Talk:Conspiracy theory

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new content[edit]

The content below was added in this dif with edit note: "I added my research findings "Conspiracy Theories", edited by Paul McCaffrey. I added a simple overview to the begining of conspiracy theories and how they can be supported or distorted by evidence"; I reverted here with edit note "unclear why we should promote the views of Micah Issit)" and Rjensen reverted [ here] with edit note:

I am posting the content here for discussion. This content gives a lot of WEIGHT to this Issit person's views; perhaps it can stay but am also sure about WEIGHT.

Conspiracy theories provide a unique view on an event that has occurred, or that is currently occurring. According to Micah Issit, “...conspiracy theories express a basic desire to uncover mysteries and secrets hidden within the generally accepted explanations of historical events”[1] (Issit, p. 7).There are famous conspiracy theories that involve the attacks on September 11, 2001, the JFK assassination, the moon-landing as a hoax, etc. These theories suggest a mysterious angle behind the unfolding of the event. List of conspiracy theories

While there is no set date to when conspiracy theories began, the development of conspiracy theories most likely emerged in the early 1800s. “During this time, popular historians spawned a number of theories that sought to explain many of history’s major events, including wars, genocide, and shifts in political power, in light of conspiracies enacted by secret societies” [1](Issit, p. 7). Whether or not these theories are true, they represent a perspective that critiques society during that time of the ‘conspiracy’.

The Internet can be seen as a contributor to the spreading of conspiracy theories. The Internet allows for anybody to create and share information globally. When it comes to conspiracy theories, people are able to expand upon these claims and share it online, whether or not those claims are actually factual. “The more evidence presented to bolster the “official” version of events, the more suspicion mounts; the more the government reveals, the more it is assumed that it has something to hide” [2](Pinaire, p. 34). This statement reflects the way in which people view particular events. Anybody can write a claim online, which could later be shared and viewed as a “possible theory” that goes against the claim original event. Conspiracy theories, no matter how accurate or inaccurate they are, provide an interesting angle to events that occur in society.


  1. ^ a b Issit, Micah (2011). Issit, M. (2011). Points of View: Conspiracy Theories. In P. McCaffrey (Ed.), Conspiracy Theories (p. 7). Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. pp. p. 7. “...conspiracy theories express a basic desire to uncover mysteries and secrets hidden within the generally accepted explanations of historical events” 
  2. ^ Pinaire, Brian (2005). Pinaire, B. K. (2005). Skeptic. In P. McCaffrey (Ed.), Conspiracy Theories (p. 34). Ipswich, MA: H.W. Wilson. Ipswich, M.A.: H.W. Wilson. pp. p. 34. “The more evidence presented to bolster the “official” version of events, the more suspicion mounts; the more the government reveals, the more it is assumed that it has something to hide” 

--Jytdog (talk) 17:41, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

The WP:LEAD should be a summary of all major points contained in the article. If these additions could be evaluated for sourcing and weight and cleaned up (poor grammar, non WP:MOS format, etc.) and stripped of valueless and unsourced opinions like "Conspiracy theories, no matter how accurate or inaccurate they are, provide an interesting angle to events that occur in society" they may have a place in the body of the article. However they do not belong in the lead, where they are being given massively undue weight. - LuckyLouie (talk) 18:31, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
that is one issue yes; thanks for pointing that out. Jytdog (talk) 20:59, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Issitt is useful because he summarized the current scholarship in a major RS. So he's not controversial and instead is condensing material from RS. He is not used heavily and several new scholarly studies have been added from the mainline scholarly journals that give a historical perspective of 200+ years, from the 1800s to the Internet. Rjensen (talk) 21:05, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
If Issitt is a reliable source, why do we need to mention him by name? Why do we need to quote him for something that is commonly accepted like "conspiracy theories express a basic desire to uncover mysteries and secrets hidden within the generally accepted explanations of historical events”? You are restoring bad edits, and I cannot see why. Jytdog (talk) 21:08, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
Issitt does not have to be mentioned by name in the text but he is quoted and the WP guideline recommends it: Attribution should be provided in the text of the article, not exclusively in a footnote or citation. wp:QUOTE As for being too "commonly accepted" to need a cite, I think it's useful to have a RS talk about it. Where are you getting your notions anyway? Rjensen (talk) 21:15, 4 November 2016 (UTC)
You chose to quote him. So "he is quoted" obscures that choice you made. I am asking why there is need to quote something this well understood. Also the added content citing Gordon Wood (ref at Jstor) was also incorrect. The ref is great to bring but it was badly used to say that conspiracy theories arose in the 18th century driven by the Enlightenment. In that ref the key paragraph is the first full paragraph on p 410 that begins: " During the early modern era conspiracy continued to be a common term of politics. Seventeenth-century England was filled with talk and fears of conspiracies of all kinds. There were French plots, Irish plots, Popish plots, Whig plots, Tory plots, Jacobite plots; there was even "the Meal Tub Plot." Yet by this period many of the conspiracies had become very different from those depicted in earlier centuries of Western history." Not 18th century, not really Englightment-driven. Please slow down; we need to work through this and figure out good content. Jytdog (talk) 22:08, 4 November 2016 (UTC)

Voodoo histories[edit]

Not sure if sufficiently notable, this book, in the UK at least, is probably the most authoritative recent survey of the topic in general readership. Anyone else believe it would be a useful reference to offer in the article? Adhib (talk) 22:53, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

PLOS ONE estimate#3 needs revising[edit]

This is a sentence from Conspiracy_theory#Viability_of_conspiracy_theories.

  • now: Vaccination conspiracy would require at least 22,000 people (without drug companies) and would fail in 3.15 years;
  • new: Vaccination conspiracy would fail in 3.15 years, assuming the drug companies were involved in keeping a conspiracy secret (in a corner case where a conspiracy was only known to the 22,000 people employed by the CDC and WHO and the government-funded organizations conspired to hide such a secret from both the private sector drug companies and the press, the expected time until failure would be 34.78 years, according to the assumptions made by Grimes about the hypothetical conspirators)

Currently we are mixing apples and oranges, or at least, mixing a five-pound bag of Granny Smith apples with a fifty-pound bag. Grimes calculated the "3.15 years" figure with the drug companies included, and in a separate calculation excluding them so that only 22k employees were involved, came up with the "34.78 years" estimate. Relevant bit from PBS is as follows: "The vaccination conspiracy would need people at the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and drug companies to keep mum, so according to Grimes’ formula, should have been exposed after 3.15 years. But it all comes down to numbers. For example, in the case of the vaccination subterfuge, if you remove the drug companies so it only involved the 22,000 folks at CDC and the WHO, it could have lasted a full 34.78 years, according to his equation."[1] (talk) 15:59, 30 December 2016 (UTC)


Conspiracy theory/theories/theorist are terms that are used pretty well exclusively as terms of abuse, in the context of events like 9/11 that obviously and incontestably involve conspiracy, to sneer at people who disagree with the propaganda of the powerful. This grovelling article declares that meaning as non-negotiable by saying that "A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy without warrant". Excluding the empire's fairy tales and including rational explanations based on scientific evidence and engineering expertise, makes it clear that "without warrant" means not backed by orders from above, rather than unjustified and unjustifiable.--Alkhowarizmi (talk) 11:20, 8 April 2017 (UTC)

WP articles are based on reliable sources, not people's opinions. Please review the sources used there. If you better sources, please cite them here and describe why you think they are better (please review WP:RS first). Thanks. Jytdog (talk) 11:40, 8 April 2017 (UTC)
It does not matter whether you are right or wrong. Policy requires that articles reflect expert opinion. If you do not like that, then argue your point on the policy pages. TFD (talk) 19:03, 23 April 2017 (UTC)


1) It is true that conspiracy theory is a derogatory term. This is pointed out in the article.
2) 9/11 theories are indeed incontestable: this is what gives them the character of non-scientific unfalsifiability.
3) This article does indeed grovel: to expert sources.
4) The meaning of the term 'conspiracy theory' is indeed non-negotiable: it is a satisfactory term with which to refer to unsupported hypotheses which requires no adjustment today.
5) It is not clear why Star Wars is relevant here.
6) 'Without warrant' does indeed mean 'not backed by orders from above', if by 'orders from above' we mean 'the eternal and glorious necessity to cite evidence'. Cpaaoi (talk) 21:25, 9 August 2017 (UTC)

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