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A friend of mine is convinced that chemtrails are a primary cause of her son's asthma. This is a conspiracy theory that asserts governments are intentionally spraying chemicals out of airplanes for various unclear but nefarious reasons; see Wikipedia for more details.

Now I'm generally a live-and-let-live kind of guy, but her belief has reached the point where she won't take her son outside if chemtrail "monitoring" sites (which I won't dignify with a link) are indicating high chemtrail activity. I'm aware that this is going to be an uphill battle, but how do I get her to realize that chemtrails don't exist, and she's better off focusing on things that are actually known to trigger asthma?

(And oh, before somebody tells me to call CPS, she does fortunately also believe in modern medicine and uses inhalers etc for management.)

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    This is sort of something you can't really do much about -- it isn't your child. Imagine a similar question foundation "my friend listens to a psychic for advice in reading her son", or even "my friend won't let her son eat sugar" ... The mistaken belief isn't endangering her son if she's got inhalers etc, so it's a personal belief that she uses for making parenting decisions (such as not going to the park today). Since that's the case, I'm not sure how the question is on topic. – Acire Nov 5 '16 at 20:56
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    How certain are you that chemtrails aren't worsening her son's asthma? I would imagine you're very certain. However, it's not any more likely that she can convince you than that you can convince her. – anongoodnurse Nov 5 '16 at 22:54
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    Are there any scholarly articles about this that you could show her? – aparente001 Nov 6 '16 at 0:26
  • @Erica The thing is burdening a child's life based on ego is not very good. So I get where the OP is coming from. – Bradman175 Nov 7 '16 at 4:03
  • Yeah, but it's still, ultimately, somebody else's parenting choice. – Acire Nov 7 '16 at 6:33
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Sadly you are unlikely to be able to change anyone's belief system. People believe all kinds of things. That's why they are called beliefs and not facts. Facts can and are proven. Beliefs can't and aren't. It's fortunate that she is managing the child's asthma in an appropriate manner. But as to changing her belief system as to the cause, that's not going to happen and it's fortunate that her belief isn't an immediate detriment to the health of the child. Whether it has an impact on the psychological health of the child remains to be seen, but I think that unlikely. My mother believed numerous things that I won't dignify by outlining here, but still ended up with a logical child.

  • I wouldn't be asking here if this was about Islam vs Judaism or something, which are articles of faith. However, even if you were to assume that governments had the motive to do this, actually implementing a mass chemical spraying program over populated areas and keeping it hidden is physically impossible. – lambshaanxy Nov 6 '16 at 1:26
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    @jpatokal Not all beliefs are related to religion, but they are beliefs and defy attempts to prove them. For instance, I believe that a day without learning is a day wasted. You will not be able to change my mind. I remember a time in my neighborhood when I was growing up when the local government regularly sprayed to kill mosquitoes (or so we were told). No, there was no hiding that they were spraying, but to determine what they were spraying would have required sampling and testing what was actually in the tank. So I think you need to define "hidden" narrowly to insist on impossible. – Elder Geek Nov 6 '16 at 15:06

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