Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 

Author Topic: Conspiracy Theory Debate  (Read 2541 times)

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7995
  • Liveware Problem
    • View Profile
Conspiracy Theory Debate
« on: 10 April, 2020, 07:24:20 PM »



Here you go Sharkey. Here’s an academic pamphlet on the definition of conspiracy theories and theorists.

https://www.climatechangecommunication.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/ConspiracyTheoryHandbook.pdf

I read that - at least, I did if it's the one you posted earlier. I thought it contained a lot of good advice, advice which should be applied to every source. It did, however, imply that anyone who questions "reputable" sources is somehow bound to believe in every conspiracy there is. Still, a useful little book, thanks, SM.

The term 'conspiracy theorist' is, to me, a pejorative term used to describe anyone who doesn't believe an official account either partially or in its entirety. The paragons of example would be David 'Lizard Man' Ike or Alex 'They'll Kill Us All!' Jones. Whilst the information people like this often present is based in reported and even verifiable facts, the conclusions (or theories) they come to based upon them seem, at best, unlikely. I view this end of the spectrum in the same way I viewed Erich von Däniken when I was growing up - interesting, even thought-provoking, but ultimately probably wrong. Like von Däniken, these people turn their efforts into a business - and good luck to them, I say.

At the other end of the spectrum we have people like James 'The Link's In The Show-Notes' Corbett and Jon 'No More Fake News' Rappoport.  The information people like this often present is also based in reported and even verifiable facts, but the conclusions (or theories) they come to based upon them seem, at worst, incomplete - which some freely admit. I view this end of the spectrum in the same way I viewed newspapers when I was growing up - interesting, even thought-provoking, but ultimately probably on the right track. Like old-fashioned newspapers, these people seem to have a general thirst for the truth, whether it agrees with the official account or not - and good luck to them, I say. Most rely on donations to fund their work, so are ultimately businesses too.

Then there are the chattering masses in between - of which I am one - who latch onto 'TRUTH!' with unshakeable faith, or try to make sense of it all, or just go with the flow, or deal with the madness any way they can.

It seems unfair, to me, to lump all these disparate voices and perspectives together under a single, dismissive umbrella. And, technically, a conspiracy theory is just what the words themselves say - a theory to explain an ostensible flaw in an account, which may or may not involve conspirators, a theory meant to be explored and tested, a theory which provides evidence and not, as some believe, proof. Police, insurance companies, and courts investigate conspiracies all the time, working on their theories until they provide credible evidence. Yet we would not call these people "conspiracy theorists," even though it's part of their job.

Then we have the mainstream media and governments. The information people like this often present is also based in reported and even verifiable facts, but the conclusions (or theories) they come to based upon them seem, at worst, political - bending facts to fit agendas. I view this field in the same way I viewed comics when I was growing up - interesting, even thought-provoking, but ultimately probably just entertainment. Like John Wagner, these people seem to have a general thirst for projecting TRUTH! through a lens, bending it to agree with the official agenda - and good luck to them, many say.

This is why I say question everything.

It doesn't mean dismiss everything or disbelieve everything you don't like - that's what religion is for. It doesn't mean attack the opposing view or win the argument - that's what sport is for.

It simply means what it says, question everything - because nothing is entirely as it seems, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either in error or lying.

Question everything I've written, too, of course. I may be wrong about lots of things, I'm just as human and flawed as everyone else. Question Ike and Jones, question Corbett and Rappoport, question the msm, question me, question each other but, ultimately, question yourself as well.


TL;DR

A wise man once said to me, "Listen to everyone. Take what you need and discard the rest."

"Why?" I asked.

He shrugged and said, "Find out."

1. Wall of text doesn't mean you're correct in your assertions.

2. You were given a PDF that relatively cleanly defines the difference between a "conspiracy theory" and a "theory", but spent most of your post redefining "conspiracy theory" to just mean a "theory". Why?

3. "Question everything" is too broad and sweeping. It's insane. We don't have time. We have to rely on (peer-reviewed) experts.

4. "Nothing is entirely as it seems" is too broad and sweeping. It's insane. The sky is blue.

5. Shouting "fire" in a crowded theater when there's no fire is potentially harmful. (This is a reference to the fact that you are willing to throw entirely unsubstantiated theories around as if they have equal weight with actual evidence. And then you say "What did I do?" as if you sincerely don't understand the difference. Why can't you tell the difference?)


Summary: that PDF you were given explains the difference between conspiratorial thinking and conventional thinking, and I don't understand why you remain apparently confused as to the difference between the two.
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

The Enigmatic Dr X

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 5689
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #1 on: 11 April, 2020, 10:45:02 AM »
Ain't that the truth?
Lock up your spoons!

Rately

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 877
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #2 on: 11 April, 2020, 10:51:56 AM »
I am toying with the idea of sharing that PDF with my cousin, because I am literally at the stage where I feel like creating a new Whatsapp group for myself and my friends, and excluding him as I am at my wits end at the videos and articles he continues to share - Q, Wuhan Lab, Clintons murdering over 70 people.

I'm not angry at him, but I despair of a world where people target someone like my cousin, who hasn't a bad bone in his body but seemingly now being groomed, and I can't think of a better word, to have negative views on the world and its people based on their race, beliefs etc.


sintec

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 616
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #3 on: 11 April, 2020, 11:43:48 AM »
I think grooming is precisiely the right word Rately.  As an anecdotal example I watched this happen with an old contact from my DJing days.  Over the course of a few months he seemed to go from relatively normal human being to being radically anti-Islam, anti-EU and pro-Trump and Nigel Farage.  It was genuinely quite scary to watch.  He's since unfriended me as I think he got sick of me challenging his bullshit "news" posts about muslim refugees from weird new sources that usually seemed to end up linked back to Russia or the Ukraine if one did some digging. I think Gamergate was his entry point to the whole mess but by the end he was parotting Alex Jones and Breitbart and sharing articles about eugenics. Presumably he's still shouting them out to his echo chamber of true believers. It was a really scary view into just how dark that little world of paranoia and conspiracy gets.

Rately

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 877
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #4 on: 11 April, 2020, 11:47:09 AM »
I think grooming is precisiely the right word Rately.  As an anecdotal example I watched this happen with an old contact from my DJing days.  Over the course of a few months he seemed to go from relatively normal human being to being radically anti-Islam, anti-EU and pro-Trump and Nigel Farage.  It was genuinely quite scary to watch.  He's since unfriended me as I think he got sick of me challenging his bullshit "news" posts about muslim refugees from weird new sources that usually seemed to end up linked back to Russia or the Ukraine if one did some digging. I think Gamergate was his entry point to the whole mess but by the end he was parotting Alex Jones and Breitbart and sharing articles about eugenics. Presumably he's still shouting them out to his echo chamber of true believers. It was a really scary view into just how dark that little world of paranoia and conspiracy gets.

It is horrendous to think that people fall down that rabbit hole. The saddest thing, that no matter how well reasoned or researched your rebuttal, it is just brushed aside as "fake news."

We have literally all just asked my cousin to stop sharing the memes, links etc. In the world, such as it is, I haven't the patience for conspiracy bullshit.



sheridan

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 5973
    • View Profile
    • Wilde Wood
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #7 on: 11 April, 2020, 12:53:23 PM »
Tip for forum discussion stay within the two three layers of this pyramid (and be careful on the third level).  Stay well away from anything below that.



As for the "good luck to them" - as mentioned, it's difficult to discern a point from the wall of text, but it appears to end up justifying those who spread lies and misinformation about (for instance) vaccination that leads to deaths, but it's fine if the perpetrator can turn a profit on the deaths?

anti vaccine propaganda is profitable
anti-vaccination kills

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7995
  • Liveware Problem
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #8 on: 22 February, 2021, 10:17:24 PM »
Well, this thread's not being used for anything else, and (at least from my perspective) it's relevant to what is being discussed, so I'm going to copy Shark and I's current blether here...



..we’re just adhering to previously stated rules about not spreading disinformation on this particular thread.


Which I get. Really.

However, where's the line between disinformation and information? Is it Government Approved Facts or nothing? Who decides?

I am unlikely to come here and post a link to some lunatic who claims invisible ghost elves are using Venusian mindstones to create death rays out of cellphone masts, but if I do post a link to a scientist who has some interesting observations about Mars, that post is treated much as if I'd posted the first. They're both filed under Anti-Something and ignored, entirely because of that label. (Metaphors. Staying in-line is quite a challenge for me...)

Maybe the entire forum's walking a fine line, I don't know. I hope not - because if it was, that would be terrifying.

I recently passed the milestone of becoming a CALL-ME-KENNETH!, which means only that I've been around here for a while, become what in the Old Dial Up Modem Days was called a reg, and folk hereabouts know me. Yeah, I'm a bit unique (just like everyone else), but I hope I've demonstrated by now - through words and deeds - that I do not mean anyone any harm. Precisely the opposite. Because being a CALL-ME-KENNETH! means also that I care about this site and the people on it. I don't do FaceTube or any of that cobblers (which is just like broadcast television, which I don't do either), just this place. You only have my word for this, but I haven't been coming here all these years just to piss people off. But I'm not going to pander to them, either.

If I post a link it's because I think it's important. What people do with that is up to them. I may give my view but that's it - I expect people to make up their own minds.

Just remember one thing about me when you're reading my posts and you won't go far wrong - I will never tell you to think, believe, say, or do anything you don't want to.

If the forum is walking a thin line then let me know - I don't want to stumble into being the cause of its demise - and I'll shut up. Or we'll do PMs or e-mails or smoke signals or something.

If it's not - let the forumites decide. Some kind of democratic vote, maybe? Two buttons on each post, "yay!" and "boo!"? "Adulate!" and "Exterminate!"? "Discuss" and "Hush"?

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

..we’re just adhering to previously stated rules about not spreading disinformation on this particular thread.
Which I get. Really.

1. I don't know if any of your posts on this thread have actually been deleted.

2. If you want to post a link but it gets deleted from this thread, why not start a new thread - you could call it "My links that got deleted from the Covid-19 thread by an admin". Or "Links I think will get deleted from the Covid-19 thread by an admin".

3. You said "I will never tell you to think, believe, say, or do anything you don't want to" but you do have a tendency to redefine words to suit your current argument, so I have to call bullshit on that. Plus you've effectively started a sub-thread on this thread, several times now, about why you should be able to dominate this thread with pseudo-scientific drivel links. So ... you actually often give off the whiff of someone who really does want to control how other people think.

4. What I don't really comprehend is why you keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Oh, and I've never got any kind of a handle on what you actually, really, genuinely think about Covid - except you give hints that you've not entirely bought into its existence or its effects or its source. You say you don't want to piss people off, but then why undermine the validity of commonly held scientific knowledge - especially in such a febrile topic where people could be genuinely hurt (both emotionally and actually) by disinformation?

5. "Government Approved Facts" - of all the places on the Interwebs, you can't accuse the locals here of being government hand-jobbers. Catch thyself on.

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Funt:

1: I'll reply in PM.

2: I guess there's the "Truth...?" thread but I feel, and think, posting there would be just as bad as your suggestion. It simply shifts the problem instead of addressing it.

3a: The definition of terms is used in many arguments. It's not a way of imposing a definition by one upon another but of choosing a mutually acceptable definition for the purposes of a specific discussion so that participants don't end up arguing past one another. I make no apologies for requesting or suggesting a definition or context.

3b: I've gone back through my last ten posted links on this thread (going back to October) and found 2 links to the BBC, one each to the Times of Israel, simplepsychology.com, the World Economic Forum, an archive.org copy of a deleted JHU web page, the National Bureau of Economic Research, Wikipedia and one mammoth collection of a couple of dozen official scientific mask studies. I do not see how any of these are "pseudo-scientific drivel links." Nor, I think, is ten links in five months particularly dominating (though it could be argued, at a push, that the mammoth mask studies links post drives the average up considerably if taken individually).

4a: What result do you imagine I'm after? It's an ongoing conversation, a fluid situation with no last word. I think we've disagreed about this kind of thing before - the differences between arguing to advance knowledge and understanding and arguing to win, and all the other reasons. I have no result in mind, no goals beyond (admittedly selfishly) using counter-arguments to test my own beliefs. I would like nothing better than to believe that lockdowns and masks and all that will save civilization, it would be so comforting. I wish you could convince me.

4b: I'll reply in PM.

5: In the absence of any specific guidelines as to how misinformation, disinformation, and information are to be assessed, the idea of a list of Government Approved Facts is as valid as Donald Trump's Book of Wisdom or Tony Blair's Book of Honest to God Truths as the hypothetical basis upon which decisions are made. (I should stop trying to use sarcasm - it never works.)
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Funt Solo

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7995
  • Liveware Problem
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #9 on: 22 February, 2021, 10:30:38 PM »
So, Shark, from my perspective, some things are just true: there's an unprecedented global pandemic that almost every society around the world is combating using some combination of social distancing, lock-down measures, limited movement and personal hygiene (usually including hand-washing and mask-wearing).

The scientific consensus (and that of most governments) is that the alternatives are worse scenarios than the current methods of combating the virus, even given that there is widespread economic fallout from said methods.

General aim of society: save lives, minimize economic impact, maintain health care systems.

---

Now, there is a thread on a message board discussing this. And this all coincides with a rise in conspiracy theories driven by convincing but false messaging - it's happening on a wide scale. Our admins have asked specifically that theories that downplay the reality (of the scientific consensus) should not be posted on that thread.

---

You feel this is depriving you of a platform. It is. But you might ask yourself why. You might notice that the admins never really police this place - certainly not in the form of the fabled Molch-R. So, it's unusual. Does Molch-R want to come in here and admin this place? My guess is no. Has he got better things to do with his time? Another rhetorical.

So - why would he give up his precious time like that? It's not like he wanders around here casually with a ban-hammer laying all asunder on a whim, is it?

He must have been backed into a corner, right? He must have felt like it was really important that a stand was taken on just this one issue. And - well - there's been no uproar of voices calling FOUL!, so we've got to assume that pretty much every single person who uses this board, who read that thread, agrees with him. Except for people who want to downplay the scientific consensus. Like...you! Right?

So - that brings me to my only question, which is why you want to downplay the scientific consensus? Are you an expert in any field that bears relevance to the subject of pandemic diseases? No, neither am I. We have that in common. We don't know how to solve the pandemic. Our job is to follow the advice of the experts, who do.

Lastly: you may not like this. There are things about life I don't like. But - I think you're going to have to live with it. I have to live with things in life I don't like as well. Life is tough sometimes.
« Last Edit: 22 February, 2021, 10:32:38 PM by Funt Solo »
++ map ++ thrills ++ coma ++

Professor Bear

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7667
  • "Why, Black Dynamite? WHY?"
    • View Profile
    • Your Friends and Neighbors
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #10 on: 23 February, 2021, 01:30:58 AM »
Tip for forum discussion stay within the two three layers of this pyramid (and be careful on the third level).  Stay well away from anything below that.


The problem with the bottom rung of the pyramid is that "yeah but Nigel Farage is a twat" is actually a solid rebuttal to any argument he might make.

CalHab

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 992
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #11 on: 23 February, 2021, 10:46:59 AM »
Re: Farage. Not listening to anyone you think is an utter twat is a good rule of thumb to have in life, but not a point you should use in a forum discussion.

JayzusB.Christ

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 8353
  • Squealing meat.
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #12 on: 23 February, 2021, 12:14:05 PM »
Re: Farage. Not listening to anyone you think is an utter twat is a good rule of thumb to have in life, but not a point you should use in a forum discussion.

I'm pretty sure the Prof was joking.  But it's a fair point - I got a week's ban from the forum for calling Farage a twat.  Except I used another word meaning twat. 
“Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest”

CalHab

  • Member
  • Prog Stacking Droid
  • ***
  • Posts: 992
    • View Profile
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #13 on: 23 February, 2021, 12:36:19 PM »
Yes, fair point. My sense of humour detector is obviously faulty today.

Your epithet for Farage was accurate, and I'd happily add a few more.

Professor Bear

  • Member
  • Bionic Fingers
  • *****
  • Posts: 7667
  • "Why, Black Dynamite? WHY?"
    • View Profile
    • Your Friends and Neighbors
Re: Conspiracy Theory Debate
« Reply #14 on: 23 February, 2021, 01:16:18 PM »
Indisputable rocket-genius that I am, I was of course using the flippant parlance of the plebeian gutter to make a point about trusted sources and their place in a media landscape that has aggressively devalued objective truth.
Or to put it in the filthy worker's tongue of this forum, we've just had five years of "objective" media showing their whole ass, and a lot of people keen to "get back to normal" seem determined to pretend that never happened while simultaneously lamenting a rise in conspiracy theories and far right indoctrination.  An uptick in the public suddenly believing more daffy shit than usual while also feeling like they can't trust even monolithic organisations like the BBC are not-unrelated things.  Without objective truth, people will find their own.

I am thus interested in how Sharky evaluates the veracity of the things he reads online, and what sources/platforms he finds trustworthy and/or untrustworthy (and why).