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Lee Stranahan @stranahan
, 28 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
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I’ve had a lots of focus on the #QAnon movement in the last week but with my reporting trip to Europe and to cover the @POTUS / Putin summit I’m going to switch gears. I’ll still cover some Q stuff but a lot less.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned and why it matters.
First, I’m going to note how @NemoV8 has acted since our five hour debate which you can watch at the link below.

He started by claiming victory, then whining he didn’t get to present all his “evidence” and now to personal attacks against me.

I’ve seen the way people like @NemoV8 operate, so I predict he’ll claiming I’m running away because I’m covering less QAnon stuff.

Nope.

I’ll re-extend the offer I made during the debate and expand it…

STOP whining and present evidence HERE.

I’m waiting.
I challenge @NemoV8 to present 1 proof per day, to keep it manageable.

I’ll look at this evidence & respond by showing my reasoning on the Proof of the Day.

Everyone can watch & make up their own mind.

I don’t most Q believers to be moved as I demolish proof after proof.
What I am going to stop doing is respond to most of the other Q believers who are flooding my Twitter timeline.

I’m not afraid. I’m busy.

So if you think you have an especially conclusive proof, talk to @NemoV8 and suggest it.

1 / day. Bring it.
That out of the way, here’s what I’ve learned…

1) After my research talking to Q believers, I do not think Q is just harmless fun. It’s obvious to me that intentional deception that is fostering a cult-like mindset, causing disunity among Trump supporters, & spreading lies.
2) That’s not criticism of everyone who reads or even believes Q. I think there are a LOT of good people who follow Q and it’s clear to me that they are victims of the Q deception.

3) Part of his victimization is that they FEEL like Q has been good for them.
4) There’s a pattern of talking points among Q believers such as saying Q promotes unity, encourages individual thought and promotes research.

5) My response is unquestionably true — people in cults ALWAYS think the cult is good for them. They ALWAYS extol the benefits.
6) Now, I don’t expect this to change anyone’s mind. It’s not my job to change anyone’s mind, it’s my job to explain my position clearly. You think what you want. I’m not a magician.
7) With that said, here’s what I see as the fundamental difference between my approach and the mental mistakes I see Q believers make consistently.

I focus on METHOD and trying to apply common rules of logic to analyze Q.

They focus on mere EVIDENCE, with no regard for method.
8) To expand on that point.

I see many Q followers do “research” (by which they mean they use a search engine) in search of material to reinforce their belief in Q.

This becomes their evidence or proof.

But their method of analysis are shockingly slopppy & un-logical.
9) I say un-logical and not illogical because often there is literally no logic at all.

Instead, there may be no correlation at all.

Many Q ‘proofs’ involve zero real analysis. None.
10) That’s my criticism but it’s not really helpful because it doesn’t contrast with the correct method to analyze claims.

So, let me lay out the METHOD I apply to all claims, not just ones about Q.

None of this SHOULD be controversial.
11) The first way to analyze ANY claim is to ask for proof.

If there is no proof even OFFERED, there’s no reason to consider. Case closed.

“I believe X!
“Where’s your proof?”
“Don’t have any.”
“Done!”

Does that make X FALSE?
Maybe not, but you have no reason to believe it.
12) What constitutes proof?

Well, easy to start — no proof is no proof.

When I’ve asked some Q people to prove that Trump met Kim in November 2017, they admit there is NO proof.

So...I’m done at that point.

Next, if they offer SOME proof you look it.

Can’t verify? Done!
13a) Next step — does the proof offered actually PROVE the claim in question?

Example.

“Q predicted the Pope would change the Lord’s Prayer before it happened!”
“Evidence?”
(They provide a link, so our first hurdle is passed. We have SOMETHING but...)
“Hey, what prediction?”
13b) This is a real example, by the way.

Q believers point to a post where Q quoted the entire Lord’s Prayer.

But does it prove the claim?

No, on two counts.

First, it’s NOT a prediction. A prediction is “You watch, the pope is fixing to change this prayer!” Etc.
13c) But there’s wider way in which this is NOT a proof the claim.

Ask yourself — what is the real underlying claim here?

Q believers are trying to prove that Q is connected to Donald Trump.

So how does the Lord’s Prayer connect Q to Trump?

It doesn’t.
14) It’s now and ONLY NOW that it makes sense to analyze the evidence itself

If there’s 1) no evidence for a claim and 2) the evidence EVEN IF TRUE doesn’t actually prove the claim...

...then the rules of logic say you can go no further.

Many Q followers don’t get this.
15a) Now, we can start to look at the evidence for a claim.

- Is it accurate?

For instance, have you double checked time stamps? Taken time zone in account? Are you looking at screen cap or real tweet? Is it the real account? Etc etc.
15b) This process is not for the lazy.

This process is not for the dishonest.

You need to be looking to DISPROVE the evidence in other to prove it.

You need to think like your SMARTEST critic.
15c) A lot of people really here because they WANT to believe.

This is what I call shallow or faux-research.

Most people don’t try to DISPROVE the evidence; they want to confirm what they found is true.

Good researchers check. And then check again. And again and again.
16) Most of the Q proofs I’ve seen don’t even get out of the starting gate.

They aren’t “wrong.”

They aren’t even actual proof of ANYTHING because there is no evidence, it’s not relevant or the basics don’t past muster. (Fake, wrong date, etc)
17) Then IF they make it past this basic therehold, in every other case I’ve seen the next stuff of intergrsting with other info utterly fails.

Most often it’s correlation without proving causation or something that “seems weird” but doesn’t mean anything logically.
18a) Then — and this part is REALLY frustrating — after I’ve applied these test and the “proof” fails, the person just wants to start again at the beginning with ANOTHER proof.

Well, no. You’ve just proved to ME that you don’t understand research or logic.
18b) My radio producer @EricLadny made a good analogy...

It’s like on American Idol when someone auditions and is AWFUl. Horrible in every way but they think they are great.

Judges pass.

And then they want to try ANOTHER song.
19) So that gives you an idea of the method I used.

Are you convinced? Did you learn anything?

I can’t care.

It’s not even I DON’T care. It’s that there are a LOT of people on Twitter and I’m not going to convince everyone.

So, think what you want.
20) In the end, all I can do is tell you is this method of thinking and research has worked for me in getting thousands of facts right in hundred of stories on dozens of subjects.

It’s hard work. It requires honesty. Sometimes you lose audience.

But: it’s what I do.

Godspeed.
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