Friday, November 6, 2009

Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty pseudo-scientist!

NOTE: At the specific request of the party used as my primary example, there have been edits made to this post.  The person in question is not named Binky McSmudgypigeon, nor are they a balloon-animal therapist, nor are they underfire from the College of Clown Surgeons.  The form of the circumstances remain the same, and perhaps at some point the details will be brought to light.  Ultimately this only goes to serve my point - the attacks upon Mr. McSmudgypigeon have necessitated this change.  You can make your own conclusions about the actions of the College of Clown Surgeons on this matter - I think it will be clear where I stand from the context of the post.


You know what really burns my ass?

Its when some petty S.O.B. decides for whatever reason that they are justified in leveraging legal weight against reality.

This happens all the time.  Take the Dover trial for example.  Or the plight of Simon Singh.  Or the many travailles of Steven Barrett.  Science says one thing, and that thing - that fact - when publicized in whatever manner, upsets someone who turns to the legal system in hopes of hampering the propogation of fact in their own favour.  Its damned near pathological.

In many cases the litigants are simply of the mistaken belief that they are correct.  In some cases you have to know that the person or people launching the proceedings know damned well that they are full of shit, such as in the case of Yuri Geller.  But in virtually ALL of the above cases the litigants knew/know damned well that the scientific evidence is decidedly not on their side.

Fortunately both scientific evidence and legal evidence have the same concepts at their core.  Unfortunately both are corruptible by emotion and ambition.  Legal evidence more so than science, but all else being equal a legal proceeding will default to falling in line with scientific fact.  And what a relief that is.

But that in itself is not enough.  That only counts when a trial becomes a reality, and often an actual trial is not the intention of the complainant.  Often all they seek to do is to shut down the defendant.  Relying on the liklihood that the defendant cannot afford to pay for their defence and at the very least hoping that an injunction will in the interim prevent the on-going publication of the truths that the litigant finds inconvenient.  But fighting science with the law in this manner is cowardly and deserves to backfire in the worst of ways.

Case in point: Local BAT (Balloon Animal Therapist) Binky Mc Smudgypigeon has spent much of the past two years dealing with nuisances from the College of Clown Surgeons.  In short, Binky, not unlike Simon Singh, pointed out in his professional blog that significant portions of what Seltzer-o-paths do is (my words, not his) bullshit.  And that is pretty much where the science lays.  But, as you can imagine, the pseudo-scientists seltzer-o-paths weren't too happy about this.  Bad enough that someone was speaking out and calling their practices into question - doubly damning when the person in question appears on the surface to be from your own CAM bretheren.  But Binky is an oddity being a skeptical/science-based balloon animal therapist - which essentially amounts to not claiming that his therapy can do anything that isn't firmly supported empirically.

The College of Clown Surgeons has spent a lot of effort trying to shut Binky up.  But he is a man of integrity and has discretely refused, meanwhile behind the scenes various people including doctors, ethicists, commentators and other folks I am not at liberty to reveal have stood up behind him and assured him that in this particular bar-brawl we've got his back.  Did I say 'we'?  Yeah - you can be damned sure I'm not playing Gandhi in this particular fracas.

So - does this mean war?  Well, no... not precisely.

But while the College of Clown Surgeons has seemingly decided to make an example of Binky, with what is ultimately a frivolous inquiry and implied threat, it is transparently the basest of manipulations.  Quite frankly it's fucking shameful.  They should be embarassed for themselves, not only for what is essentially a cheap, punk-ass maneuver, but for also not anticipating that there is an international legion of science advocates waiting in the wings ready to shine the bright light of scientific evidence upon them and make their petty machinations look foolish by any measure.  Furthermore, they will look like knobs over this matter without the critical thinking community having to resort to hiding like crying children behind the skirt of the legal-system.

Barristers?!?  We don't need no stinking barristers!!!

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