posted on Jun, 24 2010 @ 02:11 AM
I believe there are a number of cultural and sociological reasons for the proliferation of conspiracy theories. Mainly, the following:
1. Gullibility - I've noticed a genuine lack of regard for skepticism and critical thinking, which seems to have begun toward the end of the 1980's.
Why this is happening, I'm not sure, but anyone who's been around since the 1970's can clearly see how real science has been drummed out of the
mainstream culture in favor of psuedo-science. This is evident in the case of science magazines disappearing from the shelves(Popular Science magazine
is one of the only ones left) and the dumbing-down of documentary series (Nova, for example) that once tackled serious, complicated topics but now
seem like they're made for ten-year-olds. Also, the proliferation of cable shows like Monster-Quest and UFO hunters that present themselves as
serious documentaries but are, in fact, pure entertainment.
2. Lack of education - this factor comes into play with regard to political conspiracies, which are - in a way - empowering to those who have no power
over current events. Unless one is an engineer, one has little influence over the course of technological advancement. Unless one has a law degree,
one has little influence over the legislative process. I suppose one could, if elected to office, have a great deal of influence over governmental
affairs, but most people aren't in such a position.
However, if one truly believes that the entire system is rigged and the "mainstream media" is corrupt, then one feels empowered in being the holder
of the ultimate "truth". No evidence is necessary, and no credentials need be checked.
3. Conspiracy theories are entertaining - in a time when originality seems a sparse commodity among popular movies, and the music industry is dying a
miserable death, conspiracy theories fill a gap for those searching for any kind of enlightenment. Conspiracy theories are often dark, frightening,
and dramatic, and this is why the public devours them at any given opportunity.