How do you think about debunking?

How do you approach the official story from the get-go?

  • It's absolutely true, no matter what.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • It's true as long as it's plausible.

    Votes: 1 5.6%
  • It's true until someone provides enough evidence for me to change my position or dig deeper.

    Votes: 5 27.8%
  • I'm skeptical, but leaning towards believing it.

    Votes: 3 16.7%
  • I'm skeptical & can't say one way or another before researching all sides.

    Votes: 9 50.0%
  • I'm skeptical, but leaning towards it being false.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I highly doubt it, but I'll change my mind if I see evidence behind it/other plausible explanations.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I'll never trust it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I don't know what to think until someone I trust comments on it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • I don't know what to think until I hear anyone comment on it.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    18

Debillw3

New Member
I've been reading Metabunk for a while, and over the past few days, I've noticed what I consider to be an interesting topic for discussion. So I figured I'd design a poll and let it go from there. (I know the two questions are different, but they're essentially the same, and this one fit the poll better.)

Also, I'd ask that you read all the options before choosing, as some have only slight variations between them.

Lastly, can we please avoid something like a false-consensus bias and get 100% honesty?

Thanks!
 

Rico

Senior Member.
I chose the middle option. To give scientific thinking the greatest respect, you can't have too much bias.
 

Belfrey

Senior Member.
I feel that the question itself is loaded. I don't base whether I believe an explanation on whether it is "official" or not.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I feel that the question itself is loaded. I don't base whether I believe an explanation on whether it is "official" or not.
I agree with this. In most cases it's not about an "official" position, but once which common sense or scientific intuition suggests is true. So I would say I am skeptical, but lean towards the obvious (not official) position. Of course, in some cases, the obvious answer isn't the correct one.

I think the "official position" line is a biased one, usually trotted out by conspiracy theorists who seem to base their viewpoint on the idea that nobody can work things out for themselves, and instead just have to take on trust what people tell them, whether that is "official government sources" (which the sheep believe) or "truthers" like InfoWars or Alex Jones (which the awake people believe).
 

Debillw3

New Member
But how often is the official position not the most obvious?

The conspiracy theories, at least the mainstream ones that get the most traction, are often quite convoluted and feature unnecessarily complicated plans & beliefs.

Perhaps my wording is too general, but almost always, if not always, the official explanation of events is both the first one we hear and equally, if not more, plausible than its conspiracy counterparts.

I have no shame in saying that I fit into the third option. If I see no reason to doubt it, I won't. And I'm not going to waste my time researching the Greenbergs or the Bilderbergs or whatnot just so I can say that I looked at both sides of the issue before making up my mind.

The way I see it, if the official story is plausible, then it's up to those who say it's not to do the heavy lifting before I even consider believing their position.

I'm inclined to believe that most of you actually fit more into the third category as well--unless you spent time looking up exactly how it might be possible for the Queen of England to be a reptile alien monster and all the evidence behind it to see just how sensible it is.

I think a lot of Metabunkers (likely more than will admit it) are more likely to err on the side of the official story than not.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
I think a lot of Metabunkers (likely more than will admit it) are more likely to err on the side of the official story than not.
Well yes, but we don't accept the position BECAUSE it's the official position, but because it is the only one that makes any sense.

Example: I have debated a lot with people who claim the moon landings were a hoax. A common argument from them is "You only believe it because NASA/the government/the TV says so!". Well, no. I believe it because, having looked at the evidence, I literally cannot see any way that the Apollo missions could have been faked. It would have been quite literally impossible to do so.

I'm in the fourth category generally - before looking at any of the evidence, it could at least be kind of plausible that a moon mission could be faked - but in the third category when the "official" position is plain common sense.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
I think it really depends on WHAT story you are talking about.

Any individual event, the FIRST time we hear about it will be a preliminary news report, that will be usually a little sketchy as information is coming in. I would probably trust the basics of that unless something about struck me as being suspicious.
A Malaysian plane went missing, Someone shot people in a school, there was a bomb at the Boston Marathon, a plane hit the WTC, followed by a second one that immediately changed how the event was perceived. Those kind of things.

I would tend to trust the basics of what is reported with more details to be filled in later. There isn't usually an "official story" until much later, although there are certainly some people who would immediately think " I bet that is a false flag operation so Obama can take our guns away" and immediately start looking for holes in the "official Story" that is nothing more than preliminary reports that are subject to change as more data is available.
While it may be true that governments use the media to spread the story they want, I do not believe they are in bed to the point that a completely false prepared original report is made.

I know some CTers will say the Main Stream Media IS the govt, thus making the first reports "official" but I don;t agree with that and so that is why I too feel the question is loaded.

If I stick to the first reports, the BASIC facts I trust unless it appears really implausible or unless someone comes up with some really good evidence to suggest otherwise. Once the media moves onto blind speculation,( for example, the Anders Breivik incident being blamed on Muslim terrorists by the New York Times before any real info had come in) this becomes MUCH less trustworthy and I generally ignore it.

The thing about debunking, is that I would pretty much be trusting the basic facts of an incident but then I will see stuff posted all over FB etc saying THE TRUTH about X, and it is usually clearly bunk from the outset.

When you show that this assertion is bunk, a true believer will have to attack you and accuse you of being stupid and a sheep and always trusting the govt or just being a shill etc when all you have actually done is to point out what is WRONG with the assertion. If they were REAL truth seekers, they would take this on board and re-evaluate their position.

Quite often on Metabunk, where someone comes along with a DEBUNK THIS!!! post and claims this site is spreading lies for THEM, debunkers, particularly Mick, will simply ask them to point out what it was they said wrong and why it was wrong. That's usually when they make a flame post and disappear.

I often don't necessarily pay too much attention to a story until all the bunk comes out.
The Sandy Hook shooting was a terrible tragedy for all involved, but it wasn't just not the first shooting of its kind, it was not even the first mass shooting in the USA that year,(13th of 14 according to the Washington Post:http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/nation/us-mass-shootings-2012/ so without all the bunk surrounding it, I am afraid that I , like many others would have forgotten about it by now.

It is very useful though to try and see the whole picture, and look at everythign from as many sides as you can.
This advert for a newspaper was brilliant at summing up how our preconceived notions about something or someone can effect how we view a situation if we aren't careful:
 

Debillw3

New Member
Apologies for not being clearer, but I felt it was unnecessary to get into the discussion of "do you believe it because the government told you to", which would yield an almost unanimous response.

The question wasn't about the reason, it was about how you approach the debunking.

I'll be honest about my thought processes. If the first thing I hear seems plausible, then that's what I'll believe until I'm shown (enough) evidence to the contrary. I think a lot of people, if not a majority, are like that, unless they want to be purposely contrary.

Since the first plausible thing I hear in pretty much every case is the "official explanation", that's what I'll believe until I'm shown otherwise. But the same would hold true if it was Gary from down the street's theory. The threshold for plausibility remains the same, no matter who's presenting the theory. It's just that the official account is less likely to have holes and more likely to meet that burden than Gary's theory.

Then, once I have my belief, any evidence to the contrary is met with skepticism and a slightly higher burden of proof. If it's met, I'll change my mind, and the burden of proof for contrary evidence again rises. And so on.

I'm willing to change my mind with evidence, but I am more likely than not to agree with the official story (since, at the very least, it was expertly crafted to meet the standards of my initially low burden of proof), but I'm not going to say that I have an open mind or that I look into things before making it up.

(I'm still struggling with the emotional aftermath of the "Pluto" and "Coriolis-equator" things.)
 

Debillw3

New Member
I disagree in general with the existence of two things you mentioned:
1) "the official story"--I used it here as its the colloquialism with which were all likely familiar, so it was the easiest way to phrase things, but in most situations, I don't believe such a thing exists.

2)"the [mainstream] media". There's no such thing as "the media", mainstream or otherwise. To relate it to my last post, if you attempt to convince me of you position by referring to "the media", "the mainstream media" or "the liberal media", you have automatically failed to meet my burden of proof and I will just tune you out.

I know that's not your point or the topic at hand, but I figured I might as well take this as an opportunity to expand upon my earlier posts.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
2)"the [mainstream] media". There's no such thing as "the media", mainstream or otherwise. To relate it to my last post, if you attempt to convince me of you position by referring to "the media", "the mainstream media" or "the liberal media", you have automatically failed to meet my burden of proof and I will just tune you out.
Agreed. I work for "the mainstream media". Believe it or not (!) we are not told what to publish by shadowy government figures. Of course the angle of the coverage is set to some extent by the editor's political beliefs and/or affiliations, but not to the level of censoring or fabricating news - and any reputable media source is careful to keep editorial comment separate from factual reporting. And, as a copy editor and fact-checker, I obviously try to be as unbiased and accurate as possible.
 

Debillw3

New Member
Agreed. I work for "the mainstream media". Believe it or not (!) we are not told what to publish by shadowy government figures. Of course the angle of the coverage is set to some extent by the editor's political beliefs and/or affiliations, but not to the level of censoring or fabricating news - and any reputable media source is careful to keep editorial comment separate from factual reporting. And, as a copy editor and fact-checker, I obviously try to be as unbiased and accurate as possible.
Sensationalism is a serious SERIOUS problem these days, but what people mistake for political bias or this or that can often be explained equally well with that. Same goes for claims of stories getting buried.

I disagree with a lot of what media outlets do these days (I've been guilty of it myself--pushing what sells to make a name for myself), but unlike a lot of critics, I at least understand it.

 

deirdre

Senior Member.
The question wasn't about the reason, it was about how you approach the debunking.
Debunking isn't about believing. Aside from personal opinion, The story is both true and false until the facts are checked (ie the bunk is removed).

My first impressions of a story are mostly based on the topic and the source. (assuming we are using comparable 'stories' ..meaning they all 'sound' reasonable and plausible.)

Do I believe all those cutie scientists at NASA when they talk space mission stuff? Yes, generally.
Do I believe NASA when they are talking funding and budgets? :)

Do I believe media personnel during tragedies, when they are reporting and the shock is in their voice? Dependent on their body language.. generally, yes.

Do I believe politicians? Q: How do you know a politician is lying? A: His lips are moving.


Most stories I don't care enough about to be consciously skeptical. But my answer to your poll above would change with every specific example you could give.

ps. this answer is confusing "I'm skeptical, but leaning towards it being false". <doesn't skeptical mean I don't believe it?
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
I dutifully read through all 10 options, as requested, and tried to find one that seemed true to me.

But none did.

The single biggest factor, is of course, whether or not the the story seems plausible
given all the other things I believe (some would say "know") to be true.

First reports are usually not remotely "official" and usually come from for-profit "news"
sources that are more concerned with being "First!!!" than getting the details right.

I'm probably paraphrasing Al Franken, but I don't think most news is lousy because
it's ideologically driven/partisan (though some clearly is, and needs to be taken with an extra grain of salt)
but just lazy. It's easier and cheaper for most "news" sources to just repeat what someone else said.
Newspapers have slashed investigative reporters, so we have (because of internet portals) the illusion
of more news than ever, but actually less true sources of original news than we had 20 years ago.

I guess some people (incl. a lot of CTs) would then label the lazy story that keeps getting repeated
"The Official Story" but I don't think there's really anything "official" the overwhelming majority of the time.


p.s. I'm guessing Efftup probably said something similar, before I did...but I lacked the patience today to read all through his post.

Nun of the above.png

 
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Efftup

Senior Member.
Of course there is such a thing in its broadest sense. Being British I will most likely get my news from the BBC or the ITV. They are both media outlets and both mainstream , as opposed to before it's news or whatever which are definitely NOT mainstream. The people who normally use the term mainstream media are far more likely to trust before it's news fantastical not backed up or sourced outpourings over the BBC, for example.

In the context I said it, I used the term as what a CT believer would use in that they think it's one big thing controlled by the one big government that secretly runs everything. In that sense it does not exist at all. One could refer to the "liberal media" in the sense that outlets with a similar political leaning are likely to take a similar stance on something, but no more than that. They are certainly not in cahoots with each other. Especially as 2 newspapers with the same political slant are actually fighting over the same readership.

When it comes to debunking, unless there is bunk there is no need to debunk anything.
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
The question wasn't about the reason, it was about how you approach the debunking.
No it wasn't. I think you have no idea how loaded your question was. Maybe you should have asked if people believe what they hear on, say, NBC evening news? Is that "official" news? Hardly.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I don't like any of the options sorry - I'm more "If any explanation is reasonably plausible then I'm willing to spend by limited time looking at it until persuaded otherwise" kind of guy.

for debunking specifically I look at specific elements of any claim and see whether they "hold water" in their own right.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Bah you guys and your non answers. Now I feel like an idiot for answering :p
Au contraire, Rico: There were exactly 10 options. When you said: "I chose the middle option"
we all knew that you meant that no-man's land, between options 5 & 6; your philosophical Switzerland.
Very zen, Rico...very zen.
 

Debillw3

New Member
Of course there is such a thing in its broadest sense.
No there's not.

There are such things as "mainstream media outlets", but there's no "mainstream media".

Each outlet, regardless of corporate ownership, has its own management, its own staff, its own goals, and is its own entity.

You can call it "splitting hairs", but the difference is an important one.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
There are such things as "mainstream media outlets", but there's no "mainstream media".
That happens to be an over-used phrase, by a particular segment of the United States partisan political spectrum.

But, agree. Still, this hardly comports with the topic, here (?) It is broad, and proper de-bunking relies on specific instances, not a wide spectrum.
 

Debillw3

New Member
Still, this hardly comports with the topic, here (?)
It's an offshoot of the conversation. This is "General Discussion".

Plus it applies to those equating my question (using terms I explained already) with "do you trust everything you see on the news?"
 

derwoodii

Senior Member.
I'm skeptical & can't say one way or another before researching all sides

a lot of my suspicion arises by story's content, timing, presentation, narrators delivery & music theme
 

Bill

Senior Member.
I've been reading Metabunk for a while, and over the past few days, I've noticed what I consider to be an interesting topic for discussion. So I figured I'd design a poll and let it go from there. (I know the two questions are different, but they're essentially the same, and this one fit the poll better.)

Also, I'd ask that you read all the options before choosing, as some have only slight variations between them.

Lastly, can we please avoid something like a false-consensus bias and get 100% honesty?

Thanks!
Sorry, but I don't think this is best discussed as a poll. I'll acknowledge up front that makes me a pain in the pick your body part.

Since almost everything in the news is almost immediately contested by someone that thinks the truth is being hidden I rarely have time to believe what you refer to as the official story from what you call the main stream media. My approach/thinking varies depending on the topic area (science, history, current events) the claims being made (aliens did it, NWO order did it, random person did it) and source (conspiracy website, established news source, political party). I do tend look to established sources of information because they have developed guidelines for verifying information over their history that many of the newer web based sources seem to feel are unnecessary but even they are usually just a starting point that to learn the original sources. I have not found one approach that works for everything but my biggest challenge involves remembering that I have my own biases that will effect my research.

Science is the one area where the result will be the same despite my biases, fears or desires. There are people that will pick and choose scientific fact to support their personal beliefs/ideologies but they are easy to weed out. That's why I love me some science.
 

Efftup

Senior Member.
Answered in an earlier post.
it wasn't really answered very clearly. The original poll says
How do you approach the official story from the get-go?


but in a reply to my post you also said the "official Story" doesn't really exist.
You also said that the first story we here is almost always "The official story" but that would basically mean that the question DOES then mean "How do you approach the story you hear/see on a "mainstream" well established, news outlet? as I certainly don't get government bulletins posted through my letterbox and don;t know anyone who does.

Bill, it was Me that mentioned the phrase "mainstream media" and Debillw3 said that didn't exist.(exactly, in a splitting hair way)

sometimes though, something is such a non story that the first you hear of it IS in some exaggerated click bait or shared facebook post.
for example, the first I heard that a woman called Sophia Stewart had sued the Wachowski siblings for the Matrix, claiming they had plagiarised her work was in just such a FB share, of course claiming the corperate owned media were keeping this story out of the news. (they claimed she had won her case)
It seemed like obvious bunk to me so a little digging showed where the story originated and that it just keeps cropping up every so often in click bait and FB shares every year or two.
 

Analyst

Member
Personally my attitude to news stories depends on my interest in them, and to be honest I have very little invested in many of them.
My attitude to 'event' stories, is that initially reports are sketchy and that details will tend to be fuller and more accurate over time (with errors corrected/discarded). If anything catches my attention, it's usually rather obvious, the authorities at odds with expert consensus, or too many statements bandied around from unnamed sources.
I think if my attitude to news was to first wonder "What are the covering up?", or something of the like, I'd probably start to wonder about my mental health (if I caught myself doing it). Now to some that might make me seem a very trusting soul, but that would be way off the mark (I'm generally called a cynic, but I prefer 'realist').
To me, many of the CTs are just so ludicrously motiveless (not to mention implausible), that you need to already be assuming a dystopian fantasy world (as opposed to the real one) before you could entertain them.
Maybe it's because I was younger and it was a more literary time, but conspiracy theories just seemed so much more grounded & plausible back in the '80s, they merged with consensus reality and didn't have as many spelling mistakes.
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Okay, I think there's a semi-consensus that the original question just kind of misses the mark.
(to put it gently...as is my [delicate] way)

But I did just have an idea--apologies if anyone already said it; I'm too tired to read through all posts again--but
to amend my "Nun of the Above" post (#13), re. the "plausible given all the other things I believe" angle,
I find that if I hear surprising news over the radio, while I'm out driving in my truck, it seems much less credible
than if I first encounter it at home, where it can be reinforced by video. Thus, where I happen to be when the news first reaches me actually has a profound impact on how believable it initially seems...hmmmm..."nun" of the above... :rolleyes:
 
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moderateGOP

Active Member
But how often is the official position not the most obvious?

The conspiracy theories, at least the mainstream ones that get the most traction, are often quite convoluted and feature unnecessarily complicated plans & beliefs.

Perhaps my wording is too general, but almost always, if not always, the official explanation of events is both the first one we hear and equally, if not more, plausible than its conspiracy counterparts.

I have no shame in saying that I fit into the third option. If I see no reason to doubt it, I won't. And I'm not going to waste my time researching the Greenbergs or the Bilderbergs or whatnot just so I can say that I looked at both sides of the issue before making up my mind.

The way I see it, if the official story is plausible, then it's up to those who say it's not to do the heavy lifting before I even consider believing their position.

I'm inclined to believe that most of you actually fit more into the third category as well--unless you spent time looking up exactly how it might be possible for the Queen of England to be a reptile alien monster and all the evidence behind it to see just how sensible it is.

I think a lot of Metabunkers (likely more than will admit it) are more likely to err on the side of the official story than not.

I chose the second option, but I do research topics that I am passionate about. I also research too good to be true theories and most things that go viral and how they got to be that way. So why I don't research about the possibility of the Queen being an alien. I DO research where stories originate and how they transform into conspiracy theories. The history of a conspiracy theory is a fascinating thing. Especially the Illuminati. Not the fake history of the Illuminati mind you. The history of the actual theory of the Illuminati.
 

Whitebeard

Senior Member.
I reluctantly chose the middle option as a sort of closest fit.

I always listen to the 'mainstream' news, normally the BBC, either news24 or radio 5 live, to get a general background feel of whats going on in the world, but I am also aware that the BBC, whilst not exactly state controlled is liable to 'bend in political the wind' so to speak. At the moment with the BBC's charter up for renewal over the next 3 years, proposals are being mooted to replace the license fee with a subscription and in the wake of the whole Jimmy Saville and Yew Tree inquiry scandals, ''aunty' is currently playing a very straight bat and trying hard to be balanced whilst not offending anyone or triggering governmental wrath, not an easy thing to do. Then I always look for alternatives to check facts if i feel a story needs a more in depth look. This will involve a surf of various news papers (normally on line editions), a check of the alternative and indie media, and foreign news sources as well. Try to get an over all picture, then if facts are disputed, start applying Occams razor to pick out the truth from the cattle droppings.

It is important to remember that EVERYONE has an agenda, from the BBC trying to keep their budget levels up, via News International and the others following their owners political agenda and keeping their advertisers sweet to the likes of info-wars and The Peoples Voice who are looking for ways to smash the system and / or expose the NWO. And all media will always play to the ideals, aspirations and political beliefs of its core consumers, be they white rightwing middle class Daily Mail readers, anarcho-socialists who read Socialist Worker and Class War, Before It's News truthers or the Metro reading 'man on the Clapham omnibus.'

To give a hypothetical example

I turn on the new and the BBC is breaking the story of a plane crash, initial reports say Boeing 787 has come down somewhere, lots of dead people, as mentioned else where in this thread, lots of shocked sounding reporters, footage of burning aircraft parts, crying relatives at terminal... Yup thats a plane crash, nothing to dispute there. And as I've hd a fascination with things that fly, drive sail or run on rails since I was a pre-schooler I'll follow the story.

Fast forward a few weeks and the initial crash report comes out, Pilot Error. Very possible... but didn't the 787 have trouble with battery packs and in flight fires a while back? Time to check a few other sources, whats the airline industry saying, what are other pilots and their trade association saying? Is it pilot error or was there an underlying cause, (Remember the DC-10 and the cargo doors, or the early mark DH Comets?) That will normally lead to the real truth sooner or later, one way or the other, which then so called 'mainstream' media will eventually report on.

Then comes the whole conspiracy theory storm (ok this stage often starts as stage one is happening, but its the last thing I tend to look at.) 787 crash ordered by Obama, 787 shot down by Elvis in UFO.... you know the sort of claims. And yes I do look at them and check their evidence, on the off chance one of them may stand up to more than slightest prod of logic and reason.

At that point I make up my own mind what the truth is and isn't.
 
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