Occasionally, patterns can be seen in woo. Sometimes different strands of woo seem to be linked. (I’m not sure why – I suppose I could always ask a sociologist, though). I’ll have a very brief look at a couple of these patterns now.
I haven’t linked to the following sites, as they already get more publicity than is warranted. For instance, the (anti-vaccination) JABS forum seems to be populated mainly by homeopaths – who believe in things like Quantum Touch healing, QLink pendants and the Archangel Metatron (honestly – I am not making this up). Homeopath bloggers often seem to be involved in some other controversial/non-mainstream area – such as HIV/AIDS denialism or claiming that vaccination and/or mercury are evil and give you autism or maybe they’re interested in the dangers of WiFi (this list could probably go on forever, but I’ll stop now).
Sometimes there are coincidences on seemingly the most random of things – like the colours used on woo websites (often green or some shade of pink or purple). Creative spelling also seems to be associated with woo. This page is a reasonable example of the use of “creative spelling”. I presume Alloo Pathy is some kind of curry. Don’t know who wrote the text for this page, but I feel they deserve some kind of reward. The Creative Spelling Badge, perhaps.
Often, woos will use scientific-sounding words in order to encourage you to believe that their particular brand of woo is intellectually rigorous. Or to baffle you. “Quantum” is especially popular. Just check these sites if you don’t believe me: Shpalman, Improbable Science, AP Gaylard’s blog, SciencePunk. The Quackometer QuackSafe Web Search Engine came up with this page as the top result for ‘quantum’. Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science blog has quite a few posts on homeopathy that contain the word quantum – on homeopathy, free energy and Danie Krugel’s magic DNA box.
Please feel free to post comments on your personal favourite woo warning signs (or your favourite cranky woo sites with poor spelling and a purple background). What I would really like is a venn diagram of woo. Or maybe something on the beast with seven bums.