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.