Excellent article about how to argue online

Jopsy Pendragon

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Left on its own, the movement would probably peter out... but someone/something somewhere must have a vested interest and the means with which to keep it rolling.

Probably Russian bots instigating just enough of the anti-vax nonsense to keep the sheep stampeding in that direction.

Psychological warfare.
 

Clara D.

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I think that's true of this particular example, but I was more trying to talk about subjectivity in general. I've encountered quite a few people who think their taste in music is on firm ground as well...



I think it's worse than that. I don't think the profit motive adequately explains the anti vaccine movement for example. Big insurance companies, hospitals and healthcare workers are putting a lot more resources into trying to fight the antivaxx nonsense than the other way around.

A lot of really nonsensical conspiracy theories also aren't clearly being driven by someone profiting off of them. Sure, maybe someone sold a few books, but a lot of nonsense goes way beyond who's actually profiting off of it. I don't think corporate America wants 911 truthers around either.

There is something fundamentally broken in human psychology that causes them to believe outrageous things. Sometimes someone finds a way to profit from it, but I think the cult like ideas don't need malicious actors to spread.

I don't know why people do this, I only have speculation, but I think blaming it all on profiteering is a comforting simplification. Sometimes, people are just crazy. I think the nonsense often comes first, and sometimes people find a way to profit off of it.
Anti-vaxxer movement is fed by foreign trolls.

Some foreign powers would like to have us more susceptible to biological warfare.
 
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Lianne Marten

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"Vaccines should be mandatory" doesn't need to be proven because it's an opinion. Specifically an opinion based on the idea that vaccines work and any (rare) side effects they have are still better than contracting the diseases they prevent.

Even if vaccines caused autism (they don't), being autistic isn't a death sentence. Many diseases are.


I mean fuck, some anti-vaxxers are starting to go as far as avoiding vaccines for their pets. Hey wanna know one of the most horrific ways to die? Rabies. These people are horrible and should be in jail for animal abuse.
 

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Left on its own, the movement would probably peter out...
I could drop here all the conspiracy theories this rule should work on, but doesn't. Because that's not how people operate. There certainly could be an unknown agent stoking the flames, but there doesn't *need* to be.
 

Jopsy Pendragon

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I could drop here all the conspiracy theories this rule should work on, but doesn't. Because that's not how people operate. There certainly could be an unknown agent stoking the flames, but there doesn't *need* to be.
Like any conspiracy theory, there's always going to be enough kooks to keep it rolling along... but the numbers of people engaged by it typically remains a nearly negligible minority. It's the wide-spread main-stream-ness of anti-vaxxers is what makes me think that it -must- be getting outside help.
 
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Katheryne Helendale

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I could drop here all the conspiracy theories this rule should work on, but doesn't. Because that's not how people operate. There certainly could be an unknown agent stoking the flames, but there doesn't *need* to be.
Chemtrails is a wildly popular one around here.
 

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Something kind of related to this that I've been thinking about. Consider these two propositions:

1) Vaccines mostly work for the diseases they are meant to prevent, and don't cause autism.

2) Vaccinations should be mandatory.

The first statement is objective and provable. The second statement is subjective and not provable. It's important to know the difference! I occasionally see someone trying to claim their opinions on objective issues are valid. But I think it's at least as common for someone to mistakenly believe they "proved" something about something that's actually subjective.
I would add a couple of propositions to link the two, myself. That is,

i) Vaccination is not just a means of protecting the vaccinated individual. It is a public health measure, and the state clearly has a legitimate interest in controlling and preventing the spread of dangerous diseases;

ii) In order effectively to control, if not fully eradicate, a particular disease, a sufficiently large percentage of the population needs to be vaccinated in order to build up "herd immunity";

iii) The number of people refusing, because they've been mislead by lies spread by either knaves or fools, to allow their children to be vaccinated has risen to an extent that it is putting at risk not only the health of their own children (which is bad enough) but also compromising herd immunity and thus causing a serious public health issue the threatens the health of many children and adults.

So, if necessary, vaccinations should be mandatory.

I would also argue (and it's uncontentious law in the UK) that the parent has the power to consent or not to a child's medical treatment only to the extent that that power is exercised reasonably and in the best interests of the child, rather than simply in accordance with the parent's particular religious or philosophical beliefs and prejudices.

If I want to go against sound medical advice when it comes to my own medical treatment then that's my absolute right so long as I'm able to understand the advice and the consequences of disregarding it. But if I'm acting on behalf of a minor child, then I don't have that discretion, because it is the child's health that I'm endangering, not mine.

Since it is not reasonable to refuse non-contentious medical advice from a competent medical practitioner, the parent cannot legitimately refuse to allow the child to be vaccinated, and the state has every right to intervene to protect both the child and public health in general.
 
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Jolene Benoir

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The only way is to not play the game.

Example in point: Today I ran across the oddest thing. I was reading Reddit (yes, I know my first mistake was there), in particular the /trumpgret sub. It was about a mod who had a compromised acct, apparently by a pro-Trumper. While reading I saw the strangest damn thing. Mods were warning someone because they also post in video game subs. That made me scratch my chin. Why would that be? So, I asked. I explained that I have been playing games since Pong and also am as liberal as they come. The response was [x], whatever that means, then later I was told to go back to pong and told that I was violating sub rules. So, I looked over and sure as hell, they have that rule; No gamers. I am still scratching my head, but said, consider it done. That mod then came back to prod me more. I refuse to go any further with that discussion (if it can be called that). Meanwhile I was receiving a chat msg from another person who led me to /trumpgrets, a new and competing sub without that drama. I unsubbed to the first and subbed to the second.

Seriously? I guess it amounts to just saying "fuck it", and not getting drawn into an argument with people who aren't listening or are trolling. Now, I know that I am not exactly the poster girl for being able to do that. Far from it. In general, it's very easy for me to get sucked into the vortex and lose my cool. But, the headache isn't worth it, unless the conversation is give and take with some modicum of respect being shown.
 
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Brenda Archer

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I don't know why people do this, I only have speculation, but I think blaming it all on profiteering is a comforting simplification. Sometimes, people are just crazy. I think the nonsense often comes first, and sometimes people find a way to profit off of it.
I don't doubt a lot of people are crazy and that profiteers encourage it.

But anti-vax is connected to autism hatred, and that gets encouraged by people pushing "cures" and misinformation on uninformed parents. The parents attach themselves to any confident "expert" and won't listen to adults on the spectrum trying to share more realistic and helpful information.

More generally, anybody with a difference, disability or serious illness has probably had to deal with a ton of bullshit from people that originated in snake oil salesmen of various types.

The hard Right really pushes alternative medicine crap. For example, I had relatives turn their backs on me when I was recovering from cancer and insisted on standard treatment.

I don't know what the answer is - I've gotten very wary of anybody showing one of the common patterns of gullibility.
 
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Clara D.

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Like any conspiracy theory, there's always going to be enough kooks to keep it rolling along... but the numbers of people engaged by it typically remains a nearly negligible minority. It's the wide-spread main-stream-ness of anti-vaxxers is what makes me think that it -must- be getting outside help.
It is, here's proof of what I said earlier.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2018/08/23/russian-trolls-twitter-bots-exploit-vaccine-controversy/?utm_term=.4389eb1d0e01

Researchers found bots and Russian trolls mentioned vaccines more often than the average Twitter account over a three-year period, but for different reasons. Russian trolls stoked the debate by tweeting pro- and anti-vaccine messages in an apparent attempt to sow division, while bots that spread malicious software appeared to use anti-vaccine messages that inflame strong responses from both sides to attract clicks.
Are Russian Trolls Saving Measles From Extinction?

Scientific researchers say Russian social-media trolls who spread discord before the 2016 U.S. presidential election may also have played an unintended role in a developing global health crisis.
etc.
 

Innula Zenovka

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he hard Right really pushes alternative medicine crap. For example, I had relatives turn their backs on me when I was recovering from cancer and insisted on standard treatment.
This is relevant, I think: Vaccine scepticism grows in line with rise of populism - study (I may have posted it before).

It's hardly unintuitive, I guess, that distrust of government and the belief that the MSM and the experts, combined with the mistaken belief that one knows more than do the "sheeple", should manifest itself in, among other ways, a distrust of conventional medicine.

That distrust, of course, is hardly confined to the political right. And, while I don't much like the "horseshoe" theory of politics -- the idea that the extreme left and the extreme right are very similar -- I think it's certainly the case (and observably so) that populists of both the left and the right have many ideas in common. While their enemies may vary, both populists on the left (supporters of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, for example) often talk about how the system is rigged in favour of a corrupt and conspiratorial elite of globalists in terms indistinguishable those used by Donald Trump.

Not that I have any relatives (and certainly no friends) who are sympathetic to the far far right, I was struck by the number of people who recommended alternative and complementary therapies for my cancer

I told myself that they meant well, and were just stuck for something helpful and encouraging to say, so they fell back on recommending nonsense about dietary cures and the like, but it was very difficult at times to retain my patience with people who couldn't really understand why, despite their best efforts, I preferred to rely on the advice of professionals who had spent many years studying and treating cancer rather than ion advice well-meaning friends had found online .
 
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Jopsy Pendragon

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And, not to contradict myself, but the evolutionary nature of predatory "American Consumerism" is, I'm certain, also a contributing factor.

We, more than any other culture on the planet, are bombarded daily by advertising campaigns and marketing tactics that condition and coerce us to buy things we don't need.... and to make foolish/more-expensive purchasing decisions.

Why save up for something when you can pay 2x or more as much by financing it for years to come? (only 30495 easy monthly payments!)

Why fix/repair/maintain something old when you can wait until it breaks and pay the emergency 'need it NOW!' instalation costs for a brand new replacement? (consumer brinksmanship) ... and that carries over into how we think about medical care. Why bother with preventative when we can just go in when we're broken/sick and get pills to treat the symptoms when something goes wrong?

To survive, many of us have become consumer skeptics, 'inoculating' ourselves against the constant 'up-sell' pressures we face many times a day. 'Insurance' is a luxury item that most only acquire when forced to by law... vaccines are just another form of insurance.

So, sure yes, anti-Western sentiment is pumping fuel into the anti-vaxxer movement, but we're making it easy for them.