The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

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The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby everything on Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:25 am

goes basically like this:

1. crazy assertion of whatever / strawman argument
2. hey you guys don't offer any disproof. there is no evidence saying my outlandish claim (injecting disinfectant, we live in a simulation, etc., etc.) is wrong.
3. therefore my crazy argument might be true.
4. repeat a lot / someone with another agenda sets up bots / social media algorithm tries to keep giving you the same stupid shit
5. you live in this echo chamber of massive confirmation bias
6. certified crazy.

this isn't that much removed from some of the stupid MA arguments people make as well.
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/ better approx answer to right q than exact answer to wrong q which can be made precise /
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby meeks on Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:11 pm

need to add a bunch of ad hominem attacks vs discussing data/proof to your list
Last edited by meeks on Fri Feb 05, 2021 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Steve James on Fri Feb 05, 2021 5:51 pm

What kind of argument is it when someone claims Jews (or Democrats) are eating babies?

I just remembered that Mexicans were saying similar things about Americans kidnapping children for experimentation in the 80s and 90s.
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Trick on Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:49 pm

conservatives afraid of possibilities.
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Trick on Fri Feb 05, 2021 10:56 pm

. What kind of argument is it when someone claims Jews (or Democrats) are eating babies?
. That’s something seemingly steam back to the days of primitive circumcision methods(but in some quarters seem to still happening, no not eating the baby but biting the thing....Heard it from a Jewish guy)
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Trick on Fri Feb 05, 2021 11:07 pm

https://bestlifeonline.com/true-conspiracy-theories/

I’ll add an older one - Our planet revolve around the sun
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby GrahamB on Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:48 am

You guys need to WAKE UP and THINK FOR YOURSELVES in a way that just happens to agree with me!

Look into it.
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Steve James on Sat Feb 06, 2021 6:54 am

People really did argue that Jews ate babies, but not Jewish babies. Imo, there's a world of difference between a conspiracy and a conspiracy "theory." What's interesting is that real conspirators invent conspiracy theories in order to obtain or maintain power.

There are lots of conspiracies, but claiming Satan-worshiping Democrats are eating babies is only a theory made to demonize Democrats. Ok, there's no doubt there are pedophile rings, prostitution, and adultery circles. But, why look for Democrat conspiracies when we have Catholic priests, megachurch pastors, and Republican presidential-candidates who've been caught?

The thing about Q-Anon was/is that there was a Q who worked deep inside the government who was giving people the inside dope on what was really happening. Then, there were people claiming that the Messiah was also here. We know that Jesus didn't tell them that. And, it turned out that their beliefs were only theories (or hypotheses) put out by someone else. I.e., they were conned.

Hey, I saw zombies at the supermarket. Nothing about it came up on the msm. What's up? Who's keeping this hidden? I heard a theory, and I'm allowed to believe. You must be a devil for not believing me. (At which point, you're allowed to say "Fuck you Steve."):)
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Trick on Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:46 am

Steve James wrote:There are lots of conspiracies, but claiming Satan-worshiping Democrats are eating babies is only a theory

well if they are satanworshiping i would be suspicious about them for sure, the other democrats may be no problem 8-) anyway devoted christians drink the blood and eat the flesh of christ, maybe not as horrible since hes grownup 8-)
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Steve James on Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:03 am

It's not a problem that people believe they're really eating the flesh and drinking the blood. The problem comes when they expect anyone else to believe. But, what the early Popes did often had more to do with keeping control rather than whether they believed they were eating bread and drinking wine. I.e., if you didn't go along with the story, you could be burned as a witch. Calling many conspiracy theories "witch hunts" would be accurate. However, there really are witches. They just don't do what they're accused of?

Or, if you got too much power, a conspiracy theory would be invented. How about the one against the Knights Templar? Iow, I think the people who start conspiracy theories don't believe them. Alex Jones says that what he says is entertainment. Tucker Carlson says that no one has to take what he or his guests say seriously. So, I don't.;)
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Giles on Sat Feb 06, 2021 8:40 am

everything wrote:goes basically like this:

1. crazy assertion of whatever / strawman argument
2. hey you guys don't offer any disproof. there is no evidence saying my outlandish claim (injecting disinfectant, we live in a simulation, etc., etc.) is wrong.
3. therefore my crazy argument might be true.
4. repeat a lot / someone with another agenda sets up bots / social media algorithm tries to keep giving you the same stupid shit
5. you live in this echo chamber of massive confirmation bias
6. certified crazy.

this isn't that much removed from some of the stupid MA arguments people make as well.


A fair summary. You can also look at this through the lens of falsifiability. There's plenty of explanation about that here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability but to summarize and simplify: a theory, hypothesis or indeed any statement about reality can be considered sound or potentially taken seriously if it can potentially be contradicted by evidence. According to Einstein's Theory of Relativity, no object (and certainly no spaceship) can travel faster than light. The Theory presents reasons why this is so and up until now all the observations/evidence seem to confirm this tenet. But if a genuinely faster-than-light object turns up, can be observed/measured, then the Theory of Relativity could then be shown to be false and would have to be modified or even thrown out. The principle of falsifiability actually helps to keep science and scientists grounded, because in this way all 'theories' remain subject to the test of evidence.

Religion and what we now generally refer to as 'conspiracy theories' share something essential: they are not falsifiable. See also no.2 in Everything's list. If I tell you that angels have strong and beautiful wings, or that God loves us all, or indeed that God is dead, then you're never going to be able to disprove such statements. You'll never be able to present any evidence for or against. (Believer: You can't disprove my statement that angels have beautiful wings, so it's true!! Researcher: Okay, then please could we at least take a representative sample of angels and measure their wings? Then we'll have a better idea. -- the problem becomes clear...) You can believe these statements or not, it’s a free world in that respect. But don’t ask or demand – at least in a liberal democracy – that people should make legal, political or administrative decisions directly based on these statements. And it’s pretty much the same for statements/claims about an organized ring of Satan-worshipping, paedophile Democrats, or about Bill Gates aiming to implant microchips in us through vaccinations, or 5G networks causing Covid-19. These claims may seem ‘closer to home’ or 'more real' than talking about angels but in essence they are on the same level. On the one hand these claims or hypotheses can clearly be examined on the basis of existing evidence (which shows that they are all without base, i.e. nonsense) but the people supporting and propagating these claims consistently ignore the evidence, the facts. The evidence/facts are deemed irrelevant and in this way the believers themselves lift these ‘theories’ into the realm of the non-falsifiable. In other words, to the level of religion, of faith. Once again, people can believe personally what they want. But expecting or demanding, for instance, that the authorities should take action against aforementioned ‘Satanists’, (or Bill Gates, 5G, ‘stolen’ presidential election or whatever) or saying that the authorities failure to do so shows they too are complicit in the crime, is on precisely the same level as announcing that Jehovah has collided with the Flying Spaghetti Monster, the world will end in 3 months and the government must respond, goddammit. And if the government doesn’t respond, it shows they too are of the devil’s party. All this is based on non-falsifiable statements or hypotheses.

And here’s the Swedish Wikipedia article on Falsifierbarhet ;)
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifierbarhet


PS. I’m shooting from the hip here. I’m open to any (rational ;)) corrections.
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Steve James on Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:22 am

But if a genuinely faster-than-light object turns up, can be observed/measured, then the Theory of Relativity could then be shown to be false and would have to be modified or even thrown out.


Not a correction, just a clarification. No object/thing with 'mass' can travel faster than light. But, if there were, we couldn't technically observe it. The interesting thing is that it's not about light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msVuCEs8Ydo
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Giles on Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:50 am

Hi Steve, very cool video, thanks for that. I don't want to derail the thread so I'll just say: I think I half-understood most of it, which for me is pretty good going. ;D
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Steve James on Sat Feb 06, 2021 12:51 pm

I wish I could say I understood all of it. :) It's more interesting than any conspiracy theory. As you point out, at least it's falsifiable. Scientists have been trying to disprove Einstein's theory, and they've only confirmed it.

Hey, who'd want to "believe" that time slows the faster one travels. But, it can be tested, everywhere.
He clarifies and explains it even more simply.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2JCoIGyGxc
Last edited by Steve James on Sat Feb 06, 2021 3:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The conspiracy theorist's strawman argument structure

Postby Trick on Sat Feb 06, 2021 7:25 pm

. what the early Popes did often had more to do with keeping control rather than whether they believed they were eating bread and drinking wine. I.e., if you didn't go along with the story, you could be burned as a witch. Calling many conspiracy theories "witch hunts" would be accurate
No I don’t think that would be accurate, they’re not that powerful at all as you can see in the wordings of them -conspiracy theorists, it’s just theories flung around believed by a very small unorganized community , most laugh at them, others get angry with them. The witch hunt is probably the other way around, it’s more likely the OP here try to start a witch hunt, or at least express his anger toward the lonely strawman standing there in the field not even powerful to scare away the crows picking at him.....
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