The Thought Refuse

A Virtual Repository for the Mind

Conspiracy Theories: Insulating Yourself From Attack

with 3 comments

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.)


Written by huxbux

November 25, 2008 at 8:54 pm

3 Responses

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  1. I agree totataly with your post but there are plenty of loons on both sides. I read someone a few days ago that was willing to conceed that Obama might not have had the exactly correct paperwork but went on to say that Bush stole the 2000 election and the 2004 election as well and that he was an illegitenate president for eight years. I feel like the media would have followed the story up early in the democrat primary if it had even a shred of evedence to support it. As in the 2000 election recount dispute that the supreme court ruled on in favor of George bush, there were people that would not accept that as the answer because it was not the answer they believed correct. Even though the NY times and a couple of networks counted every vote several times and found that Gore lost in every count, there are still people that will not accept the fact that George Bush won and think that the supreme court fixed it in favor of Bush. Bush has been opposed veheminately by a large number of people for the last eight years and still clinging to the Idea that the supreme court stole their Victory. How tradgic, to live that way. Then there was Hillery claiming a huge “vast right wing conspiracy”was behind the Monica Lewinsky scandall. Even though Bill finally admited the afair or encounter or what ever you prefer to call it, to this day there are large numbers of people that believe it was a vast right wing conspiracy. I don’t want to say get used to it cause we have had to put up with it for the last eight years but two or even ten wrongs don’t make one right. I hope that we can come together as Americans and work together to solve the huge problems we all face. I pray for Obama( and totaly accept the fact that he is the 45th president) and hope he will sieze the moment and rise above the fray to lead us through this together. Hee needs the support of everyone and deserves the chance to succeed and if we find that he’s operating outside the constitution we should and will call him on it. At times like these we should hope for the best.


    December 1, 2008 at 9:41 pm

  2. Of course I meant 44th president. I have been saying bush 41 and bush 43 for eight years I guess deslexia kicking in again.


    December 4, 2008 at 9:22 pm

  3. You said it quite well dave. Democratic elections are always hailed as a magnanimous process right up until the outcome differs from one’s expectation. It suddenly ceases to be democracy and becomes something sinister when we don’t “get our way”.

    In this particular instance, in comes from a small group of Hillary supporters, who upon finding out their candidate lost, undertook a campaign against Obama.


    December 5, 2008 at 6:19 pm

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