Serious fundie watchers are familiar with Poe’s Law. But like any concept that is mostly internet based, you may encounter it many times before finally finding out what it is. Leareth alluded to this in a recent comment. Urban Dictionary probably gives the best definition:
Similar to Murphy’s Law, Poe’s Law concerns internet debates, particularly regarding religion or politics.
“Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”
In other words, No matter how bizarre, outrageous, or just plain idiotic a parody of a Fundamentalist may seem, there will always be someone who cannot tell that it is a parody, having seen similar REAL ideas from real religious/political Fundamentalists. [emphasis added]
I bolded that last phrase, because that’s an important part. Another way of phrasing this is to say that some fundies are so absurd as to be self parodies.
We need that perspective on the definition to truly appreciate the almost Poe-worthy description over at Conservapedia. As we all know, Conservapedia is so ridiculous that it frequently is a self parody.
Here is the important thing that Conservapedia wants us to know about Poe’s Law:
Poe’s law is often used to mock conservatives and fundamentalists, based on its implicit assertion that fundamentalists and conservatives are so absurd as to be indistinguishable from parody. However, there is a fundamental flaw in this assertion. One might as well argue that genuine works of art are indistinguishable from cheap knockoffs, because some people are unable to distinguish between the two. Clearly, the cause of the mistake is not that the genuine article is no better than a mockery; rather, the cause of the mistake is that some people lack the critical thinking skills and/or experience to differentiate the two — particularly in cases when an artist (or a parodist) goes to special efforts to emulate the genuine article. [emphasis added]
I just love it every time fundies talk about critical thinking!
Their main point here, though, is flawed. They’re claiming that there are large differences between parodies and the genuine article and that anybody with sufficient knowledge would be able to tell the difference. That assumes that the genuine articles are themselves credible.
Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali were master artists. That makes it easy for anybody with a passing knowledge of art to see that these images are obvious parodies:
Then there are “artists” like John and Patsy Rule. They produce drek like this:
I defy you to produce a parody of their art that even one of their fans could distinguish from the genuine article (You should look at their archive before you get smug.). (I also defy you to produce one of their fans.)
So to Conservapedia, I ask: Where are your Picassos? Your Dalis? Your da Vincis? All I see are your Hovinds. Your Hams. Your Donohues. And this guy: