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Thread: I Can't Win Against Conspiracy Theorists, A Moon Landing Thread

  1. #1
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    I Can't Win Against Conspiracy Theorists, A Moon Landing Thread

    1. Conspiracy theorists say, "where's the stars?"
    2. Experts explain why there aren't any visible stars.
    3. Conspiracy theorists say, "so they knew there shouldn't be any stars!"

    The experts need to stop doing conspiracy theorist's homework.

    Anyway, I've concluded that even if one of these theorists were flown to the moon, he would just believe he was drugged by NASA and it was all a hallucination.

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    It is kind of hard to hit the target, when the target keeps moving.
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.

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    That's because the aim of conspiracists is not to provide a better or even a coherent view of the facts, but simply to illegitimize the designated authority-enemy. This leads to overemphasis of trivial or imagined errors on the part of NASA or any who elect to defend Apollo, denial of uncomfortable facts, and a tautological approach to the entire historical question. Conspiracists simply never consider an interpretation that does not fit the form, "____ is evidence that NASA lied about Apollo."

    Half the battle in any debate is figuring out what the other side intends to prove. When you realize that those who say they intend to prove Apollo was fake are really intending only to prove that the Evil Gubmint is against us all, then you realize how unimportant specific evidence and observation is to their belief.

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    I've said it before and I'll say it again; You can't reason an irrational person out of an irrational belief.
    I'm a cynical optimist. I think the only way out is through, but once we get through it'll be better. Very different, but better. Howard Tayler

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. Charles Darwin

    "It is the duty of the writers to seduce me into suspending my disbelief!" Paul Beardsley

    Power, Lord Acton says, corrupts. Not always. What power always does is reveal. Robert A. Caro

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidlpf View Post
    It is kind of hard to hit the target, when the target keeps moving.
    I think the phrase is: "You can't hit a moving target with fixed assets".

    I think it fits. The fixed assets being all the sheer volume of evidence of the landings, the target being whatever point any CT'er tries to make as he runs around (metaphorically) like the headless chicken, shouting "you can't hit this target" (being whatever point he is trying to show at that particular moment, but not waiting for any answer before saying, "ah, yes but.....")

    BTW .. CAN a headless chicken run around shouting???

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    Skyfire, I was not quoting anyone, just making a comment about the cters general tactics. But in all we are in argeement.
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I've said it before and I'll say it again; You can't reason an irrational person out of an irrational belief.
    I think I'll steal that.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    I've said it before and I'll say it again; You can't reason an irrational person out of an irrational belief.
    This reminds me of a friend who is very fond of the saying: "Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience."

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    So what's the recommended advice to drh3010?

    Just keep on debating? Or simply say, "You obviously aren't interested in getting at the truth, so I'm not going to waste any more time on you"?

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    A quote from Jonathan Swift that seems very appropriate "It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into." Or in a more modern phrasing "You can't reason someone out of something they didn't reason themselves into."

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    What's the advice? My advice is: have fun.

    Seriously - have fun.

    Point out the errors, provide proof, and just have fun doing it. Don't get riled about something; when they absolutely refuse to acknowledge fact, suddenly change tack and agree with them. Agree so overwhelmingly that everyone knows it is disingenuous, a parody, or just plain sarcasm.

    Just have fun with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Obviousman View Post
    What's the advice? My advice is: have fun.
    Couldn't agree more. Try to get them to make contradictory statements, ask them what evidence would change their minds, show that their "anomalies" are similar to evidence that anyone can observe. You won't convince them, but you'll make them look illogical.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AGN Fuel View Post
    This reminds me of a friend who is very fond of the saying: "Never argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience."
    A variant of that I like is "Never argue with a crazy person. Others may not be able to tell the difference."
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    Quote Originally Posted by gwiz View Post
    Couldn't agree more. Try to get them to make contradictory statements, ask them what evidence would change their minds, show that their "anomalies" are similar to evidence that anyone can observe. You won't convince them, but you'll make them look illogical.
    Yep, just let them dig their own grave. Sometimes you can lead them into such convoluted lines of reasoning that their heads explode.

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    It's not about "winning". It's about showing the side of the story most conspiracy theorists don't want others to know about. Remember, the biggest part of conspiracy theorists' arguments are based on faulty science / flawed logic / untrue assumptions etcetera. Simply showing how it works will not convince most conspiracy theorists, but that is an impossible goal to go after.

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    I would also add that on many boards there are people like me. We don't know enough about the technical details to join in the debate - but we are reading it. While I can't say that I've ever doubted the moon landings - others like me may have. They are reading. Even if you aren't helping the person you're debating - you are helping us.

    In fact I was able to use information learned on this website to help steer my 13 year old nephew down the right path when he 1st started questioning the moon landings. I don't join in because I have little of value to add - but I do read.

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    ...but you'll make them look illogical.

    This is true; but I want to explain what I believe about that statement. Conspiracists are trying to convince people by any means necessary. So a lot of their effort aims to create a perception in the reader -- often about the state of the evidence, but just as often about the state of the opponent. Casting doubt on the evidence is one tactic. Discrediting the opponent is another: such as characterizing him as a disinformationist or an ideologue.

    We don't do this. Conspiracists are made to look illogical because they are illogical. That is, debunking is not about discrediting the conspiracist by irrelevant means or about creating a false impression of him or his ideas. It's more accurate to say that we show conspiracists to be illogical, not make them "look" some particular way. There are many honorable and accurate ways of doing that. But we do a disservice when we stoop to their tactics.

    Since we're trading aphorisms, another good one is, "Don't wrestle with a pig; you'll both get muddy and the pig enjoys it."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock Jenkins View Post
    I would also add that on many boards there are people like me. We don't know enough about the technical details to join in the debate - but we are reading it. While I can't say that I've ever doubted the moon landings - others like me may have. They are reading. Even if you aren't helping the person you're debating - you are helping us. (SNIP)
    "Even if you aren't helping the person you're debating - you are helping us."
    An interesting aspect I havenīt thought about before. Maybe, some of us have to revise the decision to stop further moon-landing-discussions

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spock Jenkins View Post
    I would also add that on many boards there are people like me. We don't know enough about the technical details to join in the debate - but we are reading it. ... Even if you aren't helping the person you're debating - you are helping us.

    ... I don't join in because I have little of value to add ...
    I think your first paragraph proves that last claim wrong.
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    I don't think, especially given my young age, that I can do anything about the grown-ups who are so into it and write the books, or make the "documentaries". But with my classmates, the younger children I know, and my own family, I can stress how beautiful and important a moment in history it was and save their minds.
    As Zahi Hawass has said, the best way to deal with people who belive silly stories is to keep on hammering out the truth.

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    But with my classmates, the younger children I know, and my own family, I can stress how beautiful and important a moment in history it was and save their minds.

    That is beautiful. Well said!

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    I don't think, especially given my young age, that I can do anything about the grown-ups who are so into it and write the books, or make the "documentaries".

    Hogwash. You can say, "Here are the good reasons why I don't believe you; and shame on you for saying it." Nothing throws an irrational elder into sharp relief better than a well-informed, rational youth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayUtah View Post
    I don't think, especially given my young age, that I can do anything about the grown-ups who are so into it and write the books, or make the "documentaries".

    Hogwash. You can say, "Here are the good reasons why I don't believe you; and shame on you for saying it." Nothing throws an irrational elder into sharp relief better than a well-informed, rational youth.
    I can see where he is coming from

    You still risk being slapped down, if not literally (depending on how young), for not respecting your elders.

    You might get

    "And how old are you?" (In accusatory tone)

    Then there is the "I was young and naive once" put down

    Also, rightly or wrongly, age gives the illusion of credibility

    Even if you are correct, all they have to do is bluster, and talk about how appauling the youth of today are and the collapse of moral standards, people talking back to their betters yard-de-yar etc..

    On the general point, from the comments on my Youtube film you get all sorts of personal abuse


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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    I don't think, especially given my young age, that I can do anything about the grown-ups who are so into it and write the books, or make the "documentaries".
    I disagree. What helps others realize the obsurdity of said books and documentaries more than pointing out that even someone young can see the holes and malreasoning in the claims?

    I have mixed feelings on how to deal with CT'ers. For a long time, I questioned why people here even wasted so much time with them, until I started seeing that the point isn't so much to "win over" the CT'er, but to help inform others who may also be following the threads and may yet be "on the fence". Or even those like myself who are not "on the fence" but are still eager to learn new things. A lot of good can come out of these otherwise pointless debates.

    But on the other hand, if it was me and someone debating in person, with no audiance, it wouldn't take much for me to just walk away. You're not going to change a hardcore CT'ers mind, and they certianly aren't going to change mine. Not by spouting all the same tired and already debunked garbage typical of their claims, anyway. I'm not all that patient.

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    A few years ago, being someone who believed the Moon landings I was really chuffed to stumble across Mr Plait's Bad Astronomy site. If a CT is not willing to go take a look, then address Phil's brilliantly constructed points on the subject, then they'll never learn. Discuss the subject for as long as you can be bothered as often it will be entertaining. Especially when they smugly regurgatate a 'Sibrelism' as if its some brilliant piece of information!

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    Jay makes a good point. You should try it. Just remember to start, "With all due respect, sir (or madam)..." before proclaiming, "Hogwash!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    You might get

    "And how old are you?" (In accusatory tone)
    "Old enough to recognize good science and poor reasoning when I see them. You, sir, represent the latter."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    Then there is the "I was young and naive once" put down
    "At least you're older; keep working on the rest."

    Quote Originally Posted by Sticks View Post
    On the general point, from the comments on my Youtube film you get all sorts of personal abuse
    For both of you, I pass along these words of wisdom. Consider the source.

    (Sticks, that guy who was giving you so much grief couldn't tie his own shoes without written written directions and a diagram.)
    Last edited by Jim; 2007-Oct-25 at 07:28 PM. Reason: fixed bbcode
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    "And how old are you?" (In accusatory tone)
    "Yeah, I bet that when you were my age, you hadn't traveled to Australia, met Jane Goodall and Robert Ballard, read three Sagan books and you didn't know what an ushabti was either."

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    "And how old are you?"
    Well how old are you is like where you are from, it has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not someone actually went to the moon.
    ...I'm still free, you can't take the sky from me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KaiYeves View Post
    "Yeah, I bet that when you were my age, you hadn't traveled to Australia, met Jane Goodall and Robert Ballard, read three Sagan books and you didn't know what an ushabti was either."
    Goodall and Ballard! That's cool. I've met Goodall; she gave a lecture and did a book signing at our local natural history museum a few years ago. I am basically in complete awe of her, both as a scientist and a human being. As I stood there waiting to get a book signed, I was pretty much dumb-struck and in tears with emotion. I felt like doing a Wayne's World "we're not worthy".
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    I can see where he is coming from.

    I can too. It's hard to stand up to people who seem naturally superior, even if you're sure you're right. But the phrase, "Out of the mouths of babes," comes to mind. Youth have leeway in society to tell it like it is, without the equivocation and sugar-coating that mark adult deference.

    Sometimes it's just fun to see people hype arguments that can't even fool children.

    Also, rightly or wrongly, age gives the illusion of credibility.

    Often wrongly. Age usually brings wisdom, which is invaluable for avoiding falling into pitfalls where the end is especially invisible from the beginning. Wisdom compensates for the uncertainty that often makes logical prediction difficult. Maturity has its advantages; but in matters of logic and reason, the rules apply equally to 14-year-olds and 40-year-olds. A youth who reasons correctly is simply correct; and the 40-year-old's age does not negate that.

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