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Are conspiracy theories our right as citizens of a free country?


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To question what the news and media tell us and to investigate ourselves what may or may not be true. I use to watch conspiracy theories on YouTube as a kid and some seemed real 'out there' but others seemed some what legit based on evidence they examined and provided. Now I just recently read that YouTube started removing these conspiracy theory videos for some reason... do you think that is a good idea (all I see is what the major media companies have to say)? Don't you think we should have different opinions out there and stop putting an imagine on the world "conspiracy theories" to mean "crazy/tin-foil hat/nuts" but instead to mean a voicing of opinions. And you got to bare with what they provide because I guess it isn't easy have different theories of your own when all you have is what may not be truth by what is presented to us from major news/media companies... 

Blah blah blah, what you think fellow humans.

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Censorship is a fine line, but surly even the most ardent advocate of free speech, would object to lies being told about them?

Open debate has to happen with both sides complying with the rules of debate. i.e. evidence is required, not just assertion. Logical fallacies and arguments of distraction cannot be permitted. The lar

But you have to be on Parler, which has 15 million subscribers vs 330 million for twitter. So that’s at least 315 million people not being reached.

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Rights are an issue between people and government. Youtube is not an agent of the government (and neither is this site) so a choice to not permit conspiracy discussions has nothing to do with rights.

One of the problems with this is the notion that opinions matter when these are questions of fact. Opinions are personal. Facts are not; establishing facts require evidence, which is usually the first thing left behind when promoting conspiracy.

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Well we can't always rely on what is given to us directly for facts right? Because it could be twisted truths or outright lies. If the source of everyone's facts is major new corps then how do we know when they are lying or not? How do we question it? Which is what I think conspiracy theories aim to do (most of the time).

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17 minutes ago, Alex Mercer said:

Well we can't always rely on what is given to us directly for facts right? Because it could be twisted truths or outright lies. If the source of everyone's facts is major new corps then how do we know when they are lying or not? How do we question it? Which is what I think conspiracy theories aim to do (most of the time).

Most people learn who to trust and who not to trust, and which things sound reasonable and which things don't.

But I agree that trusting some major news corporations (Fox for instance) is a mistake.

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3 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Most people learn who to trust and who not to trust, and which things sound reasonable and which things don't.

But I agree that trusting some major news corporations (Fox for instance) is a mistake.

It doesn't take long to figure out if a news site has an agenda, which is a red flag.

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2 hours ago, Alex Mercer said:

To question what the news and media tell us and to investigate ourselves what may or may not be true. I use to watch conspiracy theories on YouTube as a kid and some seemed real 'out there' but others seemed some what legit based on evidence they examined and provided. Now I just recently read that YouTube started removing these conspiracy theory videos for some reason... do you think that is a good idea (all I see is what the major media companies have to say)? Don't you think we should have different opinions out there and stop putting an imagine on the world "conspiracy theories" to mean "crazy/tin-foil hat/nuts" but instead to mean a voicing of opinions. And you got to bare with what they provide because I guess it isn't easy have different theories of your own when all you have is what may not be truth by what is presented to us from major news/media companies... 

Blah blah blah, what you think fellow humans.

I doný really see major news corps as outright "lying"...Muddying the waters or extreme bias and ignoring and purposely misinterpreting of facts is another, and anyway or method of supporting their not so hidden agenda. I was witnessing this near everyday with Sky News, particularly with their bias reporting and seemingly fanatical interests in anything Joe Biden ever does, no matter how insignificant on their u tube platform. That of course can lead to conspiracy nonsense. I now ignore anything from Sky News.

Where there is any uncertainty and/or fear, we more then likely will have some crazy conspiracy arise. Conspiracies can be dangerous to say the least, as is discussed in the following....https://goop.com/wellness/environmental-health-civics/why-people-believe-in-conspiracy-theories/

Others are just based on plain outright lies and dishonesty. eg; The denial of the Holocaust...the 9/11 government conspiracy, the denial of Apollo and the 6 Moon landings. 

 

Edited by beecee
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Historically, media were always biased on way or another. It is almost a certainty as people are writing the articles. However, with the rise of social media (but to some extent also before on specific platforms) the trend is not just being biased. Rather, it is a systematic creation of alternative realities. In the past there were legal battles regarding whether e.g. facts such as evolution are to be taught. So there was at least a common platform of sorts in which competing views are pitted against each other.

Now facts hardly matter at all anymore. As such, even the obvious ridiculous conspiracy theories and opinions are getting a foothold in the legislature, for example, which is more than a little worrying. However, anything related to rights is well addressed in Swansonst's post.

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8 hours ago, Alex Mercer said:

Well we can't always rely on what is given to us directly for facts right? Because it could be twisted truths or outright lies. If the source of everyone's facts is major new corps then how do we know when they are lying or not? How do we question it? Which is what I think conspiracy theories aim to do (most of the time).

What you do is deploy what is known as critical thinking. This can include elements such as:

- relying on a range of widely trusted sources for your information about the world,

- cross-checking information from unknown or questionable sources against more reliable ones,

- considering the likelihood of what is being claimed, compared to your previous information about the entities involved,

- considering the quality of the evidence there is for what is claimed,

- considering the motivation of the source: any known biases, agendas, affiliations, etc.

This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives you an idea of how sensible people go about evaluating information they encounter. It is often worth taking the time to think for a bit about these issues before deciding what to information to accept. It is also a good idea to make a mental reservation about something new and surprising, in case it subsequently turns out to have been in error.

Conspiracy theorists - as a rule- do not do any of this. They make improbable assertions, attributing malign motives and presuming illicit power of whoever their target happens to be.  When you apply the above discipline to most conspiracy theories, you rapidly realise they are bunk.  Just occasionally one of them may turn out to survive this scrutiny. Then, and only then, is the time to take it seriously.  

 

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11 hours ago, Alex Mercer said:

To question what the news and media tell us and to investigate ourselves what may or may not be true. I use to watch conspiracy theories on YouTube as a kid and some seemed real 'out there' but others seemed some what legit based on evidence they examined and provided. Now I just recently read that YouTube started removing these conspiracy theory videos for some reason... do you think that is a good idea (all I see is what the major media companies have to say)? Don't you think we should have different opinions out there and stop putting an imagine on the world "conspiracy theories" to mean "crazy/tin-foil hat/nuts" but instead to mean a voicing of opinions. And you got to bare with what they provide because I guess it isn't easy have different theories of your own when all you have is what may not be truth by what is presented to us from major news/media companies... 

Blah blah blah, what you think fellow humans.

I'm against censorship of any theory or information unless it actively encourages violence, in which case it should be removed.  Shutting down open debate is never a good thing.  That being said, a private media outlet has the right to determine what information is shared on its platform, and legally there is no argument against corporate censorship, odious as it may be.  Ultimately, as long as the internet remains free and accessible to all, such efforts to quell free speech won't be successful.  

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18 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

I'm against censorship of any theory or information unless it actively encourages violence, in which case it should be removed.  Shutting down open debate is never a good thing.  That being said, a private media outlet has the right to determine what information is shared on its platform, and legally there is no argument against corporate censorship, odious as it may be.  Ultimately, as long as the internet remains free and accessible to all, such efforts to quell free speech won't be successful.  

Open debate has to happen with both sides complying with the rules of debate. i.e. evidence is required, not just assertion. Logical fallacies and arguments of distraction cannot be permitted. The large overlap with the rules of this forum is not accidental.

And again, unless the government is involved, this isn't an issue of free speech. You are free to stand shout your conspiracy theories. But no other person or entity is obligated to provide you with a soapbox, or megaphone, or a place to stand, which is what happens with this alleged "censorship" 

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14 minutes ago, swansont said:

Open debate has to happen with both sides complying with the rules of debate. i.e. evidence is required, not just assertion. Logical fallacies and arguments of distraction cannot be permitted. The large overlap with the rules of this forum is not accidental.

And again, unless the government is involved, this isn't an issue of free speech. You are free to stand shout your conspiracy theories. But no other person or entity is obligated to provide you with a soapbox, or megaphone, or a place to stand, which is what happens with this alleged "censorship" 

yep, that's what I stated:

That being said, a private media outlet has the right to determine what information is shared on its platform, and legally there is no argument against corporate censorship

Edited by Alex_Krycek
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48 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

yep, that's what I stated:

That being said, a private media outlet has the right to determine what information is shared on its platform, and legally there is no argument against corporate censorship

But it's not all you stated. This is a sin of omission.

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7 minutes ago, joigus said:

I will only add: Be careful, the BS is out there.

Human-species-fossils-1.jpg

It's a good point - with the impending "deep fakes" and other artificial data, even entirely fabricated websites, the government will likely have to step in and regulate the quality of information being propagated. 

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1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

I'm against censorship of any theory or information unless it actively encourages violence

What if an obviously incorrect 'theory' is repeated posed and simply wastes the time and efforts of others (perhaps many) and confuses those who are not so good at the subject ?

For example those few who continuous challenge the accepted value of Pi with an easily demonstrable incorrect value.

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The problem with conspiracy on the tinternet is, it sucks in suckers; not on a site like this, where people ask the right questions.

But, on a site where people feel righteously indignant (FB, for instance); and point the fingure (which having write moves on). when a dog owner fails to pick up it's shit from the middle of a briar patch... 

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

The problem with conspiracy on the tinternet is, it sucks in suckers; not on a site like this, where people ask the right questions.

Well, we get them, but since they are subject to the rules about providing evidence, it tends to weed them out.

But it also means we are not censoring the content, per se, it's that we are enforcing the rules about evidence. Conspiracy theories (as described here) pretty much always lack evidence. And if you fail to follow the rules, you eventually get tossed out.

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2 hours ago, studiot said:

What if an obviously incorrect 'theory' is repeated posed and simply wastes the time and efforts of others (perhaps many) and confuses those who are not so good at the subject ?

For example those few who continuous challenge the accepted value of Pi with an easily demonstrable incorrect value.

My problem with that is it's a slippery slope.  Pretty soon you would have some arbiter deciding which theories are correct or incorrect and stopping further discussion.  This is already happening in the political sphere with youtube: certain content (left and right) is being deemed unworthy and is being demonetized.   

There's some people arguing for flat Earth theory on youtube - they're wasting their own time, not mine.  Incorrect theories/positions should be refuted with facts, logic, and critical thinking, not censorship or quelling of debate.

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33 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

Pretty soon you would have some arbiter deciding which theories are correct or incorrect and stopping further discussion.

Exactly! Which is why we fund GPS and not perpetual motion machines.

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39 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

My problem with that is it's a slippery slope.  Pretty soon you would have some arbiter deciding which theories are correct or incorrect and stopping further discussion.  This is already happening in the political sphere with youtube: certain content (left and right) is being deemed unworthy and is being demonetized.   

There's some people arguing for flat Earth theory on youtube - they're wasting their own time, not mine.  Incorrect theories/positions should be refuted with facts, logic, and critical thinking, not censorship or quelling of debate.

 

~A slippery slope to what  ?

The trouble with insisting on your rights/freedoms is that since people interact every such right/freedom affects the freedom/right of another person in some way.
That is why rights/freedoms come with the caveat to use them responsibly.

Aren't most members here glad that we have some arbiter  -  that hard worked person called a moderator  -  to stop further discussion on gibberish ?

 

Edit

Nice one Zap  +1

Edited by studiot
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29 minutes ago, Alex_Krycek said:

There's some people arguing for flat Earth theory on youtube - they're wasting their own time, not mine.  Incorrect theories/positions should be refuted with facts, logic, and critical thinking, not censorship or quelling of debate.

As soon as conspiracy enters these debates ("Scientists are deceiving us with this round Earth lie"), facts, logic, and critical thinking take a second place to suspicion, fear-mongering, and incredulity. If a person's biases become even more strongly confirmed in the face of facts that show how wrong they are, that person isn't being rational, and further debate with them is pointless. Something besides a conversation is needed to help them.

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1 minute ago, Phi for All said:

As soon as conspiracy enters these debates ("Scientists are deceiving us with this round Earth lie"), facts, logic, and critical thinking take a second place to suspicion, fear-mongering, and incredulity. If a person's biases become even more strongly confirmed in the face of facts that show how wrong they are, that person isn't being rational, and further debate with them is pointless. Something besides a conversation is needed to help them.

Couldn't agree more.

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17 hours ago, Alex Mercer said:

And you got to bare with what they provide because I guess it isn't easy have different theories of your own when all you have is what may not be truth by what is presented to us from major news/media companies... 

This is why conspiracy is exactly the wrong thing to promote. It preys on a natural suggestibility we have when we don't feel comfortable, and reduces the standards we normally hold ourselves to.

If a conspiracy had any actual evidence, it would be admissible in a court. It could be shown to have happened. It would no longer be just a conspiracy. But since it has nothing real to support it, those proposing it rely on suggestion and misdirection to form fallacious arguments, the only kind they can support ("Science can't explain why Polaris remains perfectly aligned above the North Pole without a flat Earth").

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1 hour ago, Alex_Krycek said:

There's some people arguing for flat Earth theory on youtube - they're wasting their own time, not mine.  Incorrect theories/positions should be refuted with facts, logic, and critical thinking, not censorship or quelling of debate.

Logic and critical thinking didn't get them to their position. Logic and critical thinking won't get them out of it.

 

 

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