Theories about conspiracy theories 🤔

We already had a discussion about this, but once again: be it resolved that the definition of “conspiracy theory” is a theory about a conspiracy, whether correct or incorrect, and therefore any use of the term in reference to a theory does not necessarily imply anything about the correctness or otherwise of the theory.

To my thinking, the truth of this resolution is blindingly obvious and shouldn’t even need to be argued, but apparently some people disagree, so they might as well lay out their arguments here. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I’m just getting really sick of it being used as an all-purpose dismissal of somebody’s position. It’s being used in exactly the same way as “right winger”, or “anti-vaxer”, or any number of similarly fashionable and meaningless epithets. There is a rule as follows:

Please avoid:

  • Name-calling.
  • Ad hominem attacks.
  • Responding to a post’s tone instead of its actual content.
  • Knee-jerk contradiction.

Instead, provide reasoned counter-arguments that improve the conversation.

In other words the poster doesn’t actually believe that either a conspiracy or a theory is being mooted. It’s just a convenient way of saying “you’re an idiot and I don’t like what you said”.

And in any case, nowhere in that particular post did I mention anything about a conspiracy.


A pity. I think this has been discussed a lot … in Temp …

1 Like

Yes, but Temp is… temporary.

I’m just getting really sick of it being dismissed as a dismissal just because some people use it that way. How is one supposed to refer to a conspiracy theory if one is not permitted to say the term?


I’m not sure what you’re arguing here, and TBH I don’t think you do either. You’re in dog-with-a-wet-rag mode again. There was no ‘conspiracy’ and no ‘theory’ in the post being discussed, so there was no ‘conspiracy theory’ that the poster legitimately needed to refer to.

If I had been suggesting, for example, that Gates and Tedros were conspiring to drive all the kids mad, that would be one thing. What I was pointing out is that the kids were not all right in 2019, and they’re even less all right in 2024. This is completely uncontentious. Even government statistics say the same thing. So it was just name-calling in this instance.


Indeed this does not seem coherent enough to be a real conspiracy theory.


I would call this backseat moderation :grin:


You can call it what you like. I mean look, I’m completely used to the current state of clownworld, where people deal with cognitive dissonance by insulting whoever is making them feel bad. But if anyone wants to use the term ‘conspiracy theory’, let’s at least confine it to conversations where conspiracies are being discussed. Otherwise you’re basically just Justin Trudeau calling everyone misogynists and homophones, or whatever his word-of-the-week is at the moment.


Theories = theories

Conspiracies = conspiracies

Conspiracy theory = a theory about a conspiracy

Is this really so complicated? People just need to understand the meaning of those words and remove their indoctrined stigmas and go for the data.


All else aside, these arguably involve conspiracies.


Shit like this is why people don’t take the conspiracy theory people seriously.

I heard the northern mods are nudging something something. Drip drip

1 Like

Sometimes when people invoke a ‘conspiracy theory’, they are simply uninformed. Consider point (1) here. The UK had a team of psychologists - SPI-B - whose stated mission was to make people believe things that were not true, in order to get them to do things they would not otherwise do. This is not a ‘theory’. It was common knowledge. Various documents that they published are easily available online, describing what they did, how they did it, and why. Fear was a principal component of their strategy. They also had other organisations working with SPI-B to silence anyone who might contradict their message - for example, the DCMS and the Counter-Disinformation Unit was tasked with ensuring only SPI-B messaging reached social media, and everything else was taken down. Again, not a secret. The SPI-B Mindspace manual was so damned successful it was sold and used as the basis of similar campaigns worldwide.

I’m not sure that these are ‘conspiracies’, unless you want to call government a conspiracy, and they’re certainly not theories. They are simply mundane, verifiable facts. If you find them shocking or hard to believe, well, that’s understandable. But dismissing them as false because they’re “conspiracy theories” is just outright denial.

As for point (2), I gave a concrete example of ‘governments making everything worse’ in the Climate Change thread. Obviously, there are various things that have so far escaped their notice and haven’t been ruined yet. But to the extent that governments are currently engaged in any kind of active policy, almost all of them seem designed to harm people.

Who are ‘people’? Who are ‘conspiracy theory people’? I’ve attempted to provide reasonable arguments for my positions throughout this clownshow, whereas many of the ‘people’ who disagree with me have not. All they’ve been able to come up with are accusations of ‘conspiracy theory!’.


Seems like you’re responding to a post’s tone, while invoking a rule about responding to a post’s tone… :smiley:

1 Like

This thread was started by @yyy in reference to a comment in another thread. I’m not responding to the ‘tone’ but to the absence of any actual “conspiracy theory” in that thread. I’m suggesting that the phrase “conspiracy theory” is deployed far too frequently as an insult when someone disagrees with something but either can’t be bothered to explain why, or knows that there is no valid objection.


Like “clownworld”?

1 Like

Let me be absolutely clear about what I mean by ‘clownworld’. I’m talking about the subversion of once-valued and self-evident axioms (such as “humans are mostly male and female”), the subversion of cultural values such as the scientific method and human rights, the invention of nonsensical new principles (such as ‘social distancing’ and ‘net zero’), and the inversion of right and wrong (such as performing dangerous medical experiments on children with the supposed aim of saving granny). ‘Clownworld’ is multifaceted, but it’s an actual thing. It’s the lunatics taking over the asylum, causing widespread social harm.

I don’t think you can accuse me of not explaining my position. I get frequently whinged at for doing it too much.


Same with conspiracy theories :man_shrugging:

1 Like

Uh … yes. Obviously. But as I’ve stated several times already, there was no conspiracy theory involved in the original thread. Clownworld, OTOH, was making its presence felt.

1 Like

Only arguably if you really, really, really are looking for an argument. Completely fucking obvious otherwise.


So let me get this straight. You’re claiming that everything I wrote above - concerning SPI-B and so on - is hogwash? That SPI-B never existed, that the DCMS never instructed social media to self-censor and that the CDU were not monitoring them, that the documents they published recommending fear as a tool of public policy are fictional? Or what?

How about ‘net zero’ as an example of making everything worse?

This is where I start using words like ‘clownworld’ - when people will quite literally deny documented reality, things that governments have gone on record to confirm as true, simply because of an ideological belief that something can’t be true (or must be true).

If you want to suggest that governments are claiming things that aren’t true in these matters, I’d say you’ve got yourself an actual conspiracy theory.