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

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
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?

No, because nobody actually thought they might be robots, so they were not testing for the presence of robotics.

But we are drifting off topic. Your request for a high five is a good illustration of the kind of "point scoring" that I'm trying to get the forum away from. Topic drift is another thing I'd like to avoid.

I think as well as dissuading the debaters from their endless semantics, it would also be helpful to remind debunkers not the take the bait of following a breadcrumb trails of easily debunked claims into a labyrinth of irrelevance. I'm quite guilty of this myself.

See, we could easily keep arguing about if cats should be tested, and what cat test might mean. But that's not really advancing anything, is it? There was a fundamental point that you think debunkers are overly dismissive for broad theories after aspects of those theories are debunked, and I think that debunkers need to get more specific in order to communicate more effectively.

Perhaps, since your objection is likely to be a common one, debunkers should also make an effort to point out that they are not claiming that a claim being false proves a theory is false, but just that it proves the particular claim is false. Like:

"Maybe the government is spraying us, however, contrails have always persisted for hours when the weather conditions are right for that to happen (cold and humid aloft)".

or

"Maybe the WTC was destroyed by controlled demolition, but there was no audio of explosions during the collapse, and the failure of a single upper level floor would lead to exactly the type of near free-fall collapse that was observed, and is observed during verinage demolitions."
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
"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,"

-----------

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.

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.

Right. That's not how I interpreted your original response, cheers for clarifying.

If it's any use, as a new user of metabunk who's spent most of a week reading this forum, the main thing you demonstrate here is a more pedantic approach to online argument than some others, and a regular desire to play devils advocate and reframe the debates you participate in. Most likely it's me lacking the basic knowledge or just not getting it, but I'm at sea as to how your beliefs differ from those of other chemtrail debaters at the moment if I'm honest.

Make of this what you will.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Mick, are there a few simple rules for debaters to present their ideas anywhere here?

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/790-Some-questions-regarding-chemtrails-and-debunking

I ask, because this thread could do with the author being told they should post some evidence to go with their 7 questions.

Would save everybody a lot of googling if at least some people followed a good practice guide.

Yeah, that's a good example of a start to a thread that is ultimately going to be unporductive. There's 7 rather open ended questions along the lines of "isn't this significant", and the sum total of the supposedly suspicious items adds up to a strong case in the mind of the debater. Since each of the seven topics themselves contains enormous wiggle room for debaters, no conclusion can be reached.

In responding to such posts, I tend to just pick one part of it, and try to get them to actually address it.

But guidelines for debaters might be useful. The first thing that leaps to mind is "one question per thread". That helps keep conversations on track, but is also useful for if the same question is raised again.

Then there's the problem of open ended questions where the debater has clearly only done limited and one-sided research, like:

That suggests to me the need for concrete examples of claims. What are some of these tests?
 
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SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
Your request for a high five is a good illustration of the kind of "point scoring" that I'm trying to get the forum away from. Topic drift is another thing I'd like to avoid.

I wanted you high five me Mick, if you agreed that I made a point. I did not want the conspiracy theorists to all high five me because you got it wrong. There is no contest here. I said "Good job" when you had a good idea and made a good point to more than one of you debunkers on more than one occasion,. but not one of you debunkers has ever encouraged me like this even ONCE. I think that this shows the amount of character that I have is very high. I set a good example that others can learn from.

High five dude. Care to comment on my 7 claims (8 if you include ethics) that I made previous to this? I could use some input from someone here. I put some facts into the debate and now all I hear are crickets chirping!
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
Yeah, that's a good example of a start to a thread that is ultimately going to be unporductive. There's 7 rather open ended questions along the lines of "isn't this significant", and the sum total of the supposedly suspicious items adds up to a strong case in the mind of the debater. Since each of the seven topics themselves contains enormous wiggle room for debaters, no conclusion can be reached.

In responding to such posts, I tend to just pick one part of it, and try to get them to actually address it.

But guidelines for debaters might be useful. The first thing that leaps to mind is "one question per thread". That helps keep conversations on track, but is also useful for if the same question is raised again.

Then there's the problem of open ended questions where the debater has clearly only done limited and one-sided research, like:

That suggests to me the need for concrete examples of claims. What are some of these tests?

I'd agree some kind of preferred structure of submission is important, even if it just means those questions receive priority, which I expect they naturally would.

At present, there's nothing to stop debaters overwhelming you with spurious nonsense they've essentially plucked out of the air, and then muddying all the the useful information by trying to cast the debunkers as narrow minded / unwilling to entertain radical notions when it's dismissed as spurious nonsense they've plucked out of the air.
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
I got the best way to deal with this. It's called ignore. Posts from people who you think are wasting your time will not be shown. This will work for EVERYONE... EVERY single time. Debunk that.
 

SeriouslyDebatable

Active Member
There is a section of the forums that is for conspiracy theories. I assume that when conspiracy theorists posts there, that they think the conspiracy is real, and not just a theory. Either way, you debunkers, debunk their claims. The same type of forum could be had for real conspiracies. If theorists are knowingly posting in a "theory" section, then what is there other to do than debate? I made a thread for real conspiracies at least. Maybe some of the theories can be moved to a real conspiracy forum at some point in time when the particular conspiracy has been undebunked.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I am sure there is room for debunking some of the drivel that surrounds "real" conspiracies - why not in the General discussion forum?
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
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.
My comment answers all your points.
 

Duncan Kunz

New Member
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

Your mention of debating recalled me back to my tenure on ATS ten years ago, where we used to have moderated debates with set rules and a forum which could only be accessed by the two debating parties. Each debater would begin with an opening statement, would have three chances to provide additional evidence and/or rebut the other's points, and post a concluding statement. A panel of judges would then vote on who "won" the debate.

I doubt of the winning part would matter much, since this forum is biased toward science just like the other fora are biased toward conspiracy theologies. Nevertheless, people like me who regularly post on the Other Side could use these debates as something to provide a link to, and could provide anyone serious about finding out about both sides of a conspiracy a bit more information than the usual "go-to-hell-you-sick-shill-debunker-you" type of interplay we see on the conspiracy-boards.
 
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Jay Reynolds

Senior Member.
Your mention of debating recalled me back to my tenure on ATS ten years ago, where we used to have moderated debates with set rules and a forum which could only be accessed by the two debating parties. Each debater would begin with an opening statement, would have three chances to provide additional evidence and/or rebut the other's points, and post a concluding statement. A panel of judges would then vote on who "won" the debate.

I doubt of the winning part would matter much, since this forum is biased toward science just like the other fora are biased toward conspiracy theologies. Nevertheless, people like me who regularly post on the Other Side could use these debates as something to provide a link to, and could provide anyone serious about finding out about both sides of a conspiracy a bit more information than the usual "go-to-hell-you-sick-shill-debunker-you" type of interplay we see on the conspiracy-boards.
Nice to see you, Duncan. I think about our exploits from years ago often as I re-visit CTC looking at some of the history. I tried to engage the WIWATS crowd for a real debate like you suggested, they did respond, but only G. Edward Griffin was in favor of such a debate, none of the cast of characters were in favor, even though they had claimed no one would debate them. Again, nice to see you are getting along.
 

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