As a lot of my readers will know, there is a definite “internet culture”, with it’s own slang, it’s own etiquette (netiquette), it’s own definitions for words, etc… Sometimes something becomes so popular on the ‘net that it enters the mainstream world. These things that move through some portions of the ‘net like wildfire take a bit more time to filter to everyone in the “real world,” and to certain parts of the web. An example of what I’m referring to is a phrase like “Poe’s Law.” If you are doing Christian Apologetics on message boards, or blogs, or are surfing the net reading different religious discussion boards, Poe’s Law is sure to come up at some point.
What is Poe’s Law? The law itself was defined by Nathan Poe over on Christian Forums. He was making the point that without some sort of overt sign, like a winking smiley ( 😉 ) or something to show irony, that you really can’t tell the difference between a parody of fundamentalism and the real thing. Meaning, with Poe’s Law, many times you cannot tell if someone is being sarcastic, and attempting humor or are really serious with what they are saying. Take someone, for example, going around the ‘net claiming the earth is flat, because they claim that the Bible says it is (of course, it does no such thing, but bear with me). Now, there are two possibilities; either they are jerking everyone’s chain to try to prove a point, or they are completely wrong, but completely serious. That’s Poe’s Law; you can’t tell the difference unless the person is 100% honest and tells you their motivation.
Poe’s Law is often centered around Christian fundamentalism…however, back when Expelled: The Movie (Expelled is a documentary revealing the prejudice and bias of the academic community centering around evolution vs. Intelligent Design) was being released in theaters a youtube video was released on March 28, 2008 by a user by the name of “randomslice;” Richard Dawkins: Beware the Believers (for my readers who care about such things; there’s mild language, wacky hip hop dance moves, and employs language meant to show naturalistic evolutionists’ disdain for us religious folk, so if that will bother you, skip watching the vid) :
Now, when this video was released the ‘net was buzzing with speculation; who produced it? (The question is hilarious in and of itself; because it was obvious that the video was indeed designed by an intelligent designer, and everyone wanted to know who it was; it could never have happened by chance.) Was it poking fun at those that support Intelligent Design, such as the makers of “Expelled: The Movie,” or at those fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists who cannot stand any other theory being discussed and who try to take a position of intellectual superiority?
Well, the first time my husband and I saw it, we felt it was plainly a mockery of the Darwinian position…and we could not believe that they were blind to this fact…well, on April 20th, randomslice added a new vid; Richard Dawkins: Designed by chance?
Clears it all up, right? It clearly shows that it was the Expelled crew, those in favor of ID being discussed, that was behind the video. And yet…and yet, the fundamentalist Darwinian evolutionists couldn’t give it up. The next theory was that Mike, over at Float on Films, (who was in charge of the animation) had to really be on the Darwinists’ side even though he was hired by the Expelled crew…because, look at Ben Stein’s t-shirt in the second clip…it says “Poe’s Law.”
Now at this point, I’m laughing, and loving it, because the Expelled crew just gave the world an example of Poe’s Law from the other perspective. Their video demonstrates that you can’t tell a parody of Fundamentalist Darwinism from a display of the real thing! The Darwinists couldn’t even tell, that means they fully expect their really arguments to come off that way. Of course it is indeed a parody, trying to show how the Darwinists, especially Atheistic Darwinists, now have a fundamentalist branch, which falls within Poe’s law as well. This set of videos was a kick, everyone following Expelled, on each side, really enjoyed the videos, and it was great fun reading everyone’s discussions when they were trying to figure out who designed them.
So, there ya go; two birds, one stone. I’ve given you a run down of the phrase “Poe’s Law” and shown an illustration of the extreme position that fundamentalist evolutionists have taken up. Yes, it was a parody, but a parody so close to the real thing that even adherents to fundamentalist evolutionary theory couldn’t tell the difference, and even embraced the videos as representative of their position.