Five more things you shouldn’t say to Dr. Amy

It’s hard to fight a battle of wits with those who are unarmed.

I wrote Twelve things you shouldn’t say to Dr. Amy … unless you want to appear very foolish to save people time, trouble and embarrassment.

Most of what natural childbirth and homebirth advocates think that “know” is factually false. That’s why they continually parachute in to “inform” me about one or more of those 12 false claims and then are chastened to find that the claims aren’t true and that they have been hoodwinked.

Evidently I’ve done a good job choosing the claims. Despite more than 700 comments on the post and countless pages of comments about the post on other blogs and message boards, I haven’t yet seen anyone challenge the accuracy of my claims.

I had hope to save them embarrassment, by allowing them to find out that they had been duped without having to publicly reveal their gullibility, but they are bound and determined to ignore Mark Twain’s famous admonition: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

Now they parachute in to offer comments so blisteringly inane that it is difficult to believe that anyone could be so poorly informed, not only about science and statistics, but about what constitutes a logical argument or a meaningful rebuttal.

It’s time to get back to basics. In addition to the 12 erroneous factual claims, I’d like to offer a few more things that you shouldn’t say to me unless you want to show that you have literally no idea how to construct a logical argument.

1. You are mean.

That is not an argument or a rebuttal; therefore, it has no place in any discussion of the false factual claims. It is a logical fallacy known as an ad hominem, an attack on the person, not the argument.

2. You are really mean.

For reasons that I cannot begin to comprehend, NCB and homebirth advocates actually think this is an impressive retort when it has been pointed out to them that “you are mean” is not an argument. It’s not an argument or rebuttal, either.

3. Dr. Amy is no longer licensed.

This is a more subtle version of the ad hominem, but it has a slightly different implication. It implies that if I did hold an active license, I would not write what I do. It is both ludicrous and a little pathetic.

It’s ludicrous because the implication is that obstetricians who are licensed disagree with me, and the reality is that I represent mainstream (if not slightly liberal) obstetric thought.

It’s slightly pathetic because the fact that celebrity NCB and homebirth advocates have NEVER had a license to practice obstetrics (or in many cases, have no license or even education in practicing anything) seems never to have even crossed the minds of those who triumphantly point out that my license is not active.

4. I’m glad you’re not my doctor.

Me, too! But that isn’t an argument.

And, my personal favorite:

5. The commentors on your blog who agree with you are really just you in disguise.

I love this one, because it demonstrates so clearly and so succinctly how illogical and uneducated NCB and homebirth advocates often are.

It’s illogical because the accuser has obviously made it up, without making any effort to determine if it is true. It is a window into the “thought process” of NCB and homebirth advocates. They make up stuff that appeals to them without reference to the copious evidence and data that they could access if they bothered, but they don’t bother.

Ironically, it is very easy to determine whether someone is posting as someone else, particularly on this blog. First, you can check the comment history of any individual by clicking on their current screen name. If they have posted other comments from the same computer under other screen names, you can see it. Second, you can often see the IP address (the unique signature of the individual computer) after the screen name. If the comment comes from a different IP address, it comes from a different computer.

Evidently, figuring that out is hard; throwing unsubstantiated, bizarre accusations is easy.

The bottom line is that if you plan to contribute one of these 5 things to the discussion, don’t bother. They don’t constitute an argument or a rebuttal. To the extent that they mean anything, they are just a tacit admission that my factual claims are true and that you can’t find any evidence otherwise.

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