posted on Jan, 10 2009 @ 01:48 AM
Nice post, to this staunch atheist, I see a striking similarity.
Specifically, like most religions, some forms of conspiracy theory put immense store in the idea of higher powers. In the case of religion, the
higher power is very often seen as omnipotent and omniscient, therefore capable of revealing and concealing secrets of the universe, punishing or
rewarding people, and so forth.
I think the reason for religions and analogous forms of conspiracy theory are one and the same. Because we, as humans, can intentionally control and
alter our environments, we massively overestimate the degree to which events in the world are consciously controlled and manipulated.
I'm not saying conspiracies don't happen; they're a part of every day life. Here, I mean conspiracy in the sense of secret agreements between two
or more people that cause or have the potential to cause some kind of harm to others.
I think, though, the vast majority of conspiracies are rather ad hoc, local, often downright tenuous and often frought with internal conflict.
Evidence indicates certain conspiracies have been a little grander, but even then I think we tend to attribute way too much intention.
A useful analogy can be drawn with the response of an organism to biological threat. If a foreign body, especially a pathogen, enters the internal
body of a complex organism, its immune system is triggered into action. Its action is incredibly complex, seemingly orchestrated, and may consume
substantial energy and resources if a disease poses subtantial threat.
Doesn't this describe the hallmarks of what people interpret as elaborate and orchestrated conspiracies?
I think social, governmental and organisational systems behave a lot like complex adaptive systems such as the human body. Denials, cover-ups, threats
and so forth are very real when any such system encounters threats to itself. However, this doesn't imply anything more than networks of local, ad
hoc conspiracies; nothing grand.
For example, suppose a drug company is sued for harmful effects, a PR employee might meet with directors, decisions will likely be made to actively
keep it under wraps. The same applies to a situation involving a threat to profits.
Reacting against threats to interests is an integral function of the organisation. Unfortunately, having worked in government, I think the same
applies there, although it is more cancerous, serving primarily to protect itself for no ends (not even profit!).
Unchecked, it becomes a problem, but no matter how endemic such problems may become, there is no need to ascribe grand and orchestrated conspiracy to
higher powers. Things just tend to react in their own interests when those interests are threatened. All cases of conspiracy have this in common.
It seems to me that like most religions, some forms of conspiracy theory do put immense store in the idea of higher powers. I've seen no
evidence of deities. I question the attribution of immense 'higher' power in the hands of very few in relevant conspiracy theories and, as an
atheist, see striking parallels with religion in such cases.
I think dictator-types likely create the external impression of conspiracy in some cases where palpable harm occurs, at the emotional cost of those
who unwittingly aid the dictator.
Given that to avoid harm, one needs to understand its sources, I think this is a very important topic.
[edit on 10-1-2009 by 987931]
[edit on 10-1-2009 by 987931]