Friday, September 3, 2010


Let's just say I was "out of town" for a while and didn't get the memo. Like most cool kids, I'm always late to parties.

Recently I've been made aware of this weird group of new writers identifying themselves as skeptics who came out in droves basically telling people like me that we're doing it wrong. We need to stop being "mean". One of these writers in particular resorted to trickery and deceit to try and defend and promote the position he and his sock puppets held.

Just because I identify myself as a critical thinker doesn't mean that I'm on a crusade to join a skeptical "movement" that has no clearly defined goals I'm aware of. Yes, we may all agree that Sylvia Browne can not speak to the ethereal egos of dead people. We may even agree that we hope other people will realize this so she and other charlatans are exposed as deluded or even frauds. One way of doing this is to take their claims and present thouroughly researched evidence as to why they are bogus.

But sometimes I just feel like saying that Sylvia Browne is a pus-filled ass boil.

No claim refuted, just good old fashioned disgust for another skidmark on the underwear that is humanity.

That's why claims like this piss me off:

If you really want to counter [woo belief], choose one of the claims [woo] makes, do some research, and write a nice blog entry showing where [they go] wrong and what the evidence says, but do not resort to ad-hominem attacks. We are skeptics and we ought to be better than that.
Since no evidence for the claim is provided, my critical thinking mind leads me to believe this dude just likes the sound of his own voice so he made up a position he likes the sound of, puts a "King of the Skeptics" hat on and proceeds to proclaim this postion as superior to other methods. Or, to put it another way, HIZ SKEPTICZ R BETTAR THN UR SKEPTICZ!!!1!1

What this guy doesn't realize is that sometimes being an asshole is not only fun, but gets one's point across with brevity and (hopefully) wit.

For example, Don is still getting moronic responses to an article he wrote about a particular snake oila year ago. The article and it's pursuant comments have time and again explained not only that science says this snake oil is useless, but that the anecdotes provided by the believers are worthless as evidence. That doesn't stop the idiots from coming out in droves to repeat the same arguments that were debunked a hundred times.

So maybe we can take a different approach: spray on a good thick coat of smart-ass. Even if the original commenter can't see how lame she is, an observer with half a brain can and may be swayed by this method rather than the nicey-nice championed by guys like Skepdude.

My last example may be the most frightening. See, I've been writing blog articles for about five years now which is four and a half years longer than most people. And back in my day, we roasted moronic trolls not only for fun but also to show fence-sitting observers how silly their beliefs were. The most beloved of our pets was Cocksnack. I asked Cocksnack something to the effect of

If there were no god, and therefore no Bible to provide your moral compass, would you start killing people?

His response? Yes, if there were no god and therefore no Bible, he would probably just kill people.

Rather than writing a "nice blog entry" about where he goes wrong, I just told him to hold onto that god belief for dear fucking life.

The point is, bombast is what convinced me. Others making fun of silly beliefs is what made me question my own silly beliefs. Do I want people to start thinking critically? Absolutely. Am I trying to do so in every blog article I post? Absolutely not.

Now quit trying to tell me what to do and how to do it fucktards.


  1. You know, I just reread the Yoder's article and, just as I remembered, it was pretty calm and measured. It got snarky and sarcastic from time to time, but not overly much and I only used a couple of low-grade curse words. I was clear in my disdain for Yoder's but the only time I said anything even remotely about the folks that might use Yoder's was when I referred to their target audience as "backwoods rubes and hippie-types."

    And yet almost every single Yoder's or ACV supporter in the comments has fired a salvo of insult and personal attack across my bow. But somehow I'm the one that needs to worry about being a dick.

    Fuck that. Even when I do the research and write a nice, measured blog post addressing the claims being made, people still are more convinced by their personal experience and they still heap abuse upon me. So fuck them. I'll respond in kind.

  2. That's what I thought when I read that post. It was clear, well-thought out and put over the fact that, while you don't give a shit if people drink it, they shouldn't be able to claim it cures stuff just because they feel like it.

    Tru Bleevers feel any question directed toward their belief is threatening; as if we are required to not only understand their position without asking but to agree with it whole-heartedly because they do.

    Like when I ask people to "explain god". They act like I should know everything about this deity they profess belief in and the fact I don't is akin to swallowing a kitten whole.

  3. It's really just yet more confirmation of what people have been saying forever: all it takes to be a "dick" to many people is to question their beliefs.

  4. Don said:

    all it takes to be a "dick" to many people is to question their beliefs

    Which is precisely the reason that people complaining about some skeptics being dicks is so utterly fucking ridiculous. No matter how polite, somebody some where will think you are being a dick.

  5. Very true. Just take a look at the responses to some of the incredibly, incredibly mild billboards and bus ads about atheism. Some atheists try to inform some potentially lonely people that yes, there are other atheists out there.

    How do the fundies react? They act as if they saw a bunch of Z-grade horror movie cultists cracking puppy skulls on a bloody altar.

    And don't get me started on how simple, consistent curiosity gets bashed by the milquetoast concern trolls. What got me to my current state was a bunch of atheists and skeptics repeatedly asking honest questions about the details and evidence for various religious beliefs. The dishonesty and evasiveness of the believers responded with spoke much greater volumes than the occasional side snark. The milquetoasts who got involved seemed more interested in banning the topic than trying to find the truth.

    There's plenty of good that can be done with calm, measured, analytical blogging, but that far from the only way. Heck, I'd say that half the time, remaining calm when you analyze it is often interpreted by the believers as a sign that the batshit crazy woo is worth considering because, well, why else would someone spend so much time by something they're "obviously" threatened by?

    Skepticism, like any meme, requires a variety of approaches to prosper, simply because there are a lot of different kinds of people out there. I'm one of those people who prefers strong responses because they grab and hold my attention. That's why try to emulate the people who convinced me.

  6. That's why [I] try to emulate the people who convinced me.

    Exactly. For me it was mostly Robert Todd Carroll of The Skeptic's Dictionary. His responses to the morans are usually polite discourse until the woos get nasty or repetitive.