Debunking People - Guidelines

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
You'll notice that in discussing a topic that is associated with bunk (chemtrails, for example), you keep hearing the same names crop up over and over again as people encourage you to "do some research". These people, who often have somewhat dubious qualifications, are the promoters of bunk.

I've always been against the practice of "ad hominem" attacks, where the arguer attempts to negate the truth of a claim by attacking the person making the claim. But that's not what this particular forum is about. It's about two things: A) debunking a person, and B) demonstrating that their argument from authority (not very convincing at best) is actually an argument from false authority.

Who are the people that need debunking? There are a number of criteria that can show a person needs debunking:
  • Appeal to authority - Is someone basing their belief in some bunk solely on the claims of this person? If you debunk one, you debunk the other.
  • False or misleading credentials - Does the person claim to be a doctor or a professor, but it's in a totally unrelated subject, like art history, when discussing meteorology? Is their degree a bit vague, or seems like it's mail order? Are they an "alternative" doctor passing off as a real doctor?
  • Immune to corrections - Does the person make false statements, and then when they are show to be false, continue to make those statements, or not issue a correction?
  • Conflicts of Interests - Would the person benefit from promoting the bunk? Do they sell something that proposes to treat something that they are promoting bunk about? Does their web-site have adverts for fear-based marketing?
Note there can always be legal issues when discussing living people on the internet. Make sure that anything you say about a person can be backed up with references, and always included those references in the article. No hearsay or gossip. You can always state your opinion about a person, but you cannot make unsubstantiated claims about a person. If you are unsure what you should say, or how to say it, refer to Wikipedia's "Biographies of Living Persons", as a default position.

Start a new thread for each person. Title the thread "Debunked: <person's name>", such as: "Debunked: Alex Jones". This helps the thread show up in search engines.

Feel free to start a thread even if you don't have much information about a person. Just start it, and other people can add to the thread. If you just want to make a suggestion, then post it in this thread, and I can promote it to a separate thread if needed.

If you are a person who is being discussed on this forum, then feel free to post or request corrections, or email them to me: metabunk@gmail.com
 

Jay Reynolds

Senior Member
Start a new thread for each person. Title the thread "Debunked: <person's name>", such as: "Debunked: Alex Jones". This helps the thread show up in search engines.
This is a good idea.
It may sound repetitive, but I have stopped using MJM and am instead using Michael J. Murphy to maximize
relevant search results.

It is also very good advice to clearly separate your personal opinion from what you say are facts.

Thanks for these guidelines, Mick. I'll do my best.....
 
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