Anti-Vaxxers, Climate Change Deniers, January 6th Deniers, and Conservative Christians

What's changed — and what hasn't — in 100 days since Jan. 6

Anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, January 6th deniers, and conservative Christians all have one thing in common: a distrust and rejection of majority expert opinion and an indulgence of conspiracy theories.

Anti-vaxxers don’t care that the overwhelming majority of medical experts say that vaccines are safe. Doctors and other medical experts are involved in a conspiracy to make money off of vaccines.

Climate change deniers don’t care that the overwhelming majority of scientists believe that climate change is real and is a threat to life on earth. Liberal environmentalists are faking the scientific research all to destroy the coal and gas industries and to push the “green energy” agenda.

January 6th deniers don’t care that the overwhelming majority of the world’s journalists and law enforcement agencies believe that thousands of Donald Trump supporters stormed the US capitol building on January 6, 2021, in an attempt to overthrow a free and fair democratic election. This is fake news, created by the mainstream media and the liberals who own them, to destroy conservativism and traditional Christian values.

And, conservative Protestant and evangelical Christians don’t care that the overwhelming majority of New Testament scholars reject the eyewitness/associate of eyewitness authorship of the Gospels. These scholars are biased against the supernatural and against traditional, conservative Christianity and therefore their majority opinion should be ignored.

All of the above groups point to fringe/minority expert opinion—or worse—their own non-expert research, as evidence that they are correct and that the majority of experts is wrong. But what all these groups do not understand is this: Just because a few experts take a fringe position on an issue is not sufficient reason why you as a non-expert should reject the majority expert opinion. Smart, educated people accept majority expert opinion on all issues about which they themselves are not experts. Period. Educated people do not buy into conspiracy theories.

So, stop behaving like undereducated fools, anti-vaxxers, climate change deniers, January 6th deniers, and conservative Christians. Accept majority expert opinion on all issues.

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End of post.

23 thoughts on “Anti-Vaxxers, Climate Change Deniers, January 6th Deniers, and Conservative Christians

  1. Conservative Christians are primed during childhood to believe conspiracy theories. Take the biggest one of all they are taught: there is an evil, extremely powerful divine being who is able to possess people, affect govt affairs, help people like Hitler start wars, cause untold suffering and bad behaviour around the world, start false religions, and, along with his minions, has been has been doing this for thousands of years.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Albeit a believer in Christ’s miracles, I don’t give much credence to the Biblical books’ writers’ perceptions of the Divine’s nature nor of the afterlife. All scripture was written by human beings who, I believe, unwittingly created God’s nature in their own fallible and often-enough angry, vengeful image. (This may also help explain why those authors’ Maker has to be male.) Too many of today’s institutional Christians believe and/or vocally behave likewise. Also, I wonder whether the general need by humans (including me) for retributive justice is intrinsically linked to the same terribly flawed aspect of humankind that enables the most horrible acts of violent cruelty to readily occur on this planet, perhaps not all of which we learn about.

      While I don’t believe that God required blood and pain ‘payment’, from Jesus or anyone else, I do know that the creator’s animals have had their blood literally shed and bodies eaten in mindboggling quantities by Man. And maybe the figurative forbidden fruit of Eden eaten by Adam and Eve was actually God’s four-legged creation. I can see that really angering the Almighty, and a lot more than the couple’s eating non-sentient, non-living, non-bloodied fruit. I’ve noticed that mainstream Christianity doesn’t speak up much at all about what we, collectively, have done to animals for so long. (Just to be clear, I’m not vegetarian, though I seldom eat ‘meat’ but do eat prawns or shrimp pretty much on a weekly basis.)

      Also, does the Almighty really need or desire to be worshipped? Could not “houses of worship” actually have been meant for the parishioners, divinely intended to be for the soul what health clinics/spas, even hospitals, are for the body and mind? And perhaps the Ten Commandments were/are not meant to obey in order to appease/please God but rather intended for His human creation’s benefit, to keep people safe and healthy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “ I’ve noticed that mainstream Christianity doesn’t speak up much at all about what we, collectively, have done to animals for so long. ”

        The rise of factory farms supplying most of the meat we eat as well as the last two hundred years or so of research on animals in labs that are basically torture chambers is something that bothers me, and I wish more people would pay attention to these issues, whether they eat meat or not.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally get the jist of this post, and am pretty much on board with it.

    Until we get to the very last line: “Accept majority expert opinion on all issues”.

    I could list a half-dozen or more scientific/medical theories that were supported by a consensus of experts for ages, and were all flat wrong.

    That last line is just too broad of a brush-stroke…

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    1. Your comment makes a good point, but the best approach, then, is to accept expert opinion while still understanding that it can be wrong, so we watch out for challenges and track them while still trusting the experts until things shift. By analogy, a child must trust its parent even though its obvious to us that its parent isn’t perfect. Mistakes will happen, there’s no way around it, and that means that the best we can do is to trust the experts while keeping an eye out.

      The approach to this situation is surely NOT carte blanche to believe any cockamamie conspiracy theory (pedophile pizza parlors, false flag attacks on the Capitol, etc.) that fits one’s pre-conceptions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. re: “The approach to this situation is surely NOT carte blanche to believe any cockamamie conspiracy theory (pedophile pizza parlors, false flag attacks on the Capitol, etc.) that fits one’s pre-conceptions.”

        Yep, I totally agree with that.

        I guess I’m just not really in favor of “accepting” majority expert opinion. I’m more in favor of “acknowledging” it, and realizing that there just might be good reason that opinion is held, but I always maintain my own freedom to question whether majority opinion is correct. I might (for example) might be the guy to discover something new which proves the current majority opinion is wrong. But I could never be “that guy” if I required myself to always agree with majority opinion.

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        1. The problem with your approach is that the odds are vastly against you, even given that the prevailing expert opinion is sometimes wrong. It’s an irrational play to think a non-expert has figured out what the experts haven’t until that is actually established, which is going to take the experts to do, see the next paragraph.

          Robert Rausch, in “The Constitution of Knowledge,” makes the point that scientific knowledge is made in a network (so using “majority” expert opinion misses a crucial aspect of it). The network can be wrong, but it’s more likely to be right than anything else because it is cross-referenced by everyone else (potentially) in the network. It’s like Churchill saying “Democracy is the worst form of government except for all the others.” (analogy isn’t perfect, but, still , . . .)

          Liked by 1 person

    2. Accept majority expert opinion on all issues even though the majority of experts has occasionally been wrong. Why? Because the majority expert opinion is much more often correct than wrong and much more accurate than the opinions of non-experts.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. For some, whether based on upbringing or peer influence (or both), believing conspiracy theories and false flags simply comes second nature. To these people, it doesn’t matter how much experience and/or knowledge an individual has — or even how much evidence they can present — for them it’s all bluster and “fake news.”

    To many, PERSONAL knowledge (?) and opinion is far more validating than facts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers, Climate Change deniers, Jan. 6th deniers, and to a certain extent Conservative Evangy-Fundy Christians, when confronted by widespread Secularism-Intellectualism… are all basically addicts to disruption, chaos or anarchy to Earthly and/or Expert Majority rule when it ISN’T serving their interests or profits.

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  5. I agree with the essence of the article, but I must offer a rebuttal to one point:

    “the overwhelming majority of the world’s journalists…” – Gary

    I don’t know who all you consider to be “journalists”, but I do not equate most news media personalities with subject-matter experts on much of anything other than being able to read a script and/or offering their opinions. People like Rachel Maddow, Don Lemon, Joy Reid, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham etc. are NOT objective and unbiased journalists. They are all decidedly biased (imo). For that matter, there are precious few “journalists” whom I hold in high regard at all (Glenn Greenwald comes close). There is so much political division and strife these days, that I consider corporate-owned news media to be tainted. That is true on BOTH the left and the right. This country really could use respected newspersons like Walter Cronkite or David Brinkley again (imo).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you brought up that point.

      I speak several languages. Everyday I watch the news from several foreign countries, including Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. The news from these countries for the most part is in agreement with the mainstream news broadcasts in the United States. The French, in particular, are not lap dogs of the United States. They don’t always agree with the mainstream US press. They certainly did not agree with the American news perspective on the Iraq War. But on all the issues discussed in this post, they are in full agreement with the mainstream US press.

      So, either there is a worldwide conspiracy, or those of you on the Right are indulging in yet another conspiracy: The mainstream media is controlled by the liberal elite and they are not telling us the truth.

      FYI: I do not consider Fox News or MSNBC News to be “mainstream”. They are both partisan, one for the Right, one for the Left. ABC, CBS, and CNN, and in particular PBS Newshour and NPR, are reputable mainstream news organizations whose reporting I respect and trust.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks for the reply. That is interesting that you are multilingual and watch news programs from abroad.

        Regarding mainstream news outlets, the following chart, compiled by AllSides, illustrates their view of major media outlets and their political leanings. As a note of interest, ABC, NBC, CBS, and NPR (Opinion) are all rated as “Lean Left”. CNN is rated as “Left”. You may disagree with their conclusions, but they have a methodology.

        https://www.allsides.com/media-bias/media-bias-ratings

        “So, either there is a worldwide conspiracy, or those of you on the Right are indulging in yet another conspiracy: The mainstream media is controlled by the liberal elite and they are not telling us the truth.” – Gary

        I assume you are speaking rhetorically here and are not addressing me specifically. I am not on the “Right”. I did not vote in 2016 or 2020, and the only candidate I supported financially in either election was Tulsi Gabbard (who is a Democrat).

        Those on the “Left” are susceptible to “conspiracy theories” and spreading disinformation as are those on the “Right”. The mainstream media has reported plenty of news stories in the past few years that have been determined to be demonstrably false. Some of that false reporting has reportedly proven to be rather costly for some news media outlets (e.g. see Nicholas Sandmann). I am guessing that will be true re. Kyle Rittenhouse as well.

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        1. Thanks for the link. Interesting. However, I have a hard time believing that the Wall Street Journal is “center” when it is owned by Rupert Murdoch.

          So I can do one of two things: I can spend several hours studying the algorithms used by Allsides to see if they accurately reflect biases in the media or I can use my own exposure to a broad spectrum of American, British, German, Italian, Spanish, and French news agencies to come to the conclusion that since the foreign news services of several other free, democratic countries agree with the coverage of ABC, CBS, CNN, PBS, and NPR, then it is Allsides that probably has a bias issue, not the American mainstream press.

          Educated people do not spend hours investigating every conspiracy theory on the planet. And the belief that the mainstream American media is controlled by liberal elites or a Jewish cabal is a conspiracy theory. It is nonsense.

          Just because Tulsi Gabbard ran as a Democrat does not change the fact that she is VERY right of center, at least in my view.

          You have left several comments over the last few months which give me the impression that you are politically right of center, with myself being center. So since you are to the right of me, I consider you “right”. The definition of “conservative” and “liberal” is very subjective, so in your mind you may very well be a moderate, while a die hard Baptist fundamentalist might consider you a flaming liberal! 🙂

          Thank you for sharing your perspective!

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          1. Thanks for the reply.

            To offer one note of clarification, the AllSides opinion is that the Wall Street Journal itself is “Center” while the Wall Street Journal (Opinion) is “Leans Right”. That is a distinction worth noting. Kimberly Strassel (for example) is part of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, and she is notably conservative.

            “Educated people do not spend hours investigating every conspiracy theory on the planet.” – Gary

            This may be true, but I don’t see how this observation distinguishes between “conservatives” being any more inclined to be duped by disinformation than “liberals” being inclined to be duped by disinformation. My observation is that both groups can be (and are) duped by disinformation from time to time.

            “And the belief that the mainstream American media is controlled by liberal elites or a Jewish cabal is a conspiracy theory. It is nonsense.” – Gary

            Who, pray tell, claims that it is?

            “The definition of “conservative” and “liberal” is very subjective…” – Gary

            I agree. And, one could offer that same response to your claim that foreign news services offer coverage similar to mainstream US media outlets. One could simply claim that all of them are biased “Left” or biased “Right” depending upon their perspective. I recall you had an interlocuter here some months ago (I can’t recall their name) who shared a link to a chart claiming pretty much all those mainstream media outlets were “Right” biased. If so, I guess that makes you and me both a couple of Right-wing capitalist pigs. 😉

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              1. I know you were not asking me, but I’ll just throw in that a couple years ago I experimented with only getting my news from Fox for one month. While I don’t hold their political views, I did see how they stoke anger and outrage. I shudder to think of an angry old person getting nothing but a constant stream of Fox, and the life of outrage it promotes. It feeds on people’s need to have an enemy.

                Then I watched a month of Al Jazzera, and found it quite refreshing. The reporters and commentators were so restrained compared to Fox, and seemed to make an attempt and objective thought. But I don’t want to sound like a fan boy, I’m sure it has it’s problems, just not the angry at the world perspective that Fox takes.

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                1. I believe that both Fox and MSNBC intentionally “stir the pot” for increased viewership and ratings.

                  I just finished watching the PBS News Hour. It was covering the anniversary of January 6th (tomorrow) and the decline in trust in experts among the general public. Very timely for this post. I could not watch the entire segment as it so infuriates me that people who call themselves patriot Americans excuse what happened that horrible day.

                  Some great cultures have been conquered by outside forces. Others have crumbled from within. I fear the United States may be headed toward the latter. There is such a huge divide in this country. The Left and the Right absolutely hate each other. It is terrible and very depressing. I hope we can still recover.

                  Liked by 2 people

                  1. I do wonder what role the backrooms of Putin’s Russia play in this. I remember a short documentary a few years ago talking about how the old Soviet KGB spent a lot of resources on pushing misinformation in countries and training their agents in this art – and Putin was one of them . Russia has a lot to gain from a disintegrating US. Although without being able to provide proof and citations, maybe I’m just engaging in conspiracies myself.

                    Liked by 2 people

              2. Thanks for the question.

                I am not glued to any particular source. I am skeptical of corporate-owned media as it is. I understand they want ratings, so they often sensationalize news stories to catch and keep people’s attention. I also do not consider myself to be much of a political activist (i.e. I didn’t vote in the last two POTUS elections). I detest the two-party system we have. I believe there is ample evidence of corruption and greed on BOTH sides of the aisle. Under the current structure, I think the best situation is for divided government where compromise is necessary to draft and pass legislation. One-party rule by either party is not desirable (imo). If it persisted for long, I believe the nation could become irreparably divided. I also desire term limits for politicians at the national level. My idea of a “centrist” politician is someone like Joe Lieberman.

                I get news and information online more so than from watching programs. I read ‘The Hill’ from time to time. I read ‘MarketWatch” for economic news. I read news feeds from AP and Reuters. I’ll get news from Al Jazzera from time to time. News aggregators like ‘Drudge Report’ are convenient for quick updates. I think MSNBC (Opinion) and Fox News (Opinion) intentionally stoke people’s anger, and watching either can raise one’s blood pressure quickly. As far as journalists go, I like Glenn Greenwald and a few others.

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            1. Over the course of my life I’ve heard people who identify as left say the media is corporate controlled and right wing or at least right of center, and I’ve heard people who identify as right say the media is left wing or liberal. Maybe the owners tend to be right, and the reporters and journalists tend to be left. All relative terms perhaps, and maybe meant more in the pre social media days.

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  6. While many Protestants have rejected Trump and his politics (though mostly quietly), regardless of his tempting conservative politics and pro-life professions, there nonetheless was/is a very vocal and politically active ‘Christian’ element celebrating Trump conservatism. Christ was no pushover, but he still was fundamentally about compassion and charity. He clearly would not tolerate the accumulation of tens of billions of dollars while so many others go hungry and homeless.

    Yet, that blatant contradiction appears to take a muted back seat to Trump’s successful nominations of three conservative justices for the U.S. Supreme Court; and, from my understanding, he was strategically doing likewise with a number of lower courts. There also was his politically/diplomatically destabilizing (fire-stoking?) move of the U.S Embassy in Israel, from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. …

    Meanwhile, when a public person openly supports a guaranteed minimum income, he/she is deemed a socialist and therefore somehow evil. Yet, Christ’s teachings epitomize the primary component of socialism — do not hoard morbidly superfluous wealth in the midst of poverty. That’s un-Christ-like institutional Christianity for you!

    I can imagine many Christians even finding inconvenient, if not bothersome, trying to reconcile the conspicuous inconsistency in the fundamental nature of the New Testament’s Jesus with the wrathful, vengeful and even jealous nature of the Old Testament’s Creator. (And, really, why couldn’t Jesus have been one who’d enjoy a belly-shaking laugh over a good joke with his disciples, now and then? I’d find immense hope in a creator who has a great sense of humor rather than foremost a loose, very bad temper!)

    The bitter irony is that some of the best humanitarians I’ve met or heard about were/are atheists or agnostics who’d make better examples of many of Christ’s teachings/values than do too many institutional Christians (i.e. those most resistant to Christ’s fundamental teachings of non-violence, compassion and non-wealth). Conversely, some of the worst human(e) beings that I, a believer in Christ’s unmistakably great miracles, have met or heard about are the most devout practitioners of institutional Christian theology.

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