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I think Godwin's Law is stupid

OT Discussions Godwin's Law

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#21 HubcapDave

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 05:07 PM

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For example, I was watching the news and it was a report on chicken farming, the chicken activist lady compared the condition of the chicken farms to Nazi war camps.

She must've watch Chicken Run one time too many!

#22 Palisades

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 05:31 PM

In general I think that Godwin's law is a good heuristic for estimating the soundness of an argument, but like most heuristics sometimes it doesn't do so well.

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#23 eryn

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 05:38 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 21 2003, 04:02 PM, said:

Sounds to me like your objection was the comparison of humans to chickens period (i.e., she could have compared the conditions to any human prison/camp/etc. and you would have had the same objection) and had nothing to do with it being a WW2 reference specifically.

Lil
Well, you're wrong.

The fact that she compared chickens and chicken farms to Holocaust victims and nazi war camps and without backing up her claim is what bothered me.

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#24 Drew

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 05:47 PM

Umm, . . . Godwin's Law is not a law in the "rules" sense, it's a principle. It's like the law of gravity. It merely says that the probability of the Nazi's being used as a comparison increases in direct proportion to the length of a discussion. It's not a law that can be broken . . . it just is.

Now, granted, the idea that the discussion is over once someone brings up Nazis is an internet tradition, but that's not a rule connected to the law.

Again, "law" here is synonymous with "principle," rather than "rule."

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#25 Bad Wolf

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:31 PM

mystic, on Sep 21 2003, 03:38 PM, said:

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 21 2003, 04:02 PM, said:

Sounds to me like your objection was the comparison of humans to chickens period (i.e., she could have compared the conditions to any human prison/camp/etc. and you would have had the same objection) and had nothing to do with it being a WW2 reference specifically.

Lil
Well, you're wrong.

The fact that she compared chickens and chicken farms to Holocaust victims and nazi war camps and without backing up her claim is what bothered me.

mystic
Hmmmmmmm,

Quote

From then on in, I completely disregarded her argument simply because she had the audacity to compare chickens to humans in war camps.

So, if she'd compared them to humans in say, an Iraqi war prison, or a Russian war camp, or a pow camp in Vietnam you wouldn't have minded?

:wideeyed:

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 21 September 2003 - 06:42 PM.

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#26 Rhea

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:35 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 21 2003, 12:58 PM, said:

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But I really can't respect comparison to a regime responsible for the mass murder of 6 million Jews, and millions more that were homosexual, gypsy, or other "unwanted peoples". Or for that matter, to the murderous regimes that once ruled Serbia, or Cambodia.

I think it depends on how the comparison is drawn and exactly what comparison is being made.

For example, let's say we're talking about anti semitism or racial cleansing.  I think that a discussion of Nazi Germany is entirely appropriate in that circumstance.

Similarly, if we're talking about mob mentalities or bigotry in terms of a frame of mind, a discussion of Nazi Germany may be germane.  IMO not in terms of saying "oh well you sound like a nazi" but more in terms of discussing attitudes.  But it depends.  To me it's a case by case thing.

Nazi Germany, like anything else, should by no means be an automatic fall back because to me that is in its own way just as dismissive of the importance of this episode in World History as deciding that it should never be brought up or that any time it's brought up it's a violations of "Godwin's law".

Finally, one thing is to say that you personally don't respect or agree with a given comparison.  Hey there's a lot of analogies that I see on mbs that I think are faulty.

But it's very different imo to say something like "I think your analogy is faulty" as opposed to "oops, Godwin law violation, I'm out."

To me that just stifles discussion and again, is as much of a crutch as the automatic falling back on the Nazi comparison.

Lil
Boy, do I agree with Lil!

It may seem the distant past to you, but I'm old enough to have driven with my parents through Pearl Harbor and *still* seen signs of the devastation left by the bombings. My father fought in the war. None of it is ancient history to me - and it never will be.

And any time you talk about specific types of intolerance - hatred for the Jews, homosexuals, the mentally deficient or mentally ill - all of those are populations that the Germans found offensive and did their best to either annhililate and/or sterilize. The Nazis are the gold standard of butchery.

So it's germane (no pun intended) to certain discussions and always will be. You don't have to choose to participate in such discussions. But I find the "Godwin's law, I'm out of here" stuff to be dismissive in the extreme - and possibly the rudest thing I've seen anyone do on this board.

Edited by Rhea, 21 September 2003 - 06:37 PM.

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#27 Bad Wolf

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:42 PM

{{{{{{{{{{{Rhea}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Needless to say, I agree wholeheartedly with your post!

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#28 Palisades

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:42 PM

Rhea, on Sep 21 2003, 06:35 PM, said:

But I find the "Godwin's law, I'm out of here" stuff to be dismissive in the extreme - and possibly the rudest thing I've seen anyone do on this board.
Which threads are you referring to?
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#29 Bad Wolf

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 06:44 PM

^

The Canadian couple border thread is the most recent instance.

I'm sure that if you do a search for the word "godwin" on OT you'll find more.

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#30 Uncle Sid

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 07:07 PM

I'd have to agree that leaving a thread because of Nazi references is silly.  What does the Nazi regime show?  It shows the extremes to which humanity is capable of, it's a warning that you can put *anything* on an assembly line, even genocide, it also shows that a country full of relatively well meaning, but perhaps indifferent people can allow an incredible tragedy to occur.  You don't have to be a monster to allow it to happen, you just have to not get in the way of the monsters.  All of these are incredibly important lessons and should not be forgotten.

One thing is true, though.  People do tend to tune out the constant Nazi references.  For instance calling someone like President Bush or even Ashcroft a Nazi is ridiculous.  You may disagree with them, but they are in no way Nazis.  People who think so have never lived in a Nazi or even totalitarian state.  The adjunct to Godwin's Law that ends threads is an out growth of this.  It's like calling a Democrat a "pinko".  Yeah, Democrats have more socialist tendancies, but they're not socialists and they sure aren't Communists.  

Nevertheless, while it's obviously a poster's right to cease discussion for any reason they feel proper, including Nazi references, I personally disagree with ending the conversation simply because there are Nazi references involved.  This is not a recongnized rule of netiquette.  Further, speaking as a moderator, in no way do I consider it to be part of what I'd call "common courtesy"  or "best practices"  in this forum.
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#31 GiGi

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 07:08 PM

Hmmm, I have often compared the conditions that pigs are made to live in to concentration camps.

Pigs are highly intelligent, cleaner than some humans and very emotionally tuned to their environment . It freaks me out to think of the conditions they are forced to live in, as a matter of fact chickens too (I have birds, a dove and a parrot), it is so unnecessary. Just because an animal doesn't talk doesn't mean it doesn't feel

Abuse of animal, human whatever is so hard for me to take, and that is me personally.  Lil knows from the look on my face last night when we were discussing the bear abuse.  :(

Sometimes bringing up the situation with the Nazis is to put something in perspective.  It is a yardstick to determine the extent of an abuse.  And some people will exaggerate this to make an unfair point.  So I am now kind of seeing what is behind this "law"  But even evoking this law can mirror the very point the law is making.

Erm, so, bottomline, I agree with Lil and Rhea (no shock there  ;) )
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#32 Bad Wolf

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 07:11 PM

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Abuse of animal, human whatever is so hard for me to take, and that is me personally. Lil knows from the look on my face last night when we were discussing the bear abuse.

Indeed.  Poor GiGi, it was only when I told her that the bear was okay that she relaxed a bit.  I understand, having very strong feelings about animal abuse myself.

And Uncle Sid:

Quote

I personally disagree with ending the conversation simply because there are Nazi references involved. This is not a recongnized rule of netiquette. Further, speaking as a moderator, in no way do I consider it to be part of what I'd call "common courtesy" or "best practices" in this forum.

Thank you very much for that.:)

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#33 the 'Hawk

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 07:43 PM

Here's my thing with Godwin's Law:

Invoking the Nazis in a discussion can happen for a variety of reasons.

In my case, it's because I've studied 'em, up and down, left and right, various aspects, and so on. Calling the Nazis evil is just too simple. There are a thousand aspects of the Nazis, ranging from basic production of goods to civilian opinion to the Wehrmacht, the Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe. I talk about the Nazis all the time-- but usually it's relative to France or Britain or Japan or America or the Soviet Union, within the historical context presented. I'm what's referred to as a "regime-whore": I tend to study the rises and falls and in-betweens and highs and lows of any given regime because, well, because it intrigues me. Because whether it's Henry IV of England or Louis XVI of France or Nicholas II of Russia, whether it's Pol Pot or Richard Nixon or Winston Churchill, the fact remains that the man (or woman --Elizabeth I is an old favourite of mine) at the centre of the hurricane isn't steering it, either. I don't know, it's a personal interest, one I'm rambling about.

But to most people, invoking the Nazi regime isn't done for reasons of historical context. It's done just to get a rise out of other people. That isn't cool no matter how you cut it.

And that's what Godwin's Law covers. Not the valid historical invocation. But the invocation for all the constructive use of a torpedo? Not the same thing at all.

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#34 GiGi

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 07:50 PM

Thanks for that post Hawk.  That is a very clear definitiation.

So, I agree, it boils down to intent (which is the point I was trying to make in a round about way).

as with all things....
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#35 Bad Wolf

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 07:56 PM

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It's done just to get a rise out of other people.

Says WHO!

That is about as presumptious a generalization as I've ever seen on line.

How the hell do YOU know why people invoke the Nazi regime?

By what right do you presume to know what the intent of "most people" who invoke the Nazi Regime is, let alone to basically equate it to trolling (being done just to get a rise).

That's just insulting!

Lil

Edited by Una Salus Lillius, 21 September 2003 - 08:06 PM.

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#36 Rov Judicata

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 08:01 PM

Ack... one of my posts has become a subject of contention.

Sorry about that; I figured it was more polite to post saying I was leaving than merely to leave. I didn't realize others felt differently. Again, my sorry if I offended anybody. :).
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#37 GiGi

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 08:10 PM

Lil, I would say at some times what Hawk is saying is true... AND that is NOT an absolute.

Again, intent being the key and a very difficult thing to pinpoint over the internet and yet there are times the group will have a common feeling or "gestalt" that someone is just yanking the chain.
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#38 Bad Wolf

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 08:17 PM

GiGi, on Sep 21 2003, 06:10 PM, said:

Lil, I would say at some times what Hawk is saying is true...
I don't deny that.  I object to the seemingly blanket generalization that it is true of "most people".
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#39 the 'Hawk

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 08:58 PM

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 21 2003, 09:17 PM, said:

I object to the seemingly blanket generalization that it is true of "most people".
And yet I used the term "most people" so it *wouldn't* be a generalization. Never mind.

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#40 Guest-2112st-Guest

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Posted 21 September 2003 - 10:01 PM

the'Hawk, on Sep 22 2003, 01:58 AM, said:

Una Salus Lillius, on Sep 21 2003, 09:17 PM, said:

I object to the seemingly blanket generalization that it is true of "most people".
And yet I used the term "most people" so it *wouldn't* be a generalization. Never mind.

:cool:
Uhhhhhhhh-maybe it would have been better if you said CERTAIN people.

:cool:



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