Let's Talk Conspiracies?

March 29, 2021

computer keyboardWhat does someone do when a friend or relative believes that a Satan-worshiping group within the federal government is running a child sex ring? Or that voting machines changed votes? Or that COVID-19 is a plot to put a microchip in someone’s body? 

Conspiracy theories like these are common, and they are dividing more and more families. Children and parents are having a difficult time communicating because they have different understandings of basic facts. The problem is frustrating for everyone involved, but Caddie Alford, an assistant professor in the Department of English in the College of Humanities and Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University, has some advice. 

“We need to be generous in our approach to people who believe in conspiracy theories,” said Alford, Ph.D., who is writing a book on the power of belief. 

The subject is important to Alford, whose forthcoming book is Entitled Opinions: Reclaiming Doxa for the Digital Age. She explored the Greek word doxa, which means “opinion” or “belief,” and she argues that the Greeks’ understanding of the word is relevant to the conversation about social media.

For more information on this topic and Dr. Alford's book, please read the article in VCU News.