Tag Archives: Poe’s Law

The Chaser interviews “Lord” Monckton

This is brilliant. From premise to execution. The Chaser team play around with “Poes Law” a little, because Lord Christopher Monckton is an extremist, they decided to treat him as a satire. I love it.

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Tumblrweed: Literally Unbelievable

The Onion has been around for ages. It’s older than Facebook. Older than YouTube. Almost older than the internet. And yet. Some people still don’t understand that it’s satire.

There’s a great online law – Poe’s Law – that says good satire will be indistinguishable from truth. Literally Unbelievable is a demonstration of the power of Poe’s Law. Capturing Facebookers who don’t know the difference between the Onion and real news.

Poe’s Law

I love satire. Of most colours. I like it when Christians satirise our own culture, and when non-Christians do it too. Satire is revealing. It is good for teaching. It makes me laugh.

LarkNews is one of my favourite satire sites, I know of a few people who have fallen for its satire in the past…

People reposting satire as real news is pretty funny – like when a couple of mainstream news outlets picked up an Onion piece that reported the moon landing was fake.

Poe’s Law didn’t make the Wikipedia list of eponymous laws I mentioned previously – but you can read it on this page – RationalWiki’s page.

Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.

It’s one of those Internet subculture things particular to debates with atheists (along with the No True Scotsman Fallacy) that comes up all the time. It’s a shorthand thing that prevents any real discussion taking place springing from an extreme position. The problem is that sometimes extreme positions may be correct. This is my biggest problem with all the conversational threads I’ve read on the atheist blogs I follow. If it turns out that God exists (as I believe he does) they’re going to look like idiots. This is the problem with Occam’s Razor, and in fact any other eponymous law that becomes common parlance. There are times when there’ll be a complex explanation for something that is true while a more simple explanation with less steps may be wrong. There are times when it’s appropriate to reference Hitler in an argument (Godwin’s Law). There are times when someone will be claiming to be a Scotsman when they’re not (the No True Scotsman Fallacy).

Using these laws in conversations who don’t know about them makes you look like a prat. Especially if you end up quoting them and being wrong.

I’m going to posit my own eponymous law – and I’d like it to catch on. Campbell’s Law. It states:

“As the length of argument on the internet increases the probability of referencing an irrelevant eponymous law or incorrectly identifying a fallacy approaches one.”

I’ll posit a second law.

“Just because someone, somewhere, has described a common phenomena as a “law”, it does not necessarily render the practice a transgression.”

Five cool wikipedia articles

In the spirit of Ben’s listmania here are five cool Wikipedia articles – most of which have been pulled from this blog I discovered called Best of Wikipedia.

  1. Wrap Rage Wrap rage, also called package rage, is the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-remove packagingWrap Rage Wrap rage, also called package rage, is the common name for heightened levels of anger and frustration resulting from the inability to open hard-to-remove packaging
  2. Erdős–Bacon Number A person’s Erdős–Bacon number is a concept which reflects the small world phenomenon in academia and entertainment. It is the sum of one’s Erdős number—which measures the “collaborative distance” in authoring mathematical papers between that person and Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős—and one’s Bacon number—which represents the number of links, through roles in films, by which the individual is separated from American actor Kevin Bacon. The lower the number, the closer a person is to Erdős and Bacon.
  3. Nocebo The adjective nocebo is used to label the harmful or unpleasant reactions that a subject manifested as a result of administering a placebo drug, where these responses had not been chemically generated, and were entirely due to the subject’s pessimistic belief and expectation that the inert drug would produce harmful, injurious, unpleasant, or undesirable consequences.
  4. The Turk The Turk was a fake chess-playing machine constructed in the late 18th century. From 1770 until its destruction by fire in 1854, it was exhibited by various owners as an automaton, though it was explained in the early 1820s as an elaborate hoax. With a skilled operator, the Turk won most of the games played during its demonstrations around Europe and the Americas for nearly 84 years, playing and defeating many challengers including statesmen such as Napoleon Bonaparte and Benjamin Franklin.
  5. I found this one by myself when I was looking up this thing called “Poe’s Law” that I hear atheists mentioning all the time when talking about satire about Christian stuff… it’s a list of eponymous laws – from the Famous (like Murphy’s Law, to the obscure internet phenomena – like Godwin’s Law).

Share any favourites of yours in the comments…