Junk science, worthless though it is to rationality, is worth its weight in gold to those whose agenda would go nowhere without the imprimatur of pseudo-facts.
A case in point comes from a man concerned that the "homosexual agenda" is infiltrating public school systems. The particular object of Matt Barber’s ire is a childishly conceived "Day of Silence" that gay activists want schools to adopt to advance "full acceptance among children of the homosexual lifestyle."
While the author might have a valid point that the "Day of Silence" is just the sort of emotional, non-academic fluff that should never intrude on the classroom, he misses the boat by comparing bogus smoking trash science favorably with equally trashy anti-gay "research."
The gay lifestyle, so opines the author, is more hazardous to one’s health than a lifetime of chain smoking. While smoking, he believes, shaves off two to ten years from the smoker’s life, homosexual conduct kills the practitioner eight to twenty years before his time. Gay men’s longevity rates are the same as longevity rates operational in 1871: the studies say so, he confides, further stating that studies prove certain sexual practices lead to an early grave. Mister Barber says health authorities should require that condoms carry cigarette-type warnings that some sex is hazardous to one’s health.
Promiscuous and anonymous sex, straight or gay, carries risk of disease transmission. Who did not know that? Statistics are not science. Individuals are not statistics. While comparing research on smoking to research on sexual practices should be like comparing apples to oranges these disparate studies are linked in these respects: they are statistical rather than scientific, faulty in their methods, grossly unreliable, and prone to affect public policy when no action by government would be the best course to take. Junk is junk, worthless, no matter the goal to which applied.
What makes Matt Barber’s rant most significant is not that he relies on junk science to bolster his argument but that the targets of his broadside, gay advocates, are for the most part firmly on board a movement that relies completely on junk science to further its goals. Why the soi-disant gay leadership typically aligns itself with hate-mongering anti-tobacco is an interesting topic that deserves several articles in itself. Let us say in this context that gay cheerleading for anti-tobacco makes anti-gay attacks based on junk science ironic indeed.
Scant years ago smoking was as socially controversial as is coffee drinking, while gays hid in closets, in fear of both societal condemnation and legal persecution. What goes around comes around and although the gay movement is riding high at the moment, fear-based assaults fueled with pseudo-science can cause the mob to seek new victims, and recycle old targets too. Anti-smoking gay activists, as well as anti-smoking social conservatives, should learn that playing junk science games can and will be hazardous to their freedom.