Do you have conversations with yourself when some particular subject has been nagging at you demanding to be vocalised and words pop up on your mental screen arranging themselves into sentences and then an hour or a day or a week later you say, yup, I'm gonna post this on the internut? Yup, I do. My subject today is: conspiracy theories and actual conspiracies: can you tell which is which?
Suppose, just for example, you're considering adopting a vegan diet and you read an article by an eminent scientist/nutritionist/doctor/sport star stating that eliminating meat and all animal products from your diet seriously endangers your health and that of yourcurrent or future children.
a} Do you, because of the eminent status of any of these influencers/experts decide that the risks of radically changing your diet are too great?
b) Do you research the expertise /eminence of the author of the article and make your decision based on what you discover? For ex: the expert happens to be a shareholder in a meat processing industry, or a dairy company is sponsoring the sports star. Etcetera etcetera. Do you conclude that the 'danger to health' warning is fake news, part of a conspiracy by big businesses worried about the rising popularity of veganism?
c) Do you do further careful research into pro-vegan as well as neutral sources and weigh up the evidence according to your informed judgement and gut feelings about people you've personally consulted?
For the above example you can substitute any controversial subject which has had the label Conspiracy attached to it.
Some people are absolutely sure of one (or more) of the following: a) All conspiracy theories are imaginary. b) If you can smell smoke there is a fire somewhere. c) No human being is beyond reproach. d) Top Experts, top Institutions and top People must never be suspected or accused of being involved in conspiracies because they just wouldn't be, would they? If you think they are then you are delusional.
Having said all that,the question remains: when an issue is huge and the risks of misinterpretation genuinely dangerous, how do you effectively and truthfully separate the wheat from the chaff?