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Sources?! We don't need no stinkin' sources

There's a very weaselly tactic I've long noticed on non-academic forums of people asking for sources when engaged in a debate. Normally it wouldn't be a bad thing if you found and shared a source of your own that had conflicting reports, because that way the both of you could pore over both sets of information and try to reach some conclusion about the accuracy of the topic in question.

But far more often than not the request for a source is done in bad faith, as there almost never is an accompanying counter-argument to highlight the need for a source. It's mostly a way for a person to edify their own narrative by either hoping the other party doesn't find a source or, if they do, they can readily dismiss the source(s) as somehow invalid or dubious.

It's the pinnacle of intellectual laziness for people to derail the conversation in order to feel like they won. If it were an academic setting where both people have a fair bit of knowledge on the subject and disagreed on particulars, sources could go a long way to really clarifying the points of discussion, especially since one's academic integrity is on the line. There's a reputational consequence to being demonstrably wrong on a topic.

But when people decide to play the role of source-police in casual conversations on online forums where there are no such stakes, all it really highlights is just how unwilling a person is to look up information on their own when it differs from their preconceived view. Granted, there are cases where such information can be hard to find, but generally a search engine could point you in the right direction towards validating any points of contention. There's no need to force the other person to do your intellectual work for you.

I'm always willing to look up claims that I'm skeptical of, and can usually find sources that speak to the specific disagreement at hand. If after reading through one or more and still have concerns, I'd bring that up in the conversation at hand. It's a good faith effort to find out what's really right, instead of putting the burden of critical thinking solely on the other person and making it their job to convince you.

There's no way to win an argument with someone that's unwilling to learn. If you are willing to learn, there's no reason why you can't find a source on your own. Or why you need to flippantly dismiss a source when it disagrees with your point of view. Should a source genuinely be necessary, I've found that it's not very hard to give a valid counter-point that justifies the need for one. There is often conflicting information or studies and articles people misinterpret through simple human error. People can usually work towards a better understanding just by putting in the effort to understand, rather than making it a competition.

Asking for a source every time you don't agree with something only highlights the inability for a person to think for themselves.
I agree, but I also know that some will say "do your own research!" in the hope that their opponent will not bother to do so and it is thus a way to obfuscate the fact that their information is not sourced and has been pulled from a certain orifice. When debating with me, though, they should expect that I will indeed to the research. No concealing unfounded BS from me.

More often than not though, I will provide sources if I feel they are relevant to what I'm saying and if I do find out that my opponent is making up claims and the sources contradict what he's saying, I may stop the debate at that point.

A peeve of mine is when someone makes a claim, refuses to back it up in any way, but demands that you [i]disprove [/i]it. Again it is a case of refusing to do one's own intellectual work.
Adaydreambeliever · 56-60, FVIP
I can only speak for myself, but I like to see credible sources cited. If someone makes a claim it's cool when they back it up with further evidence. That makes me take what they say a lot more seriously.

It is also true to say, however, that not all sources are credible.. A peer reviewed medical journal article is always going to be more credible than an x or y slanted source. Critical thinking tells us to always examine the source to determine whether it is credible. Merely believing a source just because it's given would make us guilty of not employing critical thinking.
hippyjoe1955 · 61-69, M
[@954098,TinyViolins] And he has killed a lot of people by sponsoring the creation of the covid virus. He also killed a lot of gays and others afraid of AIDS with his huge fixation on AZT. Now we have him killing people with his stupid vax and denying other treatments. The man should be hanged drawn and quartered for what he has done. Evil hardly begins to describe it.
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@10033,hippyjoe1955] Source?
hippyjoe1955 · 61-69, M
[@954098,TinyViolins] History. It seems to be a fading art form. Do a little digging and you will find it. Google can get you started.
ozgirl512 · 26-30, F
With the infamous reply of conspiracy theorists everywhere being "do your own research"
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@516864,ozgirl512] I got a degree in Doing My Research from Facebook University
ozgirl512 · 26-30, F
[@954098,TinyViolins] oooh....I am impressed! 😜
Another aspect of this is [i]exhausting[/i] your opponent. If you can get to a place where you can justify your position w/very little effort compared to the effort your detractors must make, you've got an advantage. Now, once your detractors have put the effort into proving you wrong, that should be it for the debate, but on-line it doesn't work that way. The troll can just keep spewing the same crap and dominating the channel w/it.
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@22111,ImperialAerosolKidFromEP] Exactly. When there are no consequences for being wrong, nobody to fact check or mediate, and no willingness to accept the possibility of error, the discussion just turns into a battle of wills.

Unfortunately, it's usually the most arrogant that's willing to waste their time spewing nonsense because it bolsters their ego.
Nanori · 26-30, F
Why did I read this in Texan accent
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@934648,Nanori] That's because I am Texan! Well, by birth at least. I left that circus behind almost a decade ago.

But it's a play on the 'we don't need no stinkin' badges' quote from some old western movie. Technically, it was a Mexican bandito that said the line, but Texas used to be Mexico, so you're in the ballpark
Nanori · 26-30, F
[@954098,TinyViolins] lmao
DDonde · 31-35, M
Part of the problem is there's a lot of people spouting "facts" that are completely fabricated or misleading and you might want a source so that you can understand where they're getting that information. If you can't supply an authoritative source for your own evidence, then that's on you.

You can't have a real debate over something if everyone's just pulling every piece of hard evidence out of their ass with nothing to back it up.
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@373024,DDonde] The post isn't that you shouldn't have sources ever, it's about how people are too quick to demand a source and force the other person to waste their energy on looking up something that they will usually just dismiss or not bother to read.

If you believe the other person is making something up or posting something misleading, it shouldn't be that hard to find sources debunking their claims. The supply of sources shouldn't be the exclusive responsibility of one person in a non-academic forum. It's incredibly helpful and lends credibility, but far more often than not a fruitless venture.

My point is that it is intellectually lazy to expect someone else to do the heavy lifting just because you don't agree with their claims. It's not their job to convince you on an informal comment thread
DDonde · 31-35, M
[@954098,TinyViolins] I would say it's probably best to preemptively provide one's sources beforehand. It is the responsibility of the person making a claim to back up their claim.
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@373024,DDonde] It's not a matter of responsibility. Online forums don't carry the same weight as an academic debate. It's very difficult to have an informal discussion when you have to back up every point you're trying to make. Because even when you do it's only inviting people to dismiss and disregard the sources for usually flimsy reasons.

You're approaching this as if everybody has conversations in good faith. Most people go into online arguments with the intention of 'winning', not learning. But on the chance that the other parties are willing to learn, they are free to look up the claims in question themselves. It's no one's job to convince anyone else. Learners will find a way to learn, not demand someone else teach them.

When you talk to friends or family, do they stop you in the middle of a conversation and ask for your sources? Or do they let you go on to make your point before a rebuttal?

I agree that it is probably best to preemptively provide sources, but it shouldn't be a matter of duty. In the vast majority of cases it will just lead to people spending five seconds on Google and posting the first link whose headline agrees with their predispositions
Allelse · 31-35, M
Why have sources when you can just cite one of your jackass friends who tells you what you want to hear.
TinyViolins · 31-35, M
[@415694,Allelse] What do you think Facebook is for bro?
REMsleep · 41-45, F
I agree. Usually the person asking for a source is dishonest but still sometimes I comply.
Helloeveryone · 56-60, F
Just take a Dark Light course in New York it's all public information...the course is $350.
Helloeveryone · 56-60, F
We filmed all derails...
Kumbayakid · 61-69, M

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