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Polarization Research Project: End the Dark Days

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posted on Mar, 17 2005 @ 11:18 PM
The ScepticOverlord spoke, saying:

Why not consider gathering up a few senior members for an ongoing research project to collect materials that demonstrate the strategies in play to create and perpetuate the fanatical divide.

The project might also look back into history and pinpoint when it appears the strategy began (I tend to think it started in earnest after the Nixon presidency).

From: Dark Days. (The black band on ATS)
Related: Ending the Dark Days

...So all who see the urgency of this quest, gather here, post your thoughts, sign your names, crank up your search engines.

Here are a few links and sources to get the ball rolling.

Arguing: logical fallacies to avoid


Coercive persuasion and thought reform are alternate names for programs of social influence capable of producing substantial behavior and attitude change through the use of coercive tactics, persuasion, and/or interpersonal and group-based influence manipulations (Schein 1961; Lifton 1961). Such programs have also been labeled "brainwashing" (Hunter 1951), a term more often used in the media than in scientific literature. However identified, these programs are distinguishable from other elaborate attempts to influence behavior and attitudes, to socialize, and to accomplish social control. Their distinguishing features are their totalistic qualities (Lifton 1961), the types of influence procedures they employ, and the organization of these procedures into three distinctive subphases of the overall process (Schein 1961; Ofshe and Singer 1986). The key factors that distinguish coercive persuasion from other training and socialization schemes are:

1. The reliance on intense interpersonal and psychological attack to destabilize an individual's sense of self to promote compliance

2. The use of an organized peer group

3. Applying interpersonal pressure to promote conformity

4. The manipulation of the totality of the person's social environment to stabilize behavior once modified

Thought-reform programs have been employed in attempts to control and indoctrinate individuals, societal groups (e.g., intellectuals), and even entire populations. Systems intended to accomplish these goals can vary considerably in their construction.

From: Coercive Persuasion and Attitude Change
Encyclopedia of Sociology Volume 1, Macmillan Publishing Company, New York
By Richard J. Ofshe, Ph.D.


[edit on 17-3-2005 by soficrow]

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 10:45 AM
I like the overview of the project and I will be more than happy to be part of it, so count me in.

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 12:47 PM
I do not consider myself senior in any way on this board, but i would like to offer my help in this project in any way i can.

please let me know if i can be of any help (or even if you do not want my help please let me know)

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 01:10 PM
Hmmm, I thought all research projects belonged here:
and ADVISOR would be the one to okay the project?

[edit on 18-3-2005 by DontTreadOnMe]

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 01:58 PM
"The project might also look back into history and pinpoint when it appears the strategy began (I tend to think it started in earnest after the Nixon presidency). "

I think you will find that it goes back much farther than that.....

"As early as 151 BCE there were clearly different political parties of Jews in Judea. Under the rule of the Hasmoneans, these groups vied for power. Most of the documentary materials describing these different political forces were written by the winning political group, the Pharisees, so their descriptions of their political adversaries are suspect.

The first of these groups was the Sadducees. They came primarily from large land-owning aristocratic families and priestly families. Many were involved in the sacrificial cult of the Second Temple. For most of the Hasmonean period, and probably until the year 70 CE, they were politically powerful. However, they did not write anything for posterity, so we know about them only from their opponents, the Pharisees.

The Sadducees recognized the authority of the written Torah and viewed the sacrificial cult as the primary form of worship. They viewed the priests as the only authoritative representatives of Jewish law. They did not believe in the immortality of the soul, and denied that there was a divine reward/punishment system in a life after this life.

The Pharisees represented a new stream of Jewish thought. They maintained that, in addition to the written Torah, God had handed down an Oral Tradition at Mount Sinai. The Pharisees claimed divine authority for this Oral Tradition. They challenged the priests and maintained that the priests didn't know the correct laws because they didn't study the Oral Tradition. The Pharisees believed that the soul was immortal; there was a divine reward/punishment system which began at a person's death. All actions in this world affected the person's future in the World to Come. This tension between Pharisees and Sadducees may have started as early as 444 BCE.

It was the Pharisees who were involved with the people in the synagogues, teaching and encouraging study and prayer as Jewish forms of worship. So long as the Temple stood, the Pharisees never denied the importance of the sacrificial cult, but they accused the priests of performing the sacrifices incorrectly because the priests ignored the Oral Torah."

sounds kind of familiar, doesn't it???

I think it goes farther than that though, and well, probably began within our own beings....a division within us.

[edit on 18-3-2005 by dawnstar]

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 02:00 PM
count me in

just u2u me or whatever...

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 02:41 PM
I believe that dawnstar has a good beginning or historical view for the research project.

Also I believe that this topics apply to population and manipulation control either on religion or politics or both, will be very interesting to analyze.

Control of communication

. Emotional and behavioral manipulation

. Demands for absolute conformity to behavior prescriptions derived from the ideology

. Obsessive demands for confession

. Agreement that the ideology is faultless

. Manipulation of language in which cliches substitute for analytic thought

. Reinterpretation of human experience and emotion in terms of doctrine

. Classification of those not sharing the ideology as inferior and not worthy of respect

Perhaps the way in which it has been used by politicians and in religion to influences the people, and since when it has been adopted by certain groups.

Also why we have become so divided in our views and how we have allowed this to happen even when we all have the same feelings of patriotism about our nation we still don't see things the same way we have make ourselves so segregated.

Also how certain groups or organizations including political parties are cashing out on all these, what do they get out of it.

Can we stop it? Before we tear our self and our nation apart?

DontTreadOnMe thanks for giving that link this is the first time I read those guide lines.

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 02:51 PM
For anybody interested in the meaning of polarization this is an overview.

Group polarization
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Group polarization effects have been demonstrated to exaggerate the inclinations of group members after a discussion. A military term for group polarization is "incestuous amplification".

Study of this effect shown that after participating in a discussion group, members tend to advocate more extreme positions and call for riskier courses of action than individuals whom did not participate in any such discussion. This phenomenon was originally coined risky shift but in recent years certain experimental conditions have been found that lead group discussion to inhibit risk; many now use choice shift as a replacement term for both effects.

In addition, attitudes such as racial and sexual prejudice tend to be reduced (for already low-prejudice individuals) and inflated (for already high-prejudice individuals) after group discussion.

Some studies have linked group polarization effects to the behaviors of trial juries. In different studies, mock jury members after deliberating favored either stronger or more lenient sentences than any individuals had held before discussion.

See also: Groupthink, group-serving bias, list of cognitive biases.

How is this affecting ATS and what we can do to stop the spread.

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:33 PM

This will eventually be an official ATS research project with a team of moderators (myself included) selecting the members for the research team. We are still in the planning stages.

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 03:51 PM
I am glad that is going to be monitor as to make sure that everybody gets a chance to participate.

The more diversify the better and if I don't get to be one of the chosen ones I know others will do a great job.

posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:07 PM

And a bit more for the pot:


Innoculation Theory

"If we want to strengthen existing attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, inoculation theory suggests that we should present a weak attack on those attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. Again, the key word here is, "weak." If the attack is too strong, it will cause the attitude, belief, or behavior to get weaker or even move to the opposite position. The attack has to be strong enough to challenge the defenses of the receiver without overwhelming them.

Here are the steps of effective inoculation:

1) Warn the receiver of the impending attack.
2) Make a weak attack.
3) Get the receiver to actively defend the attitude."
The attack must be strong enough to force the receivers to defend. It must not be so strong as to overcome the defense.


In brainwashing - The following states are created systematically within the individual. These may vary in order, but all are necessary to the brainwashing process:

1. A feeling of helplessness in attempting to deal with the impersonal machinery of control.
2. An initial reaction of "surprise."
3. A feeling of uncertainty about what is required of him.
4. A developing feeling of dependence upon the interrogator .
5. A sense of doubt and loss of objectivity.
6. Feelings of guilt.
7. A questioning attitude toward his own value-system.
8. A feeling of potential "breakdown," i.e.,that he might go crazy.
9. A need to defend his acquired principles.
10. A final sense of "belonging" (identification).


"To gain a wider historical perspective, and a needed reiteration of some American's culpability in many of the twentieth century's disgraces, Anton Chaitkin exposes British psychiatry: from eugenics to assassination."

"Experiments in coercive interrogation and brainwashing would be conducted at Allen Institute under the auspices of the Canadian military, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Dr. Cameron's "terminal'' use of electric shock as a brain-burning torture, psychosurgery, and brainwashing with drugs and hypnosis would make the Canadian program the most famous apsect of the CIA's MK- Ultra."


also see
Neuro-Marketing: Straight to the Brain


posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 04:15 PM
This sounds interesting, yet vauge. I'll be glad to join. This would also allow me to read up on much needed sociological and evolutionary pyschology works.

Well, this is what I came up with so far.


A Social Psychologist's Search for Purple America.



An interesting set of notes in regards to religious movements in early and subqequent America.


[edit on 18-3-2005 by ZeroDeep]

posted on Mar, 25 2005 @ 03:39 AM
Sofi, if you're still as excited about this idea as you were when you started your threads on polarization, I'd be happy to do what I can. I hope you don't mind if I actually go to the library for some information though. I mean, the internet is great and vast but it doesn't always lead the right direction.

I don't agree with everything you've said. It seems a little like you want to change human nature or that you're simply frustrated with ignorance and prejudice. Aren't we all? However, this is an intriguing topic and I would like to help you (and have others help me) understand it to a better degree. Hey, we could discover that you're absolutely right and that it would be for the better good to try to get people to meet in the middle rather than have them at opposite ends.

I hear too often that "America is divided" 50% of us want war, 50% don't. 50.1% of us wanted Gore, 49.9% wanted Bush. In the latest election, it seemed more like 51%wanted Bush, 48% wanted not-Bush, and the rest wanted... that guy who used to be a green party member and who I supported until he recieved large amounts of campaign money from the republicans... like they'd want his hippy a$$ over Bush
Ok, I admit I have what those crazy La Rouche (expletive deleted)s call "anybody but Bush syndrome". That doesn't make me polarized right? I can admit that Kerry was a weirdo and probably would have done a terrible job too. I was just so pleased with the idea of someone who wasn't Bush being our president.

Anyway, I want it to be known that when a immerse myself within a certain idea, I try to play my own devil's advocate so I can at least trick myself into thinking that I'm not biased. I'm very interested in what information can be dug up on this subject. Email me.

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 05:45 PM
I'd like to be a part of this project as well.

I think that ServoHahn (sorry, I shouldn't be referring to you in the third person) serves (no pun intended) as a good example of the polarized nature of our politics. I'll admit to having had the ABB mentality as well. I think that John Kerry is a shining example of groupthink on the part of the Democrats. He wasn't chosen because he strongly represented the party's core ideals, but rather because everyone thought he was moderate enough to steal votes away from Bush. I think the party learnt the hard lesson that that is a horrible way of thinking. Most people in the party would rather have put Howard Dean up, but he was too strong of a Democrat, and that scared some people.

Anyway, I think I have a partial explanation for some groupthink. Bear with me here as some of this information is simply to give you a small background as to where my explanation is coming from.

As I've learnt from my Problems and Statistics course, statisticians don't like to claim that they've proven anything. It's actually a rather pessimistic field, and a statistician is supposed to say they've disproven one particular hypothesis. They are never supposed to say they've proven anything. In fact, my professor would tell us that if we had not found a counterexample to a hypothesis, then our sample size was too small. That's something quite unique in Probs and Stats as far as mathematics goes. To get back to the topic at hand, I think that groupthink comes from particular individuals with more extreme views on a matter, and their ideas become memes. I can't exactly explain why or how that happens except to say that the individuals within the group already have a predisposition to listen and consider the idea than those outside the group. Of course, not listening to the idea is more fallacious.

Something that I'd like to research would be the history of Japan leading into World War II. If I remember my Japanese history correctly, there are some eery similarities between those events and some things happening here in the US right now. What lead Japan into WWII was more of a slow rise to boiling point.

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 07:47 PM
Never done this on ATS before, but I'm interested in participating.

[edit on 3/29/2005 by centurion1211]

posted on Mar, 29 2005 @ 08:02 PM
Okay guys - just start posting stuff here, or on RANT's thread at - and write ScepticOverlord too. ...He wants to do something specific with this project - so remind him.


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