"here’s the thing: most pseudoscientific beliefs are not stupid. They’re just wrong"--Daniel Loxton
This is taken from the below article from http://skepticblog.org/.
( http://skepticblog.org/2010/07/26/the-reasonableness-of-weird-things/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+skepticblog%2FcxSs+%28Skepticblog%29 )
Although I agree with the intended spirit of this quote, it's wording can cause some confusion. The english language is not always the best language for expressing things since many words have multiple meanings. I think it would be better said that "Most psudoscientific claims are not stuipid. They're just wrong."
We walk a fine line when using the word belief and saying it is wrong. Yes some beliefs can be dangerous, while others are relatively benign. 9/11 definitely showed the dangerous side of beliefs, or more accurately fundamentalism. Some beliefs can be viewed simply as opinions. Opinions are not wrong. Claims of fact can be.
I am finding that it can be counter productive in taking an overbearing stance on some issues. If you give someone the information we have been sharing, and they continue to disregard it because they truly believe in it, any type of belittlement would be seen as counter-productive or as some would say "beating a dead horse". It is better to just say something like "do what you will with the info". Your job is done.
I fully understand the desire to help people and to stop some of this stuff we share here. Some people just will not listen to you if you are insulting.
Recently I was talking to a person involved with a ghost-hunting business. She was asking about spreading the info about it on Facebook. I politely replied:
" It's not so much a matter of ghosts existing or not, but merely a matter of interpretation of events and the improper used of equipment (i.e. how is the equipment calibrated to detect supernatural phenomenon....or how does one discern that certain readings are ghosts and not just normal occurances. EMFs are everywhere, especially in any building.).
I hope you understand and I do appreciate your passion for what you do. I am sure it is a lot of fun."
She replied "Thank you for your honesty and view point. i appreciate that you took the time to explain rather then the name calling route."
This is the type of exchange we should strive for with most people (yes there are always exceptions). It allows for a better understanding of the issues. Yes you may run into people who will be all over you no matter how you put it. Understand that they are all too often so used to everything being an all out attack (at least percieved by them) that they take any type of skepticism as negative.
Well that is all I have to say but wish to end with the article's mention of Wil Wheaton's law of "Don't be a dick"