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[P]
Godwin's Law: Not Meant To Be Invoked

By jargonCCNA in Op-Ed
Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 08:55:14 PM EST
Tags: Internet (all tags)
Internet

A long time ago, a gentleman by the name of Godwin noticed something about Usenet: Given a long enough timeframe, in any heated discussion, someone will eventually make a comparison between his opponent and Germany's National Socialist Party of seventy years ago or its leader. He also noticed something very important about the first person to make such a comparison.


Godwin's Law, which is popularly understood as "the first person in an argument to refer to Hitler or the Nazis loses the argument", isn't a law like "murder is a crime" is a law. It's more like Newton's Laws--not something that can be "invoked" or "violated", but an observation of the surrounding world. The Law is actually stated thusly: As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one. Unfortunately, a lot of people on the 'net try to invoke Godwin's Law in order to, by default, win an argument. This isn't what Godwin's Law is about.

As we all well understand, Hitler was a mind-numbingly disturbed individual. He had a great military record, kept every single one of his campaign promise and was a rabid anti-smoker, but had the audacity to order the death of every Jew, gypsy, homosexual and cripple, partially out of personal vendettas. This is not a person that anyone really wants to be compared to, because when you hear "Hitler", you probably think "psychotic mass-murderer". He's, of course, not the only person in history to do it. Pol Pot, Pinochet and Stalin also come to mind fairly readily and I'm sure Kuro5hin's readership can think of more.

Godwin noticed that most people--politicians especially--have a flawed argumentative style. Rather than attempt to prove their point, they try vilify their opponent, in order to seem like the lesser of two evils. A fantastic example of this was the Conservative Party's campaign in the recent Canadian election. Rather than focus on why the Conservatives would make the best governing party for this Parliament, they focused on why the incumbent party, the Liberal Party, would be the worst. This is what's known as a negative campaign and it doesn't always appeal to logic or rationality, but to emotion. Both Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore make extravagant use of this argumentative technique. They try to get their listeners/viewers outraged by the actions or inactions of [insert popular figure here] without, really, explaining why said action or inaction is actually a bad thing. Think "shock and awe", though perhaps "shock and appall" would be better.

The problem with this technique is that it works. Most people are easily swayed by their emotions, because they aren't critical thinkers. When Godwin first wrote his Law, he was really just appealing to the pride of the denizens of Usenet--geeks, nerds and hackers. He was trying to say "you have more coherent thought processes than most of the world, why not use them?" By stating that the first person to mention Hitler in a debate loses, he wasn't trying to impose a win/lose condition for Usenet debates. He was trying to make those who make a comparison to Hitler realise what they're doing.

And what are they doing? Well, they certainly aren't thinking critically, and by not thinking critically in a debate, people tend to make themselves appear foolish. The first person to compare their opponent to Hitler in a debate may very well win the debate, from a popular point of view, but they've used poor argumentative techniques to do it and that isn't something that geeks or nerds are known for.

Godwin's Law isn't about "winning" or "losing" a debate. It's about promoting critical thinking and proving your point. Comparing one's opponent to Hitler/Pinochet/Pol Pot/Stalin does nothing for the argument, but rather admits that you don't have anything more to say. However, it isn't gracious to rub this in someone's face, which is, really, what's occurring when someone invokes Godwin's Law. Not only is it ungracious, but it, too, demonstrates that you've also run out of things to say. Thus, I submit my Corollary:

Following a demonstration of Godwin's Law in action, the first person to refer to Godwin's Law also loses.

This doesn't mean the other person wins. It means you both lose. Neither of you is, any longer, participating in a useful debate (there's another corollary along the same lines) and you should both back off and give up before you succeed in making yourselves look like bigger asses.

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Display: Sort:
Godwin's Law: Not Meant To Be Invoked | 238 comments (191 topical, 47 editorial, 0 hidden)
godwin's law is a useful rhetorical tool (1.70 / 10) (#14)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 04:47:34 AM EST

i think you are kind of like someone who blames the victim for her own rape

if someone calls you a nazi, what are you supposed to do if you can't invoke godwin's law?

are you saying that if i invoke godwin's law in defense against someone who calls me a nazi, i'm to be blamed for their bad behavior all of a sudden in equal partnership? how does that work?

it is not true that both sides of a conversation are to blame when a conversations descends into name-calling from one side of the table

godwin's law is an important tool to use in the fight against bad behavior

so yes, blah blah bah, clap clap clap, you've deconstructed and demystified and cast doubt on godwin's law, good for fucking you

thanks alot for neutralizing a tool which is only used against bad behavior on the internet

do you want a cookie?

godwin's law, although it may have "jumped the shark" and may be not so "cool" anymore, is still true, and is still useful

so stop fucking attacking godwin's law, you're well-meaning but ultimately self-defeating

want to be useful?

deconstruct and attack assholes who call people nazi's on the internet instead

after a few rounds of trying to be intelligent and rational about things with such dimwits, i think you will be resorting to invoking godwin's law yourself


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

I want a cookie! (none / 0) (#24)
by Milo Minderbender on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 08:11:42 AM EST

"it is not true that both sides of a conversation are to blame when a conversations descends into name-calling from one side of the table"
No it's not true. You used the "is the rape victim guilty?" argument and then you went and pulled out this contradictory statement. You're only to blame (and then only to a degree) if my calling you a Nazi isn't completely unfounded. So take your Holocaust elsewhere, Adolf!

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[ Parent ]
dude (none / 1) (#26)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 08:39:21 AM EST

"...if my calling you a Nazi isn't completely unfounded"

dude

in 99.999% of web discussions, unless it is on www.hotgaynaziuniformaction.com, calling someone a Nazi is

completely

unfounded

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Exactly my point (none / 0) (#29)
by Milo Minderbender on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 08:56:01 AM EST

So I'm right, and you're wrong (at least the part of your comment that I quoted in my comment).

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[ Parent ]
huh? (nt) (none / 1) (#33)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:29:21 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
I'll spell it out for you (none / 0) (#46)
by Milo Minderbender on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:00:34 AM EST

You:
"is it not true that both sides of a conversation are to blame when a conversations descends into name-calling from one side of the table"

name-calling occurs --> both sides to blame
Me:
"You're only to blame if my calling you a Nazi isn't completely unfounded."

(name-calling occurs --> both sides to blame) <--> isUnfounded(name-calling)
You:
"calling someone a Nazi is completely unfounded"

isUnfounded(name-calling) = false
Therefore:
(name-calling occurs --> both sides to blame) = false
In other words, you are wrong.

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This comment is for the good of the syndicate.
[ Parent ]
a thread spawned out of my poor typing skills (none / 2) (#48)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:56:31 AM EST

"is it not true that both sides of a conversation are to blame when a conversations descends into name-calling from one side of the table"

should have read

"it is not true that both sides of a conversation are to blame when a conversations descends into name-calling from one side of the table"

but i think if you read my comment and got the gist of what i was saying, i think you could have easily have parsed that i'm just a bad typist


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Yeah, but... (none / 2) (#50)
by Milo Minderbender on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 12:10:31 PM EST

...I was looking for a fight. :-)

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[ Parent ]
logic nazi chimes in (none / 1) (#81)
by jnana on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 10:49:35 PM EST

"You're only to blame if my calling you a Nazi isn't completely unfounded."

(name-calling occurs --> both sides to blame) <--> isUnfounded(name-calling)

Actually, I think it's more like the following, if we stick to first-order logic:

(name-calling AND unFounded[name-calling]) --> toBlame.

A only if B means "B --> A", and the other part is a conjunction, not a conditional.



[ Parent ]
Oh? (none / 0) (#76)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:21:04 PM EST

deconstruct and attack assholes who call people nazi's on the internet instead

Indeed.

Asshole, deconstruct thyself.

[ Parent ]

godwins law (none / 0) (#108)
by ShiftyStoner on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 06:22:12 AM EST

 is an important tool against those who throw around the word nazi if you like them have nothing inteligant left to say.

 "The death penalty is nesesary."

 "You are so wrong you fucking nazi."

 "No you cause godwin said so."

 Who won?
>

 
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]

Why I zeroed your comment (1.33 / 3) (#132)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 01:33:39 PM EST

Putting a blank line between each sentence is a form of crapflooding.

I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
Several problems with this. (2.57 / 21) (#19)
by Kasreyn on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 05:26:09 AM EST

1. First off, if it's an observable natural law, like Newton's laws, it cannot be "violated". It can merely be observed in action. Period end. Nothing can violate a natural law (by definition - if it's violated, it's time to change the law to fit the newly observed reality). If Godwin's Law is a law in this sense, it can only be violated if a discussion continues for an infinite period of time without mentioning Nazis, which is untestable.

2. Rather than focus on why the Conservatives would make the best governing party for this Parliament, they focused on why the incumbent party, the Liberal Party, would be the worst. This is what's known as a smear campaign and it doesn't appeal to appeal to logic or rationality, but to emotion. I beg to differ: it is called a negative campaign, of which smear campaigns are a subset. It IS possible to use logic and reasoning to make a negative point. "During the tenure of George W. Bush, America lost more lives in military conflict and had a lower GDP per capita than it did during the tenure of Bill Clinton" can be debated logically on facts (ie., whether it is correct), but doesn't appeal to emotion anywhere in it. So, all smears = negatives, but all negatives != smears.

3. The first person to mention Hitler in a debate may very well win the debate, from an popular point of view, but they've used poor argumentative techniques to do it, and that isn't something that geeks or nerds are known for. Basically what Godwin's Law is about is the use of cliche in argument tactics. If I compare some political figure to Hitler, I'm being lame, but if I compare him to Pinochet, it's ok? The only difference is, the comparison to Hitler has been drawn more often because more people know his name. A comparison to Hitler isn't intrinsically worse than a comparison to Pinochet; personally, I think a comparison to Stalin trumps them both.

4. I can't remember the wording, but there was a corollary floating around the net already: "Godwin's Law may not be invoked to end a conversation about political figures who are or have been behaving like Nazis". The point? Yes, people cry wolf with the swastika-slinging too easily. But sometimes it is justified. What is being used is the mental image of the ultimately-evil state (disregarding the fact that Nazi Germany probably wasn't as evil as it could have been). What is being thrown around is the fear that people x, or nation x, will become another Nazi Germany, or that person x wants to be a Hitler. It's evocative because everyone is familiar with it and understands the flaws of the system it describes. It's a useful shorthand at times. So when George Carlin mocked school uniforms by saying "I remember something like this in old newsreels from the 1930's, but it was hard to understand because the narration was in GERMAN", I applauded. Sometimes, the comparison is apt.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I always thought... (none / 0) (#41)
by J'raxis on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 10:42:50 AM EST

[In reply to your fourth point.]

I always thought the point of Godwin’s Law was not calling about whom or what you are arguing a Nazi, but calling with whom you are arguing a Nazi. Godwin’s Law is meant to be a specific case of the fallacious ad hominem attack, not meant to entirely preclude any mention of Nazis, especially where it is appropriate.

— J’raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

I thought it was both (none / 0) (#56)
by Wah on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 01:26:30 PM EST

but more the other way around.  The idea being that if you have to retreat to something as absurb as 'Bush is a Nazi', then you have no real argument and should STFU.

Ad hominems are a different sort of logical fallacy.  Godwin's Law is just a specific example of a social one.

BTW, there is a real world example of it happening.
--
umm, holding, holding...
[ Parent ]

But then you get those people (none / 2) (#97)
by Kasreyn on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 02:16:13 AM EST

who use Godwin's Law as an excuse to tune out of any argument where a system, politician, or nation is being criticized for being too regimented and authoritarian.

It's a shame to have to go hunting for a different metaphor when there's already a perfectly apt one, if overused.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
[ Parent ]
shh (none / 0) (#111)
by ShiftyStoner on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 06:32:40 AM EST

 let the morons do there thing, it's like watching a bunch of children play word games, im ruber your glue etc. repetitive but somewhat intertaning when there is a mob of them, all strugling to sound original mature and inteligant.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler
[ Parent ]
That reminds me (none / 0) (#170)
by richarj on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 07:43:25 AM EST

This sword has had much blood spilt on it!

Well maybe you shouldn't pick your nose with it.

"if you are uncool, don't worry, K5 is still the place for you!" -- rusty
[ Parent ]

But Bush really is trying (1.83 / 6) (#20)
by werner on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 06:26:56 AM EST

to turn the US into the Fourth Reich. And spineless Tony Blair seems hell-bent on turning the UK into a sad little puppet-state of said Reich.

Congratulations, you've won: (none / 0) (#25)
by Milo Minderbender on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 08:19:56 AM EST

Tattoo number 0000000000000001. Step up to the line, take off all your clothes and turn your palms upward. Thank you.

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[ Parent ]
lol (none / 0) (#70)
by horny smurf on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 05:21:13 PM EST

"Everybody in the world is Hitler. Bush is Hitler, Ashcroft is Hitler, Rumsfeld is Hitler. The only guy who isn't Hitler is the foreign guy with a mustache dropping people who disagree with him into the wood chipper. He's not Hitler." -- Dennis Miller.

[ Parent ]
I'm Adolf Hitler (none / 0) (#138)
by werner on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 07:51:01 PM EST

and so's my wife.

[ Parent ]
Technically (none / 0) (#206)
by drquick on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 04:47:51 AM EST

The US can't become the 4th Reich. Reich is German and refers to German history. 1st, 2nd and 3rd Reich. We could have the USA become the UAP, 1st United American Plutocracy or ACE, 1st American Capitalist Empire.

[ Parent ]
What? (2.33 / 6) (#22)
by adamhaun on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 07:16:44 AM EST

When Godwin first wrote his Law, he was really just appealing to the pride of the denizens of Usenet -- geeks, nerds and hackers. He was trying to say "you have more coherent thought processes than most of the world, why not use them?"

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

I'm sorry, Usenet is not and never has been an oasis of enlightened rational thought. The rest of the world is not made to look worse by comparison.



Yes it was ... (none / 0) (#178)
by Stavr0 on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 10:20:49 AM EST

Usenet is not and never has been an oasis of enlightened rational thought

It was, more than a decade ago... see the September that never ended. I remember that era, spam didn't exist, only academics and professionals had access to Usenet...
- - -
Pax Americana : Oderint Dum Metuant
[ Parent ]

the fall, reloaded :) (nt) (none / 0) (#184)
by LFant on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:57:34 AM EST



[ Parent ]
the next Hilter... (2.88 / 9) (#23)
by the sixth replicant on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 07:22:13 AM EST

...isn't going to look like Hilter, dress like him, or even be German. It's going to be something we didn't expect but maybe we should have said something at the time, because, you know, hindsight does that.

For me Godwin's law is a nice technique to whittle away a lot of posts usually because 90% of the time people needing to bring in Hitler etc as a way of reinforcing their argument don't understand logical argument making. But...

...sooner or later we might end up being at that brink of another totalitarian regime - so what analogy do we use instead (that everyone understands as "a bad thing".Spanish Civil War? Pinochet?).

I can talk all I want about some law doing this or that; or how an Administration has a secret agenda - but in the end saying "Bush is the closest thing to Hilter I've seen in the Western world for over 25 years" kinda has a better ring to it. Is it right? No. Does it tell you I might feel so strongly about Bush that the best analogy (and remember it's an analogy) is Hilter. Yep. And so your alarm bells should be going off (whether or not you use Godwin's law). Should I explain things a bit better? You bet! Should I have maybe said "Bush is to the far right of Nixon" instead? Sure. But where's the fun in that.

On a public forum emotions and arguments can sometimes get intermixed. But right, more than ever, I feel we are moving to a 1984/Brazil type environment and using logical arguments might be the more civilised way to go for some but making people open their eyes will always be my first step.

Ciao

You are a cretin. (none / 1) (#72)
by ant0n on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 06:33:33 PM EST

It's Hitler, not Hilter.


-- Does the shortest thing the tallest pyramid's support supports support anything green?
Patrick H. Winston, Artificial Intelligence
[ Parent ]
Wrong guy. (none / 3) (#73)
by handslikesnakes on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 06:51:41 PM EST

He's talking about the leader of the National Bocialist Party, recently elected in North Minehead.



[ Parent ]
Declare War (2.50 / 6) (#27)
by Highlander on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 08:47:08 AM EST

I propose that we declare a War On Godwinds Law.

corollary (a) This is a war that will not end.

corollary (b) It follows that this is a war we cannot loose.

Moderation in moderation is a good thing.

lose <nt> (3.00 / 5) (#53)
by wurp on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 12:29:04 PM EST


---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
Godwin's <nt> (none / 2) (#136)
by problem child on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 06:41:40 PM EST



[ Parent ]
And I was so proud I had spelled corollary right (3.00 / 5) (#154)
by Highlander on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:11:08 AM EST



Moderation in moderation is a good thing.
[ Parent ]
An idea (2.71 / 21) (#28)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 08:51:09 AM EST

An idea I've been toying with so far, one that I will eventually research in depth and make into an essay if my findings are correct, is that compared to today's politicians, Hitler wasn't all that bad.

Comparing Bush to Hitler, for example, should almost certainly cause Hitler to start turning in his grave (wherever that is).

As far as the historical record is concerned, Hitler  had an amazing propaganda machine at his disposal, and he never, ever fell on things such as false evidence, missing WMDs, and flawed allies' reports.

He actually is the only politician I've heard of that factually KEPT his campaign promises, as well as the only modern politician that managed to turn around an entire nation's economic health. Remember that Versailles crippled Germany, and took most of its natural resources away. They came back with a vengeance, under Hitler.

Whether you like it or not, he was a leader in fashion as well. Today, the uber-cool looks adapted by The Matrix, and countless movies before and after it, are direct descendants of SS uniform designs. And I'm not even mentioning the famous moustache, which is possibly the single most widely recognized fashion item in the world.

Yeah, sure, he killed a couple of people, but I am not so sure that the US or most other western nations have caused less deaths, in their times of power. Besides, no one really likes the Jews, not even the Jews, who should in any case thank Nazism for giving them something to whine about all these years. Without it, they would have all certainly had aneurysms from lack of reasons to complain.

Homicidal maniac? Oh yes. The most effective politician of this century? Oh yes.

Which says all one needs to know about politics, really.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


Hardly. (none / 2) (#30)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:11:25 AM EST

They'd still have the spanish monarchy and the inquisition. And you might want to tone it down a bit... while I like youd attitude to an extent, having ma and pa herded into "the showers" and gassed like an unwanted mutt at the pound, is slightly more than "something to whine about".

Hell, it might be a legitimate grievance. Of course, all the newspapers in Cairo and Riyadh do claim otherwise.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]

Toning it down (none / 1) (#35)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:41:54 AM EST

My attitude concerning the Jews comes from years of exposure to live Israelis and Jews (not quite the same as one might expect, as you yourself may know).

While I do regret that human lives were wasted in such a senseless death machine, you would be hard pressed to argue that the Jews in general do not go out of their way to integrate themselves, nor do they make that kind of respression hard.

Segregation from society makes surgical removal easy. The historical professions chosen by the sons of Israel all over the world do not make them popular (face it, no one likes the person they owe money to). The holier-than-thou attitude goes head to head with the Mormons for the most aggravating thing in the universe, and the whining.. well, in my encounters with the aforementioned culture, I have come across a tendency to encourage externations of righteous outrage, which are ever so easily misconstrued with acute, relentless whining.

If I remember correctly, they kind of got on the Romans' nerves too, even though that was their home at the time, so conditions were slightly different. On the other hand, the Romans were some of the kindest imperialists history has seen.

My apologies if I offended. I do have a tenency to be a little bombastic in my proclamations. Put it down to my true nature of little wilting flower.

But I will stick to my guns on the point of the argument :)

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
By your logic (none / 0) (#38)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 10:28:40 AM EST

We should gas all those Hispanics in my neighborhood who refuse to learn English! Maybe the blacks should be next, with all their "jive" talk. They don't assimilate either. Oh, not to mention, they're all criminals!

*insert sarcasm tag here*


Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]

sarcasm? (none / 0) (#43)
by j1mmy on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 10:45:06 AM EST

what?

[ Parent ]
Don't forget the Neanderthals! n/t (none / 0) (#47)
by Bill Melater on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:36:29 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 0) (#58)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 01:34:47 PM EST

What does this have to do with republicans?

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
[ Parent ]
Look at his username (none / 1) (#68)
by Bill Melater on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 05:01:15 PM EST

It was supposed to be, umm, funny.

[ Parent ]
Pleased to meet you, sir. (none / 0) (#52)
by SanSeveroPrince on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 12:22:54 PM EST

Now, let me introduce you to a sometimes firend of mine: logic.

Logic requires correct assumptions to be made.

Stop being American at me, and read my comment again.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
Being American does have something to do with it (3.00 / 7) (#152)
by epepke on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 01:21:16 AM EST

No, really, it does. America has more Jews than any other country on the planet. Israel excluded, America just may have more Jews than all the other countries on the planet combined. The overwhelming majority of Jews in the US are completely integrated. OK, so the KKK doesn't like them, and in the midwest it is still common to use "Jew down" to mean "strike a good bargain." But in American movies, a lot of the actors are Jewish and most people don't even know it. Even Harrison Ford is Jewish enough for Hitler.

Outside of America, the Jews that anyone can meet are either members of a minority too small to be noticed, or remnants that managed to avoid getting gassed or expelled and are just waiting for the other shoe to drop, or only for Israelis Jews with a lot of chutspah hanging onto a sliver of land and being the brunt of hatred for practically the entire world, or some combination of the aforementioned.

Only in America and nowhere else can Jews just be Jews and have it be one of their characteristics and not a totally defining one. Only in America, therefore, can you find Jews who don't need to wear even a metaphorical yellow star.

The comparison with black people is really quite apropos. You can take a people, submit them to slavery for a few hundred years or so, submit them to discrimination after slavery, segregate them by law, still submit them to discrimination, addict a lot of them to welfare, etc. This does something to a people and has some results. It's rather a cheap game to look at these results and conclude that they brought this on. I don't think that America is given nearly enough credit for the fact that, while racism exists, Americans have at least the basic decency to be aware of it and be embarrassed by it.

This happens nowhere else in the world. To a European, racism is something that Those Stupid Americans Do™ While, of course, those same people may hate Jews, or Gypsies, or Irish, or English, or Scots, or Dutch, or the people on the other side of Belgium who talk Flemish, or the people on the other side of Belgium who talk French, or Parisians, or non-Parisians, or simply the people down the street who talk funny. Mexicans may hate people with too much Mayan heritage or too much European heritage. Han Chinese may hate Mongolians and Tibetans and vice versa, and so it goes, all around the world. All of them are desperately sincere and believe absolutely that their hatred is justified, and none of them have the basic decency to wonder if their beliefs may be simple prejudice.

And so America magically becomes The Racist State™ simply because nobody else even has the intestinal fortitude to admit that they may have internal problems. And America becomes the laughing stock of the world, because we don't have those sophisticated solutions like Zyklon B and Ethnic Cleansing and pseudo-intellectual claptrap about how You Just Don't Understand The History Behind This Conflict. So be it.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
If you were tolling.. (none / 2) (#173)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 08:11:27 AM EST

If you were trolling, you did magnificently well.

If you were serious, you are colossally stupid, and quite possibly currently employed by the Bush administration.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
America hates the wrold (none / 0) (#205)
by drquick on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 04:38:42 AM EST

Nice smokescreen. America is hating the whole world. For some reason the Brits have not seen that, but other Europeans don't feel at ease with them. Can't you see that rasism has been replaced by nationalism. Just like in any proto-facist state.

[ Parent ]
But of Course (none / 2) (#145)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:03:35 PM EST

You've struck the nail on the head. Not only is the offensiveness of genocide mitigated by the whining, nasal plaints that so many of its survivors employ, but the Jewish banking conspiracy is really at fault for the whole affair. In their usual high-pitched drawls, Jews have often complained to me (a fellow Hebrew) that they were forced into usury by a European culture that refused to allow them to carry normal jobs but encouraged them to lend money to Christians, since Christians were not allowed to be in financial debt to one another. Hogwash! They should have committed suicide on the spot rather than allowed themselves to become usurers. In fact, the Holocaust would never have happened had all the Jews ended their own lives before Hitler's reign. This places the blame squarely on one place: the shoulders of the Jewish people.

Primo Levi wrote a book called Surviving Auschwitz in which he details his abuction from Italy and his near-death, torturous experiences in a Nazi prison camp. Pish-tosh! More like Incessant Whining, if you ask me! With representatives like that, it's no wonder we were so persecuted. Jews in Europe were clearly living in a Utopia of untold paradaisical delights, facing only a few friendly jabs from their gentile brothers like the Dreyfus Affair and the Chmielnicki Massacre. 100,000 dead? What about the millions left alive? It was never reported of course, because of the diabolical liberal media, which was even then controlled by Jews! Don't you agree, SanSeveroPrince?

Oh, right, I almost forgot: I hope you one day understand how grotesque your opinions are, you disgusting excuse for a cretin.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
I Apologize (none / 0) (#146)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:08:03 PM EST

I should not have called you a cretin, since you are certainly as human I. I was very angry and emotional.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
And as we all know... (none / 0) (#148)
by Juppon Gatana on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:10:46 PM EST

...cretins are almost as inhuman as Jews.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
YHBT. YHL. HAND. {n/t} (none / 0) (#156)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:52:58 AM EST



----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
YHBT. YHL. HAND. (none / 1) (#171)
by it certainly is on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 07:51:01 AM EST

It is quite clear to everyone that you have claimed false victory to hide your crushing defeat.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Funny (none / 0) (#172)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 08:06:22 AM EST

'Everyone' = you.

General agreemen, and you can probe this by reading the other comments to my comment, is that I was trolling a little from the beginning.

The only cretin that took it more seriously than it ought to was you, sir.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
You have been outdone, (none / 0) (#174)
by it certainly is on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 08:14:46 AM EST

and outdone to an exceptional extent, by Mr Gatana. You should slink away and lick your wounds, but your pride does not allow it.

You can only make yourself look worse by pursuing the matter.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Nah. (none / 0) (#175)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 08:19:12 AM EST

I just read his comment again. I can only find cheap sarcasm there, and an even cheaper attempt at salvaging it.

If you could explain everything to me, you would serve a purpose in life. Otherwise, you could just be quiet.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


[ Parent ]
It Depends on Your Viewpoint (none / 0) (#176)
by Juppon Gatana on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 09:51:32 AM EST

Your posts were genuine trolling, which toed a very fine line of believability. Mine comment was purely over-the-top sarcastic indignation, which I imagine does not really count as trolling. It's kind of like the difference between Bill O'Rielly and Ann Coulter, where the former is outrageous but believable, and the latter is so unreasonable that she becomes laughable.

- Juppon Gatana
能ある鷹は爪を隠す。
(Nou aru taka wa tsume wo kakusu.)
[ Parent ]
Yes, this confirms my case. (none / 0) (#201)
by it certainly is on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:45:07 AM EST

Mr Gatana is both credible and compassionate. You, filthy internet web-board troll, are neither. Mr Gatana is superior to you in every respect.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

ok, that's funny (none / 0) (#204)
by drquick on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 04:28:22 AM EST

It actually took me a while to realize that's satire. Especially since I've heard the claim that "Europeans forced Jews to usery" before from Jews.

[ Parent ]
Um... (none / 1) (#44)
by J'raxis on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 10:50:15 AM EST

Um, they still have the Spanish monarchy.

— J’raxis

[ J’raxis·Com | Liberty in your lifetime ]
[ Parent ]

reasons to "whine" (none / 0) (#203)
by drquick on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 04:17:14 AM EST

To me the Jews come off as whiners. It's blizzing 50 years ago and there has been lots of genocides before and after, What troubles me most is the tendency to muffle and blot out the suffering of other genocide victims ranging form Boers in South Africa at the beginning of our century to Iraqi children quite recently. How many did Stalin kill, how many did Pol Pot kill, how many civilians were executed by death squads in CIA proxy wars in Central America and do any of them whine like the Jews? How many puppet regimes around the world get their torture training in the USA? Chile, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, the Shah's Iran, Saddam's Iraq and where are the media star whining victims? All we see is babykiller hippie Vietnam vets who "heroically" confess to their Jewish talkshow hosts. But no whining victims!

[ Parent ]
Shhhhhhh (none / 2) (#34)
by Sesquipundalian on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:37:25 AM EST

You'd better shut up, or the Jews'll get ya


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
Your ideas intrigue me... (none / 1) (#49)
by DLWormwood on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 12:06:24 PM EST

...I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter. Seriously, though...

Homicidal maniac? Oh yes. The most effective politician of this century? Oh yes.

Which says all one needs to know about politics, really.

You are not the first to make this observation; Gene Roddenberry once made an old TV show about this very notion.
--
Those who complain about affect & effect on k5 should be disemvoweled
[ Parent ]

Maginificent post. (3.00 / 5) (#103)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 03:58:41 AM EST

You know, this post nearly had me nodding along until the line "Sure, he killed a couple of people, but..." then it was downhill to chair-tumbling laughter all the way. My hat, if I had one, would be off to you, sir.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan
[ Parent ]

Nice Troll (none / 1) (#144)
by Maserati on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:02:49 PM EST

OK guys, YHBT.YHL.HAND.

--

For the wise a hint, for the fool a stick.
[ Parent ]

Nazi! (none / 0) (#31)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:13:04 AM EST

Futhermore: you Bushist!

...H'm...perhaps we need a Godwin 1a: Bush references as thinly disguised imitation Nazi comments.


___
The quest for the Grail is the quest for that which is holy in all of us. Plus, I really need a place to keep my juice.
Sorry (none / 3) (#32)
by squigly on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:24:31 AM EST

Godwins law may not be invoked deliberately to terminate a thread.

[ Parent ]
Fascist! (none / 0) (#36)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 09:57:45 AM EST

No blood for oil.


___
The quest for the Grail is the quest for that which is holy in all of us. Plus, I really need a place to keep my juice.
[ Parent ]
I thought you'd say that (none / 1) (#55)
by squigly on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 01:20:51 PM EST

It's exactly the sort of thing that Hitler would have said.

[ Parent ]
Keep your guns handy (none / 0) (#57)
by Wah on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 01:27:48 PM EST

or Zombie Hitler will overrun your town.
--
umm, holding, holding...
[ Parent ]
It's funny because it's true. [nt] (none / 0) (#110)
by Green Cup on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 06:27:14 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I always wondered (none / 2) (#39)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 10:31:19 AM EST

If I call someone a "spelling nazi", does that invoke Godwon's Law?
Information wants to be beer.
My Opinion: No. (none / 0) (#51)
by CheeseburgerBrown on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 12:19:04 PM EST

That's two references removed. I think for proper crunchy Goodwin goodness one needs to be addressing Hitler's Nazis, or possibly NeoNazis.

Soup-, spelling- and femi- are different breeds.


___
The quest for the Grail is the quest for that which is holy in all of us. Plus, I really need a place to keep my juice.
[ Parent ]
Cheeseburger Nazi !!! [nt] (none / 1) (#64)
by Milo Minderbender on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 03:22:32 PM EST



--------------------
This comment is for the good of the syndicate.
[ Parent ]
I don't think so. (none / 0) (#84)
by Driusan on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:21:58 PM EST

I've always thought of that as more of a reference to Seinfeld's Soup Nazi then having anything to do with Hitler.


--
This space for rent.
[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#60)
by WorkingEmail on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 01:55:39 PM EST

I've never thought about it that way before.

Anyway, your intentions are noble, but that really isn't Godwin's Law either.


I disagree ... (2.50 / 6) (#61)
by wobblie on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 02:02:17 PM EST

There's nothing flawed about vilifying an opponent, if they are indeed worth it and you can make a good case. Rather I think it is the tendency of people - Americans especially - towards hyperbole. It's not enough to say someone's bad, they have to be compared to Hitler - or else the message will never get through.

Hmm #2 (none / 0) (#62)
by WorkingEmail on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 02:03:12 PM EST

I think the best response to the invocation of the popular version of "Godwin's Law" is:

That is both wrong and not Godwin's Law. :)


Laws and Memes (none / 2) (#63)
by bento on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 02:43:53 PM EST

First of all, way back when on the Well where he introduced it, Godwin identified the law as an experiment in meme propagation. Put this out and see how many minds it infects. It has certainly been a successful meme, but then so have religious fundamentalism and racism. It is not a "law" in any meaningful sense, it is a generalization from experience, but one with no identified logical necessity, and one that clearly does not hold in all cases. To say that one cannot legitimately make Nazi comparisons prevents one from applying any knowledge gleaned from analyzing the Nazi period to other periods, and we all know what happens to those who don't learn from history. PS. I accidently hit the "abuse edit queue" button. I didn't mean it, but don't know how to retract it. I would like to see this topic on the front page.

No Retractions (none / 1) (#71)
by virg on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 05:22:40 PM EST

> I accidently hit the "abuse edit queue" button. I didn't mean it, but don't know how to retract it. I would like to see this topic on the front page.

Not an issue. The "abuse the edit queue" button simply forces the article into voting if enough people use it. Once it's gone to voting, you can +1FP it.

Virg
"Imagine (it won't be hard) that most people would prefer seeing Carrot Top beaten to death with a bag of walnuts." - Jmzero
[ Parent ]
It is a "law" (none / 0) (#116)
by sholden on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 08:30:45 AM EST

Just like F=ma is a law.

Of course being a "law" doesn't make it true, Einstein for example did some work to indicate that F=ma is not true.

Of course Godwin's law is impossible to find a counter example for, which makes it hard to disprove (though you could do some stats on usenet threads, or notice that claiming "as more and more gets written the probability that [foo] will be mentioned approaches one" seems sound for all [foo]).

--
The world's dullest web page


[ Parent ]
Hitler *wasn't* a vegetarian (2.83 / 6) (#66)
by dasunt on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 04:28:26 PM EST

Although Hitler ate a lot of vegetables, and usually avoided red meat, but he wasn't a vegetarian -- he just suffered from a lot of gastic disorders.

He liked stuffed squab and sausages, neither of which is a plant.



One other thing... (none / 1) (#67)
by dasunt on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 04:34:59 PM EST

Hitler did drink.

However, he was a rabid anti-smoker.

One out of three is pretty bad...



[ Parent ]
good. (2.96 / 25) (#82)
by rmg on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:00:48 PM EST

the idea of invoking godwin's law is indeed idiotic and it's good to see someone attempt to talk some sense into these nerds.

i realize you are in a position in which you cannot piss off your audience, but since i am not in that position, i'll take issue with one of your points. it is only through the special arrogance of "geeks and hackers" that the same are thought to possess superior powers of rhetoric and/or reasoning. it stems from the belief that proficiency in programming computers (or simply admiration of that proficiency, as is usually the case) is somehow indicative of deeper intellectual powers.

in fact, this is far from true. "geeks and hackers" are typically technical school students and computer professionals (though in view of recent trends in hiring practices, they might be better termed "computer janitors") with little education in the humanities and fine arts. their choice reading tends to be contemporary science fiction and fantasy. indeed, except in matters of fact strictly related to computers they are entirely useless. god help you if you get them started about physics! in matters of judgement and opinion, they are no more rhetorically able than a taxi driver and usually a good deal less informed.

in short, to suggest that usenet might be a font of wisdom were it not for hitler comparisons and other stupid invocations is purely risible. indeed, any forum populated by your run of the mill nerd, much as usenet and our hallowed halls are, will be devoid of the hallmarks of good conversation -- wit, courtesy, and sound argument.

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean

I think you put too little faith in a geek's wit.. (none / 1) (#83)
by jargonCCNA on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:13:04 PM EST

rmg wrote:
it is only through the special arrogance of "geeks and hackers" that the same are thought to possess superior powers of rhetoric and/or reasoning. it stems from the belief that proficiency in programming computers (or simply admiration of that proficiency, as is usually the case) is somehow indicative of deeper intellectual powers.

in fact, this is far from true. "geeks and hackers" are typically technical school students and computer professionals (though in view of recent trends in hiring practices, they might be better termed "computer janitors") with little education in the humanities and fine arts. their choice reading tends to be contemporary science fiction and fantasy. indeed, except in matters of fact strictly related to computers they are entirely useless. god help you if you get them started about physics! in matters of judgement and opinion, they are no more rhetorically able than a taxi driver and usually a good deal less informed.
I think you might be giving the general intelligence level of the general computer cognoscienti too little credit. Critical thinking comes, fairly naturally, with a good, healthy grip on logic. Most computer geeks have an extraordinary on logic and saying what you mean because our computers are as bright as a brick. Programming is an extended study of logic. Calling your opponent in a debate Hitler certainly isn't logical and it only ever serves to raise people's hackles. Unfortunately, not only does our society have a proclivity for acting emotionally, rather than rationally, there's also that ever-present need to win. Everyone wants to win, no matter how they do it.. By saying "first person to compare anyone to Hitler loses" unfortunately seems to impose a win condition for an argument.. arguments aren't won because the other person loses; arguments are won when you successfully defend your point of view from all counterpositions—if no one can poke holes in your logic and your premises are true, you win. Only then, do you win.
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
no, (none / 3) (#85)
by rmg on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:26:22 PM EST

i've read thousands, maybe even millions, of comments and articles written by geeks and i believe i will stand by my conclusions.

while there is certainly a baseline command of logic needed for computer programming, it is certainly not beyond what you'll find in a philosophy student. indeed, it is probably considerably less. further, logic is not what makes good arguments. it is literary sensibility. a good debater has to be able to understand and properly appreciate his opponents' argument and writing -- two tasks for which "geeks" regularly prove themselves inadequate. further, though this does not necessarily speak directly to the point at hand, a good debater must have the scruples not to misrepresent his opponent and to meet his argument head on. again, these are areas in which "geeks" are no better than anyone else (indeed, in my opinion, they're a good deal worse).

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

And too much faith in philosophy students... (none / 1) (#91)
by jargonCCNA on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:40:19 AM EST

rmg wrote:
while there is certainly a baseline command of logic needed for computer programming, it is certainly not beyond what you'll find in a philosophy student.
I've know quite a few philosophy students—persons in an introductory, university Philosophy class—who have, unfortunately, quite literally said to me, "No, we never got to logic."

Excuse me..?

You do have a point, though.. Geeks may be logical but a good deal of the time we aren't always articulate. Working through a computer screen does hamper one's social skills, but most of the computer geeks I know and associate with have a wonderful command of the English language. It's not so much that they have the scruples not to misrepresent their opponent, but they concentrate more than the debate, rather than the debater.

You've had your experience; I've had mine... Regardless, I feel Godwin was appealling to Usenetters' collective pride.. a verbose sort of "you're all acting like children! Stop it!"
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
silly. (none / 1) (#94)
by rmg on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 01:12:17 AM EST

i don't think courses in formal logic -- which is what the person in question would clearly have meant -- are standard for computerologists at any university i can think of off hand.

for the rest, we're not talking about command of the english language nor what internet users so inanely term "reading comprehension." what i am talking about is decidedly subtler and pertains to one's ability to read in a very broad sense, including the recognition of irony, sarcasm, and the key elements of a given argument. so often i see posts in which a nerd seizes on an irrelevant point, contests it (often spuriously), possibly refuting it, and then proceeds to act as if his foe is vanquished. this is partially poor social behavior, but more to the point, it indicates poor reading on the part of the nerd in question.

i think i've taken you too seriously, though. i suspect by your writing that you're having fun with me.

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

I gave you a zero. (2.25 / 4) (#96)
by qpt on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 01:37:06 AM EST

It's the only way you'll learn not to bite.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

That's a good point.. (none / 1) (#117)
by jargonCCNA on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 08:53:42 AM EST

Courses in formal logic certainly aren't required in CS at my school. I found a class called "Reasoning Skills" and jumped on it. It's literally a four-month lesson in rhetoric and critical thinking.. and I genuinely thinking it should be a required course for all students. Might raise the bar in the quality of papers.
rmg wrote:
for the rest, we're not talking about command of the english language nor what internet users so inanely term "reading comprehension." what i am talking about is decidedly subtler and pertains to one's ability to read in a very broad sense, including the recognition of irony, sarcasm, and the key elements of a given argument. so often i see posts in which a nerd seizes on an irrelevant point, contests it (often spuriously), possibly refuting it, and then proceeds to act as if his foe is vanquished. this is partially poor social behavior, but more to the point, it indicates poor reading on the part of the nerd in question.
Again, a fantastic point that I think my recent (ie over the past two years) studies in philosophy and critical thinking—my final year of high school offered an introductory philosophy class that spent about a month and a half on logic and critical thinking—has certainly augmented my ability to debate... but also skewed my view of how geeks think. I'm a geek and my former philosophy is a geek.. but looking back at high school, I remember this tall drink of water who had absolutely no concept of how to have a conversation.
rmg wrote:
i think i've taken you too seriously, though. i suspect by your writing that you're having fun with me.
Having fun with? Hell yes. Fucking with? Not at all; this is probably the most intelligent debate I've had on the internet.

Ever.
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
You're trolling (none / 0) (#120)
by it certainly is on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 09:03:55 AM EST

because I can't imagine a man like yourself with such a limited view of higher education. You must be making an error of omission. This is at a podunk university. It used to have an entire formal logic course, they rolled it in with discrete methods. There are many, many universities that have better CS courses. They all include formal logic. It's essential for learning Prolog.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

i can see (none / 0) (#128)
by rmg on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:28:13 PM EST

why a european school might teach formal logic as preparation for prolog, but in the united states, no one has ever heard of the language. it is possible that it is a requirement in some schools. i do not know.

the point remains, however, that taking a freshman philosophy student (who it is not even clear is a major) and saying "my good god! no logic?" is totally ridiculous and does not help the case against me. indeed, i'd say it demonstrates my position.

_____

stalinism

dave dean
[ Parent ]

a retraction. (none / 1) (#129)
by rmg on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:32:03 PM EST

i'd like to withdraw the last sentence, as it is unnecessarily caustic and, in view of the comments elsewhere in the thread, thoroughly uncalled for.

forgiveness, please.

_____

stalinism

dave dean
[ Parent ]

Consider yourself forgiven. (none / 0) (#130)
by it certainly is on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:35:24 PM EST

Indeed, such bold assertions are to be commended as part of the "work hard, play hard" US work ethic. You may retract your statements like a sumo wrestler retracts his testicles.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

that's an urban legend (none / 0) (#143)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 10:55:25 PM EST

I hope.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]
It's one of the things I intend to discover (none / 0) (#160)
by it certainly is on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:59:25 AM EST

when I visit Japan.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Computer Scientists and logic (none / 2) (#162)
by mpmansell on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:34:56 AM EST

While I agree with your assessment of the average geek's ability to communicate coherently with fellow human beings, I must take up the cudgel when it comes to your statements about logic.

Properly trained computer scientist have logic skills far beyond the average philosophy student.

When I started studying Computer Science, I discovered that the average computer scientist could obfuscate even accurate single word statements. Fearing brain strain, I resorted the philosophy section of the bookshop to make a start in formal logic. These books were better written, more accessible and gave me a good start. (Of course, now I speak Computer Science... :)

However, it wasn't long before I discovered my training took me far beyond the skills taught to most philosophers. Among other reasons, good software engineering requires that you see a big picture and hold all the parts togther logically. We have to state it formally and our arguments get tested each time a program is run. On a daily basis we deal with more complex logic problems than most (but not all) philosphers.

It is often stated that Computer Science is a single tool science. If you subscribe to that limited view, then you have to accept that we have to use that tool rather well. Logical Mathematical Induction is that tool.

When in University I was involved with the Philosophy Society and enjoyed many a debate. While my philospohical training was limited, my logic training made up for it (unless there was philosophy 'geek' jargon beyond my ken :) ). Generally, with some challenging exceptions, my training in formalising problems and writing them down logically gave me tools to pick holes in arguments presented by most of the philosophers. That doesn't mean I could win any argument, but I could at least stall them. I agree with you that my limitation was debating skill.

Now, to qualify my post :) ...

1. You made a comparison against philosophy students. I took that and compared against Computer Scientists. In much the same way as you excluded armchair philosphers, I exclude programmer wannabes and most non-formally trained 'professionals'. No doubt some of the less logical readers will take that to mean both our arguments are meaningless :)
2.There are philosophers who have made extensive studies in logic. Most people forget that formal science, logic and mathematics have roots in philosophy.
3. There are 'computer scientists' for whome logic is a car wreck that will happen to someone else. The institutes that granted them their degrees should be converted to landfill sites :)

Personally I feel that more people should be taught formal philosophy as it is a powerful and useful tool.

[ Parent ]

Heh. (none / 1) (#87)
by qpt on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:45:46 PM EST

"Most computer geeks have an extraordinary on logic and saying what you mean because our computers are as bright as a brick."

Somebody is trying to be funny.

Domine Deus, creator coeli et terrae respice humilitatem nostram.
[ Parent ]

yeah, it misses the point (none / 2) (#99)
by livus on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 02:40:30 AM EST

which is that some 90% of those who bring up Hitler are just doing it for a laugh.

---
HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
In 1990 (none / 0) (#220)
by StewedSquirrels on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 07:16:17 PM EST

in 1990, the only people who could access the Internet were those at institutions of higher education or large companies or those who had studied computers a great deal and had a good sum of money to invest in getting "online".

Point in fact, the "computer science" departments at many schools were still a subset of the Physics or Mathematics department well into the 1990s and a degree (along with the privledge to use the computer terminals) often came along with coursework in physics or mathematics.

You can't tell me that the average University physicist doesn't possess at least slightly above average intelligence.

In 2004...  most of the 'net is comprised of AOL users.  USENET is dominated by fetish porn and warez and Godwin's law is envoked too often to quash the too-oft used "he is a Nazi" arguments.

All told, you are both right and wrong.

Congratulations.

Stewed

[ Parent ]

The September that Never Ended (none / 0) (#223)
by epepke on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 12:40:40 AM EST

There was always a surge of cluelessness around September as universities got new students. Then, in September 1993, AOL introduced USENET access, and things have never been the same.

Minor nit: CS departments were usually appendages of Mathematics or Electrical Engineering departments, not Physics.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Physics (none / 0) (#228)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 01:03:49 AM EST

Many computer science departments are currently appendages of the Electrical Engineering department.

At least at MY University (Iowa State), computer science is outside of the "Engineering" college and actually inside the "liberal arts" college, which includes "research" sciences like physics and math and does not include any engineering.

Before the CS department "spun off", it was a joint effort between the physics department (hardware) and the mathematics department (software).

I think they spun off the physics department back in the late 70s, but still...

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Iowa State? (none / 0) (#233)
by epepke on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 07:48:31 AM EST

I gave a talk there once. I can't remember what it was about. Something having to do with immersive visualization of the Aleph detector, I think. I remember the warning signs on the ceilings and walls saying that nobody should ever open them because of the radioisotopes or something. Also, there was a strip bar in town with no cover where you could get a Tanqueray and Tonic for $1.75. There was a big footrace downtown; I covered the same distance, only slower and with more sloshing.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
laughable (none / 1) (#86)
by pHatidic on Wed Jun 30, 2004 at 11:39:11 PM EST

He was trying to say "you have more coherent thought processes than most of the world, why not use them?" By stating that the first person to mention Hitler in a debate loses, he wasn't trying to impose a win/lose condition for Usenet debates. He was trying to make those who make a comparison to Hitler realize what they're doing.

So where have you gotten all this privileged information about what Godwin was or was not intending when he wrote this law? You've written an article condemning the masses for being persuaded by logical fallacies, yet you've used the same logical fallacy three times in as many sentences.

Not always a fallacy... (none / 2) (#89)
by jargonCCNA on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:34:53 AM EST

Logical induction is not always a fallacy. You're right; I can't be sure of Godwin's intent behind his Law.. but it can be inferred that he was attempting to point out that a person who, in a debate, compares their opponent to Hitler has ceased making valid points and has fallen back on a hyperbolic attack ad hominem.

Do I know this for certain? No. But I am quite certain of it.
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
A fair and balanced look... (none / 3) (#88)
by codejack on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:10:05 AM EST

What nonsense! You're like Caligula!


Please read before posting.

A modest proposal (2.66 / 9) (#100)
by epepke on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 02:45:49 AM EST

It seems to me that much of this could be avoided by introducing the term "Godwin Nazi," my analogy with "Spelling Nazi" and "Grammar Nazi." A Godwin Nazi is one who casually invokes Godwin's Law for rhetorical purposes.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


"Nazi" is not same as "Strict" (none / 0) (#215)
by OldCoder on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 06:20:16 AM EST

A strict grammarian is one who is trying to improve your writing or your speech. This has nothing to do with Nazism. There are no "Grammar Nazis". Even if they seem too strict. Consider that Orthodox Jews adhere to a great many strict rules, yet it does not make them Nazis.

Yes, the Nazis were strict. So are mathematicians. But strictness does not get at the essence of Nazism.

--
By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]

This deserves its own website. (2.80 / 5) (#102)
by Russell Dovey on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 03:34:52 AM EST

I mean that seriously. If there was a website devoted to this, and a concerted, broad campaign to get the new Godwin's Law to the masses, the general quality of internet debate would be improved.

"Blessed are the cracked, for they let in the light." - Spike Milligan

Only (3.00 / 4) (#105)
by Verbophobe on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 05:34:04 AM EST

Someone akin to Hitler and his ilk would propose such an awful plan.

Proud member of the Canadian Broadcorping Castration
[ Parent ]
haha (none / 2) (#106)
by ShiftyStoner on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 06:07:09 AM EST

 I love it.

 Oh yeah, the first person to mention godwin/godwinslaw in an online discusion loses the discusion, that tis my law/oservation.

 Anyway godwins law couldn't possibly apply to me in any way, les everything that comes out of my mouth is meaningless garbage which it probly is. Because i think hitler is/was a badass.

 Though i disagree with many things he did. Like the whole smoking ban thing, not so much the killing criples and such though.

 Although in many situations i am tempted to compare america to nazi germany and bush to hitler, because well, the comparisons are so fucking easy to make, and really should scare the crap out of people and I know its an effective way of making america and bush look like the horrible evil things they are. It just dont do it though because hitler was so much fucking cooler than bush and nazi germany so much better than america. Both dictater are psychopathic and destroy those they dont agree with but I disagree with bushes veiws. In a way bush is the antihitler.

 Death kills 5 out of 5 people so dont smoke kids lol.
( @ )'( @ ) The broad masses of a population are more amenable to the appeal of rhetoric than to any other force. - Adolf Hitler

-1, Feeding the trolls? (none / 2) (#112)
by trezor on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 06:49:58 AM EST

Ok, here are my observations/thoughts on the article.

  1. Missing poll option: You refered to Godwin's law, you lose!!!11one1elevenOMG
  2. People who are concerned about the use of Godwin's law, are like people concerned about weed-smoking. What their thoughts on the subject is, wont affect those they try to impose their view on.
  3. Godwin is a troll magnet, don't feed the trolls. You've more or less allready "lost" the discussion, if there even is such a thing as losing a discussion. (All truth is sujbective blah balh bullahahaha)

Oh. Ouch. I've fed the trolls myself. Now I lost. Dammit.


--
Richard Dean Anderson porn? - Now spread the news

Your missing poll option... (none / 0) (#119)
by jargonCCNA on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 08:57:20 AM EST

Damnation, I wish you'd brought this up earlier; I could've added that poll option! I can't believe I forgot it!
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
Congratulations (2.57 / 7) (#114)
by it certainly is on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 07:34:56 AM EST

you just spent a whole article explaining my one-liner sig.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.

Uhm sorry, but.. (none / 1) (#115)
by Psychopath on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 08:01:35 AM EST

..read the article (again?), then read your signature line, then try to compare. Maybe you'll notice quite some differences then.
--
The only antidote to mental suffering is physical pain. -- Karl Marx
[ Parent ]
The difference is... (none / 2) (#123)
by gzt on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:02:41 AM EST

...the one-liner sig is more accurate.

[ Parent ]
consider the audience. (none / 1) (#126)
by rmg on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:22:00 PM EST

do you really believe the point could be made to them in so few words?

i agree the article could be more economical, but it could be worse. if i'd written it i'd have added a homework assignment at the end: "write it certainly is's sig one hundred times on a sheet of loose leaf paper."

_____

stalinism

dave dean
[ Parent ]

Considering the audience... (none / 3) (#137)
by gzt on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 07:39:44 PM EST

...the article should have been, "Disband this site and hired trained professionals to think for you. Believe me, I have a nice tie."

[ Parent ]
please, sir (none / 1) (#192)
by Baldrson Neutralizer on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:51:02 PM EST

you are too hard on yourself.

Modern life, in EVERY ASPECT, is a cult of mediocrity.-trhurler
[ Parent ]
And in the article he linked to! (none / 1) (#150)
by eSolutions on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:15:58 PM EST

------
    * Rule #4: (Godwin's Rule) Any off-topic mention of Hitler or Nazis will cause the thread it is mentioned in to an irrelevant and off-topic end very soon; every thread on UseNet has a constantly-increasing probability to contain such a mention.
          o Quirk's Exception: Intentional invocation of this so-called "Nazi Clause" is ineffectual.
          o Case's Corollary: If the subject is Heinlein or homosexuality, the probability of a Hitler/Nazi comparison being made becomes equal to one.
------

Incredible!  The whole article!  Both your asymptotic analysis and his anti-law-law...

Someday this guy will die and go before Krom, and Krom will ask him the riddle of steel, and this guy won't know, and he'll be thrown from the mountain-side.

Yours in Christ,
eSolutions

[ Parent ]

update your website [nt] (none / 0) (#238)
by Emissary on Sun Aug 15, 2004 at 11:38:47 PM EST



"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
You, sir, are worse than Hitler +1FP! NT (none / 2) (#121)
by nlscb on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 10:09:48 AM EST


Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange

Godwin's Law is outdated (none / 1) (#124)
by Armada on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:43:02 AM EST

Do people even really use Godwin's Law anymore? I've just being using JRR's STFU Foundation image.

http://www.uberh4x0r.org/~lethalp1mp/images/funny/retard.jpg

They Certainly Do! (3.00 / 5) (#161)
by Arvedui on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:01:56 AM EST

Battle Plan of a Flame War

Poster 1: I like cheese.
Poster 2: I don't like cheese.
Poster 1: But I like cheese!
Poster 2: I don't care! I _don't_ like cheese!
Poster 1: Well, I like cheese, and you're stupid for not liking cheese!
Poster 3: I'd like to interject with a short history of the development of cheese (4000 line post follows)
Poster 2: Well, I hate cheese, and your mother wears combat boots!
Poster 1: Well, my mother may wear combat boots, but all the better to kick your ass!
Poster 4: Hitler tried to ban guns, you know!
Poster 5: Godwin's Law! Godwin's Law!
Poster 6: I like cheese.

Repeat Ad Nauseum.

[ Parent ]

You are as good as Bush (none / 2) (#125)
by United Fools on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:55:03 AM EST

Did we win?
We are united, we are fools, and we are America!
please leave Canada out of this (none / 1) (#127)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 12:22:50 PM EST

As if Martin did anything else: his campaign boiled down to "Harper is too socially conservative."
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
And apparently it worked. (none / 0) (#131)
by handslikesnakes on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 01:00:46 PM EST

A disturbing number of Canadians (well, people in democratic countries, really) have absolutely no idea what the person they're voting for stands for.

[ Parent ]
sure they do (none / 0) (#149)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:12:29 PM EST

in Europe, their guy stands for saying that the US is evil and a blight on the world.

in the US, their guy stands for saying that the other party is corrupt in some way and that only they can lead the world back to where it was in the 1990's.

and in the various other REAL democracies of the world, their guy stands for saying anything that will get them elected (which BTW is exactly what the guys in the first 2 examples in this post stood for)

[ Parent ]

+1 I get pretty sick of hearing about Godwin's law (2.25 / 4) (#133)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 01:38:54 PM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
Then why on earth did you vote this up? -NT (none / 0) (#140)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 10:00:30 PM EST



--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
To make you ask questions nt (none / 1) (#141)
by Big Sexxy Joe on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 10:03:58 PM EST



I'm like Jesus, only better.
Democracy Now! - your daily, uncensored, corporate-free grassroots news hour
[ Parent ]
You're a nazi, I knew it. -NT (none / 0) (#142)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 10:06:53 PM EST



--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Not always a bad thing ... (none / 1) (#139)
by duncan bayne on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 09:35:46 PM EST

E.g. if I say "many Labour policies are functionally and morally equivalent to NAZI policies" and can back that assertion up with facts in an humourous article, then Godwins law doesn't have its usual meaning in this case.



no, that is not a good tme to do it. (none / 0) (#147)
by modmans2ndcoming on Thu Jul 01, 2004 at 11:09:04 PM EST

you are still using people's emotions. why not say, "many Labour policies are functionally and morally corrupt because of their exploitative methods".

with that way, you are keeping the focus on the topic and not trying to sow the seeds of vilification

[ Parent ]

Re: no, that is not a good tme to do it. (none / 0) (#157)
by mpmansell on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:29:39 AM EST

You cannot make any statement without having an effect on people's emotions. Making a qualification such as the one you added isn't always possible (if the list was too big, for instance) and omiting it doesn't necesarily harm the argument.

[ Parent ]
the argument of of a lazy mind (none / 0) (#177)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 10:18:38 AM EST

one who can argue and has the intelligence to back it up will not invoke images that invoke such emotional responses..... Nazi!!! :-)

[ Parent ]
Winning arguments... (3.00 / 4) (#151)
by kisielk on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 12:09:57 AM EST

I once read somewhere that the biggest problem with most people who try to argue their point is that they don't consider the argument "won" until the other side's opinion is blown in to oblivion and they agree with you 100%. The problem with this is that it's often nearly impossible to achieve. Instead, the key to "winning" a debate is to reach a compromised position that both parties are satisfied with. Ever since reading that, I've always aimed to lead to a sort of compromise in my arguments, and I have to say that I strongly agree with this. Though once you've reached the point of insulting the other side in an argument, especially comparing them to nazis, I'm pretty sure your chances of reaching a happy compromise are pretty slim.

--
Talk, talk, it's only talk. Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements. It's all just talk."
- Elephant Talk, King Crimson


If it's good enough for George W. Bush, (none / 0) (#153)
by Zerotime on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 01:25:13 AM EST

then it's good enough for me.

---
"I live by the river
With my mother, in a house
She washes, I cook
And we never go out."

[ Parent ]
Think Win/Win (none / 0) (#169)
by irrevenant on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 07:13:55 AM EST

The ideal outcome in a disagreement is Win/Win.  This is different to compromise, which is Half-win, Half-lose/Half-win, Half-lose.

Essentially Win/Win is about the third (or fourth, or fifth...) option that neither party saw in the beginning.  Or that the argument isn't really about what the argument's about.  Of course, if a disagreement is part of an ongoing relationship, you want to make damn sure that 'win' isn't going to come back and bite you in the arse later.

A (simplified) example: Person A's playing in the corner of the room with the TV on, and Person B walks in and switches to a different show.  "Hey, I was watching that!  Turn it back!".  They could argue back and forth about which show to watch and eventually someone would 'win'.  But really, Person A _wasn't_ watching their show.  The argument isn't about choosing one show over another - it's about the Person A feeling irked that they weren't consulted.  If they ID that as the real issue and deal with it, the argument ceases to exist.

Sometimes a Win/Win isn't possible, but it's always worth looking for...

[ Parent ]

My boss says there's ALWAYS a win/win around... (none / 0) (#188)
by jmzero on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:59:07 PM EST

It just takes some brain-helmeting to get to the right answer sometimes.

Like for abortion: Don't abort, just administer a blend of hormones and fish paralyzers such that the fetus never develops.  Remain pregnant forever.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Hmmm (none / 0) (#179)
by jmzero on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:20:29 AM EST

You're confusing regular arguments and debate.  When two politicians argue on TV, they're not actually trying to convince each other - and to some extent this is the same with arguments on Internet forums.  Insults may not be persuasive to the opponent, but that might not be the point.  

For me, winning an Internet argument is usually about personal entertainment - so I'm not real careful with my technique.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

I disagree with you on this one... (none / 1) (#180)
by kisielk on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:27:28 AM EST

But I'm not going to argue with you... wouldn't want to provide you with too much entertainment ;)

--
Talk, talk, it's only talk. Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements. It's all just talk."
- Elephant Talk, King Crimson


[ Parent ]
Depends on the argument. (none / 0) (#182)
by KrispyKringle on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:51:22 AM EST

If you're arguing over, say, a business deal, a compromise is often the best resolution (social psychologists often contend that those who go into dealings with an oppositional approach tend to be forced to settle for worse resolutions than if both sides put all their cards on the table and rationally try to find the solution that's best for them both).

But if you're debating something like a legal or moral issue, there may be no satisfactory compromise; a pro-lifer is unlikely to give any ground to even some abortions, an advocate for separation of church and state unlikely to accept any religion in schools, a libertarian unhappy with any extended government control. They may all be able to at least settle for some partial victory, if total success remains out of reach. But they are unlikely to ever concede that their ultimate goal was overextensive, and that the best solution is the compromise, as they are unlikely to ever give up their fight.

[ Parent ]

In this case there is more to consider.... (none / 0) (#195)
by kisielk on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:20:23 PM EST

For many moral or legal issues, there is usually an inherent and dead set bias in at least one of the involved parties. There's usually nothing you can do to remove this bias (try convincing some hardcore Christians of something opposite their religion some time). In these cases, there's not really much you can do to "win" unless you're arguing in front of a third party, in which case you probably want to keep personal attacks to a minimum to be more convincing.

--
Talk, talk, it's only talk. Arguments, agreements, advice, answers, articulate announcements. It's all just talk."
- Elephant Talk, King Crimson


[ Parent ]
Agreed (none / 0) (#222)
by egeland on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 11:49:47 PM EST

"A man convinced against his will
 is of the same opinion still"

People convinced that they can "win" arguments should read "How to win friends and influence people".

--
Some interesting quotes
[ Parent ]

don't (2.55 / 9) (#155)
by voltron on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:45:59 AM EST

don't be such a nazi about godwin's law.

completely beside the point, but.. (2.87 / 8) (#158)
by joonasl on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:33:05 AM EST

Hitler was a mind-numbingly disturbed individual. He had a great military record,..

This is not true. Germany had several excellent generals (Rommel, Guderian,von Paulus..) who were the architects of Germanys initial victories. Towards the end of the WWII Hitler got more and more involved into the military operations and in many ways hastened the downfall of the third reich by several bad decisions (e.g. not withdrawing from Stalingrad).
Writing a poem / with just seventeen syllables / is very diffic.

Negative campaigning in two-party systems. (3.00 / 9) (#163)
by Chakotay on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:44:29 AM EST

The problem is that the US basically has a two-party policical system. If you're against the Democrats, you'll almost certainly vote for the Republicans, and vice versa. This makes, for those two parties, negative campaigning the best campaign method, because they will simply gain the vote of virtually every voter that they can turn away from their major opponent.

Now look at the system in the Netherlands, for example. In the Dutch political system there are many parties, and election results are accounted for in direct proportion to the voters. Thus, small parties also get their voice in parliament, and can survive. Ofcourse there are a number of major parties, but currently the most influential parties number 4: VVD (liberal), PvdA (socialist), CDA (centrist christian) and D66 (democratic).

Now if the VVD wanted to gain votes, and they were to engage into anti-PvdA slurs, they might succeed in turning voters away from the PvdA, but those voters turned away from the PvdA would be more likely to vote CDA than VVD. Or they could vote for some other leftist party, like SP or GroenLinks, since minority votes are not "lost".

For a negative campaign to succeed in such a system, one would have to attack all opposing parties at once, and one risks that voters turned away from an opposing party vote for another party that is closer to "home" - and not for you. The only parties that engage into negative campaigning are those at the extreme edges of the spectrum, because to an extreme leftist party, for example, every voter pulled from right to center is kind of won aswell.

In a two-party system, both parties are at the edges of the spectrum, even if they are so close as to almost be siamise twins, like the Democrats and the Republicans in the US, and thus negative campaigns are possible...

--
Linux like wigwam. No windows, no gates, Apache inside.

To make a long rebuttal short.. (none / 0) (#183)
by jargonCCNA on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:53:25 AM EST

Just because an argumentative style is effective doesn't mean it's the best way to do it. I forget the name of the guy, but he decided that the most effective way to shut up four kids bugging him for five dollars(!) was.. to shoot them all!

Effective? Of course. Best way to do it? Fuck no.
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
2+ party systems (none / 0) (#190)
by Bossk on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:08:58 PM EST

I always found it interesting that party systems can existing in numbers greater than 2. I would think that the natural evolution of things would tend to aggregate the parties into 2 slightly heterogenous groups in direct opposition. For instance, what is stopping a couple of the Dutch groups from binding together to overwhelm the others?

[ Parent ]
Diversity (none / 1) (#199)
by Trepalium on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 01:07:49 AM EST

Most of the groups, even if they're on the same 'side' of the political spectrum disagree about issues enough to make them only the slightest of allies. Here in Canada, despite the fact the Liberals and NDP (socialist) are left-wing parties, they do not see eye to eye enough to ever really merge. It's the same reason you won't see the Green party merge with the democrats in the US. Their side may be the same, but their ideals are not.

I think you just find it odd because you've never been exposed to it in any real sense. The US has been a mostly two party system for a very long time. No one can imagine it any different. Likewise, countries that have had these multitude of other parties could not imagine if they were stuck with the two party American system. What seems natural to you in the US would feel awkward to those not used to it.

[ Parent ]

forming a coalition (none / 0) (#200)
by mavetju on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:45:01 AM EST

For instance, what is stopping a couple of the Dutch groups from binding together to overwhelm the others?

That's called "forming a coalition" and you need that just after the elections to form a government. People from the socialist party talk with people from the liberals and talk with people from the democrats and talk with people from the christians; the two (or more) groups that manage to form a coalition with more than 50% of the seats will be a government.

This way you can get funny combinations as christians with liberals and liberals with democrats with socialists.

[ Parent ]

Proportional Representation (none / 1) (#208)
by bento on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:05:59 AM EST

In America, groups are forced to stay in two parties because of the winner-take-all electoral structure. European countries, by contrast, have a system where a party that gets 15% of the vote gets 15% of the seats in parliment. If America had this system, I think the Republicans would split into Christians and Libertarians, and the Greens would indeed be players, as would some kind of labor party. There would also be some centrist parties. I think it's better frankly; the spectrum of opinion of the electorate is more accurately represented, and the parties are more ideologically coherent.

[ Parent ]
What is a Nazi? (3.00 / 12) (#164)
by bento on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:51:12 AM EST

I've always thought Godwin's meme virulent because Nazism does express a potential of human nature - it's not something that was done by a bunch of aliens, nor by just a few people, nor by uneducated or premodern people - it was done by people much like us. For those who believe that man is basically good, or that history naturally has a progressive direction, Nazism stands as a stark counter-argument. And not the only one: the 20th century has seen many bloody totalitarianisms, and it is debatable whether the Nazis were the worst.

But when one compares any historical situation to another one, one will find both similarities and differences. Which similarities matter? How much should differences in degree be treated as differences in kind?

Because we do not much discuss Nazism seriously, but just use it as a cypher for "evil", we have no standards for this, and people find in Nazism whatever they oppose: for liberals, Nazism is racism or intolerance generally; for libertarians, an overwheening state; for theocrats, the nihilism resulting from the death of God (Hitler fancied himself a Nietzchean); for leftists, the definition that Mussolini gave fascism - the fusion of state and corporate power. All of these things are indeed aspects of Nazism. Hence, the accusation of Nazism is a sword that can be used by almost anyone.

By the same token, emotionally, Nazi comparisions will always seem like hyperbole because Nazism has become mythical. It is larger than life, and we see the people who did it as other kinds of people than ourselves, living in a different kind of world, although this clearly is not so. The Nazi is the secular 20th century figure that has been called on to fill the psychological space traditionally held by archetypal figures like "Satan". This is why comparisons of actual human beings to Hitler seem like comparison of unlike entities, even though Hitler was obviously human, however much it may offend our vanity to claim him.

Not necessarily. (none / 0) (#181)
by KrispyKringle on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:46:01 AM EST

You have to assume that when Nazis have discussions, the realization of Godwin's Law takes place in quite a different manner. For example, in our discussions, we might accuse our opponent of being a Nazi, along the lines of, ``The Nazis had flair they made the Jews wear'' or perhaps, ``If you support a 2.3% raise in the state sales tax, you might as well be a Nazi!''

In comparison, it seems a safe assumption that Nazis and neo-Nazis would use the expression quite differently in an argument, something like, ``Oh, we're in agreement. Excellent, you old Nazi'' or ``Well, we may not agree, but we can at least agree to disagree. After all, we're all Nazis here, right?''

Just a thought.

[ Parent ]

What's Your Point? (none / 0) (#185)
by bento on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 12:58:28 PM EST

Of course, for avowed Nazis, accusations of Nazism are not an insult. They, therefore, would not use them in the way that Godwin addresses. What does that have to do with what I said?

[ Parent ]
Nothing at all. (none / 0) (#191)
by KrispyKringle on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:46:09 PM EST

I was just goofing off. Sorry if it offended you ;)

[ Parent ]
It's OK (none / 0) (#194)
by bento on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:07:06 PM EST

I'm not offended. I just didn't know if you were trying to make a point or not. Guess not. OK

[ Parent ]
still betrays the argument (none / 1) (#189)
by Bossk on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 03:02:50 PM EST

From what you've said, the Nazi label can be applied as lazy shortcut in place of what you really mean to say, covering your stance with ambiguity in the process. We can lump many ideas into this one term, but it's usually used as a wild exaggeration of a slight tendency.

It effectively reduces any thoughtful discussion to childish name calling. It's a good strategy for changing the subject when you have been defeated intellectually.

[ Parent ]

Historical and Nazi Comparisons (none / 1) (#207)
by bento on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 06:58:49 AM EST

The ambiguity is not specific to Nazi comparisons. Any historical comparison is ambiguous if the person making it does not clarify what he means by it. For example, suppose I compare a contemporary figure to Napoleon. Do I mean that he is spreading more modern government by military conquest, that he is a chauvinist of his own national culture, that he recovered his nation from bloody internal chaos, or that he is vain and eccentric? "X is like Napoleon" does not convey enough information to be meaningful, but this is not mean that meaningful historical comparisons are impossible. Indeed, it is only through comparison and pattern recognition that we are likely to learn anything from history. Likewise, "X is like Hitler" is almost meaningless in itself, but this doesn't mean that valid comparisons cannot be made with such a claim as a starting point.

As for the name-calling, that's because with Nazism, we have only demonology not understanding. And we desperately need understanding. I'm not saying Nazi's should be treated sympathetically, of course, but that we need to see what it is in our nature that breeds such things, and we cannot achieve this by averting our eyes. And we do, indeed, need to be alert for the recurrence of Nazi-like behavior - like I said, the Nazis were not actually all that unique. Totalitarianism is the great political danger of modern times; it is a 20th century phenomenon that has already killed more people than any other ideological force. The only way we're going to see potential totalitarianism coming is to be willing to compare contemporary events to the totalitarianism of the past.

So I would say a valid Hitler comparison is one backed up by some theory of Nazism and one that is precise as to what similarities specifically are being claimed and what their implications are. For example, Hitler has tainted eugenics, and I think it is perfectly valid to bring up Nazis in discussions of designer babies. We may decide genetic improvement of the human race is worthwhile anyway, but, if so, we should be prepared to answer - not disregard or prohibit - the legitimate Nazi parallel. Nazism makes our question our desire for eugenics, and, if we're going to have eugenics, we should be prepared to defend why we want them.

And for a legitimate Nazi parallel, pointing out that the behavior in question is not like Nazism is all respects in not an adequate response because that will always be true. Nazi eugenics were racist and used murder as a technique. Other eugenicists may not be racist and may eschew murder. So we must ask, is it the eugenics itself we object to, or just the racism, or just the technique of murder? See, the Nazi comparison actually forces us to be more precise in posing the moral question, and gives us a check against actual historical experience, rather than purely theoretical models.

[ Parent ]

Reminds me of a previous comment... (none / 0) (#227)
by Lord Snott on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 12:44:30 AM EST

...regarding an "appeal to emotion". I can't even remember where I saw it. It went something like:

"If a debater has a rational arguement to support his position, it will usually be presented. When no such arguement exists, there is often an appeal to emotion."

Basically, if I'm losing by logic and reason, I'll use an Ad Hominem attack or some other logical fallacy to make myself appear more credible than my opponent.

Works on children (and on Slashdot :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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registration number 2,347,676.
Bummer :-(

[ Parent ]

Ovbservations on Styles of Argumentation (none / 3) (#165)
by NeantHumain on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:24:27 AM EST

I've noticed that people naturally make and are receptive to different styles of argumentation. Each has its application, of course.

My persuasive style is primarily an appeal to emotion and only secondly an appeal to reason. This correlates with my personality type: Emotions are a major factor in how I make decisions. Some people, though, are logical thinkers; but the rational style of argumentation, well suited for scientific and mathematical debates, cannot stand alone in such things as politics and legal trials.

I agree that making ad hominem comparisons of one of the participants or a group of participants to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis is absurd and poor rhetorical form, but to say appeals to emotion have no place in an intelligent debate is akin to performing chemical analysis of a chocolate cake instead of just eating it.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. So go ahead: Eat it!


I hate my sig.


Godwin's law is moot (2.75 / 4) (#166)
by CheezyDee on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 05:31:07 AM EST

My reasoning is thus: 1. Because winning an argument on the internet is just like the winning the Special Olympics: You may have won, but you're still retarded.

2. I forgot where I heard this, but it applies to 99% of the arguments I've seen on /., USENET, and various IRC channels: there is no such thing as "A Reasonable Discussion(tm)", because your opponent doesn't agree with you, therefore he/she cannot be reasoned with and it's fair game to bring up their questionable parentage, their family's sexual preferences, and the fact that he/she may have done too much halucenogens during High School or College.

3. People that create bulleted or numbered reasons to an argument should be taken out and shot.

Oh, yeah!? Well... (none / 0) (#168)
by dbtid on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 07:13:49 AM EST

I disagree! I've seen more than 1% of arguments won on /., USENET and IRC!

:)

[ Parent ]
Special Olympics (none / 0) (#209)
by CokeBear on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 11:53:01 AM EST

The correct quote is: "Arguing on the Internet is like competing in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you're still retarded."

[ Parent ]
Another law (none / 0) (#167)
by Shubin on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 06:51:08 AM EST

I noticed another law :
In any detailed explaination of the Godwin's law the probability of mentioning Nazis or Hitler exactly equals one
I think it's even more useful than the original Godwin's law, because it is more definite.

brilliant and well-reasoned (none / 0) (#186)
by dangerbum on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:08:36 PM EST

#167 needs caning. Why is it that rational thought and speech seem so subversive?

brilliant and well-reasoned (none / 0) (#187)
by dangerbum on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 02:10:37 PM EST

It is #168 that needs caning. My heartfelt apologies to #167.

This is a useful corollary. (none / 2) (#193)
by glor on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 04:53:41 PM EST

I would even take it one step further: if a person in a debate accuses another of committing a logical fallacy (ad hominem, straw man, slippery slope, etc.) with no further substance, that person loses their debate as well.

Accusing a debate opponent of committing a fallacy without appropriate justification is itself a type of ad homenim attack. It is often an attempt to say, "This dummy doesn't know the rules of debate, how can his point be valid?" This is exactly the point you're making here, though it is more general than this specific case.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.

Reflection? (none / 0) (#226)
by Piquan on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 04:30:04 PM EST

What further substance do you offer?

[ Parent ]
I'm not sure I understand the question. (none / 0) (#235)
by glor on Mon Jul 12, 2004 at 11:37:29 AM EST

If you're asking how to point out someone else's logical fallacy without committing this type of ad hominem error, I think it depends on the nature of the fallacy.  If you are shoring up a straw man, you might say something like "That's not an accurate simplification because of X."  Dealing with name-calling is harder to do without getting into am-not-are-too childishness.  I suppose you could offer that "I don't see how my being an ignorant slut changes the fact that" and repeat your argument.

If you're suggesting that I ironically neglected to offer further substance in my character attack on a nameless debate partner, that's very funny.

--
Disclaimer: I am not the most intelligent kuron.
[ Parent ]

WTF...also loses !!?! (none / 2) (#196)
by Hoo00 on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 08:10:15 PM EST

When a debate is about your ego and not the subject, it is not even worth discussing. Deep down in your conscious, you knew. You just did not like the feeling and wanted to ruin it for everybody. And Godwin's Law is the perfect meme to distract these people. That is the end of the story. Adding any corollary is moot. Win, lose? who cares?

I think you missed it.. (none / 0) (#221)
by jargonCCNA on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 10:25:37 PM EST

That's precisely the point. People are so wrapped in "winning" an argument that they'll leap on the first mention of the Nazis just so the other guy "loses".
--
Website Developer. Network Technician. Software Designer. Freelance Geek.

"Is it dead?" "I can't believe that just fuckin' happened! Oh my God!" - Rocco and Murph, The Boondock Saints
[ Parent ]
Read statement, Discuss Rationally (2.25 / 4) (#197)
by jo42 on Fri Jul 02, 2004 at 11:30:07 PM EST

"Department of Homeland Security"

Sounds like a department name from Nazi Germany or Cold War USSR...

I remember.. (none / 0) (#212)
by X-Nc on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:10:05 PM EST

when the position of Secritary of Homeland Security was announced. The very first thing that popped into my mind was Minister of Home Defence. I still get chills whenever I hear the words "Homeland Security" mentioned.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]
BAAAHAHAHHAHA!!! YOU LOSE!!!!! (none / 0) (#219)
by StewedSquirrels on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 06:53:51 PM EST

You lose!!!

bahahaha. I knew I was right all along!!  I knew it! I knew it! I knew it!!!

Thank you Godwin.

I owe you one.

Sincerely,
Johnny Ashcroft

[ Parent ]

You may be aware... (none / 0) (#225)
by Arvedui on Tue Jul 06, 2004 at 07:12:36 AM EST

...that the initials KGB stand for "Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti".

"Committee [Department] for State [Homeland] Security".

Discuss.

[ Parent ]

ok (none / 0) (#231)
by emmons on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 06:04:32 AM EST

State has a very different meaning from Homeland. In the case of the DHS, "the Homeland" is more or less synonymous with "the Interior" (eg. Department of the Interior). State usually refers to things having to do with international affairs (eg. The State Department).

Nice troll though, and congrats on knowing some Russian.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

Not really (none / 0) (#232)
by emmons on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 06:11:23 AM EST

It sounds like a nicer way to say "Department of Domestic Law Enforcement and Border Security"

Honestly though, names don't mean much. It's what the organization does that's important. Facist or communist goverments always use rather nice sounding names as would be used anywhere else for their favorite entities. Unless the DHS starts systematically killing political opponents and academics, don't be so distraught.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]

jdrugo's law (none / 1) (#198)
by jdrugo on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 12:13:12 AM EST

any number of preselected random characters can be observed in a posting if the number of postings to a particular topic reach infinite.

isn't infinity nice?

How do you explain this ? (none / 3) (#202)
by drquick on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:52:06 AM EST

George Bush is in many ways similar to Hitler

so are you (none / 0) (#230)
by emmons on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 05:55:39 AM EST

And I, as well as every politician that has ever lived. The primary difference is that most people these days aren't ordering the systematic annihilation of an entire race. Until George Bush starts advocating such, your statement is, while provocative, rather irrelevant.

---
In the beginning the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.
-Douglas Adams

[ Parent ]
it's only 4 years so far (none / 1) (#234)
by drquick on Thu Jul 08, 2004 at 01:35:31 PM EST

Hitler came to power in 1932 - we would be at 1936 now. His prisoncamps were not built yet. At first only criminals, communist and union members were interned. It wasn't until 1941 when the first prisoners were detained on the basis of being jews. It wasn't untill 1943 that large amounts of prisoners started to die.

Anyhow, GWB is trying to anihilate a whole religion - not a race - and the civilian death toll since Reagan is already exeding that of Hitler.

Last but not least. The similarities to Hitler should be discussed openly before they exceed the crimes of Hitler. The whole point of learing from history is lost if we wait for the neo-cons to exceed the nazis.

[ Parent ]

interesting (none / 0) (#236)
by yoders on Tue Jul 13, 2004 at 01:17:27 PM EST

What religion is GWB trying to annihilate? Give some info to back that one up. And some info on this civilian death toll regarding reagan?

[ Parent ]
Michael Moore Can't Win! (none / 1) (#210)
by greenrd on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 12:46:03 PM EST

This is what's known as a negative campaign and it doesn't always appeal to logic or rationality, but to emotion. Both Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore make extravagant use of this argumentative technique. They try to get their listeners/viewers outraged by the actions or inactions of [insert popular figure here] without, really, explaining why said action or inaction is actually a bad thing.

Michael Moore is not perfect, but it seems like whatever he does someone's going to pick him up on it.

When he just presents the facts and leaves his audience to decide for themselves what to think, he's accused of using a "flawed argumentative style" (as in this article) by not elaborating on why, say, torture, or lying is wrong. (Gee, do we really need to be told why??)

When he injects his own opinion into the proceedings he's accused of bias and slanting.

He can't win!


"Capitalism is the absurd belief that the worst of men, for the worst of reasons, will somehow work for the benefit of us all." -- John Maynard Keynes

Really? (none / 0) (#211)
by X-Nc on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 03:06:38 PM EST

> When he [Michael Moore] just presents the facts and leaves his audience
> to decide for themselves what to think...

The next time he "just presents the facts" in anything he does will be the first time. OC, it's unlikely to ever happen anyway. He has never been objective in his documentaries[*].

Mind you, being subjective is not wrong at all. Presenting an opinion from one side is just fine as there's going to be others presenting their opinions from the other side. The original comparison of Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore was excellent, IMO. They are two very extreme opposites on the political spectrum in the USA.

As such, there's no winning or losing WRT Moore in this article.

--
Aaahhhh!!!! My K5 subscription expired. Now I can't spell anymore.
[ Parent ]

I usually compare Limbaugh to Chomsky (none / 0) (#214)
by epepke on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:42:54 PM EST

But, you're right. Limbaugh to Moore is even better, because neither has the academic pretense.

Both are primarily comics and entertainers, but both have bought into a myth that they are more than that. Both construct a form of "infotainment." Both are pretty good at telling nothing but the truth, neither ever comes remotely close to telling the whole truth, and both use propagandistic techniques freely, including but not limited to juxtaposition of contexts, presenting rare events as if emblematic, presenting statistics as if they were counterarguments when they're not. Both have fans who insist that any criticism must spring either from disagreement with their politics or just prejudice against them in general.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
The sad part (none / 1) (#218)
by StewedSquirrels on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 06:52:32 PM EST

The sad part is that although I have found myself agreeing with certain arguments of many "extremists" like these two folks in the past, I also feel like I have to mental wherwithall to understand that 90% of what they say is absolute propagandist bunk.

There are MILLIONS of 'fans' or 'supporters' who would rather I vomit down their throat than admit that their idol could be wrong.

That is scary.

Stewey

[ Parent ]

Downhill! (none / 2) (#216)
by drquick on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 12:14:42 PM EST

[snip] by not elaborating on why, say, torture, or lying is wrong. (Gee, do we really need to be told why??)
What has stunned me the past 10 years of my life is how different the USA is from Europe (and also how Europe is changing to become more American). I can remember how stunned I was at finding out that I must explain why the death penalty is wrong (can't you read it in the UN charta for example). Now I'm stunned at seeing how some suggest torture is not wrong, that church and state must not be separate, that parlament, courts and government don't have to balance each other. Where will all of this end? There is something seriously wrong with America. Just look at the 19th century: genocide on Indians, slavery, grab it all capitalism, defend whatever you want with your gun. This at a time when Europe had philosophers like Hegel and Nietsche. European culture peaked at 1820-1870 since then it's been just down. Will we end up like the USA? I hope not!

[ Parent ]
Not good on facts (none / 0) (#229)
by BlackHawk on Wed Jul 07, 2004 at 05:09:52 AM EST

Michael Moore is not good on facts and figures, but is good on emotive manipulation. It's unfortunate that he has ruined his credibility with such poor research, manipulative editing, poor conclusions, and just plain wrong facts and figures. The world needs a guy like Moore, but Moore needs a guy who will do his fact checking, maybe then we will all be happy with his work.

[ Parent ]
Godwin First Loser Under His Own Law (none / 0) (#213)
by AnUnnamedSource on Sat Jul 03, 2004 at 07:01:35 PM EST

Per your corollary: "Following a demonstration of Godwin's Law in action, the first person to refer to Godwin's Law also loses."

Since Godwin was the first to refer to his law, he was the first to lose.

in order to promote critical thinking (3.00 / 4) (#217)
by pantagruel on Sun Jul 04, 2004 at 02:48:00 PM EST

When discussing Stalin, Pol Pot or any of the other psychotic mass murderers of history, I will compare them with Grandma Moses.

When discussing Napolean, Alexander the Great or any of the would be great conquerors I will compare them to Daffy Duck.

When discussing other fascist dictators like Mussolini, Franco or Vargas I will compare them to Dr. Pepper.

When discussing political movements that rely on mass communication to incite the masses to hate outsiders, and that expend resources on making great displays of nation state power I will compare them to that one time I went to Wally World with my family and it was locked, and my dad went crazy and forced the guard to let us in at gun point. Only it turned out not to be my dad but Chevy Chase, and I never really went, but what the hell, at least I didn't refer to Hitler or fascism or do anything that would somehow prevent critical thinking about an issue.

Here's pantagruel's law: As soon as a response in a conversation can be codified, then any application of that codified response will serve to dull critical thinking on the subject under discussion.

It's not pithy, but Godwin is an asshat.



2nd corollary (none / 2) (#224)
by fuchikoma on Mon Jul 05, 2004 at 06:38:52 PM EST

2. When someone takes an unofficial "law" like Godwin's or Moore's too seriously and writes new corollaries for it, they automatically lose.

*ponders...*

I concede defeat! :o

Indeed (none / 0) (#237)
by wizzle on Thu Aug 05, 2004 at 05:56:45 AM EST

I think it would be more appropriately called "Godwin's General Observerance". Also, you are a Nazi.

[ Parent ]
Godwin's Law: Not Meant To Be Invoked | 238 comments (191 topical, 47 editorial, 0 hidden)
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