An article, by Ker Than, in National Geographic addresses six common myths that have become conspiracy theories among the faithful in the United States, all a denial of modern science.
Conspiracy theories are as American as apple pie. A national poll released this week by Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that some popular conspiracy theories in the United States have persisted for years, like the belief that a UFO crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
Meanwhile, new theories have gained believers, such as the ideas that Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks and that Osama bin Laden is still alive.Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the ideas in the new poll are based on a misunderstanding of science—or a stubborn refusal to acknowledge it. Here's a reality check on some of the science-related conspiracy theories from the survey:There are a number of reasons that people believe in conspiracy theories, most notably a belief that the official government narrative is false; it's based on the general idea that the government cannot be trusted, a prevailing idea in America. As is the lack of trust in science, which is both problematic and disturbing. Trust is built on knowledge, and a general lack of scientific knowledge in America—scientific illitracy—often a result of religious faith, undermines both science and democracy.
It's one thing to put forward the position that the American governments does not reveal all it does, some for reasons of national security, but another to argue that the government in general has nefarious purposes in all it does. Skepticism has its limits. In democracies, governments are run by individuals with various capabilities and abilities, who at times make mistakes—an all-to-human trait; and, they at times engage in cover-ups to avoid public disclosure and embarrassment. This, however, is far different than to say (and believe) that their purposes are essentially to mislead and cause evil.
You can read the rest of the article at [NatGeo]