Irrational Conspiracy Theories Trump Simple Explanations Every Time

Identical Mystery

There is a principle used in logic and problem-solving called Ockham’s (or Occam’s) Razor, after William of Ockham. The simplified version is that whenever multiple hypotheses compete to explain the same phenomenon, the one that makes fewer assumptions should be selected.

So here we have two essentially identical images of Dawn Hochsprung, the principal who was killed at the Sandy Hook massacre. According to the meme, Dawn’s photograph appeared in a news story about the Boston marathon bombing, where she was identified as a victim. Well it must be a conspiracy, right? She cannot possibly have died in both events, unless there was a massive government conspiracy afoot!

Let’s back the crazy train up a bit, okay? A huge government conspiracy with unclear motives is not the only possible explanation, and it surely isn’t the most rational one. How could we explain this image without assuming that two of the greatest American tragedies in recent memory were somehow perpetrated by our own government?

Well, there was a team in the Boston marathon who were running in memory of the victims of the Sandy Hook shootings. Perhaps Dawn’s picture was shown in connection with that angle of the Boston story. That explanation makes sense, and it doesn’t rely on paranoid fantasies.

Maybe this is an out-and-out hoax. There have been plenty. Remember when the world ended in December of 2012? Exactly.

In order to accept the conspiracy theory, you have to make a lot of assumptions:

(1) That Dawn Hochsprung was actually not killed in the Sandy Hook rampage, even though hundreds of people witnessed her funeral.
(2) That the government has a motive for killing dozens of its own citizens.
(3) That a news organization would be so forgetful about a news story they spent weeks covering, that nobody noticed that one of the people involved in the Boston bombing was identical to the Principal of Sandy Hook Elementary.
(4) That an administration that successfully had a girl’s school trip itenerary removed from dozens of websites would be unable to prevent such a vital leak.
(5) That you’re smarter than everybody else.

And so it boils down to that. Conspirary theorists want to have the inside scoop, even if they have to abandon logic and reason to believe it. I’m sure there are plenty of real conspiracies afoot, but come on. There’s a certain standard of evidence necessary to prove our government’s (or anybody else’s) involvement in a bona fide conspiracy, and this falls far, far short.


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