One other important thing about using ridicule to combat your opponents: you have to be on very solid ground yourself for it to be effective. An excellent case in point is Michael Fumento, a rather deranged lawyer by training with negative experience in science (i.e., paying too much attention to him will cause cortical neurons to wither and die) has chosen to flail against competent science, and he makes a complete fool of himself. Fumento’s schtick is to play Chicken Belittle and downplay the importance of public health in favor of privatizing everything, and something that would require coordinated community response, like a potential pandemic, is anathema to him…so he ignores the science and pretends it will never happen. To make his case, I’m amused at his choice of targets: Revere, Mike, and Tim. This is another reason to be pleased to be at Scienceblogs—my peers here raise the ire of the anti-science crazies on both the right and the left. It’s good company!