Not Caring about Skeptic Issues Does Not Make You Cool

Not Caring about Skeptic Issues Does Not Make You Cool May 22, 2016

I feel I have been returning to this topic again and again. Some people seem to be living in a world in which the humanity has moved on from certain subjects, and I seem to live in a world in which those subjects are pretty much still relevant and dominant. Also those people seem to think — for some unfathomable reason — that their apathy and lack of social awareness makes them superior. I don’t know why they think that. I know they’re annoying.

The latest annoying person to join the trend is science journalist John Horgan who spoke for the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS). I read Hemant Mehta’s report on his speech. What I can say is, based on what was quoted from him, that he is an ignorant ass, and he is being a pompous ass about being an ignorant ass.

Let’s see what the prince has to say:

“The Science Delusion” is common among Capital-S Skeptics. You don’t apply your skepticism equally. You are extremely critical of belief in God, ghosts, heaven, ESP, astrology, homeopathy and Bigfoot. You also attack disbelief in global warming, vaccines and genetically modified food.

These beliefs and disbeliefs deserve criticism, but they are what I call “soft targets.” That’s because, for the most part, you’re bashing people outside your tribe, who ignore you. You end up preaching to the converted.
Meanwhile, you neglect what I call hard targets. These are dubious and even harmful claims promoted by major scientists and institutions…

OK. The first annoying thing is that I did not know there’s a distinction between Capital-S Skeptics and small-s skeptics. Mostly because he pulled that distinction out of his ass, I guess. Also the lazy play on the title of The God Delusion, although he doesn’t even mean that science is a delusion we stick to it. I am mentioning these because these are the empty rhetorical gimmicks of people trying a bit too hard to sound smart.

But here’s the point: what the fuck is this dude smoking? In what kind of parallel universe is he living? God is a soft target now? Motherfucking God? The same concept which 84% of the world population believe in? The same concept which is still shaping policy in the world today, whether in form of theocracies or the influence of theocratic forces in secular countries?

Also, homeopathy? Oh, I’m so sorry to care about charlatans deceiving innocent people on the matters of health. Sure, go ahead and drink water for that headache grandma, who gives a fuck if it’s actually a brain tumor or some shit. If you see a bunch of innocent patients being misled by charlatans and waste their money and compromise their health, fuck them! That’s a small target! We need to focus on big targets, like the size of John Horgan’s ego’s dick!

The next small target? Anti-vaxxers! Fuck children! Who gives a fuck that some extinct diseases are making a comeback in modern-day America! Who gives a fuck if there’s a chance that fucking polio might come back! Those are small targets!

GMOs! Another soft targets! Who cares if 38 countries have banned GMOs on faulty premises, who gives a fuck about a potential solution to world fucking hunger, who gives a fuck about allowing modern superstitions to block the path of perfectly good science?

Can we agree that these “soft” targets are fucking important and deserve to be addressed?

Of course, that’s the problem with people like Horgan: he thinks all skeptics live in these carefully manicured tribes in which they only interact with other skeptics. Newsflash: we don’t. I preach constantly about gods and pseudoscience to people who are definitely not the fucking choir. Online and on Facebook these issues might be resolved, but in real life I constantly have to argue people out of falling for pseudoscience. I have repeated the same facts enough that I nauseate myself. But I still do it because I fucking care.

Because — and Horgan should put this ice on his flaming dick — in many scenarios and cases, I’m the only motherfucker in the room who knows this shit. Yeah. Have you ever been in that situation? Like, being in a group of people where everyone believes chemotherapy is a fraud but homeopathy is not? Have you ever tried arguing with an entire roomful of people? Have you, motherfucker? Well, I have, many times, so I’m not taking kindly to being talked down to by a privileged asshole science journalist that these targets are “soft” targets because in his circle of douchverse these topics are all resolved.

These kinds of arguments are nauseating because they are unethical. They’re basically “This issue is resolved for me and I don’t give a fuck about the rest of the world, so fuck you, you peasant, who cares.” It’s the exact equivalent of “Well I’m rich, so fuck people who care for poverty”.

And this is another argument I’ve had to repeat to the point of nausea. I find myself having to argue with smug people that no, we can’t stop promoting atheism yet, or that we don’t live in a post-theist world, again and again pointing out the obvious fact that some of us live in the world as it exists, and smugly lecturing others about your superiority is not a good alternative to the problems of the real world. Yet I will continue to make this argument. And I get more and more fed up with this brand of navel-gazing full of shit atheism and skepticism by the day, yet I continue to argue against it, the same way I argue against God or homeopathy.

Because I care, motherfucker. That’s why.

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