September 12th, 2008

Not Stupid - Advanced!

Let's play the Conspiracy Theorist Nutjob game!

A while back zensidhe and I were chatting about the various flavors of conspiracy theorists ("CTs"), and how their behaviors tend to follow a well-established pattern. I'd just received a scathing message on YouTube from a CT demanding that I "prove" that FEMA doesn't have secret underground concentration camps, and mentioned that I should keep a tally of logical fallacies and absurd accusations.

We did some brainstorming, and thus was born...

The Conspiracy Theorist Nutjob Game!

Here's how it works - Pick your favorite conspiracy theory, then go online, find a forum where CTs congregate, and engage one in a healthy dialog. Remain rational and keep the ad hominems to a reasonable minimum. When replies from the nutjobs (directed specifically to you) come in, start tallying up your score!

Get called "sheeple" - 5 points (per CT, not per accusation)
Get called "lemming" - 3 points (per CT, not per accusation)
Get called a "government shill" or otherwise accused of being a government agent - 10 points (per CT, not per accusation)
15 points for each logical fallacy pointed out to a conspiracy theorist.
CT calls you arrogant - 2 points
CT takes offense to being politely asked to back up a claim with data or an external source - 1 point
Correct a CT's spelling and/or grammar - 1 pt per infraction (maximum 3 points per message)
Point out a self-contradiction - 10 points
Have a CT admit that they're wrong about a minor point - 20 points
Have a CT admit that their conspiracy theory is wrong and genuinely change their mind - 500 points!
Get a response from a CT with more upper case letters than lower case - 10 points
Have a CT Godwin himself - 20 points
Have a CT invoke an unrelated conspiracy theory to support their own conspiracy theory ("9/11 was staged to cover up the faked moon landing!") - 20 points.
Bust a CT in a blatant lie (ex. CT claims to have met Neil Armstrong in 1970 but his profile lists his age as 25) - 5 points
Get them to acknowledge that they lied - 100 points
More exclamation points than words in a CT response - 10 points
CT refers to "psy ops", "mind control", or "thought police" - 10 points
CT cites the Bible or Koran as a technical or historical source - 20 points
Matrix / "rabbit hole" reference - 2 points
CT cites a work of fiction to support their theory - 20 points (25 points if CT doesn't realize that it's a work of fiction)
CT accuses you of being brainwashed - 1 point (per CT, not per accusation)
CT accuse of you of 'sock puppeting' other users that support your argument - 15 points per account they incorrectly claim is you in disguise
CT misquotes a trusted authority, or quotes out of context to reverse the meaning - 20 points
CT misquotes you from another debate - 15 points
Any death of known, non-suspicious cause attributed to covert government assassination - 5 points
CT accuses you of secretly being James Randi - 30 points

Please note that combinations are possible. Ex. if they accuse you of being Psy Ops for the government then it'd be 20 points - 10 for mentioning psy ops and 10 for the "government shill" bonus. If you do actually work for the government, you are eligible for this only if your area of work has nothing to do with the topic at hand. For example, if you work at a municipal water treatment plant you can get the "shill bonus" in a moon hoax debate, but not in an anti-fluoridation debate.

Additionally, any mention of the following is worth 1 point each, but awardable only once each per CT per player:
Moon Hoax
Weather Control
Area 51
World Bank
New World Order
Illuminati OR Freemasons
"Water fuel" OR Electric Car
Free Energy
Black Helicopter
Iron Mountain
FEMA detention/concentration camps
Large Hadron Collider/black hole/doomsday
"Darwinist" or "Evolutionist" (not "Darwin" or "Evolution")

The above bonuses must come from a conspiracy theorist or they don't count. Asking a doctor what age a child should be vaccinated, asking a Freemason how one joins their organization, or asking a herpetologist about reptiles doesn't cut it. :-) Context counts!

You should be able to provide a link to the CT's comment, or at least save a copy of the message, their username, and the URL of the forum in which you received the message. However, scoring is ultimately on the honor system and the categories allow for judgment calls. Point totals are cumulative, and points never expire.

If you have a suggestion for an additional score category, post it here! This is absolutely a work in progress. Also, since I've been debating CTs for a couple of years now, in the interest of fairness I'm cleaning the slate. Scoring starts today (12 Sept 2008), and nothing prior to today counts. I'll be posting my own scores in this thread. Feel free to do likewise if you wish, or keep score on your own!

Get out there and join the fun!

Please note that the intention here is not to ridicule or antagonize the mentally ill. Rather, my hope is to draw attention to the vast quantity of bad information being spread online and encourage people to learn to evaluate claims - ALL claims - rationally and skeptically.
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