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fides' Jack's Mega Anti-Vax Thread


fides' Jack

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15 hours ago, ReasonableFaith said:

**UPDATE**
 

This thread continues to collect misleading and false information.

Information concerning Merck’s discontinuation of a COVID vaccine project is incomplete and misleading. 

The Reality:

Merck has dropped the project because they have found in their vaccines:

“...the immune responses were inferior to those seen following natural infection AND those reported for other SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines.

Yeah, I agree with you on this correction, too.  My last statement, then, was only partly right.  

14 hours ago, MiscarriageSucks said:

Is there a phatmass for progressives?

I don't know.  It's pretty hard to hit a moving target.

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21 hours ago, MiscarriageSucks said:

Is there a phatmass for progressives? Cuz I can't take this republican nonsense anymore. 

Phatmass is for everyone and what we make of it. 

I think one of the problems with America in particular is that people are starting to place themselves in their respective political echo chambers and only associating with people that they agree with on everything, rather than engaging in exchange of ideas and civil debate -- and I stress the word civil.

When it comes to even faithful and sincere Catholics, there is a very broad spectrum and diversity of opinion of people from different countries and backgrounds. From time to time I get messages from people asking me to censor posts -- I would rather people challenge posts themselves instead of asking us to play Facebook.

For example, one of the things I like about Peace is that rather than go off on his own to find people he agrees with, he will challenge and engage in conversation rather than finding the door. I would rather see people doing this rather than just leaving. There are people that are here that clearly don't get along but I like the fact that they are still here all the same otherwise. Sometimes the thorns in our sides are opportunities for personal growth and sanctity. 

The other option I would suggest is for people to just avoid discussion of certain political topics and mute/block posters that they don't think they can remain civil with or agree on anything. 

(As far as I know that function should still be available... as a Meh I'm not able to mute anyone) :cake:

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Thank you @Anomaly! You've always been a favorite of mine as well. A long time ago now when I lived in the US (about the time when I was new to phatmass, actually!) I used to live upstairs above a cafe, it was kind of a hippie bookstore and cafe but people used to go there during the day, and you'd have your regulars that would just hang out there, have their sandwiches or coffee, and just play chess or talk. A bit like a bunch of hometown Walters and Lebowskis. Clearly people didn't agree on everything and came from different backgrounds but it didn't matter. It was a really great time and I miss it. I suppose the British here do this in pubs and it's pretty similar. I worry that we're moving away from these kinds of things, especially with the pandemic and face to face interaction becoming even MORE scarce. On the internet we have to make the effort, and at times look harder for where the places where civil discussion can exist.
 

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I personally think that the proliferation of conspiracy theories among religious communities is a "natural" phenomenon.

  • Humans have a natural tendency to find organization, plans, in the world, and to ascribe bad outcomes to malevolent actors.
  • Many people have a tendency to place undue trust in information billed as "secret," "suppressed," or "hidden."  (I.e. the kind of people targeted by "one weird trick, doctors hate her!" kinds of ads)

Religion literally teaches that there are global plans afoot, that God is constantly sending hidden messages, that their truths are under attack or have been forgotten, and that there are pervasive malevolent forces out to get people.

So considering people who are strongly affected to both of those drives:

Lord, to whom shall they go?  They shall go disproportionately to religion.

Now this does not mean that religion is exclusively made up of these people, just that most of these people will end up religious, and there will be very few of these people outside of religious communities.

So when conspiracy theories involving global malevolent actors comes along, where is the fertile ground for these seeds?  The fertile ground is basically all inside of religious communities.

 

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32 minutes ago, hakutaku said:

I personally think that the proliferation of conspiracy theories among religious communities is a "natural" phenomenon.

  • Humans have a natural tendency to find organization, plans, in the world, and to ascribe bad outcomes to malevolent actors.
  • Many people have a tendency to place undue trust in information billed as "secret," "suppressed," or "hidden."  (I.e. the kind of people targeted by "one weird trick, doctors hate her!" kinds of ads)

Religion literally teaches that there are global plans afoot, that God is constantly sending hidden messages, that their truths are under attack or have been forgotten, and that there are pervasive malevolent forces out to get people.

So considering people who are strongly affected to both of those drives:

Lord, to whom shall they go?  They shall go disproportionately to religion.

Now this does not mean that religion is exclusively made up of these people, just that most of these people will end up religious, and there will be very few of these people outside of religious communities.

So when conspiracy theories involving global malevolent actors comes along, where is the fertile ground for these seeds?  The fertile ground is basically all inside of religious communities.

This is a rather untenable argument I think. The vast majority of people on the planet earth believe in God and have religious belief (however weak or strong), so obviously you will find plenty of conspiracy theorists among the religious. You will also find that the vast majority of modern science from say the 15th century was conducted by religious people. Is religion also the cause of modern science and rational thinking because the vast majority of scientific development in the history of the world was conducted by religious?

To prove your theory, at the very least you need hard data that demonstrates that there is a significant statistical correlation between holding religious views and belief in conspiracies. You have none. So you are just blowing smoke, really.

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26 minutes ago, Peace said:

This is a rather untenable argument I think. The vast majority of people on the planet earth believe in God and have religious belief (however weak or strong), so obviously you will find plenty of conspiracy theorists among the religious. You will also find that the vast majority of modern science from say the 15th century was conducted by religious people. Is religion also the cause of modern science and rational thinking because the vast majority of scientific development in the history of the world was conducted by religious?

To prove your theory, at the very least you need hard data that demonstrates that there is a significant statistical correlation between holding religious views and belief in conspiracies. You have none. So you are just blowing smoke, really.

Oh, there is plenty of data but I didn't lead with it because I find that when I do that, people try to deny that this is the kind of question that can actually be answered with data. 

Belief in a creator and belief in conspiracy theories are correlated due to teleological thinking.

Religious fundamentalist groups have excessively high rates of conspiracy theory belief.

Belief in all kinds of supernatural processes positively associated with conspiracy theory acceptance.

 

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1 hour ago, hakutaku said:

I personally think that the proliferation of conspiracy theories among religious communities is a "natural" phenomenon.

  • Humans have a natural tendency to find organization, plans, in the world, and to ascribe bad outcomes to malevolent actors.
  • Many people have a tendency to place undue trust in information billed as "secret," "suppressed," or "hidden."  (I.e. the kind of people targeted by "one weird trick, doctors hate her!" kinds of ads)

Religion literally teaches that there are global plans afoot, that God is constantly sending hidden messages, that their truths are under attack or have been forgotten, and that there are pervasive malevolent forces out to get people.

So considering people who are strongly affected to both of those drives:

Lord, to whom shall they go?  They shall go disproportionately to religion.

Now this does not mean that religion is exclusively made up of these people, just that most of these people will end up religious, and there will be very few of these people outside of religious communities.

So when conspiracy theories involving global malevolent actors comes along, where is the fertile ground for these seeds?  The fertile ground is basically all inside of religious communities.

 

I think we have to keep in mind that America is a "peculiar institution" all its own. America is a land of weirdos (religious and otherwise) and always has been. The weirdos weren't wanted in Europe so they came to America. Religion plays a central role in America in part became Americans never embraced the "nation-state" as a substitute for religion the way Europe did and had to (following the Third Year's War and the Treaty of Westphalia). The fantasy in America has always been one man, one vote, one plot of land, one Bible, etc. Even when America became the land of global industrialism, what is the myth that developed around these its "captains of industry" (Carnegie, etc.)? They were interpreted as "self-made men" in American mythology, not as global capitalists. American religion is Protestant through and through (one man, one Bible, one gun). It's ironic that many of today's white conservative Catholics share a derisive fear of "globalists" along with white conservative Protestants, because Catholics literally belong to a church that aspires to globalism. And that was the historical feature of American Catholicism, its globalism rooted in immigrant communities (which is why good white people in America hated Catholics as much as they hated Jews). And now white Catholics in America are finding common cause with the weirdos in American Protestantism because they are all uniting around a common white identity, which they express through American hyper-nationalism.

Case in point, just look what's happening in actual Catholic countries south of the border. I was just reading a story this morning about 13 young Guatemalans massacred in Mexico trying to make it to the United State:

In 2010, members of the Zetas cartel stopped two tractor-trailers packed with migrants and took them to a ranch in the town of San Fernando, which is also in Tamaulipas state.

The gangsters asked the migrants to become hit men for their cartel. When the migrants refused, they were blindfolded, tied up and shot. Just one man survived, a young Ecuadorian who played dead and then escaped, walking miles to alert authorities.

The next year, there was an even worse massacre in the same region. Several buses were stopped and nearly 200 migrants were ordered off, killed and buried in graves discovered by police soon after.

The perils of the migrant trail are well known throughout Central America. That’s why Maria Isidro was so worried.

“I don’t want you to go,” she told her son firmly.

“No, Mom,” he said. “I’m going.”

A group of Guatemalan bishops issued a statement calling on law enforcement authorities to investigate the attack “the same way they organized to stop the caravan,” a reference to a recent group of thousands of mostly Honduran migrants who were turned back by Guatemalan security forces before they could cross into Mexico.

These are the people who Trump used to catapult himself into global power, symbolized by a massive wall to keep out all these migrants who are trying to survive in a global economy, THE SAME global economy that has turned white people in West Virginia or Alabama into economically irrelevant and uncompetitive serfs, destroying themselves by meth, heroin, suicide, etc. and retreating into "crisis cults" like Trumpism and Evangelical white nationalism.

Again, America is a nation of religious weirdos divorced from global reality. The white Catholics in America, to the extent that they are weirdos, are just clones of American Protestants, because this is a Protestant country. This is why all these conservative white Catholics do their best to explain away everything the Pope says. They're virulent "anti-globalists" who bizarrely belong to a global church. America has never been noted for rational religious people.

The vaccination campaign against Covid-19 in the Vatican which began on Wednesday continues with both Pope Francis and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI receiving their first doses of the vaccine.

“I can confirm that as part of the vaccination program of the Vatican City State, as of today, the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine has been administered to Pope Francis and to the Pope Emeritus,” said Matteo Bruni, director of the Holy See Press Office in response to journalists’ questions.

It's sad to see Phatmass overrun by Catholic white nationalists. There used to be a lot of different views on here, now it seems to just be a place to hunker down and find like-minded white people who are afraid of what's going on in the world.

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40 minutes ago, Era Might said:

I think we have to keep in mind that America is a "peculiar institution" all its own. America is a land of weirdos (religious and otherwise) and always has been. The weirdos weren't wanted in Europe so they came to America. Religion plays a central role in America in part became Americans never embraced the "nation-state" as a substitute for religion the way Europe did and had to (following the Third Year's War and the Treaty of Westphalia).

We may be weirdos, but I don't think we're so different as you propose.

To hold your position, I think you would have to paper over events in Europe, e.g. the Catholic Christian Social Party which rose to power on anti-semetic canards, or the various host desecration conspiracy theories that drove Catholics to kill Jews in the middle ages.  There is also the example of quite prominent Catholics in Rome promulgating conspiracy theories in official documents, such as Merry de Val being concerned in 1928 about, and I quote:

Quote

I would hope that these Amici Israel would not fall into a trap laid by the Jews themselves, who insinuate themselves throughout modern society and seek with whatever means to minimize the memory of their history and take advantage of the good will of Christians.

 

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20 minutes ago, hakutaku said:

We may be weirdos, but I don't think we're so different as you propose.

To hold your position, I think you would have to paper over events in Europe, e.g. the Catholic Christian Social Party which rose to power on anti-semetic canards, or the various host desecration conspiracy theories that drove Catholics to kill Jews in the middle ages.  There is also the example of quite prominent Catholics in Rome promulgating conspiracy theories in official documents, such as Merry de Val being concerned in 1928 about, and I quote:

 

Well, we have to make a distinction between the modern and pre-modern periods. Europe changed in the modern period, and America arose in that context. Europe today is largely dechristianized because the politics of modern nation-states was the primary vehicle of ideological activity. In other words, Europeans in the modern period fought over nation-states rather than religion. World War II was a modern religious war, but the "religions" at stake were liberalism, communism and fascism, not Catholicism and Protestantism. America was not founded as a nation-state but as a society of individualists united primarily by economic rather than political activity. There is no substitute for religion in America, religion is still religion, it's the the only real common identity people have. Americans are deeply distrustful of modern nation-building of the sort that took place in Europe. The closest thing Americans have to a secular religion is the US military, the greatest force of globalism the world has ever known. White religious zealots in America probably can't agree on two points of doctrine, but they virtually all agree that the US military is the savior of the world. This is basically Republican doctrine, to defund everything except the military.

I agree with you that religious groups are prone to magical thinking for obvious reasons, but religion itself has made peace with the modern world. The Pope doesn't go around spouting wild conspiracy theories. It's religious people who feel abandoned or persecuted who resort to such thinking, because they need some way to explain the world. This is what we're seeing with white people in America. And not all of them are Christians, the QAnon Shaman guy at the capitol riot represents a strong pagan element, because American people have no real identity, so of they're not connected to traditional religions, they may reach back to pagan times for a common identity. Religion is an identity, just as politics is. Politics is secular religion. There are few hard-core positivists in the world who base their worldview on empirical evidence alone. Stalin and the Bolsheviks turned the peasants into a  conspiracy theory (kulaks), and he did it in an atheist state (he also used ant-semitism to mobilize traditional Russian/Orthodox nationalism).

Edited by Era Might
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2 hours ago, hakutaku said:

Oh, there is plenty of data but I didn't lead with it because I find that when I do that, people try to deny that this is the kind of question that can actually be answered with data. 

Belief in a creator and belief in conspiracy theories are correlated due to teleological thinking.

 

Take a look at the specific testing methodology. The authors took an online survey of 1,252 people from a single country in the world (France). “Creationism” was measured by a single item on the survey: “God created humans and the Earth since less than 10'000 years". That is, these are Young Earth Creationists. The authors found a positive correlation between Young Earth Creationism and beliefs in certain named conspiracies (JFK assassination, etc.) So what you have is data that demonstrates that French Young Earth Creationists are more likely to believe that the US Government shot JFK. That ain’t exactly hard data that the Church or religion at large is producing quacks at a disproportionate rate.

Quote

Religious fundamentalist groups have excessively high rates of conspiracy theory belief.

The above article barely says anything about religion at all. There is a single sentence in the entire article that says anything about religion, and here it is:

"Also ‘underground’ extremist movements (e.g., groups of Neo‐Nazis, violent anti‐globalists, religious fundamentalists, and the like) are characterized by excessive conspiracy beliefs."

Quote

Belief in all kinds of supernatural processes positively associated with conspiracy theory acceptance.

This article is a general overview of literature in this emerging field. Again, the article barely has anything to say about religion at all. The main predictors are hypothesized as follows:

“A multitude of studies view conspiracy beliefs as a symptom of an underlying psychological disorder, the prodromal phases of a psychological disorder or the traits associated with them. Amongst those, paranoia (Bruder et al., 2013), paranoid ideation, and schizotypy (Darwin et al., 2011) were prominently found to harbor connections with conspiracy beliefs. Paranoid ideation and schizotypy share similar traits, including suspicion, magical thinking, and odd and unusual beliefs (Barlow and Durand, 2009). In paranoid ideation, people are harboring thoughts that external agents have an intention of hostility toward them; this hostility may be in the form of physical or verbal threats and, relevant for conspiracy beliefs, fearing deception, exploitation, and disloyalty (Freeman et al., 2005; Darwin et al., 2011).”

I am guessing that you read a few sound bites on one of your atheist-friendly blogs and did a cut and paste job without actually reading or conducting your own independent thought?

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Conspiracy theories perhaps always reflect, not reality, but at least a real situation. The conspiracy theories of the American right reflect a real division between elites and regular people. It's obvious that there are elites who run the world. If you're the head of the Federal Reserve, you're obviously privy to a world of power and wealth that most people have no idea of. Trump made a big deal about the election, and I think it's because he knows how the system actually works. The conspiracy he invented for the masses was obviously false, there was no literally rigged election, but Trump knows that the system is rigged at a much higher level, because he's one of the people who rigs it. The conspiracy he invented for the masses was just a way to interpret this in a way they could grasp, but the real people he was talking to were people like himself who know how the system actually works, how money and power and sex and God knows what else operates among them. Trump created a character, but he's not the stupid oaf he played on TV. He's a global capitalist who is playing a much higher game. The masses are just pawns in whatever game he is playing, and conspiracy theories are part of the circus he creates to mobilize people in the direction he wants to move them. Even anti-semitic conspiracies reflect a real situation, not about Jews themselves, but about people who feel threatened, and need a scapegoat to explain something real that they can't explain except through the symbol of the scapegoat.

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Doctors’ Plot, (1953), alleged conspiracy of prominent Soviet medical specialists to murder leading government and party officials; the prevailing opinion of many scholars outside the Soviet Union is that Joseph Stalin intended to use the resulting doctors’ trial to launch a massive party purge.


On Jan. 13, 1953, the newspapers Pravda and Izvestiya announced that nine doctors, who had attended major Soviet leaders, had been arrested. They were charged with poisoning Andrey A. Zhdanov, Central Committee secretary, who had died in 1948, and Alexander S. Shcherbakov (d. 1945), who had been head of the Main Political Administration of the Soviet army, and with attempting to murder several marshals of the Soviet army. The doctors, at least six of whom were Jewish, also were accused of being in the employ of U.S. and British intelligence services, as well as of serving the interests of international Jewry. The Soviet press reported that all of the doctors had confessed their guilt.

The trial and the rumoured purge that was to follow did not occur because the death of Stalin (March 5, 1953) intervened. In April Pravda announced that a reexamination of the case showed the charges against the doctors to be false and their confessions to have been obtained by torture. The doctors (except for two who had died during the course of the investigation) were exonerated. In 1954 an official in the Ministry of State Security and some police officers were executed for their participation in fabricating the cases against the doctors.

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3 hours ago, Peace said:

That ain’t exactly hard data that the Church or religion at large is producing quacks at a disproportionate rate.

That wasn't ever my point though?  My point was never that religion makes people susceptible to conspiracy theories.  For someone leveling the charge of "not actually reading," this is an awfully hypocritical mistake to make.

I stated my point quite clearly:

8 hours ago, hakutaku said:

So considering people who are strongly affected to both of those drives:

Lord, to whom shall they go?  They shall go disproportionately to religion.

Now this does not mean that religion is exclusively made up of these people, just that most of these people will end up religious, and there will be very few of these people outside of religious communities.

Now I have submitted some data which directly supports my thesis: most strongly the first article which directly relates teleological thinking (as I put it "a natural tendency to find organization, plans, in the world, and to ascribe bad outcomes to malevolent actors") to conspiracy theories and certain religious beliefs. 

You seem to have missed some critical pieces of the final paper (slightly condensed):

Quote

Paranormal belief... was positively linked to conspiracy beliefs as well. Paranormal belief also includes magical, superstitious, and religious thinking...

Religious individuals are more likely than non-religious to believe in conspiracy theories (Oliver and Wood, 2014b; Lahrach and Furnham, 2017).

Now you are correct: It may be the case that there exist religions which do not attract these people, but I will not write more defensively and explicitly say that religious beliefs which do not involve teleological reasoning may not attract these people.  The papers I posted are in fact evidence for my thesis even if you judge it to fall short of proof.

I deny, however, that you have made a substantive complaint against the literature on fundamentalists.  Fundamentalist Catholics are still Catholics; indeed my theory would say that these people are the most likely to be attracted to fundamentalism insofar as fundamentalism is basically the assertion "we have forgotten the fundamental truths of our religion."

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  • dUSt changed the title to fides' Jack's Mega Anti-Vax Thread

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