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Old 10-22-2009, 09:56 AM
Out of the Box Out of the Box is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 518
Default Re: The Great "HIV" Hoax

Originally Posted by EireEngineer View Post
That is a prime example of a strawman. I have never asserted the "all" members of the conspiracy movement are kooks, any more that all skeptics are purely rational.
You said :

Originally Posted by EireEngineer
As for your assertion that I will swallow anything thats mainstream, that is a strawman of epic proportions, especially since it seems that many in the "Woo" crowd will swallow anything they see on the internet. The burden of proof for what I will believe is fairly simple, and to a certain point follows closely the scientific method, albeit in somewhat abbreviated form.
1. The idea must be testable and capable of falsification.
2. The idea must conform with what we know about workings of the universe, or be specific in how it modifys our knowledge.
3. The idea must be capable of independant verification.

Until the "Woo" crowd starts observing these principles there will always be skeptics around to challenge them.
I'm not sure how you define "the Woo crowd", but thusfar your context seems to imply it is a reference to "conspiracy theorists". If this is not a reference to "conspiracy theorists" please explain who you consider to be part of the "Woo crowd" or use a more common term. It is a term I've never heard or read before.

Anyway, you did explicitly say that the "Woo crowd" does not observe the principles supposebly held dear to you, while you (implicitly) suggest that so-called "sceptics" do observe those principles considering you didn't care to mention them and you singled out the "Woo crowd".

Originally Posted by EireEngineer View Post
However, many of the arguments that the conspiracy/alt medicine/flat earth crowd are tendentious, working backward from a pre-concieved conclusion.
First of all, there's no reason to mention "conspiracy", "alternative medicine" and "flat earth" theory in one breath as these are completely different areas. Also, the first two areas both vary from plausible to outer fringe making it quite absurd as well to put all these people and theories in one category. I already explained this in a previous comment and find it quite offensive to be put in the same category as "flat earthers", "David Icke fanatics" or "Creationists" just because I reject the mainstream account in certain areas (eg. certain specific historical events).

Further, I've seen so-called "sceptics" behave in exactly the same way. Many of them also start with a pre-concieved conclusion and work backwards towards their arguments. Similarly, I've encountered so-called "conspiracy theorists" who do base their conclusions on the evidence rather than vice versa. You like to pretend that having pre-conceived conclusions is typical for "conspiracy theorists" but I've seen it on both sides at varying degree and in some fields of expertise I've seen it even far more among the so-called "sceptics".

Originally Posted by EireEngineer View Post
What is more, many of them are backed by untestable hypotheses
Many are. Many others are not.

Originally Posted by EireEngineer View Post
when evidence to the contrary is posited they resort to special pleading to counter it.
You'll find the same behavior among so-called "sceptics" as I explained earlier. Such pathetic behavior is NOT exclusive to so-called "conspiracy theorists" and at least as common among those dedicated to "debunking conspiracy theorists". In fact, I've encountered dozens of self-proclaimed sceptics who are no less narrowminded and gullible as your average "David Icke fanatic".

Originally Posted by EireEngineer View Post
There are many threads on this site that avoid this kind of logical fallacy, and I have for the most part let them alone. For those that do, however, there will always be someone to point out the mistakes. Its called the marketplace of ideas, and dissent only leads to an improvement of the concept.
I couldn't agree more. However, by only criticising so-called "conspiracy theorists" and pretending this behavioral flaw does not exist among so-called "sceptics" you're portraying a black-and-white view of reality and you're offending those "conspiracy theorists" who do not fit those criteria.

Last edited by Out of the Box : 10-22-2009 at 10:05 AM.
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