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Some Advice to Conspiracy Theorists/Believers

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posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 03:51 PM
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1. Understand burden of proof and the difference between opinion and claimed fact.

If you open up a thread making fantastic claims, you have logically put yourself in the position of having to defend those claims. If you come out and say that x, y, or z is fact, or that x, y, or z will happen, those are claims. Claims will be challenged, and should be. Opinions, on the other hand, may be challenged, but you can always fall back on the fact that it's just your opinion. Understanding this crucial difference will prevent a lot of needless quibbling.

2. Quit resorting to ad hominem attacks when challenged to provide evidence or proof.

This is the hallmark move of a conspiracy theorist who has been cornered by logic and reason. "You're just a sheeple", "You just can't handle the truth", or "nothing would be good enough to prove this to you anyway because you're unwilling to believe it" are all examples of this. This is quite simply bad form, and it only hurts your position. If you can't provide evidence or proof, just say so. This gives you the advantage of being honest, humble, and man/woman enough to own up to the truth, rather than someone who made unsupported claims and who then resorts to personal attacks (ad hom) and cop outs.

3. Don't respond to requests for evidence with more unsupported claims.

This happens too often, and is probably why so many debates between believer and skeptic degenerate into garbage. If you can't provide evidence for an initial claim, don't respond by making even more unsupported claims. Think about it: the skeptic is asking for proof, a reason to believe as you do. Making even more claims is only begging for more requests for proof.

4. Evidence and proof are good things.

They are, really. If you want people to be open minded and see your truth, you've got to give them reasons for doing so. If you don't want people blindly believing the government, why would you expect them to blindly believe you?

5. Learn, or at least familiarize yourself with, formal logic.

I'm not referring to the arguably subjective sense of merely "being logical", but rather the formal discipline of logic. Formal logic provides key principles of debate and discourse, and codifies these exchanges in a systematic way. I'm not saying you need to be an expert here, nor that ATS should turn into a formal debate site, but it sure would help the exchange between disparate parties when discussing controversial matters, as well as preventing a substantial amount of back and forth because the parties aren't even on the same playing field.




posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 04:18 PM
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Totally agree and would like to add something to #3.

Instead of asking someone to debunk a whole book or film, pick a specific claim and back it up with evidence to support that claim. If you cannot find evidence to support that claim, then say so.

ex. The Bush quote "The Constitution is just a goddamn piece of paper" that is so often used on ats and other sites has yet to be proven that he actually said this.

Another piece of advice for conspiracy theorists. I used to believe alot of these conspiracies. It wasn't until I looked at the evidence against what I had believed that I realized how mislead I was. So please, before you spend any more time believing these conspiracies please take an honest look at books, websites, videos, forums, people etc that challenge those conspiracies.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 04:33 PM
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I agree with everything, although I do have one point to make.

By following this to the letter it would essentially make the Aliens and UFO's forum obsolete. As there is no substantial evidence that seems to satisfy the skeptics therefore we would have to wait until actual disclosure (if any) or mass Alien arrival in order to validate the claims.

As it is the Aliens and UFO's forum has to rely somewhat on speculation and opinion in order to stay afloat. To follow this to the letter would make for a very silent forum.

Just my 3c, hope it makes sense I'm running on no sleep for over 24 hours now



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 04:48 PM
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Cool Hand Luke, thanks for the addition to #3, great point.

Kryties, I agree with you regarding the aliens threads. Sadly, however, many of the believers don't. They insist evidence and proof is aplenty, and frankly refuse to consider these very points. But you're still ultimately correct: the point is lost there in any case.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:49 PM
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I think you should change the title also to debunkers. I rarely even go to the 9/11 forums because everytime I see a debunker, it is constant ad hominem attacks.

I read the responses, and it's always "typical troofer" etc. I ended up reading 1 of the threads this morning, and no joke, I seen 1 guy respond multiple times over 3 or 4 pages, and only in 1 reply did he not use the words troofer or somekind of name as such.

And that seems to be the way it goes. Group everyone into the same group, then point out the most ridiculous element of it, and then paint it onto the entire group as a way of ignoring the valid elements. And when the ridiculous doesn't exist - create it.

ATS should make an Ad hominem counter. And everytime a mod see's a person making such an attack, they get a point added to their counter.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 05:55 PM
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Originally posted by badmedia
I think you should change the title also to debunkers. I rarely even go to the 9/11 forums because everytime I see a debunker, it is constant ad hominem attacks.


I certainly don't mean to imply that debunkers aren't guilty of doing the same things, but I'm specifically addressing CTs/believers because that's my main observation and experience.



Group everyone into the same group, then point out the most ridiculous element of it, and then paint it onto the entire group as a way of ignoring the valid elements. And when the ridiculous doesn't exist - create it.


I don't mean to group everyone together here. There are those CTs/believers who actually caveat their claims by stating they are only expressing beliefs, and usually I don't challenge such posts. And there are others who agree that they cannot prove their claims, and I try to applaud them as well for being honest. This post is meant for the other half, so to speak.



ATS should make an Ad hominem counter. And everytime a mod see's a person making such an attack, they get a point added to their counter.


Hmm, not a bad idea at all
Mods, any thoughts?



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 06:02 PM
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reply to post by thrashee
 





They are, really. If you want people to be open minded and see your truth, you've got to give them reasons for doing so. If you don't want people blindly believing the government, why would you expect them to blindly believe you?


Proof, in fact, is the most elusive 5 letter word in the English dictionary.
Many things that scientists, theologians, and archaeologists claim are proofs, are nothing more than "indications tending to support a theory".

For instance, how does one PROVE String Theory?
How does one PROVE a NEGATIVE, such as "There are no other living beings in the Universe outside of Earth"? In that case, PROVING that there is at least one other living being outside of Earth PROVES the NEGATIVE to be FALSE.

Can Scientists PROVE that the Universe is 13.73 Billion years old? That is what they THINK the likely age is today, but it is based upon MANY assumptions that have not been PROVEN to be true, and limited by our ability to see out further than that many light years at present.

If such "Facts" are still not PROVEN, how can we possibly PROVE much of what is discussed here at ATS?

I submit that item # 3 is virtually impossible to achieve for all but trivial pursuits, such as mathematical proofs.

Proving Aliens Exist? Well, once we have one and can confirm via the scientific method that they truly are aliens, we can't be sure, can we?

However, discussing such matters advances the day when perhaps we can PROVE such things. It is HUMAN to wonder, to discuss, to DREAM, and I am all for that.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 06:07 PM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
Proof, in fact, is the most elusive 5 letter word in the English dictionary.
Many things that scientists, theologians, and archaeologists claim are proofs, are nothing more than "indications tending to support a theory".


With all due respect, your response here is typical regarding the demand for proof. You've even gone so far as to demonstrate how science can't absolutely PROVE anything.

Maybe not, but it's a misdirection tactic. We CAN reasonably correlate things together. We CAN establish a reasonable framework within which we determine what is true, and what is not. This isn't about spinning into an epistemological argument of what is true, but rather what do we logically and reasonably accept to be true, given what we know today.

Maybe life is but a dream. But in the meantime, if you tell me science has proven that eating Fig Newtons causes heart attacks, you bet your britches I'm going to avoid them in the candy aisle.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 06:35 PM
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Maybe not, but it's a misdirection tactic. We CAN reasonably correlate things together. We CAN establish a reasonable framework within which we determine what is true, and what is not.


History, unfortunately is littered with "PROOFS" that have not withstood the march of time. I don't wish to repeat them here.
Perhaps you misunderstand me. I an not trying to misdirect anyone. In fact, what I am trying to do, is encourage reasonable debate and discussion without rigorous proofs. After all, this is a forum that encourages conspiracies, alternate news items, and theories. I hope you understand my point.
Once in a great while, what seems like a WILD conspiracy or theory turns out to be true. What IF one of those wild ideas turn out to be something that greatly benefits mankind? Let ideas bloom. People can decide whether to debate them or ignore them. That is what freedom of choice is about.
The owners of ATS have given us this forum to discuss such ideas. We have had enough stifling of freedom by our Congress. This is one place where we still can express ideas and opinions. Let's not try to limit that.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 06:40 PM
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Originally posted by thrashee
I don't mean to group everyone together here. There are those CTs/believers who actually caveat their claims by stating they are only expressing beliefs, and usually I don't challenge such posts. And there are others who agree that they cannot prove their claims, and I try to applaud them as well for being honest. This post is meant for the other half, so to speak.


Wasn't really talking about you, just that it seems to be the normal way of how people work. With the debunkers, they group everyone as troofers. And then on the other side, everyone is called an agent, etc.

It in itself is spreading ignorance. Because the attacks are just a tactic, as your OP pointed, usually by people corned by logic. It can be used by any person at any time. I'm sure I myself even do it when I get frustrated. But that doesn't make it right.

I just get tired of it is all.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 09:03 PM
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Originally posted by badmedia
I just get tired of it is all.


Hear, hear. I do as well. Thanks again for your contribution.



posted on Oct, 3 2008 @ 11:45 PM
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Originally posted by thrashee

Originally posted by ProfEmeritus
Proof, in fact, is the most elusive 5 letter word in the English dictionary.
Many things that scientists, theologians, and archaeologists claim are proofs, are nothing more than "indications tending to support a theory".


With all due respect, your response here is typical regarding the demand for proof. You've even gone so far as to demonstrate how science can't absolutely PROVE anything.

Maybe not, but it's a misdirection tactic. We CAN reasonably correlate things together. We CAN establish a reasonable framework within which we determine what is true, and what is not. This isn't about spinning into an epistemological argument of what is true, but rather what do we logically and reasonably accept to be true, given what we know today.

Maybe life is but a dream. But in the meantime, if you tell me science has proven that eating Fig Newtons causes heart attacks, you bet your britches I'm going to avoid them in the candy aisle.

I think ProfEmeritus managed to swap the term "proof," an argument requiring a very high degree of confidence, with "evidence," which is broadly defined and depends on the willingness to be accepted. There is no "better proof"; there is just proof. But the degree of confidence regarding submission of evidence may vary. If a conspiracy theory A rests upon set of statements obtained from one source and there are independent, impartial sources that do not support theory A by presenting different statements, then a cautious approach should be taken by the participants to develop theory A.

Introducing proof as an arbiter supreme into various propositions would suffocate the majority of ideas put forward. Don't kill them; regulate them.



posted on Oct, 4 2008 @ 01:40 AM
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Originally posted by ProfEmeritusOnce in a great while, what seems like a WILD conspiracy or theory turns out to be true. What IF one of those wild ideas turn out to be something that greatly benefits mankind? Let ideas bloom. People can decide whether to debate them or ignore them. That is what freedom of choice is about.
The owners of ATS have given us this forum to discuss such ideas. We have had enough stifling of freedom by our Congress. This is one place where we still can express ideas and opinions. Let's not try to limit that.


I'm not trying to limit discussion here. But I am trying to discourage the use of poor reasoning and logic within such discussions.

We could argue from an epistemological sense that there is no universal truth. Be that as it may, however, there are limits to sound reasoning and logic, and there are clear boundaries regarding such.




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