This is probably an article that would better suit my own personal blog, as it isn’t an opinion piece, expert analysis, and certainly wouldn’t be considered special operations or intel. It’s simply a rant about society and the plague of conspiracy theories we’re faced with daily, coming from a soldier who has simply had enough.

First of all, visiting a website where SOF and IC guys are authors, you might be tempted to ask about the validity of one conspiracy or another you may have found somewhere in the vast, lawless expanse of the Internet. I advise you against it. If these guys tell you anything, they will have to kill you.

I am amazed by the number of people who sincerely believe in conspiracies: the use of HAARP (High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) as a weapon, chemtrails, Moon-landing denial, Area 51, the list goes on. Does it mean that all those people are idiots or uneducated? The answer is not that simple, even though I, too, am very often tempted to make such assumptions of character when asked ridiculous questions relating to conspiracies.

The thing is, the human brain is wired to promote such thinking. Kind of ironically, thanks to this specific trait, we have managed to adapt to our environment throughout the evolution of our species, and eventually create a technologically advanced civilization that has helped us escape the very mechanism that led us here: the survival of the fittest. That does not mean we have lost all connection with our primitive past, however.

One of the most amazing and essential functions of the human brain is pattern recognition. The change of seasons or the color of clouds before a rainstorm, for instance. In ancient times, these things were of vital importance in order to determine the right time to start farming, or if it was a good idea to hide from a forthcoming storm. This mechanism is the main drive behind the rise in popularity of conspiracy theories. We are now living in an age of information, when one is subjected to a bombardment of news from every part of the globe in a matter of minutes, every day.

Our brain is struggling to find order or meaning in all that chaos, and that is why we see some people connecting the most inconceivable dots in the form of conspiracy theories. One fine example of that is the notion of chemtrails. Supposedly there are planes that spray substances into the air for mind control, weather control, earthquake control with the help of HAARP, etc. Despite the fact that these can be disproven with high-school-level physics, the theory is pervasive throughout a global audience that connects dots between physical phenomena, personal health, and world domination in one crazy package.

Now, you may ask yourself what any of this has to do with SOFREP. Despite the myth of soldiers being mindless drones, we get a healthy dose of skepticism injected into our brains. (For all those conspiracy theorists out there, no, we do not actually get anything injected into our brains.) That is because we need to recognize how the enemy is thinking and see through all their smoke and mirrors. What follows is a small toolkit of skepticism, useful for checking any idea or media announcement for credibility. Said toolkit was “created” by Carl Sagan, a great scientist of our time, and is called “The Fine Art of Baloney Detection.”

By adopting the kit, we can all shield ourselves against guile and deliberate manipulation. Of course, this toolkit is merely a guideline, as his original purpose was to weed out pseudoscience claims, but it can be used in a wide variety of matters where critical thinking is needed. He suggested the following: