According to the dictionary on my Mac, a theory is a supposition or a system of ideas intended to explain something.
Please note well the term supposition, as in, “This is what I suppose happens.”
When you introduce a theory to the world, regardless of what that theory is about, someone will believe it. Get that theory out there wide enough and long enough, and a lot of people will believe it. Just ask Charles Darwin, who published a book in 1859 called On the Origin of the Species.
Darwin’s theory, like all theories, makes a certain amount of sense. It seems logical. And when a theory like Darwin’s hangs around long enough, it actually becomes “fact” for a lot of people.
It is commonly believed that natural selection (survival of the fittest), along with mutations for even better survival (evolution) explain how mankind came into being.
All of that is a theory, and it is wrong. But it is still accepted.
Just a few days ago a tragedy occurred in Buffalo, New York. A young man who has struggled with mental illness planned the killing of Black people and carried out that plan. He murdered 10 and wounded 3 in his mission before surrendering to police.
It has been widely reported that he was deeply into what is called “replacement theory.”
We have Renaud Camus to thank for this particular conspiracy theory, which is just as wrong as Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
They also have this in common: people who do not think of them as theories, but as factual.
All it took for Camus to come up with his theory, he said, was for him to notice that in some very old villages in Southern France the population demographic had totally changed. And we all know that has never happened before.
I’m kidding of course. It has happened throughout history and will continue to happen as long as the world exists.
When Annika Sorenstam burst onto the scene by winning the U.S. Women’s Open in 1995 and then again in 1996, American players were concerned. Not just about the level of golf Annika played, but by the fact that she was from Sweden.
“This was an American tour,” said one player. She and others were worried about being replaced.
Today the American Tour (LPGA) has some outstanding American players, but it also has great players from Asia, Europe, and Mexico.
Replacement theory is just one of the conspiracy theories that is getting a lot of press today. Those who decry it (as well they should) blame it for all kinds of evil.
I haven’t read a word about Renaud Camus being evil for creating it, but I’ve read a lot about the white-supremacists and especially the troubled 18 year-old young man it helped influence to gun down people in Buffalo.
We all would have been better off without this flawed theory, but if it had not been Replacement Theory it would have been something else. After all, conspiracy theories abound.
Wikipedia has this: A conspiracy theory is an explanation for an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful groups, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable.
Why do people latch on to these theories when “other explanations are more probable”? Because they like this explanation. It fits the narrative of what they already believe.
As my paranoid friend says, “Just because I’m paranoid, that doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”
Critical Race Theory
Quoting Wikipedia again:
Critical race theory (CRT) is a cross-disciplinary intellectual and social movement of civil-rights scholars and activists who seek to examine the intersection of race, society, and law in the United States and to challenge mainstream American liberal approaches to racial justice.
Clearly that definition was written by someone who is a fan of CRT.
Compare it to the Wikipedia definition of replacement theory, written by “not a fan”:
The Great Replacement (French: Grand Remplacement), also known as the replacement theory is a white nationalist far-right conspiracy theory.
No one should be a fan of replacement theory. That definition is pretty accurate, though Renaud Camus is anything but far-right. And the definition of CRT misses the truth that it, too, is a conspiracy theory.
But “A hog in a silk waistcoat is still a hog,” and that definition of CRT is a beautiful silk waistcoat.
How does this happen, and where does it go?
Darwin looked at a small sample of life on a remote island, Camus looked at the population change in a few small French villages, and Karl Marx noticed that there were different “classes” of people based primarily on economic factors.
Critical race theorists argue that American social life, political structures, and economic systems are founded upon race, which (in their view) is a social construct. That theory is now being taught in many schools and is creating division everywhere it is spread. It was behind (theoretically) the destruction of millions of dollars of property following the death of George Floyd.
Darwin’s cousin, Francis Galton, read On the Origin of Species and reasoned that human society thwarts natural selection by allowing less desirable varieties to survive. Thus began a movement known as eugenics. That idea was embraced by the Nazis, and they used it to justify murdering millions of Jews.
At least some Great Replacement theorists have literally taken up arms and murdered their fellow citizens.
Not all theories lead to death and destruction, but all theories are suppositions, not facts. Be very careful when you embrace a theory, and always be looking for the more probable explanation.
Seek wisdom, love people, love God. Focus on the good, and always…
Do good. It’s in you.