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Do your own research

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"Do your own research!" is a common phrase used by conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience promoters of various creeds in response to people who are skeptical of their claims. This phrase is a form of the escape hatch (Argumentum ad googlam) used by a charlatan who wants to win the argument but does not want to bear the burden of proof. Typically by this, they tend not to be suggesting you actually read through papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals—nah, they're evil, big government shills—nor are they suggesting you conduct original research; Professor Google provides all the info needed. Some specify YouTube is the key to all your "research" (Argumentum ad YouTube).

If you must have recourse to some actual books (how elitist!), stick with the likes of Kevin Trudeau and Alex Jones. It should also be noted that many "research" websites are merely copied from each other, making finding true "original" sources very difficult. Ultimately, the "argument" boils down to "do your own research, from my list of self-approved sources."

Ironically, conducting actual, thorough research from vetted and reliable sources is the best way to debunk conspiracy theories; this goes largely unnoticed by their advocates. It's commonly used when evidence is debunked too, as some people aren't mature enough to admit that they're wrong.[1]

Use in civil rights movements[edit]

Some activists in the modern social justice movement do take up this line of reasoning, usually in the form of "Educate yourself" or "It isn't my job to educate you."[2] Discounting the cases where it actually is quite literally one's job to educate people (for example, being a paid or volunteer activist), it should be noted that there is a very sharp difference between a conspiracy theorist/pseudoscientist/etc. using this and a member of a marginalized group doing the same; in the case of the latter, for instance, detailing the effects of marginalization can involve the telling of very personal or painful memories or experiences that someone may be very uncomfortable expressing to someone who is a complete stranger. The way the internet allows for massive bombardments makes this even more exhausting; someone who might have time to indulge entry-level questions from one or two people may not have the energy, free time or lifespan to deliver personal tuition to every single one of the hundred and fifty people suddenly interrogating them in their mentions.

Of course, this all assumes the asker is asking in good faith, rather than not.

See also[edit]

References[edit]