The flaw in using the "do your own research" call in an argument without providing a starting point.

Henkka

Banned
Banned
if you'd like to engage in a career in research, you should pick a field that suits your interests
No, I mean about this particular issue... Should I melt some aluminum myself? Or is it okay if I just watch videos of other people doing it? Or what?
 

econ41

Senior Member
No, I mean about this particular issue... Should I melt some aluminum myself? Or is it okay if I just watch videos of other people doing it? Or what?
Why do you need to know what it was?

Try being clear as to your goal. STOP conflating two distinct issues. Are you interested in the molten metal because it could be partial proof of CD? Or merely out of curiosity?
Either way there is a hole in your logic.
If you are trying to prove CD the extant hypotheses (including the "official version" AKA NIST) "prove" the collapse without needing molten metal. They don't rely on it. So you cannot use it to falsify those hypotheses and you will need to present your own hypothesis explaining collapse and showing that it needed molten metal.

And, if your interest is mere curiosity, why not simply accept that (a) it could easily be some mix of Al, Pb or Zn given the amounts of those known to be present and in the presence of sufficient heat/temperature to melt them and (b) it is highly improbable that it could be steel given the almost certain impossibility of a heat source. AND DON'T fall for the circular logic trap of suggesting "thermXte" because you have already disposed of the dead end leading to CD.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
No, I mean about this particular issue... Should I melt some aluminum myself? Or is it okay if I just watch videos of other people doing it? Or what?
if you don't know anything about this kind of research, you probably shouldn't be doing it
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
And, if your interest is mere curiosity, why not simply accept that (a) it could easily be some mix of Al, Pb or Zn given the amounts of those known to be present and in the presence of sufficient heat/temperature to melt them
Because Al, Pb or Zn don't look like that as far as I know? And nobody has really demonstrated otherwise. If such a demonstration existed, I'm pretty sure I would have seen it already, as I do think I've "done my research" to a reasonably sufficient degree on this.

Like if a UFO person comes on this forum convinced of pyramid UFOs, the very first thing you guys will do is send him that video of Mick West demonstrating that it's actually just bokeh. But for this aluminum thing, you get nothing, because no such video exists.
 

Landru

Moderator
Staff member
Why do you need to know what it was?

Try being clear as to your goal. STOP conflating two distinct issues. Are you interested in the molten metal because it could be partial proof of CD? Or merely out of curiosity?
Either way there is a hole in your logic.
If you are trying to prove CD the extant hypotheses (including the "official version" AKA NIST) "prove" the collapse without needing molten metal. They don't rely on it. So you cannot use it to falsify those hypotheses and you will need to present your own hypothesis explaining collapse and showing that it needed molten metal.

And, if your interest is mere curiosity, why not simply accept that (a) it could easily be some mix of Al, Pb or Zn given the amounts of those known to be present and in the presence of sufficient heat/temperature to melt them and (b) it is highly improbable that it could be steel given the almost certain impossibility of a heat source. AND DON'T fall for the circular logic trap of suggesting "thermXte" because you have already disposed of the dead end leading to CD.
This is not a 9/11 thread.
 

AmberRobot

Senior Member
if you don't know anything about this kind of research, you probably shouldn't be doing it
And likely if one is not trained in that research or research in general it will be very difficult to control for systematic errors in your findings and the probability is that you would get a meaningless result.
 

econ41

Senior Member
This is not a 9/11 thread.
Understood. But the error in logic that I attempted to correct is on topic. @Henkka does not identify a "starting point" for his research. I attempted to explain why his logic was in error using his example. I doubted, still doubt, that the explanation would be successful if expressed in generic terms.
 

Rory

Closed Account
Since we're well away from the OP (if we were ever on it) I assume I'm safe with this slight divergence: the CTist I know in real life has stopped saying "do your own research" and now invariably comes back with "who fact checks the fact checkers?"

There's a wonderful and impenetrable circularity to that.

He also says that "they" are funded, indirectly, by Bill Gates.

Walter Annenberg Funding from Bill and Linda Gates finance fact checker. If that doesn't sound fishy I don't know what is.

Case closed, I guess.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Since we're well away from the OP (if we were ever on it) I assume I'm safe with this slight divergence: the CTist I know in real life has stopped saying "do your own research" and now invariably comes back with "who fact checks the fact checkers?"

There's a wonderful and impenetrable circularity to that.

He also says that "they" are funded, indirectly, by Bill Gates.
Walter Annenberg Funding from Bill and Linda Gates finance fact checker. If that doesn't sound fishy I don't know what is.
Content from External Source
Case closed, I guess.
let's just debunk that real quick, for completeness
Article:
The Annenberg Center is a political advocacy group that owns FactCheck.org.

The APPC was established in 1993 by Walter and Leonore Annenberg and its ongoing funding comes from an endowment established for it at that time by the Annenberg Foundation.

I am reading this to mean that factcheck.org is financially independent.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
let's just debunk that real quick, for completeness
Article:
The Annenberg Center is a political advocacy group that owns FactCheck.org.

The APPC was established in 1993 by Walter and Leonore Annenberg and its ongoing funding comes from an endowment established for it at that time by the Annenberg Foundation.

I am reading this to mean that factcheck.org is financially independent.

Then I used my bunk to counter his bunk and we got crossbunkification!
The Annenberg Foundation receives grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.[3]
Content from External Source
-- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annenberg_Foundation
where [3] is ``^ "Committed Grants | Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation". '' pointing to https://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2012/10/OPP1066709/ which shows no confirmatory content in my browser, but might to someone in this decade.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
Thinking that self-styled "fact checkers" are independent and objective is pretty naive imo... It's like thinking AE911 is credible because they put the word "truth" in their name lol.
 

econ41

Senior Member
Thinking that self-styled "fact checkers" are independent and objective is pretty naive imo... It's like thinking AE911 is credible because they put the word "truth" in their name lol.
I may as well repeat the point I have made on many previous occasions. The test of ANY claim is "Is the claim true?" YES, in the case of AE911 incorporating the letters T R U T H in their name does NOT make any of their false claims true. Nor any of their true claims false.

And, for what it is worth, attacking the credibility of any person including "fact checkers" by resorting to snide "ad-hom" comments doesn't make a valid argument.
 

Mythic Suns

Member
Do you know sites that are more reliable than the prominent fact checkers?
Just to bring up the elephant in the room, I'd say Metabunk.

I say this because Metabunk is the only fact checking site I can think of that sees the importance of discussion. A lot of fact checking sites tend to behave hesitantly when it gets to bringing up opposing voices whilst members of Metabunk will happily start discussions with them to help them understand the facts and consider all of the angles. Yeah there's rules but those rules are basically just there to prevent chaos rather than to prevent opposing voices from stating what they believe.

For the sake of not seeming off topic, the reason we mentioned fact checking sites is because they're often seen as a way for someone to do their own research. Metabunk isn't necessarily a "one for all" site for research but it does act as a pretty good stepping stone into certain subjects, even if that wasn't it's original intention.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/2016/07/20/the-10-best-fact-checking-sites/ lists politifact, factcheck.org, open secrets, snopes, sunlight foundation, poynter institute, flack check, truth or fiction, hoax slayer, fact checker by the washington post
But then, to play devil's advocate, a conspiracy theorist is likely to say that the list came from a biased site. It's hard to break the cycle; once a person is convinced that some mysterious "they" want you to think in a certain way, that mistrust fact-proofs them against believing ANY arguments to the contrary. As an example, think of how the term "mainstream media" is now a pejorative in right-wing circles, a shorthand for "so don't believe anything they say". Information is one of the most significant casualties in the war against democracy.
 

Mythic Suns

Member
But then, to play devil's advocate, a conspiracy theorist is likely to say that the list came from a biased site. It's hard to break the cycle.
I always think of it as more of an infinite ladder; take one step up and there's always another. If someone says one site isn't biased their opponent will say "how do you know it isn't biased?", proceed to make a list of things that they feel proves it is biased, and then ultimately reveal that the list is based on stuff they read from a site they think is unbiased, thus adding another step to the infinite ladder. And then their opposition does the exact same thing.

A simpler example of this also pops up in religion; who created god? who created the creator of god? who created the creator of the creator of god? And so on and so forth.
 
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LilWabbit

Senior Member
But then, to play devil's advocate, a conspiracy theorist is likely to say that the list came from a biased site. It's hard to break the cycle; once a person is convinced that some mysterious "they" want you to think in a certain way, that mistrust fact-proofs them against believing ANY arguments to the contrary. As an example, think of how the term "mainstream media" is now a pejorative in right-wing circles, a shorthand for "so don't believe anything they say". Information is one of the most significant casualties in the war against democracy.

And yet one can independently carry out the first control measure towards a more objective appraisal by (1) acknowledging a bias within oneself whereby one seeks confirmation for a particular narrative.

The next control point is (2) widening ones sources and subsequently (3) to independently observe and analyze the varying levels of commitment to objectivity, factuality and accuracy of each source while remaining brutally honest about the biases of also ones preferred sources.

As the final control point one develops a relatively good sense of the biases of each source as well as the issues in which their reporting is more objective and (4) carefully applies ones best (albeit imperfect) objective and unbiased analysis to each source no matter how much it challenges preferred narratives.

Obviously it goes without saying that there's no perfectly objective source. However, their levels of commitment to objectivity vary greatly and can be independently established. We must make use of our gift of intelligence. As a result of its full usage, we are not doomed to intellectual confusion between thousands of biased sources. However, it does take some effort and hence our own intellectual laziness is our own worst enemy.
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
An interesting attempt to "guard the guardians" and fact-check the fact-checkers can be found over at Real Clear Politics, attempting to track the methodologies and quality of work of various fact checker sites. The effort is not perfectly designed nor flawlessly executed, and RCP as a site certainly has a point of view, but treated as a tool and not as revealed scripture it can be useful.

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/fact_check_review_quick_guide.html

That link goes to their Quick Guide page that explains what they are doing, from there you can follow their link back to the results of their work.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I say this because Metabunk is the only fact checking site I can think of that sees the importance of discussion. A lot of fact checking sites tend to behave hesitantly when it gets to bringing up opposing voices
the list came from a biased site. I
the point is that truth isn't really biased.
people who are comfortable with "alternative facts" shouldn't be consulting fact checkers, if you think facts are a matter of opinion you're operating in a completely different reality from them.

metabunk is great when incomplete information prevents someone from finding the truth. the combined experience of the metabunk "crowd" often succeeds in back-filling context that results in an explanation that is probably true, or at the very least presents a conventional alternative to a bunk-ish claim. We speculate and investigate. But this process means we're not reliable.

Fact checkers, on the other hand, usually reflect sources, i.e. they match claims with reliable sources of information in a clear-cut manner. When a claim can be interpreted in different ways, they usually follow up on those, and they do document when the experts are uncertain about the facts.

bias in fact checkers typically manifests itself in which claims get selected for checking, not in the reliability of the results.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
When a claim can be interpreted in different ways, they usually follow up on those, and they do document when the experts are uncertain about the facts
i'm comfortable with "usually", but they don't always. Fact checkers need to be checked.

The answer to "who checks the fact checkers"" should be "you do". (although there are plenty of people who check the fact checkers, but since there are too many names and noone checks ALL the fact checks, its easier just to say "you do".)

We arent supposed to use fact check articles as sources on MB. we are supposed to use them like we use wiki, just as sources to make our own fact checking a bit easier. For ex. we shouldnt quote wiki ever, we should go to their citation and quote from the citation. <unless the citation is just another news article in which case we should quote from the original material referred to in the article.
 

Mythic Suns

Member
For ex. we shouldnt quote wiki ever, we should go to their citation and quote from the citation. <unless the citation is just another news article in which case we should quote from the original material referred to in the article.
Basically follow all of the bread crumbs rather than just the first one.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
I always think of it as more of an infinite ladder; take one step up and there's always another. If someone says one site isn't biased their opponent will say "how do you know it isn't biased?", proceed to make a list of things that they feel proves it is biased, and then ultimately reveal that the list is based on stuff they read from a site they think is unbiased, thus adding another step to the infinite ladder. And then their opposition does the exact same thing.

I don't think it's quite such an impossible mess to weave through. Yes, every source is biased but the levels of bias vary considerably as well as the overall commitment to be impartial and objective. We can learn to detect these levels and commitments (as well as lacks thereof) which in turn enables us to glean glimpses of truth from a variety of sources all of which suffer from a type and degree of bias.

The journey out of any 'rabbit hole' or ideological indoctrination starts with honestly accepting that sometimes we prefer highly biased sources, and avoid others, because they justify our own personal beliefs or personally convenient narratives. All sources fall somewhere on the scale of roughly 4 levels of bias in my personal and subjective analysis:

Sources:

(1) To whom commitment to integrity, objectivity, factuality, accuracy and impartiality is genuinely a matter of pride (not just a slogan) and represents the foundational principle governing their work. Political or ideological leanings of the authors or sponsors of these sources are allowed but consciously and resolutely kept from undermining this 'scientific'/'high journalistic' commitment.

(2) Who believe in integrity, objectivity, factuality, accuracy and impartiality while having more or less obvious blindspots due to a particular political or ideological leaning. Sometimes they demonstrate deliberate partiality but mostly seek to report facts, although often edited with a slant.

(3) Who publicly state that they uphold integrity, objectivity, factuality, accuracy and impartiality -- and pursue an appearance of impartiality and professionalism in their knowledge-products -- while their work is predominantly political or ideological in nature. Sometimes they report competently on neutral topics and occasionally demonstrate an absence of political or ideological bias.

(4) Who produce blatant propaganda or who openly disseminate political or ideological beliefs.

Over the decades of my earthly existence sources that fall under 1 have always been few and far between. However, today, they seem almost non-existent. Aside from solid scientific journals, I think NZZ (regrettably mostly in German) remains rather close to 1 from amongst news media. CNN and Fox News are both 3 (3- and 3+, respectively) in my analysis. The likes of Ben Norton and Breitbart are squarely 4 along with Russia Today and the news media of the People's Republic of China. BBC, The Economist and Al-Jazeera fall somewhere between 2-3. AP, Reuters and Deutsche Welle are 2. And the list goes on.

These are obviously personal and subjective valuations, but you get the drift. To put it simply: If you know the key biases and pitfalls of Russia Today and Breitbart, you might be able to glean facts from even their highly slanted stories without falling for any of the propaganda. Throw a wide net and learn, critically and intelligently, from all perspectives whilst blindly believing in none.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
CNN and Fox News are both 3 (3- and 3+, respectively) in my analysis.
fox news has "publicly state[d] that they uphold [..], objectivity, [..], [..] and impartiality -- and pursue an appearance of impartiality and professionalism in their knowledge-products. ?

that's weird, Fox News was started to counterbalance all the left leaning media on the airwaves.
 

LilWabbit

Senior Member
(3) Who publicly state that they uphold integrity, objectivity, factuality, accuracy and impartiality -- and pursue an appearance of impartiality and professionalism in their knowledge-products -- while their work is predominantly political or ideological in nature. Sometimes they report competently on neutral topics and occasionally demonstrate an absence of political or ideological bias.

Fox Standards of Business Conduct pp. 4-5:

Article:
FOX is uncompromisingly committed to being neutral arbiters of timely news, and we consider journalistic independence and editorial integrity to be sacrosanct...

Our foremost principles are the accuracy of information, clarity of opinion and quality of our content... We provide a platform for diverse perspectives, voices and views, always supporting relentless reporting and bold thoughts and opinions....

To keep the trust placed upon us, we conduct our business with utmost integrity. That’s not just an obligation—it’s part of our identity and drives our success. It defines every decision
we make.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
that's weird, Fox News was started to counterbalance all the left leaning media on the airwaves.
Oh c'mon now! Fox News had to defend itself in court by pleading that they were an entertainment network, not a news source, and nobody should take them seriously. I think what you see as "left leaning", a good many of us see as reporting the facts. A common (but true) statement I hear is "facts have a liberal bias".
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
@deirdre, concerning the most popular program on FOX:

Fox News host Tucker Carlson was sued for slander in 2020 by Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who sold the rights of the story of her affair with Donald Trump to the National Enquirer. Carlson claimed that McDougal attempted to extort money from Trump—though she never asked Trump for money or even approached him. McDougal sued, and in response Fox’s legal team argued that his comments “cannot reasonably be interpreted as facts.”

Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil—district judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York—heard the case and agreed, finding that “given Mr. Carlson’s reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive with an appropriate amount of skepticism' about the statements he makes.
Content from External Source
https://thedispatch.com/article/fact-checking-a-claim-that-fox-news/
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Concerning FOX:


Fox News - Right Bias - Questionable Conservative - Republican - Not Credible or Reliable Factual Reporting: Mixed - Not always Credible or Reliable


QUESTIONABLE SOURCE​

A questionable source exhibits one or more of the following: extreme bias, consistent promotion of propaganda/conspiracies, poor or no sourcing to credible information, a complete lack of transparency, and/or is fake news. Fake News is the deliberate attempt to publish hoaxes and/or disinformation for profit or influence (Learn More). Sources listed in the Questionable Category may be very untrustworthy and should be fact-checked on a per-article basis. Please note sources on this list are not considered fake news unless specifically written in the reasoning section for that source. See all Questionable sources.
  • Overall, we rate Fox News right biased based on editorial positions that align with the right and Questionable due to the promotion of propaganda, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, the use of poor sources, and numerous false claims and failed fact checks. Straight news reporting from beat reporters is generally fact-based and accurate, which earns them a Mixed factual rating.
Content from External Source
What FOX does is not at all what FOX says it does.
 

deirdre

Senior Member.
Fox News had to defend itself in court by pleading that they were an entertainment network
late night pundit shows are not all that encompasses Fox News. and your statement is not backed up by any evidence, Tucker Carlson may be 'entertainment' but i doubt anyone said they are an entertainment network. even i dont call MSNBC an entertainment network even though late night shows like Maddow's are Tucker type shows.

Fox Standards of Business Conduct pp. 4-5:
ah. June 2022. since their newsguard downgrade. Thanks for the newest info! (although paragraph 1 and paragraph 2 of your quote seemly contradict each other quite a bit :) )


the full quote reads more sensibly
"FOX is among the most influential and recognized media companies in the world, serving our country, our communities and our customers—who trust us to inform, connect and enrich their lives as engaged citizens. Audiences look to FOX for news, information, analysis and entertainment because they trust our dedication to the core values of our entire business: free inquiry, free speech and free expression.
We are purveyors of First Amendment activities and defenders of the U.S. Constitution and its rule of law.

Our company will remain steadfast and focused on those core values in building a culture of trust, integrity and ethical behavior. FOX is uncompromisingly committed to being neutral arbiters of timely news, and we consider journalistic independence and editorial integrity to be sacrosanct. Through our opinion programming, we contribute to the marketplace of ideas by providing our audiences with engaging entertainment about virtually everything people care about—from politics to sports, business to health, natural disasters to uplifting stories of courage, hope and humanity.

Our foremost principles are the accuracy of information, clarity of opinion and quality of our content. To ensure this, we maintain strict separation between revenue sources and our news reporting and editorial opinions. We provide a platform for diverse perspectives, voices and views, always supporting relentless reporting and bold thoughts and opinions. We are innovators in sophisticated newsgathering methods, always searching for new ways to inform, engage and inspire audiences in both traditional and new media"
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Concerning FOX:
3 examples from a quick google search for "fox news pseudoscience":

Article:
Published December 6, 2022

Throughout the pandemic, doctors, scientists, patients, and families were censored, shadow-banned, blocked, and punished for having views, opinions, and research findings disfavored by the government and their chosen gatekeepers. Hard fast truths that have become indisputable over time, ranging from the effectiveness of Ivermectin and Hydroxychloroquine to the potential dangers of Remdesivir and the failures of the vaccine were labeled as "disinformation" and "misinformation."

Article:
Posted on July 2, 2021

Randomized controlled trials — the highest standard of evidence — have found that hydroxychloroquine isn’t beneficial in treating hospitalized COVID-19 patients.




Article:
On July 22, Fox News ran a confused listicle by Angelica Stabile titled How to quit vaping as the e-cigarette fad fires up: 6 smart steps to take.

There's no need to refute the article line by line, but there were two particularly ridiculous comments worth scrutinizing, because they lead to some odd places if followed to their logical conclusions.



Article:
In the six months from February to July 2012, the UCS searched for the terms "climate change" and "global warming" during primetime Fox News Channel programs, which consist of political commentary shows such as The O'Reilly Factor and Hannity.

The UCS found that, in 37 of 40 instances, Fox News programs misled viewers about climate science—mainly, by broadly dismissing it.


 
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Movybuf1979

New Member
Doing your own research is certainly not a bad thing. Using that phrase as a cover to not show sources when in a debate is a problem. It's just lazy and it's certainly a way of hiding the fact that the person really has no idea what they are writing about.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
Can you cite two or three occasions when a fact checking site failed to be objective?
This one came to mind, quite amusing...



That's a screenshot from the original Snopes "fact check", which has been revamped now that the "safer smoking kits" will apparently not include pipes: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/biden-crack-pipes-racial-equity/ Note that the "What's False" section has basically nothing to do with the original claim at the top. So they did want to distribute "safer smoking kits" with priority given to "underserved communities" (Meaning racial minorities)... But it's "Mostly false" because it's just one of 20 components and not that important? Huh?

But regardless, my point wasn't really that these websites get everything wrong all the time... It's more that the label "fact checker" is totally made up. There's no certification to become one, or punishment if you get something wrong. "Fact checking" websites like Snopes or factcheck.org are basically blogs. Furthermore, bias can be introduced in different ways other than rating true things to be false and vice versa. They can also cherry pick which claims to check, and which to stay quiet about.
 
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