jeudi 3 août 2017

Help! My friend has become a CT nutter

I have a friend who recently went all-in on conspiracy theories. It started with Pizzagate, but now he's branched out into 9/11, Freemasons, Jesuits, you name it. It's disturbing because it seems completely unlike him. I've known this guy for almost 20 years. He used to be a skeptic. Now, he feels compelled to tell me about all this nonsense, and when I try to argue with him, he counters with standard CT responses, like

A) There are evil people in the world, and evil people can organize.
B) We can't trust the rich and powerful, the government, corporations, etc.
C) There is plenty of evidence for conspiracies like Project Paperclip, MKUltra, and so on. (So, this other, completely unrelated conspiracy must also be true.)

He also gets offended really easily if you make jokes about any of this stuff. This is another trait I've noticed with CTers.

Now, he is probably under a lot of stress right now, because he's going through a divorce, so I was trying to cut him some slack. However, he recently told me that he reported a local donut shop to the FBI because they were using "symbols". These symbols indicated to him that they had a secret, underground child abuse ring a la Comet Ping Pong. That floored me. It made me think that maybe this was more than just some mindless twaddle he was engaging in, and he's actually losing his grip on reality.

So, do I have to face the fact that my friend might be gone forever, and his brain has been replaced with something resembling chocolate pudding? I feel like I should be supportive during this stressful time, but he can't help talking about this stuff, and every time I hear it I feel like I'm going to jump out of my skin. Maybe it's better if I just back away for awhile and contact him later to see if he's gotten more grounded in reality.

It's just a really gross situation. It's not the first time I've seen it, either. Several years ago, I saw somebody get hooked by 9/11 Truth and and Alex Jones. How does this happen? Somebody's watching Alex Jones and just starts thinking "Wow, this guy's making a lot of sense!" I had previously thought that being a scientific skeptic and being exposed to James Randi, Michael Shermer, et al would immunize you to these things, but apparently such is not the case.

Anyway, this is mostly me venting, but if anybody has some advice, that might be nice, too.

via International Skeptics Forum

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