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The Conspiracy Theory Handbook: Downloads and translations

Posted on 7 May 2020 by BaerbelW

CTHB-EN-ThumbConspiracy theories attempt to explain events as the secretive plots of powerful people. While conspiracy theories are not typically supported by evidence, this doesn’t stop them from blossoming. Conspiracy theories damage society in a number of ways. To help minimise these harmful effects, The Conspiracy Theory Handbook, by Stephan Lewandowsky and John Cook, explains why conspiracy theories are so popular, how to identify the traits of conspiratorial thinking, and what are effective response strategies.

The Handbook distills the most important research findings and expert advice on dealing with conspiracy theories. It also introduces the abbreviation CONSPIR which serves as a mnemonic to more easily remember these seven traits of conspiratorial thinking:

  • Contradictory
  • Overriding suspicion
  • Nefarious intent
  • Something must be wrong
  • Persecuted Victim
  • Immune to Evidence
  • Re-interpreting Randomness



The Conspiracy Theory Handbook has already been translated into the following languages:

to be determined

Note to other translators:

If you'd like to translate The Conspiracy Theory Handbook into another language or help with a translation currently in progress, please contact us by selecting "Enquiry about translations" from the contact form's dropdown menu. We'll then get in touch with additional information.

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Printable Version  |  Link to this page


Comments 1 to 25:

  1. Great! Many thanks for that. Will share widely.

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  2. BTW, I never call them "conspiracy theories". I call them conspiracy hypotheses or just what they are: conspiracy myths.

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  3. I took a quick look at this download. 

    I am amazed that a website that promotes the scientific approach should be so disparaging of people who seriously and for good reason, doubt the officlal US government conspiracy theory behind 9/11.

    If you are going to (correctly of course) require that information and data here are factual and peer reviewed, how can you promote a pamphlet that applies this pejorative label to those who have applied similar principles to the clearly contradictory, often scientifically impossible "official explanation" around 9/11?

    And don't starat me on the Kennedy assassination - and magic bullets!  

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  4. Richard , don't sweat the small stuff.

    The real threat to us, is our covert Lizard Overlords . . . 

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  5. Eclectic @4,

    I wouldn't be too quick to blame the unusual events which the world throws up as being the work of shape-shifting lizards because such creatures don't like folk talking about them.

    Regarding 9/11, Donald Trump evidently believes it was the work of people who "wouldn't have been here" if he had been president. This suggests the perpetrators were foreign and so it was not a domestic conspiracy.

    The other point to note is the vast number of 9/11 theories that have been created, and seem to appear systematically according to the BBC, likely by the hand of those who either were responsible for 9/11 or alternatively those who are engaged in a greater conspiracy and are happy to let the 9/11 conspiracies blossom as it draws the critical and foresnic analysis of conspiracy theorists away from them and their activities.

    So the evidence suggests there easily could be a deeper conspiracy at work making 9/11 look more than it actually was. Such ideas are in no way ridiculous and are derived directly from here (in the boxes on page 10).

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  6. They should be called Conspiracy Stories - A sub-set of Fantasy Stories.

    The people making them up would appreciate any naming that gives any degree of credibility to the Tales they want to tell.

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  7. Richard @3

    Have you checked who authored the Conspiracy Theory Handbook? I trust the judgement of the authors for rather obvious reasons.

    SirCharles @2

    For the German translation we did have a discussion of what to call them and settled on "Verschwörungsmythen". There is a blue box in the article about the handbook on our partnersite

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  8. MA Rodgers,

    As a Canadian I remain aware that years after the more complete understanding of the event was established many Americans still believe the initial Conspiracy Story that the 9/11 attackers got into the USA through Canada. That tale was told by many of the same people in the USA Administration who claimed that Saddam Hussein was the cause of the 9/11 attacks. And that same group of story tellers have been discovered to have been trying to figure out an excuse to Invade Iraq before 9/11 happened (and Canada is a target for Fanatasy Conspiracies made-up by the Right-wing likes in the USA because Canada is far more Socialist and accepting of the Diversity of ways of being Human than the Right-Wing like).

    I can provide links for all of the points I have made, but I believe they are now pretty common knowledge (and they would all be Internet Content - which a Conspiracy Fantasy believer could simply claim was Fake News - and Round and Round it could go).

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  9. Conspiracy theorists often point at big governmnet, the jews, the 'elite', the illuminati, the chinese, etc.) It looks like they want a scapegoat and it seems connected to racism and excessive paranoia about rulers and governments. Although I agree with MAR it might often start with the real culprits making up a story to spread. There might be a confluence of a variety of psychological factors in people who get carried away with conspiracy theories and not just one thing.

    I used to be an architect, and I have designed high rise towers. I can tell you for free the twin towers fell over because an aircraft full of jet fuel was deliberately flown into them, but the mechanism that caused the towers to collapse like this was not straightforward. I suspect conspiracy theorists find it all boring, and want a more exciting explanation.

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  10. nigelj @9,

    I should make plain. Firstly, in my opinion the real power of 'conspiracy' is a combination of 'coincidence' which is always available by the bucket-load and the human (probably more a male thing) pleasure in 'solving' mysteries. Thus a simple 'coincidence' can become over-guilded (like this one) and/or then 'solved' by crazy theorising.

    And secondly, to understand the true nature of my comment @5, do note where the link goes in the final paragraph @5 (a link I was required to insert - the shape-shifting lizards insisted I did).

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  11. MAR @10, you make an interesting and convincing point about coincidence. A good example might be this. Shortly after Princess Dianas tragic death in the tunnel a couple of mysterious black cars shout out at high speed raising suspicions about a hit job. Most likely all coincidence, yet obviously a question that needed investigating. I dont think they were ever tracked down. Then there was that letter she wrote, etc.

    This was a truly amazing set of coincidences enough to make even me suck in my breath, and they needed investigating, and criminal conspiracies to happen, however in the end the driver being drunk is a simple and compelling explanation enough for me. Occams Razor?

    And of course we must be on the lookout for those amongst us with nictating eyelid membranes :)

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  12. Nigelj @11 , sorry, but it is no use trying to identify our shape-shifting Lizard Overlords.

    They walk among us, and we can have no idea how many they are, for they are so convincing.  Just when you think you have spotted the blink of a nictitating eyelid membrane . . . they explain it away as being just their contact lenses.

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  13. I suppose it had to happen. A conspiracy theory movie on covid 19 circulating on youtube claiming its all a conspiracy by big pharma and the government to force people to use vaccines. The cheerleader for the moronic rubbish is Dr Mikovitz, apparently "once a practising medical researcher, spent five days in jail for allegedly stealing material from a lab and had her research on chronic fatigue discredited in 2011." she is also a prominent anti vaxer. Newspaper article on the movie here.

    Eclectic, you just have to look at the suspected lizard shape shifters sun bathing habits and thermostat settings and on kissing them check for a forked tongue.

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  14. Nigelj , you are well ahead of me ~ obviously you are at the Advanced Level for detection of Lizards.  I can only stand in awe of you, and your courage.  But I do hope you are postponing your "kissing technique" until after the Coronavirus Social Distancing regulations are revoked.  Or do you surreptitiously inject Them  with bleach, first?

    Nor had I heard about the Lizard Overlords' sun bathing habits.   Is it true that their skins will tan to a slight orange, after only minimal sun exposure?   It would explain something that I had been wondering about!   It would also explain all the "speaking with forked tongue", which has become ever more prominent in certain political circles.   Though older journalists will say that twas ever thus  for politicians . . . which might well indicate that the Overlords have been in charge for much longer than we imagined.

    By "thermostat settings", presumably you mean that the Lizards like hot conditions.   Conspiracy-wise , this would also explain why most politicians talk the talk . . . but are hardly lifting a finger to counteract Global Warming.   See, it all fits into place!

    More seriously : Conspiracy is always the last refuge of the climate scoundrel ** .

    ** Climate Scoundrel sounds better, IMO, than Climate Skeptic ~ but as a label, I rather doubt it is going to take off.

    Whenever you push a pseudo-skeptic into a corner, by relentlessly using logic & evidence . . . eventually the pseudo-skeptic won't admit that he is wrong, but will play his last card : Conspiracy.   It is all conspiracy ~ every climate scientist in the world has joined a conspiracy to fake all the data.  And why no whistleblowers among these millions of scientists? . . . okay, that just points to a Whistleblower Conspiracy as well.

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  15. Eclectic @14, ha ha very true, except I'm making the lizard stuff up as I go along,  although I vaguely recall reading about the theory a few years ago, is to by David Ickeman? Apparently the royal family are prime suspects.

    Hilarious isnt it. I find it the least interesting of conspiracy theories, because its so totally insane. Maybe it started as a joke.

    But by sunbathing I just meant to raise their body temperature. Curiously enough my garden has been invaded by small lizards recently...

    Yes the denialists final argument is its all lies, or all a conspiracy. Its all something, but whatever it is don't expect us to accept the science or do anything, and don't even think about taxing us, and giving the dividend back, or slightly taking away our freedoms, we would just die. It would be awful.

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  16. The Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episode on July 19, 2020 was about COVID conspiracy theories and it briefly featured the Conspiracy Theory Handbook at the 10:40 mark!

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  17. The Conspiracy Theory Handbook is now also available in French!

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  18. The Conspiracy Theory Handbook is now also available in Turkish, which marks the 10th available translation of this very helpful handbook!

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  19. In the meantime, The Conspiracy Theory Handbook has been translated into Czech and Croatian, so we are up to 12 translations (and more are in the works)!

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  20. The Conspiracy Theory Handbook is now also available in Polish as the 13th available translation.

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  21. The Conspiracy Theory Handbook is now also available in Swedish as the 14th translation!

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  22. On March 11, we added the Romanian translation of The Conspiracy Theory Handbook thanks to the work of Robert Coravu and Mihai Constantinescu. It is the 15th translation of this handbook!

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  23. On October 5, we added the Slovak translation of The Conspiracy Theory Handbooks thanks to the work of  the Science+ project of Free Press for Eastern Europe.

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  24. On April 13, 2023 the Albanian and Macedonian translations of the Conspiracy Theory Handbook were published, bringing the number of available translations up to 18!

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  25. On May 17, 2024 the Dutch translation of the Conspiracy Theory Handbook was published, bringing the number of available translations up to 19!

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