You are standing on a street corner, waiting for a light to change, when a stranger approaches you. He has a tinfoil hat on his head. He offers a tinfoil hat to you and says, “You need to put this on.”
“Why do I need to do that?” You ask.
“You need to block out the alien mind-control rays. It’s the only way to be safe.”
You say, “I don’t believe there are any aliens. There’s no evidence they exist.”
He says, “Of course there’s no evidence; they use their mind-controlled minions to eliminate any evidence. The only way to be safe is to wear a tinfoil hat.”
You say, “I’m not aware of any alien influence.”
He says, “Their control is subtle. The mind-control itself keeps you from realizing you’re being controlled. You’ll never know the difference unless you put on the tinfoil hat.”
You say, “I haven’t noticed anyone behaving like they’re controlled by aliens… except maybe you.”
He says, “You just don’t recognize the alien mind-control, but surely you know about all the crimes, murders, and suicides in the world. That’s all the result of alien mind-control. If you don’t put on the tinfoil hat, you could be next. There’s no telling when they might decide to have you kill yourself or someone else.”
You say, “Things like that have happened for as long as people have existed; it’s just one of the bad sides of human nature. There’s no evidence that it’s the influence of aliens.”
He says, “The aliens have been around for at least as long as we have, and like I said, they erase all evidence of their existence.”
You say, “If these aliens want to control everyone, but a tinfoil hat can block them, why do they let you walk around distributing tinfoil hats? Wouldn’t they use their mind-control powers to force some of us to stop you? By taking away your tinfoil hat, for instance?”
He says, “I don’t know why they let me do this. They’re aliens: their motives make no sense to us. But for that very reason, you need to wear the tinfoil hat. There’s no telling what these inscrutable aliens might decide to make you do.”
You say, “Sorry, I don’t want to wear a tinfoil hat, it looks dumb.”
He says, “Of course you think it looks dumb; that’s their mind-control at work. But can you really afford to keep walking around without a tinfoil hat? What if I’m right? You might walk off a cliff or run over your best friend tomorrow if you don’t.”
Looking around, you can see that there are actually quite a few people around wearing tinfoil hats, so you agree to wear one. You notice absolutely nothing different when you are wearing the hat, except that people who aren’t wearing them think you look silly, and people who are wearing them congratulate you for wearing yours. While wearing your tinfoil hat, you do a little research, and you can’t seem to find any evidence that people wearing tinfoil hats are responsible for fewer crimes or have fewer accidents than people who don’t wear tinfoil hats.
In your research, you also discover another group of people who think you need protection from the alien mind-control rays. However, they say that wearing a tinfoil hat won’t help at all; you actually need to be wearing an aluminum foil hat. In fact, they say wearing a tinfoil hat will amplify the alien mind-control rays, making you more vulnerable to their influence. According to aluminum-foil-hat-wearers, the tinfoil-hat-wearers have been fooled by the aliens or even collaborated with them.
Not long after that, you discover the copper-wire-basket wearers and the lead-lined-baseball-cap wearers. They also want to protect themselves from alien mind-control rays, and they each say that their method is the only real method of stopping the rays. They also say that the other groups are influenced by the aliens to trick you. None of them can offer evidence for their claims, saying that the aliens make it impossible to provide any.
So what do you want on your head?