Reply To: I’m leaving this site now because of a recent decision by mods (or one mod?)

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You say this site was recommended by a friend who was playing a trick on you. That’s of no consequence for the moderation policy here. If she led you to believe that this forum is a hub for Covid-19 conspiracy theories, then she misinformed you – deliberately, it appears. At least she got a hearty laugh out of it (though it sounds like she was sneering at your gullibility as much as at this site). If you feel aggrieved, maybe you should seek reparations from your ‘friend’, not from us.

You’re quite wrong to assume that the people you identify as “protagonists” never get moderated. They certainly do, and the number of their deletions is roughly equal to those from the people you regard as consonant voices. We also ask them privately to tone down the rhetoric from time to time; it’s an ongoing project.

As regards the “abuse” you perceive here: if you would like moderators to quash the more acerbic criticisms, we would only do so on condition that people stop posting skewed conspiracy narratives and pseudoscience. If someone posits a sophisticated cabal comprising vast networks of disparate professionals co-ordinating a grand deceit within opposing political systems around the globe, then that view is quite correctly open to ridicule. Mockery emphasises the point that such fantastical conspiracy narratives are inherently ridiculous. So it has a valid role. Conversely, if you try to subject scientific evidence to ridicule, you’ll need to meet a very high standard of refutation. Unfortunately, references to maverick websites or unofficial videos on YouTube don’t meet that standard.

The notion that there should be some kind of parity between evidence-based reasoning and conspiracy theorising is utterly wrong-headed. Relativising the notion of “fact” to just “a form of comment” digs away at your own epistemic foundations. For the purposes of rational debate, a “fact” is a true proposition; if the objective truth conditions are met, it’s a fact. That’s what distinguishes it from other forms of comment. If you don’t subscribe to that basic standard, then kindly go tell your stories elsewhere. On the other hand, if you’re ambitious enough to aim at undermining an entire research paradigm, you’re welcome to visit a forum for philosophy of science. This isn’t the place to advance idiosyncratic theories of epistemological relativism. Assertions that rely on deconstructing the concept of facts aren’t valid in argument here, whatever their other virtues.