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Michael Fullerton

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Why is someone a "conspiracy theorist" merely because they question the government account of something? Isn't that plain old skepticism?

Skepticism is supposed to involve objectively questioning claims based on evidence. Why then is someone called a conspiracy theorist when they merely question a government's extraordinary claim which is seriously lacking in evidence?

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    Jul 31 2013: Are people often labeled conspiracy theorists if they simply question claims others make?
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      Jul 31 2013: No but "skeptics" often use loaded question and straw man fallacies in lieu of rational arguments. Using such fallacies is much easier than dealing with the actual argument.
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        Jul 31 2013: Michael, I think you're unfairly labeling skeptics. Skeptics are critical and doubtful, but they don't have agendas and therefore have little use for "loaded questions and straw man fallacies." A conspiracy theorist is someone that uses loaded questions and straw man fallacies. They often want something to be true that isn't or is at least unlikely to be true. They see connections that aren't there. (Although I realize that this is a generalization, that there are legitimate conspiracy theorists that are perfectly sane and rationale, but if you're going to stereotype skeptics, I'll allow myself to do the same in return.)

        "Many skeptics critically examine the meaning systems of their times, and this examination often results in a position of ambiguity or doubt. This skepticism can range from disbelief in contemporary philosophical solutions, to agnosticism, to rejecting the reality of the external world. One kind of scientific skepticism refers to the critical analysis of claims lacking empirical evidence. Philosophical skepticism is an old movement with many variations, and contrasts with the view that anything is certain, especially with absolute or unconditional certainty. For example, Hellenistic philosophers would claim such beliefs are dogmatism."

        Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_skepticism

        I think I'm misunderstanding you, because you said skeptics were objective in your topic.
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          Jul 31 2013: You are misunderstanding me Daniel. I clearly said "skeptics" not skeptics. I am a skeptic since I doubt explanations having no evidence, like the official story of how the Twin Towers came down. "Skeptics" are pretending to be something they are not. They automatically believe highly unusual or disturbing things to be false. That is irrational belief not critical thinking.
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        Jul 31 2013: Ahhhhh... I'm going to leave my comment posted so everyone can see what a dolt I am.
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          Aug 1 2013: No Daniel. Making mistakes and learning from them is smart. Refusing to admit your mistakes though is the worst form of stupidity.
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        Aug 1 2013: Awww, man... I like sitting in the corner, facing the wall, wearing my dunce cap. I know its really a badge of honor. Secretly, I was proud of admitting my mistake, but now that you've gone and pointed out it's a good thing to do so, everyone else knows, and now I can't have any fun pretending to be a dolt. Thanks a lot Michael Fullerton for ruining all my fun.
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      Aug 1 2013: Is that a rhetorical question? I think one is labeled a conspiracy theorist not for questioning claims that others make but for suspecting, often very strongly, that there is conspiring going on. There is at least two if not more conspirators and they've gotten together and are doing some conspiring, so the theorist suspects and he gathers his suspicions into a theory of conspiracy. The good ones use a very paranoid, almost schizophrenic version of the scientific method. It doesn't matter if they tell anyone or keep their conspiracy theories to themselves. It doesn't matter if they're conspiracies theories are right or wrong.

      People often theorize about conspiracies in the government, because there are plenty of possible conspirators, some quite plausible conspirators, and we know for a fact there have been conspiracies in the government before and there always have been conspiracies of some sort in something as large as a national governing body like the one my country us (even when it was a just a wee little thirteen colonies).

      In short, they should be labeled a conspiracy theorist, because the negative connotation aside, they are pointing out that the government is lacking enormous amounts of evidence and as a result two or more people are conspiring. They don't know for sure. So they theorize that they are conspiring. Hence, they become conspiracy theorists.
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        Aug 1 2013: The question implies that those who question the government account of something are automatically labeled conspiracy theorists. I thought people are called conspiracy theorists only if they believe an explanation for something or a conclusion is the result of a conspiracy among those with a vested interest in disseminating information they know to be false.
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          Aug 1 2013: Well, they're not called conspiracy believers (of explanations) and the government is always giving out, excuse me, disseminating information it knows to be false. It has a negative connotation, there's no getting around that. It's like cynics. There used to be a school and cynics were admired and didn't have the bad publicity it has today. I don't know that conspiracy theorist ever had a good day. I think of Sherlock Holmes sometimes, a benign conspiracy theorist, always trying to see secret connections or at least connections that are hidden or hard to see.

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