Case in point: I have been sorta remiss in my political reading of late, but made an effort to partially catch up this weekend. On Sunday, a post by Natalia Antonova went up on Feministe advertising her availability for online Tarot readings (you can see it, and the responses, some of which were truly awful, here: http://www.feministe.us/blog/archives/2
Now, one would think anyone who's been noticing the world economy and possessed of an IQ above 80 would immediately think "Oh, crap! Yet another person having a rough time of it, financially speaking." Which, probably, most people did. But a significant # of people felt compelled to post some variant on "Why are con artists being allowed to advertise their dangerous new-age garbage on this site and make us all look like gullible fools?" (note: whether you like her or not, Natalia is fairly well known in most online feminist circles, and especially in this particular one; she has been a guest poster on that site many times in the past, and there's no reason to suspect her of wanting to con people out of money, or plaster their personal information provided for the readings all over the internet, both of which some commenters suggested)
But hey, a large # of people online are awful human beings who lack empathy and live to say "You suck!" at the slightest pretext; that's not news, or particularly surprising. But I was surprised at the people who felt compelled to state, rather out of the blue, that "I hate homeopathy!" and, some going further, "I hate not only homeopathy, but ALL complimentary and alternative medical practices!" "Hey, me too!"
And someone I mentioned this to in passing said Shakespeare's Sister, a site I haven't been to in a while but generally think highly of, occasionally has entire threads devoted to the awfulness of alternative medicine in general and homeopathy in particular.
Okay, I get that some new agey types practically beg to be mocked (note, again: not including Ms. Antonova in that group; I suspect I'm way more new agey than her). And I get that the principles of homeopathy do not, at either first or second glance, appear to make a whole lot of sense. But, well, four things here:
(1) Why lump all alternative/complimentary/non-approved-b
(2) Why the doctrinal zealotry? A lot of supplements work. A lot of things that used to be on the fringes are now widely accepted. Some things that used to be widely accepted are now considered worthless. With regard to many supplements and practices, studies seem to get different results depending on which country they are performed in. It is highly unlikely that some herbs work in Europe and/or Japan, but not in the US. And even if people are mistaken about what works (and they are bound to be, on both sides, some of the time), the level of hostility seems bizarre. If someone goes to an acupuncture clinic and gets better, that doesn't mean the fundies are right or that surgery is no longer a viable practice. But you'd think those were the stakes from some of the reactions.
(3) Why the assumption that because you can't figure out (or haven't YET figured out) how or why something works, that must mean it doesn't work?
(and there was more, and some of what I have was more nuanced and better written, but live journal ate my first attempt at a post, so you get what was left in the saved draft, minus some stuff that I had already rewritten and didn't want to rewrite again; I gotta run)