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The Anti-Masonic Influence:

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posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 02:46 PM
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Introduction

I have been inspired by this to demonstrate that there is an obvious influence by anti-masons on this board who are upset that the opposite view point is being presented.

It should be noted that the thread which this one responds to has actually chosen to "lift" some of my points. I believe the reality that the anti-masons must do this to prove some undue masonic influence speaks for itself.

Table of Contents

I Overview
II Hypothesis
III Problem
IV Analysis:
Logical Fallacies
- Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
- Ad Ignorantium
- Appeal to Fear
- Ad Hominem (circumstantial)
- Red Herring
- Straw Man Arguments
- Hasty Generalizations
- False Dilemma Fallacies
- Sweeping Generalizations
Argument Tactics
- Confusing Burden of Proof
- Circular Reasoning
V Conclusions
VI References

Overview

The thread in question presumes to randomly pick logical fallacies, which are actually those used by the anti-masons on this board, and presumes to present definitions of such fallacy while failing to actually provide such examples. This is a classic tactic by such posters: to simply tell us that something exists, without providing proof or logic. I shall demonstrate instead through examples of threads on this forum how such posters are influencing the secret societies board against the masons who post.

Hypothesis

The anti-masons of the Above Top Secret forums are intentionally trying to stop any criticism leveled at their theories by posting threads like the inspiration for this one. In addition to continually attacking masons who respond to their threads, using any or all of the above mentioned logical fallacies, they also take part in the common argumentative tactics listed above to manipulate their theories.

Problem

The secret societies forum is supposed to be an open forum to discuss any topics of perceived secret societies. While scholars have agreed that masonry is not actually a secret society (Bogdan 2007), I will for the sake of this thread assume that masonry is a legitimate discussion for this forum because it is perceived to be a secret society.

A discussion in a forum should allow for both view points - if some posters wish to discuss conspiracy theories related to masonry, then masons themselves should also be allowed to present evidence or logic against such theories. While this is happening, the anti-masons are growing upset over this development and are thus attempting to stop this two way discussion.

Analysis

In an attempt to somehow "prove" masonic influence, anti-masons have decided to simply list logical fallacies and declare that somehow masons are using all of them. I submit that this is nothing but an attempt to shield the reality that anti-masons have always used these logical fallacies to shield against masonic responses to their theories. As such, I have compiled a introductory (but not exhaustive) list of the tactics anti-masons have used in this forum.

The nature of a logical fallacy is that all statements of argument are a series of precepts followed by a conclusion. A logical statement is one which the precepts MUST lead to the conclusion provided. Logical fallacies are methods of argumentation used to make it appear as though the precepts lead to the conclusion presented. In fact, logical fallacies are actually rhetoric devices used to shield their users from facing the reality that the precepts they have set out do not lead to the conclusion they have arrived at.

In the context of this forum, the practical application of such fallacies means that anti-masons usually present a string of seemingly unrelated facts, and then conclude that there must be some sort of evil masonic cabal going on. I offer as initial proof again this thread thread, which shows a anti-mason presenting a string of seemingly unrelated logical fallacies without examples in an attempt to "prove" undue masonic influence. I am sure that the irony will not be lost on the forum that the thread uses logical fallacies - while trying to explain how masons use them.

Please note that all references for logical fallacies can be found here. I will not be referring to this link nor quoting from it because I have several years of academic training in fallacies - however, I welcome all posters to check the validity of the logical fallacy explanations presented here through this link.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc

Latin for "after the thing then because of it," this fallacy is quite often the basis for all anti-mason claims of undue masonic influence. This fallacy was utilized by native man in believing that when he performed rain dances, and it rained, that he caused the rain. The logical fallacy is that there is no reason to believe that just because two events follow each other in sequential order, that a casual relationship exists. The two events could be completely autonomous, and have no casual relationship.

In symbolic terms, you might view this fallacy in the following way:

1) X
2) Y
3) Therefore, X caused Y.

An example of anti-masons using this fallacy can be found here, where a poster claims that because current "masonic symbols" appear historically after the symbol has occured in other cultures and/or times, that the current symbols must have a relationship.

This is invalid, and is a use of post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Ad Ignorantium

Latin for "to argue from ignorance," this is a classical logical fallacy used by anti-mason on this board. The argument is structured in the following manner.

1) X claim is presented
2) Y claim is the opposite of X claim.
2) X claim is true because X or Y cannot be proven false.

This is a fallacy because the nature of claim X is often innately structure such that it cannot be proven true or false, but the reality is that just because evidence contrary to X cannot be provided does not mean X is actually true. We can observe this logical fallacy in action in this thread, where it was shown how an anti-mason used it.

[edit on 11-12-2007 by LightinDarkness]

[edit on 11-12-2007 by LightinDarkness]




posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 02:52 PM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 


Nice and constructive you have given me some arguments I forgot to include, for that i thank you!
I am looking forward to reading your conclusion.



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by Tetragrammaton
reply to post by LightinDarkness
 


Nice and constructive you have given me some arguments I forgot to include, for that i thank you!
I am looking forward to reading your conclusion.


The current status of your thread shows that you are randomly assigning fallacies (this may change in the future). Feel free to steal the ones I will be proving



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 03:10 PM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 


I see no random presentation of fallacies, but that is just my opinion. Perhaps in the future that will change; neither of us can be sure about that. I did my best I am sorry that I fall bellow your standards. In my humble opinion, my disposition is good considering the standards on internet forums. Good luck on your thread, I am out.



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 

The Anti-Mason Influence, Part II

Appeal to Fear

One of the more simplistic use of logical fallacies by anti-masons is the appeal to fear tactic. This is where most conclusions of anti-mason arguments make their appeal: that there must be something the masons are doing that should terrify you. The problem with using appeal to fear is that the anti-mason is misdirecting people from the veracity of the argument itself.

The number of examples of anti-masons using the appeal to fear in this forum is overwhelming, but I will provide just three, separate, examples. (one for each word).

The first example accuses masons of worshipping satan, which of course in common society evokes fears of a "cult" of some sort. The second example accuses the masons of being linked to the new world order, the implication of which - that a certain group of men is controlling the world - evokes fear. The third example accuses the masons of being murderers, quite literally. This obviously evokes fear.

Ad Hominem (circumstantial)

Ad hominem is an argument against the person, or attempts to insult the person to prove that their statements have no validity. Circumstantial ad hominem means attacks against the person's circumstance - in this forum, masons are often attacked personally just because they are masons. This logical fallacy is present in almost every anti-mason thread that has a freemason response in this forum. The fallacy is so obvious I almost did not even bother to present it, but I will give just one among hundreds of examples. In this thread, the original poster even admits to using ad hominem fallacies.

Red Herring

A red herring fallacy is committed when the poster attempts to completely redirect opposition away from his actual argument. This can be done by simply making a different claim to change the subject, or can be done as this example shows. A red herring is a fallacy because it attempts to redirect attention away from the weakness of the arguments and towards other stronger or perhaps more outlandish material. In this example, the original poster is attempting to derail opposition points by changing the very meaning of what the thread discussion is.

Straw Man Argumentation

A straw man argument is an attempt to prove your conclusion by using precepts that no one would actually argue against. Straw man arguments are invalid because it uses a precept which you cannot base a conclusion upon. It is a way of defending your arguments because you structure arguments such that no reasonable person would disagree. You can see a clear example of straw man arguments in this thread, where the original poster claims that masons believe there are no problems what so ever in the fraternity. This is a straw man because no reasonable person - mason or otherwise - would believe that any social institution is flawless.

Hasty Generalizations

To commit a hasty generalization fallacy is to present a small sample of evidence that is known to be statistically unrepresentative of the population, but then precede to generalize to the entire population from that unrepresentative sample. This is a logical fallacy because an entire population does not represent a sample unless the sample is both statistically significant and random. Anti-masons often use this tactic to find one "bad" mason, and then generalize that all masons are also "bad" - you can see an example of this going on in this thread.

False Dilemma Fallacies

False dilemma fallacies are an attempt to simplify a situation by presenting only certain alternatives, when other more logical alternatives exist. This is invalid because it prematurely narrows down the field of alternatives in an argument. You can see a false dilemma fallacy happening in the "conclusion" of the original poster of this thread, where we are presented with only two options: masons should stop interfering and let everyone else post. The reality is that there is no reason to believe that this is the only conclusion, or even an accurate conclusion. Thus, the conclusion is invalid.

Sweeping Generalizations

The sweeping generalization fallacy is committed when a poster generalizes to an entire population based on the perception of an adequate sample. In reality the "sample" is often completely unrepresentative, but the basis for this fallacy is that there is a perception of validity to the argument. We can see this being a main part of this thread, where the original poster claims that all masons argue from logical fallacies. The reality is that masons do use fallacies occasionally like everyone else, but that sample is not representative of all masonic arguments and therefore an invalid generalization.

Confusing Burden of Proof

One way of defending a fallacious argument is to insist that the other side has to prove that you are wrong. In doing this you can "defend" your argument, because you have offered a theory that is so unfounded that I can no more disprove it than you can prove it. It is a known legal and rhetorical standard that the burden of proof rests on the person bringing the "charges." We can see an anti-mason trying to confuse the burden of proof to defend his/her claims in this thread.

Circular Reasoning

Circular reasoning is in many ways like the logical fallacy of begging the question. A poster who uses circular reasoning states that the claims prove themselves, or that the claims are somehow "innately true" to the point to where they need no evidence. This is a fallacy because most claims (there are some exceptions, but none exist for multi-variable arguments) do indeed require evidence. We can see this in action here.

[edit on 11-12-2007 by LightinDarkness]



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 03:55 PM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 

The Anti-Mason Influence, Part III

Conclusions

As this thread demonstrates, for every logical fallacy outlined there are one or numerous examples of anti-masons committing the fallacy in pursuit of their theories. I do not claim that this means the theories themselves are innately wrong, only that the precepts of the arguments they present when using these fallacies do not in any way support their conclusions. Additionally, they use these tactics to deflect discussion and discourse, derailing and turning threads completely off course. Masons are of course not immune to such tactics either, but I devoted all examples to anti-masons here as the thread which I am "responding" to does the opposite. I also provided actual examples, instead of simply accusing anti-masons of using these tactics.

I propose that anti-masons are attempting to realign the forum to be essentially free of responses or discussion of theories that masons do not agree to by creating posts that decry there to be some forum-wide masonic conspiracy. I would suggest this is not a good direction for the secret society forum. Instead, I would suggest that we all - masons and anti-masons alike - work to not commit these fallacies and to try to prove our statements with evidence and reason.

References

Bogdan, H. (2007). Western Esotericism and Rituals of Initiation. New York: State University Press.

Bruzas, M.D. (2005). The new anti-masonic movement in America. Explorations: 71-88.

David, D.B. (1960). Some themes of counter-subversion: An analysis of anti-masonic, anti-catholic, and anti-mormon literature. The Mississippi Valley Historical Review, 47(2): 205-224.

Robbins, T. (1979). Cults, brainwashing, and counter-subversion. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 446(1): 78-90.


[edit on 11-12-2007 by LightinDarkness]



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 05:02 PM
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Now I have laid out the discussion, let us begin:

Anti-masons, why do you accuse masons of using fallacies without real examples? I do not deny everyone drops a fallacy every now and then, but the existence of such does not actually mean some sort of masonic conspiracy against the forum.



posted on Dec, 11 2007 @ 10:13 PM
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How interesting! No takers! What a surprise.
I'll check back in a day.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 11:43 AM
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I have found that posts directed at Anti-Masons, asking for them to explain their thought processes and defend their positions in general typically meet with the sound of crickets chirping.

I wouldn't lose any sleep over it. After all, how can one defend or explain a position that is not one's own?

*we now return you to the crickets*



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 04:35 PM
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reply to post by The Axeman
 


Exactly right. And do you notice that not a single mason starred or flagged this thread, even though it takes the other thread which some masons starred completely apart? So much for the theory of masons backing one another up. Yet another conspiracy theory down the drain.

Keep up the good work, brethren.



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 09:55 PM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 

Well, I starred your opening post. I think it deserves it, as you have put a lot of effort in.



I propose that anti-masons are attempting to realign the forum to be essentially free of responses or discussion of theories that masons do not agree to by creating posts that decry there to be some forum-wide masonic conspiracy.


I'm not sure the "anti-masons" are any more organized than the masons are. Which is to say, not at all. I would estimate that for every genuine "anti-masonic" inquiry there are 4 baiting posts. And for every baiting post there are 4 masons ready to pounce. Whilst I agree with everything that you have posted on this thread I can't help feeling that it's completely over the heads of your intended audience.

I'd better go and read the original thread that spawned your response now



posted on Dec, 12 2007 @ 10:00 PM
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reply to post by Trinityman
 


I appreciate the star, and I am glad you did star it. The post I am responding to just claimed that ANY masonic post got stars and flags because there is some masonic conspiracy. The fact that this post has been up all this time and only starred by one person - even though the evidence is irrefutable - was just another hole in the tin-foil hat logical fallacy shield. I am, however, perfectly happy with praise and I DO think stars & flags are sexy! =)

I think you are correct that there is no concentrated anti-mason effort here, but I think that the anti-masons in this forum are clearly getting frustrated at the fact that they can rarely get away with unsubstantiated masonry insults without being called out on it. Their reaction is to, individually, start claiming there there MUST be some masonic conspiracy in an attempt to get us to shut up.



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 04:11 AM
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Originally posted by LightinDarkness

I think you are correct that there is no concentrated anti-mason effort here, but I think that the anti-masons in this forum are clearly getting frustrated at the fact that they can rarely get away with unsubstantiated masonry insults without being called out on it. Their reaction is to, individually, start claiming there there MUST be some masonic conspiracy in an attempt to get us to shut up.



I think that it is less frustration and more often a learning curve. It is very hard to fight rationality with irrational and hollow arguments.

I do think some Freemasons jump into the fray and have a knee-jerk reaction to a question, which is understandable, but at times it can inhibit the development of a more lucid discussion. I certainly feel that this response is more detrimental to the quality of discussion on the SS board than anything else. Those that wish to bait will go away eventually if no-one bites or if dealt with by education and patience may stick around to learn something.

It is a double edged sword and it is important to remember that ATS exists not only to uncover and discuss conspiracy but to deny ignorance. The best way to do that is to educate.



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 08:45 PM
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Originally posted by KilgoreTrout
I do think some Freemasons jump into the fray and have a knee-jerk reaction to a question, which is understandable, but at times it can inhibit the development of a more lucid discussion. I certainly feel that this response is more detrimental to the quality of discussion on the SS board than anything else. Those that wish to bait will go away eventually if no-one bites or if dealt with by education and patience may stick around to learn something.


There's an interesting recent development. Some freemasons (and some non-masons too
) have been pointing out with increasing frequency that some other masons have been over-reacting to certain types of posts. Those other masons have recognized this in themselves and are going to try harder in the future. I give great credit to anyone who is prepared to listen to "constructive criticism" and then act on it - it's not something that comes easy to me I can tell you. It is a credit to them and, quite frankly a credit to the organization to which they belong. Freemasons are by no means perfect - many of us are quite imperfect actually.

But we try.



posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by KilgoreTrout
 




I think that it is less frustration and more often a learning curve. It is very hard to fight rationality with irrational and hollow arguments.


You learn this quick on ATS.. its still hard to implement. Not just in the SS forum, but any forum, every ones view, to themselves, is rational.. even if the general audience of facts tell other wise.. and as you said to fight irrational thoughts that are thought to be rational with a rational response is.. futile.




I do think some Freemasons jump into the fray and have a knee-jerk reaction to a question, which is understandable, but at times it can inhibit the development of a more lucid discussion.


Yup, we are all guilty of that.. perhaps it is the consistent bombardment of written assaults on our fraternity.. I don't know. I think we are most skeptical of people who claim to be Masons with the most out of this world claims.



Those that wish to bait will go away eventually if no-one bites or if dealt with by education and patience may stick around to learn something.


And it is important to note that indeed, some have been open.. they came in with shrewed ideas and walked away maybe not liking Masons still.. but at least understanding and accepting.

Those are far more rare though. And people would say they succumbed to Masonic Propaganda.. which is an odd statement in its self.. half the time we don't even agree on what we are agreeing or arguing about because we come from all over the place with various regulations and differences.

And.. while Masons may seem jumpy over their organization, waiting to pounce the next anti-Masonic post..

There have been numerous actually organized efforts on our part to "be nice" or to organize a sort of polite only response threads. Trying to bring rational conversation.. it had mixed results. Never stopped anti's though.. and they never cared to join in the conversations. However in those cases with those threads during that time I would say we educated the largest concentration of people. People learned something, asked questions etc.

But hey..

We are all Human you know. And some people like my self are just naturally very argumentative. If you have seen me being mean to an anti - you have not read my political posts then.



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 07:09 AM
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Originally posted by Trinityman
It is a credit to them and, quite frankly a credit to the organization to which they belong. Freemasons are by no means perfect - many of us are quite imperfect actually.



I would argue that it is less a credit to Freemasonry and more to your humanity in general. Those who are less fortunate than you and have not been blessed by your upbringing and education can hardly be blamed for believing the information that is available to them. Treating them like fools only reinforces those beliefs. They are not fools otherwise they would not have asked the questions in the first place. They are enquiring minds and though you may not convince them that your path is true, you can convince them that you are different only from them in your beliefs.

Obviously I am not referring to those that simply stoke the flames, conflicting with them is entirely futile, but there are those like myself who are simply interested in how Freemasonry fits into the wider world. Often these individuals get scared off or accused of an agenda, when simply they wish to confirm that what they have been told is untrue.

I realise it is a fine line. Another member gave me link to an old thread from this board and it was brilliant, there was a real sense of co-operation between members based on sharing knowledge and resources. I don't see that happening as much and I think that it is a shame. There is a little too much suspicion of motives - here and in general.

I think you said it best on the opposing thread to this one but if all a member has to contribute is a defence of their membership to Freemasonry then I think that they should pull back. Contradict evidence as presented but otherwise do not sink to the level of goading.

I have certainly learnt a lot by talking to you and reading what others have said on these boards. I would like to continue to do so but sometimes I find that it feels more like a private club - not that I let that stop me but I am sure that others are less willing to show up their ignorance in what may seen at first glance to be quite a judgemental environment.

Just my interpretation.

As always
best wishes



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 07:32 AM
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reply to post by LightinDarkness
 


If you are upset on how things are going here on ATS then I'm sorry to tell you that this forum deals with conspiracy theories in general and that you can't stop people to post their views on masonry since it's part of the conspiracy theory here on ATS under the secret sociaty section.


In fact I find the administrators fair and square, in fact some of them are masons, as for point deduction it happened to me too but I don't make a big deal out of it, it is casual that from time to time you break the rules and some of your points will be deducted.

A mason that is here on ATS as a moderator took some of my points in a secret sociary thread, I did not make a big deal out of it.




[edit on 14-12-2007 by pepsi78]



posted on Dec, 14 2007 @ 03:34 PM
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Originally posted by pepsi78If you are upset on how things are going here on ATS then I'm sorry to tell you that this forum deals with conspiracy theories in general and that you can't stop people to post their views on masonry since it's part of the conspiracy theory here on ATS under the secret sociaty section.


I would advise you to read the thread. Your comments make it obvious you either completely ignored the entire thread and decided to start posting, or you are intentionally using a STRAW MAN FALLACY (see above for detailed explanation). This thread was created in response a to a thread which accused masons of controlling the board. Oh, the irony.

But none of this actually detracts from the point that the anti-masons on this board do use the same tactics and fallacies every time. My point was to create a post to outline what they do, and provide a reference point for me and other posters (masons and non-masons alike)



posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 02:58 AM
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Problem

The secret societies forum is supposed to be an open forum to discuss any topics of perceived secret societies. While scholars have agreed that masonry is not actually a secret society (Bogdan 2007), I will for the sake of this thread assume that masonry is a legitimate discussion for this forum because it is perceived to be a secret society.

A


Actually, if I may. What mentioned to you before that my father-in-law has suggested to me (was actually an invite) leads me to believe that quite the contrary it is a secretive society. You do have over 5 million members world wide don't you who go up to certain people and ask things out of the ordinary like "What union are you with" or something to that effect as they are shaking their hand in a certain way?

This is not an attack in any way shape or form by the way, just a logical question.

I therefore consider it to be a secret society.




posted on Dec, 16 2007 @ 03:07 AM
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The idea of taking an oath to another man is simply unaceptable, I swear to keep the secret..etc. since an oatth is about keeping a secret and they are a society, then it's only normal that they are a secret society.
Since it's a secret society they belong in the secret society section
that is part of this forum.
There is no doubt that masonry is a secret sociaty.





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