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Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:27 pm UTC
by froghero
In a discussion with a person who doesn't care for big business, the government, and modern healthcare in general, what reasoning would you give to convince them that the CDC is trustworthy?

Re: Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 5:40 pm UTC
by Zohar
Meh? The only reasoning that might work in this case is to show how other countries' medical organizations have similar recommendations and conclusions as the CDC. Maintaining a global conspiracy of that scale, with millions of medical practitioners around the world that could all expose the lies, is pretty unreasonable. But if the guy keeps believing in conspiracy theories you're probably wasting your time. They could use some mental health support, if they believed in it long enough to try some.

Re: Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Thu Apr 05, 2018 6:48 pm UTC
by CorruptUser
Because there isn't a whole lot of money to be made working in the CDC that these people couldn't make outside it, other than profit people generally go into government with good intentions or at least enough of them do to make a conspiracy involving an entire organization extremely unlikely, and we haven't had a major plague or epidemic the way we routinely did a century ago so it's probable someone is doing their job right?

Re: Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 1:59 am UTC
by Tyndmyr
froghero wrote:In a discussion with a person who doesn't care for big business, the government, and modern healthcare in general, what reasoning would you give to convince them that the CDC is trustworthy?


That's a hard sell. I'd focus in on the specific subtopic, rather than trying to convince them of everything.

If, for instance, it's the vaccines/autism accusations, I'd point out the wide variety of support for one side, and the lack for the other. This implies the CDC is likely to be correct in it's pro-vaccine stance, and even if they still dislike the CDC, they are probably more likely to accept evidence from other sources viewed as trustworthy.

It's hard to overturn an entire worldview at one go, so I find it easier to look for something more limited, in which the evidence is strong. Easier to shift it a bit that way.

Re: Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Fri May 11, 2018 10:32 pm UTC
by Ranbot
Tyndmyr wrote:
froghero wrote:In a discussion with a person who doesn't care for big business, the government, and modern healthcare in general, what reasoning would you give to convince them that the CDC is trustworthy?


I'd focus in on the specific subtopic, rather than trying to convince them of everything..... I'd point out the wide variety of support for one side, and the lack for the other. This implies the CDC is likely to be correct in it's pro-vaccine stance, and even if they still dislike the CDC, they are probably more likely to accept evidence from other sources viewed as trustworthy.

Agreed. The CDC isn't just pulling information out of thin air. So, on any specific subject you can usually find a number of other reputable sources that will coincidentally agree with the CDC's conclusion.

Alternatively, instead of defending the CDC make the other person defend their position and provide their sources for you. It's a more combative tactic, but it turns the "Bullshit Asymmetry Principle" back on the conspiracy theorist. When the majority of the medical and scientific world generally agrees with and trusts the CDC, then the onus is on them to provide convincing evidence otherwise. If they accept that challenge usually their reasoning or sources are easily be shown to be to biased, politically-motivated, anecdotal, pseudo-science, sources with questionable motives, refuted by numerous other studies, etc.


If you're having a debate with conspiracy theorists on a social media platform with a wide audience, consider giving up and letting it go.... "discussions" on those platforms are rarely a real and honest exchange of ideas. Typically they are people [or trolls] grandstanding for others on their side and trying to get attention. Giving them that attention can quickly backfire.

Re: Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Sat May 12, 2018 4:50 am UTC
by ucim
Ranbot wrote:If you're having a debate with conspiracy theorists on a social media platform with a wide audience, consider giving up and letting it go.... "discussions" on those platforms are rarely a real and honest exchange of ideas. Typically they are people [or trolls] grandstanding for others on their side and trying to get attention. Giving them that attention can quickly backfire.
I agree with most of this, except for the idea that "they are just trolls". Thing is, people who aren't trolls read this stuff, become convinced, and then participate, either there or elsewhere. And yes, I have this firsthand. And no, I'm (almost certainly) not being trolled.

So, yes, this has to be fought. But I also have no idea how, if the person has abandoned the very methods of reason that would allow them to see the difference between a credible source and one that isn't.

Jose

Re: Why trust the CDC?

Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 2:37 pm UTC
by Ranbot
ucim wrote:
Ranbot wrote:If you're having a debate with conspiracy theorists on a social media platform with a wide audience, consider giving up and letting it go.... "discussions" on those platforms are rarely a real and honest exchange of ideas. Typically they are people [or trolls] grandstanding for others on their side and trying to get attention. Giving them that attention can quickly backfire.
I agree with most of this, except for the idea that "they are just trolls". Thing is, people who aren't trolls read this stuff, become convinced, and then participate, either there or elsewhere. And yes, I have this firsthand. And no, I'm (almost certainly) not being trolled.

So, yes, this has to be fought. But I also have no idea how, if the person has abandoned the very methods of reason that would allow them to see the difference between a credible source and one that isn't.

Jose

I could have completed that thought a little better, but I felt like it was straying from the OP's topic. We're there now so... Yes I'm aware that social media has bystanders watching, who can be more important to convince than the conspiracy theorist(s) doing most of the talking. We can't leave voids that are only filled by nut jobs. We do have to fight this war, but you can win a war without fighting every skirmish. Not all social media scenarios are the same. There are scenarios you might be setting yourself up to be torn apart by people who have as you say "abandoned the very methods of reason". Try to read the room and choose your battles wisely.

And for the record, I didn't say "they are just trolls". I feel like that paints all of them as trolls, which is a much wider brush than I intended. I said they are "people [or trolls]" meaning there are normal people, but a subset of them may have troll-like behavior too. We all know the saying, "do not feed trolls." So, I would look for trolls or consider them as part of choosing your battles wisely.