The Rough Waters of the Conspira Sea Cruise

Anna Merlan has an exceptionally good recap of her time aboard the Ruby Princess, which hosted “the first annual sea cruise for conspiracy theorists.” On the open waters, she came face-to-face with fanatical believers in everything from fairies to mind control; she stood her ground when conference leaders accused her of being a government plant; and she managed to see the humanity in this group of enthusiasts for the discredited and debunked.

One of Morton’s devotees was a gruff, friendly woman who emphatically denied me permission to use her name. I liked her very much. She told me that September 11 was an inside job, the Sandy Hook massacre was filmed on a movie set, and that the government is injecting something into the chicken sold at both Church’s and Popeye’s for mind-control purposes.

In turn, I told her, when she asked, that I thought some of the stuff we were hearing wasn’t necessarily true.

Conspiracy theories are fun, but debunking them is even more fun. As a tribute to Merlan’s comprehensive article, I’ve compiled some of my favorite take-downs of the various conspiracy theories she encountered on her Conspira Sea cruise.

  • Popular Mechanics dismantles 9/11 truthers’ arguments point-by-point.
  • Slate explains the safety of GMOs.
    • Bonus: Scientific American examines why people still oppose GMOs, despite overwhelming evidence that they are safe.
  • The Washington Post scoffs at the notion that HAARP is controlling the weather.
  • National Geographic and Time and NBC News prove that vaccines don’t cause autism.


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