What conspiracy theories are wrong

Munich - At the world economic summit, politicians and economic experts meet to discuss global issues.

There are many myths surrounding the meeting. We spoke to Nikil Mukerji, 36, about this.

-The world government meets in a ski resort to figure out the future of the planet. Sounds like a great conspiracy theory, doesn't it?

That's true. A conspiracy theory usually has three parts: There is a group that has a plan. It is harmful to the general public. The whole thing is secret. The meeting in Davos can be accommodated in it. All you have to do is insert the details of a conspiracy.

-What do you think of?

Clear! The participants in the World Economic Forum are, of course, reptilian, shape-shifting Satanists who work to enslave the human race.

-Did you think of that spontaneously?

I wish I was so original. British conspiracy theorist David Icke says something like that.

-Why do economic actors often play a role?

Conspiracy theories are about groups that have a lot of power. Such groups are found in abundance in business. Because a lot of power is concentrated here. Everything we consume comes here. And as employees we are dependent on the economic system. Influential people make decisions that have consequences for our lives - for example, whether we will keep our job or not.

-Why do so many people believe in it?

Social media have made such theories much easier to spread today. Psychologically speaking, people have always felt the need to find someone to blame when something bad has happened - be it a natural disaster or an economic crisis. That explains the ubiquity of conspiracy theories. Then when someone settles on one, they tend to be blind to anything that contradicts the theory. He only looks for information that supports his theory and ignores the information that contradicts it.

-After all, there is an attempt to explain the world behind it. What is the difference to science?

There are several differences. The various structures in which scientists and conspiracy theorists operate play a major role. The latter move in groups of like-minded people, where criticism is not permitted. In many cases there is a prevailing doctrine that cannot be attacked. In science, on the other hand, the prevailing doctrine is continuously checked and questioned. Arguments must above all convince those who disagree. That is one of the key differences.

-How do you distinguish real from fake conspiracies?

Not every conspiracy theory is wrong. I am thinking, for example, of the Watergate affair or the diesel scandal. So it would be wrong to reject a theory just because it claims that a conspiracy exists. One must always pay attention to the details and check whether the justification of the theory violates principles of reason. In my book I describe these principles in detail. One should, for example, pay attention to how representatives of the theory deal with criticism. If you react to critics by attacking them personally, one should be careful.

Interview: Magdalena Höcherl