Poll: Eleven Percent Of Americans Believe Florescent Bulbs Are A Conspiracy To Control Their Minds And Other Scary Stuff

220px-Poster_for_The_Conspiracy_(2012_Film)Every once in a while, we will get a poll that is truly unnerving like the percentage of Americans who entirely reject evolution or think that the Earth is only a few thousand years old. However, a University of Chicago study on conspiracy theories is enough for you to put on your tinfoil hat and look yourself in your underground shelter. Eric Oliver and Thomas Wood at the University of Chicago found that half of the country holds these conspiracy theories and some are just plain wacky.

Conspiracy theories are defined in the study as one that exists regardless of countervailing evidence and the person often converts such evidence into ways of supporting the theory. The authors state:

Although conspiracy theories have long been a staple of American political culture, no research has systematically examined the nature of their support in the mass public. Using four nationally representative surveys, sampled between 2006 and 2011, we find that half of the American public consistently endorses at least one conspiracy theory and that many popular conspiracy theories are differentiated along ideological and anomic dimensions. In contrast with many theoretical speculations, we do not find conspiracism to be a product of greater authoritarianism, ignorance, or political conservatism. Rather, the likelihood of supporting conspiracy theories is strongly predicted by a willingness to believe in other unseen, intentional forces and an attraction to Manichean narratives. These findings both demonstrate the widespread allure of conspiracy theories as political explanations and offer new perspectives on the forces that shape mass opinion and American political culture.

Some theories are not surprising like 19 percent of Americans believe the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks. However, it is surprising to see one in four people believing that the financial crisis was caused by the small cabal of Wall Street bankers. Then there are those 11 percent of people who believe the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs is part of a government conspiracy to make people obedient and easy to control.

It find this all very disappointing and frustrating. Everyone knows that the Green Bay Packers caused the financial crisis and that connection between the Chicago Bears being kept out of the playoffs and the introduction of the bulbs is no coincidence. I mean, geez.

Source: NPR

63 thoughts on “Poll: Eleven Percent Of Americans Believe Florescent Bulbs Are A Conspiracy To Control Their Minds And Other Scary Stuff”

  1. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) believes the car hacking conspiracy theory:

  2. Another conspiracy theory is that your car can be hacked remotely, like your cell phone can be.

  3. Hubert Cumberdale

    … I don’t think the earth is x-billion years old. Scientists don’t even know – take an inventory of the arbitrary ages that are given to the earth over the past few decades. ….
    The age of the Earth has never changed except that it is getting older one day at a time, like the rest of us.

    The calculated age of the Earth has changed because they stopped using animal entrails as instruments, and instead began using techniques and instruments developed by quantum scientists and other physicists.

    Even Pat Roberston has recalculated it at times …

  4. no, 11 percent of those who answered the survey (already an oulier since most wouldn’t participate) claimed that they felt florescent bulbs were controlling their minds. Doesn’t mean they really felt that. Even if did to extrapolate that to include all Americans is silly.

    Such polls are nonsense and have no actual merit. Many will mess with the pollsters just to mess with them. Others will answer how they think that the person wants them to answer. And lord forbid that they are asked anything with a camera around, then the answers get even more outlandish.

  5. The climate change hoax conspiracy theory is being faked in really strange ways:

    Rising sea levels have washed the remains of at least 26 Japanese World War Two soldiers from their graves on a low-lying Pacific archipelago, the foreign minister of the Marshall Islands said on Friday.

    “There are coffins and dead people being washed away from graves. It’s that serious,” Tony de Brum told reporters on the sidelines of U.N. climate change talks in Germany.

    Putting the blame on climate change, which threatens the existence of the islands that are only 2 meters (6 ft) above sea level at their highest, de Brum said: “Even the dead are affected.”


  6. No, I don’t think a pineapple and a porcupine share a common ancestor. No, I don’t think man is a distant relative of a field mouse. No, I don’t think the earth is x-billion years old. Scientists don’t even know – take an inventory of the arbitrary ages that are given to the earth over the past few decades. The alleged age of the earth is increasing exponentially over the passage of a few decades. So the confidence in (A) scientists and (B) people who think pineapples and porcupines share a common ancestor is nonexistent.

    I reject the theory of evolutionism because there simply isn’t any evidence. There has yet to transform a theory (and a stupid one at that) into a fact. I reject scientists who use a rubber ruler to determine the alleged age of the earth. But yet, I’m the insane one. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

  7. water fluoridation is clearly the catalyst
    to everyone
    & their cat believing in CT’s

  8. A new conspiracy theory released today:

    Vodafone, one of the world’s largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of secret wires that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in some of the 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond.

    The company has broken its silence on government surveillance in order to push back against the increasingly widespread use of phone and broadband networks to spy on citizens, and will publish its first Law Enforcement Disclosure Report on Friday. At 40,000 words, it is the most comprehensive survey yet of how governments monitor the conversations and whereabouts of their people.

    (Raw Story). What next, where in the world is Carmen Electra?

  9. Greenspan did make serious mistakes. I remember. But he also wanted Fannie and Freddie regulated, and predicted a calamity.

    You are absolutely right that HELOCs became free money to spend. Paying down your house was deemed absurd. They would use it to pay off debt and then charge that debt right up again. Over the years, they owed more and more on their homes without realizing that in their later years, their income would eventually start going down.

    Don’t get me started on golden parachutes. I hate golden parachutes!

    In the old days, a board of directors invested their own money in the business. They made conservative decisions and mitigated risk. But now there are huge numbers of shareholders, and the board throws around “other people’s money.” If they plow a company into the ground, they are no longer personally ruined. They get a golden parachute.

    Both unions and big business invest a lot of money into politics that benefit them. I want ALL big money taken out of politics and campaigns.

  10. @Karen S

    I will not dispute that Congress reduced the qualifications for obtaining mortgages for political reasons. George H. W. Bush also created NAFTA (Clinton merely signed it), which puts him on my disgust list.

    But nothing would have happened without the passage of two laws: Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (the repeal of Glass-Steagall) and Commodity Futures Modernization Act. Both combined to allow banks to create casinos with bank funds (and to create bucket shops and an infinite variety of derivatives). These two laws were a precursor to the 2008 crash and Too Big To Fail banks.

    “Greenspan predicted the financial collapse”

    Surely you jest. He was partially responsible for the crash, assuming that crashes were no longer possible. I could caution you against accepting anything from the Heritage Foundation without a great deal of critical analysis (I would say the same thing about the Huffington Post and MSNBC). Sure, he coined the phrase “irrational exuberance,” but he was a cheerleader for a lot of that.

    If anyone predicted the crash, it was Warren Buffett who said in 2003 that the new derivatives were “financial weapons of mass destruction.”

    I don’t blame one party: I blame them both. Allowing people to treat their home as an ATM via home equity loans changed the mindset in this country. People started buying cars, toys, vacations, and other things while the equity in their homes dropped precipitously. People expected their home to rise in value 10-20% each year, with that greedy mindset being radically different than that of buying houses merely as someplace to live. The concept of “flipping” was hardly mainstream before Prince’s favorite year.

    We put gobs of bankers in prison after George H. W. Bush’s other son and his pals got caught with their fingers in the bank cookie jar. We needed to do the same after 2008, but we did not.

    As for unions, the right blames them while the left blames corporate officers. Both are right. We went too far in allowing unions like the UAW to shutdown large companies. However, we have now gone entirely the same distance in the opposite direction. Do you really think it is right that Target CEO Gregg Steinhafle receives a $55 golden parachute after allowing perhaps the largest computer breach in history?

  11. saucy:

    I have gradually been replacing my bulbs with LEDs, and can really see a difference in my energy bill. They’re so expensive, though, I can’t imagine most people redoing all their bulbs in one fell swoop!

    The USDA was created because of the Jungle. And we’ve passed a LOT of food safety laws from that one seed. Amazing what a difference one book can make.

    The unions and workplace safety came about because of abuses like that for employees. (Didn’t a child get eaten by rats at the end?) But I’ve felt for a while that unions have run amuck, and care more about the union than their employees. I’d rather that employees have the protection of law, and not need a union. (The unions have been on my naughty list since Teachers Unions made poor performing teachers unfireable, and protected pedophiles time after time. Before that, I had always assumed they just looked out for their employees. But when I started researching the issues, I didn’t like what I found.)

  12. saucy:

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac used to require A paper (excellent credit) and 20% down to buy a home before they would buy the loan from the bank as a mortgage backed security. (Banks sell their loans on the market to get money to reloan again, so their money is not tied up for 30 years.) Foreclosures were very rare, as few would walk away from an investment where they had at least 20% of their own money tied up.

    However, Liberals decreed that it was unfair that the poor and people with bad credit could not buy their own homes. So, in 1992, George H W Bush signed a Democratic Congress’ Housing And Community Development Act of 1992. It changed the charter of Fannie and Freddie to give them a goal to provide affordable housing. (You see, Obama is not the first president to have a different political affiliation than the majority in Congress.)

    If banks wanted Fannie/Freddie to buy their loans, they had to meet affordable housing goals. They were told they could bundle those high-risk subprime loans with lower-risk mortgage securities. They had nothing to lose. And cue the wildcat banking and all the subsequent abuses, such as approving stated income loans with absurd income statements.

    Inevitably, foreclosures surged after an initial boom in the subprime mortgage market. There were also other factors involved to make a perfect storm.

    In 2005, Republicans tried to pass a bill that would have regulated Fannie and Freddie (who says Republicans hate all regs?) but it was defeated by a Democratic Congress along party lines. Greenspan predicted the financial collapse but was ignored by Democrats. After the collapse, Democrats walked away whistling, and only blamed the banks. But the whole philosophy of “homeownership is a right” played a huge part in the mess. Shelter is a right. An enormously expensive asset is not a right.



  13. Karen S wrote: “The Jungle … Hard to get through without vomiting”

    I remember being shocked at the last few pages where Sinclair erupted in a communist diatribe. I’m mostly a middle-of-the-road person.

    “What I am trying to say is that let the market create a demand for new technology”

    My mistake; I misunderstood your intent. You can remove the daggers that flew from my eyes. 🙂

    Yes, I would agree with that. I still use incandescents for the disposal reason, but also because the light of Reveal bulbs (I will miss them dearly) is better. And incandescents work better than the alternatives in a cold environment, e,g, a garage in winter.

  14. Karen S: to help you get thru your losses, watch this:”conspiracy theorist”

  15. saucy:

    The Jungle is a classic. Hard to get through without vomiting, but a classic.

    There is not unfettered Capitalism in the US. Modern capitalism is still regulated. We have laws that protect workers and the environment, etc.

    What I am trying to say is that let the market create a demand for new technology. Forcing us to buy CFLs will create an environmental disaster. Organic produce is healthier for farm workers and the environment, and business is booming. And we were not forced to buy it. We created a demand all on our own. Energy saving lightbulbs like LEDs are still very expensive, but the price is coming down. They will become more popular when they become more affordable. I support educating consumers through information.

    Incandescents are not asbestos. Energy savings are a great inducement for people to buy energy saving bulbs. But CFLs are not a panacea, by any means.

  16. How many criminal defense lawyers have successfully challenged conspiracy charges by maintaining that the state’s charges is merely a conspiracy theory put forth by tin-foil hatted conspiracy theorists in the DA’s office?

  17. rafflaw – thanks! Word Mess has decided my posts taste great today.

  18. davidm2575 wrote: “lot of people borrowed money .. are the real evil players in the whole financial crisis”

    Rick Santelli, is that really you?

    Yes, of course people should not borrow more money than they can repay. But you neglected the role of the banks. Banks are supposed to do their due diligence in giving loans and not short-change their shareholders. You really need to read what Countrywide and other banks did with respect to robo-signing. That was fraud, something which our illustrious government should have prosecuted, starting with the little fish, using that leverage to roll-up the big boys.

    And then there was the securitization of sub-prime mortgages mixed with regular mortgages. This was also prosecutable fraud. Worse yet, it obscured the extent of the situation. Even worst yet, these toxic securities were sold to unsophisticated investors — yes, they should have known better — such as pension funds.

    And then the government stepped in (first Bush, then Obama). Did they intervene the banks, appoint a regent to run it while it was being fixed, and separate casinos from banks (i.e. Glass-Steagal-ize it)? No, they threw money at them with no conditions.

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