By Michael D Gordin writing for aeon
Almost nobody holds to just one strange, unconventional, unorthodox, contrary to conventional wisdom idea. There is a whole gamut of examples to choose from, ranging from the idea that Lee Harvey Oswald did not act alone in the assassination of the US president John F Kennedy – to the fake apollo moon landing - to a belief in the loch ness monster.
People who subscribe to one fringe theory are more likely to subscribe to more than one.
from the article,
Fundamentally, we need to recognise that fringe theories aren’t just theories. Like science, the fringes come with complex, interconnected social substructures. The theories serve as sources of identity and as social magnets. They provide meaning to how adherents think about the world, much as the mainstream scientific consensus does. The people interested in fringe theories may recognise that they are heterodox, but they also think that they are, in an important sense, correct or likely to become so. (You probably think the same about the unconventional ideas you happen to espouse.) These individuals, quite understandably, are interested in discussing their ideas with like-minded folks. The gathering of the like-minded, indeed, is how consensuses are built. That’s how we built ours.