P.Z. Myers has an interesting take on the efficacy of ridicule in getting people to back down on the creationism in schools front.
His point interests me mostly because I'm glad to see some progress, but let's face it. This is the worst possible way to make progress ever. It's depressing, in fact, that the only way for reason to win is for it to make the irrational look stupid until they shut up, relying on the hope that reasonable people are indeed the majority.
Call me an idealist, but wouldn't it be a billion times better if we could get the irrational to think rationally instead? Is that even possible, at least, on the scale we're hoping for? My belief that people are all fundamentally rational has been shaken a lot recently, and this really doesn't help.