Earlier today I had a 61 year old, high school educated, well traveled co-worker tell me that on 911 the Pentagon was hit with a US Military controlled cruise missile and not a terrorist controlled airliner.
Millions of people believe fully debunked conspiracy theories and enjoy sharing their views. It seems that regardless of how much common sense and scientific evidence is presented:
“…at least 20% of Americans still believe in a link between vaccines and autism, and at least 37% think global warming is a hoax, according to a 2015 analysis. Even more of us accept the existence of the paranormal: 42% believe in ghosts and 41% in extrasensory perception…” SOURCE
It is commonly thought that young people with limited world experience and seniors are the ’cause’ of these tightly held beliefs because they are in an echo chamber of social media reinforcement.
It turns out that while the internet echo chamber is picking up steam, we have never been more able to disprove and discredit conspiracy theories faster than we do today because there is:
- a massive number of reliable fact checkers
- readily available photos, videos and text articles from serious scientists and effected individuals
So why do they still exist? The University of Miami’s Professor Joseph Uscinski studied US political conspiracy theories published in the Chicago Tribune and New York Times for 120 years (1890 to 2010). He determined that the general populations belief in conspiracy theories has not changed over that time.
It seems that some people just want to believe.
Watch this short video explaining the how seniors in particular are wrongly singled out for believing in conspiracy theories (SKIP TO 27 MINUTES IN):