Why are people called conspiracy theorists?

JRBids

Senior Member.
Well you did make an ad hominem comment. So, I don't even need to debunk anything you say. Making those kind of comments you are just detrimentally effecting people opinion of your debating skills in general. Not that I am perfect but I don't think i would do that.
Yes, you're right, that was out of line. I apologize for my adhominem. I would appreciate it though if you would answer the other other questions I asked. I would remove the comment but the option isn't there.
 

Quantumbeliever

Banned
Banned
"They" are called "conspiracy theorists" for the same reason "debunkers" are called "shills."
It's verbal diarrhea. It's just a way the mind tries to recognize patterns and categorize people into different groups.
That's why when "debunkers" come across a "conspiracy theorist", even with just one sentence, such as 'hey guys I think 9/11 was an inside job', the tendency is to put them in that one boat with all conspiracy theorists, no matter how wild the claim or how wild the claims they've heard.
It's pathetic on both ends.
Great post. The first one on the thread that pointed out the bias that exists on both sides. Of course this discussion is not a new one as claimed. Humans have been trying to convince each other as to the relevance and accuracy of their position for eons. I think perhaps the vitriol is a bit more intense today and respect for another's viewpoint is at an all time low. At least here, there is some modicum of decorum. On many sites you are either a conspiratiod or a shill. I think there's room in between.
 

Quantumbeliever

Banned
Banned
I do think the intent of the user is the most salient point. I can call you a "joker" with the intent that you are a "fun loving prankster" or it could mean a person whose opinions are not to be trusted. It is usually easy to infer ones intent when they use the term "conspiracy theorist". If you claim someone is a "conspiracy theorist" with no qualifying language such as, "he is a CT who is researching the murder of a soldier in California", then the implication is clearly negative. Otherwise, it would be akin to pointing out someone's race or gender. You don't do that unless there is something inferred by your comment. In most cases I see online and particularly in the media, the term is clearly being used in a pejorative manner.
If they think it is insulting then it is insulting. It is not for other people to make that decision for them. Especially with everything around it I think that is fair. Not arguing. You have the right to your opinion of course. I just think it doesnt really work. Especially how its being used. Even on this forum some people use it a very condescending dismissive manner. Its like they will debate until they are proven wrong or you refuse to accept there word as gospel and then all of a sudden they can get dismissed as just another conspiracy theorist. That's not Mick fault though. The only times I have read him using it he didnt seem to mean it anything other than its literal meaning which is fine. I guess my point is more about how it is used then. which of course we cant really stop.

Can we all try and use it in a sensitive manner if we are going to? You wouldn't like to be simply dismissed out of frustration.
 

Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
Like Ive said a few times now... Words only have the power you allow them to have. Why does it matter what label another person slaps on you? The labels only really apply if you let them or if you think they're true. This is what I dont understand about this entire thread. Why does having someone calling you something bother you? Who cares what their intent is, words are just words unless you assign them a value.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This is what I dont understand about this entire thread. Why does having someone calling you something bother you? Who cares what their intent is, words are just words unless you assign them a value.
But for practical purposes it's irrelevant if you understand it. If something does bother someone the it bothers them. Perhaps they can't even explain it themselves.

There are plenty of people who don't understand why black people don't like being called "the coloreds", or why some people don't like the word "niggardly". People are either bothered, or they are not, and unfortunately that affects you, if you are talking to them or about the, or even just in their hearing, or they might read what you write. You can ignore it, you can say it's not justified, or you don't understand it, but it's still happening.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
Conspiracy theorists are called conspiracy theorists because they believe in conspiracy theories - it is, at its simplest, purely descriptive.

That it has gained a popular negative connotation is, IMO, due solely to the nature of the conspiracy theories the theorists persist in publicizing - they bring the odium due to their inability to see beyond what they want to see.

There are many conspiracies in the world that are real, or at least for which there is sufficient GOOD evidence to suppose they might be real. People who discuss them do not have descriptions that have acquired negative connotations.

CT's are suffering a self inflicted insult - it's their fault, they have made it their problem, they have the ability to solve it. I see no reason to alter my use of language or perceptions because of the logical result of their actions.
 

SR1419

Senior Member.
I do think the intent of the user is the most salient point.

Of course it is. But in the hazy, nuanced-challenged internet the intent is easily misinterpreted. Both terms- conspiracy theorist and debunker- are literally accurate terms and thus the intent is not always clear.

...as opposed to something like "conspiratard" or "shill" which are pure insults.
 

Quantumbeliever

Banned
Banned
The problem is that the term means something other than it once did. To many, the term means "an irrational person who spreads untruths, rumor, and innuendo".. Therefore, it used as often as possible by both the media, disinformation agents (paid or unpaid), counter intelligence, and well meaning people who believe differently than those promulgating the "conspiracy". But I think a good point was made by someone here who said that the CTs basically need to get over it. I agree. I suppose, on many issues, I could be called a CT. I'm not offended at being called one, particularly since a great number of the craziest, most implausible, unbelievable "conspiracies" have turned out to be true! Here's my top ten:
1. During prohibition, government agents put poison in alcohol
2. Millions were exposed to the dangerous SV40 virus when given polio vaccines.
3. The CIA spies on, pays off, and controls the media. Still probably gong on btw.
4. Over 80 institutions, at least 44 colleges and universities participated in a mind control program directed by the CIA whereby nefarious techniques were used, including administering LSD and other poisons, to unwitting subjects.
5. Government backed scientists allowed blacks to die from syphilis, without any treatment, so they could see how a deadly disease progressed in black people.
6. To support the "liberation of Kuwait", supposed Kuwaiti young girl was allowed to testify before Congress that she had witnessed Iraqi soldiers killing babies. She was actually the daughter of Sheikh Saud Nasser Al-Saud Al-Sabah – Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States and a member of the royal family, a fact surely known by the Bush Sr admin.
7. The CIA used known drug money from the selling of crack in LA to fund the Contras.
8. IN 1933, a group of the wealthiest businessmen in the nation hatched a plot to kill FDR and stage a coup.
9. The Gulf Of Tonkin incident that drove the US into war with Vietnam, did not happen as it was reported by the government.
10. Well before global warming was on any scientists radar, it was specifically noted by a group of extremely influential people (The Club of Rome) as the perfect vehicle for convincing the populace that their main enemy was; themselves!

In addition, a recent pole says that most Americans find CTs to be the more "sane" and rational of the two opposing sides. So. With history and the people on our side, let the insults begin!
 

MikeC

Closed Account
And you know something - of all of those conspiracies none was actually addressed by anyone we might think of today as a "CT" - they are all examples of REAL conspiracies!

Except 1 - The Club of Rome was formed in 1968, and it's seminal paper suggesting Humanity is it's own worst enemy was published in 1991.

The Greenhouse effect was noted in 1967, the term Global warming used in 1975, and the consensus was built through the 1980's.

But 90% is better than many - well done :)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
In addition, a recent pole says that most Americans find CTs to be the more "sane" and rational of the two opposing sides. So. With history and the people on our side, let the insults begin!
You might want to quote the actual study, before making claims like that.
 
I realize this thread is a few months old (but its still within 2014) but its the most recent I found when searching on TPP or the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

1) I believe the TPP is a conspiracy or at least was prior to its being accepted as real after it got leaked to the internet world.

2) I will admit I may be wrong about this but didn't metabunk or at least one of the debunkers on metabunk.org call the TPP a conspiracy theory a year or 2 back priot to it being leaked?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I realize this thread is a few months old (but its still within 2014) but its the most recent I found when searching on TPP or the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

1) I believe the TPP is a conspiracy or at least was prior to its being accepted as real after it got leaked to the internet world.

2) I will admit I may be wrong about this but didn't metabunk or at least one of the debunkers on metabunk.org call the TPP a conspiracy theory a year or 2 back priot to it being leaked?
I think you need to clarify what you are saying, and provide some evidence here.
 
I think you need to clarify what you are saying, and provide some evidence here.
What I'm saying is I thought from memory that I had read on this site at some point in the past that the TPP had been labeled a conspiracy theory. Thats why I said I may be wrong. Ever since the website was re-done a whiole back (I don;t emebrer when exactly) i've not had good luck with trying to find stuff via search and so I have to go by memory. If I'm wrong and neither the site or anyone on it (whoi is a regular debunker) has claimed that the TPP was not real then just say I'm wrong.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
There's a new search system in place, you could try that again. Or Google.

However, there are no mentions of TPP I can find that treat it as anything other than a real thing. The most significant discussion was:

Sorry, but this an inaccurate assessment. To be clear, I virtually never listen to AJ. But I do stop by PP and they most certainly do journalism. Here is a piece from today that is informative and timely and substantiated. It is not just a rant.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/new-media-wars-the-empire-strikes-back.html


The entire history of TPP from inception to current negotiations is available from the Office of the US Trade Representative. You can look at public comments, and even ask a question or leave a comment yourself. How much more not-so-secret do you want?

http://www.ustr.gov/tpp

Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was on the infrastructure and buildings maintenance crew at an eco-village. We had open maintenance department meetings every Monday morning, except nobody but maintenance group folks ever showed up to provide input or express concerns so we just presented our decisions and/or plans to the general weekly community meetings. We weren't trying to be secretive, just that nobody cared to sit in on our discussions.

One of the points of contention I've seen presented by alternative media are the stringent copyright protections proposed for the treaty. Thing is, a lot of people, myself included, happen to agree with protecting intellectual property rights. Just because you disagree with something doesn't make it a conspiracy.

Anyhoooo, discussion of the TPP probably deserves its own thread.
And some subsequent discussion that amounted to nothing.
 

vooke

Active Member
In blogs and discussions, the names may be some form of adhominem. Of course it boils down to the motivation of the speaker. If the names are irrelevant to the discussion and they hurt you at all, then in all likelihood you are a victim of adhominem
 

Pete Tar

Senior Member.
Being victim of an adhom doesn't invalidate the argument however unless that is its sole content - an adhom may be present in an otherwise flawless logical argument. The defense of saying 'that's adhom' to dismiss the content of an argument seems to be a new logical fallacy that's getting widely used.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Being victim of an adhom doesn't invalidate the argument however unless that is its sole content - an adhom may be present in an otherwise flawless logical argument. The defense of saying 'that's adhom' to dismiss the content of an argument seems to be a new logical fallacy that's getting widely used.
I frequently see the ad-hom itself used as a sole argument - Generally along the lines of "You are a paid shill, so I'm going to assume you are wrong".

From a debunking perspective I often see debunkers give a reasonable argument, and then at the end add something unhelpful like "if you actually made the effort to get educated you might understand this", or similar. And while shouting "ad hom" as a response to this may well be a fallacy, the fault here (I feel) is with the debunker adding this snide remark, allowing the other person the opportunity to focus on the impoliteness.

And that's why I have such an annoying politeness policy.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
You might want to quote the actual study, before making claims like that.

This is the study in question I believe. It doesnt say that Ct'ers are more sane than non-CT's but in fact more sane than "government dupes". Wouldn't make sense, the original claim would it. That would be the same as saying people that believe in any made up claim to be more sane than those who question with reason and evidence. Saying Ct's are more sane than government dupes seems more logical but I cant imagine how they would find any government dupes. Surely the whole point is that they work in secret. Plus I havnt verified the study itself at all.

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/07/12/313399/conspiracy-theorists-vs-govt-dupes/
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
This is the study in question I believe. It doesnt say that Ct'ers are more sane than non-CT's but in fact more sane than "government dupes". Wouldn't make sense, the original claim would it. That would be the same as saying people that believe in any made up claim to be more sane than those who question with reason and evidence. Saying Ct's are more sane than government dupes seems more logical but I cant imagine how they would find any government dupes. Surely the whole point is that they work in secret. Plus I havnt verified the study itself at all.

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/07/12/313399/conspiracy-theorists-vs-govt-dupes/
So quote the bit of the study (the actual study, not the PressTV article about it) that backs up your claim. Or retract your claim.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
So quote the bit of the study (the actual study, not the PressTV article about it) that backs up your claim. Or retract your claim.
I wasnt aware I was making a claim? I was basically providing you info about the other guys claim but I see you have covered the study already. BlueCollarCritics interpretation of the study seems to have been debunked. If I made a mistake it was not to check the forum to see if it had been posted elsewhere already.

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/infowars-study-conspiracy-theorists’-sane-government-dupes-crazy-hostile.2000/
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I wasnt aware I was making a claim? I was basically providing you info about the other guys claim but I see you have covered the study already. BlueCollarCritics interpretation of the study seems to have been debunked. If I made a mistake it was not to check the forum to see if it had been posted elsewhere already.

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/infowars-study-conspiracy-theorists’-sane-government-dupes-crazy-hostile.2000/
Sorry, I thought since you replied to me, then you had made the original claim.
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
How about we use the word "bunkers"?

As it is the opposite of debunkers, a term often reffered to on this forum.

It is just that being called a conspiracy theorist reminds me of being called a retard. The motivation is usually the same and people tend to criticise me and others more when we get things wrong about government than they praise us when we get things right about government.

I can accept the CT name when I/we are wrong but we get called that even when we are right sometimes. Hence why I say it reminds me of when people use the word retard as an ad hom.

It is insulting to say that we brought the term on ourselves any more than it is to say that people being called a retard is self-inflicted.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
How about we use the word "bunkers"?

As it is the opposite of debunkers, a term often reffered to on this forum.
I use that term occasionally, but it's far from ideal, as it's confusing out of context, and it's also more pre-judging that "conspiracy theorist".
 

Gary Cook

Active Member
I use that term occasionally, but it's far from ideal, as it's confusing out of context, and it's also more pre-judging that "conspiracy theorist".
Fair enough. For me CT has been used as an insult too much but when its used in a genuine manner I don't have an issue with it personally. In fact I have started using it myself in certain circumstances.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
How about we use the word "bunkers"?
other than the fact it would change quickly to 'bonkers' , Bunkers sounds too much like those alex jones type bunker people, which doesn't have the best association as far as not being overly paranoid. I still cant get over Bundy lives in Bunkerville. ; o
 

Hama Neggs

Senior Member.
I frequently see the ad-hom itself used as a sole argument - Generally along the lines of "You are a paid shill, so I'm going to assume you are wrong".

From a debunking perspective I often see debunkers give a reasonable argument, and then at the end add something unhelpful like "if you actually made the effort to get educated you might understand this", or similar. And while shouting "ad hom" as a response to this may well be a fallacy, the fault here (I feel) is with the debunker adding this snide remark, allowing the other person the opportunity to focus on the impoliteness.

And that's why I have such an annoying politeness policy.
I have seen you, many times, tell people it's OK to assume you are a "shill", but to point out where you are wrong anyway. I have used that too. They just don't answer.
 

mmcwatters

New Member
I think there's a difference between someone who, in a specific circumstance, sees a possible conspiracy, and someone who sees conspiracies nearly everywhere.

Similarly, I think there's a difference between someone who, when presented with solid evidence, is able to change their mind, and someone who doubles down on a conspiracy theory when more reasonable evidence is offered. For example, if I say, "There are recordings of 911 calls during Sandy Hook, and I can point you to the actual people who made them" and you say, "Of course there are; the government made those recordings to make Sandy Hook seem even more believable!" — I would classify you as a conspiracy theorist. Why? You've shown yourself to be more beholden to a conspiracy theory than more reasonable evidence.

And, while I appreciate the desire to avoid labels—as labels are often used as shorthand for an insult, or a way to dismiss an argument without actually countering it—some labels are actually helpful. If we know the person we're debating with tends to favor unsubstantiated theories over substantiated, reasonable evidence or explanations, it's fair to characterize them as a conspiracy theorist.

Look, if someone is in the practice of routinely attacking people online, usually without provocation, it's fair to call them a troll. If someone tends to desire evidence over faith, it's fair to call them a skeptic. Labels are tricky, but sometimes they make sense.
 

Topazy

New Member
Here we go:
A word used by shills when they are losing an argument. The shill calls their opponent a "conspiracy theorist" in an attempt to discredit them by implying that they are paranoid and delusional. In point of fact, it is the shill using the term "conspiracy theorist that is engaging in an ad hominem attack that can be considered delusional, brainwashed and willfully ignorant of the FACTS.
All those people who think politicians take campaign contributions from corporations and then support legislation that furthers the business interests of said contributors are just conspiracy theorists.
-Topazy.
 
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Svartbjørn

Senior Member.
Here we go:
A word used by shills when they are losing an argument. The shill calls their opponent a "conspiracy theorist" in an attempt to discredit them by implying that they are paranoid and delusional. In point of fact, it is the shill using the term "conspiracy theorist that is engaging in an ad hominem attack that can be considered delusional, brainwashed and willfully ignorant of the FACTS.
All those people who think politicians take campaign contributions from corporations and then support legislation that furthers the business interests of said contributors are just conspiracy theorists.
I assume you have evidence to support this and not just opinion? I ask because if I were to reverse your statement.. like this:

you can see how very easy it is to make a claim, stand by it, state it as fact and make it sound absolute and credible without ever supplying any evidence what-so-ever. It does absolutely nothing to convince anyone of anything and it doesnt add anything to the conversation. Statements, without evidence, are just used as a way to shut down discussion.
 

Topazy

New Member
I assume you have evidence to support this and not just opinion? I ask because if I were to reverse your statement.. like this:

you can see how very easy it is to make a claim, stand by it, state it as fact and make it sound absolute and credible without ever supplying any evidence what-so-ever. It does absolutely nothing to convince anyone of anything and it doesnt add anything to the conversation. Statements, without evidence, are just used as a way to shut down discussion.
Agree with you!
 

Marine0811

Active Member
I am labeled a CT by my co-workers. I have noticed that all of my co-workers who label me have done no separate research besides what they are told by T.V. or short news articles. I do not agree with the CT label in general because there is usually no complete theory to begin with, maybe a hypothesis. I will gladly accept being labeled a CT if I had to choose between it and government faith where I had no curiosity or interest to explore alternant explanations and motivations.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
The shill calls their opponent a "conspiracy theorist" in an attempt to discredit them by implying that they are paranoid and delusional
I don't understand what other words could be used to best describe someone who is "theorising" about what they think is a "conspiracy"? If the person being labelled as a CT has an alternate explanation that can never be conclusively demonstrated by fact or evidence then that explanation will forever remain just a theory.

And I disagree that it implies that a person/people are paranoid and delusional. That opinion, for me, usually comes in right around the point of the debate where the CT begins screaming irrationally about any person disagreeing with their "truth" and "facts" as a "paid shill"(which often happens after they've just been shown as incorrect...).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And I disagree that it implies that a person/people are paranoid and delusional. That opinion, for me, usually comes in right around the point of the debate where the CT begins screaming irrationally about any person disagreeing with their "truth" and "facts" as a "paid shill"(which often happens after they've just been shown as incorrect...).
While “conspiracy theory” does certainly have negative connotations, I would argue that it has in fact given the conspiracy culture a degree of legitimacy that that might otherwise be lacking. Consider that before the gradual adoption of such a term one of the most influential essays on the topic was Hostader’s 1964 essay “The Paranoid Style in American Politics” which used the far more directly insulting term “paranoid” to refer to those who tended to explain all events as the result of some conspiracy.
https://harpers.org/archive/1964/11/the-paranoid-style-in-american-politics/
So it’s quite possible that the people we now call conspiracy theorists might equally have been called “paranoids” or some other directly pejorative term. By contrast the current label is relatively neutral.
 

occams rusty scissor

Senior Member.
So it’s quite possible that the people we now call conspiracy theorists might equally have been called “paranoids” or some other directly pejorative term. By contrast the current label is relatively neutral.
There are any number of paranoid/irrational or emotive people that would rather argue what they believe and "know" is true, vs taking the facts for what they are. I suppose it would be fair to say those people are always going to be attracted more to the conspiracy theory side of an event if they are naturally predisposed to paranoia.

But there are plenty of others in the mix, the more "agnostic" CTs that are far more rational and less emotive. For example, listening to Joe rogan you can sometimes hear him pushing his ideas out there about JFK and a few other popular conspiracies. And when he had Eddie bravo and Alex Jones on, there was the full spectrum on display between those three. Joe was kind of conservative, Alex was...well, Alex, and Eddie was so far out there I thought he was gonna accuse one or both of the others of being an alien.

The difference is, Joe has some beliefs in conspiracy theories which he is unsure about but can have a rational, intelligent debate about why, and is entirely approachable in most areas. I like listening to him, I think he's fairly balanced and interesting. Whereas Alex Jones simply comes across as driven completely by emotion and rambles his conclusions in a manner suggesting he's about to breakdown. You can't take him seriously because of that.

But both could be considered as conspiracy theorists by some for what they believe.
 
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