Respectful Insolence

I feel so honored

Sometimes there are things that happen when blogging. You get accolades from unexpected sources, little ego boosts that make it all worthwhile. Such a thing happened yesterday, on the basis of my little blurb mentioning Skeptico’s takedown of Hank Barnes’s misuse of logical fallacies. The reaction, as reflected in the comments in Hank’s blog, was quite hilarious. One reader whined:

Whenever somebody claims to be debunking something, it always means that somebody revealed an uncomfortable truth and now they’ve got to stuff it back in the bottle.

Well no, actually, the only thing “uncomfortable” about Hank’s abuse of logical fallacies was just how badly he screwed them up.

For more amusement, Hank himself called Skeptico a “humorless pedant.” But I bagged the real honor, as undeserving as I was of it, given that Skeptico did the real heavy lifting here.

(See below the fold for why.)

Buried in a standard rant about us nasty and mean skeptics, I was called “low rent riff-raff” and “an incredibly conformist Libertarian” by ace HIV “dissident” Celia Farber herself!

It was five minutes before I could wipe the silly smile off my face after reading that.

You know, it’s little things like that make my humble efforts to bring the scientific method and critical thinking to the masses through my blogging worthwhile.

Comments

  1. #1 Tara C. Smith
    September 13, 2006

    Jeez. Yeah, those big bad skeptics and all their logic. I can see why it’s so distasteful to someone like Farber.

  2. #2 Skeptico
    September 13, 2006

    Yeah you topped me. And I was quite proud to be a “humorless pedant” up until that point. Damn you! If I wasn’t so humorless I’d find it amusing.

    I found it a little strange that Celia also said “ONLY low rent riff raff like “Orac,” use terminology like [“Logical Fallacy”]. Rather strange considering Hank’s post was entitled “AIDS Inc: Common Logical Fallacies”. Rather rude to call Hank “low rent riff raff” on his own blog, I’d have thought.

    Talking of logical fallacies, how’s this for circular reasoning:

    “Whenever somebody claims to be debunking something, it always means that somebody revealed an uncomfortable truth and now they’ve got to stuff it back in the bottle”

    So whenever someone disagrees with something, that thing, by definition, must be correct. Great way to make sure you always win an argument. Hey, wait a minute, doesn’t that attitude describe most of their comments on Hank’s blog, and their whole attitude to debunking the HIV/AIDS theory? That means the HIV/AIDS theory must be “an uncomfortable truth and now they’ve got to stuff it back in the bottle”. We have a winner!

  3. #3 Chris Noble
    September 13, 2006

    How many points do I get for the fan-club?

  4. #4 Abel Pharmboy
    September 13, 2006

    Wait, wait…I read Celia’s comment and I just don’t understand: you are being called “low rent riff-raff” (probably should also be “low-rent”) because of the use of precise, scholarly terms to describe arguments based in flawed logic???

    Another logical fallacy, perhaps?

    And if I since I have only about 75% of the schooling you do, does that make me even-lower-rent riff-raff?

  5. #5 Pharma Bawd
    September 13, 2006

    Well, it’s certainly not as impressive as Orac’s but as far as sheer number of logical fallacies in a single comment, my insult in that thread cannot be beat.

    In a thread listing the transgressions of the “EVIL” Pharmaceutical Industry, I added an even more recent example to Hank’s list.
    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world/2006/09/big_pharma_whis.html#comment-22182116

    My thoughtfulness and willingness to share my knowledge of current events was rewarded with this from one of Hank’s commenters:

    And there, dear George, I think you have the answer to Pharma B’s surprising addition at the top of the previous thread. Like all sales(wo)men, PR people, politicians and other confidence tricksters, the Big Pharma rap sheet is simply boasting points for those who take pride in their work working the suckers.”
    http://barnesworld.blogs.com/barnes_world/2006/09/logical_fallaci.html#comment-22238186

    Skeptico, can you parse that into each of the individual logical fallacies?

    Ad hominem? appeal to bias? guilt by association? red herring? begging the question? Post hoc ergo propter hoc?…

  6. #6 decrepitoldfool
    September 13, 2006

    It is fun to receive such honors. A reader once referred to me on his blog as “another retarded f*ing liberal with all the answers”. Silly grin, thinking of using it as my blog tagline, having it made into a bumper sticker, etc…

  7. #7 Bronze Dog
    September 13, 2006

    Kind of reminds me of “Cupcake Loser Moron” at the JREF forums. Old, expired meme: Had an all-fields woo call treble_head that, and shortly thereafter, a support group thread started for morons who can’t keep track of their cupcakes. Was even treble_head’s member title for a while.

    One thing I find funny all the time is that alties and woos can’t make up their mind which sort of extremist I am. I’m either a Bush-basher, or a Bush shill. I’m either a monopolist corporate fascist, or a Commie.

  8. #8 Orac
    September 13, 2006

    My thoughtfulness and willingness to share my knowledge of current events was rewarded with this from one of Hank’s commenters:

    “And there, dear George, I think you have the answer to Pharma B’s surprising addition at the top of the previous thread. Like all sales(wo)men, PR people, politicians and other confidence tricksters, the Big Pharma rap sheet is simply boasting points for those who take pride in their work working the suckers.”

    Ah, the pharma shill gambit!

  9. #9 Pharma Bawd
    September 13, 2006

    Heh!

    I wonder how they penetrated my disguise? I mean I used a pseudonym and everything!

  10. #10 Sastra
    September 13, 2006

    The nerve of calling you “low rent riff-raff.” It’s an insult to you AND your readers! I’ll have you know we all think very fondly of you as HIGH rent riff-raff.

  11. #11 JohnnieCanuck
    September 14, 2006

    No, no. It’s “low rent gentility” that we think of him as. Fondly.

    You’re supposed to write it on your palm if you can’t remember it.

    May such accolades continue to rain down upon you, O mighty ORAC!

  12. #12 Bob O'H
    September 16, 2006

    (probably should also be “low-rent”)

    Perhaps she was just saying that Orac has a tear at the bottom.

    Bob

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