Poe’s Law, Hoaxes, and Gullibility

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Parody is not an argument, Erik Mesoy reminds us, and the fact that your opponents can be parodied tells you very little about your opponents:

If you have trouble differentiating between the beliefs honestly professed by your enemies, and the humorous mockery of your enemies, perhaps your enemies are truly crazy, but perhaps you don’t understand your enemies. Repeating an opponent’s argument in a sarcastic tone and laughing at it may be a good way of building communal bonds with your allies, but is a bad way of rebutting the argument.


  1. Chris C. says:

    So often, I begin a conversation/argument and quickly realize that my opponent has reached his belief without recourse to anything resembling reason. That is, they are beliefs pure and simple. In that case, I feel justified (and a guilty pleasure it is, too) in escalating to Mockery Level Orange, if only to see whether that will elicit an actual evidence-based point, or hasten the rush into name-calling. It does save time.

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