“There is a predator race that takes a reptilian form,” well-known conspiracy theorist David Icke once stated in a recent interview, “They’re feeding off humanity. They turn humanity into a slave race.”[1] According to him, reptilian aliens originate from the constellation Draco, and they can change their DNA at will to disguise themselves as human. Through crossbreeding with humans, conspiracy theorists argue, a human-reptilian hybrid race has been created.[2] They also believe that the reptilian extraterrestrials control our politics, media, banking, military, and more. The concept of a reptilian elite is also linked to the Illuminati and the Rothschild family, believers argue. Although there are some variations on the details of the conspiracy theory, the unifying message is the human race’s lack of agency. The belief that humans are ultimately being controlled by outside forces is at the heart of this conspiracy. This may sound outlandish to some, but according to the Public Policy Polling in 2013, over 12 million Americans believe this conspiracy theory to be true.[3]

This conspiracy theory extends beyond extraterrestrial activity to include Satanism and human sacrifice. “[The reptiles] demand human sacrifice- that’s where Satanism comes in,” Icke argues, “they feed off human energy, particularly the energy of children.”[4] Human sacrifice, cannibalism, and pedophilia have all been linked to the conspiracy, and Icke has cited multiple cases of tragic- but unrelated- cases of sexual abuse as “proof” of the reptilian presence. There is also an emphasis on blood and bloodlines, specifically “hybrid genetics” that theorists argue can be found in the blood of royal families throughout history. Several varying accounts of reptilian extraterrestrials also mention multiple species of reptilians.

David Icke is the biggest advocate for the conspiracy of the reptilian elite. A self-described “English writer, public speaker, and former media personality”, as a young man Icke began as a journalist in a local paper before moving into sports television coverage of soccer and snooker for the BBC.[5] Icke became very politically active as a member of the Green party, and in his free time he became a speaker for the party. The Sunday Times reports that Icke “was on the radical side” in his opposition of clear political leadership.[6] His time at the BBC came to an end when he refused to pay his island poll tax. Prior to his time as a commentator, Icke had dreams of becoming a professional footballer; however, his arthritis prevented him from pursuing these dreams. This led him to meet Betty Shine, a faith healer; Icke’s friendship with Shine seems to have led to his fascination with the mystical and the unexplained.[7] He was also a co-chair of the Green party and was its national spokesperson for three years. In March 1990, David Icke experienced what he describes as the first moment of enlightenment during a shopping trip.[8] During this experience, he heard a voice speaking to him in his mind.

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Figure 1. A still from the interview of David Icke (left) and Terry Wogan (right) in which Icke stated he was the “Son of God”.

One year later, in March of 1991, Icke resigned as national spokesman from the party.[9] In an unforgettable interview with Sir Terry Wogan on April 29, 1991, the conspiracy theorist stated that he was the “Son of God” and predicted a series of catastrophes (as seen in Figure 1).[10] He also said that it was his duty to warn others of these events and stop the influence of Lucifer. In a recent interview with Vice, Icke bluntly stated, “I look at my life and I don’t see it as a life anymore, I see it as a job.” This apparent compulsion to tell the world about his many conspiracies has resulted in over 20 books. Although Icke often argues this his claims are supported by science, he does not have a scientific or medical background. Icke has a website with a store stocking his numerous books, as well as DVDs, t-shirts, water filters, and organic superfood powders. He travels and gives talks on a tour, and tickets are also available through his website. This does not necessarily mean that Icke’s views are influenced by his ability to profit from them, but it is important to recognize the potential for bias.

David Icke is the most public and outspoken believer in the reptilian elite. Other notable individuals go by pseudonyms or have little personal information available. An individual who goes by the pseudonym Branton is known among believers of this conspiracy. Branton believes that there will be a depopulation before “the planet will be officially turned over to alien invaders.”[11] He or she also believes in a “joint Reptilian-Bavarian Illuminati’s New World Order” based on widespread mind-control.[12] Although little is known about Branton beyond his or her belief in the reptilian elite, Icke has included quotations from Branton in his work. Icke also appears to have drawn upon a man named Maurice Doreal, originally Claude Doggins, who founded a group called the Brotherhood of the White Temple in 1903.[13] In several of his religious writings, Doreal describes a “Serpent Race” which appears to take a half-human half-serpent form. Doreal also linked this apparent race of serpents to mind-control and the Antichrist.[14] In Icke’s book Remember Who You Are, he links serpents and the reptilian elite, which may be indicative of Doreal’s influence.

David Icke has been so prolific that it is difficult to identify every possible logical fallacy or falsehood. The association between the role of serpents in various religious mythology (?) by Icke and others links unrelated religious concepts to the conspiracy. In the past, Icke has gained support from the extreme right due to his reference to the falsified anti-Semitic documents known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.[15] He has quoted the protocols multiple times, although he denies that they support racist ideology. Instead, he argues that the Protocols of Zion is evidence of a reptilian plot. This fails to consider the false nature of the protocols themselves. Many of the claims related to the reptilian conspiracy oppose widely accepted scientific fact, including Icke’s belief that the moon is a hollowed space station.[16]

omg-david-icke
Figure 2. This is an image taken from David Icke’s website, seemingly depicting a reptilian Rothschild conspiracy in the U.S. 

Proponents of this conspiracy theory commonly present largely unrelated scientific fact as proof of a larger conspiracy. Icke’s inclusion of safety tips for handling mercury from the reputable UK Health Protection Agency are framed within a discussion of fluorescent bulbs as a conspiracy to mass-poison humans. Other things regarded as true- for example, the coordination between government agencies and organizations both within the U.S. and abroad- is seen as proof of the infiltration of the reptilian elite. This is an example of the “false cause” logical fallacy, in which the presumption of a relationship between two things- real or otherwise- is seen as proof of causality.[17] The relationship between world leaders is real but not indicative of a global conspiracy. The potential of technology for environmental and health concerns is also real, but it does not prove the existence of a plan to cull the human race. Another logical fallacy is consistently present in discussions of the reptilian conspiracy—the “burden of proof” fallacy.[18] This occurs when instead the burden falls on others to disprove the argument, rather than a burden of proof for the individual or group making the argument. The claim that the alleged reptilian species can switch their DNA from reptilian to human allows proponents of this belief to avoid scientifically proving their claim; it cannot be proven based on the internal logic of claim itself, leaving others to prove that this claim is false.

51m3nrxud5l-_sx353_bo1204203200_
Figure 3. The cover of Icke’s book Children of the Matrix, depicting an illustration of a half-reptile half-human “hybrid”.

The emphasis on children to exacerbate fear is common within propaganda, and it is evident in the focus on human sacrifice and abuse. Psychologists Anthony Pratkanis and Elliot Aronson argue that fear can be a powerful motivator, and even illegitimate fears can be invented by propagandists.[19]  The fear of powerful outside force controlling our society is crucial to this theory. Another common propaganda tactic used by conspiracy theorists is the testimonial, or the citation of unqualified individuals as “proof”.[20] Many sources in books such as Remember Who You Are or Children of the Matrix, seen in figure 3, are firsthand accounts that from individuals who lack scientific credibility. There are often references to unsubstantiated eyewitness accounts of human sacrifices or other alleged reptilian acts, and these accounts cannot be proven.

There are a number of questions to ask yourself when encountering conspiracy theories such as this. For example, what is the scale of the conspiracy? In the case of the reptilian elite theory, it would involve hundreds of world leaders and public figures over thousands of years. Would it be possible to carry out this conspiracy without being exposed? This is unlikely; if there was such a conspiracy, there would be more available proof. It is also important to question the credibility of the conspiracy’s source. Does it seem likely that former sports commentator and politician David Icke is the “son of God” tasked with predicting global catastrophes? Have his past predictions been successful? Once again, this seems unlikely, and Icke has made a variety of predictions with mixed results in the past. A careful examination of theorists’ claims can reveal their logical mistakes. The 12 million Americans who believe in the reptilian conspiracy could potentially benefit from taking a critical approach to their argument. When encountered with a conspiracy theory, it is important to critically examine the logic of the theory to determine its credibility.

[1] “David Icke and the Lizard Apocalypse.” Online video clip. Vice. Web. 5 Nov. 2016.

[2] Barkun, Michael. A Culture Of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions In Contemporary America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2013. Web. 7 Nov. 2016. Michael Barkun is a professor of political science at Syracuse University and a former consultant to the FBI who researches political and religious extremism.

[3] “Conspiracy Theory Poll Results”. Public Policy Polling. Retrieved 11/5/2016. This 2013 shows the results of conspiracy theory popularity among Americans. It is important to note that although 12 million Americans sya they believe in the lizard conspiracy, this remains one of the lowest figures on the poll.

[4] Vice video clip.

[5] “Home Page.” David Icke Official Website. Web. 06 Nov. 2016. This is the official website of conspiracy theorist David Icke. The website contains links to articles written for the site and an online store with products relating to Icke’s conspiracy theory.

[6] “On a turquoise trail to spiritual enlightenment – David Icke.” The Sunday Times (London, England) 31 Mar. 1991, Features. NewsBank. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Vice video clip.

[9] “Icke quits as Greens’ spokesman – David Icke.” The Times (London, England) 20 Mar. 1991, Home news. NewsBank. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

[10] Vice video clip.

[11] Barkun’s “A Culture of Conspiracy”, p. 142.

[12] Ibid, p. 123.

[13] Encyclopedia citation.

[14] Barkun’s “A Culture of Conspiracy”, p. 120.

[15] Pukas, Anna. “Neo-Nazis rally to `son of Godhead’ – David Icke.” The Sunday Times (London, England) 9 Jul. 1995, Home news: 3/7. NewsBank. Web. 5 Nov. 2016

 

[16] Icke, David. Remember Who You Are: Remember ‘where’ You Are and Where You ‘come’ From– Remember–. Ryde, Isle of Wight UK: David Icke, 2012. Print. This is one of David Icke’s later books in which he describes in-depth his belief in an extensive reptilian conspiracy.

[17] Richardson, Jesse, Andy Smith, and Sam Meaden. “Thou Shalt Not Commit Logical Fallacies.” Your Logical Fallacy Is. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Nov. 2016. This website helps readers identify various logical flaws in arguments.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Pratkanis, Anthony R., and Elliot Aronson. Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of Persuasion. New York: W.H. Freeman, 1992. Print. Anthony Pratkanis is a professor of psychology and Elliot Aronson is an American psychologist known for his work on cognitive dissonance.

[20] Delwiche, Aaron. “Testimonial.” Propaganda Critic. N.p., 2011. Web. 03 Nov. 2016.

 

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