The Doomsday Chronicles, pt. 2

PZ Myers has a suggestion for the media:

When apocalyptic cults come along and announce disaster and doom, ridicule them. Just rip into them, send your most sarcastic, cynical reporters to cover the story, and just shred all the followers as loons and gullible freaks.

3 Responses to “The Doomsday Chronicles, pt. 2”

  1. John Fleck says:

    How about: “Ignore them.” The world’s full of wacky shit. Myers’ strategy risks given it credence merely by giving it attention, however effective the ridicule might seem to its snarky authors.

  2. Artifex says:

    While I can see the temptation to behave in this fashion, I claim it is fundamentally self-defeating. What ever happened to reporters just reporting the actual facts instead of attempting their own little personalized spin on the results ?
    These sorts of attacks might be great for riling up the troops, but fundamentally provide great cover for wacky positions. The folks holding the wacky positions can immediately say “I am under partizan attack” and they are accurate and correct. Then discussion shifts to partisanship which is an easier defense than actually dealing with the holes in the wacky position.
    This sort of algorithm is actually one of the hallmarks of most really weak arguments in blogland. The pattern of
    1. Create a strawman from your opponents points
    2. Ridicule the strawman
    3. Declare victory
    Maybe I have just been trained by events to view this sort of argument as weakness, but usually when I see it, my initial thought is “they must have nothing else or else they would lead with countering data”

  3. Banjoman0 says:

    Surely this was posted as much for the irony as anything else.  That said, PZ is as much about snark as anyone.  I’m not sure the “ignore them” option is entirely appropriate, since some may do real harm if they are allowed to agitate themselves for too long; think Jim Jones, David Koresh.

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