18 May 2020

Coronavirus conspiracy poster


Who the fuck creates crap like this???  Seriously.

I totally understand that there are individuals who are ignorant or deluded into fearing vaccinations.   And religious zealots who long for or anticipate the end times.  And there are technophobes who fear 5G and RFID and Bill Gates as elements of a deep state. 

But who creates this "sum of all fears" poster?

Then there's the work and the expense and the time to assemble this into a poster to be mounted in public places.  Somebody or some entities believe they can potentially benefit from stirring irrational fears in the public.

The YouTube link in the poster goes to a 2014 video.

Is this just a prank by someone mocking the fears?  Is it part of a Russian disinformation campaign to foment unrest in American society?

I don't know who to be mad at.

Image via the Facepalm subreddit, where the discussion wanders all over the place.

16 comments:

  1. Possibly someone mentally ill.

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  2. No doubt using Microsoft Word, and urging people to check YouTube via at very least 3G... is it just 5 Gs that are too much? Are the first 4 Gs ok, and it's just that last G that gives you the virus?

    My favourite is how often they equate the name of anything to be an initialism for their outlandish theories. I'm going to have a go...

    COVID-19 = Come on, vaccines, international demand! Nearly infinite need; everybody truly educated endorses necessity.

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    1. Not to imply I'm with the loonies, but 5G is essentially different from the other Gs. See this for more info (don't be put off by the title; it is deliberately clickbaity - this guy's content is always high quality): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-gGeAe-PJA.

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    2. That's a very good video - verges on TMI, but does the job.

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  3. This stuff fascinates me.

    My job involves (but isn't limited to) evaluating people who are actively psychotic. This is not clearly psychosis, but could be representative of a few things. The first I always think of is basic pattern-recognition errors such as in apophenia - the tendency to perceive connections where none exist, or and I like to think about it: seeing signal in the noise.

    The second is Schizophrenia of a rather paranoid type. I've always been of the feeling that Schizophrenia looks an awful lot like highly disorganized pattern recognition itself - like a brain making inferences based on poor data. The thing is, Scizophrenia is often accompanied by other symptoms that would make it difficult for many people to actually produce and post things like this.

    And then there's a personality disorder known as Schizotypal Personality Disorder which involves or can involve holding bizarre (clinically, meaning average people would see it as not plausible) beliefs about things, ideas of interconnectedness, paranoia, eccentric or odd behavior, and often isolation.

    Of course, these are DSM 5 understandings of phenomena, and that book describes rather than determines. Still, things don't typically make it to the DSM without being common and consistent enough to suggest that there may be a consistent causal factor. There's also the fact that we wouldn't ever meet and examine someone like this if they were otherwise functional.

    But I don't really know. I'd love to meet the person.

    Oh, and if anyone wonders, those Revelation passages are the references to the image "of the beast" and/or the name or mark of 666 being stamped into hands or foreheads of people who are then allowed to participate in the wicked world. Popular among this crowd.

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  4. It all boils down to one simple fact; the American educational system is specifically designed to make people stupider. Consider if you will; the trend that performance on standardized tests is all that matters, rather than an actual understanding of the material. The assaults on the sciences from religions groups that insist (successfully) that Divine Creation must be taught as an equally valid theory to evolution. The fact that you have to get to your first year of college to take a Fundamentals of Logical Reasoning course (and even then, it's an elective, very rarely a requirement for anything.

    And what you get is what we have; distrust of scientists, slavish obedience to authority, and the inability to apply Occam's Razor to anything (or indeed, to even know what Occam's Razor is). The wealthy people that have owned American politics for decades know that an ignorant population is easier to control. People who don't know how to think aren't a threat.

    Conspiracy theory? Perhaps. But it fits the known facts, and it's the only explanation I have for the rise of Trump.

    On another note... COVID-19: Condemn Obvious Villainy; Impeach Donald '19. Now how's that for an acronym?

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    1. As an aside, many people are familiar with Occam's Razor (I know there are various spellings). How many know that William developed this concept to support the idea of divine miracles? A miracle could be the simplest explanation for many things..

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    2. Peter Bear, methinks thou are largely right...but you sound a bit conspiratorial yourself. The education system is "specifically designed" to make people stupider? Wealthy people have owned American politics...?

      While I agree with the American politics thing--which has ALWAYS been true, not just for years, I would argue that our educational system is NOT "specifically designed" to make people more stupid, but that is still often the consequence of standardization--so we have the same conclusion, even if different premisis (a word which, by the way, is the same whether singular or plural).



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    3. Great acronym, mind if I steal that?

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  5. "Conspiracy theory? Perhaps. But it fits the known facts, and it's the only explanation I have for the rise of Trump."

    This is an interesting statement. You decry the supposed lack of logic classes in America's education system, and the inability to apply Occam's Razor to anything, then fail to use either in what seems to be your summary statement of an argument.

    Known facts? The American education system is designed to make people stupider. Evidence? ...performance on standardized tests is all that matters, rather than actual understanding... Evidence? ...you have to get to your first year of college to take a Fundamentals of Logical Reasoning course... Evidence?

    You readily admit that your conspiracy theory is "the only explanation I have for the the rise Trump." This theory is the simplest (and only!) explanation you have for why Mr. Trump was elected? William would not be pleased.

    Regarding the teaching of thinking, logic, etc. I spent more than 30 years in a classroom, teaching junior high (now middle school) and high school math. I am now retired. For many years I taught a class called "Reason and Argument," a class in logic, critical thinking, and writing. It was, and still is, an elective class open to all high school students, a required class for GT and AP students. We used a well known and popular textbook by Richard Feldman, though I must admit I created much of the materials I used. Anyway, this class is offered at all 19 high schools in my district, and by most of the districts in the state. Our middle schools have a scaled down version of such a class; it is only a one quarter class and the main focus is evaluating sources of information, especially on the internet. I would guess that similar courses are available throughout the nation, but I currently have no evidence to support that.

    Sorry, I do not have acronyms to offer, nor any thoughts about our current president.

    Thanks for reading.

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  6. https://babylonbee.com/news/weird-guy-injected-with-bill-gates-new-vaccine-suddenly-thinks-internet-explorer-is-the-greatest

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  7. I came up with a proposed meme the other day:

    If you believe Trump caused people to drink bleach, then you've been drinking the Kool-aid.

    One of my philosophy professor, Willis Truitt, was probably one of America's best when it came to teaching Marxism. He was, in fact, a radical, and yet even though I was a very conservative young man (and still am...except now I'm old), we hit it off.

    As he spoke of left-wing and right-wing views, he mentioned that the further right you go, you wind up with conspiracy theories...and the further left you go, you get the same thing. For instance, the far right doesn't trust the government; neither does the far left.

    It got me to thinking that instead of political views being like a number line, it was more like a circle that eventually comes together at the most extreme points of each wing (or nearly comes together, perhaps).

    As a pastor in a conservative and Pentecostal denomination--one which I think people might believe is inclined to such thinking as indicated on the poster--I can tell you assuredly that most, if not all, of our ministers would shake their heads in disbelief. Yes, we have the odd one every now and then that thinks the whole lockdown thing was targeted at keeping churches locked down. But at least part of this can be safely dismissed as some minister, thinking others might feel this way, trying to gain applause for "bravely" posting such information.

    While I dare say that the thinking reflected by the poster likely comes from a religious minded person, I have often found that these, too, are the outliers in religion. Theses are the ones that pastors shake their heads at. I have found it virtually impossible to "fix" such a person.

    I recall how one woman in our church (when I was but a PK) wanted to show a movie about how He-Man and other cartoons were devilish designs meant to capture our children's imaginations and turn them from God. Egads!

    Now, it IS true that a good number of conservative churches have issues with Halloween. This used to not be the case. I recall going Trick or Treating while my father was preaching a revival (he took me just before service). But some years back, someone claimed that doing so was to, basically, praise Satan. Do I believe that? Absolutely not. But plenty do. And even those who don't, to keep from offending those who do (a Biblical principle), typically refrain.

    I recall a lady in our church (again, back when my dad was pastoring) who was "off" somehow or another. I believe her heart was right, but she had some issues. In one case, she went to the grocery store and the total came to--you guessed it--$6.66. She stood in line, I heard, and wanted the cashier to add another penny or something. THAT is the sort of stuff I'm talking about. Ministers know that that is just a number...until, as we believe, it becomes something more (by the way, that is not the "mark" of the beast, but the "number" of the beast).

    And so we have the, um, "outliers." But one more thing.... In some cases, these types are good members and the such, even with their issues (mental or otherwise). But in many cases, these are the people who even suspect the church, in many cases, of being a tool for nothing more than to take their money, teach obedience to the government ("obey the laws of men"), etc. In fact, you will find that many of these types aren't good members at all...if they are even members. They are the ones that like to say "I can worship God at home just as well as at church." We likely all know the type. Go to a flat-earth site and you'll find that a number take their view from misunderstandings of the Bible (or, for that matter, a too literal take--e.g., the "four corners" of the world, etc.

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    1. And yet in the United States anyway conservatives tend to back conspiracy theorists for public office much more than liberals.
      You may not like it but you can't call Trump an "outlier" among conservatives, and he's a major promoter of conspiracy theories.

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    2. AaronS, I absolutely love this, because what you're suggesting is that a faith community (even a conservative one) can be one where people meet to work out how their common belief system can make meaning of their world - of creation. there are leaders, and maybe a hierarchy of those who have practiced this craft, but it is a process, not a defined, tangible object. This is quite opposed to the idea that we all just get a checklist from our various denominations of things to do so we can avoid eternal suffering.

      At least that's my takeaway. Don't smite me if I'm wrong.

      I too had an inspirational Marxist professor, and one of the most valuable lessons I've ever been taught was that Marx did not so much hand us a prescribed practice, but a proposed analysis. I use that reasoning everyday, and don't consider myself a Marxist - maybe a Marxist scholar.

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  8. Just keep in mind that 50% of all the people in the world are dumber than average.

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  9. A friend talked me into going to a religious rally back in the early 80's. It was an old-fashioned, fire-and-brimstone tent revival. The one part of the preacher's sermon I remember is him talking about how the movie E.T. was purposely intended to teach us to accept Satan when he appeared. Most of the audience was murmuring "Amen" or yelling "Hallelujah!" This was in Anaheim, California! I was there with my boyfriend, who bravely stood up and yelled "I'm not listening to any more of this crap!" and we both walked out to stunned silence. I'm sure they were all told to pray for us after we left.

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