Conspiracy Theories

The human brain is an amazing thing. We cram it full of stuff and nonsense and song lyrics and daydreams and it rummages through the facts and factoids and sorts them into some sort of worldview.

Hello? Hellooooo? Pic: AFP

We commit to that worldview; we get too attached. It’s called confirmation bias. We hunt down and prioritise information that reinforces what we already hold to be true; we ignore or dismiss that which threatens the edifice we’ve built from half-formed thoughts and snippets of Alan Jones.

My brain has eagerly absorbed dozens of headlines proclaiming that red wine and chocolate are good for you. But my Pollyanna grey matter blithely skips the ‘only in moderation’ footnote. It even hurt to write that, to be honest. That’s the pang of cognitive dissonance.

Latest 2 of 57 comments

View all comments
  • Colin says:

    04:15pm | 22/01/13

    @  Michael “...It isn’t the Brain that is full of stuff.” Well, the mind is in it for a start, and without the brain the mind cannot exist, so… Read more »

  • Colin says:

    03:57pm | 22/01/13

    @  subotic - killer of trolls, gynaecologist, used ca “If you stop feeding it, it will die. That is all….” But you’re still here, subotic..? Read more »


Writer and activist Susan Sontag said: “I envy paranoids. They actually feel people are paying attention to them”.

Trust no one

People were quick to call mining giant Clive Palmer a ‘crackpot’ and a ‘nutjob’ for his bizarre claim that the Greens are a tool of the CIA being used to undermine mining. And they are wacky claims. But the human mind is an amazing thing and comes up with sophisticated ways to protect itself from the real world. He’s not simply ‘wacky’.

Conspiracy theories are a protective mechanism.

Latest 2 of 129 comments

View all comments
  • Charles Namok says:

    01:57pm | 23/03/12

    On June 29 2011 senator brown was talking about a one world government, to me it was like George Bush senior all aver again, it made me sick, and Kevin Rudd, for once we had a politician over the rails and for him to come back realising his mistakes would… Read more »

  • hot tub political machine says:

    02:11pm | 22/03/12

    See IT Crowd Season 4. Douglas joins a religion known as “Spaceology”, which come complete with a theory about the massage industry. Read more »


Welcome to this week’s I Call Bullshit, a regular column where we look at shysters and shenanigans, bad science and mad conspiracies.

D'oh! The feminists are coming! Pic: Supplied

This week is going to kick off a series on men’s rights extremists (MRE). Like all extremists, these guys ruin it for those who have genuine concerns for men in today’s society with their pseudoscience and shonky stats, strawmen and very thinly veiled agendas. In the same way that extremist feminists make it harder for women to voice their own concerns.

Over the coming weeks we’ll look at some of the main issues, including intelligence and gender, false rape allegations, family court issues, sexism, domestic violence, relative advantage, misandry and so on. If you’ve got a topic you want covered, dive in below. 

Latest 2 of 266 comments

View all comments
  • Crerreque says:

    10:27am | 19/10/12

    Be fully prepared given area hippocampus studies they HIV, then Marijuana and influences the activity of those cells. However, regardless of what reason it may be the for varieties marijuana people who do so might be imprisoned. In some areas, you will need to fill out paperwork eventually hashish and,… Read more »

  • shoomisax says:

    07:29am | 10/10/12

    The borrower should be employed that money into of of have get depending on their financial repaying capability. Obviously, you can get your hands on the amount ranging for security your salary, business about 18 years of age. Do not rely on these loans, only cases the employment, short thus,… Read more »


It’s tempting – very tempting, in fact - to dismiss conspiracy theorists such as the 9/11 ‘truthers’ as tin-foil hat wearing nutters. And there is a substantial element of crazed paranoia out there which invites such frank contempt.

Digitally altered image. No, really. Supplied: CIA

But there are interesting and telling reasons so many people have come to believe that al Qaida had nothing to do with September 11, that the US Government was responsible for the attack or at the very least knowingly let it happen in order to trigger a war.

The UK’s Telegraph newspaper ranked September 11 as number one in its listing of the greatest conspiracy theories, trumping the moon landing, Roswell, Jesus’ bloodline, and the JFK assassination.

The political impact, the copious amounts of footage, and of course the internet have bolstered the truther movement to the point where polls consistently show that one in three Americans believe in it to some extent.

Latest 2 of 250 comments

View all comments
  • hrpxxito says:

    02:00am | 20/09/11

    NfKBGL tugldhthduys, tsagddlgsjug, [link=]oxihehflqhol[/link], Read more »

  • Jason Todd says:

    07:56am | 18/09/11

    Andrew, How you dance around the truth. You are correct. WTC7 was not hit by a plane. You are correct. Therefore because it was not hit by a plane, and there was no other possible cause of damage, it can’t possibly have collapsed and therefore it must have been demolished!… Read more »


Welcome to this week’s ‘I Call Bullshit’, a weekly look at the strange twists and turns of the human mind. 

Suspicious minds?

It’s not surprising at all that conspiracy theories have shrouded Osama bin Laden’s death. Before the dust had settled from September 11 crackpot ideas started surfacing, the most persistent of which is that it was an ‘inside job’ carried out to trigger the war on terror. People love to doubt the official line.

And it took mere cyber seconds – in this crazy interweb-connected world of ours – for people to start speculating that Osama was not dead at all, the whole extravaganza just concocted to boost Obama’s election chances. Or an alien plot. Or something.

Latest 2 of 172 comments

View all comments
  • jesicca says:

    03:03pm | 19/04/12

    The horror scprit with you greedy #OWS guys just seems to write itself. It’s getting to be almost old hat to recount the daily #OWS rapes, deaths, suicides, assaults, thefts, hypodermic needles and human waste running in rivers in our city streets. So now you can add paralyzing New York… Read more »

  • Nick Buick says:

    10:09pm | 08/05/11

    Yeah laugh it up, Chuckles… It isn’t outrageous to believe Israel / the Mossad are capable of running a false flag terrorist attack to kill Americans and alter US foreign policy. Israel has been caught time and time again running such operations. The USS Liberty and The Lavon Affair are… Read more »


It didn’t take long for the whackjobs and nutbags to start pushing their spiteful little barrows in the aftermath of the Japan earthquake and tsunami. In fact, it took them all of about two minutes.

Global warming did not cause this. Image: AP

The minute The Punch threw up an open thread for people to express sympathy, or share other information related to this unprecedented catastrophe, the snide, narky little comments started sneaking in. And it happened not just here but all over the internet, the twittersphere, and beyond. Sometimes, all this connectedness really is a curse.

Ludicrously, some hailed the event as evidence of climate change. Others thought they’d restart the age old religious debate on God, and the Problem of Evil. Others jumped headlong into the nuclear debate, like that couldn’t wait a day or two. One reader cheekily but tastelessly suggested the event was fair payback for Japanese whaling. Most astonishingly of all, some thought they’d harness the terrible moment to have their daily dig at Julia Gillard. Like this website hadn’t had 10 stories in the last week where people could vent on the PM.

Latest 2 of 239 comments

View all comments
  • Thommo says:

    11:26am | 18/03/11

    “The Punch exists for robust debate. We wouldn’t be here without it, and we never delete anyone’s comments, regardless of political leaning, as long as they don’t revert to name calling, really bad language or incitement to violence/hatred. We allowed the barrow pushers in the weekend thread and we’ll grit… Read more »

  • Josephus says:

    05:47pm | 15/03/11

    You mad, Shane? Read more »


There’s a large contingent of Beatles devotees who firmly believe that the Fab Four replaced Sir Paul with a look-a-like after he secretly died in 1966.

Bloody fakers. That so-called lunar module is all tinfoil. Pic: AP

Start googling “Paul McCartney” and you’ll find that the second most popular search term is “Paul McCartney dead”. Modern conspiracy aficionados say this is because Google killed the real Paul McCartney so a fake Paul McCartney could form a real band called “Wings”, which would make Google a small amount of money, allowing them to purchase part of The Beatles catalogue so the real Paul McCartney could buy shares in Google.

Confused? So is poor ol’ Paul who routinely has to fend off sandal-wearing fat blokes who shove Wikipedia printouts in his face as conclusive proof that he’s dead.

Latest 2 of 91 comments

View all comments
  • nfl shirts says:

    08:59am | 21/10/12

    With havin so a lot content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My web site has lots of exclusive content I’re either designed myself or outsourced but it appears lots of it is popping it up all more than the internet without… Read more »

  • EC says:

    12:57pm | 18/07/11

    You think they’d hide her red hair. Read more »


The British Medical Journal has devoted an editorial to stating that an article published in popular medical journal The Lancet in 1998 linking childhood vaccination with autism “was in fact an elaborate fraud.”

Who needs medical science when you have Jenny McCarthy? Picture: AP

The Lancet had already retracted the article by Andrew Wakefield early last year, but BMJ now sought to totally discredit the “study”, which led to a decline in the triple vaccination of measles, mumps and rubella in Britain as well as in the United States and Australia.

Sadly, despite the strength of the BMJ articles - brought on by the work of Sunday Times investigative journalist Brian Deer - there will still be people who will not only ignore it but view it as further evidence of the conspiracy.

Latest 2 of 307 comments

View all comments
  • GaryMork says:

    07:40am | 24/10/12

    click to view chanel outlet suprisely XWtUhoDL [url=—]— [/URL] Read more »

  • floupsescossy says:

    01:00pm | 19/10/12

    Liellneonna <a >cowboy jersey nike</a> CoryCymncof <a >cowboys Nike jerseys</a> Fiftizmet <a >giants jerseys Nike</a> maidayEmaip <a > Read more »


Jeff Greenfield, CBS News Senior Political Correspondent once quipped that more things in politics happen by accident or exhaustion than happen by conspiracy.

Not about finding Moon water at all

Inarguably his four decades of experience - which includes time as a speechwriter for Robert F. Kennedy - enable him to make such informed statements, but as the son of a politician I will venture that if it wasn’t for John Della Bosca’s sex antics and the occasional fantastically implausible conspiracy theory, politics would be as boring as bat guano.

Conspiracy theories have been a popular part of Western politics since 10.15pm on April 14, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth walked into Ford’s Theatre and assassinated Abraham Lincoln. Immediately after Lincoln’s assassination questions arose. Was Booth solely responsible or was he someone’s hired gun, and if so, whose?

Latest 2 of 12 comments

View all comments
  • PamCamOrderry says:

    05:20pm | 13/09/12

    sadwepcq <a >air jordan</a> sblphkggcg <a >jordan pas cher</a> weeeqgr Read more »

  • Corkie says:

    02:43am | 19/10/09

    “One small step for man, one giant step for paronia”. Read more »


Facebook Recommendations

Read all about it

Punch live

Up to the minute Twitter chatter

Recent posts

The latest and greatest

The Punch is moving house

The Punch is moving house

Good morning Punchers. After four years of excellent fun and great conversation, this is the final post…

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

Will Pope Francis have the vision to tackle this?

I have had some close calls, one that involved what looked to me like an AK47 pointed my way, followed…

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

Advocating risk management is not “victim blaming”

In a world in which there are still people who subscribe to the vile notion that certain victims of sexual…

Nosebleed Section

choice ringside rantings

From: Hasbro, go straight to gaol, do not pass go

Tim says:

They should update other things in the game too. Instead of a get out of jail free card, they should have a Dodgy Lawyer card that not only gets you out of jail straight away but also gives you a fat payout in compensation for daring to arrest you in the first place. Instead of getting a hotel when you… [read more]

From: A guide to summer festivals especially if you wouldn’t go

Kel says:

If you want a festival for older people or for families alike, get amongst the respectable punters at Bluesfest. A truly amazing festival experience to be had of ALL AGES. And all the young "festivalgoers" usually write themselves off on the first night, only to never hear from them again the rest of… [read more]

Gentle jabs to the ribs

Superman needs saving

Superman needs saving

Can somebody please save Superman? He seems to be going through a bit of a crisis. Eighteen months ago,… Read more



Read all about it

Sign up to the free newsletter