Cowpox of Doubt

Every time someone talks about the stupidity of creationists, moon-hoaxers, and homeopaths, I cringe.

It’s not that moon-hoaxers, homeopaths et al aren’t dumb. They are. It’s not even that these people don’t do real harm. They do.

.. What annoys me about the people who harp on moon-hoaxing and homeopathy – without any interest in the rest of medicine or space history – is that it seems like an attempt to Other irrationality.

.. It is about realizing that you, yes you, might be wrong about the things that you’re most certain of, and nothing can save you except maybe extreme epistemic paranoia.

.. And someone who demands that you be open-minded about homeopathy would not be your friend. They would probably be a shill for homeopathy and best ignored.

But this is exactly the problem!

.. Inoculation is when you use a weak pathogen like cowpox to build immunity against a stronger pathogen like smallpox. The inoculation effect in psychology is when a person, upon being presented with several weak arguments against a proposition, becomes immune to stronger arguments against the same position.