by Steven Harkins
Conspiracy theories exist in ‘the realm of myth’, where ‘imaginations run wild, fears trump facts, and evidence is ignored’ [i]. This is according to a website created by the US State Department to debunk a range of outlandish conspiracy theories.
Among the theories criticized on the website are conspiracies regarding the assassination of JFK, the moon landings, and the September 11th attacks [ii]. Alongside these well-known sources of wild speculation is the subject of depleted uranium (DU). The website states:
Uranium evokes very powerful fears. It is associated with atomic weapons, mass annihilation, radiation sickness, cancer and birth defects. Depleted uranium evokes these same fears, despite the fact that it has been depleted of much of its radioactivity. Fear-based associations can be more powerful than logic and facts. Compare how you feel about tungsten to how you feel about depleted uranium. Both are heavy metals, but “depleted uranium” might sound scarier to you [iii].
So the US State Department argue that when it comes to conspiracy theories ‘evidence is ignored’ and that it is ‘fear-based associations’ and not ‘logic and facts’ that have caused people to make a connection between birth defects, cancer and depleted uranium.