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It's a Conspiracy!

posted Monday Aug 21, 2017 07:06 AM

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Bo Bennett, PhD


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The interesting thing about conspiracy theories is that some of them are actually true. This gives all conspiracy theories a hint of legitimacy in that no matter how ridiculous a theory might sound; there is a chance that it could be true. But as I have said before, reason is not about possibility; it is about probability. It is not about the outcome; it is about the process. One can be right for all the wrong reasons, but it is far more important in the long run to be wrong for all the right reasons. With this in mind, let's look deeper at the fallacy known as "Conspiracy Theory."

When I think of the conspiracy theory, I think of another fallacy called the Galileo Fallacy. This is the claim that because an idea is forbidden, prosecuted, detested, or otherwise mocked, it must be true, or should be given more credibility. It comes from the idea that Galileo was mocked and he turned out to be right. Therefore, all crazy-ass claims should be taken seriously. Of course, when we think statistically and not emotionally, we know that for every Galileo there are perhaps hundreds of thousands of Alex Jones'. So when we hear someone going off about how lizard people are running the world, we can safely play the odds and reasonably dismiss the claim offhand, assuming no new empirical evidence is presented. This last part is very important, and I will explain why.

As a scientist, I am intimately familiar with the scientific process and I trust in the process to help us arrive at the most probable conclusions. As an academic, I trust in the peer-review process and its ability to separate legitimate work from the work of those who are incapable of synthesizing data to come to reasonable conclusions. Scientific and academic consensus, although not perfect, is extremely reliable. Like Galileo, it is certainly possible that some non-scientist and non-academic with a fringe idea can be right. But you need to explain why your fringe idea is right, why the majority of experts are wrong, and what information you have that they don't. While it is reasonable to dismiss fringe ideas without a thorough investigation of such ideas (there are literally millions of them and would take several lifetimes), we should always be open to reconsidering our positions based on new evidence. Evidence. Not philosophical musings (e.g., "If there is no God, who created the universe?"). Not stupid questions that come from a position of ignorance (e.g., "If we evolved from monkeys, why is there still monkeys?"). And certainly not opinions coming from a highly emotional position of distrust or hatred of authority (e.g., "Vaccines are dangerous and are only used to make big corporations rich"). Evidence.

Convince the majority of the experts, not me.

One of the biggest mistakes in reason people make is in assuming that they are more qualified to come to a conclusion in a highly specialized area than experts in that area. Or, they are so emotionally interested in an outcome that all they need is one "expert" to confirm their conclusion, even if 97% of other experts disagree with the conclusion. For example, Billy-Bob, with a high-school education was convinced by information on "ClimateChangeIsAConspiracy.ru" that climate change is a hoax, yet for some odd reason, the thousands of climatologists around the world are not convinced. If you have "evidence" that only a few thousand Jews died in the Holocaust instead of the well-accepted figure of 6 million, convince the historians that you're right and that they are wrong. If you think the atomic bomb is a hoax, share your evidence with experts in relevant academic and scientific fields, not strangers on the Internet whose pastimes include searching for Bigfoot. If you do have evidence that drastically changes what we know about history or science, you have a Nobel Prize waiting for you. Present your evidence to experts who are qualified to evaluate it, not to people who just blogged about seeing Elvis eating meatloaf at the local Cracker Barrel.

Life is short and my time is valuable. I will continue to accept the scientific and scholarly consensus' as well as withhold belief in gods, ghosts, spirits, psychic powers, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, 9/11 conspiracy, alien abductions, the idea of the moon landings being faked, and the countless other stories and conspiracies that permeate our culture. I readily admit that I can be wrong about one or even all of the above, but I can sleep well knowing that if I am wrong, it is because I am wrong for all the right reasons.


Podcast Episode: It's a Conspiracy!


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David Harbour
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 07:17:49 PM
My biggest challenge in attempting to discuss any conspiracy has always been circular reasoning. When I ask for evidence, the response is, it's being suppressed! Maddening to say the least.

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David Blomstrom
Monday, October 09, 2017 - 07:33:58 PM
Ironically, they're right. Think about the extraordinary lengths the government went to in suppressing the 9/11 evidence. Plane wreckage was hidden away, tapes were erased, etc., etc. Another irony is that the lack of evidence can be evidence itself.

When millions of citizens question the mainstream account, many calling you a liar and even claiming the government itself was behind 9/11, wouldn't it seem prudent to cough up the evidence and allow it to be examined?

Of course, the government claims that doing so would "aid terrorists," kind of a stupid claim after the fact.

But keep in mind that solid evidence, though obviously nice to have, isn't always essential. Circumstantial evidence and logic can get people convicted in courts of law. ;)

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Baron
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 11:44:04 AM
"If you have "evidence" that only a few thousand Jews died in the Holocaust instead of the well-accepted figure of 6 million, convince the historians”
Your not allowed to if you live in many countries because it’s against the law. Now why do think a truth needs a law to protect it.
"If you think the atomic bomb is a hoax, share your evidence with experts in relevant academic and scientific fields,”
This has been done but the bias from academia is always the status quo (your closed mind seems to validate this lol).
I’m beginning to feel that this site is purely there to reinforce the accepted “truths” without actually bringing logic or proof to the party.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 11:54:34 AM
Well, Baron, here in the USA you can bring any evidence you have against the Holocaust. Let's work together. I can submit your proof through academic channels and I will share the Nobel Prize with you.

As for laws against free speech, they have always existed. It is absurdly fallacious to assume that because such laws are in place, that any speech violating such laws must be true.

Ahh, the old "academia bias." Thousands of academics from all over the world really know the "truth" but are conspiring to keep this a secret. Again, one academic providing any credible evidence of such claims could change what we know and win a Nobel. Scientists don't want to remain "the status quo"; we want to discover something new or something that causes a paradigm shift and brings us fame and fortune. Again, you have evidence that the Atom bomb is a hoax, I can connect you to some colleagues at MIT.

You, Baron, hold the burden of proof, not me. If you think the world is run by Lizard people (if, not that you do) then you need to provide the convincing evidence that this is the case—I don't have to prove that there aren't lizard people.

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Baron
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 04:01:01 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD:
Nope you need to provide the proof that atomic bombs work. You obviously believe that sarcasm and ridicule work. You seem to be a classic case of the close minded education system that rewards people that do not rock the boat. You now bring in the Icke Lizard people stick as part of your ridicule not realising that you have contradicted yourself.
I love your unwitting demonstration of your closed mindedness:- "Thousands of academics from all over the world really know the “truth" but are conspiring to keep this a secret.”. History time and again has shown that those ‘in charge’ will hang onto their cherished ideas that have brought them fame and recognition by dismissing any new or
dangerous (to their status) idea. As you like to play the ridicule card I can’t help returning the compliment. When I used to interview people for jobs I noticed the ones that continually placed BSc or PhD after their names were lacking originality or ‘thinking outside the box’. They also seemed to need their badge as a constant security blanket. I have to admit a few of them were fine but very few. They were products of a closed education system that never teaches people to think.
I actually joined this site because I thought ‘off the wall’ ideas could be genuinely discussed. Obviously I was mistaken.
ps. Your not sponsored by the Tavistock Institute are you?

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 04:06:55 PM
@Baron: The reason I brought up the lizard people, is so you can can recognize your own fallacious thinking. You are asking me to prove that atomic bombs work. If I said lizard people are ruling the world and you need to prove that they are not, would you see a problem with that? Please look up burden of proof. You can be right about all your claims... I am simply saying that with extraordinary claims you need extraordinary evidence. Until you provide such evidence, don't expect others to accept your claims.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 04:19:19 PM
@Baron: And I am sorry that I upset you. That was not my intent.

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Baron
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 02:54:56 AM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: You didn’t upset me. I just felt upset for you. Obviously it’s a waste of time trying to put forward ideas when the net result seems to be games of cleverness and point scoring. I shall leave you to your World where everything ‘authority’ tells you is true. The scientific world cannot be questioned as the majority of ‘scientists’ have given their ‘correct' answers. History cannot be questioned because so many historians have agreed to the official story. Political correctness has decided who is right and cannot be questioned. A Galileo of today would be given his marching orders and ridiculed by you and your coterie of self-satified peers.
When you ask people to prove something you asking them to supply all the evidence available of which there are mountains (on both sides). A pointless waste of effort as neither side will want or be convinced. I actually thought that thinking about a question would be a better way logically looking at things in depth but I see your logics are limited. You presumably see ambulances at the scene of an accident as causing the accident and that fire engines at a fire must also have been the cause of the fire. Oh well never mind. You obviously gather around you like minded people who give you validation so I’m sure you take comfort in that. Cheers.
ps. Calling someone a Conspiracy theorist is a badge of honour because so many conspiracies turn out to be true.

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David Blomstrom
Monday, October 09, 2017 - 07:29:34 PM
Good point about the Holocaust. It also gets back to what I posted earlier about "experts."

Who are the historians - at least, the ones who are publicized in the media? The media are largely controlled by Jews. That isn't a conspiracy theory or a racist statement; it's a simple fact.

And why do some countries have laws making it illegal to question the mainstream Holocaust account? Those laws may not exist in the U.S., but try questioning the Holocaust and find out what happens. The repression is real.

How many Jews died in the Holocaust I don't know. I think a more important question is WHY they died. So little has been written about that.

We're told that the Jews were innocent scapegoats. I think that's a lie. The Jews certainly weren't sitting on the sidelines next door in the Soviet Union.

Don't misinterpret what I'm saying. I'm not saying Hitler's "final solution" was the right thing to do, nor am I saying all Jews were guilty of one thing or another. But WWII is really interesting when you compare the images of the Jews (innocent sheep), the Nazis (the most evil race that ever lived) and the Allies (knights in shining armor - just don't tell the Indians on reservations or the black soldiers who weren't allowed to vote when they returned home).

The Russians are a question mark. Stalin was just as bloody as Hitler, yet he isn't reviled nearly as much. Some of his biggest executioners were Jews, but we never hear about that.

In summary, I sympathize with people who call the Holocaust a "Holohoax." I believe the Nazis did persecute the Jews, but I don't think the mainstream historical accounts are trustworthy.

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David Blomstrom
Monday, October 09, 2017 - 07:19:16 PM
Good post. However, the word "experts" is a red flag for me.

Who are the experts, and who decides who decides they're qualified to be experts?

For example, the media like to claim there's a "scientific consensus" that genetically modified food is harmless. But is this true, or did they cherry-pick their audience?

As a former wildlife biologist in Alaska, I've met plenty of "scientists" working for the oil industry. As a former teacher in corporate Seattle, I've been up to my eyeballs in corruption and conspiracy. And I can't comprehend how anyone with a basic knowledge of 1) science, 2) government or 3) corporatism could give GMO a thumbs up.

On another note, I don't think conspiracy theory should necessarily be held to the same standards as scientific theory. Which isn't to say that conspiracy theory can ignore the laws of science. Rather, I think some conspiracy theory might be more comparable to criminal investigation.

If we want to call Bigfoot/Sasquatch a "conspiracy theory," then it can probably be analyzed scientifically. Many species of humans, humanoids or whatever you want to call them have evolved, and they've left plenty of fossils in the Old World. Nor is it hard to believe that species other than our own could have crossed the Bering Land Bridge - unless they were wiped out at an earlier date.

But no Sasquatch fossils have ever been found in North America, and how could such an animal survive in our ever shrinking wilderness?

Thus, science can adequately debunk Bigfoot.

But consider 9/11, the war against terrorism or Bill Gates' vaccines. We can't ignore scientific principles, but we now have to function as criminal investigators, looking for motives, means and beneficiaries. Another think to examine is track records.

Does the government have a record of lying? What about the media? I could write an encyclopedia about the crimes of the Seattle School Board alone, and there are ZERO media in Seattle that have any credibility whatsoever.

Whether or not Bill Gates' vaccines are part of some similar plot to depopulate the world I don't know, but I wouldn't automatically discount the possibility. I do know that Bill Gates isn't a genuine philanthropist or humanitarian. He didn't acquire $80 billion by accident.

Suffice it to say that I'm deeply suspicious of Gates' vaccines. Even if they're "good," there's still that profit motive to watch out for. It's simply ludicrous to give one man that much power over people's health, especially when that man had such a hard time designing quality software.

For me, the term "conspiracy theory" means just what it says. It's a theory that aims to explain an action or incident that someone suspects is evidence of a government conspiracy. Rather than ridicule all conspiracy theory, I judge each theory on its own merits.

One of the problems is that ridiculing conspiracy theory is itself a form of mind control. It sends out the message that anyone who believes in a particular conspiracy theory must be a kook.

I have no problem ridiculing obviously flawed conspiracy theories. One of my favorites is the theory that the U.S. government uses its HAARP facility to cause earthquakes around the world. That defies science and logic both on every level.

But I don't believe for one minute that the government and media have told us the truth about 9/11. And it isn't necessary to to back up my beliefs with a mountain of evidence when the government is hiding its alleged evidence.

It isn't hard to figure out who had the means to pull off 9/11, who had a track record of similar stunts and who profited from it. Moreover, the official account is riddled with too many red flags, like the commander-in-chief hiding in an elementary school classroom in Florida before fleeing to Nebraska. And I don't think we've ever been told where the vice president was hiding that day.

Again, that's an example of logic and common sense filling in the blanks when the government withholds the evidence.

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Jordan Pine
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 02:19:52 PM
I agree with this. However, the one issue you mention as an example always gives me pause: anthropogenic global
warming. Because the issue is so politicized and so agenda-driven (causing many to consider it scientism instead of
science), I often find advocates using ad numeram, ad populum and ad verecundiam arguments. Indeed, my understanding is that the latter fallacy is behind the popular
claim that 97% of scientists agree GW is man-made. That is, they included the opinions of many scientists who aren't actually in a position to know because they don't study man's impact on climate.

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Jordan Pine
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 04:33:20 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I'm sorry. Let me clarify my position/questions. I do not think scientists are lying. I have no doubt they believe in the dominant paradigm/orthodoxy. My point is that science does not endorse. It tests and proves. But that is off the topic of this school. Please allow me to redirect ...

1. Is the 97% claim an argumentum ad numeram, in your opinion?
2. What about an argumentum ad verecundiam (assuming most of the climatologists study things other than man's impact on climate)?
3. Given the politicization of this science (e.g. it's leading advocate is a politician, the body issuing reports is governmental), do you see a high/low/no degree of cognitive bias at play?

Thank you, professor!

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 04:51:28 PM
@Jordan Pine:
1) Scientific consensus is not argumentum ad numeram just like listening to your doctor about a brain tumor you have is not an appeal to authority. Relying on legitimate authority and expertise are the cornerstone of rational decision-making—we can't all be experts in everything.
2) "Man's impact on climate" is not a field in itself, but it is well within climate science. If you do a little digging, you can see how climatologists can overwhelmingly conclude that there is a human factor in climate change. I won't pretend to be an expert on these methods so I do suggest a little Googling.
3) I do think that there is bias involved on any politicized issue (including climate change). The real question is, how much can bias affect the body of academic data? The answer is, not much. Again, please see my links in my previous post. I explain why bias is not a major problem here in detail.

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Jordan Pine
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 11:52:06 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I respectfully disagree as follows ...

In your description of the ad numeram fallacy, you wrote that it is not logical to use "the popularity of a premise or proposition as evidence for its truthfulness ... especially in a society where clever marketing, social and political weight, and money can buy popularity." In this case, we have all of these elements at play. There is clever marketing by advocacy groups, significant social and political weight being brought to bear and, of course, billions in funding at stake.

You may argue that expert consensus is different than popular opinion. I accept there is a difference and that authority matters. However, it is also valid to point out that experts are often regularly and spectacularly wrong. Indeed, the history of both science and medicine is practically defined by this statement. A layman can't know better than an expert whether that will end up being the case (sorry conspiracy nuts), but he can reject the idea that he must suspend reason and defer to unarticulated arguments just because he is a layman.

This leads me back to the ad verecundiam fallacy. It is often translated as "appeal to authority" or to "false authority." I have already shared why I think that connotative meaning applies here (more on this in a moment). However, I learned the phrase more literally means "argument to shame." I think that's apt since the maneuver attempts to shame the layman into deference despite the fact the one invoking authority has failed to make a compelling case.

Finally, I have read (and yes Googled) extensively about the topic of climate change. I've read scientists on both sides of the debate and delved into IPCC reports and other scientific documents. Indeed, I only raised the point about the lack of scientists who actually study man's impact on climate because of what I've read. It was a climatologist who sent me down that path.

In 2007, NASA climate scientist Roy Spencer wrote: "Contrary to popular accounts, very few scientists in the world – possibly none – have a sufficiently thorough, 'big picture' understanding of the climate system to be relied upon for a prediction of the magnitude of global warming. To the public, we all might seem like experts, but the vast majority of us work on only a small portion of the problem."

This seemed obvious and logical the second I read it. Take a scientist studying arctic sea ice. Does it follow that because he is an expert on ice flows that he is also an expert on atmospheric CO2 and it's impact on global temperature? Or to use your oncologist example, would you accept your cardiologist's opinion of a cancer diagnosis? Of course not. Yet on the matter of AGW, the ice expert is counted as part of the 97% because, when surveyed, he shared the consensus view about something beyond his expertise. He is a false authority on the matter.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 05:55:14 AM
@Jordan Pine: Hi Jordan,

There is clever marketing by advocacy groups, significant social and political weight being brought to bear and, of course, billions in funding at stake.

This goes for both side of the issue. But science and facts win out in the same way evolution does despite the passionate opposition. In terms of the fallacy, these are neither necessary nor sufficient conditions, just often found as moderating factors. So we cannot say because clever marketing is used then it is a fallacy.

However, it is also valid to point out that experts are often regularly and spectacularly wrong.

Be careful of the Galileo fallacy here. Yes, 97% of the experts in this field can be wrong, as well as virtually every scientific society on the planet. The question is, what information do you have that they don't?

and defer to unarticulated arguments

But that's the thing... they are not unarticulated arguments... they are extremely well articulated and supported by data. These aren't arguments by gibberish. The problem is, the layman doesn't understand the science, so when political bias in involved, will reject the 97% scientific consensus and listen to their politicians instead.

I think that's apt since the maneuver attempts to shame the layman into deference despite the fact the one invoking authority has failed to make a compelling case.

There is failing to make a compelling case, and those who fail to understand it. Be respectful of the difference. Think explaining evolution to a homeschooled creationist in the Bible belt.

Indeed, I only raised the point about the lack of scientists who actually study man's impact on climate because of what I've read.

This might help: https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/climate-change-evidence-causes/question-2/

In 2007, NASA climate scientist Roy Spencer

Why do you trust this climate scientist? You can't have it both ways. If you dismiss the scientific position on this, be consistent. I am sure you realize that the vast majority (probably 97%) of his colleagues strongly disagree with his position.

Your bottom line argument seems to be that climatologists are not authorities on the question of the human contribution to climate change. Let's ignore data to the contrary for now. Who are the experts on this question then? Is this not a scientific question? Who are you listening to on this issue?

I can honestly say that politically, I am now about as centrist as can get, if not indifferent. I have to be as a scientist, since as you aptly point out, biases (especially political) can alter your reasoning process. I don't know your political views and you don't need to share them. But ask yourself how much your politics might be involved in your rejection of this overwhelming scientific consensus. Let me leave you with one more article I wrote because you mentioned that when science doesn't make sense to a layman, they can rely on their own "reason" to reject the conclusion. I addressed that here.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 06:05:06 AM
I just wanted to stress that you read my article: https://www.thedrboshow.com/tools/bg/Bo/TheDrBoShow/ksGEmE99/The-Problem-with-Relying-on-Your-Own-Common-Sense-and-Ignoring-Scientific-Consensus . It addresses so much of your concerns in great detail.

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Jordan Pine
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 01:09:26 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Let me know when this stops being interesting. Perhaps we are already there? :-) I thank you again for engaging with me on this matter.

I know my biases well and consider them often. I am not a centrist. When it comes to any polarizing issue I care about, I have picked a side and will passionately defend it. This will create blind spots. But I try to be intellectually honest and and make rational arguments as much as possible.

My biggest bias is that I abhor orthodoxy and the preaching that accompanies it. That is why I have such a problem with a matter that should not be of much concern to me. My bias is always toward the rebels and skeptics when the dominant paradigm is so aggressive and intolerant while refusing to admit its logical fallacies and cognitive biases. It may sound weird to describe a scientific matter in this way, which is exactly my point.

AGW is not like regular science, and those who act like it is are being disingenuous. To cite a relevant example, notice that you first referred me to an *advocacy site* to support the 97% claim. It's worth asking: Do other sciences have such advocacy sites? Of course, climate science is different because it has been politicized. Which came first, though, the chicken or the egg? If you review the history, there's a strong case that the politics preceded the field. Advocacy groups made AGW their lead issue after the ozone layer issue wound down, and a new field bloomed. This is a larger problem with the environmental sciences. Pretending they are like traditional sciences, and that people who question their motives and biases are science deniers, is to fall prey to the design of those with an agenda. (I make no claim as to whether that agenda is right or wrong.)

Does that mean my view and those who support it are not equally contaminated? Of course not. What I like about your approach is that it sidesteps the contentious core and focuses on identifying the logical flaws in the arguments employed. That's why I am surprised our conversation devolved into a duel of competing fallacies. I use an interesting quote by Spencer to support a diagnosis of the ad verecundam fallacy, you counter with the Galileo fallacy. But why? I am not arguing that Spencer's science proves or disproves AGW. I am not suggesting he is Galileo. I am merely building on the logic of his quote to argue non-specializing scientists won't be relevant authorities on the question of whether man-made CO2 is causing global warming, leading to the "false authority" variation of the ad verecundum fallacy. And that, further, those who use stats about majorities of scientists to try to end this debate commit the "shaming" sense of the same fallacy. Do you agree with that diagnosis or not?

You also claim that the arguments for AGW are well-articulated and that the problem is people like me just don't understand the science (appeal to ignorance). You compare layman to homeschooled Bible-belt creationists trying to understand evolutionary biology (abusive analogy). OK, I'll stop! Sorry. Let me address your point: I understand the science well enough to ask intelligent questions. I observe how people on the other side answer those questions, and they often do it with logical fallacies in lieu of articulated arguments. I return to the 97% claim -- which was crafted and promoted for marketing purposes, incidentally -- as my primary example. When skeptics like me raise valid questions about what the AGW orthodox have claimed, that is the reply we most often get. Not a well-articulated answer, and sometimes not an answer at all, but an appeal to majority agreement. Maybe that's not technically an ad numeram (although I confess your reasoning for why still escapes me). But then we need a new fallacy name. How about "appeal to consensus"? Or "appeal to expert consensus"?

Last point: I don't deny that following the expert consensus is a useful heuristic for thinking about matters in which one is not an expert. I agree that it is. I merely reject it as a rebuttal in a logical argument because it is a non-response that petitions for the suspension of reason. Do you agree?

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Jordan Pine
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 01:22:51 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: Great article. I agree with it. However, I think the AGW case is different for the reasons I have articulated. More broadly, I also wonder where you draw the line as a layman? There must be a line where your own knowledge and reason rise to a level where you don't need to be an expert with a degree to be able to have valid opinions about a topic. Surely you are not arguing would should blindly follow expert consensuses wherever they may lead? Also: Isn't the harm standard a two-way street? Doesn't it also apply when activitsts and governments use the weight of expert consensus to force people to adhere to practices, incur costs or be deprived of things that could improve or even prolong their lives? Sorry, but I have a lot of questions!

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 06:58:44 AM
@Jordan Pine: We are getting off fallacies and moving into what constitutes science denialism. You probably consider yourself a good skeptic, and thus skeptical about the claims of AGW. I will leave you with one final suggestion (plea perhaps?) and address just one thing you said in your last comment. First, read a very short post on AGW from the ultimate skeptic: Steven Novella from the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe. He digs into more of your concerns that extend beyond fallacies. If you do have issues with what he wrote, please comment there not here :)

It's worth asking: Do other sciences have such advocacy sites?

YES!!! You can easily find advocacy sites on evolution, vaccine safety, GMO safety, and virtually every other scientific consensus that has been hijacked by misinformation campaigns with a strong political or religious agenda.

My final words on this... AGW is not some big conspiracy (or Hoax by the Chinese); what we are seeing is the typical resistance reaction when science discovers and uncomfortable truth that the world does not want to accept (think debunking geocentrism, evolution, Big Bang, etc.). I have done my best to convince you that it is rational to accept the 97% scientific consensus, and perhaps at least one thing I said might someday lead to you coming to a different conclusion on this matter. Or maybe not :) Either way, thank you for the respectful conversation.

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Jordan Pine
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 02:11:26 PM
@Bo Bennett, PhD: I'm a little disappointed that we couldn't engage on the fallacies I articulated. I suspect you fear lending credence to my analysis would be supporting "science denialism," as you call it.

It's ironic that we ended up making the same argument, just from opposing viewpoints. Your statement that matters of science have been "hijacked by misinformation campaigns with a strong political agenda" is pretty much my point in a nutshell. I just happen to think the most potent misinformation comes from the side with an environmental agenda.

In any case, I certainly respect your right not to enage on matters that offend you, and I apologize that this has somehow became a debate about a hot-button issue that is beyond the scope of this Website.

I thank you again for your indulgence -- and for this Website, which is improving my understanding.

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Bo Bennett, PhD
Wednesday, August 23, 2017 - 03:00:00 PM
@Jordan Pine:
I'm a little disappointed that we couldn't engage on the fallacies I articulated.

I must have missed them if I did not address them. After all, this site is about fallacies. Please do this: Post the fallacies as a new question on the main forum and I will address them individually there.

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mike
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 03:05:07 PM
Re climate change, when 97% of climate scientists agree, its game over, is there really a point debating?

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Jordan Pine
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 07:12:39 PM
That depends. Is it your perception that agreement is a big part of science? That once a certain threshhold of agreement is reached, a scientific paradigm is no longer questioned or tested?

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mike
Tuesday, August 22, 2017 - 07:18:57 PM
@Jordan Pine:

Anything can be questioned, part of science is doing just that. I doubt they will ever stop examining the environment.

At what point does the evidence become overwhelming, 97 % seems to be pretty overwhelming.

Can they be wrong? Yes, I just wouldn't bet on it.

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mike
Monday, August 21, 2017 - 12:01:27 PM
Conspiracy theorists don't argue fair, rules don't apply to them. It's a bit like arguing with a 4 year old. It's a waste of time arguing with them in my opinion, most won't give in even if you've convinced them just to save face.

Just remember Bill and Monica couldn't keep a conspiracy of 2 from coming out, what are the odds something like 9/11, which would involve literally thousands of people, could possibly be covered up.

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