1081: "Argument Victory"

This forum is for the individual discussion thread that goes with each new comic.

Moderators: Moderators General, Prelates, Magistrates

marsman57
Posts: 67
Joined: Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:40 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby marsman57 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:44 pm UTC

On more than one occasion in college, my roommate who was passionate about a variety of things (not conspiracy theories) would be trying to make a point about some sort of social issue or whatnot. If I tired of the discussion, I would make an outlandish and easily dis-proven comment on the subject, shrug, and walk off leaving no time for a rebuttal as though it was the final and true word on the subject. He hated it (in a fun, "grr you got me this time!" sort of way).

Pyrrhus
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 12:48 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Pyrrhus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:11 pm UTC

BrianB wrote:They were disappointed when Stalin showed no reaction to the news.


Stalin had known about the bomb for longer than Truman, who was only informed upon the death of Roosevelt, while Los Alamos was awash with soviet spies almost from the start of the project.

User avatar
FrobozzWizard
Posts: 61
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 2:01 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby FrobozzWizard » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:14 pm UTC

The basic flaw in conspiracy theories is their assumption that any organization is going to exhibit complete competence in carrying out dastardly plans.

Spectrum
Posts: 37
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:10 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Spectrum » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:22 pm UTC

A recent survey in "George" magazine indicated that three quarters of
Americans believe that "the Government is involved in conspiracy."
Depending on your level of venality, that statistic can be read as
either mass psychosis or a marketing opportunity.
-- Rick Martin and T. Trent Gegax in Newsweek

User avatar
Nylonathatep
NOT Nyarlathotep
Posts: 720
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:06 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Nylonathatep » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:25 pm UTC

FrobozzWizard wrote:The basic flaw in conspiracy theories is their assumption that any organization is going to exhibit complete competence in carrying out dastardly plans.



I think you might be incorrect in this one.... but instead of arguing over it... I'll just go slide down a water slide.



WEEEEEEEEEEEEE EEEEEEEE......

User avatar
Adam H
Posts: 1267
Joined: Thu Jun 16, 2011 6:36 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Adam H » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:43 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:What if you enjoy arguing on the internet more than waterslides?

Better still: lets find a parallel pair of giant waterslides long enough that we can have an argument while going down them. Eh? Anybody down for that?

Let's do it.

And I will find a crossing slide so that I can wizz by and shout out a one-liner that only makes sense in the context of the last sentence that you two said.

Just like I always do.
-Adam

Aiwendil
Posts: 313
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 8:53 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Aiwendil » Fri Jul 13, 2012 1:57 pm UTC

What is it about crackpots that makes them use so many fonts, anyway? I mean, if I found that no one was taking me seriously, my first reaction would not be "I know, I'll make all the important words blue and no two consecutive sentences the same size! And if that doesn't work, I'll try centering every line."

User avatar
pkcommando
Posts: 569
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:22 pm UTC
Location: Allston, MA

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:18 pm UTC

oracle989 wrote:
ijuin wrote:Meh, sufficiently committed conspiracy theorists (or any other form of fanatic) are impervious to argument anyway. They are so certain of their own rightness that they will absolutely not be swayed by any form of evidence or persuasion, so why bother continuing to try once you have identified them as immovable?


My favorite feature of conspiracy theories is that evidence to the contrary is actually supporting evidence, as it indicates a cover-up, and the absence of evidence is evidence in and of itself.

Well said. I've long thought it a good test of your sanity if every time you tried to work out that thought it gave you a headache, or the desire for an intoxicant.

User avatar
Wnderer
Posts: 640
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:10 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Wnderer » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:51 pm UTC

CUBE

Bildschirmfoto 2010-12-15 um 17.12.13.png

-This may be hard for you to understand,
but there's no conspiracy.
Nobody is in charge.
It's a headless blunder operating under the illusion of a master plan.
Can you grasp that?
Big brother is not watching you.

-What kind of fuckin' explanation is that?

-It's the best you are gonna get.
I looked, and the only conclusion I could come to is that there is nobody up there.

-Somebody had to say yes to this thing.

-What thing?
Only we know what it is.

- We have no idea what it is.

- We know more than anybody else.
I mean, somebody might have known sometime before they got fired, or voted out, or sold it,
but if this place ever had a purpose, it got miscommunicated, or lost in the shuffle.
I mean, this is an accident, a forgotten perpetual public works project.
Do you think anybody wants to ask questions?
All they want is a clear conscience, and a fat paycheck.

ZeusTKP
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:39 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby ZeusTKP » Fri Jul 13, 2012 2:56 pm UTC

OK. seems like I have to be the first to say it: why would a crazy guy use .NET and not something like php. I'm assuming he would use crappy free hosting, and that's likely not .NET

CrunchyRay
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby CrunchyRay » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:18 pm UTC

I really wonder what Conspiracy Theorists really get out of what they do. Is it a sense of smug satisfaction that they believe they "discovered" something that's unknown to the rest of the public? Honestly, it's pretty sad compared to the actual "conspiracies" going on around them anyway. Not in the CIA mind-control tinfoil-hat type things, but just in the banal everyday way that government works.

Powerful corporations establish lobbying organizations to make campaign contributions to political candidates, and once elected the officials vote for tax breaks, subsidies and favorable laws for their contributors. Why would they act illegally and secretively when they can already get what they want right out in the open?

queueingtheory
Posts: 27
Joined: Wed Dec 14, 2011 2:22 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby queueingtheory » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:25 pm UTC

ZeusTKP wrote:OK. seems like I have to be the first to say it: why would a crazy guy use .NET and not something like php. I'm assuming he would use crappy free hosting, and that's likely not .NET


He meant .net, it's just that the cartoon's all in capitals.

User avatar
Max™
Posts: 1792
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 am UTC
Location: mu

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:27 pm UTC

CrunchyRay wrote:I really wonder what Conspiracy Theorists really get out of what they do. Is it a sense of smug satisfaction that they believe they "discovered" something that's unknown to the rest of the public? Honestly, it's pretty sad compared to the actual "conspiracies" going on around them anyway. Not in the CIA mind-control tinfoil-hat type things, but just in the banal everyday way that government works.

Powerful corporations establish lobbying organizations to make campaign contributions to political candidates, and once elected the officials vote for tax breaks, subsidies and favorable laws for their contributors. Why would they act illegally and secretively when they can already get what they want right out in the open?

Better a comfortable lie than an ugly truth?
mu

ZeusTKP
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 6:39 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby ZeusTKP » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:28 pm UTC

queueingtheory wrote:
ZeusTKP wrote:OK. seems like I have to be the first to say it: why would a crazy guy use .NET and not something like php. I'm assuming he would use crappy free hosting, and that's likely not .NET


He meant .net, it's just that the cartoon's all in capitals.


hahaha, oops

drewder
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2011 11:47 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby drewder » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:31 pm UTC

Lynx Cat wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:What if you enjoy arguing on the internet more than waterslides?

Better still: lets find a parallel pair of giant waterslides long enough that we can have an argument while going down them. Eh? Anybody down for that?

But if one waterslide is moving relative to the other, how does a person on one waterslide translate to the other one? (And yes, the Pressures thread was the first thing that popped into my mind too. Can't be a coincidence.)

And as someone who... let's say, knows a little about conspiracies from the inside, the competence, resources and organizational power attributed to governments and other entities by conspiracy theorists is hilarious. There's a principle called Hanlon's Razor that I love: "Never attribute to malice something that can be explained by incompetence." That's VERY much true. Yes, even with small, dedicated groups. Everything leaks, it's just a matter of when and how fast, and by far the biggest motivation behind all actions of people who might have enough clout to perpetrate conspiracies is "not giving a damn". Most theorized conspiracies are just too much trouble relative to the supposed benefit they bring (which tends to be grossly exaggerated as well). It's good to also keep the following principle in mind, for those "they're watching me/everyone" sorts of theories: It takes at least one fully-dedicated person, usually more, to keep tabs on one individual. Do the math.

Yeah a government conspericy if far more likely to turn out like "fast and furious" than the movie "independence day"

User avatar
ahammel
My Little Cabbage
Posts: 2135
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2012 12:46 am UTC
Location: Vancouver BC
Contact:

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby ahammel » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:39 pm UTC

queueingtheory wrote:
ZeusTKP wrote:OK. seems like I have to be the first to say it: why would a crazy guy use .NET and not something like php. I'm assuming he would use crappy free hosting, and that's likely not .NET


He meant .net, it's just that the cartoon's all in capitals.

I actually like the "all .NET devs believe in shapeshifting lizards" interpretation better.
He/Him/His/Alex
God damn these electric sex pants!

wumpus
Posts: 546
Joined: Thu Feb 21, 2008 12:16 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby wumpus » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:47 pm UTC

Pyrrhus wrote:
BrianB wrote:They were disappointed when Stalin showed no reaction to the news.


Stalin had known about the bomb for longer than Truman, who was only informed upon the death of Roosevelt, while Los Alamos was awash with soviet spies almost from the start of the project.


Any information about the bomb that predated Truman was pure guesswork. A betting pool was setup before the test explosion and the smart money (i.e. the best nuclear scientists in the world) guessed at least an order of magnitude less bang than they got. The money went to a visitor who simply topped the highest standing guess as a compliment.

Having a communication chain that got the information out of what should have been the most secure location in the US all the way to Stalin in under 21 days is pretty impressive, but any information that claimed that an atomic blast was anywhere near as dangerous as firebombing (which since the US had total air superiority at that point could be done at will) was purely project propaganda.

Cousj001
Posts: 33
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:55 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Cousj001 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:49 pm UTC

Aha! Step one of my evil plan is complete! Soon I will ready for Step 3: Profit! Where I am take over the world. Muhahahaha!
Magic is real, unless declared integer.

Whys
Posts: 31
Joined: Tue Jan 11, 2011 8:11 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Whys » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:51 pm UTC

Conspiracies aren't necessary. The emergent properties of power are frightening enough all on their own.

Has anyone else noticed that we have a planet at or past capacity with a human population of 7 billion? Has anyone else noticed that robotics and artificial intelligence threatens nearly all our jobs? What happens when 6 billion people can't do anything better or cheaper than machinery? Who will hire them? Who will feed them? Who will fight for their rights when the natural resources start running out? Has anyone else noticed that those with the power and resources to address this mounting problem would rather buy the next longest yacht? Did anyone else notice what happened when the rich realized the Titanic didn't have enough life boats?

Evil emerges on its own, and it threatens us all. Body scanners and groping are only the beginning. We need to be cowed, cornered, and reduced. Those who implement the final solution will convince themselves that what they do is for the good of our species. For those that commit genocide always believe that what they are doing is somehow something different. We will have no jobs, scant resources, and we won't be fighting riot police, we'll be fighting petman bots.

Call it conspiracy if you like. We are all on a collision course for human disaster. History teaches us that in such scenarios, evil thrives, all on it's own.

User avatar
pkcommando
Posts: 569
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2012 3:22 pm UTC
Location: Allston, MA

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby pkcommando » Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:52 pm UTC

CrunchyRay wrote:I really wonder what Conspiracy Theorists really get out of what they do. Is it a sense of smug satisfaction that they believe they "discovered" something that's unknown to the rest of the public? Honestly, it's pretty sad compared to the actual "conspiracies" going on around them anyway. Not in the CIA mind-control tinfoil-hat type things, but just in the banal everyday way that government works.

Powerful corporations establish lobbying organizations to make campaign contributions to political candidates, and once elected the officials vote for tax breaks, subsidies and favorable laws for their contributors. Why would they act illegally and secretively when they can already get what they want right out in the open?

That seems to be pretty much all there is to it. Except not just smugness, but confirmation that are the bestest, most specialest, most elitest person in all of ever because THEY are one of the select few great enough to see the truth. Same as the people scammed by certain phony diet and medical "secrets they don't want you to know" books. Which is worse than sad.

CrunchyRay
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2012 3:12 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby CrunchyRay » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:00 pm UTC

That seems to be pretty much all there is to it. Except not just smugness, but confirmation that are the bestest, most specialest, most elitest person in all of ever because THEY are one of the select few great enough to see the truth. Same as the people scammed by certain phony diet and medical "secrets they don't want you to know" books. Which is worse than sad.


Yeah, maybe they think that if they "break the story" then there will be some sort of mass uprising to throw off the chains of oppression, and they will be hailed as the great prophet who enlightened humanity. Great fantasy, if you don't mind delusions of grandeur. Of course, most people wouldn't care about the conspiracies even if they were true.

The basic premise of "The government is lying to you! Powerful people know things they don't want you to know!" Is true, but so is the fact that rain comes from the sky. So what?

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:20 pm UTC

rcox1 wrote:My thing is that conspiracy theorist are sometimes those that say government is a waste of money because it is inefficient, incompetent, and filled with people who don't care.

These same people then attribute superhuman organizational power to the same government. Power to build huge structures with no one knowing, to create international conspiracies to enslave the entire human population.

For short periods with certain project, like the silos in the US midlands, some secrets are kept. OTOH, the atomic bomb was almost immediately leaked to the Russians.

That the UN, an organization that is so often considered the most inept on the planet, could create a plan to make us all live in Hobbit houses, no matter how good an idea this is, is quite insane.

Even the most well funded commercial enterprises with the highest paid and highest talented management has only been able to keep conspiracies in place for a short time. And no one would say the free market are less able than government.

The rebuttal to all this is that the conspiracy is not government, but a small group within government. I suppose a small group might be able to do something, like force a pipeline no one wants, or force us to all wear seatbelt in the back seat or be subject to a tax, but the nig things, like all live in the same shape house, is really insane.


Consider the conspiracy theory that says Roosevelt conspired to let Pearl Harbor happen so that US public opinion would strongly support the war. We know now that there was evidence known, at the last minute, that did not get through to the people who needed it. That could have been accident, or somebody along the chain could have blocked it. Not the sort of conspiracy that would have boatloads of evidence. But look at the bigger picture. There was every reason to expect a Japanese attack. Japan needed the philippines, and the USA was too weak to defend them. We sent MacArthur there to try to build some sort of filipino army so the filipinos could try to defend themselves at little expense to us. (That failed utterly, of course. The same filipinos who had collaborated with us for 40 years collaborated with the Japanese forces, and the ones who resisted tended to be people who thought if we knew who they were and we could find them, we would kill them.) Politically we couldn't pull out from there and save the troops -- it would send exactly the wrong signal to both the US public and to the Japanese government. When the Japanese fleet hid itself, there was every reason to expect they would attack the philippines, and there was not much we could do about it except use it to rally public opinion. That would have been true even with Pearl Harbor intact and the fleet undamaged. So the conspiracy theory was fundamentally correct. Roosevelt was ready to sacrifice our troops at Corregidor etc to start the war. Does it really matter whether he knew that Pearl Harbor was also about to be attacked?

Similarly with 9/11. We were spending billions of dollars a year that were supposed to keep that sort of thing from happening. We were tracking foreign agents in the USA, including the ones who actually did 9/11. We just didn't think they were going to do that. We had planes stationed various places that could shoot down hijacked airliners if given the orders. Everything went wrong. The system failed the first time it faced an actual threat.

The mainstream view is that through a series of accidents and coincidences everything failed at random and no one was responsible. This is comforting in a way. Everybody in the system, below the very highest levels, can say "I didn't fuck up. I followed the orders I was given and did my job correctly. It just failed because of a series of accidents and coincidences.". Who among them can and should say that they were given the wrong orders starting from the highest levels? There's no secret what happened. The only secret is why it happened.

Taking it a step farther, the neocon manifesto, published in Israel, assumed something very much like 9/11 would happen. Various neocons got into positions where they perhaps could have made it happen. But the accidents and coincidences only allowed it to succeed, they didn't start it. To start it, ideally you would actually have a team of suicide bombers ready, who would do it on command. Which is easier, use high technology to fake a team of suicide bombers, or recruit a team of arab suicide bombers by pretending you're working toward their ideals? The high tech fake is a losing proposition. Which is easier, recruit a team of arab suicide bombers yourself, or find an existing team and take over their leadership? Which is easier, take over the leadership or infiltrate their communications so you can start the attack that they are not ready to start?

The mainstream media published an official sounding claim that originally the plan called for 80 planes to attack various targets, but somehow only 4 of the teams got their orders. The big attack would presumably be a retaliation for something the USA did, and was not intended to just set up capriciously. Could somebody else have ordered 4 attacks? A good number to create precisely the panic that the neocon agenda had declared would happen, but not the disaster that 80 attacks would bring....

How many people would it take to send that signal? How many would be in a position to reveal the secret later?

Conspiracy theorists tend to assume that everything went perfectly for the conspirators. Like, they assume the conspirators wanted the WTC to fall down completely, and they couldn't depend on the plane attacks to do it, so they arranged professional-quality demolition. It would take a gigantic conspiracy to make sure all the details work the way they actually came out. But if the conspirators expected the buildings not to fall -- like everybody else -- then it's far simpler. They would be just as surprised as the engineers who made the original reports saying it wouldn't happen. Just as surprised as the possibly fake Bin Ladin claimed he was.

Clearly, large complicated conspiracies are harder to keep secret than small simple ones. How hard is it to keep secrets in general? You argue that it never works for long. But you don't know how many secrets have actually been kept. You only know about the ones that have been revealed. You only count the hits. So I don't think you have the data to decide how many secrets are still secret. I don't either.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

User avatar
BAReFOOt
Posts: 179
Joined: Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:48 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby BAReFOOt » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:41 pm UTC

I had no idea that Randall had no idea what a proper argument… or a fallacy… is…

PROTIP: Sources / references / “I’m backed by …” = “argument from authority” fallacy = You’re wrong.
Because in an argument, for its logical correctness, it’s irrelevant who said it. And basing it on that, is exactly the same nonsense, as using personal attacks instead of arguments.
So both sides in this, are wrong. And considering the intelligence they should possess, and how obvious this becomes with that intelligence, they act pretty stupid, if they think that that will make their argument valid.

Which is also, why the whole concept of “sources” on Wikipedia, is such an epic FAIL. The cognitive dissonance of this is most funny on their own page on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
It’s like you can see the brain sparks flying. ^^

Of course, going down that slide is the ultimate “I’m giving up. But I’m a sore loser, so I won’t admit you won.” move, showing very clearly that you are wrong, and don’t even know why you thought you were correct in the first place. Like flipping the chess board.
Hint: If you find yourself doing that, even though your opponent is provably dumber than canned bread on a tricycle with four-wheel-drive, maybe you are playing your opponent’s game, keep throwing things at him, and he just has to reject them, and change the rules at will. The trick here is, to let him play your game. Let him throw stuff, that you can just reject.
But to avoid being no better than him, you and your game adhere to the rules of logic and reason (bot not ignoring emotions)… assuming that other than the figures in the comic, you know them.
Then just wait for your opponent to “flip the chess board”. Done. ^^

Rplot
Posts: 13
Joined: Fri Feb 06, 2009 5:26 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Rplot » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:44 pm UTC

Sometimes it just takes a while for the conspiracy to get out.

Nixon campaign working the Paris Peace Talks before the '68 election:

http://consortiumnews.com/2012/03/03/lb ... s-treason/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ ... story.html

Kaijyuu
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Oct 14, 2008 1:58 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Kaijyuu » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

You know, after I stopped trying to "win" internet arguments and instead just debate for debate's sake, all the crap associated with internet debates vanished. Ad hominem? Circular reasoning? All that mostly vanished because anyone who tried it didn't get responded to. Only those who brought forth logical reasoning get replies from me nowadays, and those that don't get waterslides.
The cake is a lie, but truth is in Pi.

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2012 4:49 pm UTC

CrunchyRay wrote:I really wonder what Conspiracy Theorists really get out of what they do. Is it a sense of smug satisfaction that they believe they "discovered" something that's unknown to the rest of the public?


I'm sure it varies a whole lot. I don't think you can come up with one simple theory to explain all the conspiracy theorists, without being highly self-referential.

So OK, we get some people who try hard to believe the authorities are correct and truthful, or who try hard to go along with the majority. Those people will be excluded from conspiracy theories, except for proper approved mainstream conspiracy theories.

So, we get some people who are willing to think about alternatives, and then they are ready to assume that stuff is true because it just makes sense to them. Also a bunch of people want to join the hippest trendiest club, and that can't be the mainstream which after all includes a bunch of dull average people.

Honestly, it's pretty sad compared to the actual "conspiracies" going on around them anyway. Not in the CIA mind-control tinfoil-hat type things, but just in the banal everyday way that government works.

Powerful corporations establish lobbying organizations to make campaign contributions to political candidates, and once elected the officials vote for tax breaks, subsidies and favorable laws for their contributors. Why would they act illegally and secretively when they can already get what they want right out in the open?


Because for some things they need to control public opinion.

What you say makes sense a lot of the time. For example, look at the sugar lobby. They get price supports for US sugar, and subsidies, and quotas and tariffs on imported sugar. The average US taxpayer pays considerably more for sugar because of this. Nobody particularly likes it. Nobody can justify it, or even tries. But it continues year after year, election cycle after election cycle. Sugar industry lobbyists give away what appears to be trivial amounts of money to legislators in campaign contributions and maybe bribes, and they fall into line every time. (Maybe a lot of the money is illegal and secret? Maybe a lot of the money actually comes from the corn syrup industry, and just doesn't get labeled as sugar tariff money? How would I find out?) It's hard to learn the details of all this without getting mad, but it's been going on for well over 100 years and there's no reason to think it can be stopped in the next 100 years.

On the other hand look at AGW. A whole lot of people believe that there is no problem at all, and that the whole controversy was just invented as a conspiracy. That the entire climate science industry is doing a mass conspiracy -- the scientists all agree to publish bogus data because they get paid to do so. The theory makes so much sense to those people that they believe it. They aren't interested in the science because they have reason to believe the science is entirely bogus. If you point out that there is in fact an industry built up to influence public opinion about climate change, that creates bogus data and spreads it, that works hard to persuade people that climate change is not an issue, they typically agree that it's so. They feel this is justified to counter the other bigger conspiracy. Since the public can't tell the truth, it's important to use whatever methods work to stop the liars who hope to make a tremendous amount of money by combatting climate change, and who will claim that it's working when they decide the climate isn't changing as fast.

What can you say to people who believe it's all conspiracy? That the truth is not out there?

That waterslide sure is looking good right now....
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

User avatar
ShortChelsea
One thousand four hundred and thirty seven
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Mar 25, 2011 6:26 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby ShortChelsea » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:20 pm UTC

Aiwendil wrote:What is it about crackpots that makes them use so many fonts, anyway? I mean, if I found that no one was taking me seriously, my first reaction would not be "I know, I'll make all the important words blue and no two consecutive sentences the same size! And if that doesn't work, I'll try centering every line."

There's a blogger on a site I'm on who does that all the time. I can't be bothered to read huge/tiny/crazy fonted/red writing about something that doesn't make sense.

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:21 pm UTC

BAReFOOt wrote:I had no idea that Randall had no idea what a proper argument… or a fallacy… is…

PROTIP: Sources / references / “I’m backed by …” = “argument from authority” fallacy = You’re wrong.


PROTIP: The truth of a statement is independent of the arguments people make to support it.

If somebody says he knows Eisenhower won the US 1952 presidential election because Nostradamus predicted it, you can reject Nostradamus as an authority and say his argument fails. But nevertheless Eisenhower did win the election.

Because in an argument, for its logical correctness, it’s irrelevant who said it.


That's true for logical argument. On the other hand, what about data? A long time ago there were people who argued on logical grounds that rocks cannot fall out of the sky. But Thomas Jefferson interviewed a whole town of people who claimed they saw a meteorite fall out of the sky. Who do we believe, the people who saw it or the people who declared they couldn't have seen it? It does matter who said it, when it matters how they know.

So, for example, suppose that Tom tells you that Jerry has been having sex with your wife. He says that Tom told him. This is no a logical argument, but it might be true. Supposing you care about the issue, you ask your wife and she says no, it's a lie. You ask Jerry and he says yes. Right away we can assume that your wife wants you to think no and Jerry doesn't mind you thinking yes, since either of them could have told you something different if they wanted to. Should you believe either of them? This is not a matter of logical argument. Now suppose that Jerry describes the precise location and appearance of the mole on your wife's groin. Maybe he saw it, or maybe somebody told him about it. Is there a way for him to learn about that without having sex with her? Logical arguments about that can come from anywhere and it doesn't matter who says them, it only matters whether the logic is right. But if the data does matter at all, it makes a big difference that Jerry was the one who knew it and not Tom, Dick, and Harry.

And basing it on that, is exactly the same nonsense, as using personal attacks instead of arguments.


Are Ben and Jerry disgusting liars who are trying to make trouble for you between you and your wife? Or are they noble truth-tellers who don't want your slutty wife to deceive you? Personal character matters when you decide who to believe about facts.

So both sides in this, are wrong. And considering the intelligence they should possess, and how obvious this becomes with that intelligence, they act pretty stupid, if they think that that will make their argument valid.

Which is also, why the whole concept of “sources” on Wikipedia, is such an epic FAIL. The cognitive dissonance of this is most funny on their own page on this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
It’s like you can see the brain sparks flying. ^^

Of course, going down that slide is the ultimate “I’m giving up. But I’m a sore loser, so I won’t admit you won.” move, showing very clearly that you are wrong, and don’t even know why you thought you were correct in the first place. Like flipping the chess board.


Outside of mathematics, arguments are logical conclusions that start from assumptions. It's perfectly valid to argue about what assumptions we should accept. It's valid to argue that we should take our assumptions from trustworthy people who have experience studying the facts behind the assumptions. How do we actually decide who to believe? We each choose. You can't make logical arguments to get somebody to change the assumptions he uses for his logical arguments. It doesn't work that way.

It isn't being a sore loser when you argue with somebody and they don't change their assumptions, and you stop arguing with them. You have no obligation to tell them they win when they hold onto their assumptions.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

winampman
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Jun 06, 2012 7:38 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby winampman » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:28 pm UTC

Max™ wrote:
CrunchyRay wrote:I really wonder what Conspiracy Theorists really get out of what they do. Is it a sense of smug satisfaction that they believe they "discovered" something that's unknown to the rest of the public? Honestly, it's pretty sad compared to the actual "conspiracies" going on around them anyway. Not in the CIA mind-control tinfoil-hat type things, but just in the banal everyday way that government works.

Powerful corporations establish lobbying organizations to make campaign contributions to political candidates, and once elected the officials vote for tax breaks, subsidies and favorable laws for their contributors. Why would they act illegally and secretively when they can already get what they want right out in the open?

Better a comfortable lie than an ugly truth?

Pretty much. There are different kinds of conspiracy theorists, but they're all the same. There are theorists that distrust an entity like the government (fake moon landing, the entire American financial system is involved in a scam), and there are theorists that distrust specific people (Obama is communist muslim).

It starts with a general distrust of the entity/government (or the person), but with no explanation or only flimsy evidence. With the power of confirmation bias, they seek out evidence (from crazy blogs and websites) that their distrust of the government is justified. Of course, they also ignore any evidence that goes against their belief, which someone already mentioned in this thread. Eventually the more evidence they find that goes against their belief, the more they feel like they can see through the lies and/or the cover-up. In the end, if they never invested much time into it, they accept that they might-possibly-maybe be wrong; if they invested tons of time writing and researching their theory, they go all-in and get louder and louder because they don't want to admit that they're wrong and feel like an idiot (the ugly truth is that they are wrong).

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2012 5:51 pm UTC

winampman wrote:Pretty much. There are different kinds of conspiracy theorists, but they're all the same. There are theorists that distrust an entity like the government (fake moon landing, the entire American financial system is involved in a scam), and there are theorists that distrust specific people (Obama is communist muslim).


?? Are you saying you believe there's some part of the US financial system that is not a scam?

Can you think of some sort of reason for that belief?
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

User avatar
Pfhorrest
Posts: 5437
Joined: Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:11 am UTC
Contact:

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Pfhorrest » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:15 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:Outside of mathematics, arguments are logical conclusions that start from assumptions.

If anything, that's more the case with mathematics than otherwise. In math you merely assume some axioms for the sake of the proof and show what is entailed by them... whether anything corresponding to those axioms is instantiated in reality is entirely beside the point. For basically everything else of any substance, we can appeal to our common experience (e.g. empirical observations) to establish a base of data to take as our premises and work from there.

Of course, that relies on an axiom that there is something common underlying all our varying experiences, to which it is valid to appeal...
Forrest Cameranesi, Geek of All Trades
"I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like trolls, flames, or spam."
The Codex Quaerendae (my philosophy) - The Chronicles of Quelouva (my fiction)

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:39 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
J Thomas wrote:Outside of mathematics, arguments are logical conclusions that start from assumptions.

If anything, that's more the case with mathematics than otherwise. In math you merely assume some axioms for the sake of the proof and show what is entailed by them... whether anything corresponding to those axioms is instantiated in reality is entirely beside the point.


Yes, that's what I mean. For math it doesn't matter whether the axioms are "true" or what circumstances they're true. You just do logic from them independent of that.

For basically everything else of any substance, we can appeal to our common experience (e.g. empirical observations) to establish a base of data to take as our premises and work from there.


But for most of the things we want to argue about, our common experience is not very useful without a giant pile of assumptions on top of it. Like, how many of us have a lot of direct experience with government corruption and government inefficiency? We usually assume that the only thing that stands between us and foreign armies shelling us into submission is our military, but none of us have seen how long it takes after our army isn't there for foreign armies to invade. Lots of people think that the only thing that keeps the US dollar worth anything at all is that a whole lot of other people haven't seen through the illusion yet, and when they do we will only trade gold or silver, real money instead of fake money. But they mostly have no experience using gold or silver as money. They instead follow Gresham's Law and keep their "real" money as investments, and do their trading with the same money they say is worthless.

People assume that gun control reduces gun crime, or they assume that harsh prison sentences reduce crime, or they assume that more money for police and laws that give police more power and less responsibility reduce crime. Or that prosperity reduces crime. Or that being born white or asian reduces crime. Etc. What actual experience do any of us have with more crime or less crime? We have to wait for the authorities to publish statistics before we know whether crime rates have gone up or down.

And from my own observation, people get less of their assumptions from actual empirical observation and more from TV shows and movies. And the "news".

For the most part, it's assumptions all the way down. Not turtles.

Of course, that relies on an axiom that there is something common underlying all our varying experiences, to which it is valid to appeal...


To the extent people agree about their assumptions, they can appeal to those and agree. Completely independent of whether they are right or wrong.

One of the places it's most profitable to appeal to our common experience is physics. Almost everybody has common experience with relativity and light that's both particle and waves and neutrinos and so on. We've all heard the same details so we know what to say to agree with everybody else. If we want to.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

User avatar
eculc
Wet Peanut Butter
Posts: 451
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2011 4:25 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby eculc » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:57 pm UTC

the first thing I thought of when seeing this comic is #359.
Um, this post feels devoid of content. Good luck?
For comparison, that means that if the cabbage guy from Avatar: The Last Airbender filled up his cart with lettuce instead, it would be about a quarter of a lethal dose.

User avatar
drewster1829
Posts: 143
Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:46 pm UTC
Contact:

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby drewster1829 » Fri Jul 13, 2012 7:06 pm UTC

Cousj001 wrote:Aha! Step one of my evil plan is complete! Soon I will ready for Step 3: Profit! Where I am take over the world. Muhahahaha!


Woah, Step 4 is PROFIT!!! Step 3 is ????

J Thomas wrote:For the most part, it's assumptions all the way down. Not turtles.


This. Awesome. :D

I used to be a conspiracy theorist, but now I'm just a fallbilist skeptic.

J Thomas wrote:Yes, that's what I mean. For math it doesn't matter whether the axioms are "true" or what circumstances they're true. You just do logic from them independent of that.


And that's why I'm a math major...a mathematical proof is either correct or it isn't. There is no ambiguity in that (based on whatever axiomatic system one is using, of course).
"Distrust your judgment the moment you can discern the shadow of a personal motive in it."
-- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

Fire Brns
Posts: 1114
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:25 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Fire Brns » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:42 pm UTC

There are no unified conspiracies; maybe just maybe a few smaller conspiracies blend with sheer chance to produce an faint overarching effect.
Pfhorrest wrote:As someone who is not easily offended, I don't really mind anything in this conversation.
Mighty Jalapeno wrote:It was the Renaissance. Everyone was Italian.

J Thomas
Everyone's a jerk. You. Me. This Jerk.^
Posts: 1190
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:18 pm UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby J Thomas » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:45 pm UTC

Fire Brns wrote:There are no unified conspiracies; maybe just maybe a few smaller conspiracies blend with sheer chance to produce an faint overarching effect.


How could there be a unified conspiracy? You aren't Young Goodman Brown. It isn't everybody else in the world conspiring against you.
The Law of Fives is true. I see it everywhere I look for it.

User avatar
Max™
Posts: 1792
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 am UTC
Location: mu

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:48 pm UTC

Note: spoilered potential derail response to J Thomas.
Spoiler:
J Thomas wrote:On the other hand look at AGW. A whole lot of people believe that there is no problem at all, and that the whole controversy was just invented as a conspiracy. That the entire climate science industry is doing a mass conspiracy -- the scientists all agree to publish bogus data because they get paid to do so.

Billions of dollars from the US government alone for climate science and technologies, millions of dollars in funding by oil companies for "deniers", and then there's folks like me, I do my damndest to avoid any "it's all bunk" sources, as the IPCC makes a strong enough case that it's [whatever you call a conspiracy which isn't hidden] by itself.

Btw, the term "industry" usually refers to a profit making venture, not the best choice of words when arguing that climate science isn't motivated by money. :P
The theory makes so much sense to those people that they believe it. They aren't interested in the science because they have reason to believe the science is entirely bogus.

As I said, there are not just two positions here, I'm annoyed at the idea that climate models of ANY complexity are in any way an experiment, that's all.

Btw, this:
If you point out that there is in fact an industry built up to influence public opinion about climate change, that creates bogus data and spreads it,

Well, that describes the IPCC just as well as any other group. Unless you don't think a GIGO model output counts as bogus data. :P


Also: the idea that the US financial system, frothy as it is, is not a scam?
mu

User avatar
Nylonathatep
NOT Nyarlathotep
Posts: 720
Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2011 3:06 am UTC

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Nylonathatep » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:11 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:There are no unified conspiracies; maybe just maybe a few smaller conspiracies blend with sheer chance to produce an faint overarching effect.


How could there be a unified conspiracy? You aren't Young Goodman Brown. It isn't everybody else in the world conspiring against you.


Example of a unified conspiracy theory: http://xkcd.com/966/

User avatar
Max™
Posts: 1792
Joined: Thu Jun 21, 2012 4:21 am UTC
Location: mu

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby Max™ » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:17 pm UTC

Nylonathatep wrote:
J Thomas wrote:
Fire Brns wrote:There are no unified conspiracies; maybe just maybe a few smaller conspiracies blend with sheer chance to produce an faint overarching effect.


How could there be a unified conspiracy? You aren't Young Goodman Brown. It isn't everybody else in the world conspiring against you.


Example of a unified conspiracy theory: http://xkcd.com/966/

I recall the woman turning to me one night and asking "why do I think Jack Ruby got back from giving the native chinamen blankets infected with SARS before he shot Marilyn Manson after sleeping with JFK on the set where they faked the moon landing?" or something equally absurd to that effect.

My head kersploded.
mu

User avatar
PolakoVoador
Posts: 1028
Joined: Fri Jun 10, 2011 11:11 pm UTC
Location: Brazil

Re: 1081: "Argument Victory"

Postby PolakoVoador » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:27 pm UTC

J Thomas wrote: Are Ben and Jerry disgusting liars who are trying to make trouble for you between you and your wife? Or are they noble truth-tellers who don't want your slutty wife to deceive you? Personal character matters when you decide who to believe about facts.


Ok, who the hell is Ben and when did he get into this? :|


Return to “Individual XKCD Comic Threads”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Baidu [Spider], Google Feedfetcher and 85 guests