Flat Earth Theory
Believe it or not, there are people who are actually convinced that the Earth is not round, but rather, a giant spinning disc in the sky. This differs from what people believed back in the 17th century and prior, in that they don’t also believe that the planet is square, like a Sicilian pizza, or that you’ll fall off into an abyss in the ocean at some point. They believe that the sun and moon are circling around us overhead in a fixed, perfect circle, and that all space travel has simply been faked for over 50 years. All those pictures of our round Earth? All fake. They even believe that gravity is a fabricated hoax, and that something called dark energy exists that fills in all the gaps in their theory. This is definitely the king of all conspiracy theories, given that it relies on practically everything we know as being scientifically true to be a complete lie fed to us for whatever reason. If you’re going to go conspiracy theory, at least go big, and this is as big as it gets.
I can’t help but imagine that this theory was born out of that same cannabis fueled philosophizing that resulted in a belief of space lizard people, and that the planes used in 9/11 were holograms. Some conspiracy theories are at least plausible, i.e. most involving the government lying about having not done something, while others seem like somebody made them up in an attempt to troll of all humanity for the shits and giggles of it all. The flat earth theory feels strongly like the latter. I can’t help but feel that the entire group of people who claim to believe this are all in on some joke that they laugh about on a reddit forum somewhere. Flat Earth Theory is so completely ridiculous that I can’t really muster up the strength to write more than two paragraphs on the topic. Next!
GMOs Are Bad
GMOs are a conspiracy theory in the classic sense. The people who are strongly anti-GMO are against them due to their complete lack of education on the subject, combined with a complete distrust of corporations. Lack of education and distrust are the two key ingredients to any conspiracy theory. The anti-GMO crowd are amazingly ill-informed on what the word even means that they rally so passionately against, let alone what actually constitutes a GMO. When you don’t understand what something is, it tends to be scary, and it’s only natural to be against scary thing. I personally think that ghosts should be outlawed, for example.
GMO, of course, stands for “genetically modified organism. This is a blanket term for any living thing that has been altered by humans, usually for the purpose of yielding more edible parts, or being more resilient to diseases. The precursor to modern GMOs was the process known as selective breeding, which was man’s way of circumventing the need to sit around and wait for natural selection to run it’s course to make the most “ideal” plants and animals. Most dog breeds that exist today were engineered by man through selective breeding, 80% of which weren’t around more than 130 years ago. These breeds were created to be useful to humans, performing tasks such as: herding, pulling sleds, hunting, search and rescue, guard duty, and therapy/assistance work. The dog you own is more than likely not an animal that would have existed naturally without interference from man. Whole foods probably wouldn’t sell your dog, being that it isn’t “all natural”.
Plants have been heavily modified by humans as well, far predating the modern GMOs. Thousands of years of selective breeding have turned a plant called teosinte, which was about the size of a pea pod, and had less than a dozen kernels per head, into what we known today as corn. Watermelons started out as roughly the size of a golf ball, were largely composed of seeds, and tasted very bitter. Now they can grow to hundreds of pounds, actually taste good, and are higher in healthy nutrients. A lot of modern fruits are also propagated via cloning, because merely planting seeds will often result in a less desirable crop that is inferior in size and taste to the original. By cloning, via stem cutting or grafting, an identical copy of a plant that itself was the result of selective breeding can be grown. This keeps the quality of fruit rather uniform, which is good for growers and consumers alike.
With advances in science and technology, humans are now able to skip the whole waiting for centuries part of selective breeding, and alter a plant or animal’s genes directly. This is usually accomplished by removing the unwanted DNA from the genome of an organism, then inserting newly created DNA into it’s place. This new DNA can either be cloned from another organism, or synthesized in a laboratory setting, i.e. test tube DNA. I can’t really go much deeper into detail here, being that I’m just some dummy with a website, and not a fancy science man with a ritzy college-boy degree. The basic gist though, is that essentially you are programming new code into preexisting code to alter the resulting product. This allows scientists to speed up evolution in a sense, or even create new plants and animals entirely.
It seems most people who are scared of GMOs have a misguided fear that somehow food from GMOs is dangerous or unhealthy for you. GMOs are still biological matter and won’t be unhealthy unless something unhealthy was intentionally introduced into the organism, which obviously would be unhealthy for the organism itself while it’s still alive. Scientists aren’t adding potentially carcinogenic substances to living organisms the same way chemists might into non-organic products to improve their taste, add artificial colors, or act as preservatives. GMOs are surely healthier for you than most non-organic food with laundry lists full of unpronounceable ingredients. If you’re drinking soda and eating an abundance of junk food and processed garbage, you’re doing worse to your body than GMOs ever will.
The other common argument is that GMOs are bad for the environment. Some people fear that introducing human-altered plants and animals into an ecosystem will throw off the pre-existing balance. I would generally agree with this, and be against tampering with the biological balance in an environment, but in modern agriculture this becomes a moot point. It’s not exactly natural to have hundreds or thousands of one animal crammed into a small area, or to have hundreds of acres of one crop type. If you were to replace a type of grain or animal in a contained farming environment with an altered type, only that field changes, and not the ecosystem as a whole. In most countries, there aren’t wild cows roaming around outside of farmland property, or random patches of corn growing everywhere. Both largely thrive today because we use them for food.
A good deal of GMOs are created to be heartier in order to survive the environment we’re slowly ruining, or to be healthier to better feed people in areas that we overpopulate. DNA from a hearty plant or animal can be introduced into a less hearty plant or animal in order to decrease it’s susceptibility to disease and environmental factors. These new, improved plants and animals are better equipped to thrive in areas that are polluted, or that don’t have an ideal temperature or adequate water, Other plants are altered to produce higher yields of food, or to provide greater nutrition, both of which are needed in less privileged areas that tend to have food shortages. There is actually a variety of rice called golden rice, that was engineered to be a great source of vitamin A, which diets in India and a lot of African countries are lacking. It even won an award. Have you won an award for feeding impoverished people? Didn’t think so.
Once again, I’m not claiming to be a scientist, but most people running around demonizing GMOs aren’t exactly scientists either. The difference is that at least I look into things before I take a hard-nosed stance on something, rather than merely adopting, then regurgitating the views of some blog I follow. I also don’t think that GMOs are completely harmless. Plants can be modified to be resistant to repellents, and if those repellents are still used heavily, the plants survive, but are essentially poisonous to humans. This speaks more of the unscrupulous nature of the businesses who misuse the GMOs, rather than genetic modification itself however. The fact that non-GMO salt even exists though (salt is a mineral, not an organism), is proof enough to validate my belief that the anti-GMO crowd are largely conspiracy theorists whose ignorance is taken advantage of by companies looking to turn a profit on new business ventures and products.
Vaccines Are Bad
This one is a biggie. Most of the ridiculous stuff that conspiracy theorists believe is relatively harmless, seeing as how all that’s at stake is their ability to be taken seriously or their losing the privileged to babysit and/or be left alone with other people’s children. This one however forces the theorist’s nutty proclivities into everyone else’s lives. If some 420blaze-it truth-seeking warrior decides that vaccines are a government control plan, and subsequently chooses to not get their children shots to prevent deadly, contagious diseases, everybody is put at risk. If one’s of these folk’s little dummy-spawns shows up to school with a case of Polio, all the rational people’s children who haven’t yet been immunized are put at risk of contracting something that could kill them.
The best part of this conspiracy theory is that there is absolutely zero basis for any of it. It’s the classic case of a group of people thinking something that has been done forever is just now somehow causing bad things to happen. Those bad things being “Autism” for the most part. There are individuals who think that autism is something that suddenly exists because of people choosing to vaccinate their kids. The mercury content of vaccines is usually singled out as the culprit, and while certain vaccines used to contain trace amounts of mercury (levels far below what is deemed to be harmful), most that were administered to children contained no mercury at all. (all this info is available via the FDA website) A great deal of the fish we eat contains mercury as well (also low doses), but these same conspiracy folks aren’t coming up with theories about Carp. The conspiracy theorists still go on believing that vaccines are causing Autism, even though scientists who study this stuff for a living haven’t completely pinpointed the cause themselves.
Autism itself is a very strange beast in that it is frequently misdiagnosed, children have been observed to “grow out” of being autistic, and the criteria for determining autism are ridiculously varied. Autism isn’t a concrete disorder that can be identified on a molecular or cellular level. It can be definitively determined whether an individual has a disorder such as Parkinson’s or ALS, but this isn’t the case with Autism. If your child is irritable, they might be autistic. If they don’t pay attention as much as they “should” they might have autism. Even the act of stacking, or lining up things has been diagnosed as autism. Perhaps autism isn’t an actual thing at all, but rather a general catch-all term to fit a variety of different disorders into a neat, convenient little box. So little is known about what autism actually is, let alone what causes it, that it seems a little reckless to treat it like a legitimate disorder. The second you legitimize it, it becomes the scapegoat for everything “abnormal” that any child exhibits. All of a sudden, if your child doesn’t like eating broccoli, or can’t work those roller skate wheel shoes, they must be autistic.
This isn’t to say autism doesn’t exist, but so little is actually known about it by researchers, that it’s preposterous to think that some yuppie of marginal intellect could be thoroughly convinced of a direct correlation between a vague disorder and an innocuous procedure. As many of these other conspiracy theories have illustrated though, it’s fairly evident that people would rather be led through life by their “feels” rather than actual facts. If somebody who is free of outside influence and trained in a particular field drops some knowledge, you’d probably do well to place a little more priority on what they have to say, than what some nobody with no knowledge on the subject has to say. This goes for vaccines, chemtrails, gluten, and the shape of the planet.