The Instigator
SkySky16
Pro (for)
The Contender
Edlvsjd
Con (against)

Are Conspiracy Theories Good for Society?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2017 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 645 times Debate No: 100686
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

SkySky16

Pro

This debate will not be focused on whether or not conspiracy theories should be believed but whether it has a greater net benefit to society than net detriment.

Debate structure:
R1: Acceptance
R2: Opening statements
R3&4: Rebuttals
R5: Closing statements/arguments
Edlvsjd

Con

I accept this debate.
Debate Round No. 1
SkySky16

Pro

My opening statement will be formatted in clear and distinct points.

1. Conspiracy theories are good for society

Tom Rogan, a political analyst, wrote a 2013 article on this very topic. He didn't do what most conspiracy theory fans do and point out times where these theories were correct but discussed his idea that they are good for society. He and I share these beliefs and I will outline and explain them.
"These theories are testaments to our society," Tom says, "They show that America is still a place that engages in a vigorous, unending exchange of ideas." And I would have to agree. America was built on the notion of freedom, especially ideas and thought, even when someone deemed it bad or harmful. The general consensus among journalists at least seems to be exactly that, bad and harmful. But what conspiracy theories do promote and cause the exchange of ideas, debates, scholarly discussion. Believe it or not, many educated people do believe in at least one theory. Besides the fact that most everyone enjoys to hear these crazy ideas, even if they can drive you crazy at times, people want to know things. This is exactly what conspiracy theories do, especially at the younger ages. Tommy the fifth grader and his friends are not likely to talk about the causes of the collapse of the roman empire and what it meant for civilization but they may rattle on about how the moon landing was fake!
This sparks curiosity, and curiosity leads to search and discovery of information. Getting children interested in history or current events is hard, especially when every first grader seems to have a new iPhone whatever+. These, superficially wacky, theories draw more people to educate themselves. Curiosity is also the driving motivator for professions in STEM fields. Exploration of ideas and limits and possibilities are all what STEM is about. Promoting this thinking is obviously very beneficial.

2. Distrust in the government is a good thing.

Spencer Fernando, also a political analyst, wrote an article early this year on this topic. He justifies this stance "because the system itself has become so massive that it has lost touch with it"s original purpose." I believe this to be true as well. The government is supposed to be operated from the bottom up, giving the people the power over their nation, but this seems to be so far from the truth that it's almost laughable. Trust in the government to do the right thing "most or some of the time" is down to 20% in 2016! The government was originally supposed to be the public's servant but we've seem to flip that around by now. Taxes are rising consistently, yet we get less and less back, and we are working harder than ever to fulfill this just to have it distributed among less and less people. Taxes are what fund the government, without them it wouldn't exist, so why has this been morphed into some kind of extortion scheme by the elites?
When any system is so powerful and prevalent in our day to day lives but at the same time seemingly disconnected from the reality of these lives we must have an inherent distrust in it. This is because "A fiercely independent people will not be controlled. And a people who will not be controlled can push back against the overbearing state." Desperately trying to space the people from the government is essential to maintaining control.
Conspiracy theories have this inherent distrust and, even though I don't believe any current theories, promote a healthy way of thinking. We as the people are dutied to keep the government in check, either we have failed or the government has just overstepped.

3. Sometimes they happen to be right!

a. Gaydar:
In the 1960's the Canadian government hired Carleton University professor Frank Robert Wake to create a "fruit machine" to detect and identify gay men. This wasn't to understand sexuality, no certainly not, this was to oppress homosexuals. Reports say, more than 400 people lost their jobs, and 9,000 more were kept on a file of "suspects."

b. MKUltra
In the 1950's the CIA dosed people with LSD, yes the drug, to potentially test the affects of mind control. These supposedly went on for two decades and dozens of people were reportedly left with permanent disabilities after secretly being subjected to massive amounts of LSD and electroshock therapy.

c. The Gulf on Tonkin Incident
On the second of August, 1964, the USS. Maddox opened fire on several North Vietnamese targets and reported that they had instigated the skirmish. This deepened America's involvement in the war and lead to hundreds of thousands of deaths. It is, however, still debated whether this was intentional. But what has been proven is there were no targets which means they couldn't have instigated a skirmish.

More can be found in the citations below.
The point of this is to show that no matter how crazy it may sound, it may actually be true!

4. Conclusion

We can see from the information before that conspiracy theories promote the original strain of american thought and have even modernized it to attempt to keep the government in check.
We as the people should wholeheartedly advocate for the exchanging of ideas and discussion.

Resources:
https://www.good.is...
https://www.spencerfernando.com...
http://theweek.com...
https://www.theatlantic.com...
Edlvsjd

Con

Conspiracy : A secret plot by two or more people to do an illegal and or harmful event.

Society: The community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations.

To be a member of society, one must conform to the rules of said society. Break the rules of that society, and you're likely to be cast from that society. The current society is under stricter laws everyday. If conspiracy theories and their evidence are to be spread throughout that society, more and more people will believe them. This will, in effect cause a crumbling of said society, since most conspiracies involve government bodies being responsible, or the entities that provide said laws. People will argue to no end as to whether the conspiracy was truth or not, and people don't like to be wrong. But if a society were to accept certain conspiracy theories as truth, this will lead to anger and resentment towards those who are perceived to be responsible for it i.e. governments, causing an upheaval in society. In conclusion, the society we have built for ourselves, allowing governments to dictate most every move we make, depends on compliance. If the majority of people in a society are unhappy with how things are done, that society will not last very long. Case in point. The Reichstag fire. (1) This is but one of very many admitted false flags (2) against a society. Had the citizens of that society had knowledge of this event, or the means to communicate this theory and it's evidence to the masses, that conspiracy theory would have doomed Nazi Germany when a large enough majority were convinced. Distrust of that government would have ensued, riots, government takeover, etc. and society, for Nazi Germans would have ceased to exist. Whenever power is given over a people, that power is bound to be abused. So while I support the need for conspiracy theories to be examined and taken seriously, I sincerely hope that society, as we know it, will cease to exist as it does If the flock of sheep are to wake up.

(1) https://en.m.wikipedia.org...
(2) http://www.zerohedge.com...
Debate Round No. 2
SkySky16

Pro

I will first address points that my opponent has made then extend my arguments. This may happen together as I answer Con's arguments so bear with me.

1. Definitions

Conspiracy: A secret plot by two or more people to do an illegal and or harmful event.
But it can also be "the action of plotting or conspiring." I accept that the word has a form of negative connotation but if we are to use the word we must also acknowledge all of its applications. This may not come up again, I just want to cover all my bases.

2. Society

I agree with Con up until the third sentence. "Society is under stricter laws everyday." This isn't proven by citation or anything. I don't see how it's relevant either. Con claims that conspiracy theories being spread means more people will believe them, while this is inherently true just based off mathematical odds however, I would argue that most people who would believe it already now about it. Conspiracy theorists tend to be prone to these paranoid ideas. "'We found that if you give people a feeling of control, then they are less inclined to believe those conspiracy theories,' he says. 'Giving people a sense of control can make them less suspicious over governmental operations.'" [1]
In another study focused on Y2K, "The more that people feared the millennium bug in 1999, the more likely they were inclined to believe in other conspiracy theories, ranging from Kennedy to the government hiding evidence of the existence of UFOs." Which means, the biggest indicator that someone believes in any one conspiracy theory is that they believe in another. What these two studies show is there wouldn't be a significant increase in believers if the theory is spread widely.
Not only does this undermine Con's impact of the "crumbling of said society" but also destroys what would cause that. I quote Con: "But if a society were to accept certain conspiracy theories as truth, this will lead to anger and resentment towards those who are perceived to be responsible for it i.e. governments, causing an upheaval in society." Neither of Con's sources provide any substance from which this claim sounds like a reasonable conclusion.
The next argument under this category that con makes is actually pretty comical. He states egregious claims such as "the society we have built for ourselves, allowing governments to dictate most every move we make, depends on compliance. If the majority of people in a society are unhappy with how things are done, that society will not last very long." What major modern society is built on allowing government to dictate every move we make? Again, no sources to back this statement up. He then uses Nazi Germany as an example to show how distrust in the government would have caused riots, government takeover, etc. Not only does he not have any sources that claim anything near this, his point is flawed. If the people knew about Nazi's fascistic and genocidal wishes OF COURSE they would revolt because the vast majority of people would know that that is extremely wrong. You can draw a parallel between Nazi Germany and any modernized society, it's just illogical without documentation or sources to back up that claim.

3. The last statement

In Con's last statement he says that he hopes society as we know it will cease to exist "if the flock of sheep are to wake up." Now, society won't literally cease to exist and con knows this. That is why he added "as we know it." While the term would be literal, if it were to happen as con theorizes, it doesn't mean it would bring down society. Society would just be vastly different, it's a hyperbolic statement to emphasize the amount of change that something would undergo. So why is Con arguing this? It is clear that he sees this change as beneficial, the flock of sheep comment alone shows this.

4. Conclusion

I have disproven Con's arguments by showing they aren't supported by evidence and logically defusing them. Con, in reality, is advocating the change of society as something beneficial. This is clearly a Pro standpoint in this debate. Con has conceded the debate to me.
Furthermore, all of my arguments stand. Which is reasonable because he was just doing an opening statement.

Sources:
[1] http://time.com...
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Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
SkySky16
lol "this is going to be easy"
Posted by canis 10 months ago
canis
Is society not a conspiracy theory ?
Posted by Edlvsjd 10 months ago
Edlvsjd
I do, present your arguments.
Posted by SkySky16 10 months ago
SkySky16
You are a walking conspiracy theory, you know you are advocating that conspiracy theories are NOT good for society right?
Posted by Edlvsjd 10 months ago
Edlvsjd
This is going to be easy.
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