Figuring out what any advocacy group is really about can be difficult. Every source of official literature is clouded by nice sounding language, engineered by PR industry terms and strategies. When trying to accurately gauge the priorities of the group, it is often much easier to observe what the people in the group are actually doing with their time.
For instance, it may shock you to know that age of autism, a group which says that vaccines are responsible for autism and other medical problems, are not "anti-vaccine". Neither is Jenny mccarthy- they all say they are pro safe vaccine, they sometimes post themselves as "watchdogs", and so on. Investigation into what Age of Autism decides to protest, and what they allow users to say on their website unchallenged, paints a very different picture of their views. The consequences of their actions is the most important consideration when investigating what the group is actually about. There are many examples of woos saying one thing and doing another.
Creationists and global warming deniers aren't anti-science, either, they will tell you. They just want "good" science, while supporting efforts that threaten scientific progress. Almost all religions claim to be instruments of peace in the world, even while initiating war against unbelievers. Holocaust deniers and 911 truthers are generally not what they claim to be, either. The double-speak concept of Orwell's 1984 is very useful when discussing irrational belief; it always rears its ugly head. There should not be a disconnect between the actions and words of any advocacy group when it comes to their fundamental message.
This is a big reason why I have been so hard on Bad Rap. Their visibility and disciples are annoying, but I am not crazy about being harsh to people who have a utilitarian goal and try to achieve it with integrity. This doesn't seem to be the case with them at all, however. Remember the facebook action alert that all the pit nutters flocked to, the one that entailed defending Jonny Justice against the mean librarian for being asked to leave? According to Bad Rap's own advice on raising pitbulls, the librarian was right. They have a not-so-crazy bit of advice on keeping a dog with such a high potential for damage, including never taking them to a dog park or an area where they will be introduced to many new dogs at once- you know, like the program at the library that the pit bull was kicked out of, the one this group protested. They have step by step instructions to introducing a pit bull to another dog in the home to ensure violence does not occur between them, and actually advocate separating the dogs when no one is home to supervise. They tell people to be understanding of the fear other people have of their dogs- they may be victims or know one, after all. It is extremely reasonable advice, but it isn't what they follow at all when the reputation of a dog is at stake. Integrity and consistency are never first priorities in woo groups, it isn't possible when there isn't any effort to verify or discover the truth. Their efforts all revolve around supporting what they have already decided. It is difficult to avoid when strong beliefs are involved. Constant vigilance is required to overcome it.
It isn't that every kind of woo has a legal cause the way pit bull advocates or anti-vaccine people do, but all are disingenuous in one specific way. They are disingenuous about the importance of evidence in general. They don't ponder what kind of evidence would be needed in order to prove their idea wrong, or how to go about finding it. They will try to tell you that evidence isn't important because they simply know they are correct for whatever reason, usually anecdotes, but will also jump at any opportunity to look scientifically credible.
Jenny Mccarthy says that she isn't concerned with the studies because she saw the difference in her son before and after the vaccine. Also, before and after some diet she claims cures autism. She also thinks that there need to be studies that meet her specifications (mainly that a person of her choosing performs them). The importance of studies in general are dependent on her feelings about the results. Alternative medicine people suffer the problem of cognitive dissonance when discussing the importance of evidence in general as well. It isn't important, and when a study may point towards a pro-alternative medicine conclusion they won't hesitate to tell you all about it. Religous people will often say that god is beyond understanding, cannot be detected by scientific means, but also feel comfortable believing studies that conclude that prayer can help situations as evidence for god's existence. It is the same way that creationists will discuss how modern science is evil for ignoring god, but also attempt to have scientific cred of their own by going on expeditions to find Noah's ark or build ridiculous "museums", publish books on how intelligent design is really actually science. It is a serious philosophical problem for anyone who is actually trying to determine the truth of the statements being made. People who are perfectly content with their cognitive dissonance don't see any problem at all.
In this same way the pit bull advocates have difficulty deciding if science can answer questions about the violence potential of their chosen breed. Studies about fatalities are turned down. As are relevant studies of animal behavior from ethologists.Yet advocates feel comfortable trotting out the ATTS temperment test as "scientific" evidence that their dogs are the best (despite the pit bull not ranking the highest or being recommended by the ATTS for comparing breeds to each other, in addition to the fact that the test hasn't been shown to be proof of any particular thing). They will talk derisively about smaller dogs who bite more often (which clashes with their hatred of "breedism" in addition to their talk about how these studies do not matter).
The increased potential for visciousness against other animals has supporting evidence, but isn't really the heart of the issue. The critical issue is the potential for damage that these dogs pose, and that other dogs typically do not. Advocates do not argue that part of the problem very often because it is so difficult to refute, there are so many real damages available for comparison and other breeds of dog simply are not typically capable of creating so much damage when they attack. When pit bull advocates start genuinely addressing that problem they will gain some credibility, but I'm not counting on it happening any time soon.