“Broken bat” (COVID origins)

For several years, political partisans have played armchair historian and asserted that whomever is currently occupying the White House is either the best or worst president of all-time. Which of these two it is depends solely on the person’s political leanings and is not based on policy, accomplishments, ability to build consensus, or to craft compromise.

But genuine historians, as opposed to the armchair variety, will tell us that it can take upwards of 50 years to determine a president’s performance. That much time is required to judge the impact of his policies and decisions. For example, the Marshall Plan is the brightest feather in Truman’s cap, but this would not have been obvious in 1946.

Similarly, the idea that we can ascertain right now the origins of COVID-19 is a mistaken notion based on a misunderstanding of virology. Skeptic and medical writer David Gorski explained that when a virus migrates from animals to humans, it can take years to determine the origin. Epidemiologists are still uncertain which animal Ebola came from and it has been around since the U.S. bicentennial.

To deduce the origin, scientific sleuths must sample wild animals and sequence the viruses they carry to find a close genetic relative, a task Gorski likens to “haystacks within haystacks. So the fact that scientists don’t know where the relatively new coronavirus comes from is not evidence that it came from a laboratory. Still, there are some who excitedly claim it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, either engineered as a bioweapon or having leaked out.

Gorski wrote, “While it is possible to create genetic sequences without, for instance, typical restriction enzyme sites of the sort that were frequently used to insert sequences into genomes…it is more difficult than conspiracy theorists let on. To them these nefarious Chinese scientists were supposedly so clever that they not only did something that’s not at all trivial but did it without leaving behind any telltale signs in the sequence of genetic manipulation.”

Theorists also argue that a natural virus pandemic would gradually mutate and become more infectious but less deadly. Virologist Angela Rasmussen said this is wrong, that those in her field would not necessarily anticipate this. Further, the virus’ low fatality rate, combined with the fact that a significant number of those infected are asymptomatic, would mean there is little selective pressure for mutations that make it less deadly, particularly when it’s still widespread.

Moreover, several studies show the virus likely evolved from previously existing coronaviruses and is continuing to evolve as is spreads.

By contrast, the conspiracy theory assumes abilities beyond the capabilities of even the most advanced research teams. It further assumes that whoever created this would know what effects it would have on humans without having tested it.

Virologists can predict what impact mutations might have, but these are highly-educated guesses and not certainties.

Scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology previously determined that bats in the area carried coronavirus varieties. But that’s a very different thing from proof that the pandemic came from a leaked source as opposed to free bats.

“Full moon fever” (Hollow moon)

One idea way out there, as well as way up there, is that the moon is a hollow alien vehicle. This lunar lunacy was put forth by two members of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, Michael Vasin and Alexander Shcherbakov. They hypothesized that the moon “is an artificial satellite put into orbit around Earth by some intelligent beings unknown to ourselves.” They went on to call the moon “a very ancient spaceship, the interior of which was filled with fuel for the engines, materials and appliances for repair work, navigation, instruments, observation equipment and all manner of machinery.”

Modern empty-mooners allege that the satellite has unexpected elements that it shouldn’t have were it a heavenly body, that it lacks a solid core, is older than Earth, and has a perfectly circular orbit. All these claims are false.

Writing for Sketpoid, Brian Dunning reminds (or informs) us that our planet and its satellite owe its beginnings to Theia and Gaia becoming intimately acquainted. During this cosmic collision, the bulk of the combined mass of the two objects become Earth and most of the rest of it ejected and coalesced into the moon.

That these celestial bodies have similar compositions shows their common origin and means if aliens constructed a moon spacecraft, they would have had to come here first, then gone out and found another planet exactly like Earth to use as their raw materials.

As to proponents’ claim that the moon rang like a bell when struck, that stems from some colorful language from Wernher von Braun. After NASA intentionally crashed Apollo 12 into the moon during its lunar ascent, Von Braun, described the results thusly: “The moon rang like a bell for nearly an hour, indicating some strange and unearthly underground structure.”

Dr. Steven Novella has said that pseudo-medics use science the same way a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination. The same principle applies here, as people who express distrust of government and disgust of science will use a embrace a statement from a government scientist if it supports their view. They will use the fact that he is exactly a rocket scientist to justify their position but otherwise reject such expertise, experience, and education.

And in truth, the seismology from those experiments is one of two main pieces of evidence that the moon is natural satellite, not an alien spaceship.

Dunning noted that 10 years ago, NASA reanalyzed its Apollo data and the results improved our knowledge of the moon’s internal structure. He wrote that it gives us “accurate constraints on the range of sizes of its small solid inner core and fluid outer core, a thin partial melt layer, and its thick mantle that constitutes the bulk of its mass.”

Further, since the Moon is solid and has a heavy core, the satellite has a lower rotational inertia. Were it a hollow spaceship with a thick outer shell, it would have a higher inertia even with the same mass.

Also, when spacecraft orbit the moon and study how their orbits are affected, astronomers can detect the density of the layers below.

Finally, as the moon orbits Earth, only one side is ever visible to us, which would not be the case if the claim of a perfect orbit were true.

“The White Stuff” (Engineered snow)

No event is too routine to be exempt from conspiracy theorist thought. A minor Internet splash this winter has centered on the insinuation that snow, at least in some places, is actually something else.

Precisely what it is, who is responsible, and how malevolent it is, varies by claimant, but the key point is that “they” are up to something again. The excited proponents most frequently cite Bill Gates as the responsible villain. The software pioneer has achieved Rothschild/Bohemian Grove/Bilderberger status when it comes to being tabbed for every evil ever foisted upon Mankind.

In these videos, which are remarkably similar in terms of content and low production value, speakers ask three primary questions about this supposed snow. Asking questions is fine, if based on genuine curiosity. It’s another matter when questions are thinly-veiled accusations which serve as a precursor to considering those answering them to be in on the plot.

These plotters include the eminently delightful Emily Calandrelli, who explained what’s going on in these videos. In the one Calandrelli responded to, the narrator wields a butane lighter and wonders why this makes the snow char, why the snow smells like plastic, and why it melts so slowly.

It chars because of incomplete combustion from the butane lighter. Butane comprises carbon and hydrogen and the resultant black smudge represents leftover carbon from incomplete combustion.

Calandrelli used a glass to demonstrate that the same soot results when butane lighters are applied to other objects. So unless the video producer is prepared to launch a tirade against phony drinking receptacles, this answer suffices.

With regard to the plascity aroma, Calandrelli explains the funny smell is the consequence of the chemicals concentrating during the burning.

Finally, the white precipitation melts slower than expected for two reasons. First, most of the water is being absorbed into the snowball. Second, it sublimates, meaning it goes directly from solid to gas. Besides, it takes more heat than most people might think. You’d get the same surprisingly slow result from using fire to try and melt an ice cube.

These succinct, scientific explanations contract mightily to the open-ended nightmarish scenarios suggested by the other side.

Writing for Yahoo!, Caroline Delbert reminded readers that weather control has a long history in paranoid circles. Manifestations of this have included HAARP, chemtrails, and seeded rain clouds.

In this case, conspiracy theorists might believe increased snowfall indicates something about climate change, which they say is part of a global agenda to push government restrictions onto residents,” Delbert wrote.

Theorists paint Gates and the Chinese government beneficiaries of a world blanketed by pretend snow. What the white stuff actually is or how it benefits two already immensely powerful entities is unexplained. Sounds like a snow job to me.

“Terrible lizards” (Reptilians and Nashville bombing)

Among the multitudinous conspiracy theories, a candidate for most bizarre is that the government is run by malevolent, shape-shifting reptilian space creatures. While the idea is comical, someone so unhinged as to believe it may be capable of supporting such beliefs with deadly action.

In Skeptic Magazine, Tim Callahan posited that may have been the case on Christmas when Anthony Warner detonated explosives in Nashville. Warner died in the explosion, which may have taken innocent lives had police not evacuated the area. The officers did so after a strange foreboding emanated from Warner’s RV. His previous social media posts had suggested a sympathy for the reptilian conspiracy theory.

Callahan has researched and written about similar beings and has identified three primary types of alias-using aliens: Kind Nordic creatures usually hailing from the Pleiades star cluster; Gray-skinned interlopers of uncertain intent; and the Sleestak types, that is to say evil and reptilian, although with concealment abilities and intelligence as well unknown to their Land of the Lost brethren. As you can see from these three types, the darker the skin, the more deadly the threat, a notion which mirrors everyday bigotry.

The first type are the least frequent, and this is consistent with conspiratorial or secret thinking. There is some belief, for example, in benevolent inner Earth creatures who toil willingly in a paradise for our benefit. This enables the believers to idealize or romanticize the world. But far more common among those who think they have secret knowledge is that otherworldly or interdimensional beings are out to get us. This enables blame to be placed on a fixed point and, while the subconscious intent is that the person will feel better for exposing it, the reality is far different. Hardened conspiracy theorists lead miserable, fear-filled lives. Each “exposure” is touted as a victory, but in truth is only seen as the next link in a never-ending chain.

Callahan writes that the reptilian overlord idea stems from the mini-series V, in which evil reptiles hid their true nature under a synthetic human skin. Believers extrapolated this notion to the real world and think world leaders are actually lizard people who operate from dimensions inaccessible by the rest of us. They attribute alien abductions to the reptilians, rather than the usual Grays, but think it is only happening in the mind and that the lizard folks are using their shape-shifting abilities to look like the stereotypical gray alien with huge heads and tiny eyes. Rather than food and water, the reptilians are nourished and sustained by human fear, trauma, and acquiescence. If believer are correct about this, they are giving the Reptilians just what they need.

“Amazon bungle” (5G blocking)

Some Amazon consumers have purchased what are described as Faraday Cages, but which can more accurately be described as simple wire-mesh containers. A Faraday Cage is an enclosure intended to block electromagnetic signals, one example of which is WiFi.

The products are advertised as having the ability to deflect 5G signals, which the purchasers believe cause harm to humans. This is a misnomer, as 5G signals are too low on the EMF spectrum to do us damage.

The containers “work” in the sense that signals are deflected when routers are placed inside them. But those signals are necessary for WiFi to function. One would get the same self-defeating effect by unplugging the router or foregoing Internet use altogether.

According to Matthew Willie at Input, these clueless consumers are leaving negative reviews about the cages, or at least they are when not employing the cages since there’s no getting online when one does so. To be clear, consumers are placing routers in the cages, then getting steamed when the cage blocks the signal the customers are hoping to block! Despite all their rage, they should just take a bat to their cage.

“Seedy idea” (Seed patents)

Seed patents are the subject of a nontroversy, which maintains the patents are at the center of the malevolent control of food supplies and that they hamstring honest, hardworking farmers.

Yet these patents are as legitimate as ones on inventions and on copyrights that protect music, paintings, and software. Human molecular geneticist, Dr. Layla Katiraee, explained that to disallow seed patents would enable the competition “to reverse engineer a product at a fraction of the price.”

Officials grant seed patents if the plant variety can be shown to be new, distinct, genetically stable and uniform.

While associated primarily with genetic modification, patented seeds also exist in the plant world. For example, many varieties of orchids are the result of research and experiment.

Few would suggest that the team which achieved the long-sought blue rose should not reap the financial rewards for doing so. Yet, there are those which feel it is unethical to do the same with a seed that is made sturdier or more drought resistant.

Seed piracy is a serious issue. Besides it being ill-gotten gain, it can lead to seeds being sold and planted in regions where they have not been approved and this can cause contamination. Planting them in the wrong climate or soil could lead to devastating crop loss and land damage.

Internet legend holds that GMOs contain a self-destroying terminator gene to ensure farmers have to buy a full seed supply every year. This is false, as there have never been commercially-available terminator genes.

Since GMO Seeds are not sterile, companies prevent the replanting of seeds by having their customers sign a contract whereby they obtain an annual license. Farmers agree not to sell or distribute the product in regions where the product is not registered. None of this ties the farmer to a company for any duration beyond the length of the contract. Further, many farmers buy new seeds each season anyway, even if the seeds are not GMO or are not under a licensing agreement.

Katiraee wrote that this is because “seeds are often sold as hybrids, which have the best of the traits that breeders were looking for. However, once these plants grow and produce seeds of their own, it is unlikely that the latter will have all the beneficial traits present.”

So seed patents serve to protect food supply and distribution, not hamper them.

“Skies and lies” (LUCIFER telescope)


The Catholic Church has a sordid history with science, from its maltreatment of Galileo and Giordano Bruno to today’s geocentric seminars headed by Robert Sungenis and the rest of the gang at Catholic Apologetics International.

But according to one conspiracy theory, the Church has embraced the science of astronomy, albeit for malevolent purposes. The hypothesis holds that Rome employs a telescope whose aim is to find aliens that will help the Pope and his minions subdue all Earthlings. The one-sixth of world’s population that the Vatican already lords over is apparently insufficient. The telescope is named LUCIFER, put in all caps as if the name by itself wasn’t enough of a giveaway.

Like the weather-control theory that centers on another all-cap evil, HAARP, the LUCIFER theory takes a few unrelated facts that are true in isolation, then adds massive untruths and eventually arrives at an untenable, easily-disproved conclusion.

The Catholic Church does have a history of dabbling in astronomy. In the 16th Century, it looked to the skies to ensure that Easter was being observed at the correct time. And they do maintain the Vatican Advanced Technology Telescope (VATT) at an international facility in Arizona.

It is the nearby Large Binocular Telescope (LBT) that theorists insist the Catholic Church is using to arrange an apocalyptic rendezvous with E.T.  But the Vatican has no connection to the LBT, which actually refers to two side-by-side telescopes. A pair of instruments that do infrared spectroscopy in conjunction with the telescopes are dubbed LUCI1 and LUCI2. LUCI stands for “LBT Utility Camera in the Infrared,” and these spectroscopic measurement tools were built by a German consortium that has no relation to the Vatican.

The LUCI instruments serve as the source for the name LUCIFER. They were originally named this as a tongue-in-cheek, not-quite-acronym for the beyond-wordy “Large Binocular Telescope Near-infrared Spectroscopic Utility with Camera and Integral Field Unit for Extragalactic Research.”

Beyond the issue of which telescope the Vatican operates is the matter of what the instrument’s capabilities are. Let’s consider the process in reverse. If a search for alien life were undertaken by exoplanet beings who honed in on Earth, these creatures would notice a red edge created by chlorophyll. Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning explains that chlorophyll “creates a very obvious jump in the spectrum right around the 700 nanometer wavelength. At the red end of the visible spectrum, chlorophyll appears almost totally black, but then at slightly longer wavelengths in the infrared, it becomes virtually transparent. We call this sudden cliff in the spectrum the ‘red edge.’”

However, even if such an edge were to emanate from an exoplanet, no telescopes owned by the Catholic Church or any other Earthly entity are powerful enough to see it.

In summary: There has never been a telescope called LUCIFER; The LUCI instruments are non-telescopes with no relation to the Vatican; no optical telescopes on Earth are capable of detecting evidence of alien civilizations; and the VATT and LBT telescopes are unconnected and housed in separate locations.

The theory which rejects all those truths stems from the creative minds of evangelicals Tom Horn and Cris Putnam. They outlined their notions of a Rome-Ming alliance in a book with the bewildering title, Exo-Vaticana: Petrus Romanus, Project L.U.C.I.F.E.R. and the Vatican’s Astonishing Plan for the Arrival of an Alien Savior. In this work, the crusading Christian duo claim the Catholic Church plans to recruit a savior from outer space and establish him/her/it as the leader of a New World Order. The book also includes a failed prophecy that this alien’s home planet would be revealed by astronomers in 2013. Additionally, there is the impossible-to-disprove assertion that the telescope’s location serves as an interdimensional portal through which aliens come to and fro Earth.

Another claim, again without evidence but again impossible to disprove, is that the giants referenced in Genesis 6 are demons with whom the Catholic Church is attempting to channel to help with this conquest. Rome’s plan is to unite all mankind under the Pope, peaceably at first, and then by force using this conscripted demon/alien army.

While Horn and Putnam attempt a 21st Century sci-fi twist on their anti-Catholic bigotry, they are tapping into what was once a common theme among evangelicals: That Catholics are confused Christians at best and Satan’s soldiers at worst. Those ideas have largely faded as the line between church and state has become increasingly blurred. We have reached a point where it is de riguer for Republican presidential candidates to declare that God told them to run, while conservative Christians conflate equality with persecution whenever they are asked to follow the same laws and rules as everyone else.

Growing a base this powerful and entitled would have failed if its leaders had continued to shun the country’s 50 million Catholics. This switch has transformed what had once been the robust anti-Catholic industry into a niche market, and books and videos by the likes of Horn and Putnam are reserved for obscure corners of the publishing and online worlds. If only that could be the fate for ​99 44100  percent of  conspiracy theories. 

“On Q” (Q Anon)


The QAnon phenomenon reverses the usual conspiracy theory mindset. This time, it’s the man on top who is the heroic victim and those out of power who are planning his demise. To ward against this, the president hunts those who belong to the “deep state,” a term so broad and vague that any disliked person can be labeled a member.

According to Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning, QAnon “began as a few random and childishly implausible posts on an obscure Internet message board” and “has grown into a very serious political movement.”

Q was only one of several anons – short for anonymous posters – who leveled libelous accusations at Hilary Clinton and other Democrats during the 2016 campaign and thereafter. Besides the charges, there were promises that Clinton and her cronies were destined for prison, Guantanamo Bay, or CIA black sites once Trump was in power. The posters claimed secret, elite knowledge owing to their high government positions. To state the obvious, none of the supposed promises have been fulfilled.  

While QAnon is almost certainly fabricates his/her/their position, Q clearances do exist, and are the highest classification in the Department of Energy. It’s like Top Secret with a less cool descriptor.

The QAnon theory makes the usual warmongering and corruption charges against its enemies, but also accuses them of a novel insidiousness: A global child trafficking sex ring. These accusations are bolstered by breathless memes sounding the alarm about 800,000 children going missing each year.  The implied message assumes that all these youngsters have been abducted by this roving band of Satanic pedophiles who vote Blue. 

But while the number of missing children does tally about 800,000 a year, the overwhelming majority of these boys and girls are found safe. Further, those who are abducted have usually been taken by a noncustodial parent. There are also kidnappings perpetrated by those who have gained the family trust. Finally, in the least populated-category, are those who have been taken by strangers. And among those who pull off that despicable crime, none have been proven to be fueling a pedophile ring to satisfy liberal elites. There has never been a conviction associated with these supposed abductions, and never in a courtroom have we learned the name of a perpetrator, victim, or recipient. If there is a Satanic child-sex trafficking ring being run, the number of victims wouldn’t even number in the 10s, much less hundreds of thousands.

As to the person whose writings have stoked these ideas, there has been speculation that it is a Russian, a left-wing troll, or a right-winger trying to keep things stirred up and maintain a focus on defeating the Democrats. Or it could just be someone getting their kicks. What he/she/they almost certainly is not is a career government worker with the highest clearance who continually has access to the juiciest tidbits.

The NSA, CIA, and FBI have vast tools to root out such moles and that a person could elude this for four years strains credulity. One trick is to let a piece of putative information fall into the hands of the suspect – who thinks everyone with clearance has received it, when only he has – and then when  he releases it, is busted. Beyond this, there are bugs and surveillance, and all manner of high-tech gizmos to find the culprit, especially with such a small pool of potential suspects, limited to those with the highest Energy Department clearance. 

This person would be risking that clearance, along with their career and freedom, and would be taking actions wholly unbecoming of someone who had achieved this level clearance. Such persons would be highly unlikely to continually post highly-classified information for all to see. 

Not everyone shares my skepticism. Dunning wrote that dozens of Congressional candidates have voiced support for the theory. One of the most fervent believers took a rifle into a pizza joint, trying to find a non-existent basement housing non-existent child trafficking victims. Another adherent blocked the Hoover Dam with an armored van in order to demand the release of information he believed Q had revealed. At least one murder has been committed by a QAnon supporter acting on his belief, while authorities thwarted a kidnapping attempt by still another deranged fan. Untold death threats have been lobbed at those who type disbelieving words such as these.

Still, there is a person or persons writing all this. QAnon writes in code, though that is hardly necessary when addressing an audience that sees pedophile messages in pizza and Wayfair ads.

“Chip shot” (Bill Gates and coronavirus)


In a Yahoo News/YouGov poll, three out of five U.S. adults were at least open to the possibility that Bill Gates plans to use any COVID-19 vaccine as an avenue to implant microchips in people and track us – as opposed to just using the device in their pocket that they answered the survey with to do it.  

To state what should be obvious, the technology to track people via a vaccine is nonexistent. Writing for Slate, June Hu noted that while there are injectable microchips, they are incapable of tacking the recipient. Our husky periodically escapes and when she ends up with an animal control officer or veterinarian, her implanted microchip lets the person who found our wayward hound know what my telephone number is. But neither I nor anyone else can use the chip to locate where she is.

In order to track a dog, human, or cyborg, the person desiring to do so would need to receive information from a source, such as a cell tower. This would further necessitate that the chip house a battery, which in turn would need a way of being recharged. And even if this technology existed, the required chip type could not be delivered by way of syringe.

Since the supposed plot is impossible, where did they idea that anyone want to implement it stem from? Billy Binion touched on this is as essay for Reason. While there are multiple versions, the most popular holds that Gates not only wants to chip us with a vaccine, but that he created the virus to make this eventuality possible.

This may be because of TED Talk Gates he delivered in 2015, during which he warned about the dangers of being unprepared for pandemics. This was hardly a shocking revelation, as it was true 10, 100, and 1000 years ago,  and will continued to be true until science finds a panacea and the anti-vax movement withers completely.

Still, to a paranoid conspiracy theorist – perhaps a redundant phase – this was evidence that Gates had caused the coronavirus. To be clear, they hold that an evil that will be clandestinely unleashed upon an unsuspecting populace was publicly announced by the one committing it.

That he is backing COVID-19 vaccine research is seen not as altruism but as a means of funding his nefarious agenda. Some attempt to bolster this belief by citing Revelation and its references to the Mark of the Beast, with the chip being the item that one must have to buy or sell. 

Bunion speculates that the idea may have stemmed from a substantial misreading of what Gates said about keeping accurate numbers on how many patients had recovered from the virus once a vaccine is discovered. He said. “Eventually we will have some digital certificates to show who has recovered.”

How this discussion of possibly having digital records of recovered COIVD patients morphed into a mandatory surveillance-enabling microchip is left unexplained by the theorists.




“? and the Contrarians” (Just asking questions)


The most hardened conspiracy theorists make reckless, baseless accusations based on wild conjecture that represent the most extreme examples of begging the question, which is when one assumes their premise to be true without offering supporting proofs.

Then there is a less-stringent type of theorist who paints themselves as being merely curious or skeptical. And if that’s what a person is genuinely being, fine. Good, even. But asking questions can be different than seeking answers. The latter may involve genuine research and querying sites and sources one holds in low regard. Most importantly, it means being willing to arrive at a different conclusion than what you might wish for.

This week, I saw an offensive and absurd meme which insists that the George Floyd tragedy was staged. The “evidence” is an assertion that the officer is resting the bulk of his weight on his free knee and that the police license plate has no numbers or letters other than “POLICE” in large characters across the breadth of the plate.

The answers to these issues could be found by seeking out physiologists or the Minnesota DMV. But those making such assertions make no such attempts. They merely pronounce victory over the brainwashed sheep and ignore any evidence that would come out during trials or investigations and assume an impossibly-large stable of crisis actors to pull off the ruse.

If an answer were to be offered, those posting such memes would reject the response, regardless of the science, the evidence, or the credentials of the speaker. We are nearly two decades removed from 9/11 and some people are still “just asking questions” about melting steel beams or how a passport could avoid incineration. These types portray themselves as open-minded and, by default, anyone who disagrees with this approach to be closed-minded. After all, who could be against examining and “just asking questions”?

But again, people who use this phrase are generally not actually just asking questions. Rather, they are disingenuously phrasing a hardened belief as a question while trying to maintain a façade of being reasonable and open to truth.

An anonymous Logic of Science blogger wrote, “Good questions stem naturally from known facts and evidence. In other words, they have a basis in reality.” Bad questions, such as those related to the Floyd tragedy, are without evidence and just unfettered conjecture being crammed into a predetermined narrative.

The blogger demonstrated the difference between a genuine question and one which only aims to make the speaker seem curious. He used an example from his field of herpetology. Regarding why aquatic turtles emerge from water to bask on rocks and logs, there have been suggestions that this action might be related to temperature, immune functions, or parasite cleanings.

“All of these are good questions…based on our existing knowledge of biology,” he wrote. But suppose someone ambles along and posits that maybe the shelled creatures are seeking escape from interplanetary interlopers who have invaded their lake.

“That would be a bad question, because it’s not based on any known facts. There is no reason to think that aliens are involved, and we’d need good evidence of the presence of aliens before it would be rational to even consider the possibility that they are involved.”

Indeed. Yet the conspiracy theorist response such dismissals is to declare the other person to be in on the plot, scared of the truth, or trying to hide something.

But since there is no rationale for thinking aliens are chasing turtles or that Floyd and his murderer are props in a ruse, these ideas can be discounted out of hand. Christopher Hitchens nailed this one when he declared, “What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

So wondering how COVID-19 came to be is a natural thought and could even be the first step in the Scientific Method of trying to find a cure.

However, asking, “Did Bill Gates orchestrate the coronavirus so that he could microchip us all” is a poor question. There is no evidence to suggest Gates devised the virus or wants to use the resulting vaccine to track our movements. Persons arrive at such conclusions by taking a circuitous route of cherry picking disparate points and ignoring the Law of Truly Large Numbers.

The “just asking questions” crowd rarely issues interrogative statements in good faith or seeks genuine dialogue. Anyone who asks if Bill Gates is going to microchip us via a future vaccine has already answered their own question.

There is nothing wrong with asking a question if one will examine the evidence and accept where it leads, but too often that’s not the case. I have presented strong evidence to the contrary when persons have asked if HAARP is controlling the weather. The response was not to thank me for the enlightenment, but rather a galvanizing of their beliefs. They were “just asking questions” based on those beliefs, not on wanting to know.