Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Move over Godwin, here comes Gore

We skeptics are very familiar with Godwin's law. This law refers to the pratice of reductio ad hitlerum, or arguing that something is bad or wrong because Hitler/the Nazis did it/used it/approved of it. More specifically, it was coined in the 90's by lawyer Mike Godwin and states:

"As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one."

In other words, argue online long enough, and someone will pull a reductio ad hitlerum. But now that climate change has become a major issue and climate change deniers are on the rise, a new law has been coined. This law is Gore's Law:

"As an online climate change debate grows longer, the probability that denier arguments will descend into attacks on Al Gore approaches one."

If this kind of thing becomes more common, will arguing reductio ad goreum become the trend?

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