Originally posted September 22, 2013
Dr. Stuart Robbins produced a different type of Exposing PseudoAstronomy podcastthis week. Instead of a show dealing with pseudoscience and conspiracies surrounding some astronomy or physics woo woo, Robbins shares his experience enduring the tragic flooding that engulfed Colorado.
Robbins had the unfortunate luck of living in the epicenter of the flooded regions of Colorado, and of being trapped by flood water in his house with a couple of his housemates. As is Robbins methodical style, Robbins shares the typical Colorado climate and his local topography and then explains why the region flooded. Then Robbins delves into how quickly some of his neighbors and even a housemate quickly began to spin a web of conspiracy theories. Robbins shares how conflicting and limited information available to some people turned into a conspiracy to control the people and force them into FEMA camps and take away their guns. This all occurred over a matter of days.
Robbins also shares an experience of visiting with some accessible neighbors who were into new age, anti-GMO, conspiracy notions, and having to grit one's teeth and not get into a debate. I think most skeptics have been in the situation where someone is going on with some nonsense, but common sense and good manners dictated to keep one's yap shut.
I found this episode fascinating. It is anecdotal. However, it is an interesting case study on how quickly under times of stress the ugly specter of conspiracy can appear to drive the situation or at least making a bad situation worse springs up in our society. The episode runs less than thirty minutes, and it is well worth the listen. I commend Robbins for taking the time and effort to produce an episode in the middle of such difficulty. The episode contains not one Coast to Coast or Art Bell clip.