Theories, for the most part, are a set of suppositions to explain how things work. Darwin’s views on evolution were suppositions based on limited observations. He termed it a theory because he did not have sufficient information to prove that in every case or at least in most cases what he supposed was, in fact, the case. Today the world abounds in theories that are being taught as fact. I’m not going to take on any one of these but suffice to say that some of these theories are accepted by only small groups of people, but using the power of the internet and a complicit media, these theories are being promulgated as fact. When the proponents of these theories are challenged on the facts supported their theory they, most times, attempt diversion by accusing the questioner of having an ulterior motive for not simply accepting the theory as fact. In many cases they fall back on ad hominem attacks accusing the questioner of being a racist, sexist, Nazi, homophobe or some such other dastardly personality fault. Such attacks should, on the part of intelligent observers, be sufficient to support a finding that the theory is indefensible in fact and exists only as an ephemeral idea around which an individual or group wishes a coalescence to form.
With the power of social media and mainstream 24/7 opinion channels on television and streaming on the internet, groups and individuals on the extreme fringe of society are able to become major players in the cultural and political arenas. They play on the emotions of people and we all know that emotions must be suppressed when assessing both cultural and political ideas.
I live in an area with a surfeit of scientists, current and retired, and you would think that scientists of all people would be skeptical of unproved theories but, in all honesty, I have never seen a group that allows emotion to sway them more than these people. When challenged to produce facts for their support of some of these theories they simply can’t. They’ll make a good effort of citing some limited observations and studies but when you point out that those studies and observations lack acceptance throughout the scientific community they begin to challenge your expertise in such matters.
One other thing that you’ll discover with dealing with fringe theories that are being promulgated is the hypocrisy of many of those who vocally support them. One good example of this hypocrisy is a vociferous advocate of Climate Change purchasing not one but two multi-million dollar beach properties when the Global Warming theory proposes sea levels will rise sufficiently in twelve years to inundate coastal areas and those mansions will be under water. If you look at what people do and not what they say you’ll discover a great deal of hypocrisy in our current society. When discussing theory ask for facts supporting not suppositions. And when it is proposed to teach theory insist it be taught as such and not fact.