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news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Author Archive

Why are extremists so loud

Posted by horsservice on September 28, 2010

A metaphysical mystery on the way of resolution by science!

If those who have the most extremist opinions are always so keen to voice then, it’s because they’re convinced that their ideas are shared by the majority: it’s the first conclusion of a study conduced at Standford by Kimberly Morrison et al. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Good News, Opinion, Politics | 1 Comment »

Moral dilemmas

Posted by horsservice on April 30, 2010

Good and Evil. Sometimes which side is which is obvious, but sometimes decisions involve more thought. What is good? What is evil? Here are some examples and mind-twisting moral issues.

Be fair with yourself, and tell the truth!^^ Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments »

On the use of common sense in science

Posted by horsservice on April 6, 2010

Common Sense

“If common sense was a reliable guide, we wouldn’t need science in the first place.”

A.Gefter, New Scientist

I have noted that on this blog, the expressions “it’s common sense”, “it’s obvious”, “it’s natural” are widely diffused, and are not often based on realities.

Apart from the fact that there are things that seem obvious for some people but not for others, the goal of this small article is to show you a few illogical but true examples, and that Common Sense is something really fuzzy. We’ll find that the further we go into the “exactness” of the science fields, the more unreasonable it gets.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | 10 Comments »

National identity

Posted by horsservice on January 4, 2010

National identity

« You ask me what does it take to be french? It will take me 5 seconds to answer. To be french is to have the french nationality. »

Jean-François Copé, french Chief of the House Of Representatives (right wing – centered)

« There are two categories of french. Those who think that there are two categories of french, and the others. »

De Gaulle.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | 15 Comments »

The Blinds Parable

Posted by horsservice on October 20, 2009

The Blinds Parable.

I, too, have a parable to share. Hope that you find it good:

In Ancient Greece, there once was a community of blind people.

They were living happily and equally, for they couldn’t see the race of their fellows blinds, nor their ugliness, nor their wealth. Their world hadn’t borders, for they couldn’t see them, and they owned the world between them.

But one day, a blind acquired a hunger for power, and proclaimed himself dictator, supreme ruler of all men and things. His pride knew no limits, and in a law, he declared that all their togas were red, as it should be. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Politics | 12 Comments »

Other less important Nobel laureates

Posted by horsservice on October 13, 2009

Some negligible work of negligible people

As you all know, Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize. But very few know the little details of the ceremony, like all those other lesser prizes distributed to unknown persons, to reward them for achievements in vague domains, like chemistry or physics. To those who have a mild interest in them nevertheless, here are the names. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Educational, Entertainment, international news, Just for Fun, Science, Technology | 9 Comments »

Godwin’s Law – A Constant of Debate

Posted by horsservice on September 21, 2009

Godwin’s Law

Godwin’s Law (also known as Godwin’s Rule of Nazi Analogies) is a humorous observation made by Mike Godwin in 1990 which has become an Internet adage. It states: “As a Usenet discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.”

Godwin’s Law is often cited in online discussions as a deterrent against the use of arguments in the widespread reductio ad Hitlerum form. The rule does not make any statement about whether any particular reference or comparison to Adolf Hitler or the Nazis might be appropriate, but only asserts that the likelihood of such a reference or comparison arising increases as the discussion progresses. It is precisely because such a comparison or reference may sometimes be appropriate, Godwin has argued, that overuse of Nazi and Hitler comparisons should be avoided, because it robs the valid comparisons of their impact.

Although in one of its early forms Godwin’s Law referred specifically to Usenet newsgroup discussions, the law is now applied to any threaded online discussion: electronic mailing lists, message boards, chat rooms, and more recently blog comment threads and wiki talk pages.

Corollaries and usage

There are many corollaries to Godwin’s law, some considered more canonical (by being adopted by Godwin himself) than others. For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically “lost” whatever debate was in progress. This principle itself is frequently referred to as Godwin’s Law. It is considered poor form to raise such a comparison arbitrarily with the motive of ending the thread. There is a widely recognized codicil that any such ulterior-motive invocation of Godwin’s law will be unsuccessful (this is sometimes referred to as “Quirk’s Exception”).

Godwin’s Law applies especially to inappropriate, inordinate, or hyperbolic comparisons of other situations (or one’s opponent) with Hitler or Nazis or their actions. The corollaries of the law would presumably not apply to discussions covering genocide, propaganda, or other mainstays of the Nazi Germany, or, more debatably, to discussion of other totalitarian regimes, since a Nazi comparison in those circumstances is understandable. Whether it applies to humorous use or references to oneself is open to interpretation, since this would not be a fallacious attack against a debate opponent.

However, Godwin’s Law itself can be abused, as a distraction, diversion or even censorship, that fallaciously miscasts an opponent’s argument as hyperbole, especially if the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate. A 2005 Reason magazine article argued that Godwin’s Law is often misused to ridicule even valid comparisons.


Godwin has stated that he introduced Godwin’s Law in 1990 as an experiment in memetics.

Linking by implication the fallacy of reductio ad Hitlerum to online discussion length had been done before 1990 by a poster named Richard Sexton in 1989: “You can tell when a USENET discussion is getting old when one of the participants drags out Hitler and the Nazis.” Godwin’s Law does not, however, claim to articulate a fallacy; it is instead framed as a memetic tool to reduce the incidence of inappropriate hyperbolic comparisons. “Although deliberately framed as if it were a law of nature or of mathematics, its purpose has always been rhetorical and pedagogical: I wanted folks who glibly compared someone else to Hitler or to Nazis to think a bit harder about the Holocaust,” Godwin has written. It has not been established whether Sexton’s quip had any influence on Godwin’s law, though Sexton continues, citing an apparent joke by Godwin, to claim Godwin borrowed the idea from Sexton and named it.

Local variations

In Germany, a Nazometer is a mock measurement device suggested by German comedian Harald Schmidt (and causing a minor scandal). The device allegedly screens spoken language and will give alarms even for minor Nazi-specific formulations such as “Autobahn” or “Eva”.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin’s_law

Any similitude between this article and a recent comparison between Obama and Hitler is of course purely coincidental.

Posted in conspiracy theories, Debate, Entertainment, hall of shame, Opinion, Politics | 2 Comments »