It’s all a conspiracy!

Graphic by Piper Bailey


For as long as we have inhabited this rock, humanity has pursued knowledge. The problem is that none of us have the time nor capacity to answer all of these questions on our own, so we outsource these findings to sciences, governments and other institutions in hopes that they can provide the truth to us. But how do we know everything we’re told is the truth? 

The other constant of knowledge is the propensity of the unknowable to fall into the hands of conspiracy theorists. While we might not believe all of them, we are all at least a little intrigued by them. 

Sophomore biochemistry major Ross Tsevis pointed out the often lighthearted draw of some of these ideas when asked about theories he enjoys. 

“I don’t actually believe in [flat Earth theory], but it’s funny,” Tsevis said. “I love that they still go on with [the theory] …  just [after] how many times it’s been proven wrong.” 

Whether it is because they confirm our greatest fears or enlighten us about something fantastical, people love to wear their own tin foil hats from time to time. 

Some academics are trying now to at least open dialogue in the hopes of creating an understanding of these theories and how they manifest in the world around us. 

One such example is Professor Chad Knoderer, who teaches a class on the anti-vaccination movements in the US. 

“At the time [in] 2021, arguably, in the midst of the COVID pandemic, there were a lot of opinions being expressed locally, and nationally, and on media and on social media,” Knoderer said. “And I thought this might be good to bring some of that discussion to the classroom and hopefully have a space where students — regardless of their beliefs — can come into the classroom and have an open and civil and thoughtful discussion around the topics, even if some of their beliefs may be opposed to some of their fellow classmates.” 

Of course, skepticism does not mean being a contrarian. Just because a larger entity says something is true does not mean it’s outright true, but it isn’t outright false either. There is no real difference between blindly agreeing with things and blindly refuting them. 

Whether they are ideological or humorous, they all have a draw. A great example of the humorous draw is the Omphalos Hypothesis, or Last Thursdayism, which basically believes that the universe could have been created as recently as last Thursday by some divine entity and that we as people and all our thoughts and memories are simply creations by this being. It is worth noting that if you tell a professor that a divine being forgot to give you your essay, you will not get an extension most of the time. Because of curiosity and a willingness to doubt, theories like this draw people further down the rabbit hole. 

Murdoch Macdonald, a sophomore Spanish and mathematics double major, agreed with this sentiment of associative skepticism. 

“It is healthy to have some skepticism in my opinion,” Macdonald said. “We should be more skeptical of controversial areas for sure.” 

Some topics that are otherwise relegated to myth are actually recorded phenomena. A prime example and the inspiration for Stranger Things’ Eleven, is MKULTRA. MKULTRA is the documented and admitted series of experiments wherein the CIA experimented with LSD, hypnosis, shock therapy and many other unorthodox methods to force confessions out of people. The government tried to purge many records of this in 1973 but was still tried in a Senate commission in 1975 and found guilty of violating the rights of subjects

Topics like MKULTRA are rarely discussed or explained in history courses. As a result, these topics remain in conspiracy-related circles. This then compounds into the issue wherein people have a tendency to write off the facts as just another component of the fib. 

Perhaps that is what needs to be done with all conspiracy theories. Outrightly saying people are wrong doesn’t sway opinions, and to be fair there are facts that people are not always aware of. All in all, everyone trusts something too much. Whether it’s our teachers, families, guts, omniscient bulldog mascots or George W. Bush is really up to us. Sometimes questioning things is just a fun activity when the real answers seem too boring, and sometimes questioning things can uncover the real truth.


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