I saw this somewhere on social media a couple of months ago: "Fox News has done to our parents' brains what they feared Marilyn Manson would do to ours". I guess many people here have family members or friends who are forwarding them, not for purposes of mockery, a variety of "alternative points of view" on a variety of current affairs. It's often difficult to ignore such people, or tell them to f.ck off and die.
Here is a reply that my partner in academic crime recently sent to his Dad on this matter. I'm not sure what YouTube "evidence" Dad was asking his scientist son to account for, but this reply is nicely generic, so there may be bits here that can be used for a variety of circumstances. (James's blog on Medium is always worth reading too. Imagine a 6ft4/1.94m 20-stone/130kg hairy Aussie former death-metal singer who is a bit upset about something.)
James Heathers wrote:Please keep three things in mind:
(1) Any novel problem has an information gap that is bigger than you realise. When there is suggestive information branching in multiple directions, you are not under any obligation to make a decision about which branch you 'believe'. You do not need to 'choose a side'. Usually you need to suspend your disbelief for such a long time that it's actually a complete pain in the balls. When you make a decision on the basis of limited information with unconstrained unknowns, this usually says more about your assumptions than it does about the information.
(2) Convenient and nefarious explanations also make some weird assumptions about people. Frankly, it is really tiresome to propose dastardly plans, which imply lots of intelligence, strong control over circumstances, and genuine malice. These are all uncommon. Sometimes you get one of them, usually none. There are some small conspiracies, of course, but the Dr. Evil-puppeteer in a room version is vanishingly unlikely. For a conspiracy to be successful, it generally requires people not to care, not seamless planning and information control. In civic life, in general, there are just idiots and organisations, and an organisation is a group of idiots in a mutual plot to help themselves make bad decisions slower.
(3) The truth is so often boring. Bad decisions and circumstances so, so often come down to human short-sightedness and frailty. It is so much more fun to assume that someone had an evil plot, that sinister forces are at work, and that cool sh.t is afoot. It isn't. Sorry.