Why bother debunking when... [believers won't change their minds]

Clock

Senior Member.
What is the point of debunking a conspiracy theory when the believer of such conspiracy will not change his mind on the subject? This was a harsh realization for me, and made me wonder what the heck am I doing on such a website like this.

Anyone have any ideas?
 

Trigger Hippie

Senior Member.
The true believers may never change their minds, but they might eventually. Many people that read your posts are undecided on the issues. You are also speaking to them.

And finally, to paraphrase Mick's mantra... it's not about winning arguments or changing minds, it's about stripping the bunk. I suspect when all the bunk is stripped away from a conspiracy theory, the truth becomes self evident.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
What is the point of debunking a conspiracy theory when the believer of such conspiracy will not change his mind on the subject? This was a harsh realization for me, and made me wonder what the heck am I doing on such a website like this.

Anyone have any ideas?

Your audience is more than one person. If you debunk well, then you are creating a debunking that can be used over and over again. People who have marginal or undecided positions can be swayed.

Debunking also can take a lot of time. It can take years for debunking to sink in, especially for younger people. You might not be the dipping point, but you can help move someone towards that tipping point.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
And finally, to paraphrase Mick's mantra... it's not about winning arguments or changing minds, it's about stripping the bunk. I suspect when all the bunk is stripped away from a conspiracy theory, the truth becomes self evident.

Yes, I try not to focus on the individuals - and instead think about the aggregate good that removing the bunk will do.

Take my piece on RFID chips
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/497-Debunked-Obamacare-RFID-Chip-Implant-Law-Hoax

It has been read by nearly quarter of a million people. I feel like I've helped many of those people determine it was a hoax - even if nobody ever told me.
 
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Mattnik

Moderator
I've had a similar feeling recently.

In fact I will call out Treasure who consistently ignores empirical evidence and provides counter-arguments that are vague, go off on a tangent and appear to be ideologically driven. Of course, you could level the ideological comment back at me but I maintain that I will always follow the body of evidence.

I think Mick and other long-term posters here show tremendous patience by repeating the same evidence over and over again just to be met with ignorance.
 
J

Joe

Guest
What is the point of debunking a conspiracy theory when the believer of such conspiracy will not change his mind on the subject? This was a harsh realization for me, and made me wonder what the heck am I doing on such a website like this.

Anyone have any ideas?
Sometimes it actually works . I dont belive in Chemtrails any more only a covert geoengineering Scheme . Or global diming ? Sandy Hook photo was quickly debunked and even I went on YT to debunk it .
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
Think of it as public innoculation of the silent majority. The more methods you can find of spreading those facts which can't be disputed, the better off we'll be.
 

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
About 4 or 5 years ago I believed that 9/11 was a conspiracy. Not everyone stays the same and some people really do change.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
About 4 or 5 years ago I believed that 9/11 was a conspiracy. Not everyone stays the same and some people really do change.

It often takes a lot of time though. I've found quite a few people who are interested in debunking were believers of one sort or another at some point. But then also a lot of the former believers simply slip away, into normal life.

Many people will also just move up the ladder of conspiracies from "made it happen" to "let it happen", or "well, maybe that didn't happen, but what about ...."

Was there a tipping point for you Dan, or a gradual shift in thinking?
 

Jazzy

Closed Account
I didn't know of the existence of bunk till 2007.

I was impressed by its phenomenal sticking power when in dispute ("chemtrails") with a musical acquaintance of mine. He accused me of attacking him, de-friended me (Facebook horror!), and blogged an attack on me. But the scientist in him won over when he realized that the Welsh valley he wished to protect, thinking it was under greatest attack from above ("Cloverleaf"), supported a wide range of delicate mosses and lichens which he discovered were in increasingly superb condition. And they too were supporting a burgeoning wildlife. That was years ago.

Anyway, bunk is sticky, and leaves you deluded and demented. A mental amphetamine, of sorts. Takes a while, I guess, to recover...
 

David Fraser

Senior Member.
I was only really interested in debunking chemtrails but I seem to now spend more time addressing wider issues. Most of the information CTers get mainly comes from out of the UK yet believers accept what they read. Some rather indignant when told that the UK does not gave any commercial GM crops, or flouridate our water (as a generalisation), don't force vaccinations and as far as I am aware gave up on cloud seeding in the 50's. On many UK FB pages I seem to spend a great deal of time giving links to data from our DEFRA as most of the pages just give EPA standards. But I hope that some people do read some of the stuff and maybe have a think. There are a few groups organising monthly demos against chemtrails and it would be good if all that passion was diverted to a real issue.
 

Clock

Senior Member.
ya... I was some sort of a conspiracy theorist at the time, such as believing Climate Change is false and is a natural cycle and all of that stuff. In my 2nd and 3rd year of High School my science teachers (they changed every year) convinced me that 9/11 was made by the government. I know that they were bit out there (if you know what I mean) but the fact they taught us this is bad for the future of society.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
The only conspiracy that I have ever 'wanted' to believe, was one that I think the Church of Scientology had proposed.

Back in the 1980s, 2 'new' viruses showed up in dogs. One was just called 'Corona' and it was first identified from a dogs that were shown at a Collie and Shetland Sheepdog specialty in Kentucky. About 6-8 months later 'Parvo' showed up. The first major outbreak of it was from either of 2 shows in the Rio Grande valley. Both viruses had vaccines available in a short time, 6 months to a year.

The conspiracy I saw was that the viruses had been developed as tests for a government biological weapons program and that a delivery system was tested as the dog shows, and then the spread of it through the canine population was studied.

It does make a certain amount of sense, however I don't believe it
 

LoremIpsum

New Member
The value I see in this forum – which I discovered yesterday and which I already love – is that it can provide the tools to debunk articulately and authoritatively.

I was born into a science-loving family – both my parents and one of my brothers are doctors – but I sadly wasn't gifted the science gene. I'm more artsy. I'm a longtime sceptic, but one whose views are seldom challenged – I get into some dinner party arguments about alternative therapies and GMO technology, but basically I live amongst clever, sensible people and don't get too often exposed to the crazy.

About six months ago and old school friend visited me. I hadn't seen her for several years, and I was looking forward to hanging out. She brought up chemtrails within minutes. I sat open-mouthed, gobsmacked and horrified as the conspiracy rained down upon me. When, at one point, I managed to splutter out something about the the US government, she said, "Yeah, but who really runs America?" Then we went on the Illuminati.

It also gradually became clear that, sadly, my friend was basically asking me to debunk it. She is hilarious and an incredibly talented musician, but she is not smart. She failed Year 10 (I'm Australian – I guess that's O-levels in the UK and whatever level is the least amount of schooling you can legally do in the States) even though she actually tried really hard. Then she hooked up with a dope-smoking, paranoid hippy who is obsessed with this stuff and spends hours on the internet each night. They have a child (who they haven't vaccinated, obviously). She knows his obsession is weird and I don't think she likes being around it, but nevertheless she is convinced by him. At the end of the chemtrail story, she asked, "What do you think? Is it true?"

The thing was, I had never heard of chemtrails before. It was obviously crazy, but I didn't have the tools to explain why. I did just try and break it all down with logic, leaning heavily on the 'how many people would this conspiracy have to involve' argument, but I didn't have the science to explain why chemtrails just don't exist.

Since then, I've combed the internet discovering both more about the conspiracy and more about arguments I can deploy against the conspiracy. This place is like a godsend because it's all laid out so cleanly. I rarely see my friend, but if I do I'll give it another go. I'll never convince her husband, but it would be nice to have my friend back.
 

Dan Wilson

Senior Member.
It often takes a lot of time though. I've found quite a few people who are interested in debunking were believers of one sort or another at some point. But then also a lot of the former believers simply slip away, into normal life.

Many people will also just move up the ladder of conspiracies from "made it happen" to "let it happen", or "well, maybe that didn't happen, but what about ...."

Was there a tipping point for you Dan, or a gradual shift in thinking?

It was more gradual. I kind of slipped back into normal life hanging onto one or two things I thought to be damning evidence about 9/11. I had a friend who I would discuss these theories with bit over time his views became more and more radical. He started ranting about and praising pseudoscientists who made claims of everything from ancient aliens to really weird physics and I they were claims that I had to question. So I started following up on topics we would talk about and one by one I found the conspiracy claims to be so far from the truth. Then I revisited 9/11 and it was very clear to me that the conspiracy theory was seriously flawed. The whole process gave me a deeper respect for science.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Since then, I've combed the internet discovering both more about the conspiracy and more about arguments I can deploy against the conspiracy. This place is like a godsend because it's all laid out so cleanly. I rarely see my friend, but if I do I'll give it another go. I'll never convince her husband, but it would be nice to have my friend back.

My other site http://contrailscience.com is a bit more focussed on providing concise chemtrail debunkings.

You will probably need to play it slow with your friend. Butting heads does not work, it's best to at least acknowledge that she thinks that way, but clearly explain why you think that she might be wrong. People have pride, and insecurity, and they also have love for others that can make it feel like a terrible betrayal to doubt that other person. In extreme examples this is known as folie à deux, but it can also simply be standing by your man. It's something you can't just talk through, it takes time so don't expect immediate results. Plant seeds.
 

Cairenn

Senior Member.
I got interested through the oil spill. When the blow out happened, I remembered the ecological damage from the Ixtoc blow out in '79. I was following it on the news until a decent news source, Earth and Sky on NPR, asked a Marine biologist the purpose of the relief wells. She gave an answer, which I knew was wrong. My hubby is a geophysical engineer and I have a geology/physics background.

I then went looking for more info, I ran into the conspiracy folks, some of which I didn't realize were at first.

There was a report, and it was even on CNN (I believe) that most of the Exxon Valdez workers were dead or dying from their exposure to the oil and Corexit used to clean the spill. I happened to mention this to a friend, and her uncle was one of the workers and he was in normal health for a man his age. I offered to find out more for her, for him and her aunt.

I spent most of a night looking for the facts on that. I found that there was not a master record of the workers and I finally found that the story came from an unpublished telephone survey, done by a Yale graduate student in 2004 of 78 workers. Nothing more about what she asked, if there was any questions about smoking or other health problems.

That got me looking a LOT of what I was reading with a skeptical eye.
 

Critical Thinker

Senior Member.
Sometimes it actually works . I dont belive in Chemtrails any more only a covert geoengineering Scheme . Or global diming ? Sandy Hook photo was quickly debunked and even I went on YT to debunk it .

Hi Treasurecoastskywatch, I was hoping you could expand upon what it is that you no longer believe about chemtrails and how that is different than believing in a "covert geoengineering Scheme". Also if you would share your thoughts about the chemtrail 'evidence' that has been adequately debunked and the people that continue to promote that 'evidence' in spite of the fact that it has been shown to be a load of bunk. Are they intentionally spreading 'evidence' that they know to be incorrect? In the forums I have seen other members mention contacting some of the leaders that promote the chemtrail accusations with proof that they have been using flawed 'evidence', so I don't think they are simply oblivious that they are promoting false 'evidence'. Thank you.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
I think this forum is great, i'm prone to believing conspiracies...there is always hundreds of them happening directly toward us or indirectly at any given time, the news of 2012 revealed at-least ten current ones be it banking 'scandals' (conspiracies) or pedophilia cover-ups (conspiracies). We know, or at-least i hope even you hardcore de-bunkers know we aren't run 'democratically', with money, corporations and banks steering most behind the scenes. It's just harder to work out where the factions are, who has the tighter grip on the many reigns and how much collusion in between.

A guy who uses metabunk just recently helped me with chemtrails; revealing that actually a lot of contrail behavior can seem similar to chem trails - I'm still highly convinced they occur regularly for testing purposes, but now i wont be assuming every spreading contrail is a chemtrail and leading me down the awkward path of trying to work out how it could be conceivable on such a large scale.

With conspiracy you can't see the wood for the tree's, debunking helps with that no end....they're still conspiracies i'm convinced of which you all feel has been successfully debunked, 9/11 no explosions being one of the main ones. But then that could well be my very own 'cognitive dissonance' lol.
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
A guy who uses metabunk just recently helped me with chemtrails; revealing that actually a lot of contrail behavior can seem similar to chem trails - I'm still highly convinced they occur regularly for testing purposes, but now i wont be assuming every spreading contrail is a chemtrail and leading me down the awkward path of trying to work out how it could be conceivable on such a large scale.

With conspiracy you can't see the wood for the tree's, debunking helps with that no end....they're still conspiracies i'm convinced of which you all feel has been successfully debunked, 9/11 no explosions being one of the main ones. But then that could well be my very own 'cognitive dissonance' lol.

My pleasure.

It's the meta aspects of conspiracies that intrigue me the most at the moment, as well as the psychological aspects of some of the further out ones (see recent post on Hendrix is Morgan Freeman).

If you read up on the facts and history some users here have dug up about chemtrails, it's clear that the conspiracy believers are conspiring themselves to profit from the believers in many cases. So much of it just boils down to classic old snake oil sales from some bad-ass hypocrits.

I wonder if some of the evils of the world you've pointed out in your post aren't just the same impulse to get something for nothing these guys display, but culturally rationalised and institutionalised. The more I see of the debunking of these things through Metabunk and elsewhere, the more information I seem to find about these questions.
 
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Grieves

Senior Member
Since then, I've combed the internet discovering both more about the conspiracy and more about arguments I can deploy against the conspiracy. This place is like a godsend because it's all laid out so cleanly. I rarely see my friend, but if I do I'll give it another go. I'll never convince her husband, but it would be nice to have my friend back.
Have you really lost your friend, though? Why...?
Something I find somewhat disconcerting, and is a major reason why I'm not more publicly outspoken about my own 'conspiracy theories', is the ostracizing that goes on in this society when someone expresses their less popular ideas. I've seen many comments on this site about how 'all conspiracy theorists are paranoid loners/dope-smoking hippie-hermits', it's a common theme that comes up again and again, but are you so sure these people are isolating themselves? In many cases they may very well be, but in many others you've got people who are flatly rejected from participation in 'normal' social circles simply for believing in or being passionate about something the others view as being taboo.
I was at a party the other night chatting up some of my sisters friends, and among all the usual chatter ('look at this new camera I got, look at this new phone I got, did you see that video where...') someone mentioned the name 'Ted.' "OHhHhh, yeah, Teddy..!" recalled one, "Man, he was a funny guy. It's too bad." "What happened?" another asked, given the implication that Teddy was no more. "Oh, he got all crazy into those conspiracy theories, like 9/11 and stuff, and it's all he ever talks about. I just can't stand being around him now, you know?" There was a general nod of agreement and murmur of consensus, "I hate that crap." The guy fiddling with his camera would add. I had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue hard at this point. Rather than speak my mind in the defense of 'Ted' and risk sharing his fate, I just let the single topic of any interest or bearing drift on by, and continued yammering about all the usual crap.

I've found myself 'at odds' with my generation this way for years, ever since I was in middle-school. The older I got, the more apparent it became that meaningful conversation, the sort to which I was used, was of absolutely minimal social value. Talking about significant issues made people bored, made people anxious, made people feel 'awkward', a word with far too much power these days. It seems consistently that if I'm talking to someone my age who isn't a very close friend already, It's exceedingly important that nothing of remote significance be discussed. Any conversation that strays from the vapid or lurid toward importance or meaning is typically forcefully redirected unless there's a lot of booze involved. People don't like to talk about things in person anymore. If you've got an opinion, save it for Facebook, save it for Twitter, save it for the 'bloggosphere'.
It's too bad.
 

George B

Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Have you really lost your friend, though? Why...?
Something I find somewhat disconcerting, and is a major reason why I'm not more publicly outspoken about my own 'conspiracy theories', is the ostracizing that goes on in this society when someone expresses their less popular ideas. I've seen many comments on this site about how 'all conspiracy theorists are paranoid loners/dope-smoking hippie-hermits', it's a common theme that comes up again and again, but are you so sure these people are isolating themselves? In many cases they may very well be, but in many others you've got people who are flatly rejected from participation in 'normal' social circles simply for believing in or being passionate about something the others view as being taboo.
I was at a party the other night chatting up some of my sisters friends, and among all the usual chatter ('look at this new camera I got, look at this new phone I got, did you see that video where...') someone mentioned the name 'Ted.' "OHhHhh, yeah, Teddy..!" recalled one, "Man, he was a funny guy. It's too bad." "What happened?" another asked, given the implication that Teddy was no more. "Oh, he got all crazy into those conspiracy theories, like 9/11 and stuff, and it's all he ever talks about. I just can't stand being around him now, you know?" There was a general nod of agreement and murmur of consensus, "I hate that crap." The guy fiddling with his camera would add. I had to sit on my hands and bite my tongue hard at this point. Rather than speak my mind in the defense of 'Ted' and risk sharing his fate, I just let the single topic of any interest or bearing drift on by, and continued yammering about all the usual crap.

I've found myself 'at odds' with my generation this way for years, ever since I was in middle-school. The older I got, the more apparent it became that meaningful conversation, the sort to which I was used, was of absolutely minimal social value. Talking about significant issues made people bored, made people anxious, made people feel 'awkward', a word with far too much power these days. It seems consistently that if I'm talking to someone my age who isn't a very close friend already, It's exceedingly important that nothing of remote significance be discussed. Any conversation that strays from the vapid or lurid toward importance or meaning is typically forcefully redirected unless there's a lot of booze involved. People don't like to talk about things in person anymore. If you've got an opinion, save it for Facebook, save it for Twitter, save it for the 'bloggosphere'.
It's too bad.
Interesting observations. . . I find several (some) well educated, highly successful, professional people harbor serious conspiracy theories. . . since it is too embarrassing for them to openly discuss them and takes too much time to research them to find out if they are bunk. . . they just let it smolder under cover until triggered at the most unusual times. . . .as you said after too much alcohol, etc. . . .
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Have you really lost your friend, though? Why...?
Something I find somewhat disconcerting, and is a major reason why I'm not more publicly outspoken about my own 'conspiracy theories', is the ostracizing that goes on in this society when someone expresses their less popular ideas. I've seen many comments on this site about how 'all conspiracy theorists are paranoid loners/dope-smoking hippie-hermits', it's a common theme that comes up again and again, but are you so sure these people are isolating themselves? In many cases they may very well be, but in many others you've got people who are flatly rejected from participation in 'normal' social circles simply for believing in or being passionate about something the others view as being taboo.

I think you've got a misconception there, specifically using the word "all", when if anyone here had actually said such a thing, then really the only sensible word would be "some".

You see my new politeness policy? The polarization is something I'm trying very hard to avoid, because it's not all all helpful.

One does not lose friends because they have strange beliefs, one loses them if they become strident, irrational, angry and fearful. Lots of people get on very well with conflicting religious and political beliefs. Lot's of people have specific knowledge or opinions they don't feel the need to preach at every opportunity.

Consider the aspects of Teddy that people do not like:

"Oh, he got all crazy into those conspiracy theories, like 9/11 and stuff, and it's all he ever talks about. I just can't stand being around him now, you know?"*

The problem is not that he has an interest in conspiracy theories, the problem is that he's crazy into them, and that's all he ever talks about. If he got crazy into World of Warcraft, or Fly Fishing, and THAT was all he'd ever talk about, then there would be a problem too.

And people often don't like to talk about those issues simply because they don't understand them. If I were to start trying to urgently explain the importance of object polymorphism and encapsulation, or the realative merits of EASTL vs. STL, then I'd probably get people awkwardly moving away too.

Plenty of people believe in various conspiracy theories to various degrees, and can still have a reasonable conversation. But I'm sure you've also seen a lot of conspiracy theorist who act irrationally and angrily.

I think your feeling of being "at odds" is much more your problem than theirs. If you want to communicate with people, then you are an intelligent person and you should be able to find a way of communicating with them. The onus is always very strongly on the person trying to communicate.
 
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SeanDWalker

New Member
I wonder if some of the evils of the world you've pointed out in your post aren't just the same impulse to get something for nothing these guys display, but culturally rationalised and institutionalised. The more I see of the debunking of these things through Metabunk and elsewhere, the more information I seem to find about these questions.

I'm quite sure most of it is "to get something for nothing" but it doesn't take much to realize that the likes of USA/UK banking system, the fed, bank of england, etc are all "getting something for nothing" through a very complex system they all individually conspire and collude with to achieve that aim; when that system is founded on us being stupid enough to actually keep going along with it for no other reason than we'd starve if we didn't (individually) then you have a conspiracy that we've all agreed too on a near planetary scale now. Such a complex and diverse system which has ripping us off at the heart of it breeds many, many more 'conspiracies' like LIBOR rate fixing which defied the usual 'this conspiracy is to big for it to be real' rule, it involved relatively low level bankers, to the bank of england AND government (that's the proven part) let alone the speculative amount of people who must've of gotten wind of it previously and either been scared/bought off, e.g. corporations it would of effected, journalists etc.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
Plenty of people believe in various conspiracy theories to various degrees, and can still have a reasonable conversation. But I'm sure you've also seen a lot of conspiracy theorist who act irrationally and angrily.

I think your feeling of being "at odds" is much more your problem than theirs. If you want to communicate with people, then you are an intelligent person and you should be able to find a way of communicating with them. The onus is always very strongly on the person trying to communicate.

It's interesting, i come from a left-wing family who completly believe the entire system is deeply corrupted, many theories on the likes of the BBC portraying government propaganda for whatever reason etc - I raise 9/11 or fema camps (fema camps! will look at your debunking of that shizzle in a minute, as i do have doubts..) and my dad in particular gets very angry, it's like a acceptance of a conspiracy and corrupt society until it gets too dark and then fear and anger react in him, coupled with probable worries of my own mental health etc produces that reaction.

So one hand he'll say he believes Paxman (a hard nosed BBC mediaman) is briefed to ask only particular tough questions while avoiding others, but try to have a discussion that in my belief all UK and US democracy is pretty much a sham and that all the parties collude with one another to achieve particular agendas for business interests and that's another anger trigger point; i know believing journalists are manipulated and all parties being the same are two separate things but to me on a similar scale of manipulation and indeed one must happen for the other to happen, both based on similar rubbishy evidence.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
So one hand he'll say he believes Paxman (a hard nosed BBC mediaman) is briefed to ask only particular tough questions while avoiding others, but try to have a discussion that in my belief all UK and US democracy is pretty much a sham and that all the parties collude with one another to achieve particular agendas for business interests and that's another anger trigger point; i know believing journalists are manipulated and all parties being the same are two separate things but to me on a similar scale of manipulation and indeed one must happen for the other to happen, both based on similar rubbishy evidence.

I think most people would agree that politicians frequently do things that benefit themselves or their business friends or donors.

But that's very different from all the parties colluding with each other, and very different from government control of the media.

Consider for a while the possibility of there being one overarching evil conspiracy calling the shots, that there might just be tens of thousand of conspiracies of various sizes, mostly trivial little things, like directing where a government grant goes, or a favorable change in regulations. We know that kind of thing goes on. So what if that's basically it? Tens of thousands of rich individuals all working in their own self-interests. But not in concert, not working FOR anyone, and not part of some uber-conspiracy. Does that make sense?
 

Grieves

Senior Member
I think you've got a misconception there, specifically using the word "all", when if anyone here had actually said such a thing, then really the only sensible word would be "some".
Eh, I'm pretty sure I've seen 'all' used in several of the statements here in the past to that effect.

Lots of people get on very well with conflicting religious and political beliefs. Lot's of people have specific knowledge or opinions they don't feel the need to preach at every opportunity.
I understand this very well. A good friend of mine who I don't see often enough these days given he's something of a family man now is a devout, exceedingly vocal Christian, to the point that for a long time he engaged in street-preaching, one of those guys you see on the corner holding big old signs warning everybody of the fires of hell. He's even gone to Gay-Pride parades while fulfilling these self-assigned duties, something which has gotten him assaulted/in trouble with the Toronto Police. He and I disagree adamantly on a whole host of issues, but the great thing is, -we actually discuss them-. I think that's largely why we became friends... we both had strong opinions and were both willing to discuss them in a way that's very uncommon these days.

The problem is not that he has an interest in conspiracy theories, the problem is that he's crazy into them, and that's all he ever talks about. If he got crazy into World of Warcraft, or Fly Fishing, and THAT was all he'd ever talk about, then there would be a problem too.
Really? If all he ever talked about was smart phones and their applications, or Hockey and its intricacies, or YouTube vs. Liveleak vs. Vimeo, and all the neat stuff available for viewing there, you think Teddy would be having this same problem? Because I know people who are absolutely obsessed with their smart-phones (there's a study out there suggesting a majority of people using them have the same emotional attachment to their smart-phones as they do a lover they're afraid of losing), I know people who talk next to nothing but hockey, and I know a guy who's entire social imperative is the sharing of the best random videos the internet has to offer.... none of them are particularly unpopular.

And people often don't like to talk about those issues simply because they don't understand them. If I were to start trying to urgently explain the importance of object polymorphism and encapsulation, or the realative merits of EASTL vs. STL, then I'd probably get people awkwardly moving away too.
Those are relatively obscure subjects, though. 9/11 was an event of which more or less the entire planet is intrinsically aware/has been effected on some level by.

I think your feeling of being "at odds" is much more your problem than theirs. If you want to communicate with people, then you are an intelligent person and you should be able to find a way of communicating with them. The onus is always very strongly on the person trying to communicate.
It's not even that much of a problem, really. Any sense of personal isolation I have from my peers I hide relatively well, and I'm generally of a pleasant, amiable sort in social situations, albeit sometimes on the quieter side. I'm no social butterfly, but I don't flounder at parties and get-togethers either, and believe at least I'm generally well liked in the circles of people I know, though close friends are far-between these days, if not few. I'm not complaining about my own social status or situation here. I'm simply stating the facts of my generation, and how we communicate, as I've encountered them personally. I consider myself a rather keen observer of people, and I don't think I'm far off the mark in what I've said.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Really? If all he ever talked about was smart phones and their applications, or Hockey and its intricacies, or YouTube vs. Liveleak vs. Vimeo, and all the neat stuff available for viewing there, you think Teddy would be having this same problem? Because I know people who are absolutely obsessed with their smart-phones (there's a study out there suggesting a majority of people using them have the same emotional attachment to their smart-phones as they do a lover they're afraid of losing), I know people who talk next to nothing but hockey, and I know a guy who's entire social imperative is the sharing of the best random videos the internet has to offer.... none of them are particularly unpopular.

They are not unpopular because they don't get agitated when people don't share their interests. They are just talking about things they really like, not things they think are vitally important to the future well-being of the human race that you MUST listen to and understand.
 

Grieves

Senior Member
Eh, I only ever heard about Ted, and only on that occasion, so I certainly can't say how adamant he was/wasn't, or what position he took on people who disagreed with him.

And rest assured, Hockey fans get DAMN agitated while discussing Hockey, at least where I'm from. Few things bother me more than when two guys at a party start barking and shouting about the Leaf's newest trade or some damn thing, forcing everyone else to listen as if they should give a damn. Still, I tolerate it, as does everyone else who's visibly irritated by it, and those who do it don't suffer for it in the slightest.

Its not about the adamance, its about the content. There's nothing socially unacceptable about getting loud/angry/adamant about something frivolous.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Its not about the adamance, its about the content. There's nothing socially unacceptable about getting loud/angry/adamant about something frivolous.

No, it's about the asymmetry of perceived importance.

If someone started shouting at me about hockey, I'd consider that unacceptable, as I have no interest in hockey. If he shouted at another hockey fan, then that's fine.

Most people have no interest in 9/11 conspiracy theories. For one reason or another they accepted the official story, and they have moved on. Then someone starts to harang them about it. They are just not interested. If the guy persisted, then it's going to get awkward.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
I think most people would agree that politicians frequently do things that benefit themselves or their business friends or donors.

But that's very different from all the parties colluding with each other, and very different from government control of the media.

Consider for a while the possibility of there being one overarching evil conspiracy calling the shots, that there might just be tens of thousand of conspiracies of various sizes, mostly trivial little things, like directing where a government grant goes, or a favorable change in regulations. We know that kind of thing goes on. So what if that's basically it? Tens of thousands of rich individuals all working in their own self-interests. But not in concert, not working FOR anyone, and not part of some uber-conspiracy. Does that make sense?

I truly don't think there's one 'uber conspiracy', more relatively hard to pinpoint alliances of corporations/countries/wealthy individuals all with as you say a umbrella of many thousands of conspiracies being trivial to the big - I actually don't think it'd be too difficult, at-least in the UK where the majority of our prime ministers have come from ONE school, usually with the backing of wealthy donors and a wealthy family to go on to rise in politics; i think that it actually could require even less people involved than a relatively successful large conspiracy like LIBOR rate fixing was, or UK's 'hackgate' with the leveson inquiry, involving at-least 100 individuals high and low on the pleb-scale.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
I truly don't think there's one 'uber conspiracy', more relatively hard to pinpoint alliances of corporations/countries/wealthy individuals all with as you say a umbrella of many thousands of conspiracies being trivial to the big - I actually don't think it'd be too difficult, at-least in the UK where the majority of our prime ministers have come from ONE school, usually with the backing of wealthy donors and a wealthy family to go on to rise in politics; i think that it actually could require even less people involved than a relatively successful large conspiracy like LIBOR rate fixing was, or UK's 'hackgate' with the leveson inquiry, involving at-least 100 individuals high and low on the pleb-scale.

sorry, that was awfully written. I've gotten to used to twitter to the point that if i'm required to write over 140 it becomes a convoluted mess.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I truly don't think there's one 'uber conspiracy', more relatively hard to pinpoint alliances of corporations/countries/wealthy individuals all with as you say a umbrella of many thousands of conspiracies being trivial to the big - I actually don't think it'd be too difficult, at-least in the UK where the majority of our prime ministers have come from ONE school, usually with the backing of wealthy donors and a wealthy family to go on to rise in politics; i think that it actually could require even less people involved than a relatively successful large conspiracy like LIBOR rate fixing was, or UK's 'hackgate' with the leveson inquiry, involving at-least 100 individuals high and low on the pleb-scale.

19 out of 75 is not a majority, it's just a lot.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8622933.stm

There are a LOT of wealthy people in the world. They don't all act together. They don't even all act in each other's interests. Because of this I really don't think you can say that anyone or any group really "controls" anything. There's lots of people trying to apply influence. But that does not make anything like the conspiracies that some people suggest.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
19 out of 75 is not a majority, it's just a lot.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8622933.stm

There are a LOT of wealthy people in the world. They don't all act together. They don't even all act in each other's interests. Because of this I really don't think you can say that anyone or any group really "controls" anything. There's lots of people trying to apply influence. But that does not make anything like the conspiracies that some people suggest.

only 19? thanks! then you of course have the oxford/cambridge thing, that number'll jump again. But, i get what you're saying, i don't really believe in complete control....well in some areas i do, but the majority is just undue and large influence which is manipulative to the point is may aswell be control. but, to the original writers question - this very conversation proves why it's worth de-bunking! i had my mind set that the majority did in fact come from eton, it actually throws a spanner in some of my lines of thought.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
only 19? thanks! then you of course have the oxford/cambridge thing, that number'll jump again. But, i get what you're saying, i don't really believe in complete control....well in some areas i do, but the majority is just undue and large influence which is manipulative to the point is may aswell be control. but, to the original writers question - this very conversation proves why it's worth de-bunking! i had my mind set that the majority did in fact come from eton, it actually throws a spanner in some of my lines of thought.

Eton is a school, so it's before Oxbridge (university)

Actually there's been 55 different prime ministers, in 75 elections. 41 of them did go to Oxbridge (Oxford or Cambridge), so that's probably what your thinking was.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
Eton is a school, so it's before Oxbridge (university)

Actually there's been 55 different prime ministers, in 75 elections. 41 of them did go to Oxbridge (Oxford or Cambridge), so that's probably what your thinking was.

It most likely was! I'm quite aware Eton is a school, i meant by doubling effect that double the number that went to Eton went to oxbridge, and seems i was nearly bang on. But there ya go, doesn't prove much bar the obvious issues of representation, but such a corrupt circumstance that the majority of prime ministers come from such a narrow field of selection...you at least have a large opportunity that something even more untoward than the unjustness of such a small sample becoming leaders could go on.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It most likely was! I'm quite aware Eton is a school, i meant by doubling effect that double the number that went to Eton went to oxbridge, and seems i was nearly bang on. But there ya go, doesn't prove much bar the obvious issues of representation, but such a corrupt circumstance that the majority of prime ministers come from such a narrow field of selection...you at least have a large opportunity that something even more untoward than the unjustness of such a small sample becoming leaders could go on.

Well, around new 6,000 people go to Oxbridge every year. Sure it's part of the upper-class institution, old-boys network, etc. But it's still a huge cross-section of the population. My sister went to Oxford, I went to Manchester. It's fairly egalitarian.
 

SeanDWalker

New Member
I think you're being quite deliberate here, as you know full well of that 6,000 only 100 or so, probably less come from a 'political' background.
 

HappyMonday

Moderator
I'm quite sure most of it is "to get something for nothing" but it doesn't take much to realize that the likes of USA/UK banking system, the fed, bank of england, etc are all "getting something for nothing" through a very complex system they all individually conspire and collude with to achieve that aim; when that system is founded on us being stupid enough to actually keep going along with it for no other reason than we'd starve if we didn't (individually) then you have a conspiracy that we've all agreed too on a near planetary scale now. Such a complex and diverse system which has ripping us off at the heart of it breeds many, many more 'conspiracies' like LIBOR rate fixing which defied the usual 'this conspiracy is to big for it to be real' rule, it involved relatively low level bankers, to the bank of england AND government (that's the proven part) let alone the speculative amount of people who must've of gotten wind of it previously and either been scared/bought off, e.g. corporations it would of effected, journalists etc.

It's all institutionalised selfishness and fear to me I think, but I see how you can define it as a conspiracy. Humanity conspires and colludes, and that's one of the disconnects I didn't grasp for a long time, that common-garden conspiracy theorist often sees themselves as above this, and usually ends up participating in another form of it.

Self delusion and justification are two of my favourite reading topics at the moment.

I'd say one thing though, I don't define a person who goes along with something because they'd starve if they didn't as 'stupid' necessarily. I USED to, but I don't any more. I see a lot more shades to that kind of thing these days.
 
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