- February 06, 2014
LORDE is lying about her age.
Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
The US government concocted the September 11 terrorist plot.
What if … all of it was true?
Well, it’s not. But there are plenty of believers out there.
Conspiracy theories are nothing new. As Tim Mendham from the pro-science Australian Skeptics group told news.com.au,
some 130 years ago there was a popular theory that a cabal of Zionists controlled the world.
But now, because of electronic mass media, the rumours spread faster than ever.
News.com.au has taken a look at some of the new theories that have caught on – as well as a few old ones that have come alive again.
Most of them have one thing in common As Mr Mendham explains, many theories are perpetrated because of an aggressive mistrust of people and things –
particularly of the Government or institutions many of us tend to give the benefit of the doubt.
“Most people actually have trust…” Mr Mendham said. When your friends make mistakes or do something stupid, you still tend to trust them. “You give them leeway.”
1. LORDE ISN’T 17
The claim: Lorde couldn’t be 17 because she (choose one) looks older/is too intelligent/too successful/too precocious
The response: “Hi, I’m Ella,” Lorde said in a Vanity Fair interview, “And I’m actually 45.”
She was kidding. But the internet rumour mill has spun so far out of control about her age someone actually did the hard yards and paid for a printout of her birth registration form.
The result: her date of birth is 7 November 1996. She is still 17.
2. THE SCHAPELLE TRUTH MOVEMENT
The claim: Schapelle is innocent and was framed by… (the government/politicians/the media)
The response: Schapelle always maintained her innocence in the boogie board scandal but she was convicted by an Indonesian court in May 2005.
The actor who plays Corby in the upcoming Nine Network telemovie, Krew Boylan, told Fairfax she had been bombarded by claims of conspiracy since she took up the role.
“Often the person behind the name (wasn’t) really anyone – no one’s following them, they’re not following anyone,” she said.
“It was all very confusing. I don’t read it now and don’t get involved.”
3. OBAMA BIRTHERISM
The claim: Barack Obama lied about being born in the United States
The response: Dead …
… And buried.
The claim: The Government is controlling people with chemicals that were poured in the sky by aeroplanes
5. THE ONGOING 9/11 TRUTHER SAGA.
The claim: Building 7 of the World Trade Centre was a controlled demolition.
The response: The US National Institute of Standards and Technology launched a formal study into the collapse of the building.
The report said: WTC 7 was unlike the WTC towers in many respects. WTC 7 was a more typical tall building in the design of its structural system. It was not struck by an aircraft.
The collapse of WTC 7 was caused by a single initiating event – the failure of a northeast building column brought on by fire-induced damage to the adjacent flooring system and connections – which stands in contrast to the WTC 1 and WTC 2 failures, which were brought on by multiple factors, including structural damage caused by the aircraft impact, extensive dislodgement of the sprayed fire-resistive materials or fireproofing in the impacted region, and a weakening of the steel structures created by the fires.
Despite that, it’s unlikely this idea – about one of the defining events of our age – will ever die.
That’s the thing with conspiracy theories. “They’re very hard to kill off,” said Mendham. But if you make an extraordinary claim, he added, you should have some pretty big facts to back you up.
* Also defined by a likely truther on the same website as “One who is not blind and ignorant”.