On April 17 and 18, Peter Jarvio, or "The Moon Guy," stood outside Popp Martin Student Union, giving a presentation on the moon landing being faked. He created a web of conspiracy and intrigue that spirals further from fact and more into fiction. The root cause of conspiracy theories lies in how easy it is to dismiss detractors, distrust institutions and be stubborn when internalizing a belief.

The first reason conspiracy theories arise is because they can give an easy answer to a question that does not have an obvious answer. For example, the Moon Guy saying the moon landings were fake news is easier to accept than understanding the rocket propulsion formula Δ v = uln(mi/m).  

The idea of a flat earth is appealing. "If the water is flat, that means the boats aren't upside down. They aren't sideways because it's flat. The Kangaroos aren't upside down because the earth is flat," said Jarvio. This theory supports the everyday observations of a normal person rather than viewing things from a grander perspective.

Accepting these ideas is a lot easier, as one does not need to look deeper into themselves and how the world operates to push it onto other organizations. A flaw that arises is how a group can continue faking these events without glaringly obvious signals that there is something else afoot. 

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Figure holding a phone with various beliefs emerging from their head

"I'm old enough that I was there when we went to the moon, and I can tell you it was real alright," said David Ogden, a passerby at Jarvio's presentation. 

"They are assuming there is this big conspiracy that needs to have immense competence in those all those who are in the ruling class," said Ogden. "That's what I was laughing at the most, these people seem to view the government as incapable or lazy and that they don't know what they are doing, but these same people can seemingly do all of this."

Beliefs that are held in high regard by someone is often internalized, making an attack on the theory an attack on themselves. Therefore, these theories begin to spiral into a larger web of intrigue, acting almost like a path further into the spiral of suspicion. 

None of these theories would arise if there was a firm trust in government. This mistrust in institutions of all kinds is at an all-time high, which has allowed for conspiracies to spread more efficiently around the internet. The idea of a government or a news outlet lying to its people even once opens up the possibility that everything could be a lie. 

While this attitude is seemingly harmless, an Ohio State professor of psychology published a paper about the "Gateway Theory." The theory states that when a person believes in one conspiracy theory, they are likely to believe in many other conspiracy theories, making the lines between a fun idea and a dangerous ideal blur heavily.

As long as information continues to circulate, these sorts of theories will arise. The internet has served as a catalyst for this flow of information, allowing for these theories to reach more people. That is the biggest con of the conspiracies; once they start spreading, they do not stop, no matter what.