Joined: May 2006
To me it seems more or less inevitable that we'll not know what effect internet anti-tard arguments, evidence, snark, and cajoling will do. I mean, how many people will ever say, well, I did believe in IDiocy, or at least hoped it was correct, but internet snarks made me uneasy enough to start paying attention to the actual arguments and evidence presented, until I finally studied evolution--like I should have from the beginning--and finally realized that it's justified science like ecology and meteorology?
Most people simply won't start the story of how they arrived at a position by noting that they were made to feel stupid by what are often fairly juvenile tactics (by myself included, of course). Sure enough, a few would, realizing that the barren wasteland of creationism that they once accepted had to be matched by some jeers and cajoles for them to start to fear that it really was stupid, but the majority will tell a "better story" about how they sorted through things in an effort to be completely honest intellectually. We at least do know that the treatment of Sternberg as a purveyor of idiocy (legitimate, of course) apparently troubled him enough to whine like a martyr, as well as to embellish his "martyrdom." He's almost certainly too far gone to ever admit what a jerk he really is/was, for that matter.
People will often admit to being persuaded to study, rarely to being shamed into it.
And this is going to be the case wherever people's appallingly stupid ideas are ridiculed. We feel that such ridicule works--not commonly on the committed (vocally committed, especially, as stated earlier in the thread), but on those still capable of persuasion--and seem to have an evolutionary sense that it is so (also a dicey claim when we can't test it), but has ridicule plus argumentation and persuasion ever been shown to work anywhere except in rather contrived psychological experiments? "In the field" it's always going to be tough to test whether or not it is effective, but it seems that we're going to more or less accept that it does to some useful (yet quite possibly fairly small) extent because of how our brains work.
Not all things are going to be capable of being shown to work--at least in the general population. Probably tests could be contrived to see how well internet tactics work, but, practically these would almost certainly have to be among fairly select portions of the population (college students being typical), and of short duration (yes, how long did "Judgment Day" persuade college students in the study?).
We probably are stuck just using our sense of how people are persuaded with varying amounts ridicule, encouragement, argumentation, and informing them of very basic facts, like how one actually arrives at reliable information (not by speculating that a designer will design within all of the expected limits of evolution, notably). That's what we've done in the past, and it's what we're largely stuck with now, if with a little bit more objective information showing that pretty much all of the persuasive tactics work at least in limited tests.
Common sense certainly can be wrong, but it's right often enough to go with when the specifically desired supporting data don't exist--and when we know both from experience and from limited data that those are still teachable are sometimes persuaded to think by carrots, by sticks, and by combinations of those and the evidence and inference from that evidence.
Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of coincidence---ID philosophy