separating fact from fiction

Discussion in 'Free Thoughts' started by nitram22, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. nitram22 Registered Senior Member

    it's not a stretch to say that conspiracy theories are greatly over the top, and shocking in their imaginative claims much of the time. And, then again often it they are certainly in the realm of quite possibly factual . How then do we determine what is real from the more abundant products of the untethered minds of paranoid nut cases.
    I do see that virtually anything said on the web will find many to take it as fact. Often with no basis or reasonable proof.
    Let me hear some realistic methods for filtering trash from truth.
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  3. origin Heading towards oblivion Valued Senior Member

    The preponderonce of the evidence must not contradict the conspiracy for it to be viable.
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  5. Spellbound Banned Valued Senior Member

    Fiction is a term used to classify any story created by the imagination, rather than based strictly on history or fact.

    Imagination is thought. Thought is reality. Think Einstein.
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  7. nitram22 Registered Senior Member

    I didn't really ask about a definition of fiction. I appreciate the help though.
    what I am asking is for some feedback on methods of sorting out false unsubstantiated claims and factual explanations to various events throughout current and future events.
    For example: Every time a terrorist act occurs I don't have but hours before someone swears to too late . Realistic methods evidence or our president knowing beforehand and even having direct involvement.
    With all of the things you hear of historical tampering, crooked dealings, and even our own country being compromised by our own leaders. How do we realize the true danger before its too late. Only real methods of determination pls
  8. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

    The Conspiracy Theory Detector
    How to tell the difference between true and false conspiracy theories

    This past September 23 a Canadian 9/11 "truther" confronted me after a talk I gave at the University of Lethbridge. He turned out to be a professor there who had one of his students filming the “confrontation.” By early the next morning the video was online, complete with music, graphics, cutaways and edits apparently intended to make me appear deceptive (search YouTube for “Michael Shermer, Anthony J. Hall”). “You, sir, are not skeptical on that subject—you are gullible,” Hall raged. "We can see that the official conspiracy theory is discredited....It is very clear that the official story is a disgrace, and people who go along with it like you and who mix it in with this whole Martian/alien thing is discrediting and a shame and a disgrace to the economy and to the university." [sic]* Hall teaches globalization studies and believes that 9/11 is just one in a long line of conspiratorial actions by those in power to suppress liberties and control the world.

    Conspiracy theories are a dollar a dozen. While in Calgary on that same trip, I met a politician who told me that he believes the fluoridation of water is the greatest scam ever perpetrated on the public. Others have regaled me for hours with their breathless tales of who really killed JFK, RFK, MLK, Jr., Jimmy Hoffa and Princess Diana, along with the nefarious goings on of the Federal Reserve, the New World Order, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, Yale University’s secret society Skull and Bones, the Knights Templar, the Freemasons, the Illuminati, the Bilderberg Group, the Rothschilds, the Rockefellers and the Learned Elders of Zion. It would take Madison Square Garden to hold them all for a world-domination meeting.

    Nevertheless, we cannot just dismiss all such theories out of hand, because real conspiracies do sometimes happen. Instead we should look for signs that indicate a conspiracy theory is likely to be untrue. The more that it manifests the following characteristics, the less probable that the theory is grounded in reality:

    1. Proof of the conspiracy supposedly emerges from a pattern of “connecting the dots” between events that need not be causally connected. When no evidence supports these connections except the allegation of the conspiracy or when the evidence fits equally well to other causal connections—or to randomness—the conspiracy theory is likely to be false.
    2. The agents behind the pattern of the conspiracy would need nearly superhuman power to pull it off. People are usually not nearly so powerful as we think they are.
    3. The conspiracy is complex, and its successful completion demands a large number of elements.
    4. Similarly, the conspiracy involves large numbers of people who would all need to keep silent about their secrets. The more people involved, the less realistic it becomes.
    5. The conspiracy encompasses a grand ambition for control over a nation, economy or political system. If it suggests world domination, the theory is even less likely to be true.
    6. The conspiracy theory ratchets up from small events that might be true to much larger, much less probable events.
    7. The conspiracy theory assigns portentous, sinister meanings to what are most likely innocuous, insignificant events.
    8. The theory tends to commingle facts and speculations without distinguishing between the two and without assigning degrees of probability or of factuality.
    9. The theorist is indiscriminately suspicious of all government agencies or private groups, which suggests an inability to nuance differences between true and false conspiracies.
    10. The conspiracy theorist refuses to consider alternative explanations, rejecting all disconfirming evidence and blatantly seeking only confirmatory evidence to support what he or she has a priori determined to be the truth.
    The fact that politicians sometimes lie or that corporations occasionally cheat does not mean that every event is the result of a tortuous conspiracy. Most of the time stuff just happens, and our brains connect the dots into meaningful patterns.
  9. spidergoat Liddle' Dick Tater Valued Senior Member

    Well, track down if the claims are substantiated with reputable sources. Of course, you don't have access to all the information all the time, so that's why faulty conspiracy theories tend to proliferate. The same methods that journalists would use to substantiate evidence also work for you.
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

    I think the process goes something like this.

    1) Don't panic. Anyone who alleges we are all doomed, or that the sky is about to fall in, is a person whose allegations should be probed before you go along. Remember Thurber, "The Day The Dam Broke".

    2) Take some time and read a variety of reputable sources. These are often slower to carry a story than the more excitable channels, because they check their facts first.

    3) Assume that conspiracies are relatively rare in open democracies. If someone alleges one, check out very carefully whether it makes sense, or if there is not a more plausible simpler explanation.

    4) Anything appearing on websites which are a riot of colours and fonts is almost always shite.
  11. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    5) Weigh plausibility carefully. Moon Hoax arguments that posit a half-century, hundred-thousand-people, bazillion-dollar-budget to pull off a fakery without a hitch are, by that criterion alone, less plausible than the far simpler ''it's cheaper to have actually built the rockets and gone". UFO arguments that posit "it behaved very strangely there fore must be unearthly" are way, way less plausible than the mundane "it behaved very strangely, but came from Earth". Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.
  12. Bebelina Valued Senior Member

    Search the "facts" from as many sources as possible and do the same with opposing "facts" and from that apply "common sense". What we culturally have accepted as reliable sources in society often comes with some sort of license, verification or title. If a well reputated person of a certain profession states one thing and the sensation hungry media another, we tend to believe the scientist if we see ourselves as belonging to an educated group in society, while the "common people" tend to believe the media, since they don't know the powergames of that apparatus and also view science in general as mumbo jumbo.
    What we accept as truth has more to do what we chose to identify ourselves with than the actual truthfactor of a statement.
    The truth in itself is a very fleeting koncept and only has validity when accepted, regardless of actuality/reality ( if such a thing exist).

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