Conspiracy and pseudoscience websites are some of the most highly engaged outlets on the Internet. NaturalNews.com, Spirit Science and Metaphysics, the infamous Food Babe, Alex Jones’ InfoWars – all shameless purveyors of misinformation buoyed by a loyal and cartoonishly gullible following.
For some reason, the website Collective Evolution gets under my skin the most, probably because they seem to be an equal opportunity venue for every piece of quackery that’s leaked onto the darkest corners of the Internet. 9-11 trutherism, anti-vaccine pseudoscience, fluoride scaremongering, bogus cancer cures – they dabble in it all.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is not on the fringe anymore. Chances are most people reading this know someone who shares these sorts of links in their news feeds; which begs this question: Are the owners of these websites willfully misleading their followers to generate ad revenue, or do they truly believe in the massively debunked ideas they disseminate?
Probably a little bit of both. Playing fast and loose with the facts is inherent within the quackery culture, which makes this video post from April on Collective Evolution’s “Lifestyle” page incredibly interesting:
The video is from YouTube parody/hoaxsters the Tumba Ping Pong Show. Using skillful video editing and some slight of hand, they’re known for creating elaborate tricks using ping pong balls – all with a subtle undercurrent of comedy. But CE shared the video (without crediting the creators) with the intro, “Amazing Skills: Practice, dedication, and hard work”.
Really? Either CE thinks the video is real, or they have an incredible lack of faith in the “collective” IQ of the their audience.
Either way, the CE trolls came out in force for this one: