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Old 29th October 2018, 06:46 PM   #1
dudalb
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Conspiracy Theories Kill....

I think this has been clear for some time, but that the Pittsburg Synogogue shooter was triggered by a "Jews are behind the Immigrant Caravan in Mexico" theory it the most compelling evidence yet that Conspiracy theories are very dangerous.
They are not some crazy but harmless quirk,but a form of insanity that can have disaterous and deadly consequences.
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Old 29th October 2018, 07:04 PM   #2
theprestige
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I think this has been clear for some time, but that the Pittsburg Synogogue shooter was triggered by a "Jews are behind the Immigrant Caravan in Mexico" theory it the most compelling evidence yet that Conspiracy theories are very dangerous.
They are not some crazy but harmless quirk,but a form of insanity that can have disaterous and deadly consequences.
I disagree. Conspiracy theories aren't the problem. Most people don't kill. Some people are crazy. If it wasn't one excuse it would be another. Or none at all. Or some banal truth elevated to murderous fetish. When it comes to mass murder, motives are incidental.
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Old 29th October 2018, 09:21 PM   #3
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Motives aren't incidental - they direct the perpetrator.
And depending on the CT, the victims might or might not be in a position to defend themselves.
So the death toll does depend on the CT.
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Old 30th October 2018, 06:31 AM   #4
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Nazism is the best example: at its core it is a "the Jews/Bolsheviks/Capitalists are out to get us" CT.
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Old 30th October 2018, 06:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I disagree. Conspiracy theories aren't the problem. Most people don't kill. Some people are crazy. If it wasn't one excuse it would be another. Or none at all. Or some banal truth elevated to murderous fetish. When it comes to mass murder, motives are incidental.
I'm going to disagree with you here. Let's define a universe of recent mass murders and identify their motivations event-by-event and see how whether the motives play a role or not. Maybe there is a trend, and we can see whether CT thinking is a factor.
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Old 30th October 2018, 06:55 AM   #6
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If my neighbor's yard floods in a heavy rain, that's just bad luck.

If my neighbor's yard floods in a heavy rain because I built a series of trenches and dykes for the explicit purpose of redirecting water to my neighbor's yard, that's more than bad luck.

Crazy people are a natural force in the world. Directing them towards your enemy is a deliberate act of malice.
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Old 30th October 2018, 06:57 AM   #7
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Words kill and so do conspiracy theories.

You cannot spread hate speech and think it will have no effect at all. Soon or late it will lead to murders.

And the same goes for CT, the best example still being the protocols of the elders Sion which was used by the Nazis to justify the mass-murder of the Jewish population.
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Old 30th October 2018, 07:07 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I disagree. Conspiracy theories aren't the problem. Most people don't kill. Some people are crazy. If it wasn't one excuse it would be another. Or none at all. Or some banal truth elevated to murderous fetish. When it comes to mass murder, motives are incidental.
If you travelled back in time to 1930ies Germany, would you try to kill Hitler?
It's a cheesy question that's often asked.

I don't think anyone has ever answered: If I am destined to kill a politician I will find an excuse.
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Old 30th October 2018, 08:24 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I disagree. Conspiracy theories aren't the problem. Most people don't kill. Some people are crazy. If it wasn't one excuse it would be another. Or none at all. Or some banal truth elevated to murderous fetish. When it comes to mass murder, motives are incidental.
This is mostly true I think; it used to be playing Rock records backwards, or reading certain books, or violent video games... crazy people will find something to channel their crazy. And the internet provides a plethora of options with which to do so.
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Old 30th October 2018, 10:18 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
This is mostly true I think; it used to be playing Rock records backwards, or reading certain books, or violent video games... crazy people will find something to channel their crazy. And the internet provides a plethora of options with which to do so.


The problem with this argument is that the number of "crazy people" who ever did something because "rock records" or "books" or "video games" told them to do it is vanishingly small, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the people using such media.

That's not true of the "crazy people" who are citing various CTs as the justification for their actions. We're seeing more and more of these guys, more in probably just the last year than all the "rock records", "books" and "video games" crazy people combined over the last few decades. Just this past week alone we had three separate instances of these guys carrying out attacks based on exactly what the CTs are telling them is the "truth".

It does take someone fundamentally crazy to listen to "Helter Skelter" and decide it's a call to arms for hippies to murder people. But when the CT is explicitly telling people that "They" are stealing elections, faking terrorist attacks, poisoning our air, water and food, or raping children, all it takes to act on that is to be gullible. And some of those acts will be violent.

And there's a hell of a lot more gullible people than crazy people out there. Just look at a Trump Rally.
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Old 30th October 2018, 10:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
I'm going to disagree with you here. Let's define a universe of recent mass murders and identify their motivations event-by-event and see how whether the motives play a role or not. Maybe there is a trend, and we can see whether CT thinking is a factor.
As a methodology, "define a universe of recent mass murders and identify their motivations event-by-event" seems extremely vulnerable to cherry-picking, as well as being a stalking horse for a multitude of other fallacies. But let's give it a try.

Here's a universe:
- Jonestown
- Columbine
- Sandy Hill
- Dylan Roof
- The DC Sniper
- The Congressional Baseball Game Shooting
- The Charlie Hebdo Killers
- The Thalys Train Attack
- The Boston Marathon Bombing

What would you suggest we make of this universe?
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Old 30th October 2018, 10:23 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Halcyon Dayz View Post
Nazism is the best example: at its core it is a "the Jews/Bolsheviks/Capitalists are out to get us" CT.
Well, they were 1/3 correct at least. 2/3 correct if you put Capitalists on par with Bolsheviks.
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Old 30th October 2018, 10:25 AM   #13
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Yes, let's have a law to stop people expressing opinions different from our own. That should solve the problem.
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Old 30th October 2018, 11:26 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
The problem with this argument is that the number of "crazy people" who ever did something because "rock records" or "books" or "video games" told them to do it is vanishingly small, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the people using such media.

That's not true of the "crazy people" who are citing various CTs as the justification for their actions. We're seeing more and more of these guys, more in probably just the last year than all the "rock records", "books" and "video games" crazy people combined over the last few decades. Just this past week alone we had three separate instances of these guys carrying out attacks based on exactly what the CTs are telling them is the "truth".

It does take someone fundamentally crazy to listen to "Helter Skelter" and decide it's a call to arms for hippies to murder people. But when the CT is explicitly telling people that "They" are stealing elections, faking terrorist attacks, poisoning our air, water and food, or raping children, all it takes to act on that is to be gullible. And some of those acts will be violent.

And there's a hell of a lot more gullible people than crazy people out there. Just look at a Trump Rally.
This. I am surprised that some "Rational Thinkers" deny that ideas can have serous consequenes.
I wonder if some of this is not a major flaw among skeptics;Because something is batcrap crazy, they have problems taking it seriously.
Ithink history shows that batcrap crazy ideas have to be taken seriously as far the impact they might have.
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Old 30th October 2018, 11:39 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
As a methodology, "define a universe of recent mass murders and identify their motivations event-by-event" seems extremely vulnerable to cherry-picking, as well as being a stalking horse for a multitude of other fallacies. But let's give it a try.

Here's a universe:
- Jonestown
- Columbine

- Sandy Hook
- Charleston Church
- DC Sniper
- The Congressional Baseball Game Shooting
- The Charlie Hebdo Killers
- The Thalys Train Attack

- The Boston Marathon Bombing

What would you suggest we make of this universe?
How about we stay domestic and within the last several years. Add San Bernadino, Orlando Pulse Nightclub, and the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin?

ETA - we could add 3 to get to an even 10, but I'm not sure that school shootings fit the bill.

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Old 30th October 2018, 11:52 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
How about we stay domestic and within the last several years.
How about we don't?

Quote:
Add San Bernadino, Orlando Pulse Nightclub, and the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin?
See what I mean about the method being vulnerable to cherry-picking?

Quote:
ETA - we could add 3 to get to an even 10, but I'm not sure that school shootings fit the bill.
"[A]n even 10" sounds like an emotional argument, not a rational one. And you're not sure if mass murders in schools are on-topic in a discussion of mass murders?

I don't think your proposed analysis is going to work at all. Back to the drawing board?
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Old 30th October 2018, 12:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Horatius View Post
The problem with this argument is that the number of "crazy people" who ever did something because "rock records" or "books" or "video games" told them to do it is vanishingly small, both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the people using such media.
I'd be curious about the percentage of people that use the internet who end up "doing something". I guess it would vary greatly depending on how you define the parameters. Are you suggesting that it be the percentage of people who read conspiracy forums who end up committing a crime based on what they've read?

Because when Rock records were on trial for example, I think it became about all Heavy Rock records being "evil" and not just the ones being focused on at the time (Judas Priest or Ozzy Osbourne for example).

Maybe it's me finding a subtle connection between the hysteria surrounding that stuff, and the anti-conspiracy movement, that's made this whole thing distasteful.

Interesting topic.
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Old 30th October 2018, 12:08 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
I wonder if some of this is not a major flaw among skeptics;Because something is batcrap crazy, they have problems taking it seriously.
I don't think so. People on this board continue to engage people with crazy ideas even long after it has become apparent that it really is the people who are crazy.
I think skeptics are more likely to take crazy ideas seriously. We expect rationality. We expect that facts shape ideas and ideas shape actions.
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Old 30th October 2018, 12:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Imhotep View Post
I'd be curious about the percentage of people that use the internet who end up "doing something". I guess it would vary greatly depending on how you define the parameters. Are you suggesting that it be the percentage of people who read conspiracy forums who end up committing a crime based on what they've read?
You need more than a crazy idea to get a terrorist. Even if you "know" that jews are doing bad things, doesn't mean that attacking a synagogue is a rational response.
People don't shoot refinery workers to stop global warming.

You also need the idea that shooting people is legitimate. Unfortunately that idea exists among a notable fraction of "the second amendment people", as Trump called them.

Lastly you need someone who doesn't care that terrorism may be counterproductive. The Pittsburgh shooter is quoted saying: "**** your optics, I'm going in"
That quote implies so much. It implies that he knew exactly what people was doing. That he is perfectly sane.
It also implies that terrorism had been talked about and rejected as ultimately bad for their aims.
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Old 30th October 2018, 01:23 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
How about we don't?


See what I mean about the method being vulnerable to cherry-picking?



"[A]n even 10" sounds like an emotional argument, not a rational one. And you're not sure if mass murders in schools are on-topic in a discussion of mass murders?

I don't think your proposed analysis is going to work at all. Back to the drawing board?
OK. So I'll go ahead and dismiss your assertion, and you can dismiss my disagreement. Why have a discussion on a discussion board anyway.
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Old 30th October 2018, 01:41 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
OK. So I'll go ahead and dismiss your assertion, and you can dismiss my disagreement. Why have a discussion on a discussion board anyway.
Let's do it over a couple beers!

Can you imagine people actually saying some of the stuff that's commonly posted in an actual, verbal conversation? Sometimes I think about that when I need a reality check.
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Old 30th October 2018, 03:21 PM   #22
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I understand the point of view of the OP, and sometimes feel the same way, but I have to remember to apply perspective on this kind of thing.

Yes, Antisemitism is rooted in a dozen CT's going all the way back to the Roman Empire. But you can't say that Germany's embrace of Nazism was based only on CT related to the Jews. They had just lost WWI, and the population had no idea that it was losing the war, and it was left in a state of shock - AND ANGER. Plus, Germany had been with somebody for almost three hundred years. There was high unemployment, including many veterans, high inflation, and chaos of the total of the political spectrum. So Hitler coming to power was partially about ending what was perceived as Jewish influence and degradation of German society, but it was also a fear of Communism, and a desire for stability at any cost.

And mostly it was about WWI, because Germany couldn't wait to kick France's butt again - hard.

Claiming Nazism is based on CT waters it down far too much.

Some societies are prone to CT's for both historical reasons, and cultural traditions. African-Americans suffered under real, open conspiracies that kept them as second class citizens for a century, and most remain cynical, and extremely skeptical, and more than a little paranoid about Government motives.

As a ghost hunter, my studies have evolved from things that go bump in the night into why people think that those things doing the bumping are spirits of the dead.

The answer is simple: Delusional Hysteria.

Let's take the ghosts out of this scenario, and insert a bear. You are walking in the woods at night and you hear branches cracking somewhere off the trail. Your first though is, and should be, BEAR! Odds are it's a deer, elk, or another large non-bear mammal, but in the dark it's a freakin' bear. Your actions which follow depend on your knowledge of bears, recent news stories about bears, and your fear of bears.

Racism is rooted in fear.

Bears are shot because people are afraid of them. Most of these people aren't lunatics, and many are educated, and even smart, but they surrender their intellect to their fears.

Now change that from Bears to Jews, or African-Americans, or Homosexuals, or some other minority that has a history of being targeted for death by people who in most cases are otherwise rational humans.

The other truth is that most mass killers aren't insane, they're just A-holes.
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Old 30th October 2018, 09:01 PM   #23
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I think that to the extent a particular Conspiracy Theory dehumanizes a certain group or certain individuals,
killings or violence are more likely. Not all CT are the same in that regards.
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Old 31st October 2018, 01:12 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
I'm going to disagree with you here. Let's define a universe of recent mass murders and identify their motivations event-by-event and see how whether the motives play a role or not. Maybe there is a trend, and we can see whether CT thinking is a factor.
Black Lives Matter member Micah Xavier Johnson murdered 5 police officers in Dallas after being radicalized to believe cops were hunting black people on the streets.

Black supremacist and separatist Gavin Eugene shot 6 police officers, killing three in Baton Rogue, LA. He was a supporter of BLM and lauded Michah Xavier Johnson's murder of 5 cops. Eugene also believed the canard that cops target blacks. A conspiracy theory that many people on this forum believe.
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Old 31st October 2018, 01:32 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by LSSBB View Post
I think that to the extent a particular Conspiracy Theory dehumanizes a certain group or certain individuals,
killings or violence are more likely. Not all CT are the same in that regards.
This, I think is the crux of the matter.
Although there are a lot of CTs that are pointless and harmless, there are those that throw accusations around without considering the weight of those accusations, and pretty soon you are in the murky realms of assuming some group "deserves" their comeuppance.

Over a good few years, I saw an acquaintance go from suggesting the moon landings might have been faked, or the world might be flat, because he didn't think the maths worked out, to suggesting that the rumours he had heard about Bilderbergs and politicians covering over vast networks of child snatchers, because that is, apparently, what powerful people do, to stating as plain fact that Sadiq Khan was in league with terrorists, and there had to be a race war with Islam, because we can not allow the UK to be invaded.


One of the great paradoxes of my experience with CTs is that for people who often concern themselves so much with the threat of a fascist New World Order, there are many who are far too comfortable boiling their arguments down to racism, intolerance, and bigotry, often with large doses of violent rhetoric mixed in.
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Old 31st October 2018, 01:57 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I disagree. Conspiracy theories aren't the problem. Most people don't kill. Some people are crazy. If it wasn't one excuse it would be another. Or none at all. Or some banal truth elevated to murderous fetish. When it comes to mass murder, motives are incidental.

Interesting proposition. Could you make an argument with evidence to support it?
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Old 31st October 2018, 02:03 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by Baylor View Post
Black Lives Matter member Micah Xavier Johnson murdered 5 police officers in Dallas after being radicalized to believe cops were hunting black people on the streets.

Black supremacist and separatist Gavin Eugene shot 6 police officers, killing three in Baton Rogue, LA. He was a supporter of BLM and lauded Michah Xavier Johnson's murder of 5 cops. Eugene also believed the canard that cops target blacks. A conspiracy theory that many people on this forum believe.
Not sure it qualifies as Conspiracy Theory.
And unlike the Synagogue shooter, the targets weren't helpless geriatrics.

I would be ok with classifying it as Terrorism.
But many Libertarians and Constitutionalists would call it exercising their constitutional right to oppose a tyrannical government.
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Old 31st October 2018, 03:13 AM   #28
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
Not sure it qualifies as Conspiracy Theory.
And unlike the Synagogue shooter, the targets weren't helpless geriatrics.

I would be ok with classifying it as Terrorism.
But many Libertarians and Constitutionalists dangerous fascist lunatics would call it exercising their constitutional right to oppose a tyrannical government.
FTFY
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Old 31st October 2018, 07:54 AM   #29
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never mind

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Old 31st October 2018, 08:06 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
OK. So I'll go ahead and dismiss your assertion, and you can dismiss my disagreement. Why have a discussion on a discussion board anyway. : thumbsup :
I'm not dismissing your disagreement. I'm concerned about your proposed methodology. Why not address my concerns? Specifically the concern that your conclusion will depend heavily on your selection of data points? Do you not want to discuss that?

Or if you prefer, try having this same discussion with dudalb. He's making the exact same argument as me, but with the obverse claim. For some reason you skipped right over that claim, as not needing discussion and testing against data. Do you want to discuss why you let the chief claim of the thread pass without demur?
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Old 31st October 2018, 08:09 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Cavemonster View Post
Interesting proposition. Could you make an argument with evidence to support it?
Funny how nobody raises these questions about the OP.
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Old 31st October 2018, 08:14 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Funny how nobody raises these questions about the OP.
Speaking personally the initial proposition is so absurd it doesn't seem worth it.
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Old 31st October 2018, 08:19 AM   #33
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Conspiracy theories are more of a symptom of a much bigger problem: an establishment that is undergoing a legitimacy crisis where few people trust it. This makes fertile ground for Alex Jones and his ilk. The Nazis themselves wpuld have gone nowhere if everybody considered Weimar to be more than a sick joke of a democracy
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Old 31st October 2018, 09:09 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I'm not dismissing your disagreement. I'm concerned about your proposed methodology. Why not address my concerns? Specifically the concern that your conclusion will depend heavily on your selection of data points? Do you not want to discuss that?
I apologize for trying halfheartedly yesterday. Yes, there is a major selection bias problem, but I can't fix it right now, and it's your problem anyway. If you'd like to propose a methodology that will help you support your claim with evidence, I may chime back in.

Quote:
Or if you prefer, try having this same discussion with dudalb. He's making the exact same argument as me, but with the obverse claim. For some reason you skipped right over that claim, as not needing discussion and testing against data. Do you want to discuss why you let the chief claim of the thread pass without demur?
Hard pass.
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Old 31st October 2018, 09:17 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
I apologize for trying halfheartedly yesterday. Yes, there is a major selection bias problem, but I can't fix it right now, and it's your problem anyway. If you'd like to propose a methodology that will help you support your claim with evidence, I may chime back in.
I propose we use the same methodology as is used to make the claim in the OP.

Quote:
Hard pass.
Claim without evidence that conspiracy theories kill, and nobody bats an eye. Say you disagree, and everyone loses their minds. You skip right over the chief claim of the thread, and then complain that I'm the one who doesn't want a discussion on a discussion board.
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Old 31st October 2018, 09:43 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by baron View Post
Yes, let's have a law to stop people expressing opinions different from our own. That should solve the problem.
You may want to include a smiley when you're being sarcastic. I think many of the people on this forum will think that the above is a good idea.
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Old 31st October 2018, 10:06 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by sir drinks-a-lot View Post
You may want to include a smiley when you're being sarcastic. I think many of the people on this forum will think that the above is a good idea.
I was wondering why my post hadn't attracted the usual outrage...
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Old 31st October 2018, 10:09 AM   #38
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
I propose we use the same methodology as is used to make the claim in the OP.


Claim without evidence that conspiracy theories kill, and nobody bats an eye. Say you disagree, and everyone loses their minds. You skip right over the chief claim of the thread, and then complain that I'm the one who doesn't want a discussion on a discussion board.
Again, I apologize, but no I won't be replying to the OP.
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Old 31st October 2018, 10:35 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by NWO Sentryman View Post
Conspiracy theories are more of a symptom of a much bigger problem: an establishment that is undergoing a legitimacy crisis where few people trust it. This makes fertile ground for Alex Jones and his ilk. The Nazis themselves wpuld have gone nowhere if everybody considered Weimar to be more than a sick joke of a democracy


Are they a symptom, or are they one of the reasons we're having a legitimacy crisis? When would you say this crisis began?

This is important, because AJ and his ilk have been doing this for decades now. Their entire act is based on fomenting distrust in the government, and society at large. And while they're cheerleading for Trump right now, up until Trump, their agenda was largely non-partisan. AJ hated on George W Bush just as much as he hated on Obama, and he started peddling his crap even before Bush was elected. Remember his big claim to fame was "predicting" the 9/11 attacks.

So how far back would this crisis have to have started for this to be a symptom, rather than a cause?
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Old 31st October 2018, 10:46 AM   #40
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No, I don't think that Conspiracy theories were the sole or main reason that the Synogoue shooter went on a rampage, but they seem to have been the trigger.
In the end Ct's do a lot of harm in various ways, and do absoutley no good;that is reason enough to oppose them.
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