I am not always kind. In fact, wrt some views I have been (and likely will be) pretty unrelentingly negative. I will most likely indulge in ridicule, sarcasm, humor, and, satire, irony and petulance. I will throw verbal tantrums, make fun of the views, treat them as nonsense and generally avoid taking their claims seriously for the umpteenth time. Many will find this disrespectful (it is). Many will think that this is self-defeating (it may be, not sure). And many will think that this is not the way to treat views you don't agree with. After all intellectual disagreement should be civilized, right? Yes, but only to a point. There really are some views that are so far gone, so misinformed, so relentlessly clueless that treating them with regard is dishonest. I've discussed such papers in the recent past. My position: Junk is junk and needs to be called out as junk.
Now, why bring this up? Well, it seems that on this matter of critical style I am not alone (yeah!!!). There is at least one other that has voiced similar opinions (and he has a Nobel Prize (well sort of a Nobel Prize. It's in Economics)). It is in another discipline, but the sentiments are the same. He defends his practice here.
Krugman notes three strategies for dealing with ideas that are popular but deeply wrongheaded and that have been continuously shown to be such. The first is to pretend that there is really an issue worth debating and that this is a disagreement among serious people. The second is to point out the wrongness again and again quietly and politely. The third is to be nasty, snarky and loud. Krugman argues for door number 3. Why? Well you read it. What's relevant here is that I agree with K here. There are positions that are just silly. They are based on simple confusions, which have been pointed out repeatedly and regularly ignored. There are books that are plain dumb, so misinformed and off base that pretending that they say anything worthwhile is an exercise in mass deception. Most things are NOT like this. But some are. And the problem is that many of these things get highlighted in the semi-popular intellectual press. Like K, I think that the best replies will not be pretty and polite and quiet and "serious." Snark, laughs and satire, irony, jokes and outrage. I plan to pile it on, and have fun in the process.