Conspiracy Theories: Insulating Yourself From Attack
How does one ensure that, regardless of outcome, your viewpoint remains “right”? You make the proclaimation that the possibility of an opposing outcome would presuppose a “fix”. This is standard practice for individuals whose righteous ends trump the actual search for truth.
I bring this topic up because the Supreme Court is preparing to have the final say in the Obama POTUS eligibilty issue. The Court is set to hold a conference on the Donofrio case to determine whether or not is should be argued before the Court.
One of the leading proponents rallying in support of the Donofrio case has been the td blog, where the issue of dual citizenship violating the “natural born citizen” clause in Article II of the US Constitution originated. The Supreme Court conference is the culmination of everything the td blog and similar anti-Obama opponents have been pushing for, in some form or another, for the past four months.
In a new post at the td blog, texasdarlin phrases it as such:
Mind you, this is the US Supreme Court. Not an insignificant district court of the first instance. But the U.S. Supreme Court, charged with interpreting our nation’s Constitution, charged with explaining the meaning of “natural born citizen.” The buck stops with this Court and its authority.
Later, she updates this post to make the careful and calculated preface to her statement, in order to provide against a possible outcome not suited to her “facts”, saying:
I am not optimistic that the Supreme Court will allow Donofrio’s case to proceed, as I’m inclined to believe that the “fix is in” when it comes to Obama…
While the td blog is littered with reporting that fails the test of journalistic integrity, it will, on occasion, bring to light issues worth dscussing. However, they disqualify the possibility of an alterior representation then the one offered by automatically discounting it’s validitity as a “fix”. The ultimate problem the td blog, and it’s companions suffer from, is that they display the common characteristics of a conspiracy theory. They suffer from an inability to properly frame any discussion in a manner which can reach a satisfactory empirical and/or logical conclusion from either side.
Texasdarlin is telling her readers, “If the Supreme Court rules against Donofrio and for Obama, the outcome was predetermined and isn’t the truth.” Her statement fails to fall under any monochrome of falsifiability. It cannot be proven, nor disproven. And this is the ruse of all conspiracy theories – it cannot be disproven. It is here where conspiracy theorists diverge from the standards of logic, and commit a logic fallacy by not distinguishing between evidence of absence and absence of evidence. The former represents the ability to provide evidence, indicating the presence or absence of a claim, while the latter encompasses claims which are not verifiable through any sort of empirical investigation.
An example of evidence of absence would be to make the following claim: “Barack Obama was born in Canada.” You could then go to the proper Canadian government organizations, and search through their birth records. If you did not find any document indicating Obama was born in Canada, this would qualify as evidence of absence. The critical element is the expectation to discover a body of evidence in a particular location. When one discovers an omission of evidence in said location, it is logically prudent to conclude to be evidence in support of the opposing claim, i.e. “Barack Obama was not born in Canada.”
Conversely, the claim: “The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Obama because it was ‘fixed’ and their in the pocket of Obama,” does not contain a evidential body that can be pursued, in order to validate or invalidate the above claim, ergo it is absent of evidence. You cannot say that it is incorrect, nor can you say it is correct, only simply, “We do not know.”
This is a standard method in conspiracy theories, to include claims which fall under the absence of evidence category, espousing the scientific and logical practice of excluding those statements which are immune to evidence. Put succinctly, our lack of knowledge has no place in our epistemological pursuits, or what we do not know, we cannot presuppose as knowledge.
The inclusion of absence of evidence assertions serves as an advantageous tool in advancing a conspiracy theory by incurring deniability. A denialist always has their impenetrable statement to fall back on, in the event a vulnerable allegation is debunked by evidence. In spite of evidence to the contrary, a denialist will refuse to agree to a common basis of fact, and prefer to nest safely in the comfort of their conspiracy theory.
TexasDarlin ends her post with a challenge, common to conspiracy theories:
I would of course love to be proven wrong. And I support all continued efforts to uncover the truth about Barack Obama/Barry Soetoro, and to have our highest Court of the land clarify Article’s II’s requirement.
There is no body of evidence that will disprove a “fix” because, anything contrary to the stated goal of the conspiracy theorist/denialist, falls under the purvey of the “fix”. Suppose the Supreme Court rules Obama is POTUS eligible and a “natural born citizen”. I would wager that td, and other ardent Obama opponents, will proclaim the “fix” has reached the highest levels of government if that eventuality comes to fruition.
If it’s the truth that is sought, stop doing yourself the disservice by relying upon the absence of evidence. Cease making declarations of faith. Close off your righteous benevolence. Shut down the hubris of your own knowledge. And begin to deal with subjects that are fallible to evidence.
It’s not the truth that your after, it’s a singular outcome, regardless of it’s means, that you seek. No other outcome is possible – it would just be “fixed” if it ever occurred.
(As an aside to the article’s accusation that the media cost an alternative outcome - consider, that rather then the media causing the American people to like Obama and vote for him, that it’s possible because the American people liked Obama, he won the election and the favorable media coverage that preceeded.)