1. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I'm a debunker. I like finding and exposing bunk. I do it because I enjoy doing it, and because I think it can do some good in terms of helping people not being scared of things that don't exist, and in terms of helping people focus on real issues.

    As a debunker, quite often I debunk claims that some "official story" is wrong. For example, the "official story" of the long lasting white lines in the sky is that they are "just contrails". There's a conspiracy theory that they are actually "chemtrails". I've extensively debunked most of the claims of evidence behind this theory.

    As a result, I often get the accusation that I'm a "supporter" of the official story, and that I "trust the government", and that I think "everything is fine", and "there's nothing to see here".

    This could not be further from the truth.

    I don't trust "the government" (and here we are talking about the US government). I most certainly do not trust career politicians. I think a significant quantity of the people in congress are essentially corrupt - working in large part for their own self interests. I think there's a "revolving door" where former politicians go to work in lobbying, or in the industries that they once were responsible for regulating. I think corporations have a huge influence over the formation of legislation.

    I most certainly do not think "everything is all right". I think there are major problems both in this country, and in the world at large. I think American foreign policy is overly interventionist, and this has led to significant problems with anti-american sentiment in places like Pakistan that could be a huge issue in the near future, and has contributed to events like 9/11 in the past.

    I think the financial system is over extended, under regulated, and twisted and distorted into a pure money-making scheme that does not reflect any kind of economic reality.

    I think the war on drugs has resulted in an unconscionably large prison population. I think that is very, very wrong that hundreds of thousands of young people are in jail for essentially victimless crimes. Often they get longer sentences than people who actually killed someone. I think the fact that the prison industry effectively lobbies for longer sentences is utterly disgusting.

    I think the rich are getting richer far too fast. I think that wealth inequality is creating deep division in the country, and the race for wealth is a generally corrupting influence all round.

    I think Guantanamo should have been closed a long time ago. Clearly there are men there who were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fact that remained detained just because it's politically uncomfortable to release them is really unacceptable.

    I think the US has used torture, and likely continues to use it, and this is both morally and legally wrong.

    I think that people in government lie. I think they lied about the evidence for WMDs in Iraq in order to create a pretext for war. I think thousands of people died because of these lies.

    I think the Obama administration's targeted assassination of people without trial, specially via drone/ missile attack with collateral killings, is a bad thing.

    I think campaign finance reform is at the root of many of these issues. Ultimately legislation is required to fix them, but the political process is broken and corrupt.

    I don't trust the government. I don't think everything is fine. And I've not met a debunker who does.

    I invite other debunkers, skeptics, etc, to describe their degree of trust in government, and the degree to which they think everything is fine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2013
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  2. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    And other telling aspect of this is the politics of debunkers. Many debunkers identify as Libertarian, which is the antithesis of trusting the government. When I took a survey of the political compass of metabunk posters, there was no identifiable difference between "debunkers" and "conspiracy theorists" (labels for convenience only).

    https://www.metabunk.org/threads/de...-the-political-compass.2039/page-2#post-56140

    [​IMG]

    There was more variety within the debunker group than there was difference between debunkers and CTs.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
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  3. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    I have always had a strong skepticism toward politicians.

    Incentives matter...and for most politicians, their driving incentive is to keep their job. That skews their actions away from purely governing and into survival mode which can quickly devolve into highly problematic activities and outcomes.

    That being said- "the government" is more than just elected officials...There are millions of people in the "gov't" and I know for a fact that many are trustworthy, hardworking and simply trying to do their job to the best of their ability.

    I do not trust politicians but I do not automatically distrust the "government" simply because it is the government.

    That being said I agree with Mick's points of "not fine".
     
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  4. SR1419

    SR1419 Senior Member

    Funny- I just took the survey again this morning and ended up in the green...exactly where I am in the purple above but on the other side of the line.

    Guess it depends on your mood when you take it :)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  5. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Indeed, just because I don't trust Ted Cruz or Gregory Meeks does not mean I automatically distrust everything associated with government. There are a lot of people employed by government who simply do their job, like anyone else. There are good honest people, and for the vast majority of people there's no incentive to be untrustworthy.
     
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  6. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

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  7. Dan Wilson

    Dan Wilson Active Member

    I don't always trust government or even famous scientists for that matter. For example, it was rash political action and misjudged (albeit pressured) decisions by some established scientists (like Jonas Salk) that led to the 1976 flu vaccine fiasco. That whole situation jump-started a mountain of bunk surrounding vaccines that persists to this day, which largely could have been avoided with different legislation and better communication in the scientific community. Real interesting story, that one is. But yea, it's not always black or white. Plenty of good successful stories are floating around too.
     
  8. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

    Its not our government its our so called leaders that I dont trust .On Both Sides "Absolute power corrupts Absolutely"
     
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  9. Joe

    Joe Senior Member

    Explain your distrust for Ted Cruz ? Has he lied and told you you can keep your doctor and have affordable Healthcare . My plan is double and higher deductible . Simply Unaffordable . How many have we let go from Gitmo only to find them killing Americans ? I think you trust them as long as its your party in power ?
     
  10. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Joe, this really isn't about which politicians are more trustworthy than other politician, that's an entirely separate debate. It's about the false accusation that I (and debunkers like me) trust the government and think everything is fine.

    Quite clearly I don't automatically trust people in power, and I don't think everything is fine.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
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  11. dunbar

    dunbar Active Member

    Mick, would you say that the national security state is a bit overgrown and continuing to grow ever larger at an alarming rate? Would you say that a deep and thorough audit of the military-industrial complex(MIC) is desperately needed? That current oversight is insufficient and that large portions of this iron triangle need to be dismantled? Would you say that "any unelected, unaccountable self-reinforcing power structure, whether intentional or accidental, formal or informal" is necessarily detrimental to democracy?

    Would you say that the recent trend in media consolidation by megacorps with deep ties to the MIC is a threat to democracy and that this military-industrial-media-complex functions largely as a 'mighty worlitzer' propaganda organ to further the agenda and protect the vested interests of elite establishment?


     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  12. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    How on earth would you conduct a "deep and thorough audit" of the military-industial complex? Against what standard? And who could do it???

    And why ask someone else if they think it is necessary without stating your own position?? If you think it is necessary then why not say so and say why?
     
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  13. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I'd say there's an element of truth in all of that. Less so on the last one. I'm not sure if Comcast is really part of the MIC.
     
  14. dunbar

    dunbar Active Member

    Is this somehow inconceivable to you? Is what I'm suggesting in some way physically impossible?

    I think the standard would be normative legitimacy.

    A publicly elected independent commission comprised of qualified individuals who have never held a public office and have no ties, financial or otherwise, to MIC. - no patronage -
    no cronyism

    Obviously I would be in the affirmative on all of the above. I asked Mick because Mick started this thread to debunk the notion that debunkers think that everything is all right with the world. I asked Mick these questions in order to get a better sense of how far from all right he actually thinks things are.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2013
  15. Alhazred The Sane

    Alhazred The Sane Senior Member

    I am definitely not Libertarian, which strikes me as a special kind of naive lunacy. Point for point, I agree with Mick's original post. Or rather, that could have been written by me about me. I would have added something about corporate media and how it has been shaped to a purpose other than informing.
     
  16. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    In my experience when people start accusing me of being a government/academic shill it generally means I've done a pretty good job of disproving their point, but rather than admit they are wrong they resort to personal attacks. I don't trust or distrust the government. There are always going to be aspects I disagree with and there are always going to be policies I find disagreeable but I don't think the goal of government is to make peoples lives miserable. It does happen occasionally, but that is usually and unintended side effect rather than the primary impetus. My problems tend to be with the empire builders inside the bureaucracy. They frequently seem themselves as more important than they are and end up abusing the governments power. Is every thing alright? No. But then there has never been a time when everything was alright. There is a difference between "everything is not alright" and "they are out to get me/us". One is admission that the world isn't perfect and improvements can be made. The other is a sign of insecurity that elevates the believers importance in the world either as the object of the conspiracy or as an observer that is clever enough to see what others miss. Most conspiracy theories seem to ignore the massive number of people that would have to be actively involved in, indifferent to, and in favor of the conspiracy to make things happen.
     
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  17. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Yes, and when I say "I don't trust the government", that does not mean "I don't automatically assume everything the government says is a lie". It means I recognize there is the possibility of corruption everywhere, and one should always watch out for it. There are very clear examples of existing corruption in government - but that does not mean everyone is equally corrupt.

    I don't automatically distrust, but I sure don't automatically trust. I check.
     
  18. Alhazred The Sane

    Alhazred The Sane Senior Member

    I trust that Bernie Sanders is an honest man. And I live in dread of that being proved to be a lie.
     
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  19. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I have similar thoughts about Elizabeth Warren.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Warren

    People can fail though. I used to think John Edwards was okay. Trust, but verify. While I might pick one politician over another (as we are generally forced to), I'm not entirely going to trust any of them.
     
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  20. Alhazred The Sane

    Alhazred The Sane Senior Member

    I'm hopeful for Liz, but Bernie has a track record of speaking truth in the Senate, and is the only one I can think of that regularly brings up the unfair tax system that allows the multinationals to not only get away with not paying their fair share, but get subsidies as well.

    But yeah, Warren looks like the real deal. I hope she sticks to her ideals.
     
  21. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2013
  22. MikeC

    MikeC Senior Member

    Unless yuo can show how it could be done then yes, it is a physical impossibility.

    Who gets to define what that is?

    Do such people exist?? As I understand it anyone who is a "qualified individual" has passed through the mic education system.

    And so you begged the question, used pejorative language and loaded terms to determine this?

    No I don't think that's what you were after at all. I don't know what you WERE really after - but I am certain it wasn't an honest attempt to elicit someone else's opinion!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 9, 2013
  23. Clock

    Clock Active Member

    co-sign.
     
  24. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    It depends. Precautions would have to be taken to ensure the contents of black projects weren't exposed. While event like the NSA may be scandalous and make people clamor for full disclosure a lot of the work that goes into black projects is classified because its exposure could eliminate whatever tactical advantage the information and technology being kept secret provides.
     
  25. moderateGOP

    moderateGOP Active Member

    There has to be different kinds of debunkers. I am a Republican Authoritarian type. I suggest you check out this article. Very good observations here about the nature of internet communities and how most lean libertarian in nature. http://dbzer0.com/blog/why-are-there-so-many-right-libertarians-online/

    To be frank a lot of what you just described in your first OP are libertarian or liberal talking points. You called me a troll for pointing out that there is a green lobby and questioning your stance on Global Warming. None of which you mentioned is a serious political problem in your OP. Yes there are Global Warming doomsdayer wackos out there who have no idea what they are talking about!!!! Science shouldn't be politicized. In any way. Though, there lies the problem. You cannot separate the two. Science and politics have always gone hand in hand. Though in the early days the Church pulled the strings. Not allowing people to research without official permission from the church. A lot of the great minds of 1700s and 1600s were banned from the church entirely once they were found out to be doing secret research! We are still having debates about God in the pledge and what is considered "science" in schools. I'm not saying that the government is pulling the strings like some Cts believe. But it's always the projects that get the most money that seem to get the most recognition, even though the next guy might have the "real answers". Though of course, "real answers" is usually a CT buzzword. That still doesn't mean science is any more or less corrupt than any other industry. People like to blame politics, but in a way everything is all interconnected. In a way, it's the only way the world can operate! If your hoping for some type of vast system change, it's not going to happen in this reality. Best stick to science fiction and the alternate reality of the libertarians for that one!

    Just because a lot of debunkers that hang around here are libertarians. Doesn't mean ALL debunkers are libertarians. I despise the libertarians moreso than the progressive liberals. And I am a Republican! You don't know how much flack I get for that.

    As for my stance on Government trust. I agree with them for the most part. I would like it if politicians were a little more blunt, a little more cooperative, and a little smaller. I think that smart regulation is a good thing. But then again, "smart" seems to be an opinion in politics. I also believe that the Government can be run much more efficiently, and needs to tackle fraud and waste. These are the most important factors in operating a successful business. Why can't the government be run like that? Though, there are a lot of crooks in politics. That's not changing anytime soon!

    In my view the general field of politics raises important issues for the wrong reasons or at the wrong time. This always happens in response to a huge national disaster or a national story. Politics is way too emotional to ever be rational and I think that's what bothers the vast majority of libertarians. At least the ones who think they are being the rational ones. Though, I'm not sure what it will take for politicians to change. I think it needs to embrace technology and get into the 21st century. Though that's hard to do when you have half of my party fearing "big brother" computer type systems and some who don't even know how to operate a computer...

    In posts and online forums, if I am discussing a topic like this I always try to come up with my OWN ideas. Not talking points or phrases that I've heard of from Fox News or Think Progress (both of which I read and listen to). How many Republicans do you know blame the church for hindering scientific progress? How many liberals you know admit that there is a powerful green lobby? How many libertarians would embrace a technological overhaul of government? Fat Chance!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
  26. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    They are just issues that I personally consider to be a problem. I list them to illustrate I don't think everything is alright.

    People have different opinions about a lot of things. I would not expect everyone to agree with my personal priorities. The only point I'm trying to make here is that I don't blindly trust the PTB.
     
  27. moderateGOP

    moderateGOP Active Member

    I like to stay away from CT buzz words like the powers that be and the MIC and most talking points. Just to remain objective.
     
  28. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    And just use GOP buzz words like "powerful green lobby" :)
     
  29. moderateGOP

    moderateGOP Active Member

    well I can honestly say I did a better job at it than the owner of this forum. I never said I was completely objective. That's impossible. You are weighing my one phrase out of your possible twenty
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  30. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    A better job of what? Not telling people what you really think?

    I value honesty over some arbitrary standard of linguistic objectivity. I see a lot of very real problems in the world, and I listed some of them above. They are all quite complicated, and people might differ in their opinions as to just how significant they are as problems, or even if they are problems at all. That's fine.

    The point is I don't trust the government, or corporations, or rich people. And I don't think everything is fine.
     
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  31. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    Very interesting Thread . . . my take on this is it depends on one's definition of a conspiracy . . . if one considers organized crime a conspiracy in contrast to graduates of Yale hiring other like graduates then the perspective changes . . . is corruption highly organized with a centralized authority or relatively random with opportunities to take personal advantage with a wink to other schemers??? Most debunkers would probably align themselves with the latter . . . I find myself wondering if there is not more structure and intent to the process . . . In my opinion, random opportunities to implement philosophical, economic or political outcomes by followers or agents is a conspiracy . . . they are the things which often result in revolutions . . .

    In other words, I am more likely to suspect a conspiracy exists when important events occur than to expect there is simply a random event where people take advantage . . .

    Debunkers require evidence to accept the possibility a conspiracy exists . . . I accept that conspiracies are by nature and by design devoid of easily discovered evidence. I thereby require evidence to assure me a conspiracy does not exist . . . while debunkers feel this is turning logic upside down I have found throughout my life experience logic often is inadequate to explain its mysteries . . .
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  32. Mick West

    Mick West Administrator Staff Member

    I think it's reasonable to suspect that some conspiracies exist. The problem is looking at specifics. How do you know which conspiracy theories to believe? Why pick something like chemtrails? If there's no evidence for a particular theory, then why go with that theory?
     
  33. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    The choice of which conspiracies to believe in is based on my understanding of human nature and its history, tendencies, failures, etc. I do not endorse the existence of chemtrails . . . though I do think the stratospheric injection of for example sulfur compounds is plausible . . . and do understand how people without a thorough investigation into the issues surrounding chemtrails may fall into suspecting they could exist and I understand many in the conspiracy community accept them as real without question . . . why ?? The reasons are simple as well as complex . . . many in the community believe the world culture is a massive deception and all media, science, education is controlled by powers beyond our control . . . thereby one can only piece together "The Truth" by connecting a few occasional facts intentionally and or accidentally released by those in control for reasons they only know . . . usually for reasons of gaining more control or manipulating those who don't question . . . much as in the feature film The Truman Show . . .

     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2013
  34. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    This doesn't explain the willingness to ignore history or the physical science that disproves their beliefs. Anything that doesn't reinforce the central idea tends to be lumped together as part of the conspiracy and is dismissed. Despite their claims to the contrary, for a lot of believers in fringe theories and conspiracies the truth is less important than having their ideas reinforced. If it wasn't they wouldn't be so quick to shut down debate when people point out logical fallacies of start discussing scientific principals. There even seems to be a subset that takes pride in the fact that science and history don't support their ideas.
     
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  35. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    Hmmm . . . history is written by the victors or the ones who own the media and press . . . science is more exacting but if you control the data, its validation, its analysis , its experts . . . can it really be relied upon to be unbiased? Most debunkers approach the believers to prove them as uneducated, uninformed or easily mislead by hucksters . . . thus, it is hard not to insult their positions and beliefs. . . . it is like trying to convince a Christan that Buddhism is the better belief system . . .
     
  36. Pete Tar

    Pete Tar Moderator Staff Member

    Maybe, but logic guards against jumping to the wrong explanations. An wrong explanation is worse than none to some, but to others a wrong explanation is preferable to an unexplained mystery.
     
  37. qed

    qed Senior Member

    Respect.
     
  38. George B

    George B Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

    It comes down many-times to a controlling world view (objective vs subjective) . . . People like to solve mysteries and will jump at the chance most of the time . . . even when it looks like to many as forcing a square peg into a round hole!!!!
     
  39. qed

    qed Senior Member

    Things are not OK.

    Another example I would like to bring up is creating new genetically modified organisms.

    Will you still be at peace when many other countries start creating new genetically modified organisms?

    Would you be happy if we adopted your "strict controls" (think of the recent J&J "conspiracy").

    When I reflect on the problem of bugs in Software Engineering, the possibility of corporate influence on standards in Genetic Engineering petrifies me.
     
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  40. Bill

    Bill Senior Member

    Well that's not an answer. The history is written by the victors argument only goes so far. It's a feeble excuse for rewriting history to support or deny events that are inconvenient for the the fringe belief. Historians argue about the details of history and the biases that come from different cultural views, not whether major events actually occurred. That is the millieu of the fringe believer. Historians argue about the events leading to the holocaust. Fringe believers argue that it didn't happen.
    Sure science can be biased but it is also operates in an extremely cutthroat environment and the process contains a number of checks and balances designed to weed out bias and misinformation from studies. Other things in science simply aren't up for debate. The Bernoulli principle and Boyles Laws show that when you take a compressed gas and rapidly expand it's volume you get a drop in temperature and can produce ice crystals. The people that want to call every contrail they see a "chemtrail" seem to want to ignore some of the basic principles of thermodynamics.
    If the believers feel like they are being treated this way then they need to accept some of the blame. The tendency to ignore science and the failure to adhere to any consistent standards of evidence makes it difficult to engage some believers on level ground. When you are dealing with someone that claims the ancient Indians had nuclear weapons because they saw it on a TV show and the guy at the local UFO convention backed it up, but has never bothered to read the actual passages in the Mahabharata the claim is based on, it is hard to take them seriously. When that same person then accuses you of being and academic shill because you point out this inconsistency and suggest they read the original before making up their minds, it's hard not to want to grab them by shoulders and yell "hey stupid, pay attention".
     
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