John Cook PhD: COVID Conspiracy Theories Erode Trust in Science

June 9, 2020

John Cook has done a lot of work on conspiracies and misinformation in the climate space, and here takes a look at the similar mechanisms in play during the pandemic period.

Cook’s Conspiracy Theory Handbook is available for download.

12 Responses to “John Cook PhD: COVID Conspiracy Theories Erode Trust in Science”

  1. doldrom Says:

    There’s a problem with brandishing the term “conspiracy theory”.

    The official account of 911 and many other events are that they were conspiracies. In effect, brandishing the term simply states that it is at odds with the account put forward by people who claim to have the power to settle the truth, without equal obligation to discuss and detail questions raised. The Iraq war 2003 was based on the idea that Saddam Hussein was involved in a secret conspiracy to threaten us with nuclear weapons. The 1991 Iraq war also saw much ado about stories that later turned out to be provably untrue, and were financed PR by parties with an interest. Even the Vietnam war and the dominoes were theories about a Communist conspiracy to take over the world, marked by frequent disinformation, even to those making the decisions.

    I never start doubting official versions of events until they contradict and reverse themselves, and declare evidence to be a State secret. The WHO finally grudgingly endorsed face masks last Friday after months of opposition. They have denied any asymptomatic or aerosol transmission of Covid, but there are legions of scientists (and many studies) & officials that disagree. Many officials also fall back on the position that if there is not yet definitive scientific consensus to absolve them, then it ain’t so, but absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence.

    Much better to discus actual issues and evidence than to silence opponents by brandishing labels such as “expert” or “conspiratorial”.


  2. Not just conspiracy theories. Social media and media misinformation is rampant.
    Recently published a piece dissecting one of the leading newspapers misuse of facts in driving their own preferred impression: https://shivamber.com/the-truth-about-how-media-is-misleading-with-facts/
    At the bottom of the piece there are examples of a number of biases we all fall victim to.
    We need more educated and skeptical consumers of news, but we also must keep fighting for honest media and social media.


  3. […] John Cook PhD: COVID Conspiracy Theories Erode Trust In Science […]


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  8. […] John Cook PhD: COVID Conspiracy Theories Erode Trust In Science […]


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