Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

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sTeamTraen
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Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by sTeamTraen » Sun Apr 26, 2020 4:06 pm

(Mods: My memory for events and stuff I've done is so f.cked, so although I have searched a bit, there may already be a thread for this --- quite possibly one that I have already posted in, or indeed even started, perhaps as recently as yesterday. If so, please feel free to merge this into there.)

I saw this somewhere on social media a couple of months ago: "Fox News has done to our parents' brains what they feared Marilyn Manson would do to ours". I guess many people here have family members or friends who are forwarding them, not for purposes of mockery, a variety of "alternative points of view" on a variety of current affairs. It's often difficult to ignore such people, or tell them to f.ck off and die.

Here is a reply that my partner in academic crime recently sent to his Dad on this matter. I'm not sure what YouTube "evidence" Dad was asking his scientist son to account for, but this reply is nicely generic, so there may be bits here that can be used for a variety of circumstances. (James's blog on Medium is always worth reading too. Imagine a 6ft4/1.94m 20-stone/130kg hairy Aussie former death-metal singer who is a bit upset about something.)
James Heathers wrote:Please keep three things in mind:

(1) Any novel problem has an information gap that is bigger than you realise. When there is suggestive information branching in multiple directions, you are not under any obligation to make a decision about which branch you 'believe'. You do not need to 'choose a side'. Usually you need to suspend your disbelief for such a long time that it's actually a complete pain in the balls. When you make a decision on the basis of limited information with unconstrained unknowns, this usually says more about your assumptions than it does about the information.

(2) Convenient and nefarious explanations also make some weird assumptions about people. Frankly, it is really tiresome to propose dastardly plans, which imply lots of intelligence, strong control over circumstances, and genuine malice. These are all uncommon. Sometimes you get one of them, usually none. There are some small conspiracies, of course, but the Dr. Evil-puppeteer in a room version is vanishingly unlikely. For a conspiracy to be successful, it generally requires people not to care, not seamless planning and information control. In civic life, in general, there are just idiots and organisations, and an organisation is a group of idiots in a mutual plot to help themselves make bad decisions slower.

(3) The truth is so often boring. Bad decisions and circumstances so, so often come down to human short-sightedness and frailty. It is so much more fun to assume that someone had an evil plot, that sinister forces are at work, and that cool sh.t is afoot. It isn't. Sorry.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Opti » Sun Apr 26, 2020 5:46 pm

Nicking that!
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Millennie Al » Mon Apr 27, 2020 1:12 am

The tendency to assume a conspiracy is probably related to the tendency to see agency which makes people invent gods to explain random phenomena.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:50 am

A problem is that while the specific conspiracy theories commonly endorsed by crazy people on the Internet are obviously ridiculous, that events are often significantly shaped by what could be termed 'conspiracies' is well supported by history. The Government is constantly lying to the People, the Establishment Media is heavily biased towards the Establishment etc. For example, 9/11 was not an inside job, but the decision to use 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq emerged from what amounts to a conspiracy at the highest level the the US government. The US media didn't, by and large, support the project of war because they once did a secret handshake with Dick Cheney, but because the complex systems of patronage and financial interests that people must navigate to make it as part of the Establishment media selects for people who will.

So while conspiracy theorists are often annoying, the kind of people who refuse to see potential for conspiracy are also annoying (not saying anyone in this thread is like that, but they certainly exist). For example, the people whose first instinct was to scoff at the idea that the removal of Morales in Bolivia last year was a coup and that it might have been backed by parts of the American intelligence apparatus, despite the wealth of evidence from 20th century history indicating that whatever their involvement with that particular event, this kind of activity was right up their alley.

I think conspiracy theorists tend to massively overestimate the ability of groups to organize and manipulate in secret, but the other kind of person significantly underestimates it.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Woodchopper » Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:31 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:50 am
A problem is that while the specific conspiracy theories commonly endorsed by crazy people on the Internet are obviously ridiculous, that events are often significantly shaped by what could be termed 'conspiracies' is well supported by history. The Government is constantly lying to the People, the Establishment Media is heavily biased towards the Establishment etc. For example, 9/11 was not an inside job, but the decision to use 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq emerged from what amounts to a conspiracy at the highest level the the US government. The US media didn't, by and large, support the project of war because they once did a secret handshake with Dick Cheney, but because the complex systems of patronage and financial interests that people must navigate to make it as part of the Establishment media selects for people who will.
I agree. IMHO there are two separate things. The conspiracy and successfully keeping it secret. Where most of the annoying people go wrong is vastly overestimating the ability of the conspirators to keep it covered up. As a general rule the more people involved in the conspiracy the the harder it is to keep it quiet.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by shpalman » Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:52 am

Woodchopper wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 8:31 am
secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:50 am
A problem is that while the specific conspiracy theories commonly endorsed by crazy people on the Internet are obviously ridiculous, that events are often significantly shaped by what could be termed 'conspiracies' is well supported by history. The Government is constantly lying to the People, the Establishment Media is heavily biased towards the Establishment etc. For example, 9/11 was not an inside job, but the decision to use 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq emerged from what amounts to a conspiracy at the highest level the the US government. The US media didn't, by and large, support the project of war because they once did a secret handshake with Dick Cheney, but because the complex systems of patronage and financial interests that people must navigate to make it as part of the Establishment media selects for people who will.
I agree. IMHO there are two separate things. The conspiracy and successfully keeping it secret. Where most of the annoying people go wrong is vastly overestimating the ability of the conspirators to keep it covered up. As a general rule the more people involved in the conspiracy the the harder it is to keep it quiet.
And the cover-up doesn't manage to get badly-made youtube videos taken down.

Ask a music youtuber how fast their content gets demonetized and/or blocked if they accidentally play a recognisable riff.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:13 am

Where most of the annoying people go wrong is vastly overestimating the ability of the conspirators to keep it covered up. As a general rule the more people involved in the conspiracy the the harder it is to keep it quiet.
... it's particularly hard to keep it covered up when the conspirators are deliberately revealing little clues.

Highly intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters are able to spot these clues, and win the admiration of the less intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters by revealing the evidence in lengthy YouTubes and mis-spelled blog posts.

For example, did you know the conspirators reveal their Anti-Christ conspiracy by giving themselves names that add up to 666?

Vatican Hill = 666. Kissinger = 666. Witchcraft = 666. Billie Eilish = 666. Pizzagate = 666. Hail Mark of Q = 666. mr rupert murdoch of fox news is very naughty and is a smelly = 666. Q: halt Covid = 666
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by secret squirrel » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:07 am

obama.jpg
obama.jpg (124.43 KiB) Viewed 567 times
I honestly find it hard to believe the above image is real, but I did an image search and couldn't find a version with different text on the sign. A common theme with the nutty conspiracy fringe is that they can't tell the difference between fairytale logic and reasoned argument. And they can't add up either, it seems.

Edt: This must be photoshopped right?
Edit2: Yes. It's fake. I found the original.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Martin Y » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:32 am

Regarding the original, they can of course have both.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Aitch » Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:35 am

lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:13 am
Where most of the annoying people go wrong is vastly overestimating the ability of the conspirators to keep it covered up. As a general rule the more people involved in the conspiracy the the harder it is to keep it quiet.
... it's particularly hard to keep it covered up when the conspirators are deliberately revealing little clues.

Highly intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters are able to spot these clues, and win the admiration of the less intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters by revealing the evidence in lengthy YouTubes and mis-spelled blog posts.

For example, did you know the conspirators reveal their Anti-Christ conspiracy by giving themselves names that add up to 666?

Vatican Hill = 666. Kissinger = 666. Witchcraft = 666. Billie Eilish = 666. Pizzagate = 666. Hail Mark of Q = 666. mr rupert murdoch of fox news is very naughty and is a smelly = 666. Q: halt Covid = 666
But isn't the True (I use the word loosely) Number of the Beast 616, according to the earliest reference?
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Bird on a Fire » Mon Apr 27, 2020 2:28 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:50 am
A problem is that while the specific conspiracy theories commonly endorsed by crazy people on the Internet are obviously ridiculous, that events are often significantly shaped by what could be termed 'conspiracies' is well supported by history. The Government is constantly lying to the People, the Establishment Media is heavily biased towards the Establishment etc. For example, 9/11 was not an inside job, but the decision to use 9/11 to justify the invasion of Iraq emerged from what amounts to a conspiracy at the highest level the the US government. The US media didn't, by and large, support the project of war because they once did a secret handshake with Dick Cheney, but because the complex systems of patronage and financial interests that people must navigate to make it as part of the Establishment media selects for people who will.

So while conspiracy theorists are often annoying, the kind of people who refuse to see potential for conspiracy are also annoying (not saying anyone in this thread is like that, but they certainly exist). For example, the people whose first instinct was to scoff at the idea that the removal of Morales in Bolivia last year was a coup and that it might have been backed by parts of the American intelligence apparatus, despite the wealth of evidence from 20th century history indicating that whatever their involvement with that particular event, this kind of activity was right up their alley.

I think conspiracy theorists tend to massively overestimate the ability of groups to organize and manipulate in secret, but the other kind of person significantly underestimates it.
I also find the constant accusations of "fake news" very annoying.

Actually "fake" news is a pretty rare phenomenon. It came to public attention during the 2016 election, where deliberately-fabricated false stories were presented on websites imitating genuine news outlets. It is rarely the case that a long-established media outlet publishes an entirely fabricated story in this way (though it does happen, of course, and writers of comment pieces often repeat falsehoods).

A far bigger issue in the "mainstream media" is basically accurate, but selective, reporting. They are curating, no doubt often unconsciously, which matters get brought to public attention, how to frame the story (not just to maximise clicks or fit a prevailing narrative, but at a more basic level filtering it through the kind of ideology or worldview you identify as being important to success in the establishment), which bits are emphasised and who gets right of reply.

This has a far bigger influence on what people are concerned about than the small amount of deliberate fabrication that happens, but is much harder to demonstrate or counteract.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by lpm » Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:34 pm

Aitch wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:35 am
lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:13 am
Where most of the annoying people go wrong is vastly overestimating the ability of the conspirators to keep it covered up. As a general rule the more people involved in the conspiracy the the harder it is to keep it quiet.
... it's particularly hard to keep it covered up when the conspirators are deliberately revealing little clues.

Highly intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters are able to spot these clues, and win the admiration of the less intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters by revealing the evidence in lengthy YouTubes and mis-spelled blog posts.

For example, did you know the conspirators reveal their Anti-Christ conspiracy by giving themselves names that add up to 666?

Vatican Hill = 666. Kissinger = 666. Witchcraft = 666. Billie Eilish = 666. Pizzagate = 666. Hail Mark of Q = 666. mr rupert murdoch of fox news is very naughty and is a smelly = 666. Q: halt Covid = 666
But isn't the True (I use the word loosely) Number of the Beast 616, according to the earliest reference?
If that was the case, why would the Vatican name their hill the "Vatican Hill"? They'd have named it something else to add up to 616. The fact that they chose to make it add up to 666 proves the number of the beast is 666.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Millennie Al » Tue Apr 28, 2020 12:32 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 7:50 am
A problem is that while the specific conspiracy theories commonly endorsed by crazy people on the Internet are obviously ridiculous, that events are often significantly shaped by what could be termed 'conspiracies' is well supported by history.
I think it's important to distinguish between actual conspiracy - when a group of people secretly and explicitly agree on something - and other circumstances which make people act together to achive something they want, but do so through external forces. If there is a conspiracy, there is always the possibility that it will be betrayed or that through some other means the agreement gets out. When circumstances show that an agreement was very unlikely, this undermines the case for a conspiracy but does not affect the possibility of external forces (for example if two filling stations on the same road charge the same for petrol, that may be due to a conspiracy or merely the fact that if one were cheaper it would get a big majority of the business forcing the other to reduce its prices). If you want to demonstrate that the actions of different people, taken togerther, have some effect due to the way the actions interact, it is unwise to claim a conspiracy as that makes the argument less credible to many if actual conspiracy is shown to be unlikely. It also determines the proper remedy when the behaviour is undesireable. If there is a conspiracy, the remedy might be to prevent the people conspiring, but if there isn't then that won't have any effect.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by bjn » Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:23 am

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:07 am
obama.jpg

I honestly find it hard to believe the above image is real, but I did an image search and couldn't find a version with different text on the sign. A common theme with the nutty conspiracy fringe is that they can't tell the difference between fairytale logic and reasoned argument. And they can't add up either, it seems.

Edt: This must be photoshopped right?
Edit2: Yes. It's fake. I found the original.
It's a really obvious photoshop, look at the fingers on her right hand, a really poor masking job. [/vfx professional]

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by tom p » Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:14 pm

bjn wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:23 am
secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:07 am
obama.jpg

I honestly find it hard to believe the above image is real, but I did an image search and couldn't find a version with different text on the sign. A common theme with the nutty conspiracy fringe is that they can't tell the difference between fairytale logic and reasoned argument. And they can't add up either, it seems.

Edt: This must be photoshopped right?
Edit2: Yes. It's fake. I found the original.
It's a really obvious photoshop, look at the fingers on her right hand, a really poor masking job. [/vfx professional]
And the artefacts (is that the right term?) around the black text. [/former enthusiastic amateur photoshopper]

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by secret squirrel » Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:29 pm

bjn wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:23 am
It's a really obvious photoshop, look at the fingers on her right hand, a really poor masking job. [/vfx professional]
I see that now. I'm just surprised that when I searched for the image the original didn't show up somewhere. Maybe the algorithm was heavily influenced by the shape of the text.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Little waster » Tue Apr 28, 2020 5:07 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:07 am
obama.jpg

I honestly find it hard to believe the above image is real, but I did an image search and couldn't find a version with different text on the sign. A common theme with the nutty conspiracy fringe is that they can't tell the difference between fairytale logic and reasoned argument. And they can't add up either, it seems.

Edt: This must be photoshopped right?
Edit2: Yes. It's fake. I found the original.
Oh well the smaller “Covid-19 is a lie” placard in the background though is genuine.

:shock:

I imagine that came as a shock to the hundreds of thousands of people it’s killed.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by bjn » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:42 pm

tom p wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:14 pm
bjn wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:23 am
secret squirrel wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:07 am
obama.jpg

I honestly find it hard to believe the above image is real, but I did an image search and couldn't find a version with different text on the sign. A common theme with the nutty conspiracy fringe is that they can't tell the difference between fairytale logic and reasoned argument. And they can't add up either, it seems.

Edt: This must be photoshopped right?
Edit2: Yes. It's fake. I found the original.
It's a really obvious photoshop, look at the fingers on her right hand, a really poor masking job. [/vfx professional]
And the artefacts (is that the right term?) around the black text. [/former enthusiastic amateur photoshopper]
The artefacts around the text are a side effect of JPG compression, which are discreet cosine transforms where they've thrown a bunch of frequencies away. Roughly, the higher the compression the more frequencies that have been chucked. Throw too many away and sharp edges can't be reconstructed, so you get crap like that. You can see them around the edge of the sign and buildings well. Really obvious on straight edges. Bane of my f.cking life for a while, "please can you pull a green screen from poorly lit, highly compressed, downsampled images please." No you f.cking can't.

I've zoomed circled the especially bad bits. You can see between the V of her right ring and middle fingers is badly wobbly, where they haven't painted a decent mask for the new image, especially the ring finger. You'll also notice an area of grey where they haven't completely painted out the original sign colours. On the left hand they've just amputated her pinky's finger tip. My 11 year old has done better.
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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by bjn » Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:48 pm

secret squirrel wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 1:29 pm
bjn wrote:
Tue Apr 28, 2020 9:23 am
It's a really obvious photoshop, look at the fingers on her right hand, a really poor masking job. [/vfx professional]
I see that now. I'm just surprised that when I searched for the image the original didn't show up somewhere. Maybe the algorithm was heavily influenced by the shape of the text.
Probably yeah, big change to a large area would do that sort of thing.

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Re: Responding to people who believe crazy stuff

Post by Martin_B » Wed Apr 29, 2020 2:08 am

lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:34 pm
Aitch wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 11:35 am
lpm wrote:
Mon Apr 27, 2020 9:13 am


... it's particularly hard to keep it covered up when the conspirators are deliberately revealing little clues.

Highly intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters are able to spot these clues, and win the admiration of the less intelligent anti-conspiracy fighters by revealing the evidence in lengthy YouTubes and mis-spelled blog posts.

For example, did you know the conspirators reveal their Anti-Christ conspiracy by giving themselves names that add up to 666?

Vatican Hill = 666. Kissinger = 666. Witchcraft = 666. Billie Eilish = 666. Pizzagate = 666. Hail Mark of Q = 666. mr rupert murdoch of fox news is very naughty and is a smelly = 666. Q: halt Covid = 666
But isn't the True (I use the word loosely) Number of the Beast 616, according to the earliest reference?
If that was the case, why would the Vatican name their hill the "Vatican Hill"? They'd have named it something else to add up to 616. The fact that they chose to make it add up to 666 proves the number of the beast is 666.
What do the letters of 'Mons Vaticanus' add up to? That would be what the hill was called, in the original Latin. (I wish I had the Latin; I could have been a judge)
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