Sunday, 21 September 2008

Pluralist's Law

Godwin's Law is named after Mike Godwin, and is a response to the Internet age of posting arguments among many contributors. It states that:

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

By extension this becomes that:

If you mention Hitler or Nazis in a post, you have effectively ended the discussion: it has nowhere else to go.

I mention this in response of the actions of Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and the deposing of Bob Duncan, and the rapidity that the argument on Stand Firm in Faith ended up mentioning Hitler and the Nazis.

So I have a further small extension and shift of emphasis to Godwin's Law:

If you have to mention Hitler and the Nazis, for something that did not involve the magnitude of Hitler and the Nazis, then you have run out of a credible argument.

I shall call this Pluralist's Extension, assuming no one thought of it first, which I suppose I ought to find out as I would if I was doing some academic writing.

There might be another law too. I am sure this is unique, so this is Pluralist's Law:

As an evangelical discussion disputing the orthodoxy of another grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Unitarians approaches one. If you have to mention Unitarians or Unitarianism, for something that does not equate to Unitarianism, then you have run out of a credible argument.

Stand Firm in Faith (and all the rest) regularly achieves that one.


Tim Goodbody said...

[In Jeremy Paxman voice] Yeeeeeessss ...
Often I have had cause to consider that there are some conservative Evangelicals whose discomfort with the Holy Spirit (Toronto, Lakeland etc) mans that they are in effect "binitarian" - relating to the Father and the Son as divine persons but having a problem with the Spirit, sometimes descending (perhaps in ignorance)into JW territory and calling the Spirit "it", relegating the Spirit to a force rather than a person.

Dude, your sense of humour has blossomed since you retired from Fulcrum!

Chris said...

In his response to John Hick in Four Views of Salvation in a Pluralistic World, Alister McGrath called pluralism "intellectual Stalinism", and compared it to Nazism as well. So much for the credibility of the great Reformed apologist!

Erika Baker said...

I don't want to get too serious here, but doesn't it depend on the context?

What characterised the pre-Nazi period was the original silent acquiescene of ordinary people because they a. failed to educate themselves as to the real intentions of Hitler, or b. didn't really like Jews much either or were neutral about them but sincerely believed that it would never become that bad.

So even where the eventual outcome of a new phenomenon is not in the same league, it is still valid to quote the development of Nazism as a warning.

Or isn't it?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Anyone can apply for a Justification form (J20) regarding the relevance of the move to mention Nazism or Unitarianism.

Erika Baker said...

Next time I feel tempted to mention it I shall be sure to apply for form J20 from you first.
You couldn't put it online, could you? And add a rubber stamp, at least for me?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Do you not realise that Nazis used rubber stamps? Oops!