So how can anyone rationally believe in any of them except as a means
to some social event or other?
based on or in accordance with reason or logic.
I think so. For example, one could start with faulty assumptions then rationalize one. Or, given the number of conspiracy theories, it's always possible one is true but not held as truth due to incomplete information.
Let's attempt an argument, just for consideration of conspiracy theory in general.
There are a large number of conspiracy theories.
Moreover, the public has access to imperfect information.
For example, we know of the existence of certain top secret and classified programs. Likewise, there is some uncertainty regarding a few historical claims.
Perhaps it is possible that, given the number of theories and existence of imperfect information, perfect information would shed greater light on an given one of the many conspiracy theories.
That sounds somewhat reasonable I hope.
Moreover, we know that some things we'd rather wish to be conspiracy theories actually aren't, like the CIA deposing of legitimate regimes throughout the developing world during the Cold War.
Also, we know that, in the absence of clear evidence, people will tend to believe what the want to believe. For that reason, unpopular opinion shouldn't be categorically ignored.
Wait! Maybe something that we don't know for sure the CIA did they actually did!
Then we get to the fun part. Certain truths taken as given, such as the legitimacy of our governments, when called into question, even in the slightest, have broad ramifications for interpretation of other information.
Maybe that's why they want Snowden!
Maybe that's why the Supreme Court rigged the 2000 Presidential election!
Maybe that's why the Federal Reserve is... I don't even know. Something.
I bet the cartels are all backed the Bush family!
They must be part of the Illuminati and the Knights Templar.
Which means the whole GOP back to Lincoln must be too.
He was probably a vampire hunter!
That explains how that movie got released! (Hope that wasn't too harsh)
Oh my gosh it's turtles all the way down!
I suppose that isn't an entirely unreasonable argument. I'm guess with enough research and enough bias you could fairly well satisfy the requirements for rationality of any one of the conspiracy theories, but I'd rather not lend any weight to them (in most cases even if they are true) so I'm not going to do that here.
The number of conspiracy like theories is exponential.
of or expressed by a mathematical exponent.
All numbers may be expressed exponentially. For example, n may be expressed as n^1.