More than ten years after the event,
there remains a sizeable albeit dwindling band who,
for various reasons,
continue to defend the official 9/11 conspiracy theory of “nineteen Arabs with box cutters”.
When their beliefs are challenged, some respond with an amusing stream of ad hominems,
such as “you are some [sic] just some yokel who has clearly never left his village and is the British equivalent of a hill billy [sic]”,
“you sound like a [sic] inbred half wit”,
“tea leaf brain”,
“come out from under your tin foil hat”,
“your [sic] a f***ing retard”,
and “one day I will kill you”.
When directed to various information sources that refute the government account of 9/11,
the reality deniers will often not even bother to look at the information.
According to psychologists, it is because such people are fearful of information that challenges their world-view,
which was largely formed by the culture in which they grew up.
The new information would conflict with their faulty beliefs and lead to cognitive dissonance,
resulting in a fear of being ostracised,
of being alienated,
of being shunned,
of their lives being inconvenienced,
of having to change their lives,
of being confused,
of psychological deterioration,
and of feeling helpless and vulnerable.
Thus, in order to ‘protect’ people from fear and anxiety,
psychological defenses kick in such as denial and anger.
Denial prevents people from even looking at the evidence,
and anger induces them to attack the messenger.
The solution, apparently, is to “meet people where they’re at”.
Rather than immediately tell them that they are wrong,
ask them gentle questions and lead them into a dialogue.