25 July 2011
"Kevin Bacon of pseudoscience" indeed. Few people have profited more from well-intentioned attempts that will in fact harm other people than Oprah. There's certainly a few vaccine "skeptics" who do more actual harm (Bill Maher comes up for example), but they're not making as much money off the effort. They're usually donating time and energy in fact.
I also find the discussion on "alternative medicine" amusing. What do you call alternative medicine that works?: "medicine".
Note also, the debate on sexism in the skeptic/atheist/secularist community is very useful. As I'd note with the problems with right-wing Islamophobia, there is plenty of ruin in any nation, and plenty of problems to point out in any community that could be improved upon. People could still oppose genital mutilation of women in Somalia while also opposing ridiculous sexist behaviors of men in more polite, advanced societies. Just because something is "less bad" than the most terrible evils imagined, or in this case, real, does not mean it is somehow ennobled with the property of being a "good" about which we should say nothing. I compared this to the people who wished that we would stop complaining about the heat over the last week here, where heat indices were topping 100 pretty steadily and the temperature over night was dropping only into the 80s, because there were somewhere people who had heat indices around 130. It's still fucking hot people. It's not magically cooler just because somewhere, someone else is suffering more than you are.