In the comments section, Matt Gallman offers the following observation:
There is a separate issue, that has been raised here and on Kevin’s site and elsewhere: Is there something in the act of debating that legitimizing beliefs that have no claim to legitimacy? Probably. And are there folks who pay no attention to the debate who get a sense that there is in fact a debate going on with two real sides? Probably that too.
I know of no answer to that problem, beyond the simple suggestion that folks who are fighting the good fight might want to keep using words like “myth” rather than “debate” in their titles (of lectures, articles, posts whatever) so that folks who are just glancing and not reading don’t come away with the idea that there is a legitimate debate here.
Matt has a good point here, in that suggesting there is a “debate” implies that there are two sides to this story, as opposed to what we usually see … some wild claims, a few people playing hit-and-run here and there, and so on.
So what would you call it? How would you characterize this enterprise?