Talking points in summary form
Why evidence and sources matter - rebuttal to do your own research
This section is dedicated to individual conspiracy theories. These aren't considered conspiracies because there is either no evidence, are completely speculative, or have a much greater counter-claim against them. If anythign changes I will update the site and annotate the corrections or developments.
The reason that “do some research”, and “look it up”, or a simple “I said so believe me” approach is so problematic, is because it first deflects the responsibility to fulfil the burden of proof - to say if you claim something you have to provide supporting evidence, and secondly it gives no chance for anyone to check your sources because you don’t provide any.
As a note - when talking about science, looking things up online isn’t research. You can’t do your own research because the standard for research in science is much greater than the contemporary usage. Researching objective subjects studied by science isn’t looking at webpages, or articles, or listening to this doctor, or this expert, or anything like that. Science is conducted through scientific research, not through hearsay.
For scientific research you need to be able to be able to analyse information objectively, account for confounding factors, apply the basics of statistical analysis like confidence intervals, perform a null hypothesis test, find statistical significance, and other things such as applying information to various models and adjusting for variables.
When talking about objective subjects that relate to science you need objective evidence. That evidence needs to be fact-checked and of good quality, and should ideally correlate with other good research. Individual testimony, group testimony, general feelings, YouTube videos, and hearsay aren’t good evidence. Peer-reviewed scientific papers are. Even then, they need to be evaluated.
Evidence not needed - rebuttal to something being obvious
The idea that you don’t need evidence for something you consider too simple and obvious to warrant solid evidence isn’t a good argument. Firstly, because humans are fallible and prone to getting things wrong. We misremember events, and our brains can be fooled or even just be wrong more than we realise.
Secondly, It works off of the assumption that what you think is obvious and simple, is in fact correct. That assumption isn’t helpful because if you are wrong, then your conclusion is irrelevant.
Additionally, it bypasses the burden of proof, which is the responsibility of the person making the claim to prove their statements to be correct with sufficient evidence. Without this you can make unfalsifiable statements that can’t be proven wrong such as the existence of a god, and worse still that inability to be proven wrong makes it look like the claim is correct. The greater the claim, the greater the evidence needed. As Hitchen's razor says: That can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.
So yes, you absolutely need evidence to support your assertions. Without evidence to support your statements there’s no reason to believe anything you say, and the only people who will already agree with you anyway.
Vagueness and generalities - rebuttal to misdirection
I’d like to focus on specifics here because that’s what matters. Where you get your information from and what you specifically believe is important because it highlights the strength of the evidence supporting your claims.
I’m more than happy to provide references for the things I say - this allows you to check my sources and validate or disprove what I’m saying. I could then dipute those claims if they're not valid, and we could discuss the evidence from there. You might find that if we hold a mirror up and apply scepticism to you to see how correct you are, that your claims aren’t actually based on evidence but more gut feelings and distrust for authority.
The more we jump around and allow dialogue to become more vague and generalised and to jump around a lot, the less we get from pinpointing what you think and why. If you’re at all interested in the concept of truth, then wouldn’t it be important to see how true your own assertions are?
What do you think and why do you think that? How true are your own words? If you don’t apply scepticism to yourself then you aren’t sceptical, you’re a contrarian.
MSM Lied to you - science isn't correct
When you say the mainstream media lie to you, I’m curious as to why that’s relevant to science. Mainstream media doesn't study or publish science. They misreport it a lot, but they don’t have anything to do with how science works at all. If you think the mainstream media has anything to do with science then you don’t understand science.
How science works if scientists will conduct a study. It will take months to years and sometimes decades to collect data. That data is then analysed for statistical significance, collated into a paper and submitted to a scientific journal. It goes through a peer-review process where editors of that journal will check over the paper and see if it’s accurate and acceptable to publish. The paper (if successful) is then published in a journal.
It doesn’t end there. From there, papers are critiqued by scientists and the public on the paper itself in the comments if the journal has a comments section, articles can be submitted to the editor, websites exist that allow discussions and debates on papers, websites such as the science integrity digest review and critique bad science. Papers get retracted. Systematic reviews and meta analysis review several, tens or even hundreds of studies and adjust for quality.
Science is a long process of refining information. It is published by scientists from all disciplines in every country in scientific journals across the world. The mainstream media has nothing to do with that. Don’t get your science from the TV, get it from the science journal. The easiest way is to search for them in pubmed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/.
Prove me wrong - I don't need to back up my claims
The idea that something is true if we claim it and then someone has to prove you wrong is deflecting one of the most important principles in philosophy: The burden of proof.
If you make a statement that something is, then you are the one who has to provide evidence to support that claim. If you demand others prove you wrong, then the burden of proof is met and it allows you to make unfalsifiable claims.
I could claim that I know of a distant plan made of chocolate and demand you prove me wrong. It’s unfalsifiable and a problematic way to make an argument. Without supporting evidence, there’s no reason for anyone to believe anything you say because before the burden of proof is met, claims without evidence are pure speculation.
The most problematic byproduct of refusing to meet the burden of proof is that if someone is unable to contest an unsupported claim, then it looks to those without knowledge of philosophy or science that the initial claim must be correct because it’s uncontested.
Burden of proof is essential. Or as Hitchen’s Razor says: That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.
Burden of proof: