We have to live to a standard above.

I recently ran across a small issue with a friend.

It made me think about the expectations we have for ourselves. What do we expect of each other as sceptics? And how important is that?

The friend in question had posted a meme about relaxing and soaking in the tub, but also included was a screed of nonsense about extracting toxins and other entirely pseudoscientific garbage.

Admittedly I was tired and stressed by the rest of life at the time, so maybe my response could have been more carefully crafted. That said I really think I did a reasonable job of being clear that I completely agree with the idea of finding a nice way to relax, but that the lies weren’t necessary in that, and by repeating them harm is being done too others.

My thought, now able to be better expressed, is that my friend is generally a very rational person, and most people know them as such. By posting support for this kind of snake oil, they are implicitly putting their stamp of approval onto it. Many people looking at that meme will not differentiate between the snake oil and the nice message about relaxing. In fact, many people seem almost pathologically incapable of doing so.

This however, turned me into ‘the asshole angry skeptic’.


Well, angry, yes. I am angry that the idea of relaxation is co-opted into pseudo-science snake oil shit. I’m angry that some asshat is trying to sell something claiming no more benefits than relaxation by itself. I’m angry that someone who knows better, is buying into this dangerous pseudoscience, even if it is just without thinking. I am angry that there is leeches on society that need to be checked at the door, that need to be stopped.

The price of eternal vigilance is high. But there is nothing to do but pay it.

Most of all, I hate that I am playing bad guy, having to police our own.

The scum of society that preys on the gullible cannot be given oxygen. Even accidentally.

I don’t want to bark at people on our ‘team’, and I will try to be delicate or directed to the topic, but I will not apologise for calling this stuff out. Not now, not ever.


~ by scawalrus on March 23, 2014.

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