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Conspiracy craze: why 12 million Americans believe alien lizards rule us
According to a Public Policy Polling survey, around 12 million people in the US believe that interstellar lizards in people suits rule our country. We imported that particular belief from across the pond, where professional conspiracy theorist David Icke has long maintained that the Queen of England is a blood-drinking, shape-shifting alien.
Conspiracy theories in general are not necessary bad, according to psychologists who study them. "If we were all completely trusting, it would not be good for survival", explains Rob Brotherton, an academic psychologist and author of Suspicious Minds: Why We Believe Conspiracy Theories. "Sometimes people really don't have our best interests in mind".
But when people leap from thinking their boss is trying to undermine them to believing their boss might be a secret lizard person, they probably cross from what psychologists refer to as "prudent paranoia" into illogical territory.
And there are a lot of illogical ideas to pick from. Around 66 million Americans believe that aliens landed at Roswell, New Mexico; around 22 million people believe that the government faked the moon landing; and around 160 million believe that there is a conspiracy surrounding the assassination of former US president John F Kennedy.
Conspiracy craze my ass. The moon landing WAS a hoax.
Is Mark Zuckerberg actually a lizard?
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hosted a livestreamed Q&A earlier this week, he was probably expecting questions about emergent tech and online entrepreneurism rather than someone asking whether he was, in fact, a shape-shifting alien reptile.
"Mark, are the allegations true that you're secretly a lizard?" Zuckerberg read aloud, before replying in the negative and declaring the question "very silly". Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?
Zuckerberg is hardly the first prominent public figure to be fingered as a reptilian alien: everyone from George W Bush and Donald Rumsfeld to Simon Cowell and Kris Kristofferson (!) have faced similar accusations in recent years. As unlikely as it seems, the whole "reptoid" thing has become something of a meme in the internet age.
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