It would be interesting to study the U.S. Army Air force's belief in Strategic Bombing around WW2 the same way a conspiracy theory is studied. I suspect it would be identical, with the U.S.A.A.F. only accepting data supporting their belief and rejecting everything that contradicted it.
The virtue of this would be that it places the root of the belief in the group. A Durheimian assessment would assign an arbitrary value to what was believed with the important thing being participation in the group’s core belief system.