Intelligent Design

Darwin, Poe and Arrington’s Prediction

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Charles Darwin and Edgar Allen Poe were born within one month of each other (February 1809 and January 1809 respectively).  Sadly for someone trying to connect Darwin with “Poe’s Law,” the “Poe” in Poe’s Law takes its name not from Edgar Allen but from Nathan Poe.  From Wikipedia’s article on Poe’s Law:

Poe’s law, in broader form, states:  Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake for the real thing.  The core of Poe’s law is that a parody of something extreme, by nature, becomes impossible to differentiate from sincere extremism.

Indeed, when Nathan coined the term he was taking the Darwinist side of an evolution debate.  But fundamentalism/extremism has a home on both sides of the evolution divide.  Daniel Dennett, for example, proudly owns the epithet “Darwinian Fundamentalist.”

I was thinking about this while reading the comments to HeKS’ Water post.  At comment 11 bystander made a particular outrageous Darwinist claim, which the next commenter took completely seriously.

There you have it.  Poe’s Law in action.

Arrington’s prediction:  It is already difficult to parody Darwinists, but as Darwinism sinks into ever deeper levels of implausibility and the “just so” stories become more and more transparently absurd, that difficulty will increase to the point where parody will be all but impossible.

9 Replies to “Darwin, Poe and Arrington’s Prediction

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    The first satirical TV show in the UK was called, That Was the Week that Was, and among its young team was a young David Frost. One of the cast, perhaps Frost, remarked that for satire, you need a right-wing government, i.e. in the UK, the Conservatives, the Tories.

    Churchill, himself a Tory at the beginning and end of his political career, one described the Conservative party as an organised hypocrisy.

    The greatest potential for satire has obviously always been in the US, with its historic, brutal repression of Labour and insensate capitalist materialism, eventually leading to neo-liberal economics, which seemingly means the economic freedom to dine at the Ritz or sleep under a bridge of the Potomac.

    Prior to the accession to the presidency of G W Bush, or maybe just after, The Onion, a US version of Private Eye, featured a spoof speech by Dubya setting out for the public what he intended to do, as President.

    In itself it was a hilarious spoof; or so it seemed. But in reality, it actually transpired that it was so accurate, it might have been a genuine, school, history text, mutatis mutandis.

  2. 2
    Axel says:

    An example in which I could see myself as potentially the butt of searing satire concerned some exchanges I had with a mate of mine, who and served three tours in Northern Ireland with the marine commandos.

    I say ‘exchanges’, rather than ‘arguments’, because, in the starkest contrast to my own farcical fulminations, his words and demeanour were very low-key and ‘understated’.

    At that time, I had a very tabloid (mis)understanding of the Northern Ireland Troubles, and just thought the Catholics were all just a terrible bunch of murderous thugs. Of course, like any other freedom-fighters, Sinn Fein and the IRA would have had their share of unambiguous psychopaths, but I learned later that by and large, they could have been any mother’s sons.

    It sometimes happens that in a country a minority grows to the point where the majority, (in N. Ireland, not indigenous, at least for thousands of years, before emigrating to Scotland) feels threatened, and gets very, very nasty towards the minority; and there comes a point where there will always be lads who say,: ‘Enough’s enough,’ and start an insurgency. The situation in Israel is not the same, by any means.

    The anti-Semitic, international community, 80% Moslem UN, and Hamas et al have been using the Palestinians [actually, a misnomer) as a proxy army, since they could not defeat the Jews, all together. Hamas could only win via PR, so, they used their own people, sometimes under lethal duress, as decoys, effective tethered goats, in ‘human-shield’ installations.

    Actually , Yahweh and Moses did against the Egyptians! So, in reality, both sides are really victims of the country’s history; cultural racism is the most difficult thing to deal with, when this ‘tipping-point’ is approached, since our sense of identity is a core feature of our nature. Grace builds upon nature is an old Christian axiom, I believe originated by St Augustine. He might have added: ‘But this side of the Parousia, there is a mountain to climb.’

    Anyway, long-short, my ‘tabloid’-deep fulminations at a patiently-listening friend, like me, also a Catholic, who had risked his life on three tours of duty in Northern Ireland, (when some were broken men after one or two tours), protecting the Protestants, has to be the stuff of the most riotous satire. Worthy of Monty Python.

  3. 3
    sergmendes says:

    Arrington’s prediction: It is already difficult to parody Darwinists, but as Darwinism sinks into ever deeper levels of implausibility and the “just so” stories become more and more transparently absurd, that difficulty will increase to the point where parody will be all but impossible.

    Any suggested methods as to overcoming this difficulty or should we just let it slide?

  4. 4
    velikovskys says:

    Barry:
    Arrington’s prediction: It is already difficult to parody Darwinists, but as Darwinism sinks into ever deeper levels of implausibility and the “just so” stories become more and more transparently absurd, that difficulty will increase to the point where parody will be all but impossible.

    I disagree, to parody something one must actually understand it,parodies of a parody are easier to spot

  5. 5
    Daniel King says:

    Arrington’s prediction: It is already difficult to parody Darwinists, but as Darwinism sinks into ever deeper levels of implausibility and the “just so” stories become more and more transparently absurd, that difficulty will increase to the point where parody will be all but imp

    Hi Barry.

    What you consider to be absurd, a substantial number of people who have actual TRAINING in biology are taking seriously.

    Would you consider the possibility that people who are actually TRAINED in a discipline are not complete idiots?

    You might consider that your life experience is incomplete…

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    DK:

    What you consider to be absurd, a substantial number of people who have actual TRAINING in biology are taking seriously.

    And they will be taken seriously when they can test the claims we call absurd. Being trained in biology hasn’t helped the biologist tell us what makes an organism what it is- as in what determines the form of the organism that develops.

    They can’t even answer that most basic question wrt biology. As geneticist Giuseppe Sermonti wrote in, “Why Is A Fly Not A Horse?”:

    ”The scientist enjoys a privilege denied the theologian. To any question, even one central to his theories, he may reply “I’m sorry but I do not know.” This is the only honest answer to the question posed by the title of this chapter. We are fully aware of what makes a flower red rather than white, what it is that prevents a dwarf from growing taller, or what goes wrong in a paraplegic or a thalassemic. But the mystery of species eludes us, and we have made no progress beyond what we already have long known, namely, that a kitty is born because its mother was a she-cat that mated with a tom, and that a fly emerges as a fly larva from a fly egg.”

    Genomes influence and direct development. No one has demonstrated that they determine what type of organism develops:

    “It is true that genes influence every aspect of development, but influencing something is not the same as determining it.”- Michael John Denton

    Assembly line workers influence the product’s manufacture. What is being manufactured is determined outside of the assembly line.

  7. 7
    not_mung says:

    DK about Barry: “You might consider that your life experience is incomplete…”

    Obviously a self-evident truism that you would have to be an ignorant moron to disagree with.

  8. 8
    not_querius says:

    DK about Barry: “You might consider that your life experience is incomplete…”

    Finally, something here that I would consider an obvious, self-evident truism.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    And another self-evident truism- “evolutionists don’t know jack about neither science nor evidence”

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