" I had another friend try to convince me that the word "negro" really came from the Latin "necro" meaning dead, instead of the Spanish "negro" meaning black. That killed his credibility as far as I was concerned and I rarely had much to do with him after that."
To not have much to do with someone and stating that 'killed his credibility' as far as you were concerned because they were wrong about something being debated and your obsession with being right all the time is a pretty radical response.
I wonder if your MIL should have reacted the same way towards you when you were proved wrong instead of accepting your apology and getting on with her life. Do you forgive someone's wrongs as easily? I don't think so.
Perhaps someone being wrong about something isn't something you just obsess over trying to prove they are wrong and cutting them out of your life is an inappropriate and over-reactive response. It must really rip out your guts when someone else bests you.
things I find hard to believe is that I was once part of a loose aggregation who tended to believe conspiracy theories. It was called being a university student in the late 60's. Any number of bull**** stories were floated around by provocateurs. Don't know if anyone saw Paul Krassner's disgusting cover article of the Realist regarding the Kennedy assassination, but that was pretty vile, and also utterly unconvincing. I had another friend try to convince me that the word "negro" really came from the Latin "necro" meaning dead, instead of the Spanish "negro" meaning black. That killed his credibility as far as I was concerned and I rarely had much to do with him after that.
Skip forward many years, and I had an arch-conservative friend who listened to Michael Reagan on the radio as if he was the voice of God and repeated everything Mr R said, including the idea that Vince Foster was assassinated by the Clintons or someone on their behalf because "he knew too much". Yeah, right.
It's easy to make up stories and promulgate them. And with the First Amendment, it's hard to squelch those stories, or the National Enquirer would have been out of business decades ago.
Consequently when I hear something the first time, I put it in the "Sandbox" where it can do no harm to my personal Operating System, and wait for cooler heads and more considered information to arrive before I let it out to play with my nerve endings.
I told my Mother in Law that she must have been wrong when she reported the impact of the first jet on the twin towers, because it seemed impossible. But I also went to the Television to check, and of course had to apologize for disbelieving her.
Neither group of extremists is to be believed straight away. Everything should be held until further confirmation establishes the veracity of the thing being alleged. It used to be newspaper policy that for every scoop there had to be two confirmations from reliable sources. The News people around Dan Rather forgot that and cost him his job and CBS decades of credibility. Now I still think there are questions about W.'s ANG service, but I don't think we'll ever find what the truth really is, so as far as I'm concerned it can just moulder on the shelf with all the other puzzles, like the disappearance of Judge Crater..