Saturday, April 07, 2007


"Is anyone here a doctor?" you call out.

You hear a few affirmations, one of which manages to push his way to the front. He comes up and gives Infophile a cursory examination before proclaiming to the room, "This man... has been shot!" Consistent with the laws of narration, a bolt of lightning can be seen and heard striking outside immediately after this statement.

"Um, that wasn't much of an examination. I don't even see a bullet wound on him. Are you sure you're a real doctor?" you ask.

"Of course I am!" the man replies indignately. "I'm Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, also known as the father of homeopathy. And this makes me particularly well-qualified to examine this individual as he's not only been shot - he's been homeopathically shot. That is, he's been shot by no bullets at all!" Another bolt of lightning.

"We really have to start screening these things, at least to get rid of the obvious psychos," a fellow skeptic comments. "A modern woo is bad enough, but here's someone who thinks he's a woo who's been dead for over 150 years."

"Hmph, crazy am I?" Hahnemann says. "If you're so certain who the crazy one is, then how about you take a look outside?"

Another skeptic rolls her eyes and replies, "Fine, fine. But do you mind telling us in advance what you expect us to see? If you don't make a prediction beforehand, you can come back and claim later that anything odd we see was what you'd expected."

"Just look," he says. "Trust me, it'll be enough to assuage your doubts."

"Um, I think we have a problem here..." you hear from a skeptic who'd gone off to check outside during the previous exchange.

"What is it?" you ask.

"I think it's Bigfoot... and he's being abducted by aliens."

You're about to rush out to confirm for yourself (a claim like this just has to be confirmed firsthand), but when Hahnemann starts to speak, you just have to stop to hear whatever he has to say next: "So you see! It's already too late. When your eyes were distracted from the actual world, we staged a coup. It now works according to our rules!" Hahnemann breaks into a maniacal laugh as his body fades away. As it vanishes, a ghost-like apparition breaks out of it and disappears through a wall.

"...Okay, did anyone else just see his body disappear and a ghost rush out?" you ask timidly. You hear grumbled assent from the rest of the skeptics assembled. "...Right. So, what next?"

"Well, do we really have to do anything?" one skeptic asks. "If homeopathy actually works, couldn't that be a good thing?"

"Sure," another replies, "until someone uses its principles to kill someone by shooting them with no bullets."

"Okay, well what about other alternative medicine? What if stuff like 'Traditional Chinese Medicine' actually works?"

"Okay, that might not be so bad, but we're going to get some of the negative claims of alties along with it. Now you can expect that everyone who had mercury-containing vaccines will actually become autistic, or that morning-after pills will actually do nothing."

"And what about woo that contradicts other woo? What's going to happen in those cases?"

"I'll tell you what's going to happen," a new voice says, as a figure steps out of the shadows on stage. "Reality will be torn apart, until there no longer is such a thing as an objective reality. It's how many of them already see the world, and soon enough it will be the case. By my estimates, we have only tonight to fix things. After that, it'll be too late."

"Wait a second... you're Infophile!" a nearby skeptic exclaims at the newcomer.

"Heh, not quite. I'm his alter ego, Nate Black. Back in January, Infophile received word of an attempted coup by the other faction, so he set up plans to counter it, the primary of which being me. I was created for this very moment, such that even if Infophile were taken out of the picture, someone would be around who knew what was happening.

"So, here's the situation. Woos have struck at the foundation of reality, and it's now determined by the popularity of ideas. Simply put, the argument from popularity actually works now. Many like-minded woos have grouped together so that in certain areas, their beliefs will take form."

"Wait, hold on," one skeptic says. "You're going to have to excuse me if I'm a bit skeptical of all of this. Woo taking over the world in one night? Seems very far-fetched, even taking into account the Bigfoot abduction sighting and the ghost of Hahnemann."

"Perfect. Keep up that attitude and we might have a chance. The firmer your grasp on reality, the better you'll be able to fight back. But just remember, now isn't the time to get stuck in an Ivory Tower of skepticism. Tonight, we have to fight.

"Now, there's a ton of varied woo out there that we're going to have to fight, so we're going to have to split up to take on the woo we're each best capable of fighting. Don't worry about traveling; I've got 'connections.' You're probably best at predicting where the woos are going to start to group, so you tell me where you think you'll need to go."

They could be going after the media...

They're going to be trying to take over education.

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