Epistemology

Conspiracy theorists probably have extra gray matter associated with memory, given how easy it is for data points to add up and overwhelm

When we exhume the bodies of conspiracy theorists and examine their brains, we might find them to have an unusual amount of gray matter associated with memory. Their theories are often presented as an overwhelming array of dots that may or may not be connected. The rate at which conspiracy theories get debunked by mainstream science is constant on a monthly basis, but the rate at which conspiracy theories are generated is unlimited.

Every mysterious detail gets logged in the conspiracy theorist's brain, and to them, the dots themselves are the point. There are just so many questions, which if they go on unanswered, can only mean one thing.

The New York Times bestsellers list exists to turn the words of book titles into public thought

People hear about a non-fiction book from a popular magazine article or through an interview on the radio and are seduced by the thesis. They then buy the book and start reading it in earnest, gaining an introductory understanding of the nature of the research backing the thesis. They then often skim the rest of the book or set the book aside.

None of the author's research is retained by readers, nor necessarily even read, even if hundreds of thousands of people pick up the book. And yet those hundreds of thousands will believe in the words of that author, and of those hundreds of thousands, some will be policy-makers or spiritual leaders. The stack of text then becomes a beacon or totem that says, effectively, "This is probably true." People will cite the book after it's initial publication, and eventually, the book could be hollowed out. But even if the text were lost forever, the title of the book and the author's name could continue to guide the direction of human thought for years to come.