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Thinking Critically About Chemtrails

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posted on May, 19 2011 @ 10:13 PM
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It seems that a major reason why the ‘chemtrail’ hoax continues to perpetuate is due to ‘chemtrailers’ ignorance of the methods of science and critical thinking. Now, if you happen to be a believer, take this as a lesson in critical thinking, and I would suggest reading the whole post instead of posting a knee-jerk response to my refutation of your beliefs.

Now, let me first state that I will ignore the obvious lack of understanding of basic science and meteorology that is rampant in ‘chemtrailers’ posts (with daft claims about contrails not being able to persist, etc, please refer to other threads for refutations of those points), instead I will focus on the obvious lack of critical thinking in the ‘chemstuff’ hoax.

Critical thinking is defined as “The application of logical principles, rigorous standards of evidence, and careful reasoning to the analysis and discussion of claims, beliefs, and issues.” By this definition, we should be able to easily apply critical thinking to ‘chemtrails’. I’m going to be quoting from an article by James Lett, a College professor, from this link A Field Guide to Critical Thinking, using his 6 rules of evidential reasoning: Falsifiability, Logic, Comprehensiveness, Honesty, Replicability, and Sufficiency.

The first three rules, Falsifiability, Logic and Comprehensiveness are all required for the argument to be logically sound.
Falsifiability:

It must be possible to conceive of evidence that would prove the claim false. It may sound paradoxical, but in order for any claim to be true, it must be falsifiable. The rule of falsifiability is a guarantee that if the claim is false, the evidence will prove it false; and if the claim is true, the evidence will not disprove it (in which case the claim can be tentatively accepted as true until such time as evidence is brought forth that does disprove it). The rule of falsifiability, in short, says that the evidence must matter, and as such it is the first and most important and most fundamental rule of evidential reasoning.


So, tying this into ‘chemtrails’, the first issue is that the ‘chemspiracy’ is not falsifiable. Believers often ask for debunkers to “prove chemtrails don’t exist”, which is, of course, a logical impossibility. ‘Chemtrails’ are a nonfalsifiable concept in terms of the “multiple outs” of the conspiracy.

The second variety of nonfalsifiable statements, which is even more popular among paranormalists, involves the use of the multiple out, that is, an inexhaustible series of excuses intended to explain away the evidence that would seem to falsify the claim.


An example of multiple outs in ‘chemtrailing’: when faced with the central problem with the ‘chemtrail’ conspiracy, that no reliable evidence exists to support the ‘chemtrail’ claim, believers will often say that is because it’s “a government secret” that is kept “secret from the public”, all of the evidence exists “it’s just not allowed to be released”, and lets not forget that all ‘debunkers’ are “government shills” who are paid to discredit the ‘chemtrail’ conspiracy with facts and evidence. The multiple outs of the chemtrail conspiracy are endless, I’ve only touched upon a few.

Logic

Any argument offered as evidence in support of any claim must be sound.
An argument is said to be “valid” if its conclusion follows unavoidably from its premises; it is “sound” if it is valid and if all the premises are true. The rule of logic thus governs the validity of inference.

User off the wall summed up the illogical nature of ‘chemtrails’:

Every characteristic of chemtrails can be just as logically and rationally explained by normal contrails under normal (but differentiating) atmospheric conditions.


More can be found on his post, here, there’s way too much content there for me to cover in this post (and no point in reposting it).
Comprehensiveness:

The evidence offered in support of any claim must be exhaustive — that is all of the available evidence must be considered.
For obvious reasons, it is never reasonable to consider only the evidence that supports a theory and to discard the evidence that contradicts it. This rule is straightforward and self-apparent, and it requires little explication or justification.


Despite the obvious lack of evidence for ‘chemtrails’, there are new users every day on ATS who recite the same rhetoric. Debunkers have considered the evidence for and against ‘chemtrails’ (an example of evidence for ‘chemtrails’ can be found here, although it has been thoroughly debunked). Believers refuse to read the evidence against ‘chemtrails’ (e.g. contrailscience) labeling all evidence to the contrary as ‘disinfo, propaganda, etc’ (although, again, most believers refuse to consider the contrary evidence, favoring the ‘chemtrail’ conspiracy on faith alone).
The next three aspects of critical thinking involve the pragmatism of the ‘chemtrail’ claims.

Honesty:

The evidence offered in support of any claim must be evaluated without self-deception.
The rule of honesty is a corollary to the rule of comprehensiveness. When you have examined all of the evidence, it is essential that you be honest with yourself about the results of that examination. If the weight of the evidence contradicts the claim, then you are required to abandon belief in that claim. The obverse, of course, would hold as well.


Chemtrailers continually deceive themselves in the ‘chemtrail’ argument. It is often seen in their posts, which typically contain an appeal to authority (some general said ‘chemstuff’ was real; Kucinich proposed a bill that said ‘chemtrail’ in it, etc) or appeals to emotion (you don’t have children so you wouldn’t understand, using the word “murder”, relying on childhood memories of blue skies [interestingly those memories come from summer, when the conditions aren’t as conducive for contrail formation] continuously stating things like “wake up!” “sheeple”, etc). Rather than weighing the evidence and realizing that there is no evidence for ‘chemtrails’, believers ignore the evidence against their wild claims (usually displaying a high degree of cognitive dissonance) and continue to believe in ‘chemtrails’ on faith alone.

Replicability:

If the evidence for any claim is based upon an experimental result, or if the evidence offered in support of any claim could logically be explained as coincidental, then it is necessary for the evidence to be repeated in subsequent experiments or trials.
The rule of replicability provides a safeguard against the possibility of error, fraud, or coincidence. A single experimental result is never adequate in and of itself, whether the experiment concerns the production of nuclear fusion or the existence of telepathic ability.

The basis for the belief in ‘chemtrails’ usually centers on “aluminum” and “barium” (both naturally occurring elements) in the soil. Refer to “Comprehensiveness” for wonderful post by Phage that debunks the soil sample study (make sure to read about the pre-1920 soil samples that tested higher than the ones from What in the World are They Spraying, you know, before supposed ‘chemtrails’ existed.


The evidence offered in support of any claim must be adequate to establish the truth of that claim, with these stipulations:

  • the burden of proof for any claim rests on the claimant,
  • extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence, and
  • evidence based upon authority and/or testimony is always inadequate for any paranormal claim


The burden of proof has been brought up many times in regards to ‘chemtrails’ (again, when faced with the burden of proof, believers often pin the burden of proof on debunkers, which is wholly incorrect). A good post on the burden of proof in regards to ‘chemtrails’ can be found here.

As for two, there is no evidence to back up ‘chemtrails’.
And three, I addressed the appeals to emotion/authority above. Photographic evidence has shown nothing but ordinary contrails.

So there we have it, an exercise in critical thinking in regards to ‘chemtrails’. Without any evidence, it’s very safe to say that ‘chemtrailing’ is not happening. Keep in mind that knowledge is provisional, perhaps in the future some evidence will surface that shows ‘chemstuff’ is a reality, but I’m not holding my breath.
edit on 5/19/11 by adeclerk because: minor fixes

edit on 5/19/11 by adeclerk because: more fixes




posted on May, 19 2011 @ 10:46 PM
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Well thought out post mate, for many chemtrail believers though, they're stuck at the first hurdle still, namely contrails disappear quickly and chemtrails persist.

This is the foundation of many a believer, not all mind you, fortunately, some have managed to get past this first hurdle but many haven't and it's impossible to broach the subject with a critical mind when these types can't fathom the fundamentals of what's being discussed.

I don't know who created this meme, but they have a lot of explaining to do!

Anyway, you get a star and flag from me because you present a good base for a debate and hopefully the few chemtrail believers who have gotten past (at least) the first hurdle will share their thoughts.

I won't hold my breathe though...




posted on May, 19 2011 @ 10:55 PM
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S&F

I envision this thread being avoided like the plague. Which is unfortunate because it demonstrates what we have all been trying to say.

Great work.



posted on May, 19 2011 @ 10:56 PM
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Originally posted by GringoViejo
S&F

I envision this thread being avoided like the plague. Which is unfortunate because it demonstrates what we have all been trying to say.

Great work.

My thread demanding proof has been avoided, so I have a feeling you're right.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 09:36 AM
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Originally posted by adeclerk
It seems that a major reason why the ‘chemtrail’ hoax continues to perpetuate is due to ‘chemtrailers’ ignorance of the methods of science and critical thinking. Now, if you happen to be a believer, take this as a lesson in critical thinking, and I would suggest reading the whole post instead of posting a knee-jerk response to my refutation of your beliefs.


Unfortunately this simply comes across as insulting to the believers, so they are unlikely the even read further, let along follow your advice.

It does not matter if it's true. If someone thinks they are intelligent, a good thinker, and you tell them otherwise, then they are just going to get angry and not listen to you.

Show, don't tell.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 11:22 AM
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Originally posted by Uncinus

Originally posted by adeclerk
It seems that a major reason why the ‘chemtrail’ hoax continues to perpetuate is due to ‘chemtrailers’ ignorance of the methods of science and critical thinking. Now, if you happen to be a believer, take this as a lesson in critical thinking, and I would suggest reading the whole post instead of posting a knee-jerk response to my refutation of your beliefs.


Unfortunately this simply comes across as insulting to the believers, so they are unlikely the even read further, let along follow your advice.

It does not matter if it's true. If someone thinks they are intelligent, a good thinker, and you tell them otherwise, then they are just going to get angry and not listen to you.

Show, don't tell.

I agree, however showing (in your case, with contrailscience) rarely gets a result either, they either ignore the link/evidence or call it disinfo.


BTW, great job on contrailscience. I've learned a lot from it myself.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 02:34 PM
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I would agree with the premise of this thread entirely.

Chemtrails is not something arrive at by logic and critical thinking, its feelings based and chemtrailers have "Faith" that they are being sprayed, even if without evidence. And to offer up facts that counter their faith, leads to being attacked for those facts.

And in addition to the multiple outs, there is a different take on that too. When they offer up incorrect statement A and you explain it, instead of them thinking about why A is incorrect and how it affects their belief, they just move onto belief B. And when B is explained, they move into C, and eventually go back to A all over again.

They are extremely suggestable to what is on chemtrail sites, and often just repeat it without even thinking about it, not because its their though, but because they read it and it must be true. Not like Will Thomas or Tony Hilder would ever lie to them to sell something. Sort of like "Contrails cant persist", and grids mean spraying, which neither of those are actually true in anyway, but chemtrail sites said so.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 03:19 PM
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The believer's mind is closed to the evidence. Hence why they won't go near a thread that is critical of their feeble-minded 'chemtrail' theory.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 03:47 PM
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reply to post by adeclerk
 


Indeed, you are generally not going to change the mind of a true-beliver (although it does happen).

However it's still useful to have a socratic debate with them about the supposed evidence. While you are unlikely to show them the truth, it's a good way of illustrating the nature of the evidence, as piece after piece succumbs to reason and science.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 03:49 PM
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Excellent OP


Unfortunately, the believers won't read it, and if they do, you'll no doubt be accused of being a paid dis-info agent, which is usually the norm around here when a thread/post contains logic and common sense.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 04:39 PM
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Originally posted by Argyll
Excellent OP


Unfortunately, the believers won't read it, and if they do, you'll no doubt be accused of being a paid dis-info agent, which is usually the norm around here when a thread/post contains logic and common sense.


Its ironic too, as much as chemtrailers want to accuse everyone who opposes it of being paid, its money that led to it being promoted around. I have tried to tell chemtrailers that it is no coincidence that as soon as Will Thomas and Len Horowitz being loudly talking about it, magically they also had books, remedies and videos for sale.

I was never convinced that Clifford Carnicom was in it for the money, but he is asking now for money for his "institute", which of course he can pay himself a salary though



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 04:58 PM
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reply to post by firepilot
 


I honestly think ol' Cliff thinks he is fighting the good fight. I also think he knows that he mis represents data, but believes it to necessary to combat "TPTB"

But that is just an opinion



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 04:58 PM
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reply to post by firepilot
 


And how does Michael J. Murphy mange to jet around the country promoting his unscientific DVD? There is money to be made in bunk. Just ask Alex Jones.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:00 PM
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Originally posted by GringoViejo
reply to post by firepilot
 


I honestly think ol' Cliff thinks he is fighting the good fight. I also think he knows that he mis represents data, but believes it to necessary to combat "TPTB"

But that is just an opinion


Some of his science is just silly though. I think he's a bad scientist with zero incentive to correct anything.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:08 PM
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Originally posted by Uncinus
reply to post by firepilot
 


And how does Michael J. Murphy mange to jet around the country promoting his unscientific DVD? There is money to be made in bunk. Just ask Alex Jones.


Not to mention Jones' buddy Anderson. He may not be behind any "info" but he's definitely paying Jones to keep the viewers tuned in. To me it's just a microcosm of mainstream talk radio.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:10 PM
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reply to post by Uncinus
 


Silly is the nicest word I think you could have used.

I think he has convinced himself somehow. I won't say he's delusional... Ok, I will.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:10 PM
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Originally posted by GringoViejo
reply to post by firepilot
 


I honestly think ol' Cliff thinks he is fighting the good fight. I also think he knows that he mis represents data, but believes it to necessary to combat "TPTB"

But that is just an opinion


I watched a video presentation of him giving a speech, it was quite hard to watch. I did hear him being a bit disingenous though and trying to distance himself from "Chemtrails" by calling it Aerosol Operations. He was claiming he was not using that word at all, when he not only entirely used to, but you could still find it in a few places on his website.

Will Thomas once apparently accepted 7000 dollars to speak in Aspen. A rich donor sponsored it, and from the account I found, was not too happy. Will Thomas and Carnicom seem to have also parted ways.

Has anyone tried to get the media kit for WITWATS that is being offered? I wonder if he is charging for it or giving it away?

edit on 20-5-2011 by firepilot because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:13 PM
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Originally posted by GringoViejo

Originally posted by Uncinus
reply to post by firepilot
 


And how does Michael J. Murphy mange to jet around the country promoting his unscientific DVD? There is money to be made in bunk. Just ask Alex Jones.


Not to mention Jones' buddy Anderson. He may not be behind any "info" but he's definitely paying Jones to keep the viewers tuned in. To me it's just a microcosm of mainstream talk radio.


I dont even think Alex Jones believes in chemtrails, he just knows he can get money out of them



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 05:15 PM
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reply to post by firepilot
 


My favorite part of WITWATS was when the guy from the organic farm was tapping on the tree and pulling rotting parts off while saying "That's not natural, I've never seen this before.", as if trees rotting or getting disease isn't natural.
That whole movie represents a gross misrepresentation of basic facts and science, but I understand how the hour of emotional appeal might scare the less academically inclined.

I'm glad we live in a country where you can express any beliefs you have (even false) but deliberately misrepresenting facts to prey upon the stupid is a no-no in my book.



posted on May, 20 2011 @ 06:05 PM
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MJM claims he's joining as a plaintiff in suing "Shasta County Air Quality Management District for their breach of their obligations to monitor and ensure the air quality is good for the citizens of Shasta County".

farmwars.info...

Good publicity, or just silly?



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