From Pine View Farm

It Must Be True . . . . 0

Kyle D. Killian, writing as Psychology Today Blogs, analyzes the attraction of conspiracy theories. A snippet (emphasis in the original):

On occasion, conspiracy theories can be based on a rational analysis of data. But most of the time, this is not the case. Human beings have an amazing capacity to detect “meaningful patterns in the world around us and to make causal inferences” (Christopher French, Scientific American (link is external)). Humans also can see patterns and causality when they are not really there. (Statisticians refer to spurious correlations—statistical associations that appear significant between two variables, but are artifacts, not really real. Our shoe size does not determine our mathematical ability, but they are significantly correlated because shoe size is associated with age). Conspiracy theories are irresistible to some folks due to two tendencies of our species: confirmation bias and projection. In confirmation bias, we give more value to evidence that supports our beliefs and ignore evidence that conflicts with those beliefs. In projection, persons who subscribe to conspiracy theories tend to spread rumors or be suspicious of others’ motives—in other words, engage in conspiratorial behavior (French (link is external)). Since you yourself engage in such behaviors, it seems more than likely that other people are doing these very things, too.


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