A Critique of Conspiracy Theories

Increasingly just about any time anything tragic happens there will be some number of people who will immediately jump to the conclusion that the government did it. 9/11? An inside job. Newtown school shooting? A government plot to take our guns. Boston Bombing? A false flag operation. The most recent one that spurred this post is the killing of Ibragim Todashev, a Chechen immigrant whom the FBI chose to question as part of its investigation of the Boston Bombing. He was questioned by an FBI agent and two state troopers. The FBI says that Todashev attacked their agent, presenting an imminent threat to that agent’s life, and as a result the agent chose to shoot him. Corroborating the FBI’s account, the agent was hospitalised with injuries. Regardless, the FBI is investigating the incident.Yet, despite this, some people think that the FBI just went into Todashev’s home and killed him for some reason, or no reason, and that this incident suggests that our government is totalitarian and just goes around shooting people all the time. Why do people believe these conspiracy theories?

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