By Tom Ireland, managing editor at the Society of Biology and freelance journalist
When I was teenager I loved a good conspiracy theory. I was obsessed with the X-Files and watched dodgy American documentaries about Roswell and Watergate and Kennedy’s assassination. I even had the famous ‘I want to believe’ poster on my wall.
Fast forward to 2014 and conspiracies theories are not quite as cool. They’ve become inflated and angry, and many are focused on discrediting people working on pressing global issues like climate change, vaccination, or feeding the world’s population.
All sorts of people are now implicated in these theories: researchers, journalists, feminists, drug developers… This year even video games critics and Ebola aid workers were inexplicably drawn into absurd-sounding global conspiracies. Thanks to modern communications, people in these industries can be discredited, harassed and even driven out of their jobs and homes by organised units of web-users in tinfoil hats. Read more