How do you know when you have passed from being a mere eccentric into being a crank? If you have a Web site, it may be very easy to tell.
Does your Web site look like a site designed by a religious extremist in 1996? You are a crank.
Is your pet theory so complex that the table of contents runs over eighteen thousand words? You are a crank.
Are the eighteen thousand words presented all in one lump on the front page of your Web site? You are a crank.
Do you use underlines, bold text, italic text, red text, blue text, larger text, expanded text, all capitals, red and blue bold underlined italic text, shaded backgrounds, and ruled boxes for various shades of emphasis? You are a crank.
Do you believe in magic legalism—Dr. Boli’s term for the idea that a certain legalistic form of words or actions will break the spell of evil and bring about the reforms or salvation you desire, and that failure to adhere to the form brings automatic doom? You are a crank.
Do you believe that an entire institution of a billion members has seceded from you, leaving you the only remaining true member? You are a crank.
Do you maintain an annotated list of people who are definitely going to hell? You are a crank.
The question comes of up because of a comment left on our recent article about historical fallacies having to do with slavery:
If you’re at all interested in knowing . . . the Catholic Dogma . . . that we *must believe* to get to Heaven . . . I list it on my website > > > www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com
C A U T I O N : The Catholic Church has had no physical properties for 50 years (8 Dec 1965) . . . because of the Sources of Dogma on automatic excommunication for heresy.
The Catholic God knows . . . what we think and believe . . .
Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Deuteronomy 31 : 21 >
“For I know their thoughts, and what they are about to do this day.”
Catholic Faith (pre-fulfillment) writing of Job 21 : 27 >
“Surely I know your thoughts, and your unjust judgments against Me.”
Catholic writing of Romans 1 : 21 >
“They … became vain in their thoughts, and their foolish heart was darkened.”
If you only scan the Index … you won’t see the infallible Dogma from the Pope in union with the Bishops of the world … which * alone * keeps people from eternal damnation.
Dr. Boli was about to say that he does not like to make fun of sincere people’s sincerely held religious beliefs, but that would be a lie. He does like to make fun of some sincerely held religious beliefs. In general there is an inverse ratio between the number of people the crank proposes to damn in hell and the guilt Dr. Boli feels about making fun of said crank. Someone who has said to Dr. Boli, “You, personally, are damned to hell,” can hardly complain about the mild term “crank.”
He will point out, however, that much of the crankiness could be mitigated by good Web design. Make the site look more modern. Give it a menu structure that masks the unfathomable depths of crankiness within. Perhaps you could add a slider.
One of those “laws” that people on the Internet like to cite is called “Poe’s Law,” which says something like this: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is utterly impossible to parody a religious extremist in such a way that someone won’t mistake for the genuine article.” Dr. Boli brings up Poe’s Law because it is not possible to prove beyond a doubt that www.Gods-Catholic-Dogma.com is not a parody of crank Web sites. On the one hand, if a Web site where the mere table of contents runs to more than eighteen thousand words were a parody, then it would be perhaps the most heroic parody in history, and that seems rather unlikely. But, on the other hand, the commenter signs his name “Mike Bizzaro.”