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grantnel2002 t1_jca7mdn wrote

It pulled some of my family members in and they still believe it. It has torn people apart and has done unrecoverable harm to so many.


Professionalarsonist t1_jcasgmp wrote

My cousin from Ghana came to visit my family in the US a year ago. I honestly thought these conspiracies were just a joke until I picked him up from the airport. Conversation went like this:

Him: “Hey man, are you vaccinated? I’ve been thinking about doing it”

Me: “Yeah, you should do it. I think it’s available everywhere now”

Him: “idk man…I’m iffy about it, have you heard of bill gates?”


Him: “Well you know how he made computer viruses and then sold antivirus software?”

Me: “I think I’ve heard that theory once….”


He did not embellish on this point any further. He just sat there smugly acting like he had cracked the case. I was blown away. He’s aggressively uneducated. Like I don’t think I’ve ever met a more uneducated person in my life and it has nothing to do with being from Ghana. His sister is a freaking doctor. But it was my first real world glimpse into that group and I get the people that peddle this narrative now.


user_dan t1_jcaz9yr wrote

The magical or hierarchical thinker is very aware how their opinion is not accepted by the mainstream. It is a strategy to open with some kind of "I just have questions" statement to test the waters. If it fails, they pull back. If is is accepted, they open up a little more and repeat. Once they think you are "cool", they will dump their real opinion. The real opinion is usually very extreme.

Although you may think the conspiracy is crazy or your cousin is "aggressively uneducated", he is demonstrating quite a bit of executive function and planning. This is not crazy person behavior. It is predictable. It makes them great targets for political messaging and advertising campaigns.


someelephantsforget t1_jcc1woy wrote

I think in there would be the difference. I agree that they're not necessarily stupid or anything but, as im sure you're well aware, a good part of higher education is about comparing, contrasting, critiquing sources of information and compiling that into something to be marked by someone who has shown a sufficient skill in being able to to that aswell.

So, in general terms and not necessarily OPs cousin, I think uneducated is part of it and it does seem to the a recurring theme in the conspiracy type. I think it has to come with being at least just smart enough to be dangerous, often smarter, but also a with kind of arrogance and narcissism to convince themselves they know better about all these very in-depth subjects than virtually all the experts.

Although, some of them full on know its not true. The trouble is, theyre too far into the "big lie" now. So much of their personality is caught up in it, they could never back down, no matter what.


gabbertr0n t1_jcf42fr wrote

I’m interested in this term ‘hierarchical thinking’ and I see you paired it with magical thinking - I’m keen to understand these terms more, in relation to the conspiracy theorists we are discussing - if you would be so kind to explain, thank you.


Ferengi_Earwax t1_jcby89l wrote

Conspiracy theories bring comfort to people who are suffering from anxiety induced from the chaotic, random world we live in.

It allows them to cleverly self delude themselves into thinking they are actually incredibly smart. They now have the "truth". It makes them feel special. Once a person then is surrounded by others who also know the "truth", they form relationships that always reinforce their flawed beliefs. This is why it's incredibly difficult to bring a person back to reality after they've bought into conspiracy theories. You're taking away they're percieved uniqueness and in most cases, social circles. Any attempt to do this usually results in that person hiding inside the delusion even further. The person trying to help doesn't know the "truth" so how can they be right about anything else?

Conspiracy theories, misinformation, and propaganda has devastated my country. It caused thousands of Americans to try and over throw our govt. All based on easily verifiable lies.


grantnel2002 t1_jcatjmt wrote

I’m sorry you also had to go through this. It’s not easy to deal with.


Professionalarsonist t1_jcay3jr wrote

Eh it’s fine. It was more funny than anything. No one in our family takes his opinions seriously.


FiendishHawk t1_jcdpcc7 wrote

His vote is as good as anyone else’s… at least he’s not voting in the USA!


pale_blue_dots t1_jcayo89 wrote

Lack of education driving much of the problems in the world - story as old as time, I guess.


oakteaphone t1_jcc0inr wrote


Even if that were true, the virus would do bad things to your computer.

If the antivirus software were free (it wasn't back then), I'd rather have the antivirus software than the virus...


Scarlet109 t1_jcd0m51 wrote

Does he think a physical virus is the same as a computer virus…?


jonathanrdt t1_jcaa13e wrote

You are describing the impact of anything not rooted in defensible truth. Nonsense has been the blight of the modern world since the dawn or critical thought. That’s ~2500 years of struggle between thinking and following.

Edit: Writing appears 3500-3000 BCE, but the first writings about reasoning/critical thought don't appear until ~500 BCE. There is no actual evidence of conflict between reasoning and believing prior to then, and that's a long period of writing without a single mention. Before the early Greek thinkers, there doesn't appear to have been much. Knowledge was scarce and reason even more so. And after the decline of Classical civilization, it was almost completely lost to the 'West' for centuries until the Greek texts were rediscovered by the Arabs. Had they not done so, many might have been lost forever.


Blades137 t1_jcadzl0 wrote

Probably much longer than that, for all we know these traits have probably existed since man (and women) first walked the earth.

Just because there are no physical written records, doesn't mean this type of "thinking" didn't exist back then too.

It should be noted as well, that what people believe is often rooted in emotion, not logic.


-downtone_ t1_jcaiusi wrote

I would think emotional drives come first, followed by cognition. Seems we're in an intermediary state with it still even though we think we are past it.


pale_blue_dots t1_jcaysnt wrote

Could even go so far as to say that the same issues are exhibited in other species, too.