Sunday, April 5, 2020

Oh, the COVID conspiracies. Can all be true? Can any?


Okay, the COVID-19 conspiracy industry, if it had a stock symbol, would now officially be the hottest stock on the market.


They can’t all be true. There’s considerable evidence that none of them is.


5G stratagem


There are radiation-phobes who are using COVID-19 to advance their anti-5G agendas. (5G is a high-speed cellular data network.)


It is painful to have to repeat this, but clearly 5G doesn’t cause viral disease. If nothing else doesn’t debunk this bizarre position, keep in mind that 5G still doesn’t exist in most of the world. And doesn’t exist at all in many of the places with the worst COVID-19 outbreaks. So, (sigh), if 5G caused COVID-19, how can COVID-19 exist when the vast majority of the world has no 5G?


Another 5G conspiracy theory is that COVID-19 doesn’t exist. That it is really just a hoax to cover up something called “5G Syndrome,” which is presumably a kind of radiation sickness. Again, that doesn’t explain people getting sick in areas that are absent 5G. And it doesn’t explain how the worldwide medical community, using different tests, somehow erroneously found viruses that weren’t there.


Depopulation scheme



There are folks who believe this pandemic is a secret plot to depopulate the world or a certain portion of the world. But wasn’t that AIDS/HIV? Or Ebola. Or SARS. Is it that the folks trying to kill off much of the world just aren’t that competent?


Realistically, pandemics have been with us for a long time. Think of the 1918 Spanish Flu. And much earlier, the Black Death. And before that the Justinian Plague. Both of the latter were likely bubonic plague. Smallpox and cholera have also caused historic pandemics. You don’t need an evil conspiracy to have pandemics.


Vaccination plot


There’s a weird one that COVID-19 is just a means to an end, a long game, a conspiracy to force everyone to accept vaccines. Well, dude, you can always not take the shot. But when a working vaccine is developed, you should.


Police state incubator


I heard a suggestion that this pandemic is a scheme aimed at putting a permanent police state into effect. Doesn’t China already have one of those? Why would they launch this?


Reelection intrigue


Some conservative pundits argue this is a Democrat conspiracy to reduce President Trump's likelihood of being re-elected. That wouldn’t explain why the disease is not only in the U.S. but everywhere else as well, or why Democratic mayors and governors appear to be working far harder than the President on responding to it.

Another theory


But maybe a new theory would be that COVID-19 is a secret government scheme to bring down organized governments, liberal, socialist, capitalist, communist, whatever. That’s it, a Greenie plot to solve climate change and save the planet by destroying the global economy.


It’s as random as the others. On its face, it might make sense, except for lack of evidence.


Debunk your own conspiracy


There’s a fun resource on conspiracy theories that can help you recognize one when you come across it. It is “The Conspiracy Theory Handbook,” by cognitive psychology professor Stephan Lewandowsky of University of Bristol and John Cook of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University.


The booklet can be downloaded free from here.  


My favorite clue recognizing a conspiracy is its invulnerability to evidence. This is the “but that’s what they want you to think” argument. If every piece of contrary evidence is met with that response—that’s a clue.


© Jan TenBruggencate 2020

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