Welcome back to "Doggerel," where I ramble on about words and phrases that are misused, abused, or just plain meaningless.
Many of us skeptics routinely have to deal with people who don't understand why we're angry or irritated. Sometimes I'm quite mystified as to how this failure to understand human emotion occurs. Anger is understandably considered a "negative" emotion, but it can do great good by motivating us to speak out against injustice.
First and foremost, "woo" is harmful. People die from alternative medicine. Religious fanatics can be driven to kill. The latest fad in positive thinking can make people waste money on books, lectures, sessions, and make them feel unnecessary guilt when bad things happen to them anyway: Blaming the victim for negative thoughts. There seems to be no shortage of ways that fallacious thinking can cause harm. We get angry because we don't like the idea of people getting hurt.
In other cases, many of us are veteran debaters. We've seen many fallacious arguments in our time, and quite often we're irritated to hear them repeated over and over. I created the Doggerel series to save some of that time and frustration: Instead of writing up a response to a logical fallacy employed by a supporter of the supernatural, my fellow skeptics could give a prepared answer to tired old cliches and defense mechanisms.
Often in cases of religious fundamentalism, there's a deep moral divide between us and the fundamentalist: I have had far too many arguments with people who believe torture, murder, slavery, discrimination, and deception are virtuous activities because their gods allegedly command them.
We have plenty of reasons to be angry. Our passion for justice and truth is not a weakness.