homeopaths move on to mangle comp sci…
You can answer a homeopath's question but you can't make him read it or understand why he was wrong.
Very seldom has a tweet ever triggered a post from me, much less got a picture in one, but this once certainly seems to deserve being framed for all posterity as an example of utterly burning stupid. And not just burning, profoundly ignorant stupid, but as an illustration that if respected scientists can end up making themselves look like ignoramuses when talking way out of their depth, purveyors of woo suffer from a very similar effect doubly. Case in point, homeopath and Huffington Post alt med woo-meister Dana Ullman, long known for his lackluster attempts to promote his woo of choice and means of making a mortgage payment, homeopathy, in his lack of wisdom decided to challenge skeptics about the information content of CDs via Twitter, and in the typical crank move, preemptively declared that his question cannot be answered. Behold the great question of doom, one that should send skeptics hiding with their tails between the legs in all its social media glory!
Skeptics of homeopathy cannot answer: what are the CHEMICAL differences between an empty CD and one full of data or music? #ten23
— Dana Ullman, MPH CCH (@HomeopathicDana) May 5, 2011
Of course had Dana discovered such things as Google and humility, he would’ve quickly found out that there’s a thin layer of dye embedded in a CD and when a write laser hits that dye, it changes the reflectivity of this dye in microscopic little patches. So a typical CD full of information has underwent millions of chemical reactions which changed how this dye will be read by a laser. Of course according to Dana, this is can’t be true, since he thinks that computers would run out of dye and even if that were true, that there’s still no chemical change between an empty CD and a full one. Dana. You idiot. After being smacked in the face with the exact details of how a CD works and thorough explanations which show that the heat from a write laser changes how the dye in the storage device looks, you’re adamant that there’s no chemical change during the CD writing process. I simply can’t understand how people can be so obliviously stubborn and insist that up is down and that black was really just another shade of white. Then again, if you’ve been reading for a while you may remember that web famous homeopaths are really terrible at science, especially physics, and tend to whine and rant their hearts out while making ridiculous claims on a fairly regular basis.
The most unfortunate part of all this, is that we’re not only left with a stupid analogy by a stubborn woo-meister who can’t admit that he’s wrong because he’s either deluded or scared that all the people he’s conned would seek refunds, but that there are plenty of people who’ll take his side because they don’t trust those snooty and uppity skeptics with their scientific facts and information. Allow me to refer you to Tim Minchin for more about such mindsets while I note how frustrating it is sometimes to be a skeptical blogger and find yourself having to explain to someone who declares that they’ve solved the N = NP problem that he added two and two wrong and got a six, then hear the snide condescension as the wily ignoramus says that your math is obviously just lacking and if you were as open-minded and smart as him, you’d see that. This is why I’ll refuse to be nice to stubborn cranks or give them the deference they demand from those around them. Maybe after the millionth time you’ve pointed out their abject ignorance they’ll start to get an inkling that they’re wrong. Then again, their devoted fans will be there to them boost their fragile little egos and perpetuate their follies…