Debunkers vs. Debaters. How can we have constructive discussions?

Gunguy45

Senior Member.
I don't mean to go off topic here....but maybe some of you "old timers" could clarify something for me? Is it just me or do some people just come here to argue? They seem to suspect everything and when presented with clear facts or even the most logical explanation of an event or situation....they just continue to debate. If there's a 95% chance that this is the truth...then I have a tendency to believe that, but will stay open to new facts or evidence.

REAL facts or evidence....not just a bloggers opinion.

I mean...do they not read a while before they start posting? Do they not understand the nature of this place? Even when you agree with a fact or point they make, it seems they just twist it in another direction. Everyone has opinions...it's the nature of the beast. And even facts can be disputed by different parties based on sources. But isn't there a time when almost anyone should concede an issue?

I'm so glad I don't live my life in fear of all thats happening in the world.

Please feel free to PM with any replies...I don't want to clutter up the thread.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I don't mean to go off topic here....but maybe some of you "old timers" could clarify something for me? Is it just me or do some people just come here to argue? They seem to suspect everything and when presented with clear facts or even the most logical explanation of an event or situation....they just continue to debate.

I agree, and it's something of a problem. It's very easy to play devil's advocate on ANY topic, in either direction, and if your only concern is winning perceived points in a debate, then it's ultimately unproductive.

This happend with lee (now banned), to some extent with George, and now with SeriouslyDebatable, and in a different way (it seems to me) with Mat.

Of course we debunkers are easily sucked in, as they generally have some easily addressed points. But there does not seem to be any progress towards a greater shared understanding, and instead there's a constant flitting from one topic to the next, or from one vague piece of evidence to the next.

I'm not sure to what extent this is deliberate (a form of trolling essentially), or to what extent they feel that it's the debunkers who are the problem. But either way forums end up being filled with these endless whack-a-mole discussions that ultimately don't go anywhere.

I have the feeling that I need to start offering some discussion rules beyond simply "be polite". Perhaps something like my "guide to debunking", but for the "debaters" as well as the debunkers.

https://www.metabunk.org/content/129-A-Guide-to-Debunking
 
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Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
Is it just me or do some people just come here to argue? ...But isn't there a time when almost anyone should concede an issue?

Many times they won't even state what the issue is. It's their inability or unwillingness to sometimes clearly state their main point that I find frustrating. How many times has the question, "What is your point?" gone unanswered?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Lee, in particular, always refused to make a point, and instead would just pick around the edges of the argument. Often refusing to even state what he was objecting to. This approach was resurrected briefly by a recent anonymous poster:

until you actually go into each and every tank in the planes being flown in our skies, then you don't know and to claim to "debunk" chemtrails is highly irresponsible. remember, i have not stated a position. i'm just analyzing your investigative skills which are clearly quite poor.

two can play this game, pal.

So he's not here to help determine anything, just to play the game of poking holes in my "investigative skills" by pointing out "you can't prove it isn't so".

That guy is not coming back though. the question is how to constructively engage people like Seriously Debatable.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Avoiding making a clear point is a tactic that many conspiracy theorists have latched onto because when they do make a clear point it is so often easily rebutted, and they do nto like being shown up as wrong - a perfectly reasonable feeling of course - none of us do.

Many of them are unable to make the connection that if their points are wrong then maybe the CT is wrong - and rather than admitting this they set up a classic cognitive dissonance by abandoning clear arguments and moving onto innuendo, assertion, etc. to avoid having to face reality.
 

Spongebob

Active Member
I strongly (strongly) get the impression that certain members are here solely to see how far they can suck people into wasting their time and effort.

While Jay, Solrey and others easily dismiss certain points, there seems to be an organised progression of "what if" - "but" type non-evidence, irrelevant, merry go round until the eventual next one begins...

Metabunk has become a perpetual motion machine ;)
 

Mat

Member
and in a different way (it seems to me) with Mat.

I certainly dont come here to argue, though I can come over as like that I know. I just speak my mind as best and politest as I can and I know I mean well:)

I like it here lots, though its a bit heavy on the contrail stuff!


Of course we debunkers are easily sucked in, as they generally have some easily addressed points. But there does not seem to be any progress towards a greater shared understanding, and instead there's a constant flitting from one topic to the next, or from one vague piece of evidence to the next.

I think the "if you cant type it dont put it" principle from my last post would reduce the debate swamps that can develop. And other principles Im sure. This is your site Mick, make the rules how you want them, fine tuner them to be the optimal debunking environment online.


I have the feeling that I need to start offering some discussion rules beyond simply "be polite". Perhaps something like my "guide to debunking", but for the "debaters" as well as the debunkers.

Hard rules of language and conduct.

I like the idea of arguments being outlined in bullet points. Then they can be debunked and countered in a unified structure, kinda tractarian:


  1. Hypothesis: The moon landing was faked.
    1. Hypothesis: It was done in Hollywood.


You get the idea. Then you invite trolls like me to write their hypothesis for you and we to systematically debunk.

You could call the lists "metabunks".


Just ideas:)
 

Gunguy45

Senior Member.
Thanks to Mick for moving this.. I know it may be similar to another thread about how to deal with CT types.

I appreciate the prompt replies....it's giving me good insight. I've run into more than a few people in my adult life (and teen years) who will immediately take the opposite position once you have stated yours. I'm sorry...I just don't understand that attitude. If you believe vehemently in something...well alright, I'll accept that. But if it's just some sort of amusement....what a waste of time. It's pretty easy to see the difference. The DDS poster about amalgam fillings absolutely believes...and he does have some valid points... I respect that. Others just seem to be flavor of the week.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Hard rules of language and conduct.

I like the idea of arguments being outlined in bullet points. Then they can be debunked and countered in a unified structure, kinda tractarian:


  1. Hypothesis: The moon landing was faked.
    1. Hypothesis: It was done in Hollywood.

You get the idea. Then you invite trolls like me to write their hypothesis for you and we to systematically debunk.

I like to guide, rather than rule. It's bad enough treading the line of politeness enforcement, let alone having to judge if the use of bullets is appropriate :)
 

Mat

Member
I like to guide, rather than rule. It's bad enough treading the line of politeness enforcement, let alone having to judge if the use of bullets is appropriate :)

I was thinking more guidelines than rules. Let them evolve. I assume you believe in the power of evolution?:p

So how would you do it optimally. You have stated the problem, how would you fine tune the conventions in your forum to make it optimum for good debate between a variety of methods and attitudes?

Mat
 

Spongebob

Active Member
You have stated the problem,
Mat

Where did Mick state a problem?

I would finer tune it by insisting that a specific point be made within any single post.

Obfuscation and deliberate trolling/wasting time could be abolished more easily.


edit:
between a variety of methods and attitudes?

Case in point...
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
One should also remember that this a relatively small forum. It started as an expansion of the comment sections on contrailscience.com, and has a significant bias towards debunking chemtrails and related topics. It gets about 1,500 unique visitors a day, 1,400 of which are new, from search traffic. There's only about 100 members who have posted more than once.

So it's a niche forum, and as it's my fiefdom, it's something of a salon.

My point is that I'm trying to be something particular here. A polite forum of honest fact based and efficient debunking. I'm not trying to be an open platform for people to ramble on at length in the interests of "debate".

But I'm also against censorship. So I've tended to fail in the not-letting-people-ramble-on department. But the "perpetual motion" threads of endless but-what-ifs have indicated that I perhaps need to encourage people to focus a little more.
 

Spongebob

Active Member
One should also remember that this a relatively small forum. It started as an expansion of the comment sections on contrailscience.com, and has a significant bias towards debunking chemtrails and related topics. It gets about 1,500 unique visitors a day, 1,400 of which are new, from search traffic. There's only about 100 members who have posted more than once.

So it's a niche forum, and as it's my fiefdom, it's something of a salon.

My point is that I'm trying to be something particular here. A polite forum of honest fact based and efficient debunking. I'm not trying to be an open platform for people to ramble on at length in the interests of "debate".

But I'm also against censorship. So I've tended to fail in the not-letting-people-ramble-on department. But the "perpetual motion" threads of endless but-what-ifs have indicated that I perhaps need to encourage people to focus a little more.

You are impeccable with your politeness policy Mick.

I think Jay and others might be worth consulting with respect to how far annoying, deliberate manipulation/obfuscation should reasonably be allowed (if at all!)
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
You are impeccable with your politeness policy Mick.

I think Jay and others might be worth consulting with respect to how far annoying, deliberate manipulation/obfuscation should reasonably be allowed (if at all!)

I'm not very polite, and don't suffer fools very long before speaking very strongly, so I'm not one to be setting rules I'm likely to break myself.

I am trying my best to resist being sucked at by the time parasites.

It doesn't take long to see that if they aren't doing it on purpose, its having the same effect as if it were.
When a person refuses to make a positive statement it is a sign of weakness, when they dance around avoiding pointed questions you can see they are being cowardly, and when they refuse to concede when the facts against their implications become clear it is a sign of egotistical foolishness.
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
Avoiding making a clear point is a tactic that many conspiracy theorists have latched onto because when they do make a clear point it is so often easily rebutted, and they do nto like being shown up as wrong - a perfectly reasonable feeling of course - none of us do.

Many of them are unable to make the connection that if their points are wrong then maybe the CT is wrong - and rather than admitting this they set up a classic cognitive dissonance by abandoning clear arguments and moving onto innuendo, assertion, etc. to avoid having to face reality.

I admit I am wrong all the time... usually to someone who happened to find an error I made, but pointed it out rudely... which makes it very hard to admit TO THAT PERSON that you are wrong, but I still do it. The thing that erks me the most is when debunkers take the position that if you can't prove something then it did not happen... but then at the same time consider a lack of evidence (they cant prove or disprove) proof that something is debunked. They want it both ways!
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Debunkers to not take the position that if you do not have evidence then the "somethnig" did not happen (it does not require "proof") - they/we/I take het position that if you do nt have evidence to support your claim then you cannot claim that your claim is backed up by evidence!

by all means feel free to have an opinion that it is hapening, or to beleive it is happening - I will nto argue against that. I only argue against claims that evidence supports such a belief when it clearly doees not.

Geo-engineering may well be happening. WTC 7 may wellhavebeen blown up (pulled or whatever) - but the available verifiable evidence does not support such conclusions, therefore to claim them as "proved" or as "fact" is what gets debunked.
 
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SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
I have a thread or 2 around here with bullet points.... (the fluoride thread is one of them) and nobody has answered them yet, but they still have commented.
I think there should be a rule where if there is 1 or more bullet points, then you have to address at least one of those bullet points made within your reply to the thread/post and if you can't address it then the comment should be edited/deleted because I don't think the problem is stemming from a lack of bullet points here tbph. To be quite frank I see more distraction coming from the debunkers than the debaters, but that's just my own observations.
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
Debunkers to not take the position that if you do not have evidence then the "somethnig" did not happen (it does not require "proof") - they/we/I take het position that if you do nt have evidence to support your claim then you cannot claim that your claim is backed up by evidence!

by all means feel free to have an opinion that it is hapening, or to beleive it is happening - I will nto argue against that. I only argue against claims that evidence supports such a belief when it clearly doees not.

Geo-engineering may well be happening. WTC 7 may wellhavebeen blown up (pulled or whatever) - but the available verifiable evidence does not support such conclusions, therefore to claim them as "proved" or as "fact" is what gets debunked.

Good stuff. Only thing I would change is that not all of the ideas that the debaters are having, are claimed to be backed up by evidence. You must discuss whether something is possible before you can research it and find evidence. There is the cart, and then there is the horse. Let's make sure we get them in the right order. An idea could be that we only debunk bullet points, and only discuss debates... and we have some sort of system that helps us distinguish between the two. Of course it will mostly depend on the user following the rules hehe... but there are ways to deal with repeat offenders I am sure.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The thing that erks me the most is when debunkers take the position that if you can't prove something then it did not happen... but then at the same time consider a lack of evidence (they cant prove or disprove) proof that something is debunked. They want it both ways!

But I don't think that if you can't prove something then it did not happen.

I think that if there's no evidence that something happened, then there's not reason to believe it did.

Take the idea that there's deliberate high altitude spraying that results in long white lines. Now I'm not saying that it's not happening. I'm saying there's no evidence that it's happening.

Maybe it is happening. But there's no evidence that it is.

Debunking is NOT proving something is not happening. It's removing the bunk associated with a subject. With the chemtrail theory there's a lot of bunk. You can debunk that bunk. When you've finished debunking the subject, then what is left is not proof of chemtrails non-existence, it's simply a demonstration of the lack of evidence that they do exist.
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
While researching an unrelated issue I came across an article that throws a new perspective on why we argue. Some cognitive social scientists are suggesting that we are hard wired to win arguments and we are not necessarily motivated to seek truth or better our understanding. It seems there's is a tendency for us to be as logical or unreasonable as necessary in the pursuit of that victory. This might explain why some people's arguments can demonstrably wrong, factually incorrect yet they'll continue to argue the same points and even sometimes claim "victory".

If argumentative theory of reasoning is valid, it makes the philosophy behind blogs like metabunk valuable as a vehicle for trying to reach some common ground.

It's not about winning, it's about stripping the bunk from claims, one fact at a time.


arg.jpg
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1698090

Interesting stuff:
[/FONT]

[FONT=Trebuchet, Tahoma, Myriad Roman, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]So that would suggest that "reasoning" (i.e. complex arguments) is to be avoided in debunking, and the focus should be on simple facts. Break down the argument into its atomic constituents, and debunk those (if they are bunk). Do contrails persist or not? What are the actual numbers? Who said what, and when? What experiments can you perform yourself?

You can't debunk "there might be a secret plot with no easily visible effects". You can debunk "there's no reason for a plane to fly in circles". Focus on the latter type of claim, and present it in easily digestible chunks. Divide and conquer.
[/FONT]
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1698090

Interesting stuff:


So that would suggest that "reasoning" (i.e. complex arguments) is to be avoided in debunking, and the focus should be on simple facts. Break down the argument into its atomic constituents, and debunk those (if they are bunk). Do contrails persist or not? What are the actual numbers? Who said what, and when? What experiments can you perform yourself?

You can't debunk "there might be a secret plot with no easily visible effects". You can debunk "there's no reason for a plane to fly in circles". Focus on the latter type of claim, and present it in easily digestible chunks. Divide and conquer.
I think you are missing a major point . . . when one is asked to defend a position the problem with confirmation bias is intensified no matter the size of atom . . . while I agree with your approach in general I don't think it is the brass ring. . .
 

Spongebob

Active Member
I'm not very polite, and don't suffer fools very long before speaking very strongly, so I'm not one to be setting rules I'm likely to break myself.

I am trying my best to resist being sucked at by the time parasites.

It doesn't take long to see that if they aren't doing it on purpose, its having the same effect as if it were.
When a person refuses to make a positive statement it is a sign of weakness, when they dance around avoiding pointed questions you can see they are being cowardly, and when they refuse to concede when the facts against their implications become clear it is a sign of egotistical foolishness.

It doesn't take long to see that if they aren't doing it on purpose, its having the same effect as if it were.

Point 1 - Thanks Jay.

When a person refuses to make a positive statement it is a sign of weakness, when they dance around avoiding pointed questions you can see they are being cowardly, and when they refuse to concede when the facts against their implications become clear it is a sign of egotistical foolishness.

Point(s) 2 - Thanks Jay.

There are the terms...
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
Debunking is NOT proving something is not happening. It's removing the bunk associated with a subject. With the chemtrail theory there's a lot of bunk. You can debunk that bunk. When you've finished debunking the subject, then what is left is not proof of chemtrails non-existence, it's simply a demonstration of the lack of evidence that they do exist.

If you treat the issue as one theory, then you will disregard any alternative theories as irrelevant automatically.
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
It doesn't take long to see that if they aren't doing it on purpose, its having the same effect as if it were.

Point 1 - Thanks Jay.

When a person refuses to make a positive statement it is a sign of weakness, when they dance around avoiding pointed questions you can see they are being cowardly, and when they refuse to concede when the facts against their implications become clear it is a sign of egotistical foolishness.

Point(s) 2 - Thanks Jay.

There are the terms...

He already said that he should not be the one to make the rules because he has a hard time following them. I am remembering some posts that Jay made that made me think of Ron Paul just now and it gave me a little chuckle. "Dr. No"
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1698090

Interesting stuff:


So that would suggest that "reasoning" (i.e. complex arguments) is to be avoided in debunking, and the focus should be on simple facts. Break down the argument into its atomic constituents, and debunk those (if they are bunk). Do contrails persist or not? What are the actual numbers? Who said what, and when? What experiments can you perform yourself?

You can't debunk "there might be a secret plot with no easily visible effects". You can debunk "there's no reason for a plane to fly in circles". Focus on the latter type of claim, and present it in easily digestible chunks. Divide and conquer.


Yes, suggestive, isn't it?
Everyone's mind and therefore reasoning skills works differently however. Some people cannot connect the dots that others can connect and vice versa.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
If you treat the issue as one theory, then you will disregard any alternative theories as irrelevant automatically.


Indeed, it does not make sense to say that if I've determined one theory does not make sense then I'd ignore a different theory.

It's a bit of a straw man as well. I (and others) DON'T treat "issues" as single theories. We treat individual theories as single theories. What you call "issues" are usually loose labels applied to various different ideas. "Chemtrails" for example had hundreds, if not thousands, of different ideas. Some people think chemtrails are part of some kind of etheric war involving earth elementals called sylphs. Just because I point out that there's no real evidence to support such a theory, it does not then automatically follow that the idea that "chemtrails are the result of spraying aluminum to mess with organic farms" is bogus. That's a different theory.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
An observation:



This looks like a contest.

I was asking George to address a central point. Your characterization of it as a "contest" is meaningless. The goal is to mutually arrive at a greater shared understanding of reality, not "win" so the other person can "lose". It's a win-win. It's not a contest.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Everyone's mind and therefore reasoning skills works differently however. Some people cannot connect the dots that others can connect and vice versa.

Some people connect dots that should not be connected. And once connected, they had a hard time disconnecting them.

People are hard wired to see patterns and ascribe causes.
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
If you treat the issue as one theory, then you will disregard any alternative theories as irrelevant automatically.
Because of groupthink. I have shown with my many posts here that my beliefs are far from the norm of a typical chemtrail believer, yet the replies to me are typical of how a debunker would answer a normal chemtrail believer. I am just saying we should avoid focusing on the status quo. Especially if the status quo is considered a hoax by debunkers.

Your people coined the term, about 2000. If gays want to call themselves gay, don't blame anyone for speaking of them using their own terminology.

Background: When the term chemtrail began, practically every sort of atmospheric phenomenon which was observed had the prefix "chem" attached to it.
You had "Chem"bows, "Chem"domes, "Chem" fog, etc. Pretty soom Chemmie became a moniker used amongst the believer. This is pretty standard for small cults, they create a specialized jargon essentially only they can understand, it sets them apart from others and contributes to groupthink cohesiveness.

Ref: http://www.chemtrailcentral.com/msg62262.html

I don't think you understand at all what we have done here.
There is no need for further testing, they can do all the tests they want, all more testsing will do is to bring their averages down lower.
Please pay close attention to this accounting:

'Chemtrails' observations:
First, people saw something in the sky.
They never established the basic physics behind what they saw, thus thinking it was unsusual.
They accepted the statements of unreliable people and added layer upon layer of bunk.
After awhile, the bunk got repeated enough so that a herd of people accepted it.
They never looked back and re-examined the statements for accuracy.

Rain Water Samples
They proceeded to look specifically for several elements in rain water.
They never established a baseline norm for the elements they found.
They never looked back and re-examined the statements for accuracy.

Enter the debunkers.

We established the basic physics behind the trails they saw.
We established that what they saw was not historically out of the norm.
We found the bunk and outed the unreliable people spreading it.
We re-examined the statements for accuracy, found more bunk and outed those people spreading it.
We examined their rain water samples, compared them to baseline norms forty years old and found nothing out of the ordinary.
We examined the statements about the rain water samples, found the bunk and outed those people spreading it.
We began outreach to notify the bunk spreaders and their followers of what was going on.

SD, why make more tests to look at accumulations in ice cores or varves when current tests show nothing above the baseline norms established forty years ago?
Where did they go wrong?
Where did we go wrong?

To test the claims of a group, and then dismiss the need to do further testing on the subject because the group's claims have been debunked, is disregarding alternative theories as irrelevant automatically.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
To test the claims of a group, and then dismiss the need to do further testing on the subject because the group's claims have been debunked, is disregarding alternative theories as irrelevant automatically.

No it's not. It's pointing out that there is no currently known basis for someone to pay for tests.

Like if someone said we should test all the cats round here to see if they are robots because some of them are acting odd, and I debunk it by point out that cats have always acted odd, so really there's no reason to test them for anything.

Do you think there is a need for testing? Why? Just to set people's groundless fears to rest?
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
I debunk it by point out that cats have always acted odd, so really there's no reason to test them for anything.
Quite the opposite actually. You pointed out an article that determined the cats that people perceived might be robots cats actually had a disease... which they obviously discovered by doing tests. My point is made. High five?
 

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