Greetings friends!

I have a question for the members

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Greetings friends!

#1  Postby Alexinchains » Jan 22, 2014 11:41 pm

I read one topic thread from this site and I had to join. I feel at home. First, I wanted to ask: Who here has experience with convincing extreme conspiracy nuts, i.e., people who are convinced that UFOs visit earth, alternative medicine cures cancer, the US Moon landing was staged, and so on? I have patience issues with these people as you can imagine, but some of them are family and friends.
Cheers! :cheers:
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Re: Greetings friends!

#2  Postby Animavore » Jan 23, 2014 12:02 am

I've found that it is incredibly hard to convince people once they conspiratorial ideas into their head. That stuff is stubborn. As stubborn as religion in some, which makes me wonder are the two working off the same mindset (rigid adherence, impervious to fact, dead certainty, unshakable conviction, intolerant to opposing views, apophenia etc.).
I actually just gave up on them in the end. Prolly not what you want to hear.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#3  Postby THWOTH » Jan 23, 2014 12:04 am

:wave:

Hello Alexinchains, and welcome into the lifeboat ! This is our greeting for all new members and contains some useful stuff for you.

If you haven't seen it already, you may want to take a look at our New Members' Welcome Pack which will give you some helpful resources such as how to modify your membership display settings, how to navigate around the forum, point you to some threads which address commonly asked questions from newbies, and gives you some handy links to other sites which will help you develop your skepticism. It also contains our forum rules, which we ask that you abide by at all times.

If you're new to this type of phpBB software on forums, you might like to take a look at our Handy Hints for Posting On The Forum, which will show you how to change your text, insert images & youtube clips, and do some other cool stuff.

And finally, as a house warming present for you, here's a few laughs for your entertainment.

:beer:
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Re: Greetings friends!

#4  Postby Weaver » Jan 23, 2014 2:01 am

I've found it's nearly impossible to convince die-hard conspiracy theorists that their ideas are nonsense.

Just look at our 9/11 thread - over 7,000 posts and some of the original folks are still peddling the exact same nonsense.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#5  Postby DougC » Jan 23, 2014 2:12 am

Welcome. :cheers:
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Re: Greetings friends!

#6  Postby OlivierK » Jan 23, 2014 2:38 am

Animavore wrote:I've found that it is incredibly hard to convince people once they conspiratorial ideas into their head. That stuff is stubborn. As stubborn as religion in some, which makes me wonder are the two working off the same mindset (rigid adherence, impervious to fact, dead certainty, unshakable conviction, intolerant to opposing views, apophenia etc.).
I actually just gave up on them in the end. Prolly not what you want to hear.

Me too. My mother thinks the moon landing was faked. I think she's nuts, and she thinks I'm brainwashed by American lapdogs of the Zionist conspiracy. We both agree that there are lots of less inflammatory things for us to talk about, given our mutual reluctance to give ground on that issue. :dunno:

I live near old hippy communes, and we've got plenty of anti-vaccination and anti-water-fluoridation types. Only ever seen one of them change their mind, and that was a mother who "vaccinated" her son homoeopathically, and then watched him get whooping cough. Suddenly, she was more open to the idea that homoeopathic vaccination was bullshit. Go figure.

Sorry not to be more hopeful, but welcome anyway, Alex :cheers:
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Re: Greetings friends!

#7  Postby Fenrir » Jan 23, 2014 2:44 am

Hi there.

Very unlikely to reason someone out of a position arrived at without recourse to reason.

Good exercise at times though.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#8  Postby pelfdaddy » Jan 23, 2014 3:15 am

Alex,

My most productive encounters with these kinds of people begin with an acknowledgement on my part that they are normal people with an interesting point of view. They want to know that you take them seriously as people, that you are not merely dismissing them as foolish. They have strong feelings and powerful fears, but those feelings and fears, though ill-informed, are still valid and important.

I enjoy their stories very much, and I express deep interest as the stories and theories are expounded. I do this not in mockery or condescension, but because some of this stuff really is fun to talk about. Once I have heard them out, I can then explain, "Yes, I find that absolutely fascinating as well, and it is very tempting to share your point of view on this. There is something I have come to realize, however..." followed by a cautious citation (only a single point) of why I find better explanations are available for the perceived phenomenon.

Carefully and respectfully engaging with them creates thoughtful give and take. They will respond with, "But how do you explain...??" to which one can then say, "Wow, that's a tough one! Tell me more about that." The more you listen with gentleness, the more they will listen in return.

You will not turn them around in a single conversation, but you will accomplish something important. These people value evidence very highly; they are just not very good at evaluating evidence. By respectfully engaging with them, you can add another layer to the way they evaluate evidence without hurting them in the slightest.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#9  Postby james1v » Jan 23, 2014 8:36 am

Hi! :cheers:
"When humans yield up the privilege of thinking, the last shadow of liberty quits the horizon". Thomas Paine.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#10  Postby zulumoose » Jan 23, 2014 8:48 am

Often these people have a pet topic or two, yet find other similar ideas to be far fetched, or absolute nonsense.

I find it is useful to move onto those things, and use them to introduce the idea of confirmation bias. Often they have never heard of it, and regard the accumulation of positive evidence as the scientific thing to do, not even understanding the reasoning behind things like double-blind testing with controls.

Simple examples like power-band bracelets or astrology, which can be easily explained by the addiction to and spread of confirmation bias thinking, might wake them up to being more open to looking at their own motivations and thinking style.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#11  Postby The_Piper » Jan 23, 2014 8:50 am

Welcome! :cheers:
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Re: Greetings friends!

#12  Postby Agrippina » Jan 23, 2014 8:53 am

Hi Alexinchains, I would say probably as hard as it is to convince people that Genesis isn't real history, and that the flood didn't happen, and that homeopathic "medicines" are mostly water. People believe what they want to believe, even if science shows otherwise. They'll just counter with "but science is always changing its mind."
A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation. - Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BCE - 43 BCE)
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Re: Greetings friends!

#13  Postby Mike_L » Jan 23, 2014 9:02 am

Alexinchains wrote:I read one topic thread from this site and I had to join. I feel at home. First, I wanted to ask: Who here has experience with convincing extreme conspiracy nuts, i.e., people who are convinced that UFOs visit earth, alternative medicine cures cancer, the US Moon landing was staged, and so on? I have patience issues with these people as you can imagine, but some of them are family and friends.
Cheers! :cheers:




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Re: Greetings friends!

#14  Postby The_Piper » Jan 23, 2014 9:10 am

:stab:

:lol:
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Re: Greetings friends!

#15  Postby Ironclad » Jan 23, 2014 4:57 pm

Welcome aboard! :)
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Re: Greetings friends!

#16  Postby Alexinchains » Jan 23, 2014 7:26 pm

Thanks everyone for posting so quickly. It seems, with a couple of exceptions, most people think that there is no reasoning with these types. I try to be as calm as I can but whenever they tell me things like "I'm a critical thinker and this Youtube video is all the evidence you need", I lose it usually. As for Pelfdaddy's comment, I would like to invite you to read the Facebook posts of one particular conspiracy nut that I met. It's not that I can't handle presenting him with reason and logic, that's easy, the hard part is not telling him he is more crazy than Gary Busey. If you feel you could have one or two calm and constructive conversations with him after reading his posts, then please offer me some pointers. Cheers!
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Re: Greetings friends!

#17  Postby The_Metatron » Jan 23, 2014 9:18 pm

Alexinchains wrote:I read one topic thread from this site and I had to join. I feel at home. First, I wanted to ask: Who here has experience with convincing extreme conspiracy nuts, i.e., people who are convinced that UFOs visit earth, alternative medicine cures cancer, the US Moon landing was staged, and so on? I have patience issues with these people as you can imagine, but some of them are family and friends.
Cheers! :cheers:

Convincing one? Never heard of it.

I dismiss the conversation and make it plain to the conspiracy nut that I will not entertain a discussion on their woo du jour. You see, they always always always have the advantage. They get to lie. They try and force others to prove negatives. May as well enjoy a Monty Python skit on the argument clinic.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#18  Postby hackenslash » Jan 23, 2014 11:48 pm

I go all old testament on their asses. :mrgreen:

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Re: Greetings friends!

#19  Postby Steve » Jan 24, 2014 3:30 am

As peldaddy has said, take them seriously as people. I find it helpful to think of the issue as a problem that needs to be solved and that instead of attacking the person I listen enough so I can express my opinion lightly (which is waaay different) and then see if they can join with me in figuring out how we can sort out what is most likely the truth. The object is to get them and you on the same side attacking the problem instead of them against you.

It may be that they actually think you are a total jerk, and whatever you say they will take the opposite point of view. So you need to call them on that by making THAT the problem. How come they cannot abide a single opinion that comes out of your mouth?

Again, the point is to respect their feelings and care about them as people first, then find out just what the hell they are so upset about, and explore it with them.

And if they just want to hate on you, there is probably not much you can do. I would not be the brick wall for them. I would probably just do sundry kind things for them so they really have to struggle with that hate thing.
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Re: Greetings friends!

#20  Postby Macdoc » Jan 24, 2014 5:55 am

Welcome...

really to avoid going postal on the human race you have to triage the total loonies which are hopeless from the possibly salvageable with constant focus on evidence.

If you read some of Cali's posts in the Evolution threads ( or elsewhere ) you'll understand and be educated by them as I am.

There is point at which tho, if people deny physics and evidence, you can go no further and you can only try and protect others from the loonie ideas....effectively negating the meme for the casual observer even if you know you aren't going to get through to the orginator.
Sort of a public service :D
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