Political extremists of both stripes can be susceptible to fantastical conspiracy theories. Some on the far Right claim President Obama used "covert hypnosis" to rally his campaign crowds, while their counterparts on the far Left are convinced 9/11 was planned by George W. Bush. To those, you can add another evil plot: Einstein's theory of relativity. According to Conservapedia, an online wiki aimed at conservative thinkers, the basis of modern physics is a liberal conspiracy. The theory is "heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world," write the site's authors. "Virtually no one who is taught and believes relativity continues to read the Bible," adds Conservapedia editor Andy Schlafly. What do pundits make of this claim? (Watch a report about Einstein's theory)
"Who knew? Does this mean gravity is a conspiracy to keep us down?"
Jonathan H. Adler, The Volokh Conspiracy
"I would have filed this under Signs of the Apocalypse, but we are way past that. This is more like, Signs that the Apocalypse happened a long time ago but we were all too busy watching American Idol to notice."
Joe Romm, Climate Progress
"I know I've personally found energy equals mass times the square of the speed of light to be a really effective tool in spreading my evil liberal views throughout the world."
Rachel Maddow, MSNBC
"Schlafly is actually a well-educated guy -- he holds degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law -- but obviously he's no Einstein."
Keegan Hamilton, The Riverfront Times
"Sometimes, I want to bang my head against the wall. It is this sort of stupidity which leads countless people from the faith when they wake up to it..."
Polycarp, The Church of Jesus Christ
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Your literary playlist: A guide to the music of Haruki Murakami
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- In defense of Obama's golfing
- A trick for better lunch sandwiches
- 11 scientific studies that will restore your faith in humanity
- The government is getting into the fact-checking business. Be very, very afraid.
- Russia's new air force is a mystery
Subscribe to the Week