Thursday, March 20, 2008

Doggerel #144: "Limited"

Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.

Woos love to pretend that skeptics like us are limited in our thinking. They love to think that we can't entertain new ideas, and that science has halted all its progress. That way, they can make themselves feel heroic when we laugh at their old ideas in a fresh coat of paint.

Of course, as usual, they're quite wrong. Skepticism will lead us anywhere the evidence, the universe itself, will lead us. Quantum mechanics is downright weird to describe, and yet, because of all the evidence we find supporting it, we can accept it. Woos, on the other hand, only seem to accept whatever makes them feel comfortable. Even if they have to misunderstand it to do so.

If woos want to think of themselves as unlimited, I'd have to say that they aren't limited to the evidence, just their imagination. Unfortunately, though, my experience again tells me that the typical woo's imagination is very limited. That's why they use words like "impossible" and treat "invisible" as equivalent to "unexplainable." That's why they use doggerel and failed clichés like "How can you prove photography to a blind man?" Additionally, by divorcing themselves from evidence and reason, they're more or less opening themselves to a big empty fluff of possibilities, rather than concrete, useful probabilities.


Rhoadan said...

In honor of the recently deceased, it seems appropriate to quote Clarke's Second Law here: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible."

Lifewish said...

The example I love is when quacks use Eddington's fish net analogy. They seem not to have noticed that nets aren't just required to keep fish in; they're required to let water out. Try going fishing with a waterproof canvas, morons.