easy one for you.

            “You sound like a conspiracy theorist.”

            RESPONSE: “Conspiracy Theorist? Now tell me the truth, where did you hear that term…on TV? (Laugh.) …So let me get this straight. Are you saying that men in high positions of power are not capable of criminal activity and telling lies to the general public? Are you really that naive?” (Laugh as you say this.)

            Do you deny that the response is a straw man argument (to name just one)?

          • They are and not and maybe are and maybe not and maybe maybe and on and on.

            I don’t remember where I first heard the term conspiracy theorist. I am open to many probabilities.

            Mostly I am pointing out that the logical fallacies card is a weak one at best, because it can be easily swept aside. Also if you are going to use the logical fallacy card, it may be a good idea to be prepared to list them and how they apply.

            At least that way the person will go cross eyed and think you are smarter. Not to say I think you are dumb, quite the opposite.

          • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 4:29 pm |

            Fair enough. I concede that my argument is only as strong as the amount of reinforcement I put into it. That being said, and as I said in the other place, this blog post is being treated with the seriousness it deserves. If there were actual points to prove or disprove that would be one thing. As it is, it is a generic argument with no substance behind it. Placing a burden of proof on me to provide more substance for the counter-argument than is being used in the post we are all responding to is appropriately met with a resounding “meh.”

            The underlying logic (used loosely) of this post is how to argue your conspiracy is true without even discussing the merits of the actual conspiracy. So, essentially its only point is that it is possible to have a conspiracy that hasn’t been proven be true. Seems to me there is a better way to make that point than to berate and belittle your listener. The result simply makes the person doing the berating appear more unhinged to a rational thinker.

          • I see your point, however I think you may be missing the point of the article. From my perspective, many skeptics (including those who think that they are) and lay person may be prone to a knee jerk reaction.

            Scoffing and saying oh blah blah blah Alex Jones, blah blah blah, David Iche reptilians, yackitty smackitty, you’re nuts.

            Where you see berating, I see someone re-framing the conversation with someone who is most likely doing the berating.

          • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm |

            I can grant you that as well. Perhaps the author truncated the skeptics statements for sake of brevity so their berating doesn’t come through to anywhere near the level of the responder’s hysterics.

  11. Benjamin STone | May 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm |

    This should be labelled “How to invent statistics and create falsehoods that defend your point of view.”

    “They only need to fool 80% of the
    public, which isn’t hard to do….the 10-20% that do figure it out (and the fewer
    still who will dare to speak their minds about it)….” – [CITATION-GOLDURNED-NEEDED, SLUGGO]

    Without proof, something IS a theory. There are many conspiracies I believe in, but that’s because I’m a “critical thinker” [makes sarcastic quote marks with his fingers] who wants proof and not “Well, here’s how it COULD be happening maybe.”

    hold your
    two hands up as you make sarcastic quote marks with your fingers.) – See
    more at:
    They only
    need to fool 80% of the public, which isn’t hard to do – See more at:
    They only
    need to fool 80% of the public, which isn’t hard to do when you control
    the major networks and newspapers. The 10-20% that do figure it out (and
    the fewer still who will dare to speak their minds about it) can be
    very easily marginalized with the propaganda label “conspiracy
    theorist.” – See more at:
    They only
    need to fool 80% of the public, which isn’t hard to do when you control
    the major networks and newspapers. The 10-20% that do figure it out (and
    the fewer still who will dare to speak their minds about it) can be
    very easily marginalized with the propaganda label “conspiracy
    theorist.” – See more at:
    They only
    need to fool 80% of the public, which isn’t hard to do when you control
    the major networks and newspapers. The 10-20% that do figure it out (and
    the fewer still who will dare to speak their minds about it) can be
    very easily marginalized with the propaganda label “conspiracy
    theorist.” – See more at:
    They only
    need to fool 80% of the public, which isn’t hard to do when you control
    the major networks and newspapers. The 10-20% that do figure it out (and
    the fewer still who will dare to speak their minds about it) can be
    very easily marginalized with the propaganda label “conspiracy
    theorist.” – See more at:

    • I am not sure what you were attempting with a CNTRL – C/V flood, but I have serious doubts that the appearance matches the intention.

  12. i have coined the term “coincidence theorist” always there to explain everything away ..god damn it ..i dont need a de- bunker- i need a bunker!

  13. I love that someone already accused someone else of being a sock puppet. Even the responders on here are part of the liberal conspiracy to discredit the infowarriors. Oh Alex Jones, please save us from Monsanto’s lizard people fluoride machines!

  14. Two seemingly conflicting thoughts for you:
    “Conspiracy theories are epistimological cartoons.”
    –Terence McKenna
    “To deny and dismiss the existence of conspiracy is to deny and dismiss the existence of history and of commerce.”
    Yes, there are conspiracies. However, it seems kinda nuts to me, that there is one overarching conspiracy that is in control of EVERYTHING. Instead, the more likely scenario is that you’ve got a bunch of competing factions vying for control. I am not convinced that there is one conspiracy that is ultimately in charge of everything. Based on my experience, that is not how the world functions.

    • BrianApocalypse | May 6, 2013 at 6:52 pm |

      Well, I think it’s the difference between:

      a) Conspiracy considered as the mundane functioning of the world and/or human nature interacting with the impersonal forces of mass civilization.

      b) “Conspiracy theory” used as a pseudo-religious belief system and reality filter.

      One is quite boring and dry, perhaps subjects to be documented by historians. The other is a cartoon wonderland filled with aliens and Satanists with underground bases in which the ‘user’ is part of the only hope for humanity!

      • Perhaps more grey, and less black and white?

        • I think so.
          From reading some of these pieces, it’s pretty clear that they frame the issue in black and white terms intentionally to stifle thought. From the mainstream, corporate-state perspective, you are either a normal, well adjusted adult or you are conspiracy theorist, i.e. bat shit crazy. From the true believer, tin foil hat POV, you are either a sheeple or you are awake to the nefarious actions of . . . take your pic, the reptoids, the Jews, the CIA, et al.
          I call bullshit on both of those frames.

          • Early on in my exploration of all things marginal and or esoteric, sheeple or zombie was a fun little escape hatch. Even then I knew it wasn’t right to use. Some people do not want to know, and I think they may be happier for it.

            I can honestly say there are rabbit holes I have refused to dive into for the sake of sanity. Some I even dipped my toes in and escaped.

          • I know what you mean.
            Fortunately, I discovered Pope Bob at just the right time. If I have managed to keep my sanity when looking/obsessing over some of htis stuff over the years, it is largely because he taught me how to think. He has certainly helped me get through “Chaple Perilous” once or twice.

          • I found him about a month before he died. I was very late to the game with him. The few books of his that I have read, enhanced the way I perceive. Praise Bob!

    • Yep. I find it nearly impossible to believe that all sociopaths are working together.

    • Breshvic | May 9, 2013 at 2:36 am |

      I’d just beware of people who are making claims based more in ideology than in reality. Or to put it more specifically; beware of people who have claims based on a preconceived notion of how they think the world works, and then use any and all evidence (either confirming or disconfirming) to support their foregone conclusion. Beware of claims that simply prop up their worldview, as they may be oversimplifying a frustratingly chaotic and complex cosmos to sate their paranoia and/or fragile human ego.

      You know, just… beware of claims. Period.

  15. BrianApocalypse | May 6, 2013 at 6:34 pm |

    I wonder if we can pinpoint when conspiracy theorists started taking offense at the term “conspiracy theorist”. It seems to be fairly recent. In the old days it was a badge worn with pride.

    I think the answer has something to do with increased exposure of conspiracy theories (including through fiction) leading to the creation of more conspiricists than ever, and resulting in the creation of tightly-knit subcultures who perpetuate and reinforce the subculture’s memes and each others neurosis, with each fragment of exposure in mainstream culture serving only to embolden their positions (especially if it’s negative exposure, as it almost always is).

    The strength of their group-think is made of ultra-ironicadium.

    Oh, and can we send a memo or something to their king Alex Jones and his court jester David Icke informing them that there exists a wide spectrum of possibilities between “I believe everything I see on TV” and “I believe in conspiracy theories”. Perhaps if one of their hive masters commands them to stop it we can finally put it to bed, cos’ that one is really starting to grate.

    • I would forward that same memo to the assclown lamestream “journalists” publishing pieces suggesting basically the same thing, but form the “other side.” I am referring, of course, to the recent wave of those we’ve seen here.

    • i think a big problem has become intellectual partisanship. In respect to conspiracies, some people see all of these conspiracies as equal. You see someone question the Gulf of Tonkin and think theres no difference between him and a 9/11 truther, a moon landing denier, or reptilian rebeller.

      The beef around the conspiracy theorist moniker is this simplified grouping.

    • Breshvic | May 9, 2013 at 2:13 am |

      I like the term ‘conspiracy hypothesis’ better. Besides actually being a more accurate term, it is less charged, and it implies that the hypothesizer would change or alter their view if presented with better evidence. This is all I would want a good skeptic to do, and everyone should strive to work from the best available evidence.

      Using sketchy evidence, logical fallacies, or preconceived notions to order your world is a recipe for disaster. That’s what got us austerity economics, Holocaust denial, the anti-vaxers, and young-Earth creationism.

      I believe in conspiracies that are grounded in reality, not those based in rampant speculation.

  16. jiggawutt | May 6, 2013 at 7:22 pm |

    This is hilarious. Experts of speculation and bloviation have a straw man argument with themselves — in the style of Clint Eastwood versus empty chair — in an attempt to look smart to other conspiracy loons.

    This is the gold standard of armchair intellectualism, so take note, everyone.

  17. BuzzCoastin | May 6, 2013 at 8:53 pm |

    I never want to be in a position of defending a theory of any type
    especially a conspiracy

    • Monkey See Monkey Do | May 7, 2013 at 9:24 am |

      There is a big difference between a theory and a conspiracy.

      • BuzzCoastin | May 7, 2013 at 9:33 am |

        please excuse my dangling partycycle

        it refers to the subjunctive clause in the preceding phrase
        which contains the word theory for the dangling conspiracy

        which I would never ever want to defend
        except as a point of poetical grammar
        when it comes to the theory of this matter

  18. Okay, a question for all the Deniers here. And “here” does strike me as an odd place for you…

    Here goes: Putting aside goofy ideas (and people) such as Reptilians, Alex Jones,
    David Icke, Fluoridation, the Moon landing hoax etc. How do YOU explain things such
    as Lincoln’s assassination, Gulf of Tonkin, The 1933 Fascist Plot to Overthrow the
    U. S. Government, Operation Mockingbird, Operation Northwoods, tuskegee experiments? All of these are verifiable, in many cases government documents exist,

    or there are credible witnesses, such as Butler Smedley in the case of the 1933 plot.You can minimize conspiracies by lumping all types of believers into one category (how’s that for you logical fallacy chrstnmchl? And if you’ve ever really taken a critical thinking course or studied logic, you’ll know that is one) But there are untold numbers of intelligent, logical rational people who know that some (but not all) conspiracies exist. If you can’t face up to the ugly nature of the world we live in, and the way some humans behave, that’s on you. The facts remain no matter how much you attack and belittle those who know to be factual what you find unacceptable.

    • Word!

    • denverover | May 7, 2013 at 5:34 am |

      once you have eliminated the impossible that which remains (no matter how improbable) must be the answer.
      There seem to be some pretty good conspiracy theorists in the government also. Bradley Manning released facts that took place on the battlefield which made the US look bad. Yet the government claims he aided the enemy. How can you aid the enemy by telling them that which they already know through experience.?

    • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 10:49 am |

      Therein lies the problem, the goofy ideas persist so the signal to noise ratio is difficult to decode.

      Conspiracies do exist without a doubt. However, they still must pass logical muster. If I say to someone that they sound like a conspiracy theorist it is because they said something that sounds illogical. If they retort with something along the lines of “Conspiracy Theorist? Now tell me the truth, where did you hear that term…on TV? (Laugh.) …So let me get this straight. Are you saying that men in high positions of power are not capable of criminal activity and telling lies to the general public? Are you really that naive?” It is only going to further reinforce my belief that I am dealing with an illogical person. If you don’t have proof of the conspiracy, it is a theory. Countering that truism by setting up the straw man that I have said something I did not only serves to induce a heavy dose of eye-rolling.

      If you have a conspiracy theory, reinforce it with logic. If you try to reinforce it as this blog suggests you make yourself look irrational and hysterical.

      • the signal/noise analogy is a great one because you can see the different ways people see it.

        The derogatory version of conspiracy theorist is the guy who takes the whole recieved signal and tries to account for everything recieved, even and sometimes especially the noise.

        The not-so derogatory version is the guy who is practiced in looking at the recieved signal and attempting to filter out the noise(with varying degrees of success). A self professed expert, but knowing who knows what he’s doing and who doesn’t is a skill on its own.

        The skeptic is the one who says “Look at all that noise! theres clearly nothing important there”

        And the ignorant masses are the ones that say “thats too complicated, i’m just going to go watch football and stay out of this”

        • chrstnmchl | May 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |

          I agree with what you said but you switched up my analogy.

          What I had meant was the goofy idea to legitimate (for lack of a better term) theory ratio is so far out of of proportion towards the goofy that a rational thinking person (aka skeptic in your post) ends up lumping them all together. I have no problem admitting conspiracies exist that we do not know about. It would be irrational to assume that they don’t. However when I head “conspiracy theory” I do not think of those, and I think of the goofy ideas. That is why I said therein lies the problem – especially with the generic nature of the original blog post – the goofy is inseparable. When you look at the emphatic arguments being made for an unknown theory it makes it appear that the author is on the goofy side of the spectrum.

          • I agree, and I suppose i did leave out the rational skeptic in a way and only talked about the extreme skeptic(or should i say goofy skeptic?) I suppose a problem is that both sides try to claim that the really rational people are all on their side, when it’s really much more grey.

    • There is a big difference between conspiracies and conspiracy theories. You are conflating things with evidence along suspicions with zero actual evidence (no, anecdotes and alex jones rants are not evidence) Actual conspiracies and conspiracy theories are two completely different things. They are not equal despite using one of the same words. They are polar opposites, Evidence is not the same as “No Evidence but, i really want it to be true”. Much like evolution is not the same as “god did it by magic”,

      • Actually, what you said makes absolutely no sense.

        • Makes sense to me. Some conspiracy theories are backed up or even inspired by hard evidence, and some are made up because of personal biases and assumptions of motive.

          • You don’t see the problem with this line of thinking? Don’t question anything unless you have tons of hard evidence?

          • When it comes right down to it, some people lack the ability to think for themselves. For such people, speculating is really scary. It makes them really really nervous. They need experts spelling everything out for them, authorities, Mommy and Daddy.

            I guess some people look at Alex Jones like that. So I guess they get so incensed because he is like a Daddy figure they don’t trust. He is the anti-Daddy. They counter pose Daddy figures they approve of like Richard Dawkins.

            See with me, I am nobody’s fan or follower. I just see people like Alex Jones as people trying to figure things out. Initially I was interested because he was trying to figure out some of the same things I was trying to figure out. He had his theories, I had mine. I might think he had some good points and in other areas he might be going out in left field.

            I guess if I was a child looking for a Daddy figure to hold my hand through life and i caught Alex jones saying something full of shit, i would be incensed and feel betrayed.

            But I never thought of him as anything more than a fellow human just trying to figure things out.

          • Where does this person say “don’t question” anywhere in the comment?

          • I didn’t say tons of hard evidence, nor did I say not to question. I am saying that one shouldn’t believe a conspiracy theory without any hard evidence, and that neither “That may infringe upon my conception of freedom” or “That group or person may stand to gain” are evidence. Go ahead and question, just don’t pledge yourself to a conclusion.

      • Well sure. You see that, I see that, but even here we see the
        so-called skeptics that think what happened to JFK is in the
        category as Alex JonesDavid Icke silliness, and obviously they are not. I think it is quite deliberate on their part, even if willful ignorance.
        You misunderstood, I wasn’t conflating, as you put it, I was actually
        trying see if I could to get these characters to acknowledge the difference, as they generally insist on combining these different
        types of categories into one.

        • Breshvic | May 9, 2013 at 2:31 am |

          Don’t assume all skeptics conclude the same things. This is the same mischaracterization that conspiracy theorists hate to have applied to them by said skeptics.

          There are many, many skeptics who believe in some of these things, but not other, more speculative or ‘out there’ theories. There is disagreement over the evidence, interpretations of historical accounts, and frankly, just where to stand when it comes to belief.

          I don’t have any evidence for Bigfoot. I choose to believe in a world where Bigfoot exists, because it’s more fun for me. I don’t know who shot JFK, and I doubt LBJ and the CIA did it, but I certainly don’t think the facts bear out Oswald doing it alone. A lot of the positions people take are more nuanced, whether they call themselves a skeptic, true believer, or anything in between.

          I don’t have a problem with people believing in aliens or lizard people because this doesn’t hurt anyone. Scam artists trying to keep people from getting cancer treatment or vaccines for their children, on the other hand…

          I don’t lump a ton of different beliefs into the same category. That would be illogical, counter-productive and morally reprehensible. A huge problem I have with ‘new atheism’ right now, in fact, is to label all Christians/Jews/Muslims etc. as backwards and evil. I would rather focus on the specific beliefs that do actual harm, and not cast a wide net over entire groups.

          Sorry to jump all over the place, but I feel this should be a discussion not only about ‘belief v. evidence’ but ‘moral belief v. immoral belief v. evidence.’

      • Actually all you are doing is asserting that well known conspiracy theorist, in this case, Alex Jones, has no evidence, when in fact he does point to evidence, in fact the very evidence you are counter-posing against him.

Comments are closed.