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.)