Debunking just makes people believe the bunk - 'motivated reason'

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The problem with YouTube is that people select what they want to watch.

So they never would normally watch debunking videos. There needs to be something to lead them there. You can't just put up a video.

That's why I'm a hardass about people putting up videos here without descriptions. Nobody is going to watch an hour long video, it's quite rare they will watch ANY video. That's why if I want to illustrate a simple point I use 3 second animated GIFs. People are forced to look at it, and usually several times.

 
What is the point of debunking? Conspiracy theories raise questions and I think those questions should be answered even if they are theories or bunk if there is smoke there is fire and instead of going around debunking them we should be investigating and questioning these issues.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
What is the point of debunking? Conspiracy theories raise questions and I think those questions should be answered even if they are theories or bunk if there is smoke there is fire and instead of going around debunking them we should be investigating and questioning these issues.

Debunking IS investigating and questioning things.

Debunking is not arguing the opposite to something, that's just dumb debating. Debunking is figuring out what it right and what is wrong, promoting what is right, and exposing what is wrong (the bunk).
 

Bill

Senior Member.
What is the point of debunking? Conspiracy theories raise questions and I think those questions should be answered even if they are theories or bunk if there is smoke there is fire and instead of going around debunking them we should be investigating and questioning these issues.
We try to keep it simple by looking at the individual claims and questions associated with a conspiracy theory. We then look for the evidence that either supports or refutes each claim. Sometimes smoke is just that---smoke.

Unfortunately when a claim is proven to be in error we are frequently greeted with hostility by the believers. A lot of them have invested major amounts of time in supporting these theories without bothering to examine both sides of the issue and the supporting data. They don't want to be told they have invested the last XX years of their lives and in some cases a large amount of money promoting a fallacy. It's easier for them to call us shills or government agents than it is to accept the truth.

As Mick says debunking is not just saying no. It's examining the claims and seeing if they are supported by the facts.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
What is the point of debunking? Conspiracy theories raise questions and I think those questions should be answered even if they are theories or bunk if there is smoke there is fire and instead of going around debunking them we should be investigating and questioning these issues.
As my smoke detector will attest, there does not need to be a fire, for it to go off when popcorn is overcooked by 30 seconds.

Secondly, some people think they see "smoke" all the time, everywhere.
All through history, individuals have "snapped" and killed or wounded lot of innocents.
These days, some people can't view even the most straightforward act of violence without immediately finding some angle to label "smoke," and the new "false flag" is off and running.

In short, not every single damned assertion deserves to be treated as plausible.
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
It's not just about off the scale conspiracy theorists. I first looked at sceptic (I think "rational" might be a better word) sites looking for proof that theories I believed to be incorrect were just that. Nor is it just about science. A recent thread about Sandy Hook school being closed 5 years prior to 2012 was debunked (probably not for the first time) by referring to public records. That could be very useful in showing a casual viewer that they can and should dig a little deeper. That may be the purpose of debunking, and it's worth remembering that such sites can be informative, interesting and sometimes entertaining.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
It's not just about off the scale conspiracy theorists. I first looked at sceptic (I think "rational" might be a better word) sites looking for proof that theories I believed to be incorrect were just that. Nor is it just about science. A recent thread about Sandy Hook school being closed 5 years prior to 2012 was debunked (probably not for the first time) by referring to public records. That could be very useful in showing a casual viewer that they can and should dig a little deeper. That may be the purpose of debunking, and it's worth remembering that such sites can be informative, interesting and sometimes entertaining.
See, to me, the "closed 5 years" thing was just too silly to even research. Surely there exist literally thousands of snapshots taken
in or near that school by staff, parents, etc. over the 5 years mentioned. Don't get me wrong: good on those willing to take a few
minutes to put the lie to such an outrageous claim…but I just rolled my eyes at that one and asked "Really? That's the proof it was a hoax?" :rolleyes:


p.s. Your username and avatar definitely bring A Touch of Class to this place… :D
 
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Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
See, to me, the "closed 5 years" thing was just too silly to even research. Surely there exist literally thousands of snapshots taken
in or near that school by staff, parents, etc. over the 5 years mentioned. Don't get me wrong: good on those willing to take a few
minutes to put the lie to such an outrageous claim…but I just rolled my eyes at that one and asked "Really? That's the proof it was a hoax?" :rolleyes:


p.s. Your username and avatar definitely bring A Touch of Class to this place… :D

The level of "evidence" of certain conspiracy theories, over the years, has been outright dismal. One can't imagine why people would believe such utter nonsense, but they DO! It always comes down to a core belief in conspiracy and the insipid notion that debunkers/skeptics "...believe everything the government says!!!"
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
The problem with YouTube is that people select what they want to watch.

So they never would normally watch debunking videos. There needs to be something to lead them there. You can't just put up a video.

That's why I'm a hardass about people putting up videos here without descriptions. Nobody is going to watch an hour long video, it's quite rare they will watch ANY video. That's why if I want to illustrate a simple point I use 3 second animated GIFs. People are forced to look at it, and usually several times.


Well, you can't force people to come here and read either. It's astounding how so many chemmies have decided this site is DISINFO without ever having been here. Yes, those short gifs are fantastic!
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
The problem is how hostile they are to the concept of simple debunking - contrail science and this website have many examples of simple, non-preachy presentations that are just denied as 'dis-info' and now Mick is the target of vile hatred because of it.
In video format there's not going to be a change from that reaction at all, in fact they'd probably scream even louder about 'dis-info campaigns'.
Maybe a video using sesame street puppets will make them feel better about it, but I doubt it.

Thats possible.. but if Pat Robertson can be made to change his tune a bit, then there's hope for anyone I suppose. (RE: Bill Nye Debate, Creationist Museum opening)
 

Bill

Senior Member.
Thats possible.. but if Pat Robertson can be made to change his tune a bit, then there's hope for anyone I suppose. (RE: Bill Nye Debate, Creationist Museum opening)
It's hard to tell if Pat Robertson is changing his mind or just loosing it.
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
The mere title of "debunker" has been redefined to mean "someone who attacks ideas for no reason".
I suspect the perception that it's just someone who says no to everything is because of the sheer abundance of things that people feel compelled to believe that just lack a decent basis to justify ever saying 'yes' to.
Most of the really interesting things people feel drawn to believe are highly speculative or built on misconceptions, but that doesn't stop the search for novelty or excitement in finding such ideas.
There are interesting topics out there that can stand up to scrutiny but they are a little less 'fast food' than a lot of the conspiracy theories and pseudo-science and require more effort to digest.



Do we need a new term?

No, we know what it means.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I suspect the perception that it's just someone who says no to everything is because of the sheer abundance of things that people feel compelled to believe that just lack a decent basis to justify ever saying 'yes' to.
Most of the really interesting things people feel drawn to believe are highly speculative or built on misconceptions, but that doesn't stop the search for novelty or excitement in finding such ideas.
There are interesting topics out there that can stand up to scrutiny but they are a little less 'fast food' than a lot of the conspiracy theories and pseudo-science and require more effort to digest.





No, we know what it means.
It is not "us" that is the problem.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Do we need a new term?

No. The term "debunked" by itself has gained popular recognition for the correct use (having the falsehood or fraud of a claim exposed). Debunker has some negative connotations, but I think on balance it's the best word.

Besides, I can hardly just rename the site "metavestigate.org"
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
It's hard to tell if Pat Robertson is changing his mind or just loosing it.

Thats true Bill.. but even just a few years ago the very notion of ANY kind of evolution what so ever was heretical.. at least he's confirmed that SOME form of evolution is possible... its a baby step, but a step in the right direction
 

Bill

Senior Member.
No. The term "debunked" by itself has gained popular recognition for the correct use (having the falsehood or fraud of a claim exposed). Debunker has some negative connotations, but I think on balance it's the best word.

Besides, I can hardly just rename the site "metavestigate.org"
How about "Mick's Emporium of Truth".:)
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
You should never let the other side define you. Let them claim whatever they want.
I was asking the question not trying to suggest a change. There is a point that one does need to measure a goal in regards to its effective vocabulary. I am not wanting the change either.
 

Melbury's Brick

Senior Member.
See, to me, the "closed 5 years" thing was just too silly to even research. Surely there exist literally thousands of snapshots taken
in or near that school by staff, parents, etc. over the 5 years mentioned. Don't get me wrong: good on those willing to take a few
minutes to put the lie to such an outrageous claim…but I just rolled my eyes at that one and asked "Really? That's the proof it was a hoax?" :rolleyes:


p.s. Your username and avatar definitely bring A Touch of Class to this place… :D
"Sandy Hook closed" is just an example of non scientific debunking......but truth to tell you could roll your eyes at 99% of this stuff. Boston Marathon actors? 9/11 holograms? Plastic f****** snow?! Where IS the "this is too ludicrous to address" line? (The avatar was assigned by admin, but I like it...Not too fawlty) I'll get me coat.......
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
"Sandy Hook closed" is just an example of non scientific debunking......but truth to tell you could roll your eyes at 99% of this stuff. Boston Marathon actors? 9/11 holograms? Plastic f****** snow?! Where IS the "this is too ludicrous to address" line?

Its not a clear line, I like to think that in debunking even the sillier theories (and most people consider "chemtrails" to be very silly) you can introduce people somewhat to the need to question what they have been told.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
There is the bunker tactic of claiming that if you DON'T address some bit of fluff they have tossed out it's because you CAN'T prove it wrong. There really is no eliminating the hardcore bunk pushers.
 
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