Shopping Cart -

Your cart is currently empty.
Upgrade to today
for only an extra Cxx.xx

You get:

plus This issue of xxxxxxxxxxx.
plus Instant access to the latest issue of 480+ of our top selling titles.
plus Unlimited access to 39000+ back issues
plus No contract or commitment. If you decide that PocketmagsPlus is not for you, you can cancel your monthly subscription online at any time. Auto-renews at £9.99 per month, unless cancelled.
Upgrade for 99p
Then just £9.99 / month. Cancel anytime.
Learn more
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
GB
Pocketmags Digital Magazines
   You are currently viewing the United Kingdom version of the site.
Would you like to switch to your local site?
Read anywhere Read anywhere
Ways to pay Pocketmags Payment Types
Trusted site
At Pocketmags you get
Secure Billing
Great Offers
Web & App Reader
Gifting Options
Loyalty Points
106 MIN READ TIME

Conspiracy Theorists, and the Harm They Do

THE MORE ONE EXPLORES HISTORY, THE MORE YOU can see how it does not line up with the ahistorical, wild stories that conspiracy theorists prefer to tell. “History,” as Former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski once put it, “is much more the product of chaos than of conspiracy,” with competing groups and divisions within groups often at odds with one another and unpredictable individuals frequently changing the course of human events for good and for ill. No event in the twentieth century did more to popularize conspiracy theories and confuse the general public than the assassination of President Kennedy, and it has served as a model for how to misrepresent the past ever since.

Lee Harvey Oswald, for example, was an oddball loner, raised by a conspiracy obsessed mother who seems to have been truly delusional. He was a man so reckless and impulsive that he defected to the Soviet Union and then tried to kill himself when they would not allow him to stay. This perpetual loser couldn’t hold down a job or keep his wife from repeatedly leaving him. These shortcomings, however, did not keep him from having visions of grandeur— he told his wife he would be “Prime Minister of America” someday. But this pattern of instability and incompetence doesn’t work for the yarns that conspiracy theorists weave together. They need Oswald to be a CIA agent, a KGB agent, a double agent, or perhaps an agent of a group so secret we do not even know its name. At the very least, they need him to be the fall guy (a patsy) for others, with whom he allegedly had a great deal of contact, so they could string him along and put him in the right place at the right time. The fact that Oswald barely hung out with anyone and was completely unreliable to be anywhere or do anything that others wanted from him presents no problem for conspiracy theorists. They just assume that we don’t know the real story about who Oswald “really” was and what he “really” did.

Read the complete article and many more in this issue of Skeptic
Purchase options below
If you own the issue, Login to read the full article now.
Single Digital Issue 23.2
 
£4.49
This issue and other back issues are not included in a new Skeptic subscription. Subscriptions include the latest regular issue and new issues released during your subscription.
Annual Digital Subscription SPECIAL OFFER: Was £12.99 Now £9.99 billed annually
Save
44%
£9.99
PRINT SUBSCRIPTION? Available at magazine.co.uk, the best magazine subscription offers online.
 

This article is from...


View Issues
Skeptic
23.2
VIEW IN STORE

Other Articles in this Issue


Skeptic
Promoting Science and Critical Thinking
COLUMNS
Premature Ejaculation in the News: How Headlines Influence Our Thinking
Please Touch
Ástor Alexander is a figurative illustrator and painter.
SKEPTIC INVESTIGATES:
Flat Earthers Are Back—You Know the Earth Is Round, But How do You Best Make the Argument?
ARTICLES
Bruce Perkins and Another Terrible Tragedy of the Recovered Memory Movement
The Value of Diversity in Birds, Bees, and People
Reality Need Not Diminish Our Concept of Our Place In the Cosmos
Now That Nuclear War Seems to Be Getting More Likely Again, It’s Time to Turn a Skeptical Eye on Deterrence
SPECULATIONS AND THEORIES ABOUT THE EXISTENCE of other
EXCERPT
OVER THE LAST FEW CENTURIES RELIGION HAS BEEN slowly
SPECIAL SECTION THE RISE OF THE NONES
The Rise of the Nones and the Decline of Religion
What Surveys on Belief in God’s Existence Reveal
REVIEWS
A review of The Rise of Victimhood Culture: Microaggressions, Safe Spaces, and the New Culture Wars by Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning.
A review of Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker.
A Review of It’s Better Than It Looks: Reasons for Optimism in an Age of Fear by Gregg Easterbrook.
A new Netflix documentary purporting to provide proof of alien visitation fails to deliver: A review of the film Unacknowledged
JUNIOR SKEPTIC
Imagine two impossible, magical machines: the first runs forever, and the second, through some fantastic process, generates more energy than it consumes…