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April 6, 2014 | by  | in Conspiracy Corner Opinion |
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Conspiracy Corner: Everything Trying To Kill You

Readers, you know that phenomenon when something you like suddenly becomes popular and it suddenly becomes less interesting to you? To the point where any mention of it just infuriates you more? We conspiracy theorists are no less immune to that feeling. In my case, I have a chronic gripe with medical conspiracies.

Earlier this month, a study from the University of Chicago revealed that 49 per cent of Americans believe in some kind of medical conspiracy. The three most popular being: the radiation from cellphones gives you cancer; vaccinating your child will give them autism; and GM foods are deliberately shrinking the population. These are the rare strains of conspiracies that everybody has an opinion on, because everyone owns a body and cares about what goes into or comes out of it. What’s more bizarre is the reasoning. You have to trust the logic of science (thing A causes thing B) but simultaneously distrust the authority it comes from.

Now, you’d think that if I stared at that line of reasoning too long I might be out of a job, but this isn’t the fault of any authority as most conspiracies are. Medical conspiracies happen when people take their isolated cases and start compiling a case against the authority, at which point anyone immune to reason becomes a carrier for the idea. To quote Agent K: “The person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it!”

The amount of scientific literacy in the world is in a tailspin, until it can be spun for news: then, suddenly everyone’s an expert. Every health story tells you there is something killing you, and what you can eat/do/insert into yourself to delay the spectre of death. Science is just a process to arrive at a conclusion, not a gospel that you use to claim you’re living better than everyone else. There’s no special place in Hell for those who don’t juice their vegetables.

What’s worse is that these lines of thinking can put lives at risk. Take the vaccination issue. Measles was thought to be eliminated in the United States, but thanks to “anti-vaxxers” trying to ‘protect’ their children from autism, a measles outbreak has occurred in New York. I’m all for conspiracies when they serve to shame an institution or kick someone off a pedestal, but I can’t abide when they impact the lives of innocents, especially children.

I compel you, from the bottom of my pig-valve heart: do yourself a favour and gain some basic scientific literacy. Vaccines only work when everybody gets them, so take a shot of sense so we can end the plague of ignorance in as few generations as possible. Incognito out.

 

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