So, here's the response I wanted to make, just in case it gets noticed.
My sense is that it’s probably futile for my friend to “provide the evidence” that he pretends to be interested in seeing. How, then, do we reach such people, people who are out actively advocating against public health? I put the question to you.Path I
Essentially, we're dealing with an audience that is not open to logical argumentation. Instead they respond to character and emotion.
So that's what we need to learn. Not that we should abandon logic - far from it. We have to keep that logic to keep us on the straight and narrow path of honesty.
But the logic can be downplayed with this audience. Just change the settings on the equalizer to emphasize the bass over the trebel.
Microsoft is good at this. They have some really byzantine technical documentation - but that doesn't go out to the CIO. They leave the technical specs in the appendix. The rest of the offering consists of a bullet-point executive summary that a 12 year old could read, and a bunch of pamphlets given over to 30% bold slogans and the rest reserved for smiling professionals and business people - because professionals and business people are their target audience.
We need to get better than our opponents at their own tricks. It's hard - it's a very different skill set to what most of us are used to. But I think this is the best way forward.
If we really can't reach a given audience without compromising our morals, there's another option. Change the audience.
Old saying: If you want to kill wolves, trap rabbits.
In the example of the blog post, I'm sure Dave has an audience of his own. That audience may be more amenable to reason than Dave. We can go after them instead. Again, this will need a bit of rhetorical leverage, but not so much as to convince a Dave.
In the end, without an audience to prop it up, woo will fade into irrelevance.
Give up. (I'm not a fan of this one).
I'm open to other options, but I and II seem the obvious choices to me.