• Home

last modified September 23, 2019 by strypey

Unless otherwise stated, all material on CounterClaim, including the Who Said It ? pages, is licensed under CreativeCommons-Attribution-ShareAlike (CC-BY-SA 4.0). Any copies of material under copyright restrictions have been made for the purposes of private study, research, criticism, review, and news reporting; see "Fair Dealing" disclaimer.


The claim/counterclaim structure of the CounterClaim pages was inspired by the 9/11 Myths website (please note: this is not an endorsement of the contents of that site, nor any bias it might contain). The method is to document each claim, who is making the claim, and what evidence they have presented to support it, using tables with numbered claims on the left-hand side, and a counterclaim for each number on the right-hand side. As each table grows, we can break it into multiple tables, each addressing a particular part of the topic. As we develop the page on each topic, we can link to pages which are a particularly rich in claims and references, but always with the eventual goal of integrating all those claims and references into the page itself. To make the pages easier to follow, there will be an evolving Page Template , which explains in detail how the pages are being laid out, and why.


Page Template : a reference page explaining the logic behind the way CounterClaim pages are laid out. It can be used as a template for starting new pages.

Who Said It : a database of people who regularly turn up as spokespeople, and organisations that are frequently mentioned, in both news coverage and online discussion of the topics covered in CounterClaim pages.

Online Research Aids : an evolving list of websites that are useful for doing specific kinds of research, eg finding out who gets public funding to provide services, or if there's evidence a group are an astroturf group funded by corporate donors and delivering their key messages .


The goal of this website is to encourage people to be sceptical, to understand that even science can never give us a conclusive "proof" of what is true or false in the real world of our everyday experience. Unlike " Skeptics ", many of whom start with a bias towards whatever is the status quo, and accumulate evidence to support it, D4T seeks to break down the claims on both sides of any controversy that concerns us, and link those claims with any evidence that seems to support them.


In a world where wealthy and powerful elites have very different interests from the majority of the world's population, it is reasonable to assume they would spend some of their wealth manufacturing consent
for policies and practices that defend and advance their elite interests, without drawing attention to them. Indeed we know that corporations, as a prominent example, have huge budgets for marketing, PR ("public relations), lobbying politicians (including both paid lobbyists and campaign contributions for candidates), and other activities designed to influence public opinion in the pursuit of profit.

Tobacco companies couldn't openly say 'we want people to buy more cigarettes even though we know they are physically addictive and cause cancer". So first they denied the health effects of tobacco, and heaped scorn on anyone who brought them up in public, accusing them of being "anti-science" or using "junk science". Then they insisted that smoking was a personal choice, despite the proof that once hooked, it's takes a mammoth effort from smokers to quit. They continue to seed conspiracy theories about public health activists having nefarious motives for wanting people to smoke less tobacco.

We know that like the tobacco companies, other powerful institutions including corporations, government bodies, and non-government organisations (NGOs) work hard to shape public opinion, using a range of 'public relations' tactics, from mass media advertising, to cultivating relationships with journalists, to setting up proxy groups in communities where they operate, and operating " sock puppets " online. Nicky Hagar's book 'Secrets and Lies' describes a range of tactics used by state-owned logging company Timberlands in attempts to neutralise anti-logging protests, including setting up a pro-logging group which claimed to be a self-organised group of concerned locals.

The underlying goal of all these PR tactics and disinformation is to spread doubt, confusion, and uncertainty, which makes it difficult, stressful and embarrassing for people to question the official stories that elites have propagated, find out the truth, and share it with others. They create a situation where any one of us could find ourselves serving as " useful idiots ", unpaid citizens who spread the " key messages " and "alternative facts" that serve the interests of elites, despite intending to do just the opposite.

The goal of these pages is to document the various claims and counter-claims made about controversial issues, and examine the available evidence to see how these claims hold up in the light of verifiable facts. By doing this, we can establish which facts are not contested, eliminate claims which are easily found to contradict obvious logic or available evidence, and focus our investigations on those claims for which we haven't yet found conclusive evidence. We also aim to steer around logical fallacies , such as where the credentials or background of the claimant is cited as an argument for or against the claim (the "appeal to authority" fallacy).