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Antivaccine nonsense Humor Intelligent design/creationism Medicine Pseudoscience Quackery Science Skepticism/critical thinking

Sadly, The Onion gets this one right

Want to know how Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, other anti-vaccine advocates, creationists, quacks, 9/11 Truthers, and cranks and pseudoscientists of all stripes manage to be heard when they have no science, evidence, reason, logic, or facts on their side?

Sadly, The Onion knows: Oh, No! It’s Making Well-Reasoned Arguments Backed With Facts! Run!

At first, it looks as though the forces of reason can win:

Goddamn it, nothing’s working! It’s trapped us in our own unsubstantiated claims! We need to switch fundamentally unsound tactics. Hurry, throw up the straw man! Look, I think it’s going for it. C’mon…c’mon…yes, it’s going for it! Now hit it with the thing that one guy told us once while it’s distracted by our ludicrous rationalizations!

Gah! It’s calmly and evenhandedly deflecting everything we’re throwing at it. Our deductive fallacies are only making it stronger! Wait…what on earth is it doing now? Oh, no, it has sources! My God, it’s defending itself with ironclad sources! Someone stop the citing! Please, please stop the citing!

[…]

What’s that? Now it’s making an appeal to reason? Never! Do you hear me, you eloquent, well-read behemoth? Never! We’ll die before we recognize what we secretly know to be true! The cognitive dissonance only makes our denial stronger!

All looks lost for our crank until:

Unless…wait, of course! Why didn’t we think of it before? Volume! Sheer volume! It’s so simple. Quickly now, we don’t have much time! Don’t let it get a word in edgewise! Derisively cut it off mid-sentence! Now, launch the sophomoric personal attacks! Louder, yes, that’s it, louder! Be repetitive, juvenile, and obstinate! It’s working! It’s working!

Sadly, that just about sums up just how Jenny McCarthy, J.B. Handley, creationists, and quacks work. Even more sadly, all too often it’s effective. PZ’s right when he asks: “OK, who’s the wise guy who gave one of our creationists a writing gig at The Onion?” Certainly the resemblance is uncanny!

(Thanks to all who forwarded this Onion article to me.)

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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