In an an article called “Space Weather: Its Effect on Human Health,” Pittsburgh-area “conspiracy entrepreneur” Ben Davidson proposes that the sun somehow directly affects human behavior — causing spikes in things like “infant mortality, suicide, traffic accidents, [and] crime rates” (presumably similar to the way that the full moon creates werewolves). The article perfectly encapsulates the two sides of Davidson. On one hand, he sees himself as fair-minded, rational, scientific. On the other hand, he churns out content like “Space Weather,” which draws its inspiration from a discredited paper by an early Soviet-era scientist and poet named Alexander Tchijevsky.
These days, Tchijevsky is probably best known for claiming to correlate solar activity to things like cholera epidemics, social unrest, and the revolutions in Russia, Germany, and Austria. As the historian Michael Hagemeister points out, Tchijevsky’s big idea “shows obvious connections with astrology and the occult fascination with prophecy.” In other words, his work was as influenced by then-fashionable occult ideas as it was by the science of the day. And similarly, I’d have to guess that whatever it is that attracts people to occult ideas in the first place has also brought Ben Davidson and many others to inhabit the twilight world of conspiracy theory.
Among other things, the word “occult” means “hidden.” By claiming to report on the true nature of reality — by exposing the “truth” behind climate change and the upcoming solar cataclysm — Ben Davidson has done pretty well for himself. Hell, some day he might give Alex Jones a run for his money. You can read my profile of the guy on The Kernel.
While you’re at it, check out my article on the Flat Earth Movement. When it was published recently, the thing caused a great deal of excitement among people who deny the spherical nature of our planet, but regular (non-flat earth) people can enjoy the story as well.