Episode 100 – A Skeptic’s Guide to Skepticism

The Skeptic's Guide to Skepticism Crypto Critics' Corner

Today Bennett and Cas discuss walking the fine line between beneficial and frank skepticism and full-blown conspiracy theorist, and how sometimes the line can get a little blurry. This episode was recorded on November 4th, before everything spiraled into an utter sh*tshow.

Cas Piancey and Bennett Tomlin discuss how to do skepticism well and why so many do it poorly.

This episode was recorded on November 8th, 2022.

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English Transcript:

00:00:05:09 - 00:00:11:15
Cas Piancey
Welcome back, everyone. I am Cas Piancey. I'm joined, as usual by my partner in crime, Mr. Bennett Tomlin. How are you?

00:00:12:12 - 00:00:13:19
Bennett Tomlin
I'm doing well, Cas. How are you?

00:00:14:01 - 00:00:48:18
Cas Piancey
I'm doing good. Today we're talking about a topic near and dear to our hearts. But we're going to be trying to figure out the nuances of it and trying to help people think about it in a healthier way. I think there's been some weird stuff going on. We're talking about skepticism. We're talking about our our wheelhouse. This is kind of this is kind of something we've been doing since we've been involved in the cryptocurrency industry because we mainly started out talking about tether and everyone needing to be skeptical about it.

00:00:50:05 - 00:01:34:00
Cas Piancey
Lately, there's been a lot of issues with both an amplification of certain kinds of skepticism and a degradation of others. And I think we need to outline what's going on, not to suggest that we're the professional skeptics, but to say that we have some experience in being skeptical, that we have some experience in being critical, and that leapfrogging into total conspiracy land or into unreality can damage not just the discussion or the the way people or companies or other entities are perceived, but can actually do damage to your own reputation.

00:01:34:23 - 00:01:51:23
Cas Piancey
So I think it's important for people to reflect on this stuff before they think to themselves. Like, I have to be skeptical of every single thing that's ever been said, period. Bennett How do you want to start this? How do you want to kind of delve into this enormous swimming pool or piranha?

00:01:51:27 - 00:01:52:15
Bennett Tomlin
Piranha, yeah.

00:01:52:15 - 00:01:56:02
Cas Piancey
So I don't know, though.

00:01:56:02 - 00:02:02:25
Bennett Tomlin
Piranhas live in rivers. Lakes. Okay. Just say they're freshwater. Freshwater fish, things about fish.

00:02:03:00 - 00:02:09:15
Cas Piancey
They could live in lakes. All right. Wow. See, I'd be skeptical, man.

00:02:09:15 - 00:02:19:23
Bennett Tomlin
Skepticism is very important, obviously. That's why we do it, because we think it's important to be skeptical and, like, generally.

00:02:19:23 - 00:02:38:09
Cas Piancey
You know, my brain would be like, fuck you. They live in lakes and rivers. I just checked. This is why you got to be skeptical. Folks. Don't just believe him. Don't just believe. Don't look. I know he's looks smarter than me. He sounds smarter than me. He behaves smarter than I do. But you got to be a little.

00:02:38:09 - 00:02:38:15
Cas Piancey
There's a.

00:02:38:16 - 00:02:39:10
Bennett Tomlin
Point. You're somewhere.

00:02:39:10 - 00:02:41:16
Cas Piancey
All right. Sorry. I'm sorry. No.

00:02:41:28 - 00:03:20:19
Bennett Tomlin
But, like, I tried to look for inconsistencies. I try to look for things that don't make sense and don't fit together. And I try to do it. Starting with the default assumption that most people are reasonably good people who are making a reasonable effort to do the right thing. But it's easy when you start to do it. To start, the human brain is well-suited to finding patterns in noise and to like look at a bunch of different points and start to see very thin threads that go between them.

00:03:20:23 - 00:03:52:02
Bennett Tomlin
And it's easy to start to grasp onto those threads really hard and become convinced that these circumstantial connections are evidence of conspiracy. And like, I think part of the reason we've been able to moderate some of those natural tendencies is because we've been able to work together on this for the last four years or whatever. And so when one of us starts to careen down a certain rabbit hole, it's possible for the other one to go, Well, couldn't this just be blank?

00:03:52:08 - 00:04:04:15
Bennett Tomlin
And you have to then pause and step back and go, Yeah, I guess it could be. Then you have to like with that thought, look for the confirming and this confirming evidence and try to work through it from there.

00:04:04:15 - 00:04:05:01
Cas Piancey
Yeah, it's.

00:04:05:08 - 00:04:05:15
Bennett Tomlin
It's.

00:04:05:16 - 00:04:24:13
Cas Piancey
Hard. It's a pretty classic Occam's razor, I think. I think it's one Occam's Razor is one of the most useful kind of philosophical tools to to reflect on when you're trying to be skeptical. Because the idea with in case anyone is unfamiliar, I assume everybody is, but in case anyone isn't, Occam's Razor is basically the idea that the simplest solution is the solution.

00:04:24:14 - 00:04:55:08
Cas Piancey
Like, if you're if you're if you're believing that, oh, the reason that my podcast isn't popular is because the bigger podcasts are doing this campaign to keep my podcast that like Joe Rogan knows about crypto critics corner and he's doing everything in his power to silence us. Here's how I know this to be true. And and I can make up all kinds of nonsense if I want to, or I can realize that our audience is obviously going to be a lot smaller than the enormous audience that Joe Rogan has been able to build over years and years.

00:04:55:13 - 00:05:06:16
Bennett Tomlin
And no, wait, you're onto something. You see, we don't show it on Spotify like we chart on Apple. And Joe Rogan signed an exclusive deal with Spotify and Spotify had to drive their careen baby.

00:05:06:16 - 00:05:25:16
Cas Piancey
So this is what I'm saying. I'm saying it's super easy to go there if you want to and try to make excuses, but it's usually the most obvious answer, which is like, okay, we're involved in a very niche industry. That's what we talk about almost all of the time. Our audience is going to reflect that and his audience is going to reflect his his communicates.

00:05:25:18 - 00:05:25:27
Bennett Tomlin
Mass Market Appeal.

00:05:25:27 - 00:06:08:15
Cas Piancey
his marketability, all of this stuff, right? This is this is this is something you have to think about consistently when you are trying to be skeptical of stuff. But this kind of brings me to the point, which is both of our points we've had we've had a slew of unfounded skepticism lately. Specifically, I think it's worth noting that Elon Musk tweeted out a article by a fake hoax news site based in Santa monica, California, that had said something along the lines of Nancy Pelosi's husband was dating the man or like trying to sleep with the man who broke into their house and threatened to kill him.

00:06:08:15 - 00:06:30:21
Cas Piancey
And Nancy Pelosi, you know, you have gone from 0 to 1000 in in less than a second. You are you are in you are acting as though your space x rocket here is like, dude, we don't need to go that far. You can pull it back. It's fair to have questions about the attack. I think that's that's fine.

00:06:30:21 - 00:06:50:28
Cas Piancey
If you want to have questions about the attack and how it happened, feel free to ask questions. But jumping to conclusions is really, really silly. Now, did did Elon own that? He tweeted this out and did and kind of push this insane fake narrative. No, he didn't own it. He deleted the tweet. He deleted the tweet. He did not own it.

00:06:51:12 - 00:07:23:28
Cas Piancey
Apologize and try to move on. Which brings me to the other person that I want to talk about who did it right, because someone we know and or not know, but someone that we admire and who I personally think is one of the best finance interviewers in the world right now, Deirdre Bosa, who works for CNBC, she got caught up in some nonsense because she went out to Twitter headquarters and Ligma Johnson to made up names.

00:07:23:28 - 00:07:51:28
Cas Piancey
In case you're not getting what I'm saying, Lick My Johnson, these two lads were pretending to be Twitter employees holding, you know, Michelle Obama magazines and just being complete trolls pretending they just got fired by Elon Musk. Lo and behold, Deirdre, along with several other media outlets, believed it and reported on it. To say she got piled on would be a euphemism.

00:07:51:28 - 00:08:17:11
Cas Piancey
What people were, not just making fun of her, but just railing on her and CNBC and saying, this is what is what's to be expected, blah blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Thankfully. Deirdre Then about two or three days later deleted the tweet, screencap the tweet and posted an apology where she said, I made a mistake. I am so sorry that I did that.

00:08:17:11 - 00:08:36:08
Cas Piancey
You should expect better of me. I should expect better of me. And I'm going to do everything I can to not make mistakes like that. Again, I cannot tell you one that is one of the hardest things to do. It is so hard to sit upright, talk to your audience and say, Look, guys, I really fucked up. I am so sorry.

00:08:36:08 - 00:09:02:23
Cas Piancey
I hope you can still support me despite this. So first of all, that's very difficult. Bravo to her for doing it too. I hope to see a lot more of that. I hope that we can see a lot more journalists and media personalities who make mistakes stand up and go, I am so sorry I did that. That was that was really silly because the end result of this and this and this is the final part of this this monologue I've got going on here is that everyone embraced her apology.

00:09:03:09 - 00:09:22:02
Cas Piancey
Like I have never seen as much as much like the industry as a whole, just going, well, thank you for doing this. Thank you. Thank you so much for doing this. And, you know, you've done a lot of important work and it's okay. It's okay. We appreciate you owning it. And I like I don't know, that's about it.

00:09:22:05 - 00:09:37:22
Cas Piancey
That's about all you can ask for from your audience. And that's all you can ask for from the people who were giving you media, who are the content creators and the ones bringing it to you if they make a mistake and they own it. I like there's very little else you can ask because we're all going to make mistakes at some point.

00:09:37:29 - 00:09:40:11
Cas Piancey
You and I have made mistakes. It's something that happens.

00:09:41:26 - 00:10:07:18
Bennett Tomlin
And I think kind of what you're getting at here is that in all these mediums and across all these things, you have a responsibility to be responsible, to try to find the best information you can and report it as accurately as you can. And doing that well risks sometimes making a mistake is not always possible. To check every possible claim through to its entire possible conclusion.

00:10:07:25 - 00:10:30:19
Bennett Tomlin
In the time frame, you have to report certain things. So it is incredibly responsible that when you fall short of being able to check certain things and you end up propagating mis and disinformation, that you then take an active effort to try to make right what you did wrong, to try to win, to try to make sure that it's now as knowledgeable as possible, that that information is not true.

00:10:30:19 - 00:10:45:09
Bennett Tomlin
And this instead is the true information which she did an excellent job of, and many other people tried to instead just leave mistakes they've made in the past. And by avoiding acknowledging them, just hope they fall out of memory.

00:10:45:09 - 00:10:47:18
Cas Piancey
Or double down or double down, which is the other of.

00:10:47:26 - 00:10:48:08
Bennett Tomlin
The other.

00:10:48:08 - 00:11:13:14
Cas Piancey
Option. That's even worse. But let's but there's actually a great example of this, which we've been seeing lately, and this is so sad to me, which it comes from a source that I used to enjoy very much, which is The Intercept and Glenn Greenwald, which, you know, they're separated now. They're not the same thing. But both of these have now been having these horrendous mistakes that they don't clarify, that they double down on, that they ignore.

00:11:13:20 - 00:11:28:20
Cas Piancey
And lately. So The Intercept did this big piece on all of this Department of Homeland Security like secret spending and stuff. And Mike Masnick, who I don't know. Does he work for techdirt I think he works for techdirt

00:11:30:03 - 00:11:31:14
Bennett Tomlin
But I think it's right.

00:11:31:17 - 00:11:52:14
Cas Piancey
Regardless, Mike Masnick who's like, if you don't follow him, I highly recommend his his Twitter feed is very informative. I know he's debating leaving Twitter now. I think most people are, but there everyone's at least stating that they're thinking about it. I don't know how real it is. Anyway, he he called out this intercept article and basically said, none of this is secret.

00:11:52:14 - 00:12:17:19
Cas Piancey
None of this is like under the surface. Like it's all right there for everybody to see if they want to see it. You guys are misreporting this when in reality there's so many other problems with the US government that you could be focusing on. Why are you doing this and making it more difficult to bring attention to the important stuff and instead of apologize using instead of saying like, oh my, my bad, I should have done better work.

00:12:17:19 - 00:12:41:24
Cas Piancey
The gentleman who I'm not even going to name him gentleman who posted this thing going on, Tucker Carlson and other shit. The guy who posted this was like basically just arguing with Mike Masnick, not not suggesting that he was going to fix the article, which they did edit the article and not post when they fixed it or why, which is, again, if you're if you're in the media, that is absolutely something you need to be doing.

00:12:41:24 - 00:13:02:29
Cas Piancey
If you if you make a correction, mention it to your readers, you have to mention it so that that's the first thing. But then, too, Glenn Greenwald went off on this one tweet pretending it was actually something to be skeptical of, like, yeah, no, people you got to like maybe he, maybe she, maybe he was seeing a prostitute, maybe blah, blah, blah.

00:13:02:29 - 00:13:22:06
Cas Piancey
And it's like, Hey, Glenn, I appreciate skepticism, too, but now you're just fabricating stories. Like, you're not you're not being skeptical of the new story. You're being skeptical of the first story that you heard, and then you got this new, totally fabricated nonsense. And you go, That sounds more believable. That sounds more believable. Does it sound more believable?

00:13:23:07 - 00:13:37:14
Bennett Tomlin
Maybe. Maybe. Craig What? Craig Wright Got hacked. You know, the hacker wanted was not to take any of the Bitcoin or any of his money or anything like that. All they wanted to do was plant forgeries that Craig would later enter as real evidence into court trials. It's the only explanation.

00:13:38:02 - 00:14:17:14
Cas Piancey
These are it's it's a lot of these a lot of this nonsense. And I and I think my concern with doing this episode is you and I talked about this before we jumped on a few days ago, was that I think a lot of people perceive our early skepticism as being borderline conspiracy theory. And while I think we have asked a lot of a lot of questions that maybe, maybe some of them didn't need to be asked, honestly, I think there's some questions that we didn't even need to bother asking, whereas we could have focused on the important ones.

00:14:17:14 - 00:14:37:11
Cas Piancey
And I think one of them, for instance, being like, get an audit period. I don't want to hear excuses. I don't want a five year timeline. I want you to get an audit now like this is absurd. That and and it should be questioned why they cannot do it. It should be consistently questioned when they promised this thing, why they can't do it.

00:14:37:20 - 00:14:58:02
Cas Piancey
Great that is something very reasonable to be skeptical about other things that are worth being skeptical about. They promised 1 to 1 backing. They have never they have never shown that they ever had that or that that is ever a goal that they will succeed at, too. They have talked about all their transparency, their how their they've shown these assets.

00:14:58:09 - 00:15:15:04
Cas Piancey
They didn't do that. They didn't do that until the New York attorney general forced them to do a summary. We still don't know if any of this is true because there's been no audit of them. So I think a lot of our skepticism comes from a very real place, and that's you have to ground your skepticism in reality.

00:15:15:11 - 00:15:38:26
Cas Piancey
You can't just let it unhinge itself and go off and fly. It can't be the bird, can't be the little Twitter bird that has free speech. Now, it it it can't you can't just think whatever you want. That's not what skepticism is about. It's not about just believing everything. It's about wondering and questioning everything. But that has to be grounded in reality.

00:15:38:26 - 00:15:41:05
Cas Piancey
It has to be well.

00:15:41:05 - 00:16:01:14
Bennett Tomlin
And you need to remember to maintain a skepticism about the evidence that confirms your skeptical belief. So like in terms of tether, one of the most common accusations against tether is that they were manipulating the market and one of the most common pieces of evidence used to support that is the is Bitcoin and tether paper by Griffin and Shams.

00:16:02:10 - 00:16:23:00
Bennett Tomlin
I've talked about in the past some of my problems with this paper. If you eliminate like the two most extreme days, the relationship almost totally disappears. They don't really address other potential explanations for the weird end of month behavior, like futures closing and things like that. And so my conclusion when looking at the paper was always, this is insufficient evidence that tether is manipulating the market.

00:16:23:15 - 00:16:45:18
Bennett Tomlin
But like that paper has been the foundation of class action lawsuits and of a whole bunch of different coverage and discussion of tether as if it proved they were manipulating the market. Right. And so this is why I I'm I'm confident I have fallen short of this repeatedly in my four and a half or whatever years covering tether.

00:16:45:18 - 00:17:05:14
Bennett Tomlin
But my goal generally is to try to be as skeptical of that type of evidence that tends to confirm the things we're predisposed to believe as the evidence, as the things that Tether is saying and is presenting out into the world, because otherwise it is very easy to become unmoored.

00:17:05:14 - 00:17:24:03
Cas Piancey
And it's so it's so easy to think about like an example, like if I if I had to be skeptical of every single thing that I do in the world, I would be paralyzed. I wouldn't be able to do anything anymore. And that goes for anybody. You can't be skeptical of everything all the time. That isn't how it works, right?

00:17:24:03 - 00:17:45:12
Cas Piancey
You have to focus the skepticism on stuff that you can actually follow up on and confirm and that that like I can't go confirm what's happening in, let's say, Ukraine. I just can't. I, I guess I could I guess I could get I don't know if I need a visa. I doubt I need a visa to go to Ukraine, but I probably would I'd need to buy a plane ticket.

00:17:45:12 - 00:17:58:05
Cas Piancey
I would need to find a place to live. I'd be putting pressure on the resources in a country that doesn't really want to expend resources on a foreign visitor so that you have to make decisions on what you can and cannot confirm.

00:17:58:15 - 00:18:17:08
Bennett Tomlin
And well, and and to do it responsibly, you would need to spend weeks, months or years studying the context and the history and like the different reports and things like that to understand what we're going to look at and like being able to pass it and see like and so yeah, there is, there is always in our society like a little bit of that outsourcing of trust.

00:18:17:08 - 00:18:40:11
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah, right. And it's not that you shouldn't be skeptical, it's that you should be skeptical when there are clear inconsistency is when promises are being made and not kept. When you're seeing like things like that, like that are like indirect opposition because that's often like the entry point where you can start to find meaningful things. Otherwise you get caught in the whiplash, you get pulled away.

00:18:41:00 - 00:19:06:03
Cas Piancey
Yeah, yeah, I, I just think it's. It's worth acknowledging the good skepticism and the bad skepticism that that is happening out there. I mean, I wish more people had been skeptical of something as crazy as Terra/Luna I wish that I wish there had been more broad skepticism from the industry as a whole. And I don't just mean like everyday retail investors who got really guys.

00:19:06:03 - 00:19:22:06
Cas Piancey
It's far more important that you are skeptical than Mike Novogratz or or Andreessen Horowitz. You know, like they don't need to be skeptical. They can blow all their fucking money. I don't care. I don't care. I care.

00:19:22:06 - 00:19:26:15
Bennett Tomlin
Would be good for society if they blew all their money. Yeah. Is what I'm saying. Great.

00:19:26:22 - 00:19:45:11
Cas Piancey
But for, for the right, for the average retail investor, I think it's actually really important for you to be skeptical, especially about things that you might not understand and I. And that it's so easy to get caught up in this like, well, that's a word I don't know, but I don't want to do it. So. Yeah, no, no, no, no.

00:19:45:12 - 00:20:00:00
Cas Piancey
Go on. No, in algorithmic stablecoin. I mean, I know what an algorithm is. I know what a stablecoin is. It's just represents a dollar gain. Yeah, of course. Go on. I mean, that sounds great. It's so easy to transform into that person and be like, I don't need to be. I don't need to question this stuff. I don't wanna look stupid.

00:20:00:00 - 00:20:22:03
Cas Piancey
I really don't want to look stupid or I don't. I want to know this person. This person seems important. I don't want to be on their team like it. All of these things intermingle in morphing your ability to perceive when you're being fooled and in finance. I think this is particularly troubling because this is something that we've seen throughout history.

00:20:22:03 - 00:21:01:21
Cas Piancey
This is something that happens like a lot of people are trying to fool you in finance. They want your money. They don't care about you. And if you're not skeptical, you'll lose your money. You will lose your money. It's not even a question like if you're if you if you don't. But then then there's the other side. There's the other side of that, which is if you're too skeptical of the entire system, if you're too skeptical of every single thing that is in operation today in society that keeps society going, you end up putting, let's say, all of your money in a box in your backyard and you bury it and you are not helping

00:21:01:21 - 00:21:24:11
Cas Piancey
yourself. If you do that, you're not helping yourself. You're not investing. You're not trying to earn any kind of like interest on the money you're bleeding out due to inflationary like that. The dollar is inflationary, so you're bleeding out due to inflation and you're bleeding out to extra inflation, right now. And if someone ever finds out that there's a box in your backyard with a bunch of money if they're just going to fucking take it.

00:21:24:20 - 00:21:48:04
Cas Piancey
So like there's a lot of things that can push you way too far in one direction here. And I wish we could give somebody a I wish we could give people just step by step, step instructions. I don't think you can I don't think it's possible to tell people exactly how to be skeptical. But it is a fine line and you do have to be aware of it.

00:21:48:08 - 00:22:16:03
Cas Piancey
You really do. You need to know when you're maybe like you said, we have each other to kind of bounces ideas off of. Hopefully you have some sane friends and sane family members. I know that's a big ask for a lot of us, but hopefully you have some and you can bounce these ideas off of them and hopefully they're honest with you so that when you say something a little bit crazy, like, I don't know, Atlantis is real, they go and can you prove that to me?

00:22:16:03 - 00:22:47:08
Cas Piancey
Please? And when you can't, they can go, okay, dude, no. And you and you trust them when they say do note. No, you know, like I. I just. Yeah, I need people to be a little bit more skeptical to own when they're not skeptical enough and to own when they're way too skeptical. It's it's a big ask, but I really need everybody to try to do their best to do that, because I'm seeing so much of it being almost weaponized, I would say.

00:22:47:18 - 00:23:06:04
Bennett Tomlin
I think what you're talking about is kind of going back to like Elon Musk. Great. If you flood the field with so much misinformation, you start questioning even the confession of the attacker themself. Right? Then you can make it so you can challenge any premise and you can make any conclusion true. And once you've gotten to that point, you control the information space, right?

00:23:06:05 - 00:23:36:11
Bennett Tomlin
Use continue to flooded with nonsense and you avoid coherent narratives that can be responded to from being formed. Because how do you respond to someone still supporting the claim that like this attacker at the Pelosi House, was these things that Elon Musk propagated? You have to like claim that the confession was false or somehow coerced, that there's some other evidence that's being held back that would somehow prove this stance and that even and that that evidence would not just provide some small circumstantial piece, but would prove the larger, overarching claim of why this individual was there.

00:23:36:11 - 00:23:57:27
Bennett Tomlin
And like the relationship, the preexisting relationship, and so like the amount of confirming evidence that would require that is required for that hypothesis to be true, should make you deeply skeptical of it. If you unders can't stand skepticism, but if you've been just taught that your goal is to be skeptical of claims made especially by this type of person, which is often how it's used, that's how Glenn Greenwald will often use it.

00:23:57:27 - 00:24:19:29
Bennett Tomlin
Now, oh, the New York Times is making that claim. Well, we should doubt every claim they're making. The New York Times often falls short, but there's still one. They still some of the best journalists in the world reporting these stories. Most of the things they report are going to be reported pretty well. Right. And so you should have some skepticism, but don't jump to it's wrong because it's from here, because that's the same kind of flawed thinking that you're trying to respond to with well done skepticism.

00:24:19:29 - 00:25:03:18
Cas Piancey
Yeah. It's almost like you can get into a place where you've reversed the flow of the water like you. You've done it. You've done the opposite of what you're trying to do and the amount of conspiracy theories that are just utter nonsense, utter nonsense, totally insane. Off the wall. Batshit crazy, right? The Sandy Hook nonsense that Alex Jones is going to have to pay $1,000,000,000 for now when we've gotten to the point that people are presuming that a mass shooting is staged, you need to step back and go, maybe I'm questioning too much because I like it's not the world against you.

00:25:03:18 - 00:25:34:24
Cas Piancey
I know it feels like that to all of us, but it is not the world against you. It is not. Everybody is doing everything to push you down. There are certainly systemic issues in society and I think we can all grant that. It is absolutely true. You want to talk about minorities in the prison system. You want to talk about how flawed it is because there's clearly an elite class in America and throughout the world that has more wealth than the rest of us and more property than the rest of us.

00:25:35:03 - 00:25:59:00
Cas Piancey
I'm sure. Like I feel free to discuss it and talk about the reasons that it exists to be suggest saying that there's a big cabal and a conspiracy and they're working to harm you is again getting so skeptical that you almost cannot prove your skepticism anymore. You've now created a whole new theory that would that would people need to be skeptical of, because it doesn't it's not grounded in reality anymore.

00:26:00:05 - 00:26:36:07
Cas Piancey
And yeah, I don't I again, I don't know I don't know how we help people walk this fine line because it is a fine line. And I know we're asking for a lot. And look, we're we've made mistakes, too. I think it's I we I recently tweeted out my my in response to you. I tweeted out my old article about a former friend of ours who started a an onion site who helped me start up my onion site and was trying to do this thing as like a, he was going to build a company around this.

00:26:36:18 - 00:26:55:23
Cas Piancey
I got hosed for whatever it was, 100, 125 bucks, not much, but that money is gone. And a friend of ours, another friend of ours, got hosed for a couple thousand dollars. I should have been asking more questions that whole time. I wasn't asking those questions because I trusted this person. That's going to happen in life. That's just what's going to happen.

00:26:55:23 - 00:27:16:02
Cas Piancey
You're going to have friends, you're going to have family. They're going to disappoint you. They're going to do things that you don't expect them to do. Of course that's going to happen as long as you're a functional human. But to take the important part is to take a lesson from it, to expand on that and to try to utilize it to not only help yourself, but hopefully help other people.

00:27:16:02 - 00:27:43:00
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah. The two last things I kind of want to touch on here is that most conspiracies are challenging to pull off, like when you actually start to think about the number of people who would have to be involved, the types of resources they would need access to, the logistics you would need to support all those resources and the number of people that involves in that many people, all keeping it a secret for however long it's been operating is generally extraordinarily unlikely.

00:27:43:10 - 00:28:09:27
Bennett Tomlin
And so when you actually look at most of these theories through that lens, you realize they're not going to work because people are bad at keeping secrets, people are bad hiding this kind of thing. And the other part is you want to continue to trust most people, even if you run some risk of being scammed or defrauded because many of the most rewarding and good things in life come from when you're open and trusting and seeing the good in people and most people are good.

00:28:09:27 - 00:28:30:07
Bennett Tomlin
And so it's when you start to see the inconsistency, the broken promise, the lie, the thing that can't be true being spread as if it is true, that then you need to become skeptical, then you need to put the attention. There is when you've already seen like the disconnect, when you've seen the flaw, the initial flaw you shouldn't start from this is wrong.

00:28:30:07 - 00:28:30:16
Bennett Tomlin
Right.

00:28:30:26 - 00:28:59:16
Cas Piancey
And look, there's plenty of I think there's plenty of silly, harmless conspiracy theories out there. There's Wyoming doesn't exist. There's birds aren't real. There's there's plenty of these conspiracies that are essentially unhinged from reality on purpose. And that's that's totally fine. The problem is when you have even conspiracy, well, there's even conspiracies that I feel are more or less harmless, which are like, we never landed on the moon.

00:28:59:16 - 00:29:20:19
Cas Piancey
It's like, okay, I mean, I don't really give a shit if you think we didn't land on the moon, it's not going to hurt me. It's not going to hurt you. It doesn't matter. Fine. But then it starts getting weird when you start getting into ones where it's almost like the goal is to rip apart society, the fabric of society as we know it.

00:29:20:27 - 00:29:48:28
Cas Piancey
And you go, okay, I don't know why we're even discussing this. Like you cannot prove or disprove it. You cannot like that is that is how most of these things are. That's why skepticism should be utilized, because if you cannot prove or disprove something and it's getting passed along like it's fact, like, I don't know, you're here. Instead, here's one that I think is a here's one that I think is a totally fair skepticism.

00:29:49:05 - 00:30:07:22
Cas Piancey
Is that that ultimately, I think Occam's razor could be totally true in this case. And yet it's okay to be skeptical. Right. Is the classic Epstein didn't kill himself thing where it's like okay I get why people think that I actually totally understand why people believe that he didn't kill himself. It makes sense to me why people believe that.

00:30:08:04 - 00:30:29:07
Cas Piancey
Also, prisons are vastly underfunded. These dudes had been working like 48 hour shifts or something. They say they fell asleep. They probably fell asleep. The cameras weren't working. The cameras probably weren't working. And and Epstein was going to be in jail for the rest of his life and probably didn't want to live anymore. You know, all of those things can be true.

00:30:29:07 - 00:30:49:19
Cas Piancey
And yet. Right. And yet you can still be like, I don't know about that. And I get it. I totally get it. Also, I like it's not going to harm any of us. Again, this is not something that is going to matter to any of us right now. It's not going to destroy society. It's not going to like it's it's people yelling about a dead guy.

00:30:49:21 - 00:30:50:03
Cas Piancey
I don't know.

00:30:50:14 - 00:31:14:28
Bennett Tomlin
Well, an additional scrutiny on Jeffrey Epstein. His activities and who all was involved in them is probably good for our society, even if some of the claim like. And my guess is he did kill himself. My guess is he died by suicide because it's an awful prison and prison sucks and life sentences suck. And everyone finding out that you're a sex trafficker and talking about it for the rest of your life, where you're stuck in prison is going to suck.

00:31:15:11 - 00:31:21:28
Bennett Tomlin
Right? And so but yeah, you're right. It's possible there was a lot of powerful people who knew Epstein who were really close to him. Maybe.

00:31:23:00 - 00:31:38:22
Cas Piancey
Who knows? You made a good point with like people like to talk to where it's like it works on both ends, where one, if something is a conspiracy, for instance, we never landed on the moon. Well, I would expect that a lot of people would be talking about that then, because you have to film that and fake it.

00:31:38:22 - 00:31:53:02
Cas Piancey
You would need dozens if not hundreds of people. Some of those people are going to talk like that's just that's just how people work. Not somehow none of those people exist. To tell us how this big soundstage was there, that fake the moon landing, they're not there.

00:31:53:02 - 00:31:54:19
Bennett Tomlin
The CIA killed them, right?

00:31:54:19 - 00:32:00:09
Cas Piancey
The CIA took care of all of them, but none of those people who killed them are also around to talk anymore because the.

00:32:00:17 - 00:32:01:22
Bennett Tomlin
FBI killed them.

00:32:02:23 - 00:32:11:03
Cas Piancey
I look, whatever. And I'm I'm trying to say that people like to talk to most conspiracies aren't real. There are some real conspiracies, though, too.

00:32:11:03 - 00:32:16:16
Bennett Tomlin
Well, and some of the real ones are done like out in the open, like the fbi killing Martin Luther King, Jr.

00:32:16:16 - 00:32:16:23
Cas Piancey
Really?

00:32:16:23 - 00:32:21:29
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah, but, like, they do exist. Yeah, but when they do, there's often suicides or a.

00:32:21:29 - 00:32:42:05
Cas Piancey
Criminal network working with politicians in Malta to kill a journalist and. And the politicians never going to jail for it. I think it's pretty clear that politicians worked together with criminals to blow up a journalist, but they're not in prison. Okay, so I like. Okay, there are conspiracy theories that are real. There are people who know how to keep their mouth shut.

00:32:42:15 - 00:32:59:21
Cas Piancey
But for the most part, that is not the case. And on the other end of that, we all love to talk about nonsense. So it's really easy to start up nonsense. And I think it was Mark Twain who said, A, people go around the world before the truth can even get its shoes on its boots.

00:32:59:21 - 00:32:59:28
Bennett Tomlin
And.

00:33:00:19 - 00:33:20:24
Cas Piancey
Somebody say, yeah, something like that. Right. So so the idea being basically that you can tell a thousand lies and they're going to go around the world a million times before anyone is like, oh, the truth is, we more live in that world than when Mark Twain was alive. It every communication is instant now, so there's no chance to even try it.

00:33:20:29 - 00:33:38:01
Cas Piancey
We've seen it a million times on corrections and on Twitter, which again is this is why I think Deirdre Bowser did such a good job. She deleted the original tweet, screenshotted it and said, this is incorrect. I am sorry. That is how to handle this. It is absolutely how to handle it. It's taken me years to understand that.

00:33:38:01 - 00:33:53:05
Cas Piancey
It's taken me years. I didn't know. I didn't know. That's how you should deal with this stuff. But once you do know that, make sure that's what you do. And when you make a mistake, inevitably, because we're all going to do it. We're all going to make a mistake. We're all going to report something too early. We're we're all going to accidentally spread misinformation one day.

00:33:53:09 - 00:34:03:04
Cas Piancey
We're all going to not be as skeptical as we should be when we are or too skeptical when we shouldn't be. That's okay. As long as you correct it. And I think that's that's my main that's the main point I want to make.

00:34:04:20 - 00:34:35:01
Bennett Tomlin
Yeah, I think that's the takeaway is that it's important to be the goal of skepticism is to get to the truth. And so it's important to use that as your orienting thing is to try to understand what is actually going on. And skepticism is a tool to get it. That skepticism itself is not like it is not disbelieving all of the evidence until you've warped yourself into whatever position fits your feelings, which is what it can sometimes end up being.

00:34:35:20 - 00:34:39:09
Bennett Tomlin
It's all in the pursuit of actual understanding.

00:34:40:14 - 00:35:00:14
Cas Piancey
Right? So now that we've acknowledged that we're all in a simulation and none of this is real, please make sure to hit that like and subscribe and review button. Because man, even though this is a simulation and it's not real, I just need that dopamine hit. Please, please help me live my best fake existence.

00:35:01:08 - 00:35:07:28
Bennett Tomlin
The dopamine gives the aliens who keep our bodies is better is more power Xenu!

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