June 4, 2020

Debunking Conspiracies

Debunking Conspiracies

On the BioLogos Forum, Matthew Pevarnik has an article discussing his frustration with conspiracy theories concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, especially originating from Christians.  He cites an especially egregious piece (found here) where the “minister” has a dream that Dr. Anthony Fauci turns into a “rat”, because… something… something… plot against the president… something…  Matthew says, “This basically made me livid, with basically encouraging Christians to be suspicious of rats in the White House- which included probably one of the most important voices for Christians to listen to in the nation.”  Yeah, Matthew, me too.

Right now, on my Facebook feed, are some Christian friends who are promoting and spreading some video that purports to prove the Chinese manufactured COVID-19 as some kind of bio-weapon.  Sheesh!  Why are some Christians so prone to conspiracy theories?  What drives that tendency?  Sometimes it’s harmless, but right now it can have serious consequences.  According to this Washington Post article security for Dr. Fauci had to be increased because he was facing growing threats to his personal safety.  That so-called “prophetic dream” is contributing to that atmosphere of threat to health officials like Dr. Fauci.

The World Health Organization has a whole myth-busting page dedicated to false claims about the coronavirus.  Look over that list – how many of those myths have you seen being spread by Christians?

It’s a sad truth that any kind of crisis seems to spread a pandemic of misinformation. In the 80s, 90s, and 2000s we saw the spread of dangerous lies about Aids – from the belief that the HIV virus was created by a government laboratory to the idea that the HIV tests were unreliable, and especially the spectacularly unfounded theories of how it could be treated.  These claims increased risky behavior and exacerbated the crisis.  And so with the coronavirus crisis, misinformation abounds, including everything from what caused the outbreak to how you can prevent becoming ill.

But even seemingly innocuous ideas could lure people into a false sense of security, discouraging them from adhering to government guidelines, and eroding trust in health officials and other organizations that are based on science.

Christians, of all people, shouldn’t be part of the spread of misinformation.  They just shouldn’t be.  We are supposed to be people of truth – aren’t we supposed to be following He who is TRUTH?  I get the tendency to just put one’s head down and avoid confrontation.  But don’t.  Do your best to correct misinformation and encourage people to follow the science and not the emotions or the politics.

I believe it’s our sacred responsibility.

Comments

  1. https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2020/04/07/time-put-china-lockdown-dishonesty-amid-coronavirus-pandemic-crisis-column/2954433001/

    I believe that Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birk have gotten a lot of deserved credit from the general population . Unfortunately because of 24/7 internet and cable coverage conspiracy minded people get more publicity than any other time.
    You can never disprove a conspiracy theory ask the Dallas grassy knoll group. However I think this a small fraction of Americans. As the link article shows there is reason to doubt any information coming out of Communist China. The infected lab worker information may or may not be true but it is worth examination if we had access to information China has but we are barred from that. This does not help squash conspiracy theories. The WHO has lost a lot of creditability from their early actions, that do seem to be odd. I could not find the specific article that Mike the G man was referencing but I do not think the average Christian is a conspiracy advocate anymore than any other group.
    So because of the lack of real information from China, the actions of WHO and the changing messaging early on that gave ammo to those who promote conspiracy. I went to the WHO page about the myths and most of them are not getting a lot of traction. I do not get where Christians are any more or less involved in conspiracy theories than the average citizen. Official Communist China tried to start a official conspiracy theory that the US Army started the virus. Personally, I think it is plausible that the virus was accidently release from the lab. The wet market situation is something the WHO could and should address.

    I think Americans and the world has been great following the recommended guidelines. Of course that has slowed down my groups effort to find the movie studio where the moon landing was shot. We were almost ready to interview Neal Armstrong and he died. Now isn’t that a coincidence ? Going to Biologos and try to find article.

    • Iain Lovejoy says

      Everyone knows the movie studio where the moon landings were shot was on Mars: don’t you know anything?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      You can never disprove a conspiracy theory ask the Dallas grassy knoll group.

      Because any evidence against the conspiracy theory is Disinformation planted by The Conspiracy.
      Lack of evidence for the conspiracy theory is PROOF The Conspiracy is so vast They can silence anybody.
      Any who doubt the existence of The Conspiracy have PROVEN themselves to be part of The Conspiracy.
      “THE DWARFS ARE FOR THE DWARFS! WE WON’T BE TAKEN IN!”
      “And because they Won’t Be Taken In, they can never be taken out.” — Aslan

  2. anonymous says

    “Why are some Christians so prone to conspiracy theories? What drives that tendency? Sometimes it’s harmless, but right now it can have serious consequences. According to this Washington Post article security for Dr. Fauci had to be increased because he was facing growing threats to his personal safety. ”

    it isn’t just ‘some Christians’;
    as conspiracy theories satisfy needs in ‘some people’ who are very vulnerable to suggestion and who do not have critical thinking skills.

    ‘some Christians’ are in certain ‘bubbles of information’. Are those Christians more likely to follow conspiracy theories that are promoted by the big names in their circle of information, as in the case of Liberty University’s promotion of a ‘prophet’ who is praised by no less than Jerry Falwell, Jr. The prophet, Mark Taylor, is said to have a direct connection to God and receives information directly from God, and boy howdy does that information slant towards certain agendas, you bet.
    But are these Christians willingly overlooking their ‘con’ radar and embracing such a prophet on the advice of a big name Christian leader that they think they can count on for direction?

    Information ‘bubbles’ are most often created when those who run these bubbles have set out to disparage others and to promote themselves as the ONLY source of information that is ‘fair and balanced’;
    so a person is ‘isolated’ and is then purposefully manipulated into not consulting other references and source of information . . . something intelligent, disciplined folk know not to do as the red light went off in their heads when the ‘bubble’ creators attempted to claim they were the ONLY ones selling ‘truth’.

    Want to study possible ‘reasons’ for folks falling for nonsense? Look at advertising techniques. 🙂 Attention-getting, entertaining, pushing the right buttons, these masterful ‘mad men’ know their craft, and manipulative folk take a lesson from them.

    Who is targeted? Who wins if the conspiracy is bought by enough people? Who loses? No, it’s not just ‘some’ Christians who are victims of mis-information, it is the fate of those who want to hear what they want to here and many of the ‘theories’ out there are ‘tribally’-oriented. Manipulators who design conspiracy theories play on people’s needs and their fears.

    Kindest thing you can say? ‘Oh, that’s interesting!’ rather than ‘that’s bull pucky’. Your conspiracy-smitten friend is infinitely more important to you as a PERSON, than as an adversary.
    So find a way to interact that involves ‘dialogue’ and is respectful of the fact that for SOME REASON, your friend has found a need to buy into this particular ‘bull pucky’, and it is meaningful to him/her at some deeper level. In short ‘listen’ and hear your friend’s concern that prompted him/her to turn towards that particular theory. There is always a ‘trigger’. A worry or a fear. Or some need not sorted out rationally. See the conspiracy theory as a ‘device’: a story that has a deeper meaning for your friend. It’s okay not to be ‘right’ all the time, sometimes what is needed more is to practice a listening ministry.
    Give your friend the gift of listening for ‘the story beneath the story’.

    • Mike the Geologist says

      “So find a way to interact that involves ‘dialogue’ and is respectful…” Yes, Christiane, this is the response I’m hoping for. One has to find a way to be a truth-teller to their friends without alienating them or provoking more bickering. It’s a tough balancing act- but please try.

      • Christiane says

        in a sense, you’ve hit the nail on the head

        for what is happening in the ‘new normal’, the accepted lack of empathy and compassion for the suffering of others,

        THERE ARE NO WORDS that can be said that address it properly

        it is beyond words now, what is happening

        we live in epic times

        • Christiane says

          and yet, in the words of Bonhoeffer, ‘not to speak IS to speak’

          a moral dilemma where ‘silence’ speaks louder than words . . . . but WHAT IS THE SILENCE SAYING?

          and

          ‘TO WHOM IS THE SILENCE SPEAKING’?

          ?

          help me understand this better is what I ask because I am not able to fathom what is happening

          • Hi Christiane,

            You are peaking my curiosity.

            “for what is happening in the ‘new normal’, the accepted lack of empathy and compassion for the suffering of others…”

            Is that sentence focused on one person or are you saying that in general you are concerned about a direction we collectively are heading in?

            • Christiane says

              Hello Radagast,

              I am sad for what HAS happened, yes.

              What I know from my friends ‘who see things differently’ is that they are getting their info from a whole different ‘bubble’ of news sources and pundits. That is, until now, as the death count has risen and is not being hid on their main news channel. Now, some are beginning to get it that the present situation is far from ‘political’ in the reality of what is actually happening to people, but is more of a function of priorities that cannot be acceptable to Christian people.

              I quote something that helps explain my thinking, this:
              “from MARTIN NIEMOLLER, a Lutheran pastor, this:

              “… the people who were put in the camps then were Communists. Who cared about them? We knew it, it was printed in the newspapers. Who raised their voice, maybe the Confessing Church? We thought: Communists, those opponents of religion, those enemies of Christians—”should I be my brother’s keeper?”

              Then they got rid of the sick, the so-called incurables. I remember a conversation I had with a person who claimed to be a Christian. He said: Perhaps it’s right, these incurably sick people just cost the state money, they are just a burden to themselves and to others. Isn’t it best for all concerned if they are taken out of the middle [of society]? Only then did the church as such take note.

              Then we started talking, until our voices were again silenced in public. . . . “

              So Radagast, now we get words like this:
              https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/24/older-people-would-rather-die-than-let-covid-19-lockdown-harm-us-economy-texas-official-dan-patrick

              well, I don’t see the elderly, the vets, the Greatest Generation, the grandparents, as expendable, no. I see them as deserving of respect and of care, not of ‘sacrifice’ . . . so many have already served their country and been in harm’s way. Why now, Dan Patrick’s words? Sure, I’m sad.

              His voice is not the only one raised along these lines.
              Why? What is the moral code now? What has happened to us that we would even speak these thoughts?

              And I do say ‘we’ because it is OUR country and its policies matter when they cross the line and enter into an inhumane darkness of ‘economic interests’ over ‘the worth of a single human life’.

              your thoughts ?. . . I have always read what you write and found it meaningful.

              • Christiane,

                Thank you for that.

                Ah, looking at the link I understand your angst. So from my perspective as a conservative, but also a Catholic this is where I am torn. At a 90,000 foot level things are going to look different for me than at an individual (and Christian ‘do unto others’ ground level) view. This particular article focuses on something stupid a government official said (I am guilty of that by the way). His point is that we can’t ignore the economy in all this although he expresses it in an extreme, attention-getting way. And through the noise he has a point to a certain extent. It is a balance, safety and protecting lives from infection against safety and protecting lives from poverty. As a Christian the answer is simple, focus on taking care of each other. But long term, if we go into a long recession or even depression over this then the suffering could be greater. So a balance has to be struck and thank the Lord I am not making that decision. I would agree though that there a lot of variables in this that could blow the ‘What ifs’ out of the water. The other thing is new information on this virus is changing some initial assumptions. I also understand that you struggle with the messenger on this as well, a person who’s defects keeps him from truly connecting even with those who support him. And I also understand that when we personalize this, no one wants to see anyone lose a loved one.

                Christiane, I don’t believe public leaders/private citizens/liberal/conservative have malicious intent. There are just some that have a terrible way of expressing themselves and some are very narcissistic. Because in the end, you and I are going to make our own decisions on what is right and I am going to hazard to say we will make the right choice. In the end they will also want to protect their families as well. Might be naïve – but it helps me to sleep at night. We also have to block out some of the noise like this article – noise that is coming from both sides.

                One day Christiane, you and I should talk about immigration – that is something I could provide some good information on – and I would be interested on what makes you tick on that subject.

                • Christiane says

                  My father was an immigrant. 🙂 He would have been 100 years old this month. His memory is much honored in our family.

                  Thank you for your kind reply. It gives me much to think about. I needed to hear what you wrote. It means a lot that you took the time to try to help me. God Bless!

            • Burro (Mule) says

              It’s general.

              The lack of courtesy, an important word with an important etymology, in both public and private discourse has been more and more apparent all my lifetime.

              The disappearance of courtesy accelerated with the advent of the Internet.

              It will not return until a Court either engages our collective imagination or is imposed on us.

              • Christiane says

                Yes, it IS general and not focused on any one person.

                why, were voices not raised when we saw the separation of families? some did make effort to help the situation, but where were the Christians as a group?

                sea change?

                yes, but what exactly happened there that people did not protest on many levels, especially moral? there were ‘excuses’ but they didn’t stand upon examination:

                Obama did not engage in this as a policy and was not cruel to these families, no; so the ‘Obama did it, why didn’t you speak up then’ doesn’t work as an excuse;

                then, the ‘excuses’ went downhill from there and I kept thinking, but these people were always wanting to support the FAMILY as a basic unit of civilzation, so more confusion

                then comes the OPEN revelation that the babies had poor care in the camps and it was said that this admission was done on the idea that it might DISCOURAGE asylum seekers from coming ( and the bad conditions were verified, so the littles were made to suffer and still there was ‘silence’) ?

                ?

                I just don’t understand. Now the lives of the old are up for ‘sacrifice’ when the economy ‘opens up’ while the virus is not contained and this is touted as ‘acceptable’ ?????

                more ???

                general, yes, but how did this HAPPEN and when and why? to me it is so bizarre, like I fell down the rabbit hole and am in a world where the Cheshire cat is explaining to me how to ‘make sense’ of things . . . . general? yes, but somehow that is not reassuring, Burro

          • David Greene says

            “and yet, in the words of Bonhoeffer, ‘not to speak IS to speak’”

            Just for the record, there is no evidence anywhere, other than blatant misattribution, that Bonhoeffer ever said that. It may be a nice story and he probably would have agreed but it is not true.

            https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2016/11/11/update-on-a-spurious-bonhoeffer-quote-not-to-speak-is-to-speak-not-to-act-is-to-act/

            I bring this up because there are so many fake quotes floating around out there, particularly in conspiracy world.

    • A fellow employee is heavily invested in conspiracy theories. He gets them on youtube and other social media. He believes that the pandemic is a hoax — btw, he thinks Trump along with Pelosi, CNN, Fox and all the rest are in on the hoax — and that one of the reasons it was perpetrated was to deny us our pay increases this year. At times I have argued with him, but you can’t argue him out of his theories. At other times I have remembered that he is a very socially isolated individual, who has suffered God knows what traumas in his life, that he’s worthy of my empathy and time, especially since I know that he likes me and values the few moments we have spent together each workday. On those latter occasions, I have just told him I disagree, and given a short-form explanation of why, bid him a good day, and said a quick prayer for him and myself.

      But I haven’t seen him in a week, since I was among the first group to be furloughed from work. And given the mortal crisis we are in, and the possibility that I might not see him again, particularly since I know he takes no precautions against infection and makes himself even higher risk as a result, all I can do is pray for him now, which I will do this very moment.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      The prophet, Mark Taylor, is said to have a direct connection to God and receives information directly from God, and boy howdy does that information slant towards certain agendas, you bet.

      Isn’t that par for the course of a CULT FOUNDER?
      Sun Myung Moon, Jim Jones, Mo David, Bo & Peep, whoever founded the Baysiders and HIll-of-Hopers…
      ALL claimed direct connections to God and received information directly from God.

  3. As a high school friend on Facebook said the other day, there is so much information being suppressed someone has to help get it out. (We graduated in 1972.)

    And DT has spoken no fibs is another theme in his feeds.

    And is a great Christian leader.

    • anonymous says

      Yes,
      a true Angel of Light

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        The Word become Flesh and Dwelling (not Dwelt) among us.

        Based on an actual billboard profiled at https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trump-christ-billboard-st-louis/
        Yes, Virginia, there are Christians who are that far gone.
        Or that clueless.

        (In Manly Wade Wellman’s weird fiction, one plot device is a stealth Satanic version of the Paternoster, beginning with the line “Our Father who WERT in Heaven…”, i.e.”Wert” not “Art”, the past tense instead of the present. The above shtick is an inversion of that concept, present tense instead of the actual past tense used at the beginning of John’s Gospel.)

  4. “Why are some Christians so prone to conspiracy theories?”

    Worth noting that the term of art for this is “Bearing false witness against one’s neighbor.”

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      But to the Conspiracy Crackhead, the term of art for this is “THE TRVTH!!!!!!” unlike All You Stupid Ignorant Sheeple, I KNOW WHAT’S REALLY GOING ON!!!!!

    • Back in March I did a search for the personality traits of conspiracy theorists. Basically, they are 1) pretty much afraid (of what? it depends on the person) and 2) people who have a high need for certainty.

      This definition does not include Christians only, of course. But those of us who hang out here at iMonk understand what’s being discussed.

      Dana

  5. Conspiracies? Let’s start by talking about the conspiracy of silence around the coronavirus outbreaks at Florida nursing homes, the refusal of authorities to identify nursing homes where outbreaks are occurring, led by the governor of that state, Ron Desantis. The public, patients, and families have a right to know what’s happening and where. Conspiracy theories about what may or may not have happened in a Chinese biological lab are pointless in the absence of any evidence, but here we have state authorities conspiring right out in the open to keep secret what should be a matter of public record.

  6. As G K Chesterton said, the problem with maniacs and conspiracists is not that their theories don’t explain the world; it’s that the world they explain is too small and dull to actually live in.

  7. And so with the coronavirus crisis, misinformation abounds, including everything from what caused the outbreak to how you can prevent becoming ill.

    Part of this misinformation is because of conflicting and changing messaging from the CDC, the WHO, and other ostensibly authoritative sources. Don’t wear masks, wear masks; CDC says six feet social distancing, WHO says one meter or approximately three feet; first symptoms are cough and high fever, first symptoms are digestive; there is no evidence of virus transmission on take-out food packaging surfaces, virus may be spread on shoes, etc. ad infinitum. Sheesh.

    • I remember the initial reporting on 9/11 distinctively. There was a LOT of conflicting information out there, and the Internet and open data weren’t nearly as prevalent. Facing a new situation like this, initial conflicting reports are to be expected – life is complicated.

      • I have to be honest with you. I thought we were flat out being lied to from the beginning about not needing to wear masks unless you are symptomatic or a health care worker. It made no sense, especially when the early information came out about how asymptomatic carriers could spread the virus. I started wearing masks at work weeks ahead of the course change — which involves now assuming that anyone can be a carrier, and so the masks help prevent transmission in either one direction or the other — and was verbally challenged and given dirty looks by some coworkers, even made fun of for being paranoid. I do believe we were told masks are ineffective in preventing transmission not because it was true, but because there were — and aren’t — enough to go around. That is, the health authorities lied to us. They should’ve told the truth from the beginning — such obvious lies o the part of authorities only feed conspiracy theorizing.

        • The problem is that when dealing with an aerosol-conveyed virus, the masks available to most people either won’t work or have to be worn *exactly right* to be effective. And given how I’ve seen many people use masks (not covering their nose, for example), I’m inclined to agree.

          • Surgical masks, which are the ones that up until recently were most available to the general public and the ones that still are available to workers in my workplace, mostly help prevent transmission from wearer to others (obviously not 100% of the time), that’s why surgeon’s wear them in surgery, to help prevent infection of patients undergoing surgery. They are not totally effective, but they do help prevent transmission to a significant degree when used in concert with other measures. As for the foolishness of some wearers, that is no argument against the general effectiveness of masks when used in combination with other safety measures. When I wear one, or even just a face covering rather than a mask, I’m taking one step among others to help prevent others from getting virus that I may be carrying asymptomatically.

            • Here’s advice I read from a doctor who handles diseases like this…

              “Masks are useless when worn outdoors and may not be very helpful even indoors. Most masks deteriorate after one or two wearings. Using the same mask day after day is worse than useless—it’s disgusting, as the contents of your mouth and nose eventually coat the inside of the mask with a smelly veneer that is attractive to bacteria. I rarely wear a face mask in an epidemic, and I have been in more than 30 outbreaks. Instead, I stay away from crowds, and I keep my distance from individual people—a half meter, about 1.5 feet, is a good standard. If someone is coughing or sneezing, I ask them to put on a mask—to protect me from their potentially contaminated fluids. If they decline, I step a meter (about 3 feet) away from them, or I leave. Don’t shake hands or hug people—politely beg off, saying it’s better for both of you not to come in close contact during an epidemic.”

              • If that is true, and I concede that it may be, then we are being given bad advice by the CDC now, since they are telling us to wear face masks or face coverings.

                • Given the pressures on health officials from above, I’m more interested inclined to listen to individual experts on the subject.

                  • Very good point! They are even now being pressured to reopen the economy before the country is ready, and some of them seem to be going along with it, likely for political reasons.

                    • –> “They are even now being pressured to reopen the economy before the country is ready, and some of them seem to be going along with it, likely for political reasons.”

                      I see it a bit differently. Sure, some of the pressure might be political, but I think even the health officials acknowledge the collapse of the economy would be a devastating thing. I see it more as a tension than a pressure, and that tension is real.

                      Rock — WE ARE HERE — Hard Place

                    • No doubt the collapse of the economy is a cataclysmic prospect, but if we don’t do widespread random testing in tandem with reopening of the economy, we will not prevent either healthcare or the economic catastrophe. The two dominoes will fall one after the other. That testing is what we are not even preparing to do at this point, from what I can see.

                    • And we are probably much closer to interruption of the vital supply lines, specifically foodstuffs, than any of us would like to believe.

          • Michael Z says

            I think the biggest issue with masks was that if you have a limited supply, they need to go where they will do the most good (i.e. to people who are known to be infected and to health care workers and others who are routinely exposed to the virus). The main reason the CDC was saying “don’t wear masks” is that if millions of people in low-risk situations were using masks, there would not be enough masks where they were really needed. (And indeed, that’s exactly what ended up happening.)

            There’s also a legitimate concern that if wearing a mask only gives a small decrease in transmission, it may be completely offset by any extra risks someone takes due to a false sense of security.

            • But the CDC didn’t say that. They said mask-wearing was not effective in helping to prevent transmission. The WHO is still saying that. As it is, many or most people are not able to wear masks, due to unavailability; but now we are told that even simple home-made face coverings are better than nothing, and that we should wear them. They did a 180, and I can’t see how one can read the history without seeing an element of intentional deception there.

              • “Better than nothing” does NOT equal “effective”. In fact, it may give people a false sense of security.

                • As I said above, you may be right — and the doctor you quote above may be right — but then the CDC’s recommendation to wear masks/face coverings now is wrong.

            • Headless Unicorn Guy says

              I think the biggest issue with masks was that if you have a limited supply, they need to go where they will do the most good (i.e. to people who are known to be infected and to health care workers and others who are routinely exposed to the virus).

              And to the highest bidder on the black market.

              • Christiane says

                for them what can’t afford the black market for a ‘mask’, there is this option:

                my husband told me that he saw a man wearing a ‘Depends’ as a mask . . .

                needs must, I guess

        • It’s not the health authorities but politicians who speak out both sides of their mouths

          House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s ill-advised February 24 trip to San Francisco’s Chinatown, where she urged residents to flock to shops and restaurants in defiance of the coronavirus outbreak.

          On January 24, Politico reported, the Trump administration held a briefing on the coronavirus for senators, but it was “sparsely attended” in part because it “was held on the same day as a deadline for senators to submit their impeachment questions.”
          “Since I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives + get out on the town despite Coronavirus, I thought I would offer some suggestions,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted on March 2. “Here’s the first: thru Thurs 3/5 go see ‘The Traitor’ @FilmLinc. If ‘The Wire’ was a true story + set in Italy, it would be this film.”
          On March 4, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta also downplayed the virus.
          “The flu right now is far deadlier,” Cooper said. “So if you’re freaked out at all about the coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu, and you can actually do something

          • One thing is that seems to be playing out here, as we learn more about this virus, our opinions on some things may change. We have seen this on both sides of the aisle with each side trying to exploit it at a later time. In the end people are trying to do what is right with the knowledge that they have at the time. Some end up playing the fool, the hypocrite, the prophet. I played the fool for a while until I did a 180 degree turn.

            Sometimes we need to give the other person a little slack. We are not seeing much of that these days, at least from our governing officials and the media. But I am seeing it at a local level and that is encouraging.

            • Thank you I agree we need to cut some of these people some slack. They are after all trying to learn as much as they can as this thing is brand new to the world.
              Where we don’t need to cut any slack is the person in the White House who called it a hoax and ignored it effectively sabotage efforts to Corral this thing.

              It’s a shame that there are groups of people who try to exploit the changing information and Amplify the conspiracy angle. I am wondering what is the purpose of perpetuating any conspiracy? What people or groups have something to gain from exploiting the thinking of conspiracy-minded folks?

              • Why only the person in the White House. All are at fault if you are honest about it. Why give the left a pass when their ignorance was as great as the White House. So hard to swallow isn’t it.

  8. Giving Chesterton’s take on this a bit more thought, I think I might even dare to modify his famous dictum a bit…

    “A conspiracy theorist is not someone who has lost their reason but someone who has jettisoned their reason to make room for their egocentric fantasies.”

    The problem with arguing against conspiracy theorists, as Chesterton pointed out, is that their reason is totally in submission to their theory. And I submit that the reason they believe in that theory is that it is very flattering to them to do so. “There is this great conspiracy out to (insert whatever nefarious scheme here)… BUT *I* SAW THROUGH THEM!” The conspiracist can also play pretend (or LARP if you prefer 😉 ) that they are a brave warrior for Truth, putting their life on the line to expose the conspiracy… and of course it IS a LARP, because if the conspiracy *actually* existed, either the truth would never have gotten out there, or the “truth-teller” would have been squashed like a bug. Conspiracy theories exist to make the world make sense and to make the conspiracy theorist feel good about themselves. Against such things, mere facts are at best an annoyance, at worst irrelevant.

    • All driven by the desire to be in control. If this pandemic should be teaching us anything, it is that neither the human race, nor any part thereof, is in control. But so resistant to proof are conspiracy theories, and so entrenched is the need to believe human beings are in control, that even an epoch event that would otherwise constitute irrefutable proof of how powerless human being are in the face of nature is used to bolster just the opposite belief.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      and of course it IS a LARP, because if the conspiracy *actually* existed, either the truth would never have gotten out there, or the “truth-teller” would have been squashed like a bug.

      Already anticipated you, Eeyore.
      Like the Christian activist who was actually invited to a Dungeons & Dragons game to show there was no Demon Possession involved, “BECAUSE I AM PROTECTED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT!”

      Against such things, mere facts are at best an annoyance, at worst irrelevant.

      “ALL LIES! ALL FAKE NEWS! THAT’S WHAT *THEY* WANT ME TO THINK!”

    • David Greene says

      “and of course it IS a LARP, because if the conspiracy *actually* existed, either the truth would never have gotten out there, or the “truth-teller” would have been squashed like a bug.”

      OTOH maybe would they left the “truth teller” out there just to make the conspiracy theory look ridiculous.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        OTOH maybe would they left the “truth teller” out there just to make the conspiracy theory look ridiculous.

        And the Rabbit Hole just keeps going Deeper and Deeper and Deeper and Deeper and Deeper and Deeper and Deeper…

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      The conspiracist can also play pretend (or LARP if you prefer ? ) that they are a brave warrior for Truth, putting their life on the line to expose the conspiracy… and of course it IS a LARP

      Except (like Doug Phillps ESQUIRE and cosplay) THEY WON’T ADMIT TO IT.

  9. Even more concerting is the relationship between evangelicals and the Fxx Tabloid News network, have you seen their front page on the website this morning! It is “confirming” the theories. Do not underestimate corporate media in all this.

    • Telling people what they want to hear never hurt anyone’s bottom line, at least in the short term. There would be no tabloids if there wasn’t a market for them.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Never mind Fxx, morning drive-time radio has commercials for “NewsMax”, a channel that is The TRVTH instead of “what the biased media wants you to hear”. Their latest juicy tidbit is The TRVTH about the (Communist) Chinese and COVID-19. Their lineup includes the usual suspects (especially Sean Spicer).

      I am very skeptical about NewsMax; it sounds Conspiracy Tabloid on steroids.

      • Newsmax and WorldNetDaily are fringe right, too biased to be considered reliable, the right’s equivalent to the left’s MSNBC…..

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          And World Net Daily is CHRISTIAN(TM).

          Several years ago I was visiting the East Coast and kept passing by this Birther billboard on Route 15 between Gettysburg & Harrisburg :”WHERE’S THE REAL/b> BIRTH CERTIFICATE?????” The third or fourth time I passed it, someone else was driving so I was able to take a better look. Down in the lower right corner was WND’s logo.

          All I can say about WND is when your editorial board includes Hal “Pin-the-Tail-on-The-Antichrist” Lindsay and Pat “Blam- the-Jews” Buchanan, you have already blown whatever credibility you might have had.

  10. In the Time of the Lie all must stand in opposition or be complicit. What no one can say is “I didn’t know”. Choose wisely friends.

    • Conspiracy theorists would say the same thing. The question is, what exactly does one stand in opposition against?

      • It is one thing to pass on information that we think is true but is not. We are none of us all knowing. Ignorance is forgivable. It is another thing to deliberately lie to one’s own advantage. The solution? Tell the truth when we know it and be willing to say “I don’t know” when we don’t. What we must stand in opposition to is the lie. What conspiracy theorists cannot do is admit they don’t know.

    • Christiane says

      Stephen, good comment

      at the end of all this terrible time, I would not be surprised to hear from many good people: ‘I did not know.’
      But in the meantime, there is so much suffering among so many and too few voices raised for their sake.

      “”Speak up for people who cannot speak for themselves. Protect the rights of all who are helpless.”
      (Proverbs 31:8)

      as Bonhoeffer noted, “not to speak IS to speak’

      The only kind way for me to look at the present scene IS to consider that ‘people know not what they do’ and may not realize that because something is ‘legal’, does not make it right when innocent people are put into harm’s way and it might have been different as they did not need to suffer or to perish.

      I think that calls for ‘look away, nothing to see here’ are misguided and politically motivated. In the Christian world, where there is suffering, there needs to be a response to that suffering and when people ‘walk past’ the suffering and are not moved by it, that is something beyond political and more deeply embedded in our broken world and its effect on our ability to see God in the suffering of others. We are called into a different Way that tells us to speak up, to stop and humanely care for those who are wounded, as an age-old response to ‘love thy neighbor’

  11. Simple answer – having a brain, well used and highly functioning, is considered a left leaning thing. Elitist. There are some reasons for that too. The evangelical playbook incorporates some dissonant ideas that, generally, are simply accepted without ‘thinking’. It’s love the Lord with your whole heart and soul but only half of your brain. Don’t make too much of a fuss. Question but not too deeply. That culture leaves many people absolutely susceptible to ridiculous suggestion. I’m no brainiac. I paint houses for a living. Nonetheless, I did go to college and when I was there studying as a young man I was already becoming acquainted with this issue first hand and it caused tremendous consternation. There are some tremendous thinkers but they are not center stage. That spot is often held by the likes of Copeland or Hagee. CS Lewis gave me hope that someone thinking at a high level could be acceptable but he was almost a one off. Just go into a Christian bookstore to see what is being consumed. It’s like the music. By and large not nearly as sharp as the ‘secular’ stuff. Hence the easy sway.

    • There are conspiracy theories on the Left also. Today there is talk about the Deep State, but the left has always had their Deep State too, at least since the Cold War — the military-industrial complex.

      • You can find some those conspiracy theories among the anti-globalist factions of the far left. Just ask them about the G-7 and the UN.

      • Michael Z says

        The military-industrial complex in and of itself isn’t a conspiracy theory, any more than Big Tobacco or the NRA lobby is a conspiracy theory. It’s undeniable that there are certain industries in the US that have enough money and influence to shape our politics. There may be conspiracy theories *related* to the military industrial complex, but Eisenhower’s basic concern about the defense industry wielding undue influence because of the sheer amount of money involved has proved to be well-founded.

        • That’s a good point. I often think the conspiracy theorist time would be better spent educating themselves about the actual conspiracies that have taken place or are taking place, ALEC, Koch ind. Tuskegee Airmen, etc.
          My mother RIP, was a conspiracy theorist. It all started a few years after Vatican II. She got into Hal Lindsey and it took off from there until the day she died. She got to the point where the only true Catholic mass was the Latin Mass. She believed that the Protestants were planting gay men in the Catholic seminaries to molest children and topple the Catholic Church. With her I think she’d always been so passive and Powerless that this made her feel like part of an inside group that had special secret information that no one else had. But then at the same time she was frustrated that no one was doing anything about these things. I think it made her feel like the smartest person in the room.

          I also seem to remember an AM radio station late at night with I think it was madalyn Murray O’Hair. I got swept up into that for several nights until I realize that the conspiracy never ends it keeps going and going there’s never a goal there’s never an arrival point it’s just an endless Maze of convoluted connections that have just enough obvious truth to keep you hooked in.

      • I have seen it on both sides -though admittedly, at least on the internet more on the right. it does depend on the subject though…

      • Absolutely. There are people on the left that are less informed than a bag of leaves but I was addressing the culture that actually promotes and facilitates a dumbed down view. That’s both sad and scary.

  12. Michael Z says

    Part of the problem is the education system in the US. In one of the most widely used models of child development (Piaget theory), children first reach a “concrete operational” stage where they can employ logic and inductive reasoning, and then years later a “formal operational” stage where deductive reasoning, introspection, hypothetical thinking, and methodological problem-solving become possible.

    According to various studies (just Google for “formal operational adults in united states”), it looks like only about half the adults in the US have reached that “formal operational” stage of development. Recognizing most conspiracy theories is relatively easy if you’re capable of hypothetical reasoning to test and weight the evidence of something being true or false. But without those cognitive tools, you just have to blindly decide which sources of information you’re going to trust.

    For example, there was a conspiracy theory going around that said that there’s always a “pandemic” in election years. That’s a good example of a theory that is supported by *inductive* reasoning run amok, but that could easily be disproved by higher-level reasoning (given that many disease outbreaks take a year or more to resolve, and every other year is an election year, of course there’s going to be a new disease going on somewhere at some point in any even-numbered year).

    • ” Recognizing most conspiracy theories is relatively easy if you’re capable of hypothetical reasoning to test and weight the evidence of something being true or false. But without those cognitive tools, you just have to blindly decide which sources of information you’re going to trust.”

      Agreed.

      The key is investigating sources yourself on both sides of the issue and not trusting someone else to connect the dots for you, especially if the source has a known bias. And if all you have is biased sources to go by then looking at multiple sources to gather consensus.

  13. Mike Bell says

    I see more stupidity than conspiracy.

    While people say: “It’s no worse than the flu” or “there is only three cases in my town, why should we have to be locked down” or “Sweden’s not locked down and they are doing fine” it becomes impossible to enforce a lockdown.

    Governments were definitely slow to act (despite my post of a few days ago), much of it in response to what was being said by the public.

    That being said some of their slowness to act, i.e. not having a plan in place for nursing homes, verges on criminal.

    In Canada, half of the deaths have been in retirement residences or nursing homes.

    We have known for months that the elderly were vulnerable, but plans to protect are only being put into place now.

    • Regarding nursing homes: The lack of planning, adequate care and oversight in them has long preexisted this virus — at least that’s the case in the US. It’s just that all those deficiencies, some of them criminal, have become more deadly with the onset of this crisis.

      • David Cornwell says

        When I was considering a nursing home for Marge a couple of years ago I did a lot of research. First I talked to the nurse practitioner who I see for primary medical care. She is a Wheaton College grad and for many years worked in area nursing homes. She advised me which ones were good, which concentrated on profit rather than care, and the level of creature comforts. She called some of them “Cadillac” homes, some were just ordinary, but gave exceptional care.

        I also consulted web reviews and state deficiency reports. Some have had a number of deficiencies for years. Sometimes they solve one, only to have it replaced by another.

        I settled on one that is relatively small in an older building. Nothing fancy about it. The bathrooms were shared rather than one for each room. However, they have had many years without a deficiency. They manage to keep basically the same staff over a long period of time. The business manager had her office across the hall from Marge. She was also a nurse or some type of certified healthcare worker. When a patient needed help, such as dialing a phone call, she would stop her work and help the patient. She also was in on the interview process and told me how she decides on a good caregiver.

        They made it clear that I could come and go as I wished; night or day. The same with calling to check on Marge. They encouraged me to call in the middle of the night if I had anxiety about her — which I did more than once. Sometimes they would go check on her while I was on the phone so I could have extra assurance.

        They became part of my family; loving, giving, dedicated. I totally trusted them. I pray for them now in this hard time.

        • Mt daughter is working in a retirement home while she is going to school for nursing. The important things are having consistent staff, having enough staff, and having staff with the right attitude. My daughter has a reputation for really getting to know the residents.

          I will say though they are taking extraordinary precautions to keep COVID-19 out. The other day my daughter mentioned to a co-worker (they were both at home texting each other) she was not feeling well (that time of the month) and a few minutes later the supervisor called her and told her she could not come in until she was tested. Combine that with absolutely no visitors and a nurse at an employee receiving area taking temperatures before the employees are allowed in are some good initial steps.

          • David Cornwell says

            Exactly; staff is the most important element. Right now my son-in-law’s mom is in a nursing home recovering from a broken hip, plus she has serious dementia. She has been there now for several months, and for the last few weeks, they have been locked down. So the only contact is by phone. And accurate information depends on the truthfulness and competency of the staff.

            Adding to the stress is the fact that one of the largest area nursing homes, Lutheran, now has an outbreak of the virus. And almost everyone knows someone in that home.

            Pray for staff and patients.

            • Yes, prayer is needed. And additionally for most nursing homes that are understaffed, or staffed by short term unreliable people, it comes down to “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” (the visiting family member). Right now it’s “no visitors allowed” so that becomes a bit problematic..

              I am glad your wife received compassionate care. My daughter just wants to see the residents in her care treated with dignity.

        • A good nursing home, and I’m glad you were able to find it for Marge.

          I wish it were always case, but there is a lot of bad nursing homes, with deficient care, in some places and states worse than others. It is a national shame that it’s so.

          • David Cornwell says

            Sadly, you are correct. Within sight of my home is a nursing home, fairly new, with a large building and impressive on the outside. But they started out as a non-profit, then were sold to another for-profit company, then another.

            They have had deficiencies for several years and now have not paid their county taxes for a couple of years.

    • There are still many people saying “It’s just the flu”, and pointing to fewer deaths than projected as evidence. The idea that the nationwide and worldwide social distancing practices might have helped ‘flatten the curve”, and curbed deaths, is outside their narrative; in the US, they instead claim that it’s just the Libruls and the Deep State trying to ruin the economy for political reasons. More conspiracy theory.

      • “In advance of a pandemic, anything you say sounds alarmist. After a pandemic starts, everything you’ve done is inadequate.”

        Mike Leavitt, Health and Human Services Secretary under President George W. Bush

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        I always consider “Deep State” to be the latest Code Words for “The Jews(TM)”.

        (And two years ago, I actually came across The Blood Libel linked with “Missing 411” mystery disappearances in a YouTube comment thread. The Crazy is strong in those ones, Padawan.)

    • It’s not just Canada and Florida, Mike. Here in Maine there have been outbreaks in at least five retirement/nursing homes, with those infected representing a much higher than average percentage of the current total statewide.

      With caregivers and staff coming and going three shifts per day, infection is almost unavoidable over time. My mom is in one (not one of the ones yet infected) and we haven’t been able to visit in over a month. That’s another tragedy—that people may never see their loved ones again, or even hold a timely funeral.

      • In Florida the state government is keeping information about the locations of the nursing home outbreaks from the public, including the families of the residents. It’s unprecedented.

        • Christiane says

          why?

          the cruelty of not informing the families is inhumane

          • The governor seems to want to protect the nursing homes from negligence lawsuits in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic — they’ve been trying to get that protection in general for years — and he is refusing to provide the info in preparation for that legislative/executive move. The info blackout is cruel beyond belief.

            • Christiane says

              “The info blackout is cruel beyond belief”
              .
              not any more, sadly

              Robert F, there is a new ‘normal’ that is unspeakable and horrifying to me in its lack of empathy and compassion

              • As a 61 year old man who was bullied by other children as a child, and who continues to carry the scars from those years all these decades later, I will tell you that a lack of empathy and compassion is not new in American life. I wish I could say otherwise. I’m afraid it has always been so. Cruelty is normal, here and around the world; it is not the only normal thing — self-giving, kindness, and concern for others are also normal — but it is one of them.

                • Headless Unicorn Guy says

                  And Cruelty from positions of power is part of the thrill of Power.
                  As well as giving sanction from on high for the rest of us to be cruel.

                  • Christiane says

                    But I knew our country had changed when I learned that the policy of family separation INCLUDED the open admission of poor care for the littles IN HOPES OF ‘discouraging’ asylum seekers from coming to our borders.

                    And it was true: the littles weren’t being given soap or dental care products or diapers or chances to bathe or adequate food . . . fourteen and twelve year old children were assigned to take care of infants and toddlers who were helpless

                    and this was the POLICY of an administration ????

                    Dear God ! This is so far from what I know of my country. Who ginned up all the conspiracies that made those asylum seekers into ‘the enemy’ ? I look at the hatemongers and those who created fear in our population as people who wanted power and control and used fear and hate to get it. And they did. They did.

                    ‘course I am saddened. . . . I KNOW that we were ‘better than that’ and I believe we will be again when what is HUMANE becomes honored in our land as a mark of civility once more.

                    So, I am hopeful. There is a spark and core of ‘honor’ left and it will fire up and remove those who sought to destroy the goodness of our people by making them fearful and hate-filled. There is a great and holy spark of ‘humane’ compassion and empathy in our people that will be awakened again, maybe sooner as a result of suffering ourselves through this ‘covid-19’ struggle, where WE smug Americans have learned not to see ourselves as apart from the sufferings of those in our keeping who have no power and no voice and depend upon the kindness that only comes when humans recognize in one another the image of God.

                    to better days, and the return of our humane and civil country where the real power to recover was always in the hearts of the people who stood up for those with no voice

        • The people at Mom’s assisted living facility call us about every little change in her condition or her meds. I assumed that was the norm, as much to protect themselves legally as anything. I don’t understand how anyone could think that info blackout or cover-up was good policy.

  14. Imagine a culture where the people actually deferred to the ‘experts’. There definitely seems to be a correlation between conservatism and rejection of hard science that doesn’t lead to a desired truth. And while there is usually a large divide between most issues in life (e.g. economic policies, etc.), science is one of the exceptions where there generally tends to be more unity. We often shoots ourselves in the foot by when we ignore what the vast majority of doctors and scientists say on issues such as these.

    • But what about when the vast majority of experts in one country or region of the world disagree with those of another country or region of the world? For instance, up until recently with regard to mask-wearing as a tool to help prevent disease transmission, where experts in Asian countries were in complete disagreement with their Western counterparts?

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      > Imagine a culture where the people actually deferred to the ‘experts’.

      Finland

      Several Asian nations and cities.

      >And while there is usually a large divide between most issues in life…

      Actually, not really. Strong consensus exists on most issues.

  15. Binary thinking rules these times. For too many it is all or nothing, so if it is in any way connected to a lab…

    • Agreed. And some denominations (and even religions) are more binary than others. These seem to be the ones (and believers) who go all-in on the weird stuff they hear and want to believe.

    • It’s either all or nothing or it’s not!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Not “Binary”>
      BOOLEAN.
      1 or 0, Yes or No, On or Off, no intermediate states possible.

  16. As to why Christians might be prone or susceptible to conspiracy theories: Let’s remember that many Christians believe that Satan and his legions are secretly working behind the scenes not only to tempt individual human beings, but also to corrupt governments and human institutions of every kind, and on a global scale. I myself believe in the existence of the demonic, but do not follow those who ascribe demonic motivation and/or influence to human beings and human institutions that disagree with them or do things they disagree with. But having that kind of metaphysical set of beliefs can definitely set one up for all kinds of conspiracy theories — unless one guards oneself against the temptation to do just that — which I incidentally think is exactly how the demonic, if it exists as I believe it does, would go about setting one human being and group against another. This was the Christian conspiracy dynamic that Jews suffered since almost the beginning of the Christian era, when every kind of evil, both small and vast in scope, was ascribed to their being in league with the devil.

    • ” I myself believe in the existence of the demonic, but do not follow those who ascribe demonic motivation and/or influence to human beings and human institutions that disagree with them or do things they disagree with.”

      Same here. I think that humanity wouldn’t be too different even if demons did not exist. “Lead me not into temptation; I can find it just fine on my own.” – Mae West

    • Yes, I’ve been thinking along the same lines. It is not a far journey from popular “spiritual warfare” thinking to conspiracy theories. In such thinking, it seems to me that demons of all shapes and sizes are at the forefront and God ends up a cosmic, absentee landlord. I too, by the way, believe in the existence of demons. But from what I can see, demons were never a big deal in the early church, and were treated as easy-to-be-disposed-of pests.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Not just “not a far journey” but A Lot of Overlap.

        Veteran of the fringes of the Satanic Panic here.

  17. Peter Wolfe says

    Science Mike McHargue yesterday said on a video that in times when people want information and facts but experts are unable to provide them THEN we look for other sources so are prime targets for conspiracy theories which supply them. Not sure if there is research data to support that claim – he did not mention any,

    • Christiane says

      true this . . . I briefly engaged in my own ‘conspiracy theory’.

      Here is (was) the situation:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_United_States_Air_Force_nuclear_weapons_incident

      so when I heard about it, I asked the military folk in my family about the possibility that this was accidental and they all said ‘no way’ because of all the protective protocols that were in place to prevent such an occurrence, whereupon I thought ‘Wow, who was behind this? Were they extremists? ‘

      and then I found out that the whole thing was reviewed and heads roled for the carelessness involved

      but still, my family had told me what happened was ‘impossible’ and ‘couldn’t be accidental’
      and I took that to heart for at least a day or a month until I got the whole story straightened out so I can see how not having the right answers can lead to speculation about ‘extremists and terrorism’ and I am as guilty as the next one for being vulnerable to conjecture when the answers aren’t visible yet

      • Ever read about the 1961 Goldsboro B-52 crash, when the US Air Force dropped two nuclear bombs on North Carolina (albeit unintentionally)? That is not the only such accidental dropping and/or loss of American nuclear weapons. The military makes big time mistakes, more often than we want to know, despite protective protocols, because human beings — including layer after layer of military fail-safe personnel — are fallible.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      Not sure if there is research data to support that claim – he did not mention any,

      But the claim does make a lot of sense.

  18. Andrew Zook says

    Good to see pushback on this crazy coming from some christians… but some of it may be too late… it’s spread faster than the real virus. I saw the idiotic, anti-Spirit-of-Christ “dream” about Dr Fauci, about a week ago, shared by a charismatic extremist family member… I tried some polite push back/questions but they were undeterred. 100% convinced that their “spirit” and this guy’s “dream” was telling them the truth. Part of the problem is that they were way off track before this pandemic/crisis ever came along, and so they are even less prepared to deal with the current crisis in a truth-loving/seeking, Christ-like manner…
    Breaks my heart to see so many christians in my background, who at one time I would have had complete respect for.. but not as much any more…,and this situation has provided yet another shovel to keep digging themselves into an even deeper hole. I pray that a few real Jesus-followers are able to rise out of that hole and depart in some way from the “christians” who keep digging… but at the same time don’t stop trying to pull people out of the hole… God help us all.

    • Yep, I hear ya. I have two Christian friends who, on FB, propagate misinformation more than anyone else on my friends list. I try to engage them in ways that might stir conversation — with questions like, “If true, what do you suggest we do about it” or “This is not helpful information to share because it impacts the lives of medical workers and first responders who are dealing with it firsthand” — something, ANYTHING, that might have them examine how harmful spreading these theories might be, but to no avail. One of these people is even in Christian leadership, so he has the ear of many people who look up to him and thus believe everything he says. I wish I could privately talk to him to say how un-Christlike his posts seem to be these days.

  19. https://www.hudson.org/research/15920-coronavirus-timeline

    This is a pretty straight fact base overview of China efforts and WHO conduct in the early stages of the virus. I think it is fair to ask why the Chinese government has not closed down the wet markets that have produced this problem and others in the past.

    • So I am beginning to see stories from both sides of the media aisle that this virus may have been engineered in a Wuhan lab. As I am not a conspiracy guy I am reading what I can on it and letting it unfold. Early on in the pandemic I read another article that suggested it could not have been engineered because it did not exhibit certain characteristics that would have pointed investigators in that direction. None the less the wet markets are still not a good idea from my limited knowledge on the subject.

      • Clarification – not “engineered” in the lab, but because of bad security practices it got out. Will see if this grows legs or turns out to be an assumption gone wild.

    • Dana Ames says

      It’s a cultural thing, Dan. It certainly could be clamped down on by the government, but those in the government are also part of the culture. Culture, especially the culture of eating, is difficult to change. A friend of mine was a missionary in Africa for 40 years; his byword: “Culture always wins.”

      Dana

    • Clay Crouch says

      Dan, why haven’t we shutdown the tobacco industry? It kills 480,000 in the US and 7,000,000 globall every year. Now that’s a pandemic.

      https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm

      • Clay Crouch, Good or bad the in the USA we do have a free market place economy not a command economy. The example of shutting down the wet markets is closer to our meat and food inspection to stop spread of disease. How about alcohol Tried that , did we not? Why some in the media seem to mount a defense of the verified actions of the Communist Party of China and the USA if baffling to me. Wet markets have led to serious outbreaks before. This is a country that enforced a one child policy yet have respect for the wet market. Common sense would dictate a closing of selling, pig butt, bat, snake, cats and what ever exotic crap that seems to be a part of the wet market. This market does not even sell bats , they were 600 miles away. So maybe a dog took it to the market before he got eaten. China more popular than USA in some of our media. WHO wrote the Book of Love, not UN WHO. Why since 1972 the USA enabled a Communist China to become a super power by our stupidity needs to be examined. We are paying the price now for all the cheap , crappy Chinese products.

        • Just keep in mind that those “cheap, crappy Chinese products” have been bought in large quantities by American First-ers for decades now. It is the so-called Elites who buy American and local. Check your stats. I see more “Make America Great Again” hats in Walmart than anywhere else — though I’ve never been to a Trump rally.

          • Robert F. The American public has been fed the now debunked theory that “opening” Communist China up to western markets would bring them into the being a more open, free and democratic society based on economic , social and cultural influence of the western world. That view point was pushed by most academics, politicians, political talking heads on media and the majority of our leader elites. To short hand it , the establishment consisting of big business, lobbyist, wealthy wall street investors, Republicans mainly at first then Democrats. The only real opposition was the USA labor unions. I am just replacing a cheap crappy a/c with a compressor made in China, no easy to find American made products. Official Trump hats and merchandise all made in America, Wal Mart is Wal Mart. Where else would middle class and lower middle class people go but Wal Mart? 1992 Sam Walton Wal Mart trucks logos “Made in America” Sam died , Wal Mart goes big time China, Walton Children heirs always in top 10 of USA rich, every year. We got taken to the cleaners. Perhaps it is not too late . Ross Perot was ringing the bell in 1992. Communist China has killed more people than any regime in history and is our enemy and we enriched them. Most Republicans who pushed “free” trade Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Bush terrible on China and Democrats became as bad due to lobbyist and American people not paying attention. Unions even gave up trying to sound China alarm. Hope it is not too late

            • Who will have money to buy expensive, quality goods? It’s already too late.

              • Robert F. The return of jobs, revenue and food processing to to USA would require a readjustment on the part of business owner, the stockholders, businesses and a change in value system. The Walton family for example will have to consider “getting” by on 50 million a year and put the money in the American economy. Elizabeth Warren wrote a good book years ago about the two income family and the remedy but now she is moved on. It can be done if the Americans continue to pull together and honestly exam and restructure our economic wealth distribution. Instead buying 10 shirts for 100 dollars , we may have to get by with 3 shirts of quality for 90 dollars. This would take a national effort and a change of attitude on all. Most “small” businesses are more equitable to their employees than large companies. My Mother would never believe the USA is buying food from China. Greed by the establishment is the problem and slowly the American voter/citizen is seeing how terrible the China policy was/is. I would guess the My Pillow guy pays his employees fairly and it is considered a good job in the area. Anyway, we need to lower our standard of living voluntarily or China will make us do it involuntarily. It is not too late but close. This terrible stupid virus mess may help USA recover her common sense in many areas.

                • Pull together? Haven’t you noticed: the inertia is in the opposite direction, Americans are pulling apart. A virus, however deadly, isn’t going to change that.

  20. Thanks for the post, Mike the Geo. I said something similar to this a day or two ago, but your post gets at the reason why I — conservative that I am — have had to drift away from the Republican party that I once whole-heartedly supported. Seeing Republican friends – mostly Christian – completely ignore science and data just because it either infringed on their rights, “went against scripture,” or was “of the liberal Democrats, so must be FOUGHT” made me realize that they were becoming the party of “knee-jerk reaction” rather than of thoughtful examination, wanting to seek and understand, and able to change and adapt to new information no matter how much they don’t like it.

    And now, worse… is seeing Christians (who are all Republicans) propagating these knee-jerk reactions and conspiracy theories. It’s no wonder the Republican party is becoming a little more “fringy” and leaning further and further right. It’s loaded with people who can look at the train coming at them full speed and claim “it’s not really there, it’s all a plot to get us to step off the tracks! Well, I have a RIGHT to be on this track, dang it!!!”

    The beauty of my past several years of drifting away from the Republican party has been finding some non-Republican Christians (many former Republicans like myself) to commiserate with…LOL.

  21. Dana, of course it is cultural but it is also a problem for a country that is probably going to be the most powerful country in the world by 2050 . This adds to the lab conspiracy theory as the government shut down the markets for a few weeks as that is where they said the start was. Then they were allowed to re open and the question has to be why? Sure it is part of culture but so was foot binding and may things the Communist Chinese Party did away with. .
    At least they have reclassified dogs as pets and not food officially.

    Also the premise that Christians are more prone to the general public to me is rather weak argument . As 65% per cent of American public identify themselves as Christian they will be a large percent in any group studied, NRA, Teamsters, NEA and so on. The guy Jeremiah Johnson is not a major player . I had to look him up, he has a small following on Facebook and You Tube. It is a right wing , nut job fringe that is one of the by products we have to live with to have freedom of religion and speech. The conduct of China and the results have given conspiracy theory
    groups ample fuel for the fire. Why did China not seek WHO, American/European help early on and kick out the American press? The Dr. and several players in the early stages have died or not heard from. Then the basic fact that the place where is ground zero is the place where the Chinese Army Bio lab is. Bottom line , so far it appears that the Chinese Communist government intentionally let the virus get out of control and did little to contain it until it reach pandemic numbers. Hard not to consider some type of conspiracy when facts are so scarce due to actions of Chinese government. Horton seems to be the only one helped by the WHO.

  22. U.S. white evangelicalism has been prone to all kinds of misinformation for some time now. Almost a decade ago when I was still involved, I recall a sermon on charity toward the poor that turned somehow into a screed against government welfare, and I distinctly remember a bible study leader who regularly baited participants with questions heavy with conspiratorial assumptions. That same bible study group also believed the ancient Philistines were the same group of people as the modern Palestinian people and that this explained why they were so troublesome. And don’t get me started on the leaders in the ;80s who loudly and regularly preached that AIDS was a scourge from God on gays and whoever else they didn’t like.

    So I am happy to be out of the evangelical circus. My day to day life generally has more truth and peace in it now. Evangelicalism has been not just collapsing as Michael Spenser predicted, but also rotting from within. It just doesn’t know it yet.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      When something rots from within, everything looks fine & dandy until one day it all collapses or blows sky-high.

  23. David Greene says

    “and yet, in the words of Bonhoeffer, ‘not to speak IS to speak’”

    Another fake quote, there seem to be so many of them. Metaxes is lately pushing this one in his pseudo-biography that attemps to recast Boenhoffer as an evangelical.

    https://www.wthrockmorton.com/2016/11/11/update-on-a-spurious-bonhoeffer-quote-not-to-speak-is-to-speak-not-to-act-is-to-act/

    • Metaxes is lately pushing this one in his pseudo-biography that attempts to recast Boenhoffer as an evangelical.

      And maybe a Trump supporter….

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        This is an actual mind game from Transactional Analysis (a pop psychology of the Seventies that actually made a lot of sense):
        “ALL GREAT MEN ARE”
        i.e. claiming major historical figures are part of your in-group.
        (Most famously used by gay activists.)