Evaluating Conspiracy Theories

conspiracy theory - a theory that explains an event or set of circumstances as the result of a secret plot by usually powerful conspirators


Evaluation Criteria

  1. Occam’s Razor
  2. Evidence Gap
  3. Cui Bono
  4. Size - Number of Conspirators
  5. Duration of Conspiracy
  6. Intentional vs Mechanistic (FAE)
  7. Superhuman Conspirators
  8. Non-falsifiability

Faulty evidence commonly cited by conspiracy theorists:

  1. Documentation of projections/possibilities rather than actual events, e.g. Contrails vs MKUltra.
  2. Depends on automatic misinterpretation, e.g. UFOs assumed to be alien.
  3. Evidence of motivation alone is not sufficient. (See #6 above.) Typically: Assuming a fait accompli when actually some people are merely speculating about a possibility.
  4. Junk science or misinformation.
  5. Luddite mentality - assuming that a technology as such is evil, or can only have evil applications.

To be successful, a conspiracy must have:

  1. A small number of conspirators
  2. Immediate communication
  3. A short timespan


Bullshit Asymmetry Principle

"The amount of effort necessary to refute bullshit
is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

Six Ways to Debunk Any Conspiracy Theory

How to Judge Conspiracy Theories
Democracy of the Gullible

Hogeye Bill's
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