Community aspects of Conspiracy Theory

I was having a thought earlier today after visiting Max Bliss' facebook page. I don't have facebook myself anymore, but I was looking through his photos and noticed how popular they were. I saw many people commenting on them on what wonderful work he was doing, how he was such a good man, compliments for his looks, etc.

He would respond in turn about how nice everyone was, how confident he was the NWO would be defeated, how fast everyone is waking up (likely felt so positive from the endorphin rush he got from such overwhelming support and love).

I wonder if the sense of community, higher purpose (in spreading CTs and fighting a higher power), and having the overwhelming approval of your peers makes one feel like they NEED the conspiracies more and more to defend the kind of social position and community they find themselves in.

Now, I know those that believe in CTs are not a homogenous group of people all with the same motives and reasoning...but for people like Max Bliss...what social consequences are there for not believing in the conspiracy? Perhaps people in that position are even harder to reach through debunking because they have much more personal investment in these theories. I'd imagine losing that sense of connection and community and like you're all fighting together against some omnipotent bad guy takes a much more personal toll and why they must come up with any and every reason not to listen to debunkings.

I'm probably not making any huge revelations here, but perhaps knowing this can help those entrenched in the conspiracy for emotional reasons not feel like they need conspiracy for community.

For one, when I was a believer in conspiracy theories and eastern spiritual philosophy (I'd say I was more into spirituality on its own than CTs to be quite honest), I considered myself a man of science, but I felt like debunkers lived colorless lives without any sense of wonder. "Everything is fine, no evidence for this, don't waste your time, facts facts facts, we know we know we know".

Not intending to offend whatsoever, but this was just my perception at the time.

Debunking/debunkers often come off as cold, calculated, and dry, and it may be this perception that makes people feel if they don't have the conspiracy, the only other option is to lead a disconnected life without much joy or wonder. Seems to be part of the reason why so often you may hear "well, science doesn't know everything! You can't say you know everything!" when no one was making that sort of claim.

I'm not sure what can be done about that, as usually discussion of facts and evidence has to by as objective as possible, and thus dry. But it might help to establish common ground when discussing things with believers in CTs when straight facts don't seem to be working and they are resistant to reason, and often break out into emotional appeals.

In addition, the need to feel like you are special and living a special kind of life can be another draw to conspiracies, and its probably exacerbated when you are a leader of such movements and are frequently validated by your followers. In my own experience, without the need to feel like I was going to become a special enlightened person through spirituality, I didn't have that subtle sense of superiority over the average joe who just wasn't in the know. Coming to terms with the idea of being average was pretty difficult for a while.

I have some ideas for establishing a common ground or maybe addressing the deeper, emotional aspect with people who believe in CTs. Being that everyone has their own reasons, it's probably best not to assume this will speak to everyone, but maybe it can help. I don't have time at the moment, but could type up some ideas on how to address these later.

Have a splendid day, everyone.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Another more focused aspect of the social consequences is the close relationships you have with other believers - particularly close family members (like parents), or spouses or lovers.

There a thing called Folie à deux ("a madness of a couple"). Not that I'm wanting to call anyone "mad", but similar mechanisms apply when holding strong false beliefs. It's hard to argue so fundamentally with someone you love and/or respect. How do you tell your wife that her entire world view is wrong?
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
It's hard to argue so fundamentally with someone you love and/or respect. How do you tell your wife that her entire world view is wrong?
there's a big difference between say 'spirituality'/ or imaginative thinking and conspiracy theories.

But I agree Tunnel, skeptics are boring and dull. :)
 
Indeed, it is a tough thing to navigate.

Everyone gains some sense of identity and order through their worldview, even if their worldview is overly pessimistic. I think to help one overcome beliefs that may be a hindrance in some way, but are still deeply engrained in the person's sense of self, is to somehow let them know that life can still be fulfilling and meaningful and you can live with that sense of purpose and connection without the need for a conspiracy theory to allow you to feel those things. I think what people fundamentally want in life is those things in some combination, and our different worldviews help accomplish that for the most part.

I don't think it is a quick thing either. In my experience, doubt would set in in some way or another, and gradually my worldview changed and when I found I could still be happy/happier without practicing any sort of spirituality overtly, it was easier to let go and see other ways. It wasn't offensive to read opposite viewpoints, for instance.

These days I lean toward agnosticism, with a sort of bias toward believing in some unifying aspect of existence...but I'm not completely hooked on that viewpoint. Nothing to back it up, just a feeling. Regardless, I don't derive my entire sense of self and happiness from it, and as a result I am open to lots of other things and I have been able to live a more fulfilling life than I thought I could. But if I felt it was dangerous to my sense of self not to believe in something higher, I would obviously defend it/not even consider other viewpoints.

I believe when addressing these aspects in conversations with believers of CTs, it might be something that will only make sense to them much later. This is how I operated, anyway. It is unlikely that if someone believes in CTs for these deeper emotional reasons that they will change their mind instantly.

And i'm not necessarily advocating blind acceptance of all mainstream thinking, but rather the abandonment of the "we must mistrust everything mainstream and defeat the NWO" as being someone's entire sense of self.

I still have to type up my ideas for addressing such things in a discussion. Till then, enjoy your night everyone!
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
But if I felt it was dangerous to my sense of self not to believe in something higher, I would obviously defend it/not even consider other viewpoints.
I believe when addressing these aspects in conversations with believers of CTs, it might be something that will only make sense to them much later.
I understand what you're getting at, but personally I feel bringing spirituality up AT ALL unless you are debunking a very very specific and dangerous claim (like X says he can cure cancer by laying hands on you), spirituality should be avoided.

Commenting on 'broader theory' opinions turns people off even when it is perhaps true... I'm still not happy about that Nessie dig the other day : )

Commenting on spiritual issues is worse, as far as turning people off pretty quickly.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I'm still not happy about that Nessie dig the other day : )


Who.....me? :cool:

But to expand on "Tv"s post (ETA...that would refer to member "Tunnelvisionary", of course! (like that one?) ... in the realm of the modern "CT" yes, there is an aspect of "community"...and this is bad, because it perpetuates what I will dub "common think". (it is a not a "new" concept, obviously....it's already been defined as "Groupthink").

Too often, those with a common "belief" will feed each other, often to the exclusion of any outside evidence that negates their original "belief", no matter how strong or compelling that evidence is.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
Too often, those with a common "belief" will feed each other, often to the exclusion of any outside evidence that negates their original "belief", no matter how strong or compelling that evidence is.
yea that's definitely not good. especially if the beliefs are scaring people unnecessarily, inciting violence, or preventing people from looking for the real cause of their 'problems' : (
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
...especially if the beliefs are scaring people unnecessarily, inciting violence...

I thought of a very precise word to describe this aspect of the Human psyche that can (unfortunately) develop along those, and other lines of issues in society:

"Fanaticism".


Ironically, the "root" of that word is why we have the commonplace term "fan", as in
"He's a 'fan' of the Yankees"....etc.

In THOSE instances it is usually benign (although some sports "fan" violence that has been documented is troubling) and the word "fan" in the vernacular English is very broad.

One may be a "fan" of "vampire movies" (for example). Doesn't mean that this person is a vampire, or agrees with the motives and activities of vampires...just, a "fan" of a specific genre. This gets complicated, when MANY people (ALL individuals of course) can also have passions and interests of their own.

BUT, in a civil society, there are always "lines" to consider, when inter-acting with fellow members OF that society. This is a small planet, and ALL Humans are actually inter-connected (though, many do not realize it).

This might be WAY off-topic....but I found it interesting enough to share....an image created to indicate what it would look like 'IF' every Human alive now could suddenly be transported to, and dropped into, the Grand Canyon...(I know, a little 'ghoulish'):

LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/humans-fit-into-grand-canyon_n_5255076.html

IMAGE (from above link):


Makes one think a bit....(I hope)....
 
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I understand what you're getting at, but personally I feel bringing spirituality up AT ALL unless you are debunking a very very specific and dangerous claim (like X says he can cure cancer by laying hands on you), spirituality should be avoided.
I whole-heartedly agree. It's an issue that is best not brought up when debunking, and I wasn't suggesting doing that at all. My mentions of spirituality were just illustrating how my worldview changed with time, and I believe the conspiracy aspect of peoples' worldview may change in the same sort of manner.

Getting people to see that they don't need the conspiracy as a part of their social/personal identity when logic and evidence isn't reaching them might be a helpful approach. If not directly, perhaps it may allow us to maintain a sense of understanding as to where some of them are coming from and not allowing ourselves to respond only out of anger.

But to expand on "Tv"s post (ETA...that would refer to member "Tunnelvisionary", of course! (like that one?)

I don't mind. I used that name on another forum and people ended up using TV too :)
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
If not directly, perhaps it may allow us to maintain a sense of understanding as to where some of them are coming from and not allowing ourselves to respond only out of anger.
Skeptics responding with anger is pretty rare. But yes it's good to keep in mind what people might be going through in life outside of the CT world.
 

Jason

Senior Member
This might be WAY off-topic....but I found it interesting enough to share....an image created to indicate what it would look like 'IF' every Human alive now could suddenly be transported to, and dropped into, the Grand Canyon...(I know, a little 'ghoulish'):
LINK: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/05/humans-fit-into-grand-canyon_n_5255076.html
IMAGE (from above link):
Makes one think a bit....(I hope)....
Makes me think about how insignificant we are, and how the very top of that "man made mountain (literally)" like 1-3%, control the worlds resources and constitute the power structure in civilizations.


I whole-heartedly agree. It's an issue that is best not brought up when debunking, and I wasn't suggesting doing that at all. My mentions of spirituality were just illustrating how my worldview changed with time, and I believe the conspiracy aspect of peoples' worldview may change in the same sort of manner.
Worldviews changing with time depend on a bunch of factors, factors which are different for each and every one of us, depending on our "already" common beliefs. People who don't trust the government tend to research or look for stories that relate to this, people who believe aliens are on earth also look for similar stories to reinforce their beliefs. Sort of in the same way people go to church on Sundays to fulfill their search for God. Changing one's beliefs has to start with the very basics of how they portray the world around them, and in order to facilitate that it takes time and patience and isn't something that can't happen in a single thread or overnight. For me at least, it had nothing to do with spirituality or even meeting the right person to talk sense into me. It was a realization that I was looking for information in the wrong places. Instead of trying to find an alternative, I was dead set on trying to reinforce my beliefs. The sad truth is, there is no one right way to help CT's believers. There's no catch phrase or place to send them so they can see more clearly. Everyone is different, and as a result everyone's belief structure is different and how they fulfill those beliefs are different. Some need confrontation, some need to be slapped in the face, and others need time to absorb the information. Some need to be walked through it with baby steps, and others find the truth rather quickly. There are so many varying degrees of CT believers, just as there are with religions. One common denominator is that each of them truly believe they are right, whether unfounded or not. But at the end of the day, the ones that want to see the truth will see the truth. With spirituality we often see people fall out of belief with God, or convert from one religion to another, and I believe the same principles apply there as well. They have to want change.
Getting people to see that they don't need the conspiracy as a part of their social/personal identity when logic and evidence isn't reaching them might be a helpful approach. If not directly, perhaps it may allow us to maintain a sense of understanding as to where some of them are coming from and not allowing ourselves to respond only out of anger.
For me believing in CT's wasn't part of my social identity, in retrospect it actually closed me off to the people around me. Sure for the big names out there it is very much apart of their identity, and for some who follow them. So how do you get someone to no longer trust the person who they've been believing in for some time. It's not an easy feat, and in actuality it can be counterproductive when you try to show CT believers that the person they believe in is made of lies. Because the person they believe in preaches that "debunkers" will often say this in response to their claims. So it's ingrained in them.

Anger as you say only pushes back or often puts them on the defensive. And as far as I'm concerned, once that form of communication takes shape, its a waste and only reinforces what they believe. Everyone questions their beliefs from time to time, and this is when it's easier to help a believer see the truth, and often you can tell when someone is open to an openminded discussion. These are the ones that can be helped so long as "debunkers" maintain a level of respect and an understanding of what the believer is going through. As is often the case in addicts, its much easier for them to succeed when they are around people who understand them and their struggles, so that they can see the light at the end of the tunnel and know (believe) that something better awaits them. I think this approach can be very helpful in debunking on a personal level without the added weight of facts and who's lying and who isn't.
 
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Great points Jason, it is a complex situation. I tried to convey that I don't think CTs are a homogenous group of people, there are lots of different factors involved in the construction of anyone's worldview. I guess I was trying to draw parallels between aspects of my worldview in the past to other factors that might cause a select few group of believers to remain entrenched in their worldview. This information definitely cannot be generalized to all that believe in CTs.

I wanted to start this discussion for reaching those who do have social and emotional reasons for believing in the conspiracy, in addition to the fact they really think these things are going on.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Makes me think about how insignificant we are, and how the very top of that "man made mountain (literally)" like 1-3%, control the worlds resources and constitute the power structure in civilizations.

I prefer (in my mind) to envision those "guys" at the BOTTOM of the pile, in that (imaginary) representational image..... :cool:

Also, I like to think of them in the (old) TV show "Lost"....or even the iconic novel, "Lord of the Flies".
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I wanted to start this discussion for reaching those who do have social and emotional reasons for believing in the conspiracy, in addition to the fact they really think these things are going on.
except the only cure for that is to REPLACE their CT community with another community. which brings us back to 'debunkers are boring'. And I think many CTs just need to be angry. at anything. to vent personal issues. The anger doesn't really stem from the specific CT.

I think all we can reasonably do is present the facts, so when they are ready to let go of the CT the life rafts are there waiting for them.
 

Jason

Senior Member
I wanted to start this discussion for reaching those who do have social and emotional reasons for believing in the conspiracy, in addition to the fact they really think these things are going on.
How do you propose you get them to admit that they believe in a CT for social or emotional reasons? It's hard to ascertain that information about somebody via online, unless they open up to you or the forum they are on.
 

econ41

Senior Member
...I wanted to start this discussion for reaching those who do have social and emotional reasons for believing in the conspiracy, in addition to the fact they really think these things are going on.
My focus in CT's has been almost exclusively on 9/11 CT - and those we now see labelled as "truthers" or perversions of that term - recalling that it was originally their own honourable self name which has been deprecated to derision and deprecatory status.

You may be interested in a pair of hypotheses I formed some two or three years back. Have posted them on three forums - mostly ignored - had only one brief serious discussion.

If they give you an alternate insight - great. If you don't like them - no problem. I promise I wont cry or lose sleep.

As originally posted - and deliberately intended to be attention grabbing - the original "Twin Hypotheses" were:
1) Most truthers cannot think; AND
2) That is why most of them became truthers.

Where I defined "cannot think" as meaning:
Me - on another forum said:
....3) Yet again truthers cannot think - as in cannot apply a converging process of reasoning which is required to arrange multiple factors and supporting evidence into a coherent argument focussed towards a single clear outcome. That is a bit wordy so I'll keep using "cannot think" as shorthand.
....

These days I split them into 3 which are - with my claim of status for each:
A) Most truthers do not think. As distinct from cannot think. Status: My definition of "thinking" can also be described as "convergent thinking" whereas most truthers are "divergent" - I think the "most...DO not" is evident from posts across several forums that I infest.

B) Most truthers do not because they cannot. Needs significant experience observing and interacting with each specific truther to support the judgement call BUT IMO the evidence for "cannot" is strong for many of them. Status: I'm convinced for a few I am familiar with. You form your own opinion on "cannot" for the ones you know.

Then the one up for discussion.

C) Outline of hypothesis reasoning: People who lack the mental skill to clearly analyse and reason in multi-factor complex events/situations get frustrated at not "getting" what other people seem to "get". That frustration builds through life - not simply in CTs. So they need a blame target - obviously we cannot see our blind spots - cannot reason our own shortcomings of reasoning... Safest cop-out is "blame the man" - Government and authorities are play safe targets because most people will not object.

So "blame Government" becomes a life style habit whenever a complicated "I don't understand it" situation arises. 9/11 was just another "complicated don't understand". So the Pavlovian conditioned reflex cuts in with 'blame the man for 9/11 AKA "inside job"'. Status: Up for grabs -I haven't been game to OP a thread on two other serious forums. The 9/11 CT discussion crown mostly technically oriented. Tend to not comprehend behavioural and meta-process discusion. So posting risks a pearls and suidae problem. But here is metabunk... And folk seem to know what it means.

Now that, for what it is worth, is very briefly put and with little supporting argument.

AND I'm only considering 9/11 CTs - haven't the experience to comment on other branches of CTery.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
As originally posted - and deliberately intended to be attention grabbing - the original "Twin Hypotheses" were:
1) Most truthers cannot think; AND
2) That is why most of them became truthers.

And what about the former truthers (of which there are several here)?

It's a bit of a blunt tool, and this type of characterization is something I strongly discourage in the Politeness Policy, as telling people they "cannot think", or even "you're not thinking", is generally not going to make them start thinking. For the majority it just create an adversarial state, which greatly hinders "thinking".
 

Jason

Senior Member
My focus in CT's has been almost exclusively on 9/11 CT - and those we now see labelled as "truthers" or perversions of that term - recalling that it was originally their own honourable self name which has been deprecated to derision and deprecatory status.

You may be interested in a pair of hypotheses I formed some two or three years back. Have posted them on three forums - mostly ignored - had only one brief serious discussion.

If they give you an alternate insight - great. If you don't like them - no problem. I promise I wont cry or lose sleep.

As originally posted - and deliberately intended to be attention grabbing - the original "Twin Hypotheses" were:
1) Most truthers cannot think; AND
2) That is why most of them became truthers.

Where I defined "cannot think" as meaning:


These days I split them into 3 which are - with my claim of status for each:
A) Most truthers do not think. As distinct from cannot think. Status: My definition of "thinking" can also be described as "convergent thinking" whereas most truthers are "divergent" - I think the "most...DO not" is evident from posts across several forums that I infest.

B) Most truthers do not because they cannot. Needs significant experience observing and interacting with each specific truther to support the judgement call BUT IMO the evidence for "cannot" is strong for many of them. Status: I'm convinced for a few I am familiar with. You form your own opinion on "cannot" for the ones you know.

Then the one up for discussion.

C) Outline of hypothesis reasoning: People who lack the mental skill to clearly analyse and reason in multi-factor complex events/situations get frustrated at not "getting" what other people seem to "get". That frustration builds through life - not simply in CTs. So they need a blame target - obviously we cannot see our blind spots - cannot reason our own shortcomings of reasoning... Safest cop-out is "blame the man" - Government and authorities are play safe targets because most people will not object.

So "blame Government" becomes a life style habit whenever a complicated "I don't understand it" situation arises. 9/11 was just another "complicated don't understand". So the Pavlovian conditioned reflex cuts in with 'blame the man for 9/11 AKA "inside job"'. Status: Up for grabs -I haven't been game to OP a thread on two other serious forums. The 9/11 CT discussion crown mostly technically oriented. Tend to not comprehend behavioural and meta-process discusion. So posting risks a pearls and suidae problem. But here is metabunk... And folk seem to know what it means.

Now that, for what it is worth, is very briefly put and with little supporting argument.

AND I'm only considering 9/11 CTs - haven't the experience to comment on other branches of CTery.
I'm sorry but I have to disagree with you. While I can relate to the premise of what you're trying to say, it honestly comes off a bit arogant and demeaning, even though I honestly believe that isn't your intentions.
 
except the only cure for that is to REPLACE their CT community with another community. which brings us back to 'debunkers are boring'. And I think many CTs just need to be angry. at anything. to vent personal issues. The anger doesn't really stem from the specific CT.
I think all we can reasonably do is present the facts, so when they are ready to let go of the CT the life rafts are there waiting for them.

Agreed, at the very least this should be done. It is important work because it is so easy to spread a false idea these days and have people latch onto them. The evidence and facts laid out to debunk specific claims will surely convince most people not entrenched in CTs at all, and that can prevent forest fires, so to speak. This topic I laid out in my first post deals more with those that have seen the facts and evidence, and refuse to budge. It might be useful to investigate the WHY, which I personally believe is for the reasons stated in my post. But again, those reasons may not apply to every believer.

How do you propose you get them to admit that they believe in a CT for social or emotional reasons? It's hard to ascertain that information about somebody via online, unless they open up to you or the forum they are on.
This is a really good question, and I admit I have little experience in actually engaging with CTers, until recently. It may be very difficult to do over the net when it is some random person you've never met, but it maybe useful to examine the social and emotional reasons when you engage with friends or family who are believers in CTs. Having more a personal connection can probably result in a more in depth conversation. I've seen a few people feel like the only two options are believing in conspiracies and fighting the power and sitting at home doing nothing mindlessly watching TV and accepting what everyone has to say at face value. When someone brings that up, pointing out that there are more options than the two extremes could be useful. Perhaps also pointing out that there are tangible issues that we know are going on that one can devote their energy to really making a difference with. Scant ideas, but I started the thread with a different state of mind yesterday, and have actually realized that this area of discussion (emotional and social involvement in conspiracy) involves a lot of factors that probably won't be addressed in a single discussion.

As originally posted - and deliberately intended to be attention grabbing - the original "Twin Hypotheses" were:
1) Most truthers cannot think; AND
2) That is why most of them became truthers.
I do see what you're saying, but the wording you used does sound antagonistic, even if you don't mean to be. I have noticed this too with those that believe in chemtrails that their standard of evidence is very low quality and they don't understand why that doesn't count as convincing evidence. When simply discussing CTers with each other, I can see what you mean by your word usage though.

this whole thread is technically impolite. that ship sailed with post #1.
I admit I am a little offended by that. I really didn't want to sound condescending or impolite in any way with my original post, and tried my best to account for that. I really just wanted a discussion on this aspect of debating with CTers and wanted to give my own ideas and see what others thought. I apologize if this was impolite in any way.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
this whole thread is technically impolite. that ship sailed with post #1.

It gets the "meta" exemption to a degree - talking about the topic rather than specific individuals. However @econ41's post seems to be tarring everyone with the same brush.
 

Jason

Senior Member
I admit I am a little offended by that. I really didn't want to sound condescending or impolite in any way with my original post, and tried my best to account for that. I really just wanted a discussion on this aspect of debating with CTers and wanted to give my own ideas and see what others thought. I apologize if this was impolite in any way.
I didn't take your OP as being condescending or offensive, to the contrary I thought it was genuine and polite. I could tell you desire to learn how to bridge the gap between CTers and "debunkers", and a willingness to offer assistance with your opinions and life experiences..
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
I didn't take your OP as being condescending or offensive
; ) that's because you're an atheist. I like the topic too but using religion or spiritual issues even as examples is condescending too. I know TV didn't mean it that way.
 
; ) that's because you're an atheist. I like the topic too but using religion or spiritual issues even as examples is condescending too. I know TV didn't mean it that way.
Okay, I see how my post could've been seen as offensive then. I didn't mean to lump spirituality in with CTs, as if they all need debunking or correcting. I wouldn't call myself an atheist either. I was deeply entrenched in my beliefs in a negative way, but could see no alternative, and some CTers seem to convey that as well. I thought I might draw some parallels between how I overcame the negative aspect of my spirituality and how someone might break out of their need for CTs for similar reasons.

Though I don't want to veer this discussion into spirituality, I do stay open to the existence of something greater. But I will refrain from talking about spirituality in general as if it is just like a conspiracy theory. I'll be sure to explicitly state that it is from my own experience.
 

econ41

Senior Member
It gets the "meta" exemption to a degree - talking about the topic rather than specific individuals. However @econ41's post seems to be tarring everyone with the same brush.
It may be easier to remove my post. It was a suggestion for the OP of this thread but seems to have offended others.

I thought that I had taken sufficient care - within the constraints of a brief summary post - to avoid the appearance of "tarring everyone" - I never referred to everyone nor even to all members of any of the three limited demographic sets I referred to. And I made three suggestions - all of them less than global for the relevant demographic set and each of them clearly stating (or so I thought) the decreasing levels of my assurance.

I was under the following impressions:
1) This forum and this section of it were friendly territory for meta level discussion;
2) I was making comment which I think is legitimately within the scope of this threads OP;
3) I made meta process reference to a related topic I had raised on three other forums;
4) My comments explicitly limited to 9/11 discussion and I even showed my sympathy/empathy for the original truthers who coined the name "truther" for themselves;
5) My opinion as to the status of the three "hypotheses" I referred to was explicit viz:
a) A claim for actual behaviours of most (i.e. over 50%) of those - who in my experience on those forums - demonstrate the limited style of reasoning which I defined explicitly.
b) A claim of my assessment of limited reasoning skill for some individuals among those same posters on those other forums where I clearly differentiated my opinion and suggested that others should form their own opinion, case by case, if such was their interest;
c) A suggestion of a causal explanation which could be worthy of discussion.

I also explained why I was not posting supporting evidence/argument in that first post on the sub-topic.

So my apology if:
A) My blunt style was too forthright; OR
B) My statement of the graded and diminishing limitations of application were not explicit enough.

So I see three options:
1) We remove the offending post;
2) Leave the post and I make no further comment - including not responding to comments already posted; OR
3) I respond with further explanations where necessary - discussion of the concepts will probably die anyway.
4) Something else (IMO the preceding three are a "false trichotomy")
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
something else to keep in mind: I believe many people do not KNOW how to research/look up information for themselves.
this thread has some examples.

In bunk I've taken on with people in the past it was more a matter of "credentialed"(?)/reputable information vs. bunk info, which can be confusing on the internet. So teaching people perhaps how to find information relevant to their underlying issues can be helpful. (ex people who feel sickly and blame chemtrails, or latch onto alternative questionable 'medicine' ideas they see on Facebook).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I thought that I had taken sufficient care - within the constraints of a brief summary post - to avoid the appearance of "tarring everyone"
Then you failed. As soon as you say "Most truther's cannot think and that is why they became truthers" then the tarring is done. It does not matter what you say after, and most people, if they make it past there, will stop at "as in cannot apply a converging process of reasoning which is required to arrange multiple factors and supporting evidence into a coherent argument focussed towards a single clear outcome."

I feel perhaps your perspective has been skewed by your interactions with the more "advanced" Truthers, those who descend into minutia about sub-pixel sampling, seat stiffeners, the average chemical composition of primer paint, bending moments, and coefficients of thermal expansion. Those are not average Truthers. Most truthers are simply ordinary people with suspicions that make sense given their experience with the topic, and their world view. They are just ordinary people. Ordinary people do not "apply a converging process of reasoning which is required to arrange multiple factors and supporting evidence into a coherent argument focussed towards a single clear outcome.".
 

econ41

Senior Member
Then you failed.
Ouch!

You are right. And your reasoning and perspective explains it.

Without trying to wriggle out this:
As soon as you say "Most truther's cannot think and that is why they became truthers" then the tarring is done.
Does not apply on those other three forums. It does here and it looks like tarring in the context of this forum where the expectations are different.
It does not matter what you say after, and most people, if they make it past there, will stop at "as in cannot apply a converging process of reasoning which is required to arrange multiple factors and supporting evidence into a coherent argument focussed towards a single clear outcome."
Same comment - different forum setting. It was intended for the half dozen active participants in the thread who would understand both the higher level concept and the meta aspect.
I feel perhaps your perspective has been skewed by your interactions with the more "advanced" Truthers, those who descend into minutia about sub-pixel sampling, seat stiffeners, the average chemical composition of primer paint, bending moments, and coefficients of thermal expansion. Those are not average Truthers. Most truthers are simply ordinary people with suspicions that make sense given their experience with the topic, and their world view. They are just ordinary people. Ordinary people do not "apply a converging process of reasoning which is required to arrange multiple factors and supporting evidence into a coherent argument focussed towards a single clear outcome.".
Good points. Not sure about "advanced" - the current numbers are those more deeply committed but the arguments IMO lower standard because all the main points have already been discussed. We are into extensive "recycling" of the issues even though the players may include some new ones.

Thanks for the comments.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
I think that actually it is not spirituality that is like a CT, it is more that CTs are like a religious cult.
demonising ex members (Charlie Veitch, for example) strictly trying to control access to what information the followers have access to and deliberately ignoring or censoring any info that is contrary to the beliefs of the cult.
 
something else to keep in mind: I believe many people do not KNOW how to research/look up information for themselves.
this thread has some examples.

In bunk I've taken on with people in the past it was more a matter of "credentialed"(?)/reputable information vs. bunk info, which can be confusing on the internet. So teaching people perhaps how to find information relevant to their underlying issues can be helpful. (ex people who feel sickly and blame chemtrails, or latch onto alternative questionable 'medicine' ideas they see on Facebook).
Yes, knowing how to research and how to evaluate good sources of evidence is an incredibly valuable skill. It would help remove a lot of the repetitive arguments from CT discussion.

I think that actually it is not spirituality that is like a CT, it is more that CTs are like a religious cult.
demonising ex members (Charlie Veitch, for example) strictly trying to control access to what information the followers have access to and deliberately ignoring or censoring any info that is contrary to the beliefs of the cult.
Agreed. I think regardless of the reasoning that is being defended, conspiracy or otherwise, it is a response to very vehemently not wanting to be wrong or have any doubt about something. There is varying degrees of uncertainty in everything and it's much healthier to embrace that imo.

---
As far as the thread topic goes, I believe i've already stated that I actually don't know how to address these aspects of someone's belief in a CT (if they have them). Perhaps it is just best to let the evidence speak for itself and when someone breaks out into appeals of emotion, you can try and see where that person is coming from and perhaps try to appeal to emotion in them as well. Not in a manipulative sense to get them to agree with you, but perhaps showing that seeing past the CT is safe and okay...for lack of better terms.

For example, if someone starts talking about how non-believers must be "couch-potatoes that eat McDonalds all day and don't question any authority", you might be able to tell that they get a sense of superiority from their belief in CT. At that point, it might be helpful to rebut that by letting them know that you can do all sorts of other productive, helpful things and still be a "free thinker" without clinging on to false belief that some organization is carrying out a secret plot.

The basic idea i'm trying to convey is that if the person starts responding from a place of emotion, it may be helpful to speak out to that emotional part. Since there is no one way to go about this, it seems best to assess the situation on a case by case basis, and only if you feel somewhat confident you know where that person is coming from, emotionally. I feel like I understand those who bring new age concepts to conspiracy because that is my background, but I may not be able to properly address the emotional aspect of some other type of CTer without that background, if that makes sense.

Just an idea. I know its vague, and I kind of feel silly about starting this topic.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
No need to feel silly at all, it;s a very serious issue.

Although, as you said you can't lump all people together, it is important to learn how to properly engage with people.

True Believers in CTs can't understand why YOU can't see the blindingly obvious truth that it is going on.
Hardened Skeptics can't understand why the CT'er just can't see that what they are suggesting is CLEARLY impossible.
so finding a way to see how the other thinks is extremely useful.

I also don't think that skeptics are necessarily dull people. Just because they demand some evidence before jumping at any new and exciting "discovery",you can bet they will get excited and excitable when there IS evidence for something.
while discussing the lack of proof for Mermaids with one of my friends I found a link to all sorts of cool animals with genuine superpowers that REALLY do exist. For Definite. THAT was really exciting.
 

Balance

Senior Member.
I think this article is worth a looksee on this topic/thread http://www.iflscience.com/brain/political-religious-identity-more-influential-scientific-literacy

 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I think this article is worth a looksee on this topic/thread http://www.iflscience.com/brain/political-religious-identity-more-influential-scientific-literacy


The link is "404 Not Found".
 

Jason

Senior Member
I think Balance makes a great point, one I've seen many make on here from time to time, and the fact that so many people are science illiterate, says something. Even with CT's that don't deal with scientific facts, science isn't a field per say, its how one creates ideas, studies and test those ideas, and eliminates all of the false ideas until your left with one competing idea or theory. People's lack of scientific understanding, makes them fall victim to psuedoscience and false claims because they don't know how to research the claim
 

Jason

Senior Member
The link is "404 Not Found".
Here's what's in the link, it works fine for me
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
That seems to suggest it's not so much about how scientifically literate people are, but more about what TV was saying in the OP - that it's a function of community. i.e. their political and religious orientation has a stronger impact than the objective facts.
 

Jason

Senior Member
That seems to suggest it's not so much about how scientifically literate people are, but more about what TV was saying in the OP - that it's a function of community. i.e. their political and religious orientation has a stronger impact than the objective facts.
Does this mean there is a clear distinction between which religious beliefs or political orientations and those alignments that make people more prone to falling victim to believing in CT's. Does it mean if someone is really religious they might be more inclined to fall for rapture CT's and the "end of days" CT's? Or if you are a right wing extremist, then they have a better chance of falling for Obama CT's etc, etc, etc....
 
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