Tag Archives: Conspiracy theories

Are All Opinions Equally Valid?

23 Jul

In short, no.

Some opinions are based on reading and research.  

Some opinions are pulled from . . . um . . . the air.

I have a young, liberal friend who reads like a fiend and watches CSPAN as a hobby.  He has often fact-checked my posts.  Where he has proven me wrong, I have either changed them or apologized.

He is a valuable friend, even though our politics do not agree. 

I know many other liberals, and conservatives, whose opinions have not been proven to be worth a plugged nickel.  They only repeat what they hear others say, without inserting any of their own gray matter into the process.  That is a tragedy.  God gave us our brains so we could use them to think.  I am not talking about mentally challenged people here.  I am talking about mentally lazy people.

I have come to a decision that it is okay to push back just a little when people start ignorant quarrels on Facebook, or even in person.  Again, if they are mentally challenged people, mercy would suggest that no one would publicly shoot holes in their opinions (because most people will know they are mentally challenged anyway and take their opinions with a grain of salt).  But when they are fully intelligent people who are not using their brains, I believe it is okay to challenge them to read and think a bit more . . .

Especially when they post those ignorant opinions on my Facebook page.  I believe it is okay to ask for a citation of their sources.  When someone leaves the discussion or defriends me after being asked to cite sources, that action probably speaks for itself.

One instance that will certainly cause me to push back in the future is when I post a status on Facebook with a link that supports it, and someone loudly disagrees with the status while saying things that make it obvious they have not read the link.  Pushing back against that is just common sense.  

“You are entitled to your opinion but you are not entitled to paste it on my page when it is totally detached from the discussion at hand.  And if you haven’t bothered to read the link provided, your opinion is totally detached from the discussion at hand . . .” 

Conspiracy theories are a whole other category here.

I have recently had a local friend unfriend me on Facebook after I called him out, publicly, for publicly putting forth a conspiracy theory calling for whites to “take back their streets” following the George Zimmerman verdict.  

His post, and his source, were racist.  That was obvious because the streets in America have never solely belonged to the white race, nor should they.  Ironically, my friend and his girlfriend both identify with races other than Caucasian.  

Pray for my friend, okay?  I did not disagree with him in order to cause him embarrassment or pain.  I disagreed because the things he was saying could easily lead to blood in the streets, stirring racial warfare from the right.  Just as easily as Al Sharpton could stir up violence from the left.  It is wrong to stir up violence from either side.  That sort of tactic has to be answered quickly and decisively.  And publicly. 

I believe a real friend tells you when you are in error like that.  

And I believe when my friend cools down, he will see that for himself.  

We all need to read (and think) a lot more than we do before we open our mouths.  If not, we will come across as the proverbial fool (from the book of Proverbs!!!). 

The Bible was not just written to help the other guy, ya know?

“It’s me, it’s me, it’s me, O Lord, standing in the need of prayer . . .”

Conspiracy Theories!

4 Jul

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Americans (North Americans, if you are in the Southern Continent . . . <smile>.  Course then I don’t know where to place Canadians and Mexicans.  Well, you guys get the intent of my words!  Not being exclusionary, just celebrating my country!).  

Anyhoo, the best contribution I can make today is to give some counsel about the frequent conspiracy theories that are popping up all over cyberspace (isn’t that what cyberspace was invented for?  Ha!).  They are on both sides of the political spectrum, but the ones most often sent to me are on the right, and are targeted against the U.S. president and his party.

We often need to fact check things before we forward them onward to others.  How do we do that?  

To begin, snopes.com has some pretty good interactive ability.  If you can’t find a rumor by searching Snopes, post that rumor to them and they will check it for you and email you back!  Not too shabby, eh?

On the other hand, some folks don’t trust Snopes either, as they regard them as part of a conspiracy  . . .  

Okay, then do this:  cut and paste.  Grab a key phrase from the post that you think might be a false rumor.  Paste it into a google search (or your own favorite search engine).  Run a search on it.  

If all that pops up are other similar publications saying the same thing, you have found yourself an example of circular reporting.  No real news source has published this rumor, so it is probably false.  

Of course, there are dyed-in-the-wool conspiracy theorists who will assert that the very fact that no mainstream media outlet has published that rumor is proof that it is true!  Well, think about that.  Mainstream media hasn’t published a lot of things today, including the end of the world and the beginning of the zombie apocalypse.  Is that proof that those two things are also true?  (hint:  conspiracy theorists use every data point to tighten down on their conspiracy.  You can never disprove it to them with anything).  

Hope that helps.  The main thing is to not forward rumors that are unverified.  Yes, we all must fact check because it is the moral thing to do.  If you are a Christian, God says bearing false witness is a sin.  That includes forwarding rumors from someone else, unchecked.  If it comes from you, your integrity is on the line . . .

We all make mistakes from time to time, but let us try to minimize them.  If we are too busy to fact check, we are too busy to forward on that rumor . . .


Why I Speak out Against Conspiracy Theories (and both the right and the left have ’em)

16 Apr

Why I Speak out Against Conspiracy Theories (and both the right and the left have ’em)

G.K. Chesterton said that there is no more logical world than the world of the person who is insane.

It is logical, nothing contradicts anything else, but it is very, very small and drawn in on itself.

It is as though a normal human can look out at the horizon and see a world full of promise (and some inherent contradictions) while an insane person looks outward and sees a horizon four feet away from him, defining a circle four feet around him which is his world. It is all logical; it all makes sense. But it is small, tedious, and boring. Oh so small.

I believe that maybe the root of insanity is substituting oneself and one’s own beliefs, perceptions, and values for God. And, if I were insane and made myself god of my own world, it would be a small, trivial, mundane world indeed!

Center on myself: get a small, insane world that all relates in consistent logical sense.

Center on God: get a wide, thrilling world with lots of contradictions and unexpected twists.

Life is like that.

And so it is with conspiracy theories, which usually border on the paranoid and the insane, if they are not over the actual line.

In fact, I have seen it said that every time a tragedy happens, people should look for the hidden story behind the story. That the tragedy is just the part designed to engage our interest while the magician does his trick behind the curtain in the other direction from where we are looking.

Oh, small, sad, insane world.

To make a statement like that is to state categorically that you know there is no such thing as an actual natural disaster. And there is no such thing as a senseless act conducted by a petty criminal or small group of criminals.

No, for the conspiracy theorist, everything involves a nearly global network of people, all in on the deception.

Kind of like this global network has become god, in the absence of an actual being called God.

Since I believe in God, I believe there is a metanarrative, not only tying together everyone on earth right now, but also tying together everyone who will ever live on this earth.

But humans cannot avail ourselves of this metanarrative, since it is in God’s mind. And those who know Him well, do not try to play God and tease the metanarrative out of Him. It belongs to Him.

Things are random and full of contradictions and twists in this world because we can’t see the great intelligence underlying all people and all events. We are not meant, right now, to see how God ties them all together.

Not until later, at the Great Unveiling, when we will see that there was, indeed, logic to everything.

But God’s logic, not man’s puny logic.

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