When is some concept Real, a Conspiracy or Fantasy?

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Whenshould a Conspiracy be debunked?

Real or Conspiracy.jpg

Mick,

You suggested I try this again so here it is . . . an attempt to define when a concept becomes a conspiracy . . . what is the criteria . . .

I suggest it is a combination of at least three factors . . .

1) A concept's popularity
2) A concept's persistence or durability
3) The ratio of fact base evidence versus speculation that supports the belief in the concept​
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Are these true conspiracies?? what makes them conspiracies??


 

MikeC

Closed Account
I think you miss the point - a conspiracy is real if "it happened" - whether or not there is factual evidence to support it. There is no reason at all that a conspiracy cannot exist with only speculation around it.

"Metabunk land" has nothing to do with that - it is all about looking at claims that are made as if they were factual, and examining the basis of those claims.

If you speculate and acknowledge that speculation is all you are doing then you are not actually introducing bunk at all. If you claim to have evidence supporting your speculation then the evidence can be examined.
 

Mat

Member
Conspiracy Deniers are deluded, demonstrably and utterly.

I think it takes great skill to track the middle path between being a conspiracy denier and a conspiracy theorist. I know I often have slipped from the path - in both directions. I am sure I will again.

Just thoughts:)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Conspiracy Deniers are deluded, demonstrably and utterly.

I think it takes great skill to track the middle path between being a conspiracy denier and a conspiracy theorist. I know I often have slipped from the path - in both directions. I am sure I will again.

Just thoughts:)

Who are these "conspiracy deniers"?

George - your question seems to be an attempt to provide a new definition for "conspiracy". Why not use "conspiracy theory", or some other term that does not already have a well established meaning.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Who are these "conspiracy deniers"?

George - your question seems to be an attempt to provide a new definition for "conspiracy". Why not use "conspiracy theory", or some other term that does not already have a well established meaning.
That is what I thought I was doing; however, a discussion of what is the accepted definition of conspiracy by this Forum may be helpful . . . then we can discuss which concepts above fit the definition of a conspiracy and if it is the smaller subset a Conspiracy Theory. . .
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I think you miss the point - a conspiracy is real if "it happened" - whether or not there is factual evidence to support it. There is no reason at all that a conspiracy cannot exist with only speculation around it.

"Metabunk land" has nothing to do with that - it is all about looking at claims that are made as if they were factual, and examining the basis of those claims.

If you speculate and acknowledge that speculation is all you are doing then you are not actually introducing bunk at all. If you claim to have evidence supporting your speculation then the evidence can be examined.
I think people often do not distinguish between speculation and facts or hold a different understanding of what is a fact . . . this often the basis for a debate . . .
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member

 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
So what's lacking from this definition? I don't get what the point of this thread is.

Obviously conspiracies exist.
IMO there is difference between when you (meaning this Forum) calls something a conspiracy theory and when others do . . . at what ratio of Facts versus Speculation does a belief become a conspiracy . . .??? Most concepts will include some speculation on the data available for example . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Why is the choice between conspiracy and fantasy. Why not simply ask how much evidence a theory has?

I'm really not getting your point.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Why is the choice between conspiracy and fantasy. Why not simply ask how much evidence a theory has?

I'm really not getting your point.
That is fine . . . I was just trying to establish a starting point . . .

Let's use Nothwoods as an example do you consider this as a conspiracy, a conspiracy theory or just historical fact??
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
That is fine . . . I was just trying to establish a starting point . . .

Let's use Nothwoods as an example do you consider this as a conspiracy, a conspiracy theory or just historical fact??

It is historical fact. It's arguably a conspiracy, as people discussed it in secret. It's arguably not a conspiracy theory, but then again I'm sure there's some speculation.

This is pointless. Just arguing of the meaning of words. If you can't tell if a word fits or not, then use different words. If you don't like labels, then explain why you think a label is misleading, and don't use it.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
It is historical fact. It's arguably a conspiracy, as people discussed it in secret. It's arguably not a conspiracy theory, but then again I'm sure there's some speculation.

This is pointless. Just arguing of the meaning of words. If you can't tell if a word fits or not, then use different words. If you don't like labels, then explain why you think a label is misleading, and don't use it.
I disagree, words and their meanings are important in any debate . . . if we have misconceptions between us on a meaning we are talking past each other . . .

So how do you decide if a conspiracy or conspiracy theory is believable and should therefore not be debunked???
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I disagree, words and their meanings are important in any debate . . . if we have misconceptions between us on a meaning we are talking past each other . . .

So how do you decide if a conspiracy or conspiracy theory is believable and should therefore not be debunked???

By examining and weighing the evidence.

Words are important. But if a word is a poor choice for communication you are not going to change that. Just use another word.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
I think people often do not distinguish between speculation and facts or hold a different understanding of what is a fact . . . this often the basis for a debate . . .

Indeed - that is where debunking can come into the situation - but it does not actually affect whether any given conspiracy does/did actually exist or not.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Indeed - that is where debunking can come into the situation - but it does not actually affect whether any given conspiracy does/did actually exist or not.
How do you decide whether or not to debunk a conspiracy/conspiracy theory??
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Mick,

Can you change the Title of the Threaf to . . . When should a Conspiracy be Debunked?
 

Gunguy45

Senior Member.
Ok...I'm no genius or expert in anything....but the word "debate" is wrong. Debates are for HS and college students. They don't have any horse in the race...they are just given a topic and which side to argue. Pro or con, no difference to them.

As to the Northwoods question....there are many military scenarios brought up from think tanks or tactical discussion groups that never see the light of day or if they do they are rejected out of hand. That's the entire job of these groups....to just think way outside the box. There's a word for these types of meetings and it is completely escaping me. Well...it was a race day (beer day). Anyway...this was not a conspiracy...it was done with official sanction....it was never implemented...it was rejected by those in charge. Was is secret...yes.

There are many things that are not general public knowledge...believe me...24 yrs in the military (mostly as a crypto tech) taught me theres a lot of stuff out there that no one knows about. Do they have nefarious purposes.....mostly no, from my experience.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Ok...I'm no genius or expert in anything....but the word "debate" is wrong. Debates are for HS and college students. They don't have any horse in the race...they are just given a topic and which side to argue. Pro or con, no difference to them.

As to the Northwoods question....there are many military scenarios brought up from think tanks or tactical discussion groups that never see the light of day or if they do they are rejected out of hand. That's the entire job of these groups....to just think way outside the box. There's a word for these types of meetings and it is completely escaping me. Well...it was a race day (beer day). Anyway...this was not a conspiracy...it was done with official sanction....it was never implemented...it was rejected by those in charge. Was is secret...yes.

There are many things that are not general public knowledge...believe me...24 yrs in the military (mostly as a crypto tech) taught me theres a lot of stuff out there that no one knows about. Do they have nefarious purposes.....mostly no, from my experience.

I have thirty years of military experience and was involved in significant briefings at the Assistant or Under Secretary of Defense level . . . yes unusual and hypothetical scenarios sometimes are discussed; however, this one was illegal, unethical and treasonous . . . something which should have never seen the light of day especially as an official paper brief to the Joint Chiefs of Staff . . . It is shocking and one wonders the motives of the presenters or of the person or persons asking for such a paper . . .



Regarding (debate) . . . another word is fine . . . what about presenting alternate explanations for beliefs you don't agree with . . .
. . .
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Using false flags as an excuse for war - as a causus belli - has only become illegal and distastefull in the public eye since WW2. For over 2000 years of recorded human history before then it was an absolutely standard part of "politics".

That the US should have considered it in the context of 1960's is hardly surprising.

And since NONE of the ideas and concepts made is past the "ideas" stage the whole idea of caling it a conspiracy is somewhat moot anyway - nothing was actually ever taken to a stage where it could have happened, and it was rejected by the President outright.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Using false flags as an excuse for war - as a causus belli - has only become illegal and distastefull in the public eye since WW2. For over 2000 years of recorded human history before then it was an absolutely standard part of "politics".

That the US should have considered it in the context of 1960's is hardly surprising.

And since NONE of the ideas and concepts made is past the "ideas" stage the whole idea of caling it a conspiracy is somewhat moot anyway - nothing was actually ever taken to a stage where it could have happened, and it was rejected by the President outright.
I take offense to it and would have in the 1960s as well . . . IMO there is no justification for it in my military . . . sorry to disagree with you . . . as far as it being a conspiracy or not . . . I guess it is up to ones definition of conspiracy . . . I can see it both ways . . .
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Like I said - since the end of WW2, and me saying it should not be a surprise has nothing at all to do with a value judgment - just that it should not be a surprise!!
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Like I said - since the end of WW2, and me saying it should not be a surprise has nothing at all to do with a value judgment - just that it should not be a surprise!!
If you are not surprised at the false flag proposal . . . is not the proposal itself a true definition of a proposed conspiracy?
 

Mat

Member
Yeah, but who are they? Seems a bit like a straw man.

Seems.. a bit... ?

What would be the argument that it was a straw man for?

Are you saying that there are no people who believe in no conspiracies?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Seems.. a bit... ?

What would be the argument that it was a straw man for?

Are you saying that there are no people who believe in no conspiracies?

Yes, that's what I'm saying. But maybe you'd like to provide the definition of "conspiracy" that you are using. Perhaps with an example of the most innocuous conspiracy that you consider a conspiracy under your personal definition.

See if you were saying "there are no people who believe in no conspiracies like LHO not acting alone, or higher", then maybe you'd have a point. But what if your baseline is "Cheney helped Haliburton"? Or "Oliver North sold arms to Iran"? OR do you only consider it a conspiracy if there's no conclusive evidence that it exists?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
as far as it being a conspiracy or not . . . I guess it is up to ones definition of conspiracy . . . I can see it both ways . . .

See that's the problem. Even in the dictionary "conspiracy" has more that one meaning. So "is it a conspiracy" will have multiple valid answers depending on who you talk to, and the context of your conversation.

Really you should just be talking about if a particular thing happened or not, and the details of what exactly happened and why. Whether it meets some vague definition or not is not helpful to figuring out what is going on in the world.
 

Mat

Member
But maybe you'd like to provide the definition of "conspiracy" that you are using.

People in power secretly using that power to achieve ends that those they have power over would find objectionable were they aware.

Perhaps with an example of the most innocuous conspiracy that you consider a conspiracy under your personal definition.

Tuskegee.
Paperclip.
 

Mat

Member
Well, since Tuskegee and Paperclip happened, how can there be any people who don't believe in any conspiracies?

My point is that most conspiracy deniers, those who roll along thinking the world is as it is, would initially deny such conspiracies happened. It would cause a rift in their world view that is uncomfortable, as it does for me and you (I hope). But we are not de-facto conspiracy deniers.

Unfortunately, I think, the same cognitive dissonance that would generates this discomfort in my grandmother if I forced her to watch youtube videos for a week is also found in the smartest of so called "skeptics".

I think cognitive dissonance is a large part of what drives their pseudoskepticism, though of course they would deny it.

Note: conspiracy theorists often claim differently. They claim that what drives pseudoskepticism is not the ever embedding cognitive dissoance but being a shill or other such insider. This attitude does them no favours.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Well, since Tuskegee and Paperclip happened, how can there be any people who don't believe in any conspiracies?
1) I think you might . . . like the people who deny the mass extermination of the Jews by the Nazis . . . of course they think the people promoting the holocaust are part of a conspiracy . . . LoL !!

2) I think the criteria for confronting a concept/conspiracy are the following:

a. The concept/conspiracy has reached a significant level of popularity
b. People recognize the name of the concept/conspiracy and recognize a generalized definition
c. There is significant disagreement regarding the fact base or error in the logic of the concept's adherents/promoters
d. Promotion of the concept/conspiracy has generated an economic advantage to promoters
e. Some damage may result if the concept/conspiracy is not challenged
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Well, since Tuskegee and Paperclip happened, how can there be any people who don't believe in any conspiracies?
People believe they happened . . . however, the degree of influence of the paper clip individuals and their Nazi Philosophy is greatly debated as it relates to influencing NASA, MK-Ultra, the CIA, advanced aircraft development just to name a few . . .
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
I have been trying to figure out how this Forum decides which Conspiracy/Conspiracy Theory/Concept to debate/discuss/debunk . . . . . . I think I have come up with a short list . . . see below . . . please add any you think I missed . . .

I think the criteria for confronting a concept/conspiracy are the following once a threshold has been reached:

a. The concept/conspiracy has reached a significant level of popularity
b. People recognize the name of the concept/conspiracy and recognize a generalized definition
c. There is significant disagreement regarding the fact base or error in the logic of the concept's adherents/promoters
d. Promotion of the concept/conspiracy has generated an economic advantage to promoters
e. Some damage may result if the concept/conspiracy is not challenged
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I debunk things if I see a mistake in them that's not been clearly addressed. I really don't consider the issues on your list. I usually end up addressing topics that I've got some interest in, or are tangentially related. Often I build upon the debunking efforts of others, but try to make it more accessible.

The key consideration though is if there's some bunk there. i.e. if there's a mistake or a lie - like "contrails always quickly dissipate".
 

Mat

Member
I have been trying to figure out how this Forum decides which Conspiracy/Conspiracy Theory/Concept to debate/discuss/debunk . . . . . . I think I have come up with a short list . . . see below . . . please add any you think I missed . . .

I think the criteria for confronting a concept/conspiracy are the following once a threshold has been reached:

a. The concept/conspiracy has reached a significant level of popularity
b. People recognize the name of the concept/conspiracy and recognize a generalized definition
c. There is significant disagreement regarding the fact base or error in the logic of the concept's adherents/promoters
d. Promotion of the concept/conspiracy has generated an economic advantage to promoters
e. Some damage may result if the concept/conspiracy is not challenged

I like them in principle apart from d which seems utterly without rational requirement.
 
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