It’s often said that you can’t prove a negative. However, that’s not accurate: Mathematically, you generally can.
It is accurate, however that you can’t disprove a conspiracy theory to a conspiracy theorist. This is something I have learned, painfully, over the years during many squabbles with them.
For example, there was the guy who wanted me, while I was the editor of the Tucson Weekly, to expose how Sept. 11 was an inside job. The key piece of evidence, he said, was the fact that the World Trade Center 7 building collapsed, despite not being directly hit by a plane. So I sent him some articles, including one from Popular Mechanics, thoroughly explaining why WTC 7 collapsed.
“Well, that stuff is obviously faked,” he said.
Then there are the chemtrails people—folks who insist that the government, or maybe it’s China, who knows, but SOMEBODY is spraying us with stuff from high-flying planes to … uh, control our minds, or change the weather, or sterilize people, or something.
How do they know? You can see the trails these planes leave in the sky, man!
What other evidence do they have? None.
Of course, now the conspiracy theories are coming out around COVID-19. The most recent one comes compliments of an anti-vaxer who is claiming that all of this illness has to do with a bad flu vaccine from several years ago. Really.
So … yeah.
I would try to explain here how that conclusion is, well … unlikely. For starters, a whole lot of people with better credentials say that that’s not what caused COVID-19. But, I won’t bother.
Why? Because if you believe in a conspiracy theory, there’s nothing I can say or do to convince you otherwise.
• Yesterday’s bonkers Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting—at which supes were deciding to, and I am paraphrasing here, emphasize the “interests” of the business community over the advice of the county health officer—ended with a whole lot of nothing: The board voted 5-0 to decide things at an emergency Friday meeting instead.
• Breaking news: The county has further loosened the rules on pools at apartment complexes and in HOA-managed areas. Get the details here.
• So the president now says he won’t disband his coronavirus task force around the end of the month. Why did he change his mind? According to The New York Times, Trump said: “I thought we could wind it down sooner. But I had no idea how popular the task force is until actually yesterday, when I started talking about winding it down. I get calls from very respected people saying, ‘I think it would be better to keep it going. It’s done such a good job.’” So, uh, there ya go.
• Meanwhile, in Arizona—a state that, I will remind you, shares a border with us—the governor’s office is shutting up a team of professors at Arizona State and the University of Arizona that had been doing COVID-19 modeling. Turns out their models said reopening now—which the state is doing—was a bad idea. This move by Gov. Doug Ducey is, in a word, despicable.
• Why have meat-processing facilities been such hotbeds for the spread of the coronavirus? The Conversation explains.
• OH, COME ON. REALLY?! This CNBC piece says that the damn virus will lead to millions of new tuberculosis cases, and will “set back global efforts to fight TB by at least five years, and possibly up to eight years.”
• Why do some people simply refuse to wear masks? CNN looks at the psychology behind this.
• Another California court has refused to block the state from offering assistance to undocumented residents.
• A lot of people think they already had COVID-19, back before we really knew it was a thing. While we are learning that the virus may have been in this country way earlier than previously known … sorry, but you probably didn’t have it.
• If you are one of the people who hasn’t yet received your stimulus money yet, we are sorry to tell you that a lot of dead people have received theirs.
• Can llamas lead us to a breakthrough that could help solve the pandemic? Because nothing makes sense anymore, why, yes, they might.
• Famous and mysterious street artist Banksy has done a series paying tribute to health workers in Britain.
• If you’re a fan of David Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s Mr. Show, you have something to look forward to now.
• Yeah, this period of quarantine has been awful. But on the bright side, it brought the world the first ever toilet flush to take place during U.S. Supreme Court arguments. So we have that, at least.
• Finally, here’s a look at a birthday party for a 20-year-old otter named Yaku.
That’s enough for today. Wash your hands. Be safe. Buy our Coloring Book, because it’s amazing. If you can spare a few bucks, consider becoming a Supporter of the Independent, so we can keep doing quality local journalism. We’ll be back tomorrow.