How can one refute a conspiracy?

Refuting Corona myths - tips from an expert

Tip 1: talk in private!

Katharina Nocun has written a book about conspiracy myths. In an interview with SWR3, she gave tips on how to convince people who believe these claims.

Basically, if you ask the other person that he shares unchecked allegations, you should do so in a personal conversation, i.e. in private and not in a large group chat.

The reason is, nobody wants to admit publicly that they are wrong. For many people, this feels like a loss of face. In the best case scenario, you don't just talk face-to-face, but also face-to-face - not via chat. Of course, this is only possible if you know them personally.

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The advantage: In this case you also have the best chance of convincing the other. You should therefore not give up too quickly with friends or family. It is worthwhile to encourage the other to think or rethink.

Tip 2: Better to have ONE argument than many!

In conversation you should focus on a Focus on a good argument instead of bombarding the other with facts. If you address a lot of facts at the same time, the boomerang effect can otherwise occur: The other “closes”, so closes himself off against the arguments because he feels restricted or even attacked by the many arguments.

It is better to think about beforehand what your main argument is and specifically look for facts.

Tip 3: Questions often bring more than facts

If someone generally suspects facts from official sources as well as research from reputable media, it is best to ask questions:

“Why do you think that this YouTube channel is more credible than, for example, the serious media?” - “Why do you think that all scientists lie? Isn't that pretty far-fetched? Because there would have to be millions of people who agree. "

What matters is HOW you ask the questions

It is important that you answer the questions calm, sensitive and matter-of-fact represents, not angry, condescending, or derogatory. That would only lead to the fact that the interlocutor closes himself off and clings even more to his theory.

So the aim is not for the other person to give in immediately, but for him to think critically about the questions and answers. Because mostly those who believe in conspiracy theories are clever and critical people. The trigger for her speculative theory was initially a very legitimate question. For example, whether the media have too much power or whether politics is corrupt in places. It can therefore be worthwhile to ask the other person about sources and evidence.