Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

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addams
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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby addams » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:38 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:Realizing the people you look(ed) up to are (extremely) flawed can be tricky.

Go look in a mirror.
Take a friend.

You might both get a good laugh.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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CorruptUser
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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Nov 12, 2013 4:56 am UTC

Questions for any conspiracy theory.

1) How many people are involved in this conspiracy? How do 500,000 people keep organized without slip ups?
2) What are the goals? Are there easier ways to accomplish said goals?
3) How long has the conspiracy been going on for? What prevents anyone from deathbed confessions? Why would the great great grandchildren continue the conspiracy?
4) What prevents members from backstabbing each other? What prevents family members from falling in live with outsiders and risking 'the plan'?
5) How have the conspiracy theorists remained hidden? Why hasn't this massive conspiracy been able to 'silence' this supposed whistleblower?

6) Actually I am They. We have been ever growing to accommodate The Plan, and now comprise about 90% of the world population. We were going to ask You to join Us, but We voted on it last week and decided You were a dick.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby addams » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:45 am UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Questions for any conspiracy theory.

1) How many people are involved in this conspiracy? How do 500,000 people keep organized without slip ups?
2) What are the goals? Are there easier ways to accomplish said goals?
3) How long has the conspiracy been going on for? What prevents anyone from deathbed confessions? Why would the great great grandchildren continue the conspiracy?
4) What prevents members from backstabbing each other? What prevents family members from falling in live with outsiders and risking 'the plan'?
5) How have the conspiracy theorists remained hidden? Why hasn't this massive conspiracy been able to 'silence' this supposed whistleblower?

6) Actually I am They. We have been ever growing to accommodate The Plan, and now comprise about 90% of the world population. We were going to ask You to join Us, but We voted on it last week and decided You were a dick.

I can't be in your plan. Not because I am a dick.
But, because I can't keep a secret.

Don't Tell Me! It is my personal moto.
My school moto was, "What were you thinking?"

I don't like secrets. We go to school for what seems like forever.
We do that to learn stuff. Keeping it to ourselves seems Wrong.

Don't worry about big projects. Each of us only knows the part we do.
We can know every detail of our own portion and not know a darned thing about what everyone else is doing.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby davidstarlingm » Tue Nov 12, 2013 3:43 pm UTC

My approach is usually to try and get the person thinking in terms of relative probability rather than absolute probability. It's not always easy, but I've had some success with the following questions:

Me: "Okay, I've got two questions for you. Fair?"
Conspiracy theorist: "Sure."
Me: "What's one piece of evidence that, if you had it, would strengthen your belief in a conspiracy?"

I've found this to be a good question because it gets the creative juices flowing; they can always think of something even more amazing. And once they've answered, it leads very nicely into:

Me: "What's one piece of evidence that would weaken your belief in a conspiracy?"

I used to ask "What's one piece of evidence that would overturn your belief?" but that's a little too confrontational. It's better to speak in terms of strengthening/weakening, because that way they don't feel like they have to give anything up. If they can't answer the second question, then its proximity and similarity to the previous question makes it really obvious to you (and hopefully to them as well) that they're operating purely on the basis of faith. If they can answer the question, then you've made progress toward falsifiability. Either way, this is helpful for people who can't be made to recognize the inherent need for falsifiability.

The one answer they will be most likely to give, of course, is that their belief would be weakened "if all these anomalies were explained" to their satisfaction. But this does give you an opening....

Me: "Okay, if you're really serious about this, then can you do something for me? Sometime soon, sit down and type up a short list of the things you think most need explanations. Please do it on your own, not copied from somewhere else. If you can do that, I'll try to figure out whether or not these things have good explanations."

If nothing else, it's a way to exercise due diligence without offending.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby Sleeper » Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:10 am UTC

nemui10pm wrote:It was difficult to admit it - I knew my father wasn't perfect, but it was quite tough emotionally to face the fact that the man who influenced me so much growing up, who seemed to be (who still is, in many ways) intelligent and reasonable, can be so wrong about something so major, and admitting that I disagree with him felt like a betrayal. But I've gotten over it now, and I'm just thankful that my little brother didn't get caught up in his father's theories.


I've had similar experiences, and I can sympathize.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby addams » Sun Nov 17, 2013 9:20 pm UTC

Conspiracy Theories.
What is a Conspiracy Theory and what is Common Knowledge?

A woman was telling me, I asked her, "How do you know that?"
She said, "Everyone knows. It is on TV and the internet. Everyone tells me so."

That is Common Knowledge. The Commoners have some weird Knowledge.
Where would you begin? I used to think One UpManShip was a good idea.

I tried it. It backfired. She was already ill at ease because of what the Government is doing.
I scared her. That triggered a anger responds. of course, it did.

She was already angry, for entertainment. Nothing she was talking about could happen to her.
I explained how vulnerable she is. Sorry. Don't do that. It makes people frightened, then they become angry.

I am not sure what is the proper thing to do. I can tell you OneUpManShip is not a good idea. Fun, but dangerous. Don't do it.
***Edit:
Our people seem to be living conspiracy theory to conspiracy theory.
What is true and what is fiction? Who knows?

A severely undereducated population will believe almost anything.
Or; Become immune from thinking and feeling anything.

People talk for entertainment. We all do. We also parrot one another.
If it is said enough times it must be true? Not always.

It is a good idea when learning a new thing to say it over and over.
The way the human mind works, repeating a lie over and over makes it become true.

It is like a Math thing. Two negatives become a positive.
It must be true. Everyone is saying it.

In a very few minutes I was told so many conspiracies.
A short list?
1. Mr. Obama gives guns to our enemies.
2. Mr. Obama is taking guns away from Americans.
3. The government has technology from Aliens.
Out There, aliens. MIB style.
4. The second amendment is what keeps people safe.
Real person; She did not know there were other amendment.
She does not know what an amendment is.
5. Everyone knows how bad it is. OK. She has a point.

Everyone knows how bad it is. Even me.
We do not agree about what the problem is.

I am with those people that think it may be a problem of education.
Not that knowledge is not available. Knowledge is available.

Knowledge is not wanted. Knowledge is drowned out by other flashy, more interesting stuff.
Who wants to know about the Ph. scale? All we need to know is, "It's Acid. That is bad. It is 'their' fault. 'They' know who they are."

What about the four freedoms? How hard would it be to memorize the four freedoms.
To memorize the details of conspiracy theories is harder than that!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Freedoms
I have a conspiracy! We systematically lost our four freedoms.
We never had all of our four freedoms for everyone.

We lost the dream and the hope of the four freedoms.
That is something significant.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Mon Nov 18, 2013 12:29 pm UTC

nemui10pm wrote:My father doesn't believe in climate change. I used to believe him, but I looked some stuff up online and started noticing holes in his theory. I finally realised he was wrong when one of his predictions (that the whole "hoax" was going to blow wide open in 2011) didn't come true.

It was difficult to admit it - I knew my father wasn't perfect, but it was quite tough emotionally to face the fact that the man who influenced me so much growing up, who seemed to be (who still is, in many ways) intelligent and reasonable, can be so wrong about something so major, and admitting that I disagree with him felt like a betrayal. But I've gotten over it now, and I'm just thankful that my little brother didn't get caught up in his father's theories.

If it makes you feel better, you and your father have so little control or influence over the situation that it really doesn't matter what you believe.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby addams » Mon Nov 18, 2013 4:57 pm UTC

That is true.
We are helpless insignificant maggots.

What any one or any group believes has not effect on God, Weather, Dick Cheney, Martha Stewart or Mr. Obama.
I have seen weather with my own eyes. I have little of no effect on it. I am going with Zero. I have Zero effect on Weather.

I like to talk about it, anyway. It is mildly irritating for me when I speak to a person that believes our weather was created by "The Bad Guys".
Some people don't believe in it. Well. They might believe in the weather they have. Not the weather other people have. Seems silly? fine.

What about the other things on my impromptu list?
Weather? Check. I believe and I think I know a thing or fifteen about it.

God? ech. That one is tricky.

Dick Cheney? I have Seen it! I don't know if it is alive, today. I have seen it.
Do I believe in it? ech. I don't have to like it. Dick Cheney is real. So is his buddy Charles Dages. I don't have to like it.

The nature of God, Cheney and Dages, and the weather?

What about Martha Stewart? Mr. Obama?
Does what we believe have any effect on The Stars of screen and radio?
Does what we believe have any effect of God and the Weather?
No! The stars, the weather, God. none of it is effected by the helpless maggot.

But! Hey! What we believe effects us and each other! Doesn't it?

Sometimes it is important.

Stupid Story Alert
One time a man gave me permission or advice. Advice is the adult way of saying that, I suppose.
I told him it was ten degrees out there. He believed I meant ten on the Celsius scale. I was talking in Fahrenheit.
What he believed had an effect on me. I could have died out there. No one cared, not even me. Still. That hurt.
It took me an hour to get over it when I did make it to a warm shelter.

It hurt the guy that was following me, too. He was not afraid of Weather, like I am.
He was not dressed for it. More than a year later he was still angry. It is taking him a while to get over it.
He believed it was My fault. He is wrong. It was the Weather's fault. He is nearly as unimportant to me as I am to the weather.
I would have helped him, if I knew he was following me. After the Fact, I don't care. He is a jerk. Just my opinion. It effects the way I treat him, if I ever see him.

What we believe has an effect on us as individuals and on each other. Not in the Big.
The Big? Starving Children in Africa. How the Hell is a belief in that going to effect children in Russia? In the US? In Europe? Why?

That is in the Big. Does it matter what we believe in The Big? It might.
Conspiracy Theory? What are We going to do about it? Conspire? With who?

I saw some Europeans. They were attempting to Do Something about some unmet need in a predominately black community.
It is a big job and takes time. They took their child with them. Then the child saw unmet need the adults did not see.
It changed the way the adults lived their professional lives. I thought that was nice. What do you think?

Weather? Who makes weather? Shaken or Stirred? Weather is Chemistry. Large Scale Chemistry. Who to blame?
Blame the Gods and clean up the mess, if there is one. Like Martha Stewart. Clean it up and redecorate. It's a Good Thing.

I have never met Matha Stewart. Is she real? Does it matter? I have no control over Martha Stewart.
I have never met Mr. Obama. Is he real? Is Morgan Freeman real? Do you make fun of Morgan Freeman?

Do you make fun of Mr. Obama? Why? Is he a funny guy? Morgan Freeman is such a powerful meme.
Does it make any difference at all what you believe? You can believe the Pink Panther is Real. Don't Drink and Drive and we are Good.

Does it make us feel better to know we are helpless maggots?
Nothing we do, nothing we say or write, nothing we think has any control or influence over large systems or powerful people.

What makes one guy powerful and some other guy, just, a collection of electrons?
Cheney is creepy and mean. I spent enough time with him to have an opinion.

He is a TV personality. He is about the same in person.
Not a good Uncle Fester. That is not a funny guy.

I did not meet Mr. Obama. So, funny. Remember the John Malcovch? Six degrees?
Each person is considered one degree. If you know someone that knows John Malcovich, then that is two degrees?

How far are you from Dick Cheney? How far from Mr. Obama?
I can't call Cheney. He does not like me. I don't like him, either.

Him not likeing me is so much more inconvenient for me than me not likeing him is for him.
Being Human is hard on good days. It sucks on bad days.

Have we as a large group of unimportant maggots, elevated Dickyy to God like Status?
He lives like a God. to be fair, so do I. Electricity and Wi-Fi! Will Wonders Never Cease?

What difference does it make if you believe Dick Cheney is fighting for your second amendment rights?
What difference does it make if you believe Obama Care is dangerous to you?
What difference does it make if you believe 18 inches of snow is a Good Beginning?

Well, Fuck! I am glad you told me.
You may be a fine human being, but That much snow is not a beginning!
Just, my opinion. It would take some convincing to change my mind.
Space age snow gear is the only thing I am willing to consider as counter arguments.

I do not care what you and your father believe. What do you Do about it?
Complain? To whom? Do you build bomb shelters? F-Bomb shelters?

Stay away from my posts. They tend to have a high idea to F-Bomb ratio.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 18, 2013 9:21 pm UTC

Realizing that your heroes are falliable is one of those big points in growing up. Sure, we all say "nobody's perfect", but really understanding what that means is something different. Something inside us really does crave order, and the idea that someone has it all figured out, and thus, by listening to them, we can easily understand it all too. Reality is vastly more complicated.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby AlsoDan » Fri Nov 22, 2013 6:34 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Realizing that your heroes are falliable is one of those big points in growing up.

A quote for the ages.

I think we as humans Idealize those we look up to as non-humans (ex: the "nobody" in "nobody's perfect")

Once some of us make it to the realization that those we look up to are in fact fallible, it is difficult to believe that anyone might do good intentionally again.

OP- I feel your pain. Although, it sounds like you're dealing with a much more significant level of paranoia.
A close friend of mine is way down all of these rabbit holes.
It's very difficult seeing someone who I respect as a scientific mind (when working with him) unable to accept anything he did not prove himself.

I've attempted Occam's razor-type discussions, as well as using one of my favorite quotes:
"Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity."

I've finally whittled our discussions to single point arguments as suggested in earlier posts, and this makes a small amount of progress that lasts all of 10 minutes.

OP- if you feel it has a significant impact on his life, I would suggest talking to someone about it. I would suggest a psychiatrist, but that's just my opinion.
If it's not impacting his life, consider allowing him to just live his life. It may be painful to watch, but I have no other suggestions that I think can help.

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Re: Family and Friends: Dealing with conspiracy theorists

Postby addams » Sun Nov 24, 2013 2:03 pm UTC

Dthen wrote:My mother has become a bit of a conspiracy theorist over the last few years. I try to ignore/avoid it, but I still reside with my parents & find it difficult to avoid her ramblings/ranting.

This must be so difficult.
I am sorry you are having to live though this.

It is one thing to encounter conspiracy theorists out in the world.
It is a very different thing to have that inside your home.

What is that like? Poor you. Poor your mom.
Is it like being two very different Religions?

What does she want you to do about any of it? Anything?
Ranting on and on with no action. That is hard. I know that is hard.

What can you do to be safer and happier at home?
You have different Religions.

She believes one set of truths frame reality.
You believe a different set of truths frame reality.

Can you beg for mercy?

"Mom; I am too sensitive to hear such frightening things. If I can do something to help, I will. If I can not help, please, don't tell me. It frightens me. I have to study, work, live a life. When you tell me, I worry. I can not live well if I am worried about things I can have no effect on."


Would that work?

People feel ill at ease. For many reasons, people feel ill at ease.
We are human. We attempt to explain the world. We are a smart animal.

Look at the complex systems we can understand. Electron transport systems. AminoAcid to DNA. Subway Maps.
The entire world is at War. Your Mom wants to understand and she can't. She has been given no tools or the wrong tools.

I think you should be nice. I also think you should be firm.
You may be harmed by the fear and complex theories.

Confess sensitivity. Confess to being of a different faith, maybe. That may not go over well.
Sensitivity may work well. To restrict your conversations to subjects you Can know and Can effect might help.
It will take great self control on your part. Paper and pens are gifts from the Gods. Use them.

I am moved by how difficult that must be. That is not only your mother, she is inside your home. Poor you.

Spoiler:
I was thinking. I am qualified for the activity.
I have listened to people that know what they are talking about, talk about Why Young People Go To War.

Mom. Mom is worried. Something needs to be done.
The American Civil War. jeeze. I was not born when some of that happened.
I was told about it. Even if I had been born, if I was born where I was, I would not have known.

Today, so many more Mothers can be reached with the message. What is the message? War.
Not your average run of the mill War.

This time the Mom's don't want to sit at home and wait? That is nice.
There have always been a few women that go along for the ride.

If Mom is worried; That is, sort of, Normal under the conditions.

If all else fails you can tell her You want to do something about it.
What branch of what military does she want you to join.

Of course, she will want to go along.
Every Boy Scout Troop needs a Den Mother or fifty.
**********************************************************
**********************************************************
You don't want to talk about Conspiracy Theories?
I do! This subject has been on my mind.

What do you think is a Conspiracy?
My Mom. What a freak-a-doodle.
She had weird shit she liked to do.

She made Candy. I watched. I touched.
Boiling sugar is Hot!

Some people are not offended by the same answer over and over.
We can learn almost anything.

Stupid Story?
My Mother made Candy.
Water Boils.
Sugar Boils.

Water Boils at a much cooler temperature than sugar does.
The numbers are important; If you have a thermometer.

I was offended at the number 212 degrees.
It is such an important number.
What is it doing is such a weird place?!

I learned it. Then; When I was told water boils at 100 C.
I was relieved. I was happy. Somewhere people were Not Nuts.

When my Mother told me, "Water Boils at 212 F."
I did not believe her.

With technical stuff she was often wrong.
Why should I believe her about degrees F.?

Was it a Conspiracy? The Others had Sane numbers.
We have crazy numbers. Why?!

For years I believed it was, Because; We Speak English.
To use Celsius is like using Mandarin. It is a different language.
Sure is a Saner system. But, We speak English. **Fahrenheit! All The Way!**

After a fucking Life Time, I sort of, have a feel for Fahrenheit.
Is Fahrenheit a Conspiracy? Sort of. If we quit believing in in tomorrow;
Water will still boil when it gets damn well ready and not one moment sooner.

Are those Terrorist, Communist, RedNeck Bastards Real?
How about those Orange Men? Have you ever seen one in person?

We create the world around us. We use ideas about what was, what is and what will be.
People will willingly die for an Idea.

Not me! You keep your ideas, I will keep mine.
Do not let the idea of the World being at War bother you.

It might be true. What does that have to do with you?
Lunch plans? Will The War interrupt your Lunch Plans?

You could meet with your Mother and create a Plan of Attack.
What will you destroy first? The dishes are a good place to start.

Your Mother. My Mother.
I had a mother, too.

People often Complain about their Mothers.
I was with a group of professionals.

Most were complaining about their mothers.
It is a form of Entertainment and it helps people learn to be themselves.
Pushing against our Mothers somehow help us to create us.

Not everyone needs to do that.
Maybe there is some likely hood of people being Medical Officers and having Crazy or Sick Moms.

People with normal moms become CEO's, Realestate Agents, Donny Trumps wife.
The rest of us study Medicine. Why? ech.

What is more interesting than us? We are Humans Beings!
To study Medicine is a kind of Narcissism

Fascinated with ourselves; Aren't we?
Look! My toes wiggle. Do your toes wiggle?

Look! I can walk. Can you walk?
I Know! I know! Tandem Gate! yea!

Ech. I thought the entire creature was interesting.
Better than cows. I swear. Better and .........

I talk to people, sometimes...
It seem everyone is living Conspiracy to Conspiracy.

We must. We are Humans.
The best conspiracy I have ever heard was said by a Man.
He said, "I think they are conspiring to make me Happy."

I sure hope he was right.
Life is, just, an exchange of electrons; It is up to us to give it meaning.

We are all in The Gutter.
Some of us see The Gutter.
Some of us see The Stars.
by mr. Oscar Wilde.

Those that want to Know; Know.
Those that do not Know; Don't tell them.
They do terrible things to people that Tell Them.


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