Bolingbrook man debunks skepticism (Fiction)


Vince Q. Baker, who recently moved to Bolingbrook, says he debunked skepticism by having a fake article posted in a skeptical Facebook group.

“Thanks to my hoax, everyone is now free to research Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, and mermaids without fear of bullying from skeptics!”

Baker, who reads about the paranormal every day on the Internet, was sick of seeing skeptics “trolling” his favorite sites.  Since he believes that skeptics are just people who blindly follow men like James Randi and Richard Dawkins, he decided to debunk skepticism. He attempted to have a fake article published in a prominent skeptical magazine or blog.

He titled his 2000 word article, “Debunking UFOS and Bigfoot: Why smart people aren’t as skeptical as you.”   Baker filled the article with references to Randi, Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Michael Shermer. He also added, “skeptical words, and technical words,” to make the reader feel important.

Baker provided a copy of the article to the Babbler. It starts with this lead:

“People who are smart like PZ Myers, can suffer from cognitive dissonance, as is suspected of every member of Atheism+, and thus cannot achieve the deeper understanding, as demonstrated by Richard Dawkins, that can lead to the acceptance of realistic views of race, IQ scores, evolutionary psychology, and gender equality, as well the rejection of UFOs, El Chupacabra, homeopathy, and any so-called “wave” of feminism.”

Baker claims that he submitted the article to the Skeptical Inquirer, one of the major magazines of the skeptical movement.  He later received an unsigned rejection letter, with a handwritten note, stating that he should ask the Bolingbrook Skeptics if he could post it in their closed Facebook group.  The letter concluded by saying that SI had already selected their stories for the next five years, and wished Baker good luck with his future endeavors.

According to Baker, he then created a fake profile and submitted a join request to the Bolingbrook Skeptics’ Facebook group.  Once accepted, he posted his article and waited.

“There were a few likes and some comments about being confused by the writing.  Still, the story wasn’t pulled.  That means I debunked skepticism, and that we’re now ok to ponder free energy machines, and Hollow Earth Theory!  I am now the most important resident in the history of Bolingbrook!”

When asked to comment, the Bolingbrook Skeptics sent this message:  “As skeptics, we must admit our mistakes to each other, but we are not required to confess them to you.  May you purveyors of woo be strangled by his noodly appendages!  Argh!”

Beth, a spokesperson for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, SI’s publisher, denied receiving the article or rejecting it.

“Even if we had published it, so what?  It just would have meant that we made a mistake.  Just like when a nuclear physics conference accepted a paper that was written by only using autocomplete.  It didn’t debunk physics.  It just ruined the reputation of the conference.”

A man in the background spoke up:  “Hi Beth.  Once you’re done with that call, I need you to work on a press release.”

“Okay.”

“You know about the phony paper Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay were shopping around?”

“Yeah.  It was rejected by NORMA, which proved that there is at least one gender studies journal with standards.”

“Well, they got it published in Cogent Social Sciences, meaning that we just debunked the entire field of gender studies!”

“What?  That’s not right.”

“Well,  Richard Dawkins thinks it’s right, and that’s all that matters.  So I need the press release out ASAP.”

“But–”

“You know what employment prospects are like for people who leave openly atheistic organizations?  Oh, and the American Humanist Association isn’t hiring.”

After several seconds, Beth began to cry.

“There is a secular hell, and I’m in it!”

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