Conspiracy theories

Discussion in 'Politics and Society' started by wil, May 17, 2022.

  1. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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  2. Ella S.

    Ella S. Logoic Logician

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    I found the part where the author self-identifies as a Libra to be kind of odd.

    I also find that the author is equating their own emotional desires with "intelligence," which I think is interesting. They seem to conflate their Buddhist ethics with rationality. Apparently, nobody has told them about the is-ought gap.

    They also call their personal experiences and biases "truths," which I think is unsettling and borderline dystopian.

    They are also diagnosing political leaders with, not just narcissistic personality disorder, but "malignant narcissism" and equating it with being abusive. All this does is stigmatize narcissists. It's totally confused. Not all abusers are narcissistic and not all narcissists are abusive. It's also incredibly bad faith and ambiguous, being used in a blanketed way to discount whole categories of arguments. It is thoroughly fallacious.

    A better phrase than "conspiracy theory" to describe politicians intentionally misleading their followers is "disinformation," in my opinion. Conspiracy theories are something people do in earnest, although they are mostly illogical, but intentional deceit is no longer a conspiracy theory but outright propaganda used for the sake of psychological warfare. At first, I thought this change of language was out of ignorance, but they do use the term "disinformation" later in the article which tells me that they intentionally used the incorrect phrase to persuade their audience to their narrative; this simply disgusts me.

    I think the author misses the irony of lecturing the reader on the simplicity principle after they themselves went on a short ramble about their own over-simplistic mythos. I'm not saying that such narrative reasoning is bad, necessarily, as they can help people gain a better intuitive understanding of a topic, but narrative reasoning is a tool that should help us understand the logical analysis of facts rather than replace it.

    I also think the author's conclusion at the end is incorrect. Yes, misinformation and ignorance can lead one to inaccurate conclusions. As the quote goes, "It is easy to go wrong with insufficient data." However, most conspiracy theories are, at their core, genuine failures of reasoning. Almost all of them start with the conclusion that anything someone in a position of authority says must be wrong, simply because they are in a position of authority and the conspiracy theorist distrusts them. This is a form of emotional reasoning and, in particular, it is a form of paranoia.

    I say, let anyone making a claim provide their evidence so we can evaluate it for ourselves, but I don't think we should pretend that all beliefs are equal. Some can only really be arrived at illogically, or at least most people who believe in them arrive at them illogically.

    All in all, I think this article will do more harm than good and it's poorly thought-out.
     
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  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    I always factor social media into this, whether that's wrong or not, I don't know ... and as Ive wondered before, is not conspiracy theory superstition adapted to an atheist milieu?
     
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  4. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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  5. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    You gonna have to expound...
     
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  6. Ella S.

    Ella S. Logoic Logician

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    Honestly, most conspiracy theorists have some sort of New Age or fringe Christian fundamentalist bend to them on some level, but I think you would generally be right if we took each conspiracy in a bubble. Each specific conspiracy is essentially an example of secular superstitious thinking, similar to valuing genuine signatures over perfect forgeries.

    The problem with that line of reasoning, in my opinion, is that conspiracy theorists don't tend to stop at one single theory. They will use other conspiracy theories to explain that theory. This is why we get people who believe that Lucifer-worshiping reptilians killed JFK, for instance, or that Saturn-worshiping Satanists defiled the Kaaba so that Muslims are unwittingly charging an icon of Iblis hidden inside of it when they pray towards it several times a day.
     
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  7. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Well two parts to the statement:
    1: I think that 'superstition' is a response to the idea that someone/something 'out there' is pulling the strings? That we're all victims of fate, the playthings of the gods ... perhaps, deep down in there somewhere, a fear of the unknown?

    Could it be an aberration of a survival mechanism – I mean, just because I can't see the predator in the long grass, doesn't mean there isn't a predator in the long grass ... and if Frank walked off into the woods and never came back, something must have got him.

    The negative aspects of social media speaks for itself. In fact it shouts, trolls, bullies, etc., etc.
     
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  8. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    No. The brother referred to the Jan 6th mob as we, and I don't think all those were atheists. I get the impression that far right fanatics in the USA are often Christians of some sort.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Agreed.

    By 'superstition adapted to atheist' I was looking at the idea that your 'traditional superstition' believes in gods and demons, kinda thing, whereas a lot of contemporary conspiracy theories depend not on gods and demons, but various nefarious agencies, often the government, the illuminati, whoever ... I mean the 'flat earth' conspiracy, for example?

    As for US far right Christian fundamentalists, I think they've confused Jesus Christ with John Wayne! Like the Rapture-believers, their version of Christianity is so often tied in with their socio-political ideologies and, perhaps, the failure of the 'American Dream' – but I'm no sociologist, so not in a position to say.
     
  10. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Click.....of course! Yes! Fanaticism can produce some extraordinary demons..... and amazing beliefs. It's fairly simple to conjure up a belief as long as it is negative. If we tell our neighbours that a local person has an amazing academic record, or can lay one hundred bricks in an arch in a minute (whatever) then some of the people will believe this but then forget about it. If we tell our neighbours that a person is on the sexual offender's list (whether true or false) then nearly everybody will believe that and remember it, and pass it around. These nutters bread on the badness and fibs, I think.

    These people may not realise it but they are the true enemies of the Christian cross. A ranting atheist myther is just a ranting atheist myther, most people just chuckle at such people wearing dog collars on telly and ranting on about stuff, but a far right winger chanting in the streets, posturing with an assault rifle with a cross on his T-shirt....... that's the bad stuff.
     
  11. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

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    Yes, me too. It is one thing to be in error and earnestly speaking from that perspective, but it is quite another thing to to use intentional deceit to accomplish your goals. I know this is seen as an end justifies the means sort of thing, but it can actually do a lot of damage to those who it is aimed at. Having power without oversight always seems to bring out the little god in man (which is not really a god at all, just an inflated ego).

    On the bright side, the author is trying to understand her brother when she could have just as easily disowned him and sent him away. I am going for the glass half full version of her motivations and say that she does love him, at least at some level. However, beyond that love (if it is indeed there), I think we have a case of mythos vs. mythos, with one simply being a little more mature and well thought out than the other.

    The author has gone to the wellspring of psychology to find her villain, the brother has found him in various other curious places, but there are similarities. Always better to confront our own inner villains before we run out looking for them in other places. (IMO)
     
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  12. Ella S.

    Ella S. Logoic Logician

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    I agree that this is a case of mythos vs mythos, although I think neither side is particularly well thought-out here. I think they both rely on the same lines of fallacious thinking, mostly conspiratorial mindsets, simplicity bias, narrative reasoning, and arguments from authority.

    The author seems to have stumbled upon a more accurate (in my opinion, of course) worldview by accident, not through any genuine critical thinking of their own, at least not according to the reasoning they present in this article. It seems the only thing separating the two is whose perspectives they view as authoritative.

    In many cases like these, authority is believed upon due to some sort of bias ultimately stemming from emotional reasoning (I like them), motivated reasoning (I want to fit in and everyone else believes them), or magical thinking (they have a degree so they must know what they're talking about).
     
  13. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

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    Yes... I feel/experience it as a tragedy. One wonders what will become of this relationship. What do they need? If I were able to intervene somehow, what could be done? Everything seems to be about cold principles and persuading the other to be more like them, but what of love? Will they find a deeper love that creates a path where none seems to be? Just some crazy thoughts I have, nonsensical perhaps. But it makes me a little sick at the heart, to think of those ships in the night which can never fully embrace.

    Mea culpa on all three counts, the curse of the uneducated and/or otherwise disenfranchised: the need to belong. We'll sell ourselves just to feel a little less alone. Well, no more in my case. But take a look at the maddening world in which we live. From the article:

    "I found this mind-boggling figure from Statista that’s more frightening than comforting: In the third quarter of 2021, 1.8 billion fake accounts were deleted from Facebook, up from 1.3 billion fake accounts in the corresponding quarter in 2020."

    I don't know how accurate these numbers are, but I think we can agree this demonstrates the propensity of human beings to use nefarious methods in order to manipulate or wage psychological warfare, supposedly for the good of those who have been targeted. I could tell stories of my dealings with amoral ones who convinced me at some point that they were my friends, but I won't; it wouldn't really serve any useful purpose now anyway.

    One final quote from the article:

    "Philosopher Aldous Huxley once said, One of the great attractions of patriotism ― it fulfills our worst wishes. In the person of our nation, we are able, vicariously, to bully and cheat. Bully and cheat, what’s more, with a feeling that we are profoundly virtuous.”

    It's for a just cause. It needn't even be a nation, could be a much smaller group, or just a few, or just a couple of people. When we imagine ourselves free of all moral constraints in order to achieve a greater good, trouble will follow at some point. Whatever good comes of it will be in spite of these tactics rather than because of them, imo.
     
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  14. Ella S.

    Ella S. Logoic Logician

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    I have quite a bit of ethical disagreement here with you on some of the points, but I think it would suffice to say that I prioritize cold principles above love. I also see the pursuit of the greater good as not only justifying all means necessary to get there but demanding them.

    I give no merit to concepts like honor, principle, virtue, honesty, and so on. I think that if one must cheat, murder, lie, and torture to benefit the greater good, then one is obligated to do so. There are no moral constraints for me, only moral consequences.

    That said, I do find that, in most cases, cheating, murdering, lying, and torturing do not benefit the greater good, and it's almost universally better to avoid these things. I just don't see them as bad in and of themselves. Their wrongness comes from the consequences, not from some sort of taboo from violating moral constraints.
     
  15. stranger

    stranger wolfwing, a feral angel

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    Hmmm, interesting. I believe love contains within it the innocence that was taken from me, and I'm going to be needing that back. It's not about losing the ability to navigate the supermundane, it's about being able to soar above it. It's about not being trapped at that level. Sorry, I'm still half asleep this morning and might not be making much sense.

    Well, it's not like I haven't seen this before. One of the people from my past once told me, "Every word that comes out of (the person's handle's) mouth is a lie." Being rather naive at the time, I was convinced that this was an exaggeration, but now I realize that it was not. Meaning, everything was a misrepresentation to serve this person's (and companions') perception of the greater good. I cannot think of any possible scenario where I would want to be like those people, yet my path and theirs have intersected and I have to deal with that fact.

    When I said trouble would come, I meant consequences. It's kind of like the closing of a circle, or a reestablishment of balance. It's just the natural way. All that is necessary is to follow the natural non action to it's conclusion. I can do nothing beyond that, and wouldn't want to.
     
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  16. Ella S.

    Ella S. Logoic Logician

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    Life is rough. Happiness is fleeting and, in the moments we hold it, it is a brief relief from the suffering of day to day life. In truth, enlightenment does not eliminate suffering. Suffering is a part of life. Enlightenment allows one to accept suffering and to endure it.

    Everything we do has consequences. Every path we take has its own obstacles and its own tragedies.

    I was reading an article awhile back about how, even when we do the right thing, we can feel guilty about it because most of us hold several different conflicting values at once. We can feel loyalty to our friends and family, but that might contradict with our duties to our career or our community. We can feel the need for equity, but that might conflict with our desire for fairness.

    Whatever we choose, we have to sacrifice something else. Whatever values we pick for ourselves, whatever purpose we imbue into our life, it is born from the pain of sacrifice and walking it breeds the shame of failure, because failure is a part of growth and we must fail to learn.

    It took me a lot of suffering and contemplation to learn what I value. I know what my purpose is. It was revealed to me in visions in a chamber scrawled with occult sigils by ineffable beings I am not worthy to speak the names of.

    You have your own path, too, and it is not mine. All I can say is that purpose is what keeps me going. Too many days, the only reason I get out of bed in the morning is a sense of duty to the greater good. I try to put all I have in that purpose, and yet I fail every day in the vain hope that, one day, I might succeed.

    I understand your misgivings about the way I conduct myself. I feel horrible about not valuing things like honesty, too, but I would feel worse if my honesty undermined my attempt to contribute to the greater good.
     
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  17. LuisMarco

    LuisMarco Established Member

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    dear Ella: do they really reveal you purposeful things etc in your visions¿; i know visions are real for many, although i don't have them, but would you please be kind to answer me¿, thanks!
     
    Last edited: May 28, 2022
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  18. Ella S.

    Ella S. Logoic Logician

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    I no longer seek out visions, but they did help me for a time when I did. I still have a lot of weird stories about how my visions would reveal information to me that was too specific for me to have guessed on my own, like the exact name, address, and date of death of someone that lived several states away that had no relation to me, and whose death could only be verified through obituaries, so they weren't on the news, either.

    At the same time, it is not reproducible. The spirits in visions only showed me what they deemed appropriate for me to see. I couldn't call them on demand to predict the lottery numbers, for instance. I'm skeptical about my own experiences. They could be dramatizations of memory spurred on by my unconscious catching details that I never consciously noticed.

    That's fine, though, I mostly used them for guidance, anyway, and the insight offered was helpful when it wasn't too cryptic to understand.
     
  19. Leveller

    Leveller Well-Known Member

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    I found the "we" comment interesting. I have met few conspiracy theorists but two I do know quite well. One aspect that I have noticed is that despite them being of a liberal inclination many of their beliefs favor the right. The Nazi's were not all bad, there was no holocaust, and climate change is a left-wing myth. Their views on world ruling elites do not actually criticize the system only the particular (possibly alien) elite that we have been stuck with.
     
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  20. LuisMarco

    LuisMarco Established Member

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    see¿, that's interesting for all, and important somehow for you!
    these proves the spirit world, and the maximum representative of it is GOD/DESS itself (but they are PERSONS).
    and finally, if you hear voices specially weird nonsensical voices, they are evil spirits demons whatever you wanna call them; if they good, they are angels, etc.
    enjoy your weekend etc! :cool:.
     
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