I am–if not tolerant of pseudo-science, at least I don’t go after it too much. Sure, I gripe at my mother for using homeopathic crap,* and I yell at the TV like nobody’s business, and whenever somebody comes up with “Oooo! Look! A new mammal!” on various forums, I’m generally in the dog-with-mange camp, and if my chiropractor ever suggests that he’s anything but a glorified back popper, I’ll be out of there like a bat on speed. But in the grand scheme of things, this does not even move the radar. I am not fighting the good fight, I am, at best, grumbling at the enemy from the safety of my armchair. I do not go on and on about the horrors of pseudo-science–bar creationism–because I am just not terribly strident, and much too often I allow myself to lapse into if-people-want-to-believe-sloppy-thinking-it’s-their-business.
Which is itself sloppy thinking, and I ought to be ashamed. Because if we want examples of pseudo-science screwing people out of money, I can come up with dozens off the top of my head, and for killing people, we hardly have to dig. And nobody sits around saying “Well, if people want to kill their children, it’s their business.” Well, nobody decent, anyway.
This jackass sent tens of thousands of already traumatized people into panicked flight for the hills because he believes in mystic waves in the ether. Roads were blocked. Food and supplies couldn’t get through. People who have, by any measure, suffered far, far more than enough suffered even MORE. Undoubtedly people died as a result of this, either from fleeing or from the supplies being unable to get through.
Because one idiot never learned critical thinking and found a way to make money by claiming there are waaaaves in the ether.
Reading Richard Dawkins always makes me feel militant. Having examples like this fall from the sky makes me feel pissed. Screw it. No more sloppy thinking! I’m goin’ after the next bit of pseudoscience that gets in my way like a terrier on a rat, and if it makes me strident, well, life is tough all over.
*Longtime readers may recall that I tried this once. Having researched it, I’d be bloody impressed if even my okay results held up to a double-blind trial.