Category: Social Media

BULLSHIT DETECTION 101

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Warning, this post will use the word “bullshit” a lot. Like, a lot!

 

At this point, it doesn’t really matter which of the various tips and tricks you use to prevent yourself from passively believing bullshit as long as you do something and start now. The Internet, and social media in particular, have made the old ways of avoiding cranks and crack pots nearly impossible. Rather than seeing them screaming on the streets or in front of you at Wendy’s reciting the Magna Carta to the manager they are online explaining their demon alien 9/11 conspiracy theory on YouTube with flashy graphics and/or an oddly compelling one-sided argument. So now, rather than crossing the street, averting your eyes, or quietly praying that the crank will get out of line so you can order your meal, you watch and listen to unmitigated nonsense in the comfort of your own home, thinking “hmm, maybe Monster energy drinks are from Satan or evil demon aliens did 9/11 to distract America from Obama being the secret gay muslim Antichrist.” Oh, just in case you think I am making up the above example …

 

Here ya go! Not that flashy or compelling, but one example among many.

Well, say you never fell that far down the rabbit-hole, but every day the line between what’s real and what is ideological twaddle is growing more and more blurry. Though the causes are many and various, the solutions are as well. Pick from as many as you can, both here and in the list of external links at the bottom, but make this be the year you that you stop letting bullshit infect your brain.

I call myself a “recovering conspiracy theorist,” it’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but it does describe my past acceptance of various ideologically driven hypothetical bullshit and rejection of cold-hard facts that disagreed with my point-of-view. This meant that I accepted the premise of an elite establishment covertly holding the reigns of global power while puppet regimes conduct what appeared to be a legitimate system of governance … but only when my side wasn’t in power. This internal bias blinded me to facts that made my political stances inconvenient. I quickly accepted, and vigorously argued for, any kernel of semi-plausible concept that could insulate me from those less-than-palletable facts. In essence, I was able to see the world in simpler ideological terms due to a thick layer of bullshit as insulation.

I use myself as an example because, once I realized I was operating within a system of unmitigated hyperbole and baseless hypotheticals that support my opinions but are not supported by facts, I had to make a decision. I had to decide if the truth mattered. That is the question most people don’t realize they have to ask themselves every time they spread a rumor or forward a link or meme that seems believable and is either for their ideology or vilifies someone in the opposition … every time, they have to ask themselves “Do I want to be honest and thoughtful in what I put out in the world, or am I okay being full of shit?”

Bullshit Detection 101

Part 1: Know thy Self, and thine own bullshit

Being full of shit is easy. Being honest, truthful, and thoughtful is hard. I should know, I was a well-renowned bullshit artist in my day (which is a separate thing altogether from being a conspiracy theorist, believe me). I had more than a few people call me on my bullshit, that’s because they had adequate levels of bullshit detection, still more had no ability to sniff out the BS and fell victim. Just because I spewed out a lot of bullshit didn’t mean I was immune to putting my foot in it. That old phrase “You can’t bullshit a bullshitter” is, in my opinion, total bullshit. Luckily, there are tools at our collective disposal.

The first step in bullshit detection, working hard to not being full of shit yourself.

The internal sources of bullshit may be the hardest to detect. The most important thing to remember is that everyone has biases. The bias a person has may come from early childhood experience,  the biases of family members or significant others, or developed over a period of months or years. Even though everyone has some biases, that doesn’t mean that everyone lets their biases go unchecked. The best way of checking internal bias is to know what those biases are and take regular effort to challenge those biased assumptions with factual information and strive to be honest with one’s self. When you take an honest inventory of your beliefs, where they come from and the effects they have on you or others, it is possible to take steps towards improvement and, thus, a better bullshit detector (yes, this sounds a bit like a 12-step program, but the only Higher Power I am promoting here is the Truth).

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Here’s a quote from a dead guy, but it’s really just an opinion.

 

Being honest with yourself may be hard to accomplish, but it’s worth it.

 

Part 2: Discerning Between Information, Misinformation, and Disinformation.

Yes, there are different types of bullshit.

First off, it is important to describe factual information before we talk about what is not factual. Briefly, a fact-based claim is any claim backed by factual evidence that is not skewed to mislead.

No matter what the source is, disinformation is the deliberate misrepresentation to mislead others. Russian dezinformatsiya (disinformation) took misleading stories to an art form. Dezinformatsiya was artful propaganda meant to delude the general public into believing what was not true. Regardless of the source, with the recent increase in awareness that fake news stories can have to influence the public, a deeper understanding of this type of bullshit is needed. One thing that is extremely important to understand is that disinformation is not a one-to-one exchange; it’s spread through various channels, many of whom having no inkling of the falsity of the claims they are promoting. Unwitting news agencies, friends, neighbors, and colleagues could all be spreading bullshit unbeknownst to you and to them. Even before it gets to word-of-mouth (or social media post), there’s layers to the shit.

 

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This is all before it hits your uncle’s Facebook page.

 

Now, the unwitting carriers of bullshit are obviously not intentionally trying to mislead you. Far from it. They heard or saw some article of news or gossip and are repeating it as fact. The unfortunate thing here is that the skills you practice as a good detector of bullshit may put you in conflict with your friendly bullshit carriers. It’s not your job to tell your friend that what they are saying is bullshit, at least not until you have made absolutely sure whether the thing they are saying is true or false.

Here’s how to proceed.

 

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Be nice to the kitteh and tell us where you heard it!

 

When a person makes a wildly sensational claim, the first thing you should do is ask where this information came from. If they cite there source as “a friend of a friend,” then you should deem the claim non-verifiable and, since you can’t prove it to be true, disregard.

If their source is a news story, then it is normally a good idea to actually find that news story and read it, don’t just believe it out of hand. See what sources that news story use. If they are claiming that, for instance Obama is a secret muslim (a popular one for the last few years), and the news article cites a few sketchy memes, a rambling YouTube video, and/or another article with no credible sources; it is probably time to disregard.

 

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I can’t just take your word for it. That’s not how we do things anymore.

 

 

Okay, say you saw what you thought was pretty good evidence. The memes and YouTube vids were pretty convincing! Well, you may well be believing a one-sided skewed view of a subject. If you seek truth and not just reassurance, it is necessary to try to disprove a claim, not simply to reinforce it. Most memes are one-sided. All conspiracy YouTube videos are one-sided, even though they pretend to be “just asking questions” (eg. “Is Queen Elizabeth an immortal shapeshifter and the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s The Jabberwocky?”). The problem is a lack of falsifiability, or ability for a claim to be proven false. The use of cherry-picked coincidences, loose-associations, numerology and magical thinking or coincidental timing as “proof” leaves anyone to make any claim and use any means they choose to “prove” that claim. In this world, nothing is real, all fantasy is just as “true” as the fundamental laws of nature. In that case, why take a plane when you can teleport?

If a claim of any magnitude cannot be either proven with evidence, or made falsifiable with evidence, it should most likely be disregarded. Just because a person is misinformed, or heard a hypothetical that they believed wholeheartedly, doesn’t mean that they are stupid. We all have the capacity to believe bullshit from time to time, and should treat each other with respect. If a claim is made that you know to be wrong, it may be appropriate to tell the person making the claim of your awareness, but that doesn’t mean that they will listen.

 

Part 3: WTF Internet?

All of the above examples can happen in real interactions and online. The massive disinformation and conspiracy theories are remarkably similar to small town gossip or rumors. A lie can spread faster than the truth. This is not something the Internet created. The Internet, especially with the advent of social media, just made the process go a lot further and faster.

Before the telephone and telegraph, people had to meet in person or write letters to spread rumors. Books and broadsides promoted conspiracy theories, but at a much slower pace than we have today. Before television, it was generally text or still images used to add depth to a sensational story. Before the Internet, however, people still were very able to promote propaganda, sow the seeds of scapegoating and witch hunts. It isn’t as if echo-chambers were invented by Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Now, a flashy combination of text and image, spoken word and videos with swift transitions and slash-cut edits can dazzle the subconscious while slyly persuading the reader and/or viewer. It is more than human consciousness has ever had to contend with before.

That’s not to say that the Internet is not also the source of immense new tools for bullshit detection. Google Scholar allows for up-to-date scientific fact-checking materials, some of it beyond the pay-wall but not all. Basic science facts are available through trustworthy websites.

Efforts are being made now to expose fake news purveyors, but that will never really be enough. Everyone needs to strive for greater information literacy and critical discernment. In other words, knowing when more information is required and when something is complete bullshit.

Good Luck.

 

External Resources:

Scott Berkun’s blog “How to Detect Bullshit.

Baloney Detection Kit” adapted from Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World.

YOUR BALONEY DETECTION KIT SUCKS” is a vital and modern rebuttal to Sagan’s “Baloney Detection Kit” (using some of the best hyperbole there is, but still a relevant refutation). Remember, logical fallacies are only relevant when dealing with rational arguments, or arguing people.

On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit” by Pennycook, Cheyne, et al. 2015.

An anonymously created public Google Doc giving a list of fake and hoax news sites.

Neil Postman’s “Bullshit and the Art of Crap-Detection

The Bla Bla Meter” helps you take a good look at your own writing (and the writing of others) and see how much bullshit filler and nonsense is in it.

Here is a plugin for several browsers that helps warn of questionable sources.

… And a CBC news story on the creator of the plugin.

When all else fails, including all the advice above, revisit the Golden Sentences of Democrates. A few examples include:

It is beautiful to impede an unjust man; but, if this be not possible, it is beautiful not to act in conjunction with him.

It is necessary to be a speaker of the truth, and not to be loquacious.

Fools frequently become wise under the pressure of misfortunes.

What can we learn from PizzaGate?

The subject of fake and hoax news stories, including Russian disinformation (what they refer to as dezinformatsiya) has done a great deal to change the way modern society works. Conspiracy theorists are now more trusted than actual news sources and more and more, people can’t tell the difference between total bullshit, biased reporting, or a fair news report that just happens to disagree with their point of view. This has led to a massive shift in public opinion and likely had a significant effect on the election of Donald Trump.

One incident that serves as a perfect example, is “PizzaGate.” One of the most sensational fake news stories that was spread virally through social media was the claim that a child sex ring was ran by Hillary Clinton and/or her campaign manager John Podesta out of a Washington D.C. pizzeria named Comet Ping Pong. The story was absorbed into the anti-Hillary fervor during the 2016 Presidential election. The conspiracy theory has its origins in leaked Podesta emails about food, including an email regarding the restaurant itself. The hashtag #PizzaGate spread the rumor, alleging the pizzeria’s menu had secret codes that were used by pedophiles to order sex. Conspiracy theorists quickly linked Podesta and Comet Ping Pong to the belief in a group of elite pedophile occultists secretly ruling the world (this is a recurring theme in Illuminati conspiracy theories).

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One of many #pizzagate memes spread amongst believers on Facebook.

The story leapt from Internet crazy to real-life danger when one man, inspired by word-of-mouth retellings of the PizzaGate rumors decided to drive six hours to Comet Ping Pong to investigate. The man, 28 year old Edgar Madison Welch of Salisbury, NC drove from his home to Washington D.C. with a handgun and semi-automatic rifle. Once in D.C., Welch says he abruptly shifted his plans. Instead of “investigating,” Welch decided to come armed with his semi-automatic to “rescue the children.” There were no children held in the pizzeria and Welch surrendered peacefully. Though Welch now feels he acted in haste, he does not believe that the accusations of a pedophile ring in a pizza place were wrong, but that the child sex slaves must be elsewhere.

“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent”

– Edgar Madison Welch

This story is not new. Mass media being used to spread rumors and innuendo leading to acts of violence now even has its own specific term, stochastic terrorism. The problem is, this is likely to prove a very simplistic and skewed understanding of this new world of digital misinformation, the way this relates to the culture wars, and their potential for inspiring political violence.

It wasn’t just that a massive wave of new internet and social media users that changed the impact of social media in the political discourse, but increasing numbers of rural residents and the elderly are logging on to social media. The YouTube video above illustrates another aspect of this is also a chance for religious extremists to spread their worldview; promoting their belief in a Satanic conspiracy in the highest levels of government (always surrounding Democrats for some reason).

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It isn’t just Russian hackers and hucksters spreading leaked and potentially doctored emails alongside fake news stories, dezinformatsiya, and sensational clickbait. Certainly Russians were heavily involved in the 2016 US Election, as well as the Brexit vote, and helped promote and fund various European Far-Right movements but there is still quite a bit of confusion (and denial on the part of the incoming President) as to the level of the Russian interference, the intent, and the actual Russian entity or entities doing the meddling. State actor or bored Runet users, the goal of destroying the “Western Empire” has long been the stated objective of Eurasianists and the election of Donald Trump is only one step in a process of destabilizing their ideological rivals.

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There is a cultural legacy of placing special relevance given to word-of-mouth information and advice. People share rumors, opinions and what news they feel is important whether other options exist or not. It is a folkway, a traditional mode of doing information spreading. The fact that you can now do it online has made for an interesting parallel to word-0f-mouth communication. Now people can spread news stories (with or without fact checking) which people either read in full or just check the headline. The town gossip of old is now the Facebook conspiracy theory super-spreader and the Internet, as the story of Pizzagate can attest, has the potential to become a pernicious rumor mill. Only now, with social media, the power to spread rumors has much greater arsenal than the town gossip; YouTube videos, memes, and private Facebook groups make the production of a one-sided conspiracy worldview both easy and potent.

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A tweet mocking the PizzaGate controversy.

Social theory in the Twentieth Century noted an increase in secularization due presumably to modernity. The term disenchantment of the world coined by Max Weber became an important aspect of conceptualizing the modern world. Now, with social media, the return to the old folkways of social information spreading and fewer barriers between conspiracy theory and millions of people ideologically primed to believe; we are seeing what can only be described as a re-enchantment. The technology this time has led to greater potential for the spread of supernatural claims. The hypothetical has replaced the demonstrable as the most revered level of information. The post-fact era, as it has been called, may also be the era of multiple mass-hysterias, new witch hunts, and a new technological dark age.

Related story from Right Wing Watch: Alex Jones: ‘Hillary Clinton Has Personally Murdered And Chopped Up And Raped’ Children.

Infected by Thread: Morgellons, Echo-Chambers and Aggregate Social Movements

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It could almost be said that considering the issue of Morgellons is irrelevant, but it isn’t. It illustrates a fundamental flaw in contemporary information culture and its effects.

Morgellons is another in a long line of internet inspired imaginary illnesses. Wi-fi allergy, electromagnetic radiation poisoning, and the ever-popular vaccine related illnesses that have been promoted vigorously online for years. Morgellons is just another example. The Morgellons, as they are called by those who believe they or someone they know has them, are sores that contain foreign matter, specifically thread or wire. The belief is that this foreign matter is some sort of viral infection and not the introduction of foreign matter due to improper care of sores. The sores, for their part, are believed to be connected to these ‘filamentous organisms’ (strings or fibers) burrowing itself intentionally into the skin.

Now, if you read that and thought to yourself that this must be a joke … it is not!

People believe that Morgellons exist and that they are infected by these sentient fibers. What’s more, they have successfully petitioned legitimate medical professionals into investigating their perceived symptoms. WebMD launched its page on the subject in 2015, as did Mayo Clinic on April 1st. The CDC concluded that this ‘unexplained dermopathy‘ had a highly probable causal link to the patients’ mental state.

Neuropsychological testing revealed a substantial number of study participants who scored highly in screening tests for one or more co-existing psychiatric or addictive conditions, including depression, somatic concerns (an indicator of preoccupation with health issues), and drug use.

Despite the apparently obvious psychological diagnosis, delusional parasitosis, the echo-chamber of self-diagnosed cases, their more enabling significant others, and the web of alternative medicine profiteers invariably find one another and create a localized community and economy; even more concisely unified by the rejection of their claims by the so-called ‘establishment’ medical community.

It just so happens, though, that the number of social media echo-chambers is increasing to a state approaching critical mass. Individual echo-chambers tend to push members to further extremity of belief. This extremism should, necessarily, separate them from the mean of social life. This is becoming less and less the case and the reason is due, in part, to the fact that so many of these echo-chambers have similar views as to why they’re boutique issues and often nonsensical beliefs are not accepted within the mainstream of society. The answer, of course, is a vast conspiracy.

Say there are ten such independent communities online. Some believe they are being gang-stalked, others believe that they are allergic to electromagnetism, etc. They all feel that they are being deliberately ignored, or worse; harassed, by the powers that be. The Establishment, as they are known, is doing it to them and making it seem like they are crazy for speaking out. Those ten independent online communities can be seen, then, as a part of the growing aggregate anti-establishment social movement.

A quick search of Morgellons on Facebook shows 3,950 members in the largest group at this time. The largest gang-stalking group has 84,975 members. Electromagnetic sensitivity and wi-fi allergy are, understandably, not as popular in Facebook groups but well over 1,000 people were talking about the subject (something Facebook counts includes even if there is not a community group formed on the website). These numbers are fairly small, until you consider combining them with the number of people who believe that vaccines cause autism, that 9/11 was planned and executed by the U.S. Government, or any number of beliefs that necessarily create a fundamental distrust with the ‘Establishment’ powers that be.

The argument that all these beliefs are part of a larger social movement should not exactly news to anyone who thinks critically about conspiracy theories and their effect on society. Even culling these groups together and calling them an aggregate social movement is really just a turn of the phrase expressing something that seems self-evident. The new real takeaway should be that these hypothetical-illnesses-turned-radical-anti-establishment communities are not only growing and proving resistant to facts and research but that their number should only be expected to grow. The likelihood exists that a handful imaginary illnesses may eventually become commonplace, even normalized, in this modern and increasingly unscientifically oriented information society.

Why, you may ask, is this happening?

Maybe it’s obvious. The internet, itself, is a catalyst for social change, and that change has been both life-saving and disastrous. No greater information gathering and disbursing tool has forum has existed in the entirety of human history. And everyone’s invited; everyone with access to the internet has the ability to promote any belief they have, no matter how unfounded. The internet has proven also to be the most effective means for people to find each other and convince one another that their delusions are real by virtue of having other people say that they are.

If the question you were asking was actually, “Why does it matter?” then consider the cost of appeasing these disparate groups. That their needs are being met, or in dealing with the aftermath of their mistakes, hospital costs should be expected to soar and necessary services will be diverted in dealing with them. The fact that mental health services are so scant in modern-day America, for instance, means that all of these people with either flood emergency rooms or urgent care facilities or go doctor hunting until they find someone who will nod along with their delusion. The most likely end of which being not a medical professional, but a guru or healer willing to bilk the person and perhaps their family for all they can. As mental health remains an issue the Federal Government refuses to fund, and people with the internet self-diagnose delusional ailments as factual virus or allergy, nothing short of an exponential rise in such phenomena should be expected.

Blood of the Gods?

As with most conspiracy theories, the Rh Negative conspiracy theory has been interpreted and absorbed into Christian, Secular, and New Age conspiracy worldviews. This is a typical example of scientific ignorance turning into mystical pseudoscience,  and of how any pseudoscientific claim can become proof of a “big conspiracy” when belief is met with facts. At the center of the crazed Rh Negative freakout are basic misinterpretations of simple science, a poorly chosen term that caught on, and, for many, simply the will to believe.

RH NEGATIVE BLOOD = BLOOD OF THE GODS”

Will Rogers, MT33, PhD, B.S., AA., CPT, CLC*

*credentials could not be independently authenticated.

The belief in a divine blood type is simple enough, but first, you have to believe in a few specifics; namely, divinity and its literal physical transfer by blood. Seems simple enough, but not all religious tenets hold to this and even fewer scientific tenets (none, to be exact). Rather than being a subset of fringe or theoretical hematology, this is a byproduct of lay research without the aid of an actual expert or historian to correct those faulty assumptions any researcher can make without proper guidance and insight.

The Facts of the “factor.” The Rhesus or Rh factor, is an antigen that exists on the surface of red blood cells in most people. When  discussing the four general blood types, A, B, O and AB, they are also labeled as being with or without the Rh antigen, positive or negative. This references the Rhesus factor of the blood, either with or without the Rhesus factor. 85% of people are Rh+ and the remaining are, thus, Rh-. Rh factor is most relevant medically with regard to blood transfusions and during pregnancy as an Rh factor mix-match between mother and child can cause Rhesus (or Rh) disease. The danger during childbirth is what gave Rh Factor its name. When the first serum to prevent this disease (which was at the time unnamed) was produced and tested it was done using blood from a rhesus macaque monkey, and the blood factor the serum was derived from retained the name rhesus (Rh). Though Rh disease can have severe consequences for infant mortality if untreated, this is where the known impacts of Rh negative disposition end.

It is not clear when the belief in a super extra-normal or metaphysical attribution was first given to Rh negative blood. The first mention I can find occurred in an October 1976 issue of UFO’s Ancient Astronaut Magazine, in an article titled Blood of the Gods. A concise synopsis of the article would be, ‘my family has rhesus negative (Rh-) in our genetics and very high IQs, we may have alien DNA.’ The author mistakenly claims the Rhesus Factor is so named due to the factor being present in rhesus monkeys, having not known the history that gave the antigen serum and, thus, the blood factor their names. The article continues to claim that the Basque region of Spain boasts a higher than average Rh- population and suggests this may have been an alien colony. Aside from some gentle boasting and subtle racializing, this article is the first known print example of claiming Rh negative’s spooky alien derivations.

Now, the premise Rh Negative blood being somehow superhuman, apparently means very different things depending on what you believe and whether you have the Rh factor or not. The Rh Negative Registry Website lists several “origin theories” (none of which they endorse, per se). These include alien and mythic racial bloodlines, and a bloodline descending from Jesus. There are theories that involve Cro-Magnon Man, Four Jewish Mothers, Ancient Egyptians, Nazis and Scandinavians. All this is fun nonsensical chatter … until someone gets hurt!

To those who are Rh+ (or anyone who has no idea what their blood type and factor may be but just hear weird stuff about bloodlines and aliens), the various origin theories have led to peculiar fears and suspicions. Namely, the fear that Rh- people are human/alien hybrids. This proves to be a concern for some people with Rh negative blood who are being accused of being hybrids. This produces the potential for a real modern-day witchhunt that is already playing out online in chatrooms of conspiracy theory websites. Hopefully, education can stave off the potential for such violence, which is part of the reason for the Rh Negative Registry Website.

This is not a hypothetical threat, this is a real life problem that has already resulted in violence. Remember the movie They Live? Kyle Odom did. Kyle Odom also wrote a 21-page manifesto in which he explained why he needed to shoot Idaho pastor Tim Remington. A week after Pastor Tim conducted a very public prayer invocation at a campaign rally for then Presidential Candidate Ted Cruz, Tim was targeted and and shot multiple times by Odom. Odom, a former marine, later sent out a Facebook post explaining his motive, Pastor Tim was a Martian.

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Odom’s thoughts on Rh factor are not immediately known, but his belief in Martian mind-control and manipulation were well documented in his manifesto. Odom was later arrested after a manhunt and Pastor Tim recovered and returned to his church in Idaho, but the threat of violence based on total nonsense still exists.

As an aside, folks that believe in alien origin often use this story as a way of describing racial and ethnic difference, sometimes in the same breath as misquoting Bible verse and Apocrypha.

There is a significant religious conspiracy theory that centers on Rh- as well, but it may be less dangerous and more nonsensical than the threat of folks like Kyle Odom. The quote from Dr. Will Rogers (again, his credentials could not be independently verified) appeared at the beginning of a long, rambling Facebook post, replete with loose-associations and various Bible verses taken out of context. Here is a bit more of his post (read if you dare or scroll past):

The Secret Book of John

IS THIS THE SOURCE OF RH NEGATIVE BLOOD???????????

IRON AND CLAY SHOULD NOT MIX…………but they did
(Celestial / Fallen Angels and Terrestrial / Homo Sapiens )
“And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.” –Daniel 2:43(KJV)
Where did the Rh negatives come from? Why does the body of an Rh negative mother carrying an Rh positive child reject her own offspring?

If two Rh-Negative people try to have a baby it will usually die or be born a “BLUE Baby”, because it is not processing oxygen properly. That’s why they are called “Blue-Bloods” approximately 5% of the Earth’s population are currently Rh-Negatives.
From man’s primitive point of view, THESE creatures WERE gods! But that was early man’s point of view. Where they really gods? The ancient stories tell us, BUT, THESE STORIES WHERE TAKEN OUT OF THE BIBLE!

Rh-negative women and men have several”Unusual Traits” that Rh-positives don’t have. Some call these attributes…………….REPTILIAN!
Your blood type; A, B, AB, O / neg or pos is given to you so you can make an
ATONEMENT, TO COVER, TO PURGE, TO MAKE RECONCILIATION,TO PACIFY, ATONE OR PIT A TENT
OVER YOUR SOUL.
WHY?? What did your soul do that it needs make an atonement????????
That’s why the blood of Yahushuwah / Jesus was and is so important!
Rh-negative women and men have several “Unusual Traits” that Rh-positives don’t. Some call them “Reptilian Traits”.

WHERE DOES Rh Negative Blood come from? Most people with RH-negative blood have certain characteristics that seem to be common among the majority. Here is a brief list of the most common.
¨ Extra vertebra.
¨ Higher than average IQ
¨ More sensitive vision and other senses.
¨ Lower body temperature
¨ Higher blood pressure
¨ Increased occurrence of psychic/intuitive abilities
¨ Predominantly blue, green, or Hazel eyes
¨ Red or reddish hair
¨ Has increased sensitivity to heat and sunlight
¨ Cannot be cloned
¨ Alien Abduction and other unexplained phenomenon

A person with type O negative blood is considered to be a “Universal Donor”….ie….
UNIVERSAL BLOOD or original blood. It means YOUR BLOOD can be given to man, mankind (a kind of man) and human (hue=color or bent man),regardless of their blood type, without causing a transfusion reaction. “O” NEGATIVE BLOOD is………
OTHER WORLDLY ….IE …..NOT OF THIS WORLD!!!!!!!!

This collection of odd pseudo-science and pseudo-religious conjecture marks some of the more confusing claims about Rh- people and the Rh Negative blood factor. The belief that Rhesus Negative really means non-primate (which, again, was due to simple choice in nomenclature; read here and here) has led to several wild assumptions. The potential confusion that such a misnomer could cause, I am sure, they had not foreseen. Here’s hoping that the conflation of Rh Negative blood and extra-human origins ends or, at the very least, does not result in the harm of anyone, regardless of their blood type.

Full disclosure: I still have no idea of my blood type.

Anti-Media Trolls and the “Post-Fact Era” Society. — Lens and Frame

In a recent interview with Bloomberg’s Joel Stein, British tech editor and notorious internet troll Milo Yiannopoulis claimed that, among other things “We live in a post-fact era. It’s wonderful.” If there is any truth to the statement at all it stems from the effects of an ever-increasing level of access to information (factual and […]

via Anti-Media Trolls and the “Post-Fact Era” Society. — Lens and Frame

Conspirative Populism and the Fault in our Algorithms

The rise of Donald Trump, his popularity and preeminence in the 2016 Presidential Race, has confounded all who try to interpret it. Is it simply a case of ‘cult of personality’? Is this proof of a latent desire for totalitarianism? Could his fame really describe such a fantastic and unprecedented take-over of the American Political environment?

Though there is little doubt that all the above play a part. From a sociological point of view, he fits the Weberian model of the Charismatic Leader. Political scientists quickly point out the Nativism, Protectionism, Demagogy, and Right-Wing Populism apparent in Trump’s speeches, regularly attended by thousands of fans-turned-voters in large auditoriums across the country.

Simultaneously, several articles have been written about the wild conspiracy theories that Donald Trump has floated, either before or as a part of his Presidential bid. An original anti-Obama birther, his adoption of conspiracy theory conjecture and rhetoric is long established. Once an apparent death knell to any campaign, Donald Trump’s adoption of various conspiracy theories only seems to strengthen him and increase his supporters’ resolve.

From my perspective, this makes perfect sense.

Since 2014, I have studied conspiracy theories and the people that entertain them. Though many people may see each individual theory as both irrelevant and the population that either promotes or is interested in them as being scattered and inconsequential, this just is not the case. Not only do they largely adhere to the same general worldview, though the details of that worldview may change slightly from one individual to another, they could easily comprise a significant voting bloc when considered as an ideological whole.

It has recently been coming into clearer focus, the role social network algorithms and search engine algorithms play in promoting conspiracy theories. If one were to believe the concept of the zeitgeist (not to be confused with the conspiracy theory ‘documentary‘ series of the same name), one may believe that conspiracy theories are just part of the mindset that our age embodies. I, however, see things differently.

I started a new Facebook page with a fake name and fake information in late 2013. I included on my profile certain things that I ‘liked’ (i.e. X-Files, The Bible, and the television show Ancient Aliens). Along with keeping my own Facebook profile. The fake profile was soon invited to like the latest installment of the rapture-film series Left Behind, I clicked ‘like’. I was soon after invited to join a few Facebook fan groups for the television show Ancient Aliens, I joined. Soon after, I was invited to join a Facebook group that propagated the theory that aliens were demons, that said demons would reveal themselves to the earth as aliens, thus tricking Humanity away from Christianity; I joined this group. I have since been suggested to join groups promoting conspiracy theory movies (the unreleased movie Gray State, and yet to be released movie AmeriGEDDON) as well as several groups suggesting that President Obama planned to take total executive control a la martial law through the 2015 Strategic Ops Military drill, Jade Helm 15. All of these groups fill my Facebook ‘feed’ every day, with stories of alien abductions, Right-Wing Conspiracies; following so many extreme stories, it can be daunting, scary, disheartening, and not too great for my overall opinion on Humanity in general.

My real Facebook ‘feed’ is mostly baby photos, with the occasional political rant.

Consider the impact Facebook has on people’s perceptions of reality. In my very extreme example, were I just a tad more susceptible to paranoia, I would be very much fearful of the Illuminati (which people openly discuss as fact on my Facebook ‘feed’) and convinced that their plot to promote ‘Chrislam‘ through the current Pope is in full swing. One thing I can tell you for certain, almost everyone in all of these Facebook groups are strong supporters of Donald J. Trump.

What does all this mean?

Donald Trump has positioned himself as a populist in the era of Social Media. Trump is Right-Wing anti-elitist (disregard his elite upbringing and his wealth) after years of anti-Obama Tea Party rhetoric, some of which he stoked early on with his own ‘birther’ contributions. He’s stoked nativist and protectionist ire in the era of increasing Globalism. He has harnessed an evermore potent conspirative paranoia, stoked for him through years of algorithmic gerrymandering on behalf of conspiracy theories.

Keep in mind, after years of being mocked in media and even in person by others as ‘conspiritards’ that a person who adheres to or entertains such conspiracy theories would see things very differently. Belief in any specific conspiracy theory is essentially an acknowledgement of a larger worldview; one that says that the ‘Powers that be’ covertly maintain control through lies, deceit, subversion, and manipulation of an unknown variety. To them, the real fools are the ‘sheeple’ who believe the ‘official story’ of the Establishment.

Each individual conspiracy theory is not an individual worldview, but a smaller subset of a larger Conspiracy Worldview. That Conspiracy Worldview treats the ‘Establishment’ as the enemy and anyone who fights against that established status quo as an ally.

To many, that ally is Donald Trump.

Trump is not the only candidate with a populist campaign and correlative movement, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is undoubtedly a Left-Wing Populist movement. The common use of such phrases as ‘establishment politics’ and ‘establishment economics’ that Sanders himself has used speak to the same anti-establishment mentality of populists immemorial. The question, does Bernie Sanders’ campaign also comprise a Conspirative Populism?

Well, perhaps it does.

From the extreme conspirative rantings and outright harassment of Hillary Clinton supporters on Twitter and Reddit, first from Sanders’ supporters in the main and, then, from former movie star Tim Robbins; a regular series of accusations of stolen Primary Elections, rigged systems (i.e. the Democratic primary system), and all things ‘established‘ held in either suspicion, or contempt.

It is not exactly the same as Donald Trump suggesting Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald before the JFK assassination, but in every debate and in nearly every speech made by Senator Sanders an anti-establishment rhetoric is readily apparent. Anti-establishment rhetoric is not always conspirative or paranoid, but rhetoric has attracted some non-to-savory (and not really all-that-left-of-center) supporters.

The angry rural voter for Sanders runs counter the narrative that his campaign appeals only to young people hoping for free college. Still, if the West Virginia primary shows anything, it is that there is not such a clear narrative everywhere. The conspirative element of the Sanders campaign seems to be largely the work of his supporters and not, necessarily, the work of his campaign staff per se. Stories of the various ‘Bernie Bro‘ conspiracy theories are less prevalent as those of Trump’s various statements, but still exhibit the conspiracist views of some Sanders’ supporters. Unlike his more rabid supporters, Sanders’ anti-establishment rhetoric regularly approaches, but rarely if ever espouses, conspiracy theories. Sanders’ entire campaign, however, is hinged upon the myth of a rigged political system; a conspiracy theory of an order as pernicious as Trump’s paradoxical anti-elitism.

To be sure, Bernie Sanders’ appeal is not all inclusive within the Bernie Bro phenomenon, nor is it just a matter of conspiracism, as this pro-Sanders op-ed should illustrate.

The same should be said about Trump.

Some people really think America is ready to be dragged, kicking and screaming for some reason, into Single-Payer Healthcare. Some people, it should seem on the opposite side of the political spectrum, want the Affordable Care Act overturned and replaced with, well, we’ll figure that out eventually, “believe me!” That is an issues-based understanding of the 2016 election and, perhaps it could cover the vast majority of the decision-making process for most voters. Unfortunately, this election cycle has been based more on populism than on the issues. This current type of populism at work comes from an increasingly active paranoid style of American politics. Though it is nothing new, Richard Hofstadter wrote about the long history of the paranoid style in American politics back in 1964, this current political moment seems to confound all attempts at comprehension. It is only through understanding that ‘paranoid style’ and the role social media algorithms play in maintaining the paranoia that we can understand how any of this can begin to make sense.

 

 

 

Anti-Vaccination Websites Use ‘Distorted’ Science, Researchers Find

Archive: Pseudoscience

Notes: This article makes some of the most tepid of claims in its headline, then continues to describe factual examples of a study’s findings. The real amazing part are the comments, which were anonymized and shown below, giving examples of the same persuasive arguments that ‘antivaxxers’ use. There are increasingly connected people on the internet, watching for news stories on RSS feeds, with no knowledge of science or a vested interest in pseudoscience and/or ideology that does not allow them to be critical of their own opinions on the subject. Emotions run high, sure, but ideologies (distrust of authority in general, the belief in an ‘Illuminati Agenda’ to depopulate the planet in particular) are often at play, whether acknowledged or not. It is sad,  because the very thing they may be avoiding in an effort to shield their loved ones or children (i.e. MMR shot for their child) may end their child’s life or the lives of other children. It is not worth an ideology, but when ‘in ideology’ the ideology is usually the only thing that seems to matter.

By Agata Blaszczak-Boxe, Contributing Writer for Live Science

Many websites that promote unscientific views about vaccinations use pseudoscience and misinformation to spread the idea that vaccines are dangerous, according to a new study.

For example, of the nearly 500 anti-vaccination websites examined in the study, nearly two-thirds claimed that vaccines cause autism, the researchers found. However, multiple studies have shown that there is no link between vaccines and autism.

About two-thirds of the websites used information that they represented as scientific evidence, but in fact was not, to support their claims that vaccines are dangerous, and about one-third used people’s anecdotes to reinforce those claims, the scientists found.

Some websites also cited actual peer-reviewed studies as their sources of information, but they misinterpreted and misrepresented the findings of these studies.

“So the science itself was strong, but the way it was being interpreted was not very accurate,” said study author Meghan Moran, an associate professor in Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School’s Department of Health, Behavior and Society. “It was being distorted to support an anti-vaccine agenda.” [5 Dangerous Vaccination Myths]

In the study, the researchers looked at websites with content about childhood vaccines. They used four search engines to find the sites — Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask Jeeves — and searched for terms including “immunization dangers” and “vaccine danger” as well as other phrases. Their final sample of 480 anti-vaccination websites included a mix of personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages and health websites. The researchers examined the content of the websites, looking for vaccine misinformation, the sources of the misinformation and the types of persuasive tactics that the sites used to convince people that vaccines are dangerous.

In examining the websites, the researchers also observed a lot of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of epidemiological principles, Moran told Live Science.

For example, epidemiologists know that correlation does not imply causation. “Just because two things happen at the same time, that doesn’t mean that one is causing the other,” Moran said. But some of the websites presented timelines that showed that, as rates of immunization went up over a certain period of time, so did autism diagnoses, Moran said.

Although it is true that both have increased over the same period, the anti-vaccine websites frequently implied that “it must be that the immunizations were causing autism, which we know is not true,” Moran said.

Another tactic commonly employed by the websites in the study was the use of anecdotes and stories of parents of children with autism, the researchers said. Because such stories are easy for other parents to connect to, they help to make the anti-vaccine agenda that these sites are promoting appear “a lot more vivid and powerful,” Moran said.

Some of the sites also included information promoting positive health behaviors, the researchers said. For example, 18.5 percent of them promoted eating healthy, about 5 percent promoted eating organic food and 5.5 percent recommended breast-feeding.

The biggest takeaway from the findings is that researchers and health officials “need to communicate to the vaccine-hesitant parent in a way that resonates with them and is sensitive to their concerns,” Moran said in a statement. “In our review, we saw communication for things we consider healthy, such as breast-feeding, eating organic, the types of behavior public health officials want to encourage. I think we can leverage these good things and reframe our communication in a way that makes sense to those parents resisting vaccines for their children.”

The new findings were presented today (Nov. 3) at the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Chicago.

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