PolySciFi Blog

Thursday, February 24, 2005


The Pope, Godwin's Law, and Jumping the Shark

Via email, Michael Parks suggests that the Pope has violated Godwin's Law in his newly released Memory and Identity where the Pope compares the millions of children killed every year via abortion to the millions of Jews killed in the Holocaust.

So according to tradition, the Pope has now lost the abortion debate by introducing a Nazi comparison. Of course, by tradition Mike has now also lost the debate by explicitly pointing out the violation...

As a little aside, my favorite example of a violation of Godwin's Law in a movie is in Office Space where Peter says the following: "You know, the Nazis had pieces of flair that they made the Jews wear. "

Godwin's law is really intended to head off hyperbolic emotional comparisons that can be detrimental to having rational debates. In this case, the Holocaust comparison is actually an understatement if your views of the beginnings of human life coincides with the Pope's. Per Catholic teachings (and I hear the Pope is Catholic), life begins at conception. Thus from the Pope's perspective the 40-80 million annual abortions worldwide constitute 40-80 million murders - a number that exceeds the 12-26 million who were murdered in the Holocaust.

Of course most, but apparently not all, abortion supporters don't think life begins at conception so others can reasonably disagree with the Pope about the magnitude of the problem and if there is a problem at all.

Personally, rather than worrying about the Pope violating Godwin's Law, I'm concerned that he may have jumped the shark. In particular, today in a very special episode, the Pope had a tracheotomy. I hear that if the ratings for The Real World: Vatican don't improve, they've already filmed a scene where the Pope recreates the scene where the Fonz really did jump the shark.

Ok, I'm going to Hell for this post.

Roger on Nanothoughts has compiled a table of instances when the Pope may have jumped the shark...


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