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Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Discuss PseudoSkeptics and their Fallacies. Share strategies for debating them.

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby Scepcop » 02 Aug 2010, 23:28

http://www.whale.to/m/disin.html

Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Note: The first rule and last five (or six, depending on situation) rules are generally not directly within the ability of the traditional disinfo artist to apply. These rules are generally used more directly by those at the leadership, key players, or planning level of the criminal conspiracy or conspiracy to cover up.

1. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. Regardless of what you know, don't discuss it -- especially if you are a public figure, news anchor, etc. If it's not reported, it didn't happen, and you never have to deal with the issues.
2. Become incredulous and indignant. Avoid discussing key issues and instead focus on side issues which can be used show the topic as being critical of some otherwise sacrosanct group or theme. This is also known as the 'How dare you!' gambit.
3. Create rumor mongers. Avoid discussing issues by describing all charges, regardless of venue or evidence, as mere rumors and wild accusations. Other derogatory terms mutually exclusive of truth may work as well. This method which works especially well with a silent press, because the only way the public can learn of the facts are through such 'arguable rumors'. If you can associate the material with the Internet, use this fact to certify it a 'wild rumor' from a 'bunch of kids on the Internet' which can have no basis in fact.
4. Use a straw man. Find or create a seeming element of your opponent's argument which you can easily knock down to make yourself look good and the opponent to look bad. Either make up an issue you may safely imply exists based on your interpretation of the opponent/opponent arguments/situation, or select the weakest aspect of the weakest charges. Amplify their significance and destroy them in a way which appears to debunk all the charges, real and fabricated alike, while actually avoiding discussion of the real issues.
5. Sidetrack opponents with name calling and ridicule. This is also known as the primary 'attack the messenger' ploy, though other methods qualify as variants of that approach. Associate opponents with unpopular titles such as 'kooks', 'right-wing', 'liberal', 'left-wing', 'terrorists', 'conspiracy buffs', 'radicals', 'militia', 'racists', 'religious fanatics', 'sexual deviates', and so forth. This makes others shrink from support out of fear of gaining the same label, and you avoid dealing with issues.
6. Hit and Run. In any public forum, make a brief attack of your opponent or the opponent position and then scamper off before an answer can be fielded, or simply ignore any answer. This works extremely well in Internet and letters-to-the-editor environments where a steady stream of new identities can be called upon without having to explain criticism, reasoning -- simply make an accusation or other attack, never discussing issues, and never answering any subsequent response, for that would dignify the opponent's viewpoint.
7. Question motives. Twist or amplify any fact which could be taken to imply that the opponent operates out of a hidden personal agenda or other bias. This avoids discussing issues and forces the accuser on the defensive.
8. Invoke authority. Claim for yourself or associate yourself with authority and present your argument with enough 'jargon' and 'minutia' to illustrate you are 'one who knows', and simply say it isn't so without discussing issues or demonstrating concretely why or citing sources.
9. Play Dumb. No matter what evidence or logical argument is offered, avoid discussing issues except with denials they have any credibility, make any sense, provide any proof, contain or make a point, have logic, or support a conclusion. Mix well for maximum effect.
10. Associate opponent charges with old news. A derivative of the straw man -- usually, in any large-scale matter of high visibility, someone will make charges early on which can be or were already easily dealt with - a kind of investment for the future should the matter not be so easily contained.) Where it can be foreseen, have your own side raise a straw man issue and have it dealt with early on as part of the initial contingency plans. Subsequent charges, regardless of validity or new ground uncovered, can usually then be associated with the original charge and dismissed as simply being a rehash without need to address current issues -- so much the better where the opponent is or was involved with the original source.
11. Establish and rely upon fall-back positions. Using a minor matter or element of the facts, take the 'high road' and 'confess' with candor that some innocent mistake, in hindsight, was made -- but that opponents have seized on the opportunity to blow it all out of proportion and imply greater criminalities which, 'just isn't so.' Others can reinforce this on your behalf, later, and even publicly 'call for an end to the nonsense' because you have already 'done the right thing.' Done properly, this can garner sympathy and respect for 'coming clean' and 'owning up' to your mistakes without addressing more serious issues.
12. Enigmas have no solution. Drawing upon the overall umbrella of events surrounding the crime and the multitude of players and events, paint the entire affair as too complex to solve. This causes those otherwise following the matter to begin to lose interest more quickly without having to address the actual issues.
13. Alice in Wonderland Logic. Avoid discussion of the issues by reasoning backwards or with an apparent deductive logic
which forbears any actual material fact.
14. Demand complete solutions. Avoid the issues by requiring opponents to solve the crime at hand completely, a ploy which works best with issues qualifying for rule 10.
15. Fit the facts to alternate conclusions. This requires creative thinking unless the crime was planned with contingency conclusions in place.
16. Vanish evidence and witnesses. If it does not exist, it is not fact, and you won't have to address the issue.
17. Change the subject. Usually in connection with one of the other ploys listed here, find a way to side-track the discussion with abrasive or controversial comments in hopes of turning attention to a new, more manageable topic. This works especially well with companions who can 'argue' with you over the new topic and polarize the discussion arena in order to avoid discussing more key issues.
18. Emotionalize, Antagonize, and Goad Opponents. If you can't do anything else, chide and taunt your opponents and draw them into emotional responses which will tend to make them look foolish and overly motivated, and generally render their material somewhat less coherent. Not only will you avoid discussing the issues in the first instance, but even if their emotional response addresses the issue, you can further avoid the issues by then focusing on how 'sensitive they are to criticism.'
19. Ignore proof presented, demand impossible proofs. This is perhaps a variant of the 'play dumb' rule. Regardless of what material may be presented by an opponent in public forums, claim the material irrelevant and demand proof that is impossible for the opponent to come by (it may exist, but not be at his disposal, or it may be something which is known to be safely destroyed or withheld, such as a murder weapon.) In order to completely avoid discussing issues, it may be required that you to categorically deny and be critical of media or books as valid sources, deny that witnesses are acceptable, or even deny that statements made by government or other authorities have any meaning or relevance.
20. False evidence. Whenever possible, introduce new facts or clues designed and manufactured to conflict with opponent presentations -- as useful tools to neutralize sensitive issues or impede resolution. This works best when the crime was designed
with contingencies for the purpose, and the facts cannot be easily separated from the fabrications.
21. Call a Grand Jury, Special Prosecutor, or other empowered investigative body. Subvert the (process) to your benefit and effectively neutralize all sensitive issues without open discussion. Once convened, the evidence and testimony are required to be secret when properly handled. For instance, if you own the prosecuting attorney, it can insure a Grand Jury hears no useful evidence and that the evidence is sealed and unavailable to subsequent investigators. Once a favorable verdict is achieved, the matter can be considered officially closed. Usually, this technique is applied to find the guilty innocent, but it can also be used to obtain charges when seeking to frame a victim.
22. Manufacture a new truth. Create your own expert(s), group(s), author(s), leader(s) or influence existing ones willing to forge new ground via scientific, investigative, or social research or testimony which concludes favorably. In this way, if you must actually address issues, you can do so authoritatively.
23. Create bigger distractions. If the above does not seem to be working to distract from sensitive issues, or to prevent unwanted media coverage of unstoppable events such as trials, create bigger news stories (or treat them as such) to distract the multitudes.
24. Silence critics. If the above methods do not prevail, consider removing opponents from circulation by some definitive solution so that the need to address issues is removed entirely. This can be by their death, arrest and detention, blackmail or destruction of theircharacter by release of blackmail information, or merely by destroying them financially, emotionally, or severely damaging their health.
25. Vanish. If you are a key holder of secrets or otherwise overly illuminated and you think the heat is getting too hot, to avoid the issues, vacate the Spamalamadingdong. .

Note: There are other ways to attack truth, but these listed are the most common, and others are likely derivatives of these. In the end, you can usually spot the professional disinfo players by one or more of seven (now 8) distinct traits:
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

Postby Scepcop » 02 Aug 2010, 23:30

http://www.whale.to/b/sweeney.html

Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

1) Avoidance. They never actually discuss issues head-on or provide constructive input, generally avoiding citation of references or credentials. Rather, they merely imply this, that, and the other. Virtually everything about their presentation implies their authority and expert knowledge in the matter without any further justification for credibility.

2) Selectivity. They tend to pick and choose opponents carefully, either applying the hit-and-run approach against mere commentators supportive of opponents, or focusing heavier attacks on key opponents who are known to directly address issues. Should a commentatorbecome argumentative with any success, the focus will shift to include the commentator as well.

3) Coincidental. They tend to surface suddenly and somewhat coincidentally with a new controversial topic with no clear prior record of participation in general discussions in the particular public arena involved. They likewise tend to vanish once the topic is no longer of general concern. They were likely directed or elected to be there for a reason, and vanish with the reason.

4) Teamwork. They tend to operate in self-congratulatory and complementary packs or teams. Of course, this can happen naturally in any public forum, but there will likely be an ongoing pattern of frequent exchanges of this sort where professionals are involved. Sometimes one of the players will infiltrate the opponent camp to become a source for straw man or other tactics designed to dilute opponent presentation strength.

5) Anti-conspiratorial. They almost always have disdain for 'conspiracy theorists' and, usually, for those who in any way believe JFK was not killed by LHO. Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies? One might think they would either be trying to make fools of everyone on every topic, or simply ignore the group they hold in such disdain.Or, one might more rightly conclude they have an ulterior motive for their actions in going out of their way to focus as they do.

6) Artificial Emotions. An odd kind of 'artificial' emotionalism and an unusually thick skin -- an ability to persevere and persist even in the face of overwhelming criticism and unacceptance. This likely stems from intelligence community training that, no matter how condemning the evidence, deny everything, and never become emotionally involved or reactive. The net result for a disinfo artist is that emotions can seem artificial. Most people, if responding in anger, for instance, will express their animosity throughout their rebuttal. But disinfo types usually have trouble maintaining the 'image' and are hot and cold with respect to pretended emotions and their usually more calm or unemotional communications style. It's just a job, and they often seem unable to 'act their role in character' as well in a communications medium as they might be able in a real face-to-face conversation/confrontation. You might have outright rage and indignation one moment, ho-hum the next, and more anger later -- an emotional yo-yo. With respect to being thick-skinned, no amount of criticism will deter them from doing their job, and they will generally continue their old disinfo patterns without any adjustments to criticisms of how obvious it is that they play that game -- where a more rational individual who truly cares what others think might seek to improve their communications style, substance, and so forth, or simply give up.

7) Inconsistent. There is also a tendency to make mistakes which betray their true self/motives. This may stem from not really knowing their topic, or it may be somewhat 'freudian', so to speak, in that perhaps they really root for the side of truth deep within.

I have noted that often, they will simply cite contradictory information which neutralizes itself and the author. For instance, one such player claimed to be a Navy pilot, but blamed his poor communicating skills (spelling, grammar, incoherent style) on having only a grade-school education. I'm not aware of too many Navy pilots who don't have a college degree. Another claimed no knowledge of a particular topic/situation but later claimed first-hand knowledge of it.

8) BONUS TRAIT: Time Constant. Recently discovered, with respect to News Groups, is the response time factor. There are three ways this can be seen to work, especially when the government or other empowered player is involved in a cover up operation:

1) ANY NG posting by a targeted proponent for truth can result in an IMMEDIATE response. The government and other empowered players can afford to pay people to sit there and watch for an opportunity to do some damage. SINCE DISINFO IN A NG ONLY WORKS IF THE READER SEES IT - FAST RESPONSE IS CALLED FOR, or the visitor may be swayed towards truth.

2) When dealing in more direct ways with a disinformationalist, such as email, DELAY IS CALLED FOR - there will usually be a minimum of a 48-72 hour delay. This allows a sit-down team discussion on response strategy for best effect, and even enough time to 'get permission' or instruction from a formal chain of command.

3) In the NG example 1) above, it will often ALSO be seen that bigger guns are drawn and fired after the same 48-72 hours delay - the team approach in play. This is especially true when the targeted truth seeker or their comments are considered more important with respect to potential to reveal truth. Thus, a serious truth sayer will be attacked twice for the same sin.

I close with the first paragraph of the introduction to my unpublished book, Fatal Rebirth:

Truth cannot live on a diet of secrets, withering within entangled lies. Freedom cannot live on a diet of lies, surrendering to the veil of oppression. The human spirit cannot live on a diet of oppression, becoming subservient in the end to the will of evil. God, as truth incarnate, will not long let stand a world devoted to such evil. Therefore, let us have the truth and freedom our spirits require... or let us die seeking these things, for without them, we shall surely and justly perish in an evil world.
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby Craig Browning » 04 Aug 2010, 00:30

I was soooo tempted to cut & paste both of those posts under the heading of "Major Traits of Paranoia" :twisted:
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby ProfWag » 04 Aug 2010, 01:45

Craig Browning wrote:I was soooo tempted to cut & paste both of those posts under the heading of "Major Traits of Paranoia" :twisted:

Paranoia's a good word. I was thinking "angry people," but paranoia is definitely better.
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby jakesteele » 04 Aug 2010, 02:20

Craig Browning wrote:I was soooo tempted to cut & paste both of those posts under the heading of "Major Traits of Paranoia" :twisted:


Hey, Scecop!

I love your list and with your permission I am going to cut and paste it for reference material to be used when appropriate. Of course, I will credit the source whenever I do.

One of the incredible ironies of life is that debunkers and woosters are literally each other's evil twins. Woo is like Fox Muldar in that they 'want to believe' and debunkers are like Scully in that they 'don't' want to believe. Each one will at times massively distort the issue with massamundo cognitive biases to see what it is they want to see. I think the debunkers should be held to a higher standard in that they exhibit quite a few traits and are held sway by a number of Debunker's Laws of... After all, they're the ones that think they are superior and woosters are innocent or ignorant fools. As far as I'm concerned, they need to step up to the plate. Truth walks and pseudoscepticism walks.

These rules and laws were inspired, ironically, when JREF had a thread entitled "Rules of Woo" about a year ago. As I was reading down the list my jaw dropped onto my keyboard and I started belly laughing like I hadn't done for years. In their blind zeal to describe woos, they were also describing themselves.


The Law of the Avoided Question: Answer the question you would have liked to have been asked rather than the one that was asked. Who cares what the original question was, answer a question that you have prepared an answer for regardless (any question will do, as long as it is related to the subject… and sometimes not even then

Law of Ocaam’s Broadsword – the simplest solution is not usually the best, it is always the best…no matter what

Law of the “Official Story” (aka. Safe refuge in a harbor) – The Official Story is always right. I’ts true because it’s true/if it’s true it can’t be false. If the OS says it was a weather balloon, then it was; proof positive, case closed. No question, no doubt, total acceptance. This is similar to an Appeal to Authority, but in their case they say it isn’t, because if it’s true, then it can’t be an Appeal to Authority because the OS is impeccable and beyond reproach.

Law of Implausible Plausibility – 1.) Trying to make something fit where it doesn’t fit. Every explanation MUST be a plausible and mundane one, even when it doesn’t fit.
2.) It is better to be mundane and wrong than to be complex and right.
(See Ocamm’s Beard – the simplest solution isn’t always the right one)

Law of Immaculate Perception – they are the only ones who see reality exactly as it is unhindered by any cognitive biases. So therefore, to disagree with them is to disagree with reality itself.

The Black Bart Law – vilification of all members of “them" however that is defined, contrasted with the near-deification of anyone that is “us”, however that is defined.

Law of Contemptio Prepositus Inquiro - (contempt prior to investigation) Also known as the Law of Investigative Absence”. (Similar to Law of Predetermined Intolerance). Their minds are already made up so there is no need to do their own independent investigation.

Law of Perpetual Simplicity – a bastardized version of Occam’s Razor, which, while not stated outright, is implied throughout, that the simplest explanation is the ONLY explanation. The mindset of ALL explanations must be mundane at all costs, no matter what the cost.

Law of Specific Credentials - Expertise in one field automatically grants expertise in another unrelated field. For example, anything Randi debunks is righteous even though he is a stage magician.

Law of the amateur astronomer - the assertion that amateur astronomers, are "trained observers and look at the sky overwhelmingly more than anybody else, especially pilots." Therefore, their word trumps that of police officers, pilots, air controllers, or virtually anybody else reporting a sighting, as totally unqualified to verify anything they see. (special thanks to Phil Plait, the bad astronomer)
(And, the assertion that only scientists, particularly astronomers, are "trained observers" immediately dismisses police officers, pilots, air controllers, or virtually anybody else reporting a sighting as totally unqualified to verify anything they see.)

Debunker’s Law of the Magical Magician - Engage the services of a professional stage magician who can mimic the phenomenon in question; for example, ESP,

The Unicorn gambit: When pressed to the wall with a close ended question. Example – “Do you think, believe or know that all UFO sightings from the dawn of man, up to and including the present, are all mundane, plausible explanations?” They will sarcastically say something to this effect:
“Sure there might be a chance, about as much chance of Unicorns and Faries.
This is nothing more than a way of sarcastically saying no without have to bear the burden of proof and maintain the semblance of objectivity.

Those are a sampling of some of the "Laws of..." that I see repeatedly parroted on debunker sites. As I said, they should be held more accountable to the rules of objectivity, logic and rational thought than the people they critize for allegedly not having it. In other words, "walk your talk".

Also, I have noticed quite a number of psychological traits they share in common with each other, the major one in which all other fall under is a "psychological scotoma (blind spot". They see an unconscious mirror image of themselves in others they are in denial of in themselves:

A belief that:

since a thing could be faked, it must be faked

Whatever is claimed is…something else

Belief that all UFO photos are fake, especially the real ones

Absence of proof is proof of absence

I am a debunker, therefore, I’m always right. I’m always right because I’m a debunker.

Skeptism is the beginning of rational thinking
Psuedoskeptism if the end of rational thinking

Hero of the World - They are part of special, elite group who are the only ones that can save the ignorant and the superstitious from their misguided ways. They’re on a mission from Darwin

I’m Special Effect - pseudoskepticism gets people to think they are special for seeing reality as it really is. Their goal is to convert the teeming ignorant, superstitious masses.

Patron Saint effect – (sometimes known as the Emmisary of Light syndrome) The belief that they know what is best for everyone else even if we don’t. Therefore, it is their Darwin given duty to spread this
Enlightment to the teeming masses and gently and patiently lead them into the light. Similar in nature to a parent to a child dynamic but with condescend.

illusory superiority – perception of self as a person of elevated intelligence, keener insight, of someone who has transcended the shackles of naïve, superstitious thinking which allows them to perceive reality as it actually is unhindered by superstitious thinking and unfettered by cognitive biases like the rest of humanity. As in the case of most fundamentalists mindsets, this is to the point of outright grandiosity. This is always reinforced by fellow pseudos and creates the ‘I’m special’ and different effect’.

Warriors for Truth, Justice and the Scientific Way - It’s believing that you are warrior against the darkness of ignorance and superstitious thought,. The belief/feeling that they are they are special or elite for being one of the few elites who were able to find their way through the darkness and into the ‘Light’. This gives them a feeling of being elevated and better than others.

And, of course, no list would be complete without the standard Standard Wiki list of ‘cognitive biases’
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_biases
Debunkers think all UFO photos are fake,
especially the real ones.
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Re: Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

Postby ProfWag » 04 Aug 2010, 02:41

Scepcop wrote: Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies?


Am I the only person that doesn't know what "NG" stands for?
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Re: Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

Postby NinjaPuppy » 04 Aug 2010, 18:52

ProfWag wrote:
Scepcop wrote: Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies?


Am I the only person that doesn't know what "NG" stands for?

Nope. I'm sitting on the 'I don't know what NG stands for' bench with you.
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Re: Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

Postby ProfWag » 04 Aug 2010, 20:37

NinjaPuppy wrote:
Am I the only person that doesn't know what "NG" stands for?

Nope. I'm sitting on the 'I don't know what NG stands for' bench with you.

I guess it could be National Geographic, but that doesn't make much sense to me...
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby Craig Browning » 04 Aug 2010, 22:38

jakesteele... I didn't want to quote your extensive list, but as you said to scescop.. .I'm going to steal your list for a book I've been working on (sloooowly) about skeptics and other "liars" we're constantly exposed to in life... such as preachers, big business, politicians, etc.
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby ProfWag » 04 Aug 2010, 22:54

Craig Browning wrote:jakesteele... I didn't want to quote your extensive list, but as you said to scescop.. .I'm going to steal your list for a book I've been working on (sloooowly) about skeptics and other "liars" we're constantly exposed to in life... such as preachers, big business, politicians, etc.

Don't forget psychics!
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby really? » 05 Aug 2010, 20:44

Craig Browning wrote:jakesteele... I didn't want to quote your extensive list, but as you said to scescop.. .I'm going to steal your list for a book I've been working on (sloooowly) about skeptics and other "liars" we're constantly exposed to in life... such as preachers, big business, politicians, etc.



Yes, your book wouldn't be complete without psychics.
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby Craig Browning » 05 Aug 2010, 23:51

really? wrote:
Craig Browning wrote:jakesteele... I didn't want to quote your extensive list, but as you said to scescop.. .I'm going to steal your list for a book I've been working on (sloooowly) about skeptics and other "liars" we're constantly exposed to in life... such as preachers, big business, politicians, etc.



Yes, your book wouldn't be complete without psychics.


While I realize you were making a deliberate jab at me I'll have you know that I do actually take time to look at the Psychic and New Age elements. As best I can I try to be fair with things but then I likewise fight fire with fire.
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby really? » 06 Aug 2010, 03:53

Craig Browning wrote:
really? wrote:
Craig Browning wrote:jakesteele... I didn't want to quote your extensive list, but as you said to scescop.. .I'm going to steal your list for a book I've been working on (sloooowly) about skeptics and other "liars" we're constantly exposed to in life... such as preachers, big business, politicians, etc.



Yes, your book wouldn't be complete without psychics.


While I realize you were making a deliberate jab at me I'll have you know that I do actually take time to look at the Psychic and New Age elements. As best I can I try to be fair with things but then I likewise fight fire with fire.


And this is oozing love
about skeptics and other "liars"
;)
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Re: Eight Traits of the Disinformationalist

Postby Scepcop » 15 Sep 2010, 02:40

ProfWag wrote:
Scepcop wrote: Ask yourself why, if they hold such disdain for conspiracy theorists, do they focus on defending a single topic discussed in a NG focusing on conspiracies?


Am I the only person that doesn't know what "NG" stands for?


I think it means NewsGroup.
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Re: Twenty-Five Rules of Disinformation

Postby Scepcop » 15 Sep 2010, 02:41

Image
“Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.” - Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
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