Few things are more fascinating than an exciting conspiracy theory with some scientific basis. In our list, we will go through some extremely intense theories (Has the Earth been pulled into a black hole since 2012?!) and some that truly seem silly and good-natured. Put it this way; you will never look at bird feeders the same way again! So strap in, put on your tinfoil hat, and let’s look at ten conspiracy theories based on and debunked by science.
10 Flat Earth Conspiracy Theory
Humans have known that Earth was round for more than 2,000 years. Or have we? The Flat Earth Society (FES) disagrees with this commonly held belief. Even though an ancient Egyptian scientist named Eratosthenes explained that Earth was round and was even able to estimate Earth’s circumference, and there is literal footage that displays Earth rotating, the FES proposes an alternative.
The FES argument boils down to a few essential points. From their website:
- “The horizon always rises to meet eye level—which is impossible on a ball Earth.”
- “Surfaces of bodies of water have been shown to be level.”
- “Even from airplanes, the curve of Earth cannot be seen.”
Though this conspiracy purports itself as a scientific one, it is easy to see that it falls flat when faced with real science.
9 Fluoridation of Water Supply
Fluoride is the name given to a group of compounds that are composed of the naturally occurring element fluorine and one or more other elements. Fluorides are present naturally in water and soil at varying levels. In the 1940s, scientists discovered that people who lived where drinking water supplies had naturally occurring fluoride levels had fewer dental cavities than those with lower fluoride levels. Fluoride was later found to prevent and even reverse tooth decay by inhibiting bacteria that produce acid in the mouth and enhancing remineralization—rebuilding the tooth enamel.
In 1945, Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first city to implement community water fluoridation. By 2008, more than 72 percent of the U.S. population served by public water systems had access to fluoridated water. However, this practice was not without controversy and conspiracy.
Some people believed the government added it to city water supplies to keep the population “apathetic.” In addition, the conspiracists claimed the government was using a substance as mind control, calling it “fluoride” to trick the population into thinking it benefitted them. Others believed that fluoride was used to lower the IQ of children. There was even conspiracy talk of the whole fluoridation program being nothing more than a communist plot.
8 Birds Aren’t Real?
The next conspiracy theory based on science is an interesting one! It has been around since at least 2017, though its members say it has existed since the 1950s. Let’s start by setting the record straight. This conspiracy theory is intended to be a comedy project which satirizes conspiracy theories and theorists. However, the group has more than 300,000 members on Reddit and more than 300,000 on Instagram.
Though ludicrous, the “birds aren’t real” theory is a fairly simple one. According to this group, the United States government replaced all birds with robotic replicas, complete with cameras and tracking systems. This group also alleges that birds sit on power lines to recharge their batteries and that bird poop is used for tracking.
While this group started as a parody and a joke, how many “real” conspiracy theories have started the same way?
7 The Moon Landing Conspiracy Theory
Humans have always wondered about the Moon, Sun, and stars since our earliest days. There have been many scientific theories, and as science has advanced, so has our knowledge. However, one conspiracy theory has stuck around (at least since the ’70s).
Some people think that the Moon landing never occurred. Instead, theorists propose that the Moon landing was faked and filmed on a soundstage. The Moon landing conspiracy suggests that the United States government faked the landing to instill national pride and assert dominance over the Soviets in the Cold War.
The primary “evidence” for this theory is that the flag on the Moon is waving, and in space, where there is no atmosphere, there should also be no wind to make the flag wave. There is a clear explanation (inertia), but this conspiracy theory still holds a lot of believers.
6 Chemtrails Point to Government Control
In the right weather conditions, long lines of thin clouds trailing planes can be seen in the sky, sometimes long after an aircraft has disappeared from view. These clouds are known as contrails and result from water vapor emitted from planes condensing in freezing temperatures, leaving behind thin trails of ice crystals. Nothing nefarious there, right? It’s simple science.
Not so, say the conspiracy theories. In the mid-1990s, theories began circulating that these contrails were actually “chemtrails.” Essentially, the government was using aircraft to spray toxic chemicals in the air for a variety of reasons. These include affecting the weather patterns, poisoning the environment, or controlling the population via sterilization. Believers claim that emissions from a standard plane should dissipate quickly and that any lingering remnants indicate the presence of additional, undisclosed substances.
5 Links Between Vaccines and Autism?
At this point, many of us associate vaccines with the recent pandemic. However, here we will talk about a vaccine conspiracy theory that has been around for far longer. Since the 1990s, some scientists, notably Andrew Wakefield, have proposed that vaccines may create a greater risk for a child to have a behavioral disorder, such as autism.
This conspiracy theory may have a more scientific basis than most since a scientist originally proposed it. However, the evidence is clear. There have been countless studies conducted by the CDC, among other groups. Studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines and autism. The overwhelming majority of scientists agree with this as well. Unfortunately, many people have a deep-seated mistrust of the medical industry (and the government) and continue to believe this false conspiracy theory.
4 Bigfoot Conspiracy Theory
There have been literally thousands of reports of appearances of Bigfoot or Sasquatch in North America, particularly on the northwest coast. Even scientists (called Cryptozoologists), documentarians, and photographers have dedicated their lives to finding the majestic beast. But why haven’t they gotten a clear picture or video yet? Well, it is likely because the creatures do not exist.
Some of the confusion may be caused by the many hoaxes that have been associated with Bigfoot. Some of the hoaxes include:
- A pair of Georgia men claimed to have found a Bigfoot corpse. It was later proven to be a rubber ape costume.
- Many faked and doctored videos and photographs.
- A fake academic journal claiming they found Bigfoot DNA. (Learn more here)
Despite the lack of scientific evidence, people continue to love learning about these mythical creatures. There are numerous podcasts, YouTube channels, and TV and radio shows that talk about the hunt for Bigfoot. Of all of the conspiracies on this list, I wouldn’t be too upset if this one were true. It seems like the Bigfoot conspiracy theory is all in good fun.
3 New World Order/Illuminati Headquarters
For the purposes of this list, we are not going to delve too deeply into the Illuminati (you can do that here instead). Overall, the Illuminati (and the New World Order—NWO) are considered secret groups that covertly run the entire world.
Sometimes referred to as “the deep state” by theorists, the NWO is blamed for every problem in society. So, where would such a secretive group meet and plan their nefarious deeds? Well, the Denver International Airport, apparently! Theorists allege that the Denver airport is the headquarters of the Illuminati for the following reasons:
- Unique murals show Nazi imagery.
- A plaque referencing the “New World Airport Commission.”
- An interactive gargoyle mistakenly greeted visitors to the “Illuminati Headquarters” before being repaired. (This may have been a joke played by the airport themselves).
The New World Order and Illuminati conspiracy theories go much deeper, too. You can learn about Ten Insane Conspiracy Theories About the New World Order here.
2 CERN Blackhole Conspiracy Theory
The next theory claims that the world ended back in 2012. Wild! The CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) conspiracy theory suggests that when CERN discovered the Higgs Boson (commonly referred to as the God particle), it created a black hole. The black hole then sucked Earth and its contents inside of it.
The CERN is also associated with other conspiracy theories that are based on science:
- Some conspiracy theorists think the CERN will use the large hadron collider to open the gates of hell.
- CERN has also been accused of trying to summon a god (possibly the Celtic god Cernunnos or the Indian goddess Shiva)
- Other theories propose that the CERN is experimenting with time travel.
All we can do is hope that the CERN uses its extensive powers for good.
1 9/11 “Inside Job” Conspiracy Theory
The September 11th attack on the United States is one that most people will not forget. Almost everyone can remember exactly where they were when the towers fell. Despite this, one of the most commonly repeated conspiracy theories based on science within the United States is that these attacks were an “inside job.”
- The Bush administration was aware of the attacks and allowed them to happen (or, in extreme cases, planned the attacks).
- Jet fuel from planes does not get hot enough to melt steel beams. Therefore, the World Trade Center towers must have been brought down via controlled demolition.
This conspiracy has stuck around for a few reasons. One is that the extended war in Iraq turned up no weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The presence of WMDs was given as a reason for the invasion. Another is that people often do not trust their government and think the truth is being concealed. The (extremely minimal) evidence for the “inside job” conspiracy theory has been disproven repeatedly.