The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

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The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby m0r1arty » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:33 am

I've long been an advocate of protecting those who need protecting from themselves and for keeping exploiters away from those who are easily led.

Dealing with paranormal issues the lines are drawn quite definitively for me. Existence is pretty cool and full of mystery and the ideas of why it is can be exciting, radical and lots of fun. However there's always someone who spoils the party, someone who can't play fairly, a person who thinks they can add a tax to that which was given to them freely.

People peddling books, movies, religions and membership fees always get flagged by me as shysters and I'm sure lots of other people approach these people in a similar way.

This thread isn't focussing on those idiots. I'm hoping we can discuss those who appear, superficially at least, to be mentally unwell, regular folk who actually buy into their own shenanigans without any exchange required except that of believing them. I've seen mods at other places criticise me for trying to get policy on how these people should be treated; what responsibility do the forums have to protect their members (and the public)?

An easy enough incident to cite is that of Jess Weise who went and killed 9 people and then committed suicide. Here is his profile on a popular conspiracy site.

It is my opinion that by enabling people to create fabricated constructs of reality and promote them through online discussion (particularly selectively edited discussion which promotes the more out there concepts over the skeptical) within a medium which is geared towards paranormal topics one has to set a precedent to taper those who offer 'solutions' based on faith or restrict dogma which expects submission from readers, or accept that you are as intricately involved with any crimes arising from the outcomes of people reading the forums as a bullet or knife is.

This thread isn't about any website in particular or incident, but please feel free to post stories that might be considered relevant as a reply.

I hope that, as adults, we can discuss the fine balance of allowing free exchange of ideas and the perpetuation of madness and what roles we play as individuals and what responsibilities those roles entail.

A topical issue for example might be something along the lines of Wikileaks. If they were to post something which showed a terrible weakness in US troop movements and soldiers died as a direct result - are they culpable? If they post something which shows the clandestine nature of banking and this leads to laws which better protect the consumer - are they a hero?

Obviously Wikileaks is a website and not a forum, but the basic idea is there (I think anyways!).

And and all are most welcome.

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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby chrLz » Mon Dec 20, 2010 12:54 pm

A topic well worth discussing. My contribution is going a little sideways, but there seems to be a frequently repeated comment along the lines of "well, what does it matter if I/they believe in something weird..?"...

Well, I think it does matter. A LOT. My first exposure to the ability of weird folks to influence others via the web, dates right back to the beginnings of the Nancy Lieder 'Zetatalk'/PlanetX thing. Which I might add is *still* going, even though it has lost a bit of momentum and morphed somewhat...

Anyway, at the beginning, back in the late nineties, *this* was happening:
http://www.skepticalmind.com/personal_stories.html
Maybe I'm just a delicate soul, but I find that quite distressing to read - it contains examples of emails from the 'true believers' back in 1999, documenting how they spoke to their families and kids as they prepared for the 'Pole Shift' and Planet X ... I have to wonder how much damage was done to those young minds, how many families were torn up, and how those people now reconcile what they did and said. After all, it's now ten years later and perhaps the truth has possibly now dawned upon them?

I wonder if any of them are now willing to talk about that time of their lives? It might be interesting to see if they can be tracked down - perhaps we could learn from their insights, if any...

Anyway, my point is simply this - if you are ever tempted to think that the gullible have every right to remain so.. just remember they have families and friends, as does every new gullible person who is influenced by them, or the lowlives that prey on them. And I think we have all been caught being gullible at various stages of our lives..

..er.. except me of course.. :P
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby Access Denied » Tue Dec 21, 2010 10:43 am

chrLz wrote:A topic well worth discussing.

Agreed, and most appropriate for this new subforum I think.

[hope you don’t mind m0r]

m0r1arty wrote:It is my opinion that by enabling people to create fabricated constructs of reality and promote them through online discussion (particularly selectively edited discussion which promotes the more out there concepts over the skeptical) within a medium which is geared towards paranormal topics one has to set a precedent to taper those who offer 'solutions' based on faith or restrict dogma which expects submission from readers, or accept that you are as intricately involved with any crimes arising from the outcomes of people reading the forums as a bullet or knife is.

Well put but can you expand on the underlined portion above? What precedent do you think should be set or restriction should be placed on dogma?

More later but until then, here’s another reason why one must never underestimate the potential consequences of promoting ignorance…

Heaven's Gate
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven's_Gate_(religious_group)

According to Jacques Vallée in his 1979 book Messengers of Deception, the group began in the early 1970s when Marshall Applewhite was recovering from a heart attack during which he claimed to have had a near-death experience. He came to believe that he and his nurse, Bonnie Nettles, were "the Two", that is, the two witnesses spoken of in Book of Revelation 11:3 in the Bible. After a brief and unsuccessful attempt to run an inspirational bookstore, they began traveling around the country giving talks about their belief system. As with some other New Age faiths they combined Christian doctrine (particularly the ideas of salvation and apocalypse) with the concept of evolutionary advancement and elements of science fiction, particularly travel to other worlds and dimensions.

[...]

Another New Age belief that Applewhite and Nettles adopted was “the ancient astronaut hypothesis. The term ‘ancient astronauts’ is used to refer to various forms of the concept that ufonauts visited our planet in the distant past” (Lewis, 2001, p.16). Applewhite and Nettles took part of this concept and taught it as the belief that “aliens planted the seeds of current humanity millions of years ago, and have to come to reap the harvest of their work in the form of spiritual evolved individuals who will join the ranks of flying saucer crews. Only a select few members of humanity will be chosen to advance to this transhuman state. The rest will be left to wallow in the spiritually poisoned atmosphere of a corrupt world” (Lewis, 2001, p.17). Only the individuals that chose to join Heaven’s Gate and follow Applewhite and Nettle’s belief and make the sacrifices that membership required would be allowed to escape human suffering.

[…]

On March 19, 1997, Marshall Applewhite taped himself speaking of mass suicide and asserted "it was the only way to evacuate this Earth". The Heaven's Gate group was against suicide but they believed they had no choice but to leave Earth as quickly as possible. After claiming that a space craft was trailing the comet Hale-Bopp, Applewhite convinced 38 followers to commit suicide so that their souls could board the supposed craft. Applewhite believed that after their deaths, a UFO would take their souls to another "level of existence above human", which Applewhite described as being both physical and spiritual. This and other UFO-related beliefs held by the group have led some observers to characterize the group as a type of UFO religion. In October 1996, the group purchased alien abduction insurance to cover up to 50 members at a cost of $10,000.

Damn near dead ringers for Dan Smith and Laura Magdalene Eisenhower Mahon.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby Luck » Wed Jan 05, 2011 5:58 am

This is an interesting thread. I don't think I have seen this discussion on any other forum, but I think it is an important and necessary discussion.

I tend to be pessimistic when it comes to the "vulnerable". Having had first hand experience with a relative who had gotten involved in a Nigerian love scam, it is my experience there will always be a segment of the population who will not want your help, will actively fight your attempts to get to the truth and will never be willing to admit how gullible they are. The truly scary part is that after $5,000, a broken heart, some damaged friendships and the realization that she was scammed, she is only slightly less vulnerable than she was before she got scammed.

In another forum I was called "James Randi" for giving an opinion on a bunch of "UFO" videos coming out of Pennsylvania. The valuable lesson that day is that there are people who take everything at face value and would rather close their eyes to maintain their personal UFO reality than be forced to look at the facts in the cold light of day. Maybe we (humanity) are predisposed towards magical thinking. I have seen Christians and Atheists get pretty irate (oh, and David Icke, too) when you start messing with their world views.

I don't mind engaging in outrageous speculation on these topics at times, for me it is part of the fun. Some of my favorite discussion involve the really "out there" theories involving quantum mechanics. But I also understand that a discussion involving certain aspects of UFOs, quantum physics or the paranormal doesn't make it fact. Perhaps because most of the stories are so strange (even the somewhat credible ones) some people are always going to have a hard time calibrating their personal BS meters.

Just thinking of some of things I have run across, I would be concerned if someone makes claims about their origins, prophecies, or interactions that can't be backed by fact.
Examples include:
1. Claims that they are god, the child of god, an extraterrestrial, an extra dimensional entity, a hybrid, the manifestation of god in goat form, etc.
2. Claim they channel communication from god, an extraterrestrial, an extra dimensional entity, a hybrid, etc.
3. Claims that the world is going to end in the near future, that aliens are going to destroy the world, that the apocalypse is nigh.
4. Claims that the world will only be saved through genocide or the subjugation of groups other than the one to which they belong.
5. Claims that anyone who disagrees with them is an enemy and part of the shadow conspiracy that is out to destroy them.
6. Claims that reptilians are part of the shadow conspiracy that is actually running the world. (see 5)
7.Claims that they have been given the blueprints for a new human society/culture. (see 1 & 2)

The only problem with this is I could probably go on and on (ad nauseum) and still not cover every possible scenario. There might be some useful guidance in some of the serious literature on cults, and since cults have already been discussed in this thread, checking out some of the literature seems like a logical next step.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby m0r1arty » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:23 am

Jared Lee Loughner; the 22 year old man who shot Gabrielle Gifford, Democratic congresswoman for Arizona through the head which later killed her and wounded at least 15 others and killed 5 other people is a perfect example of one of the lunatic fringe that must fall under the ward of conspiracy websites.

Reddit has a good piece which displays much of his online life including his affiliations with some fringe forums.

His alledged YouTube channel.

His alledged ATS profile.

Again I state that those who empower those to drift idly in lies, deceit and fabrication are just as responsible for the actions of these drifters as a bullet is for the actions of a gun.

Proper education and utilising group dynamics to form a sense of community and belonging are what is required.

Spare the rod of critical thinking and spoil the inner psychotic brat.

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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby Access Denied » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:48 am

Speak of the Devil...

A look inside the mind of erad3 (most-likely Jared Loughner)
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread649091/pg1

Bill Irvine wrote:The postings of "erad3" reveal someone who clearly has many questions for which answers have been elusive if not outright impossible to obtain. And despite the best efforts by many of our members, it seemed there were no answers to be found here for which he was satisfied. […]

Topics authored by erad3:
All aboard with the empty NASA Space Shuttles! (July 13, 2010)
Did NASA Fake the Mars Rovers? (July 12, 2010)
Infinite Source Of Currency!?!? (July 8, 2010)
Why is the year infinite in the date? (July 7, 2010)

There appear to be no clues in these postings (the last on July 13th, 2010) that would raise any kind of "red flag" (at the time) beyond someone struggling with unanswered questions.

While reiterating the date of the last thread he posted as opposed to the last time he logged in, Bill attempts to wash his hands of any responsibility whatsoever for the unsubstantiated material he solicits and antisocial behavior he promotes by constructing a straw man. The issue isn’t whether or not anyone took him seriously. The issue is ATS’s “stock in trade” that he took seriously…

Friends tell of Ariz. suspect's anger, paranoia
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40996934/ns ... nd_courts/

New World Order
Mistrust of government was Loughner's defining conviction, the friends said.

He believed the U.S. government was behind 9/11, and worried that governments were maneuvering to create a unified monetary system ("a New World Order currency" one friend said) so that elites and bureaucrats could control the rest of the world.

Is this not precisely the mindset that ATS promotes?

Loughner expressed his interest in grammar and logic on the Internet as he made bizarre claims — such as that the Mars rover and the space shuttle missions were faked.

He frequently used "if-then" constructions in making nonsensical arguments. For instance: "If the living space is able to maintain the crews life at a temperature of -454F then the human body is alive in the NASA Space Shuttle. The human body isn't alive in the NASA Space Shuttle. Thus, the living space isn't able to maintain the crews life at a temperature of -454F."

It should be noted in this case ATS wasn’t mentioned as the source of this “content found in more than 4,000 Google search returns (including some pages in the mainstream press)” that Bill felt the need to mention… at least he won’t be able to profit from this one.

Kudos to m0r for denying ignorance…

m0r1arty wrote:As I've been saying for some time now, if you promote the wealth of those who lack mental health then you are as much to blame for their actions as they are.

Whilst there are still people claiming to be aliens, prophets, gods and other entities which they cannot back up with evidence (and some have tried - bless them) ATS attracts people who need protections.

Alongside these vulnerable folk are the wolves, those who seek to gain either financially or through having their ego stoked. All those with their religions, books, DVDs and pay-for websites are herding the vulnerable towards lining their pockets.

Say what you will about civility, decorum or sceptics - I've never seen any of their actions lead to murder or preying on the vulnerable. Playground politics is where people learn that acting like a fool in public gets them called fools by those who say what they see. Censoring or making life problematic for those who only wish to help those lost or looking for answers means that you are furthering the propaganda of insanity.

It's not the first time that an ATS member has turned to murder and I'm sure it will not be the last.

Just remember that silencing those who correct the behaviour of miscreants and harbouring radical concepts which promote potentially dangerous actions places blame squarely at this site.

Deny ignorance is more like ignore denials around here some days.

There is a lot of good work done here - but it leaves no room for incidents like the one Jared undertook. An incident which could have been prevented if adults, particularly those with apparent authority around here, acted like adults.

Sad day, but hopefully a lesson well learned.

-m0r

Well said Sir, I'm impressed.

For those who don't know, Jess Weise is the other ATS member that turned to murder...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Weise

It seems clear the vast majority of the membership is in denial… no doubt due in no small part to the influence of their “fearless” leader out to make a buck off of them.

Luck wrote:There might be some useful guidance in some of the serious literature on cults, and since cults have already been discussed in this thread, checking out some of the literature seems like a logical next step.

Agreed.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby ryguy » Tue Jan 11, 2011 3:06 pm

m0r1arty wrote:Again I state that those who empower those to drift idly in lies, deceit and fabrication are just as responsible for the actions of these drifters as a bullet is for the actions of a gun.


EXACTLY. Very well written! People often wonder why we feel so passionately about correcting the wrongs of scammers that manipulate delusional beliefs for their benefit - but it goes further than that. As you point out, simply empowering those people to entertain their delusional thoughts is just as bad, no matter how noble the reasons you use to convince yourself that it's okay. Rather than assist them with their wild speculations, help them to properly question those wild conspiracies and to properly seek answers based on evidence rather than baseless rumor and fear.

Critical thought is a way of life just like exercise, once people start doing it in one area of their life, they'll start doing it everywhere. But just like exercise, if people are idle and lazy about accepting "information" that they read - the mind will simply take on a life of its own (if it's already unstable), because it has no point of reference to use as a foundation for reality.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby Access Denied » Wed Jan 12, 2011 7:24 am

Access Denied wrote:…at least he won’t be able to profit from this one.

Just when I thought Bill couldn’t go any lower…

SkepticOverlord wrote:
whyamIhere wrote:Site Owner...You are very close to a traffic explosion.

I would much rather this event have never happened and our traffic remain normal. Seriously.

Oh really? Then why did Bill contact the Washington Post...

Jared Lee Loughner apparently sought community online at Abovetopsecret.com
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/co ... 03558.html

The Web site Abovetopsecret.com is a place where odd ideas are welcome: Its discussion threads ask questions about UFO sightings, evidence of God, and "How do you kill an alien zombie?"

Sounds so innocent with no mention of 9/11 among other things doesn’t it?

But it became an unwelcome place for a new user, who joined the site in early 2009 and called himself "Erad3." Now - based on the language in his postings, and information about where he logged on - the site's operators believe Erad3 was accused Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, 22.

So “unwelcome” he was a member for nearly two years?

"I'd go with 99 percent," said Bill Irvine, chief executive of the site's parent company, when asked how certain he was that Erad3 and Loughner were the same person.

Is Bill also 99% sure nothing he read on ATS had any influence on him whatsover?

The story of those postings - now compiled online at Abovetopsecret.com - adds new detail to the story of Loughner's apparent unraveling.

How convenient, nice of Bill to include a link.

In real life, friends say, Loughner had pushed away friends and alienated classmates with his odd behavior. After that, it appears, he sought a community online. But, in a gathering place for skeptics and conspiracy theorists, his views still brought ridicule - and even a plea for him to seek help.

Except for those skeptics who’ve been banned for not treating hoaxers and charlatans and their followers with the upmost “civility and decorum”…

[it should be noted the member who made a plea for him to seek help was banned too]

If there’s any doubt Bill contacted the press, this from Slate…

[owned by the Washington Post]

Loughner on War, UFOs, and 'Corporate Prison'
http://www.slate.com/blogs/blogs/weigel ... rison.aspx

The conspiracy discussion website AboveTopSecret claims that "anecdotal evidence" suggests that a frequent poster on the site, Erad3, was Jared Loughner.

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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby ryguy » Wed Jan 12, 2011 12:54 pm

Wow. That's just...

I'm just disgusted. COMPLETELY disgusted.

I had some of my doubts before about a lot of the *really* bad things people were saying about ATS - but this is 100% confirmation that the site is all about embracing ignorance so long as it draws in the crowds.

Unbelievable.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby jjflash » Sun Jan 23, 2011 5:13 pm

m0r1arty wrote:This thread isn't about any website in particular or incident, but please feel free to post stories that might be considered relevant as a reply.


In April of 2005, a man named Allison Lamont Norman went on a manic shooting rampage that left two people dead and four wounded. Why? His lawyer said he believed he was protectng his daughter from being abducted by aliens.

An AP article may be viewed at:

http://www.the-two-malcontents.com/2007 ... y-defense/

I have not yet been able to directly link Norman to any particular alien abduction researchers, irrationally pro-ETH websites, UFO-related public meetings, or similar such circumstances. If any of you know of such circumstances in Norman's case, I would very much appreciate a heads up.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby Luck » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:51 am

jjflash wrote:I have not yet been able to directly link Norman to any particular alien abduction researchers, irrationally pro-ETH websites, UFO-related public meetings, or similar such circumstances. If any of you know of such circumstances in Norman's case, I would very much appreciate a heads up.


There is a pretty good description of the events leading up to the incident in the court ruling that overturned his death sentence. According to the description of events, there was a lot happening in this guy's life, but no mention of an increased and sustained interest in the fringes (forums, authors, etc.). Apparently he was already acting erratically (behavior aggravated by drug use) before watching an episode of the X-Files that became the basis for his delusions regarding aliens. The docs can be found here:http://courts.delaware.gov/opinions/%280d4zy355zwqwbg55jk32a055%29/download.aspx?ID=123140

ryguy wrote:I had some of my doubts before about a lot of the *really* bad things people were saying about ATS - but this is 100% confirmation that the site is all about embracing ignorance so long as it draws in the crowds


Don't forget about refusing to be held accountable for feeding the deluded.

So anywho...I did some additional reading on cults and The Cult Information Centre in the UK has some interesting summary information:
"If someone becomes an unwitting member of a cult then clearly the suggestion is that the person becomes a victim of psychological coercion. The techniques of mind control are many and varied and comprise a list of 26 as follows:

Hypnosis
Peer Pressure
Love Bombing
Rejection of Old Values
Confusing Doctrine
Metacommunication
Removal of Privacy
Time Sense Deprivation
Disinhibition
Uncompromising Rules
Verbal Abuse
Sleep Deprivation
Replacement of Relationships
Chanting
Confession
Financial Commitment
Finger Pointing
Flaunting Hierarchy
Isolation
Controlled Approval
Change of Diet
Games
No Questions
Guilt
Fear
Dress Codes

The average cult uses a combination of the majority of the above described techniques, which result in a potential recruit being broken down physically and mentally and made highly vulnerable to suggestion. This pressure usually continues to a breaking point referred to as 'snapping' by Conway and Siegelman (Conway & Siegelman, Snapping. New York: Delta Books, l979). After snapping, the subject is left in a state of hyper suggestibility where the critical ability is severely impaired. Simultaneously there is usually a sudden personality change, a change for the worse.

It is this change of personality and the relative inability of the subject to critically evaluate, that provokes family and friends of the average victim to react. Unless they are given some guidance in how to cope, the cult member will rapidly become more and more alienated from them."
found here: http://www.cultinformation.org.uk/article_cult-concerns.html

I find it particularly interesting that the "hyper suggestibility" described above is described elsewhere as
... one of the most common concomitants of psychosis and other severe mental disorders. It is a psychological state induced by a void demanding fulfillment; an intellectual or emotional vacuum inherently abhorrent to human nature; a desperate desire to decode, decipher or attach sometimes fantastic significance to unbearable chaos and confusion; an anxious grasping at straws of missing meaning due to decimating emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual upheaval.
Even more interesting is that the quote comes from an article is Psychology Today titled "Radical Embitterment: The Unconscious Psychology of Terrorists (Part Two)" found here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evil-deeds/200912/radical-embitterment-the-unconscious-psychology-terrorists-part-two
In reading the article, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was obviously having very severe problems which may have made him more vulnerable to indoctrination. It doesn't seem like that much of a stretch to compare him to Mr. Loughner in that they both were obviously suffering from psychological disorders that made them more susceptible.
However, after this additional reading, I have to wonder. I believe that Mr. Loughner was going to snap, and in the absence of the conspiracy theories, he could have easily latched on to something else that would have fueled his delusions and violence. I believe it was his deteriorating state of mind that led him to the conspiracy theories that he ultimately embraced.
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby m0r1arty » Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:26 am

Luck wrote:I believe that Mr. Loughner was going to snap, and in the absence of the conspiracy theories, he could have easily latched on to something else that would have fueled his delusions and violence. I believe it was his deteriorating state of mind that led him to the conspiracy theories that he ultimately embraced.


An interesting concept indeed Luck. Firstly thanks for all that superb info you posted. Some real good mental chews to keep my brain busy with there.

Now whether or not Jared would have snapped without conspiracy theories and would have found something else to fuel his delusions and violence. I can't deny it's entirely possible that this could be the case. I would like to put forward another possibility though...

The concept of nature versus nurture though has grown from simple things like genome based determination and environmental factors and their influence on the self to the idea of each adapting to provide the self with the best skills available for them to survive (This is explained quite nicely in the 'Zeitgeist: Moving forward' film early on).

I put it to you that Jared Loughner was the product of a isolated, drug fuelled, over-controlled, media hype frenzied consumerist society which cannot continue to exist in it's current state without destroying itself. His self-efficacy led him to conspiracy sites which did not supply the answers his brain was begging for to allow for the propagation of his species and instead adopted answers which weren't directed at him or his incapable way of asking questions (another by-product of his society) which formed into the concept to kill.

Had he been born on a tropical island with friends, social amusements, little stress, a good diet and a history of family members or neighbours performing feats of brilliance being recounted at festivals and gatherings would he still have cracked?

We cannot say either for sure but we do know that the presented zenith of existence is shown to each society as being that of the other. Rich tropical islanders are encourage to buy into brands and Western culture whilst rich Consumers find solace on isolated tropical islands exploring 'developing' cultures. The poor from each culture will most likely never know what it is to be a tourist.

As globalisation continues to expand and the 'money' generated continues to 'develop' foreign lands we might see more people like Jared - who's main focus in his conspiracies was the fallacy of money and the distribution of equality. With sweatshops built alongside schools and NGOs developing English and computing skills it won't be long before everyone will have access to the internet and what is upon it.

I still stipulate that conspiracy sites and other fringe sites which attract inquisitive and potentially vulnerable minds should be held accountable for what their membership doles out as factual and/or acceptable forms of revolution. Now the higher ranking the site (and the revenue due to that business model) the easier to find. Either distribute that revenue into a proper monitoring and quality control system which flushes out parasitic members and lunatic stories whilst maintaining a clear culture of abstract discussion on all things conspiratorial or use that revenue to line the pockets of lawyers to represent you when what you reap what you sow.

It's easy to blame it on the other guy, not so much when there are no other guys to blame it on.

-m0r
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby RICH-ENGLAND » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:10 am

Great posting guys.

and i agree with it all, ill just add a couple of points i made in other threads as they may bare more relevance here.

first off ill start by saying that these are just my opinions and observations, i could be wrong, im not trying to insult anyone or put them down and im also not saying that everyone belongs in the category im about to discuss.

i have recently watched a lot of documentaries on the paranormal etc including many episodes of penn and tellers bull****. it struck me that many of the people that believe things easily and most notably those that make abduction claims seem to be awkward social misfits and seem to be trying to make themselves look or feel special maybe to gain social acceptance or in the case of ghost/psychic phenomenon a lot were very vulnerable grieving people that had lost someone that they highly depended on.

does tv just choose people like this to try to portray us all as either vulnerable or as crackpots?. i dont know!.

as well as this i found it quite concerning in my time on ats at the amount of people that are clearly worryingly delusional and paranoid, and i mean to the point where i got the feeling a fair few were at tipping point!.

just a couple of cases to mention, judy faltskog in my opinion is a danger to herself and others, she will stop at nothing to get her way and protect her lies including insulting the deceased and is in my opinion in need of help.

we also discovered that one of her supporters that made all sorts of rants in that thread was a a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic on medication.

and during my involvement in the new york sightings thread one member kept sending me private messages with some seriously paranoid rantings and truly believed i was a government agent because i kept presenting evidence to disprove the alleged sightings.

alison kruse also appears to fit the bill as being unwell.

now is the ufo/paranormal community mainly made up of people like this? i dont honestly know, maybe im just picking up on the few because they stand out.

do these subjects cause paranoia and delusions or just help feed them?, again i dont know, probably a bit of both.

but anyway yes i do think that websites and other media dealing with such subjects have a very serious obligation to try to keep things in check as best they can and not help to feed paranoia and delusions, as well as not taking advantage of the needy and vulnerable.

and as for bill aka skepticoverlord going out of his way to promote his website on the back of the deaths of innocent people, well that is just the worst of the worst....

thanks

rich
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby Access Denied » Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:12 am

Fascinating discussion, pardon the brief interruption...

m0r1arty wrote:Had he been born on a tropical island with friends, social amusements, little stress, a good diet and a history of family members or neighbours performing feats of brilliance being recounted at festivals and gatherings would he still have cracked?

I don’t know but I suspect the odds would have been significantly reduced. If not I’m afraid we truly are headed (pun intended) for extinction… natural selection works in mysterious ways.

Speaking of brain food, wanted to add this to m0r's shopping list...

Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/m ... easteading

We now return you to our regularly scheduled deprogramming...
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Re: The responsibility of forums regarding the vulnerable

Postby m0r1arty » Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:37 am

Access Denied wrote:Fascinating discussion, pardon the brief interruption...
I don’t know but I suspect the odds would have been significantly reduced. If not I’m afraid we truly are headed (pun intended) for extinction… natural selection works in mysterious ways.


I was eluding to the fact that chances are a lot slimmer in a place where a stressful situation occurs only a few times a year and is quickly remedied through collective community assistance. I was also eluding to the fact that as consumerism grows I expect locations where people have such savage luxuries will diminish and we'll have no where free of constant advertising and the need to work so we can shop till we drop.

Which leads nicely onto:

Access Denied wrote:Speaking of brain food, wanted to add this to m0r's shopping list...

Live Free or Drown: Floating Utopias on the Cheap
http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/m ... easteading


He's the third generation of acknowledged progressive thinkers. I personally think not only will his idea require a lot of materials and have a massive environmental impact on that 70% of the Earth he seems to think is real estate waiting to happen. But I also don't think any differencing form of governance will come from that of our ancestors.

Which is to say there'll be war.

There's an old Italian phrase which stipulates it takes 1 man to start an empire, his son to build it up and his son's son to destroy it. Perhaps this Patri Friedman will obliterate what his father and grandfather have sought to create - again, who knows?

Rich, thanks for the publicly stated examples of people on the apparent fringe of mental health. They do further the point of social responsibility of those who would profit from these user generated messages and their associations with those who read those messages from their provided portal, based on a business model for highest page ranking, and then commit a crime due to that message.

Now whilst giving an untrained analysis over the internet based on posts may not be the most exacting way of determining someone's mental state - it's all the evidence available at that time. And when further evidence arises from beyond the mere words typed out that certain demographics were met by said person and that a crime against someone else was committed by them and it's now news in itself then your basic surmisal of their mental acuity must be given merit. It's a public duty and common sense to preserve sanctity and keep crime out of society as much as we can.

So when I read two conflicting views from that website you mentioned Rich stating:

Originally posted by neformore
Calling people you don't know mentally unsound isn't it.


In reply to my stating:

Oringally posted by m0r1arty
I look for civility, I look for decorum and yet all I find are people populating a thread with wild claims which generate traffic for some other website full of vulnerable (and possibly mentally unsound) people.


and

Originally posted by neformore
Its not about "balanced outcomes".

Its about personal responsibility.

A Intrepid once put it YOU are responsible for your posts


I have to think for myself; They profit from my posts and it's my responsibility to discern what is appropriate however I can't state what I want which conflicts with my personal responsibility to protect the general public from potential harm from mentally unsound people due to their rules - which surely then makes it their responsibility ergo this thread.

The fact that between that and a thread by Springer a few weeks later (now retitled) which also pointed the stick at sceptical minds pretty much culled all intelligent postings from there by either banning or chasing off responsible criticism on relevant topics means that not only has that particular site promoted ignorance and stopped the resolution of education but they have also furthered potentially mentally unsound people to share stories which could lead to...well another murder, cult, mass murder or worse.

That is only one site, and whilst it is a high ranking site for many searches on the internet it's not the only one. Other sites have a similar duty to protect their members and the general public from those who will be attracted to clandestine, paranormal and conspiratorial subjects.

I do think a decent lawyer could make a valid go at reimbursing a victim or living relative of someone who has fallen foul of the subjective, emotionally riled and irrational environment which has been farmed there seemingly purposefully.

Phew - that went on a bit didn't it?

-m0r
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