Thursday, May 30, 2013

Bad Argument: Imply There's a Conspiracy, Even If There Isn't One

English: I took this photo of my baby last sum...
Yawning Baby
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the most persistent arguments presented by defenders of a suspect scheme is the "conspiracy" argument, in that there is some sort of a conspiracy acting against them (the defenders), the company, or the entire industry (whether the company's really in it or not). Previously, we've discussed conspiracy arguments in [Conspiracy of Persecution] and [What I Accuse You Of Doesn't Apply to Myself]. We've also noted before the similarity between scam defense and pseudo-science (so much so, I called financial scam defense "pseudo-economics")

Now we have to document a new "bad argument"... Imply there is a conspiracy, when there wasn't one.

Australian newspaper Daily Telegraph just published a heart-breaking article about parents who lost their newborn child to whooping cough, and had been cyber-bullied ever since.

Because the baby's death is in direct contravention of what anti-vaccine folks preach, the anti-vaccine crowd in Australia, in the form of the deceptively named Australian Vaccine Network (which was ordered to change its name or be closed) decided to go after them by casting doubts on their daughter's death, cyber-bullying, accusing them of being stooges of big pharma, and so on and so forth.

Baby Dana's death is an "inconvenient death" to the anti-vaxxers. And they sought to discredit the parents through whatever ways they can, because the grieving parents chose to bring light upon a problem... that vaccinable diseases still kill in the modern world... when it does NOT have to.

Attack #1: Demand the dead baby's autopsy report, the day after she died. AVN head Meryl Dorey demanded the autopsy report from the head of Australian Health Service, demanding to see proof that the baby indeed died from whooping cough (or Pertusis, the medical name). AHS said AVN had no right to see it.

Attack #2: Portrayal of conspiracy and continued demand. Dorey then continued to blog and demand "proof" that the baby died of pertusis, and portrayed the media as persecuting the "conscientious objectors".

Attack #3: More conspiracy... AVN accused the doctors and nurses of giving the baby pertusis. In March 2009 Dorey blogged that the dead baby "must" have caught pertusis in the hospital, instead of after going home.

Attack #4: Anonymous letters started to show up in the grieving family's mailbox... AVN brochures and letters telling them they were wrong to trust the hospital, and their baby would have been alive if they stayed home and had home delivery and home nursing. It had to be the antibiotics that killed the child, anonymous letters stated, not the sickness.

Attack #5: Dead baby's Facebook page turned into vaccine battleground. Various AVN members started to post anti-vax vitriolic on the page, insisting the baby did NOT die of pertusis. When the grieving mother responded with science, she was lambasted by AVN members for "belief in the religion of vaccineology".

Attack #6: Other anti-vaxers outright blamed the parents of "picking on Dorey" (head of AVN)

Attack #7: When baby Dana's death story appeared on pro-vaccination pamphlets, AVN members quickly started accusing the parents of "sold out to big pharma"

Attack #8: When the skeptics society of Australia awarded the parents $1000 prize for promoting skepticism and combating pseudo-science through their efforts in bringing awareness to whooping cough, AVN accused them of "benefiting financially from their baby's death".

The examples are just too numerous to list.

In case of a father whose child died of chicken pox, AVN member allegedly told the grieving parent that the child is obviously the weakest of the weak and is not meant to survive, and the father should get over it. No, I'm NOT making this up.

Read the entire article for yourself. 

What does this have to do with scams? They share the same MO. 

Scam victims are dismissed with "they did it wrong" excuse.

Really loud victims are derided with "you must be against the founder / the company / the industry"

Critics who analyze the scam and industry were countered with "your fervor in believing in the 'big money' system is misplaced, _____ is your 'real' way to financial freedom".

Heck, even "Rich Dad" Kiyosaki wrote a book on this called "Conspiracy of the Rich" (when there is no such thing).

And so on and so forth.

Examine the issues CAREFULLY and don't believe the spin.
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