So what’s the harm? What’s the harm, if people believe silly stuff?
I have an answer to that: What’s the Harm. Go there, and you’ll see what the harm is. Even the most harmless woo can be quite harmful.
The thing about believing in “harmless” woo is that it leaves you open to harmful stuff. You’ve shut your critical faculties down, you’ve learnt not to question certain things. That leaves a crack in the door through which some snake-oil salesperson can insert a foot.
You could end up thinking some little bit of natural medicine is harmless, even helpful, until it delays a critical treatment, or you take a supplement that wasn’t so natural and pure after all.
Ghosts are just a bit o’ fun – until strange things happen that scare you, and rather than searching for a mundane explanation, you call a ghosthunter or exorcist, who then parts you from cash best spent elsewhere at best, and feeds your fears until you end up doing something dangerous at worst.
And on. And on, and endlessly on.
What’s the harm? It blinds you. You can’t see the spectacular beauties of this world as they truly are. You can’t see the rough edges and the dangers, nor the non-woo things that can sand down those edges and protect you from those dangers.
You donate to homeopathic “healers” instead of Doctors Without Borders, and thus fund useless medical care for desperately needy people instead of funding the real medicine they so desperately need.
What’s the harm? It saddens me we even have to ask that question.
So, seeing as woo is harmful, and needing a good skeptical toolkit to protect you from it, where do you turn?
Here are some of my favorite skeptical resources. Feel free to add your own.
And finally, courtesy of Caeli “Starspider” Kane, moar pitchoors!