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A bonus dose of woo: Skeptico’s really stepped in it this time

Woo-meisters will not be pleased. While perusing this week’s Skeptics’ Circle, I was reminded of something that I had meant to post about a couple of days ago.

I don’t know how he did it or where he got it, but somehow he has found the Holy of Holies for woos everywhere. He found The Woo Handbook. In it, he finds the twenty main strategies for dealing with Skeptics. They’re pretty much all there: shifting the goalposts, labeling skeptics as “close-minded,” introducing quantum mechanics, and appeals to ignorance, along with #18, the technique of woos that probably annoys me the most (at least, it did back when I was on Usenet and actually used to participate in debates that stretched over days or weeks):

In debates that continue over several days, you should repeat arguments you made earlier as though the skeptic is a fool for not having answered these points. In a long debate, few people will realize the skeptic did refute those earlier arguments. At the very least, the skeptic will now have to waste time searching back and quoting what was written before. Few people will bother to follow the argument in this much detail.

It’s as if a football team managed to get a copy of the playbook for its arch-rival. Of course, when that happens in football, the team whose playbook has been compromised will change its strategy. Woos, however, are unable to change their playbook, because the fallacies in it are all they have.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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