Jan-Willem van Prooijen Answers.

In Suspicion makes us human, an article by Jan-Willem van Prooijen, he gives us a very good understanding of conspiracy theories saying that it is “the suspicion that a group of actors have joined together in secret agreement to plan evil acts” (van Prooijen 6). This is somewhat similar to Anna Merlan, the author of Why we are addicted to conspiracy theories, definition in which that conspiracy theories are used by a small group of people to create a negative change in how the society views things.

There have been theories think that these theories go all the way back over 12,000 years. They say that it is an evolutionary trait from when we were hunters and gatherers. Van Prooijen continues by asking if that other tribe is peaceful or are they planning on attacking your tribe of 10-20 people. Many tribes would go for the intention that the other tribe is planning an attack so they can protect themselves.

In paragraph 20 van Prooijen says “evolutionary mismatch”. He says this meaning that as humans evolved the environment around them, we are-selves have not evolved mentally. An example he gives is “people’s appetite for sweetness” (van Prooijen 21) continuing with that there was a presence for sweet potatoes and berries while now we are still into sugary drinks and candy which causes obesity and dental treatments. This can be linked to conspiracy theories as we have not evolved to trust everyone such as medics, scientists and pharmaceutical companies.

One thought on “Jan-Willem van Prooijen Answers.

  1. Hi Danny,
    I like how you attempted to make these answers work together like a mini-essay. I think you managed to do so quite well.

    The second paragraph – where you’re working to lay out van Prooijen’s basic argument could be more fleshed out with examples, explanation and some direct quotations.

    The third paragraph makes a good start at answering the last question in my prompt but doesn’t go far enough. Once readers get passed the “sweets” analogy they need a fuller explanation of how conspiracy thinking is an evolutionary mismatch today and (as the last question prompts) why conspiracy thinking can be so dangerous in our modern global society.

    So overall, more explanation. Go beyond showing that you’ve read the material and work to make it more accessible to readers.

    I look forward to seeing your work on the Merlan article and this weeks’ work on the Pizzagate conspiracy theory!

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