You may have heard about a massive die-off of birds a few days ago. Turns out what happened, at least according to the people who would know these sorts of things, is that the birds died after being startled by loud noises. Given that this happened on New Year’s Eve around the time fireworks were being set off, I can believe that.
Of course this bit of information from experts who understand bird biology and the like won’t be enough for some people. Just yesterday I saw some guy ranting about how the birds died after flying through what normal people call “contrails” but what paranoid conspiracy nuts call “chemtrails“.
For those of you who live in the real world, “chemtrails” are those white lines you see criss-crossing the sky after planes fly by at high altitude. According to the “theory” these aren’t innocent contrails, but are actually chemical agents being dispersed by X group of people for Y sinister reason. Usually the government is to blame cause, you know, they’re evil.
This of course doesn’t make any real sense. Aircraft fly several miles above the ground, usually. And given what wind patterns are like that high up, I don’t see any way that any chemical agent would be able to reach the ground in amounts sufficient to cause any notice, much less any harm. Worry more about actual, real air pollution from factories.
There’s a lot of really stupid conspiracy theories out there, but frankly this one takes the cake. It offers no reasonable, sane explanation for anything, and what it describes is already well-understood scientifically. All they do offer is paranoia, a complete lack of any sort of evidence and that warm feeling of “I figured out what They didn’t want me to know! That makes me better than Them!” That is of course common with any sort of conspiracy theory.
People who believe this have to have at least a couple screws loose or must be very intellectually lazy. Yes, even you, Billy Corgan. Love the music, but, yeah…
For more on this, check the Skeptic’s Dictionary’s fine article on the subject.