Half Of All Americans Believe In At Least One Medical Conspiracy Theory

OuchFlintGoodrichShot1941If you believe that the CIA deliberately infected African Americans with the HIV virus or another medical conspiracy theory, you have plenty of company: about half of all Americans, reports Reuters:

About half of American adults believe in at least one medical conspiracy theory, according to new survey results.

Some conspiracy theories have much more traction than others, however.

For example, three times as many people believe U.S. regulators prevent people from getting natural cures as believe that a U.S. spy agency infected a large number of African Americans with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

J. Eric Oliver, the study’s lead author from University of Chicago, said people may believe in conspiracy theories because they’re easier to understand than complex medical information.

“Science in general – medicine in particular – is complicated and cognitively challenging because you have to carry around a lot of uncertainty,” Oliver said.

“To talk about epidemiology and probability theories is difficult to understand as opposed to ‘if you put this substance in your body, it’s going to be bad,'” he said.

For the new study, he and his colleague used data from 1,351 adults who answered an online survey between August and September 2013. The data were then weighted to represent the U.S. population.

The participants read six popular medical conspiracy theories and then indicated whether they had heard of them and whether they agreed or disagreed with them.

Like the theories about conspiracies to infect African Americans with HIV and to prevent citizens from accessing alternative medicines, the other theories on the list had mistrust of government and large organizations as themes.

They include the theory that the government knows cell phones cause cancer but does nothing about it, that genetically modified organisms are being used to shrink the world’s population, that routine vaccinations cause autism and that water fluoridation is a way for companies to dump dangerous chemicals into the environment…

[continues at Reuters]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

24 Comments on "Half Of All Americans Believe In At Least One Medical Conspiracy Theory"

    • MatterEater | Mar 19, 2014 at 10:32 pm |

      agreed. it’s not a conspiracy. America is open and transparent that it hates the working class, especially if they are a visible minority.

    • Damien Quinn | Mar 20, 2014 at 6:43 am |

      From that perspective, the study does seem to quantify the extent of the “some” in “some of the people all of the time”, it’s about 52%, which correlates well with election results.

  1. BuzzCoastin | Mar 19, 2014 at 10:30 pm |

    the 3rd leading cause of death in der homeland
    is medical malpractice
    there could be good reason to be suspicious
    only half?

  2. MatterEater | Mar 19, 2014 at 10:34 pm |

    paid medical studies that require someone not to be working equals human experiments.

    less or unavailable medical treatment due to demographics, income level or neighborhood resources determining lifespan…race and class is the main cause.

    it’s not a conspiracy. it’s open warfare.

  3. Doctors are great enablers of misconduct. They are no more ethical than other professionals, like lawyers–maybe even less so. After all, doctors have nothing to lose if they don’t “win.” Have you ever heard of a doctor taking a patient on contingency, where you’re not charged unless he can help? Nope. And if a lawyer effs up, you might get a mistrial, a second chance. If a doctor effs up, his malpractice insurance covers it. And you’re dead.

  4. What is it with Majestic and conspiracy theories? It almost seems to be a cause with her. I have to wonder when someone opposes something with such seeming zeal. Is she threatened by CT’s?

    • Woobniggurath | Mar 19, 2014 at 11:59 pm |

      What’s in a name?

    • Hmm, I don’t really see it that way.

      To me, it seems like Majestic occasionally lobs in an mainstream “anti-conspiracy” piece so that we can smash it out of the park.

      • I’d agree with you, but once there was something in one of her posts that led toy her page. On that page were you garden variety skeptic articles, and if memory serves, some anti-conspiracy nonsense too. I haven’t been able to find that path to her blog/page again.

          • That’s not the page I’m referring to. This was outside of Disinfo, and had the author’s photo on the page.

            If I’m wrong I apologize. If you’re stance on this matter is different than I am expressing, please feel free to correct me.

        • I’ve never seen that link or page and to be honest, I conjectured Majestic was a guy.

          As the user of a stable pseudonym myself, I made a private conjecture as to Majestic’s identity and never explored it. I’m sure they have their reasons for using a pseudonym, like the rest of us who use one.

          The philosophical and psychological geography of “Conspiracy Theories”, “Skepticism”, “Credulity”, “Debunking”, etc is not as well mapped as one might hope.

          Which qualities lie on the same axis and which are orthogonal?
          Even if they are on the same axis, which qualities are actually polar opposites? For example, is Atheism the polar opposite of Theism, or is Agnosticism the polar opposite of Theism?

          Anyhow, what I’m try say is that everyone will find themselves at a rather murkily defined point in a rather murkily defined space.

          For instance, everyone to my right could be considered “Credulous Sheeple”, everyone to my left are “Cornball Conspiracists” , everyone behind me is a “Debunking Skeptic”, etc, etc.

          My “Credulous Sheeple” may be someone else’s “Debunking Skeptic”.

          You can clearly see this played out by the stratification and “camps” people fall into. You’ve got the James Randi Camp, the Alex Jones Camp, the Michael Shermer Camp, the David Icke Camp, The New Athiests Camp, etc. Each frequently very dismissive of the others and anyone else who isn’t a “True Believer” like themselves. It’s ideological posturing, really and frequently driven by the insecurity which is known to power much of the fervor of fundamentalists.

          In my opinion, one of the best features about Disinfo.com is that, generally, people can come here and share without too much being made over which ideological camp they or the ideas come from.

          Disinfo.com has (not accidentally) built up a culture that is fairly tolerant while still retaining the capacity for critical discussion.

          For the most part, we can discuss the ideas and their faults without the discussion immediately devolving to “You’re a Randi drone so you’re wrong” or some similar thought terminating cliche.

          And that’s a great thing.

          • gustave courbet | Mar 20, 2014 at 1:54 pm |

            Both of your comments are very on point.

          • No offense intended, and if I’m mistaken, then I’ll own it. Obviously we’ll never know unless Majestic cares to weigh in on the matter.

            I felt compelled to say what I did as a result of those folks who post here trying to convince folks of the legitimacy of the Official Narrative. I find that rather bothersome. I don’t go to Republican or Democratic discussion forums and try to sell the idea that the American political system is a sham.

            I recognize that I may be mistaken about Majestic, and tried to use language that expressed that. Perhaps I did poorly.

            How does someone obtain the right to post articles/item and such here anyway?

          • I think the quickest way to get “contributor” privileges is to contact/email someone like Matt Staggs. He’s got the ability to handle that sort of thing.

            At a minimum, you can email a contribution to him and it can get posted that way. Not saying that it will get posted, just that it can.

            And don’t worry about me, no offense taken on this end.

          • Matt Staggs | Mar 22, 2014 at 12:09 pm |

            Bingo. Give me a shout and I can hook you up.

  5. jasonpaulhayes | Mar 20, 2014 at 12:03 am |

    Disclaimer; this is NOT MY OPINION.

    I used to know a very interesting guy (who shall remain nameless) that would tell everyone “The Gov puts chemicals in malt liquor that makes African Americans kill each other” he literally was convinced of it.

  6. Woobniggurath | Mar 20, 2014 at 12:06 am |

    The continued prohibition of marijuana from mainstream medicine – and be clear, what rights there are spring solely from the grass roots – despite decades of brass-bound research demonstrating effectiveness against CANCER in many forms, PARKINSON’S, ALZHEIMER’S, diabetes, firbomyalgia, emotional and psychological distubances, substance abuse, &c. &c. is pretty well definitive of some degree of conspiracy. It does not mean secret handshakes and star chambers, just a handful of the very wealthy with a great deal to lose.

    Get to know your endocannabinoid system and spread the knowledge.

  7. Rus Archer | Mar 20, 2014 at 12:17 pm |

    and by half
    we mean
    700 people

Comments are closed.