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Letters: Why conspiracy theories don't go away

November 28, 2013

Re "It's all in your head," Opinion, Nov. 26

In addition to the three reasons Michael Shermer gives for why conspiracy theories persist, there is a fourth: Conspiracy theories make people feel superior. The theorists know something to be true that everybody else doesn't.

How else does one explain the idea that Shakespeare did not write the plays attributed to him? Conspiracy theorists have come up with dozens of different authors of the plays that sounder minds attribute to Shakespeare, including Francis Bacon, Christopher Marlowe, the 6th Earl of Darby, the 17th Earl of Oxford and even Queen Elizabeth I.

The anybody-but-Shakespeare clan ignores overwhelming evidence, even computer studies showing that none of the leading candidates could have written the plays.

And then, of course, there is the matter of who wrote the poems attributed to Homer.

Richard S. Harmetz

Los Angeles

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