Fact or Fiction: explaining conspiracy theories

Priya Viswanathan, Opinions Editor

Students share the conspiracy theories that they believe in.

The world is flat. Helen Keller did not exist. Tupac is alive. The moon landing didn’t happen. NASA isn’t real.

Conspiracy theories such as these and many more are believed by numerous people across the world, including several Chantilly students. Junior Brandon Park, for example, believes that the world is flat and advocates for The Flat Earth Society. He even wrote a research paper in order to support his hypothesis.

“There is no concrete evidence that the Earth is in fact a sphere,” Park said. “All the evidence points toward the fact that the Earth is in fact not a sphere.”

Even when presented with proof that the Earth is not flat, Park continues to stick to his belief and refuses to back down. But he is not alone; many other students believe in theories considered to be crazy by others, such as senior Naguib Zekeria, who believes that rapper Tupac did not truly die.

“The evidence hasn’t been concrete, and there are a lot of flaws in the presentation of the actual evidence [that Tupac is dead],” Zekeria said.

One of the most popular theories is the Mandela effect, which is based on the idea that there are numerous parallel universes and at times there are glitches in these universes, leading people to misremember specific events.

“I never really used to believe in the Mandela effect until two weeks ago when I found out the saying ‘mirror, mirror on the wall’ is actually ‘magic mirror on the wall,’” sophomore Anupama Iyer said. “I don’t quite believe that there are multiple universes or dimensions; I just believe that something strange happened, and we can’t prove it, but something changed what happened before.”

Though all of these theories and all of those who believe them are different, they all have one thing in common: they go against everything that most people consider to be scientific fact.

“The fact that we now have so much information open to us and so much more information available allows us to fact check these kinds of theories, and we didn’t have that ability in the past,” junior Max Read said.

Despite this fact, conspiracy theories have continued to thrive and more people are joining conspiracy groups and are continuing to disregard the facts for ideas and stories that have been proven to be false on multiple occasions.

“Pretty much all people have been psychologically shown to have a disposition towards believing exactly what they want to hear and disbelieving anything else. That’s how I think conspiracy theories are able to thrive,” Read said.

Many have attempted to prove conspiracy theorists wrong and because of this, these theorists have argued with multiple people about their conspiracies. However, conspiracy theorists display immense resilience and therefore never give up and continue to preach their beliefs.

“A lot of people argue with me and say I’m crazy, but it’s fine. I just have my opinions,” Zekeria said.

While some people call them annoying and unintelligent for going against commonly believed truths, this is exactly why these theorists continue to challenge what everyone else believes. They want to show the world what they consider is the truth and prove that not everything is as it seems.

“I think it’s more of an ethical problem that we as humans have,” Park said. “People just start accepting what other people think and they are not ready to challenge [common beliefs].”