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The Critical Thinking Conspiracy

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posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 12:31 PM
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Many years ago, when I first started lurking around on ATS, then finally made the jump to sign up to ATS, I had a clear cut goal in mind, as well as a definitive reason for doing so.

The goal:

The goal was to increase my level of cognizance with respect to other peoples experiences and to find a common bond with others who would put extremism aside and focus on clarity.

The reason:

The reason I finally made the jump on-board was because of what I had seen and watched in online posts. The largest factor being what I had considered Elite Critical thinkers...those that explored EVERY possibility with complete disregard for their own leanings all in an effort to maximize the "truth".


Now, given the 2 above, it was an easy move for me, and one that I enjoyed for the most part, of course there will always be times when you disagree with others, or throw your better judgment to the wind in an emotional outburst...we're human, it happens.

However, lately (and what I mean by lately isn't overnight, but seemingly a culmination of events over 5 years time) the posting topics and threads started tend to be Flares.... like the viral public in general, as opposed to using that critical thinking to formulate well-thought-out topics. Even before posting them.

As an example (and not to pick on any names, but it was the first I ran across today that led me to write this in the first place) today I read a thread about Obama's birth certificate, and how there may have been some "latent" ink on it that indicated CIA-61, when instead it was simply bleed-through that simply said OAHU.

The example, in and of itself, is not terribly important as, anyone can make a mistake. However, in my eyes the importance lies in this: that (as I'm sure we have all well noticed) there are far too many gullible and frankly easily influenced people out here....more so than I think one would imagine, and, as such many see things of this nature, take it as gospel, and proliferate it through the Web. Years ago this would not have happened as (I feel) it would have been a non-issue; it would have been thoroughly researched and looked at before it ever became a thread with such implications.


Why is this a Conspiracy?

Well, to be honest it may or may not be. It could be bands of people who decide that they need to accrue as many stars and flags for themselves to inflate their sense of self-importance, or simply individuals who need/want that and attract others like them and perpetuate the cycle.

The Web is rife with people who, in retrospect, wish they had NOT started a ball rolling that they cannot stop. Facebook has scores. Myspace had scores. Four Square has scores. All for instant gratification of a viral reaction which gave them their "fix", but ultimately, left them empty and needing more.

I'm sure I'm not the first one ever bringing this up, nor will I be the last nor do I much care for any/zero attention garnered from this posting. I simply felt it an outlet, at the moment, to voice what i see as a REAL issue, not some imagined issue, that we have control over. It seems in everyone's haste to "get it out there", the better part of Critical Thinking skills simply falls to the wayside and instead, opt for that imagined feeling of positive attention gained by it. So as far as conspiracies go, I think it could easily be one, even if unconsciously, to root out serious thought and excellent critical thinking ability, to what end, who knows. Maybe everyone just wants to seem to be on a level playing field.

Maybe, in a way, I'm hoping some of the critical thinkers who reigned supreme and brought to ATS such a high level of new ideas and possibility didn't get lost in the "viral video" age. I fear though, that they have.




For anyone who does read this, thank you for reading.




posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 12:53 PM
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These things had to be said. Most topics are now frankly riddiculous, yet there seems to be a happy band of nutters who instantly throw stars and flags at them. Any critical thinking is instantly dismissed as 'debunking'.
And even after all the critical thinking, the thread contnues for dozens and dozens of pages, weeks.

Key things to look out for in the original posts:-

CAPITALS
Exclusive
Disclosure
Raw video
!!!! (marks)

Plus of course usually no credible references.

ATS used to be interesting and challenging. Then it just became funny. Now it's being drowned in ridicule.

How do we improve this situation?



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 12:54 PM
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I’d be more worried about the effects of a bad diet (assisted by GM & even certain conventional crop chemicals) than peoples responses on these forums.
Yes “Critical Thinking” is the victim of many things: Emotion, insults, and other side tracks. But the same is true of any pub conversation, and at here the written word makes identifying stupidity easier.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 12:56 PM
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Agree 100%, but the elite members steer-clear of the "madness" forum for obvious reasons.
My early posts were there, but now I only read a little of the OP sometimes and move on.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 01:00 PM
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I joined for similar reasons. I was a lurker who got tired of seeing people make completed un-based, illogical posts with the mindset that even though they have no idea what they are talking about their ideas thoughts should be respected and considered nonetheless. As with the rest of America, on ATS "stupid" is becoming the accepted standard. We're expected to give stupidity a place in serious discussions among thought out, informed replies and are called closed-minded, elitist, uppity, and a whole list of other names for not doing so.

Critical thinking is a lost art.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 01:10 PM
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I agree but it doesnt seem to be localized here to ATS.

There is a new(er) sense of reporting in society today. I tend to notice a lot of it in sports coverage because that is something I enjoy. Everyone wants to be the first one to break a big story. If on ATS that means stars and flags then so be it. That is your trophy. With media hitting us from almost every concievable angle nowadays it seems to be shaping the way we react to new news. Everyone wants to be the first so they disregard a lot of the investigative rigor that is so vital to what we do here.

I am guilty of this too at times. Often times I come to ATS check the main page for any popular topic that has slipped pass my radar and once that is complete I jump over to "New Topics" looking for the possibility that some major story just broke while I was on ATS. I only remember thinking that way after 9-11 when I would periodically check the news sites wondering if something monumental just happened, something I never seemed to do before.

I am still relatively new to ATS so I cant recall what things were like 5 or so years ago but I do think that I spend a lot of my time sifting through threads that are poorly thought out or at least posted a little premature. Then the OP gets smacked around a bit for a glaring flaw in his/her statement.

Anyway, I do agree with you and I tend to think it is a much bigger issue than ATS. When I tend to think about it outside of ATS I always seem to think about McKenna's Timewave Zero idea where we are all spiraling down towards some epicenter and things are just moving faster and faster and getting more and more chaotic everyday.

I suppose we are just along for the ride and need to just be as observant as possible and try our best to cut through the BS when we see it.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 01:18 PM
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Smh... I literally just had a girl tell me that her mother survived an F9 tornado in the recent severe storms... after informing her that that's impossible since they only go up to F5(theoretically F6) she shot back with...and I quote "WTF does it matter?!... a tornado is a tornado!" ....I was in the wrong for telling her that what she said was blatantly false. Lesson: Never correct a stupid.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 01:36 PM
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reply to post by alphabetaone
 


I agree with the points you make.

I'm becoming more exasperated with this site as of late. The topics that get to the front page and get all the posts are quite frankly embarrassing and silly. A point in case is the thread where someone claimed there was going to be an earthquake and it equated with the stock market?

Quite frankly the thread made no sense and once the earthquake never happened and thus the thread was proven to be nonsense it STILL continued to receive flags and stars.

I feel that on this site there is a clique, if you will of users who garner all the attention. A flags and stars brigade if you will. What I mean by this is, although many of them do post good threads and interesting topics, I feel they get the stars, flags and posts because of who they are and that they could infact post absolute drivel and still recieve accolades.

However it's not flags and stars that are important, it's the subject and that seems to be lacking in many threads lately.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 02:06 PM
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I'd also like to add that I'm put off by a lot of the bickering and arguing as of late. There is also a lot of prejudice and anti-muslim threads and a lot of labelling e.g. liberals, conservatives etc etc.

I suppose with the influx of so many new members the quality of posting will inevitably decline.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:07 PM
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Perhaps flags and stars should be abolished, in an effort to erase the popularity contest that this site often seems to descend into.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:09 PM
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reply to post by Granite
 


There is one problem.

The "elite" members.

Who are these "elite" members? Why are they elite? Because they've been on ATS a long time? Because they've received a lot of flags and stars regardless of subject matter? Does that somehow make their opinion more worthy or valuable than any other member?



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:14 PM
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Originally posted by ommadawn


ATS used to be interesting and challenging. Then it just became funny. Now it's being drowned in ridicule.

How do we improve this situation?


Indeed, interesting and challenging.

But, to improve the situation? I have toi say, honestly, I'm not sure it's even possible...what will give the most "interest and challenge" to the vast majority it seems? I dunno, nude cell phone pictures? (shrug) My mind wants to work a little harder than that.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by Liberal1984

Yes “Critical Thinking” is the victim of many things: Emotion, insults, and other side tracks. But the same is true of any pub conversation, and at here the written word makes identifying stupidity easier.


Yes, it can be. I think herein lies some of the troubles I have with it.

I don't have a problem with ATS, as it's (as an entity) just as much a victim of the age as the quality of posts/threads.

I guess, overall I dont WANT to see critical be a victim of anything..... most especially, if it is, these same people who don't use it, are voters.....THAT worries me the most.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:21 PM
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Originally posted by Kram09

However it's not flags and stars that are important, it's the subject and that seems to be lacking in many threads lately.


I think one is a result of the lack of desire for the other. You're right, they are certainly not important, but when a virtual importance is placed upon them (ie., by those who hail either flags or stars as some digital manhood) then quality will be trumped, or so it would seem.

I agree with you Kram, and these are good points you make.

I just so much want to see things as they were, or close anyway....things were very comraderie-like in how people treated one another...as though everyone were on some giant quest, and if you look at the threads and posts now, all the MODS in the world wont change that all of that has changed.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:23 PM
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Originally posted by Kram09


Who are these "elite" members?


I dont think "elite members" was the intent there...I think it was a reference to my usage of the term "elite"... when I said the "elite critical thinkers".... not that they were a standout group hailed as being elite, but the entire ATS community were the elite (out of all the other junk sites) in total.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:27 PM
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Originally posted by Kram09
Perhaps flags and stars should be abolished, in an effort to erase the popularity contest that this site often seems to descend into.


I'm not certain I think they should be abolished, they serve a purpose....no more than I believe that gun's should be abolished because some people are murderers.

However, the "conspiracy" that I cite, doesn't exactly lend itself to being easy to identify, or even impossible....it's a mindset that is prevalent throughout the internet.... in our new world negative attention is exactly equal to positive attention so long as it IS attention, and to me, there is something systemically wrong with us if that much is true.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:29 PM
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Originally posted by underduck
I agree but it doesnt seem to be localized here to ATS.



You are 110% correct.

It is not, and I strove to make that abundantly clear, but if I didn't I will reiterate that.... it is not a local issue, which if you look a couple posts back, I said almost those identical words as well as being at a complete loss as to whether or not there is actually any hope for change in that.

Somehow I doubt it.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:33 PM
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Originally posted by Watts
Smh... I literally just had a girl tell me that her mother survived an F9 tornado in the recent severe storms... after informing her that that's impossible since they only go up to F5(theoretically F6) she shot back with...and I quote "WTF does it matter?!... a tornado is a tornado!" ....I was in the wrong for telling her that what she said was blatantly false. Lesson: Never correct a stupid.


And you see? This is precisely the type of thing I am talking about.

Facts are completely unimportant, and they trump all else so long as someone can have their 15 minutes of "exclamatory" fame and attention.. Excellent point there Watts, and frankly a VERY sad story to me.

I understand the devastation and am sympathetic very..... however, propagating unrealistic and inaccurate information, is almost as devastating as a whirlwind in that, eventually, it can lead to an equal amount of damage (if you let it get far enough). Just look at the non-existence of WMD and the Iraq war....inaccuracies and propagation of such.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 03:57 PM
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Originally posted by Kram09
Perhaps flags and stars should be abolished, in an effort to erase the popularity contest that this site often seems to descend into.


Great point. I've only been here a short time and even I can see how the quest to be "popular" and to have "your" thread at the top of the "Recent Posts" list has made some of the discussion deteriorate into incoherent babble. I guess being popular and getting stars can be a bit of an ego boost/adrenaline rush; frankly I think it's fairly childish.

Getting rid of Flags and Stars may be a pretty good idea. Forgive me if this has already been suggested but perhaps *limiting* the number of Flags and Stars any user can give out in a certain period of time would help the situation. Another suggestion would be to supplement Flags and Stars with "Turds".

Just a n00bs 2 cents worth.



posted on Apr, 28 2011 @ 04:08 PM
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Rather than keep bashing the original posters for their innane offerings, perhaps
it would be better to keep constant sideline threads like this going.

Don't attack any one original poster, but make it very clear what sensible/critical
folks consider to be a load of BS and label as such.

The hope is to shame/educate the people who produce the rubbish, and perhaps also praise
people who come up with genuinely interesting/good stuff.


That won't break up the stars and flags kiddies but will perhaps make them think about how they are perceived.

*Brainwave*

Why not simply invert the stars and flags ratings?
The more they get, the less they are promoted.
Problem solved overnight.



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