Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Scam Psychology: Engaging Antivaxxers: What I learned from them vs. Scheme Denialists

Recently, I engaged a couple antivaxxers on Twitter. It was a learning experience. One just wants to talk about his conspiracy theory (There is no reason for the government to care about your health!)   (Uh, what about taxes?)  while the other ONLY want to talk about the harm done by vaccines and ignore all the good it did (Let's talk about how many children the original Salk vaccine harmed...)

Let's be absolutely clear here: Yes, the original Salk vaccine did sicken 200 children and killed 10, but it also saved about 15000 (or even 20000) children from paralysis THAT YEAR ALONE!  Go ahead, Google that yourself. A vaccine that saved 98.6+% of the children (210/15000) from a crippling disease such as polio was a success, NOT a failure!

But the anti-vaxxers only want to talk about the children that were harmed, not the 14000+ children saved that year from paralysis. They are NOT interested in seeing the whole picture.

I am not going to provide a blow-by-blow of my encounter. I'll just say that as predicted, they engaged in multiple goal-post shifting (trying to shift the topic), citing bogus experts (Mercola), claiming conspiracy theory and Galileo gambit (Wakefield and Sears), outright refuting facts ("measles is not dangerous"), name-calling ("Where are the honest provaxers?") then concluded with pigeon chess mixed with conspiracy theory ("You are stifling dissent, but you can't suppress the truth forever! ")

And this is the virtually identical pattern to the financial denialists I've engaged before. Except they want to somehow prove their pyramid or Ponzi schemes are legitimate money-making enterprises. Which pretty much proves that more than a few scammers are "financial denialists".

Scammers and their sheeple, who can only repeat marketing slogans and excuses, behaved virtually the same way.

When asked how their scheme can be legal, they only want to talk about buzzwords, not regulations. Some will Google certain words and take the wrong meanings from that, ignoring existing precedents.

When cornered on one issue, they will shift goal-posts, cite celebrities instead of experts, claim conspiracy and Galileo gambit, deny documented and proven facts, and conclude with pigeon chess and more conspiracy.

And this never changes.

Proliferation of Internet served to create more insular groups where such denialism runs unchecked by fact and truth.

Fortunately, proliferation of Internet also served as fact-check resources, with sites like Snopes and Wikipedia as the front-lines against lies.

I normally don't get into politics on this blog, but the recent debunking by Anderson Cooper of a Trump Jr tweet was too good to pass up. TL;DR version was Donnie boy (Trump Jr) tweeted a photo of Anderson Cooper covering Hurricane Ike in Texas back in 2008, where he was standing in waist-deep water, and thought it was Cooper covering the current hurricane in the Carolinas, and somehow it's a conspiracy to discredit his papa RealDonaldTrump by making the disaster look worse than it is.

The tweet was since picked up by multiple conservative bloggers, who obviously didn't bother to 'fact-check' the photo, and piled on their echoes of "fake news" and such sentiments.

Anderson Cooper completely obliterated the tweet and "fake news" arguments by multiple video clips of him clearly stating it was during hurricane Ike 10 years ago, as well as why he's standing in waist deep water just off the road.

You can no longer trust tweets and posts from people you know. Nobody fact-checks any more.

And that is the sad state of life we are living in... where our president and his family wants us to believe truths are lies and facts are fictions. 

And it's even sadder that some people believe such nonsense, making them more vulnerable to even more nonsense, such as bogus claims made by unscrupulous MLMs.  Remember, even Alex Jones started selling MLM. No, I wasn't kidding.

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