I really don’t get why the chemtrail theory persists. But I’m going to blame it on a mix of social media and celebrity endorsements. The latest of those endorsers is Walker, Texas Ranger himself, Chuck Norris. Norris joins other celebrities like Roseanne Barr, Billy Corgan, Kylie Jenner and the late Prince in looking up into the sky and trembling in fear of poison supposedly raining down upon them.
Now, I can’t speak as to why Norris expressed his belief in this unsubstantiated and endlessly debunked conspiracy theory in 2016, but I’m guessing he may be guilty of what a lot of similar minded people are — finding sources that confirm his bias instead of looking at it with a critical eye. By critical, I mean willing to accept results that do not fit hit preconceptions after facts are presented.
But, belief remains strong, with even lawmakers taking time to hear the believers out. This is what current Arizona GOP Senate hopeful Kelli Ward, who says she is not a believer, did in 2014 when she held a town hall on the subject. This has come back to bite her and may have greatly harmed her campaign to capture the GOP nomination.
“What the heck is a chemtrail?” you might ask.
Well, according to those who believe in such things, it’s usually a vapor trail left behind airplanes containing chemical agents which the government rains down upon the population for a variety of reasons. It’s almost always something nefarious like population control, weather control or even mind control.
There are many, many websites and Facebook groups that do nothing but propagate this conspiracy theory, often accusing those who speak up with a skeptical voice of being “COINTEL” or victims of MSM (mainstream media) brainwashing. All the sites keep coming up with ever-more elaborate explanations whenever holes are poked in this theory and all of them present misrepresentation and insinuation as fact.
Some scientifically-literate people have actually examined “chemtrails” and do you know what they found?
What people call a “chemtrail” is just a contrail or, in other words, water in the jet exhaust condensing to form a trail of clouds.
If you want a more complex example, think of a jet engine emitting out hot, humid air into higher levels of the atmosphere which is very cold and has low vapor pressure. That results in condensation. Basically, it’s water vapor coming out of the jet’s engine which quickly condenses into water droplets and then crystallizes into ice. These ice crystals form the clouds which form behind the engine.
Looking at it, the “complex” answer isn’t that complex.
But of course, that answer isn’t good enough for many who want to believe. If it were, then the countless conspiracy theory sites and pundits wouldn’t continue to do such great business.
Taking root in the sky
The chemtrail conspiracy theory started in the early 1990s when some people began believing that some contrails tend to linger and that they were in a grid pattern. With a little research, one finds that contrails do linger for varying lengths of times depending on the amount of moisture already in the air and that the “grid” pattern is due to the ever-increasing amount of flights criss-crossing in the sky since the 1980s. It’s a pretty simple answer.
Aside from the straightforward answers, one can also examine the two most cited reasons believers claim that the government is using chemtrails, controlling weather and population, and apply Occam’s Razor to them.
If the government were trying to control the weather, they’re doing a pretty bad job considering that we’ve had a secession of some of the top 10 warmest years on record in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Not to mention nature still hits us with things like blizzards, hurricanes and tornadoes.
If the intent was to cool it down, do you think that the government would waste billions over the last 2 1/2 decades on something that’s failed miserably? Same goes for trying to control the weather.
The population control theory is even weaker, considering that world population has grown by more than 2 billion in the last 26 years. Despite a lower birthrate in developed countries, mostly owed to the accessibility of contraceptives since the 1960s, population in the U.S. and developed world have continued to grow, mostly thanks to people living longer lives and immigration. And, if the chemtrails are poison, then why are life spans increasing almost (though America has seen consecutive years of decreases) every year?
As far as I’m concerned, there’s not much reason to go past logic into the scientific when it comes to the chemtrail theory. After all, if there were “secret elite globalists” behind the curtain, they’d be affected too, a situation akin to trying to stop a fire in your neighborhood by setting your house and then all your neighbors’ houses on fire.
Of course, for many who believe, neither this reasoning nor the contrail explanation is going to cut it. Instead of accepting a simple answers and facts, the believer rebuts with ever-growing complexity without considering that at some point, there would have to be hundreds of thousands of people, even millions, “in on it” and working against their own interests for their conspiracy theory to hold true.
The goal post is always moved further on a field made of straw men, so to speak.
Of course, some forego bothering with goal posts and just filibuster, which has become a popular method of resisting facts in conspiracy theory circles.
So next time a friend shares a post about chemtrails, keep in mind that there’s no real evidence or reasoning to hold it up. You may even try to bring this up with your friend, but if they’re sharing it, you may want to consider arguing with a rock instead.
If you are a believer, then I would hope the information provided would change your mind. Of course, most people don’t change their beliefs overnight. Instead, it’s more like a battle of attrition where a massive wall is chipped away a little at at time.