It’s All the Same to Him

Monday, July 25th, 2011

I’m with P.Z. Myers when he denounces the right’s rush to link the Oslo attacks to Islamic extremism before the facts were in. Jennifer Rubin and the Wall Street Journal editorial page especially embarrassed themselves. (Pam Geller did too, but she embarrasses herself a few times per day.)

I’m also with him in denouncing as absurd Rubin’s suggestion that the attacks are a good reason why we shouldn’t cut defense spending.

But then Myers goes off the rails:

I would support more tanks for the army iff they were immediately dispatched to take out the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Discovery Institute, Focus on the Family, a few thousand megachurches, and miscellaneous other extremist organizations. It’s a nest of snakes, you know. And as these loons are always urging us, stomping on a nest of snakes really, really hard always works to end the problem. (For the snark impaired, cock one eyebrow and read the last two sentences sardonically.)

Sending government tanks in to “take out” organizations with whom you have political disagreements. Hilarious! I’ll bet this guy thinks it’s funny. Wherever he is.

Aside from his twisted sense of humor, Myers also again demonstrates how he completely loses his shit when it comes to libertarians. For the record, the Cato Institute opposed the first war in Iraq (and lost funding for taking that position), opposed the second war in Iraq, supports pulling out of Afghanistan, and opposes the bombing in Libya and broader U.S. meddling in the Middle East. Cato has also called for massive cuts in defense spending, and is on the opposing side of organizations like Heritage and AEI on just about every other contentious war on terror issue.

Myers’ commenters have pointed all of this out to him. He has yet to post a correction.


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100 Responses to “It’s All the Same to Him”

  1. #1 |  Juice | 

    #50 –

    Well, I’ve seen Brayton agree with Ron Paul and even give kudos for his positions, but that’s usually taken along with the attitude of “well, he’s a theocratic, racist, creationist neo-confederate, but he’s right on this.”

  2. #2 |  zagrobelny | 

    If you are you trying to prove the stereotype that libertarians are humorless, you are succeeding.

  3. #3 |  Zorgy | 

    Myers is picking on libertarians. Waaaah!

  4. #4 |  David in Balt | 

    @53
    Well, it’s more like PZ is again making the same pathetic fallacies, that he so rightly calls religious fundies on, against libertarians. PZ is just as much a closed minded, fallacy slinging hack as those he criticizes.

  5. #5 |  omar | 

    Vox Day has offered MANY times to debate him on his evolution views along with his views on religion and politics and he’s always declined because he knows he’ll get absolutely shattered.

    That’s not why PZ does not debate Vox Day. It’s because Vox Day doesn’t understand science.

    PZ is a leftist, and his criticisms are correct for a certain group of people calling themselves libertarians. That he gets some names wrong and lumps the wrong groups together shows that he’s not applying his critical thinking and analytic skills (which he does so well in science) to an area whose models are less fleshed out and provable as biology – politics.

    I wish he would be more open minded about politics outside his own. I wish he wouldn’t confuse disagreement with ill intentions. I wish the same for me and most of the people I agree with politically as well.

  6. #6 |  EH | 

    Michael Chaney@33: No, “Islamics” didn’t take credit, the “expert” Will McCant ascribed it to them single-handedly. Every single reference to Norway being an Arabic thing come from him and his mysterious “only I know the password” sekrit Jihad webboard.

    So, actually not a fact at all.

  7. #7 |  Les | 

    Ideologically, very few muslims “reject” terrorism – there’s a good case for it in the Koran.

    Evidence, please. And there’s just as good a case for terrorism in the Bible. Doesn’t mean that people who follow it support terrorism.

    There are entire islamic countries who “reject” terrorism with their words (sometimes only in English, even), then fund it with their money.

    So, in Iran, for instance, you’re suggesting that because totalitarian government there supports terrorism (just as the U.S. did throughout the Cold War), that means that most of the citizens of Iran also support terrorism? Really?

    To call it “objective fact” that “most Muslims reject terrorism” is to become irrelevant to people that actually pay attention to the world.

    There are easy ways to judge these things, you know.

    http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0223/p09s01-coop.html

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_terrorism#Opinion_surveys

    You can claim to “pay attention to the world,” but you haven’t provided any evidence to support your assertions. That would make it easier to take you seriously.

  8. #8 |  Les | 

    @43, please look at the links above. And here’s a fairly popular website for mainstream Muslims:

    http://www.islamfortoday.com/terrorism.htm

    My original point stands. Most Muslims are opposed to terrorism. People who “look at Muslims with suspicion” have a responsibility to acknowledge this.

  9. #9 |  omar | 

    To him, Paul is a theocratic,, creationist, racist, neo-confederate.

    Well, aside from the theocracy part, which I don’t think Ed says, Paul is a creationist, does have a taint of past bigotry (no he doesn’t, yes he does), and has been an honorary member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

    Ed Brayton is one of the most intellectually honest writers on the Internet. He calls out his allies and enemies alike when they aren’t doing the right thing regardless of politics. That Ed does not heft praise on Paul is not a reflection of Ed being a hack (as PZ can be). It’s quite the opposite – calling out someone who should be an ally on their mistakes.

  10. #10 |  Mister DNA | 

    Myers is picking on libertarians. Waaaah!

    Looks like the “rational” atheist version of the Freepers have arrived.

    What’s the over/under on “SOMALIA!!!!1!” being referenced?

  11. #11 |  TXSwede | 

    #47 Juice.

    To me, too. And I am a libertarian who contributed to Paul’s 2008 campaign.

    Every time he re-thinks the Civil Rights Act out loud, or joins the groups who would take away a woman’s right to choose “because God said so”, I regret that I joined the rEVOLution.

    I still like it when he espouses liberty, though.

  12. #12 |  Juice | 

    omar,

    I never said that I necessarily disagreed with Brayton on his opinion of Ron Paul.

    I like Ron Paul, but he’s got plenty of baggage.

    I like Ed Brayton. Yes, he is one of the most intellectually honest bloggers out there.

  13. #13 |  Juice | 

    #61 TXSwede,

    When I was getting into it, becoming a supporter, etc. I was feeling pretty good about the whole thing. And then those damned newsletters came out and I said to myself, “OOPS.”

    I would go and get active for Gary Johnson, but I don’t think I have the time or energy (and certainly not the money) this time.

  14. #14 |  RomanCandle | 

    My original point stands. Most Muslims are opposed to terrorism

    Accurate. Only about 20% of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are sympathetic to terrorism. Nothing to worry about, then!

    Seriously, if PZ Myers is such a great biologist and scientist, doesn’t he have to know that human beings can be very tribal and violent towards out-groups?

    Here we have a country that has been homogeneous for centuries. Now, within a generation, a large immigrant population has been introduced that is different ethnically, culturally, and religiously. And, as mentioned before, this immigrant population has a not insignificant minority that violently opposes modernity.

    If you look at it that way…isn’t the only thing surprising about this attack the fact that it doesn’t happen more often?

  15. #15 |  omar | 

    I never said that I necessarily disagreed with Brayton on his opinion of Ron Paul.

    Fair enough. Rereading what you said, I agree, you didn’t say what I thought you said. I came in late in the discussion, and in between the Muslim fight and the 50 comments, I kind of jumped to Ed’s defense.

  16. #16 |  Les | 

    Only about 20% of the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims are sympathetic to terrorism.

    Link, please.

    And, as mentioned before, this immigrant population has a not insignificant minority that violently opposes modernity.

    Link, please. Also, some links describing the “violent opposition” to modernity by this “not insignificant minority” would be appreciated. Also, how do you define “not insignificant?”

  17. #17 |  John C. Randolph | 

    PZM and I used to tag-team the bible thumpers and astrologits on sci.skeptic, and I enjoyed his blog for several years, but eventually it just became a left-wing version of Little Green Footballs, so I quit going there. Today he gets way too much ego reinforcement from his fans.

    -jcr

  18. #18 |  GT | 

    Imagine if we all – or even a tiny sliver of us – had the courage of Tank Man. Sweet Jeebus on a fucking stick, that guy had some INSANE balls.

    Unless he was a retard, of course, and had no idea why there were tanks in the road.

    {Hint: when I read the Myers piece, I thought that the ‘offending’ bit that got y’all’s panties bunched was stupid, moronic internet snark of the type in the second paragraph above. Childish, sophomoric, self-centred twaddle, but not an actual call for tanks to crush libertarian publications. And tank Man wasn’t a retard, of course}

    But back to Tank Man. Whether he lived through the immediate aftermath of the event or not (the Chinese government is as ruthless as the US when dealing with enemies – although the ChiGov kills kids indirectly), Tank Man is an example of how awesome humans can be when they just decide “Fuck me? no, fuck YOU.”

    As a former government-trained green-clad sociopath, I remember being shocked that Tank Man was not shot on the spot: it goes to show that with a conscript military, the leadership always runs the risk that the guy in the lead tank has no psychological attachment to the objective (i.e., that he retains his humanity).

    It also shows that in a degenerating system with massive indoctrination mechanisms (y’know, like “I pledge allegiance to the flag …” and so on), there will STILL be some ballsy motherfucker who just fucking refuses to let the boot stomp his face.

  19. #19 |  RomanCandle | 

    Link, please.

    I was referencing the article linked to!

  20. #20 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#58):My original point stands. Most Muslims are opposed to terrorism.”

    By “stands” you mean you’re repeating your assertion?

    OK. If that makes you feel better.

    Like I said, I hope that’s accurate. But I’m afraid it’s not a given fact, no matter how much you wish it were.

    Have you ever sat down with a Muslim and discussed Palestinians vs. Israel? I have. People who are, to all outward appearances, quite “moderate” and assimilated may shock you. “Hitler didn’t go far enough.” “I’d sacrifice my children for Islam.”

    I also saw material for teachers at a Muslim school, which contained hateful propaganda about Israel, US, UK. This is supposed to be for children!

    I’ve read a number of accounts in the media and in blogs/comments on the net which are similar to my own. Maybe these are anecdotal and unrepresentative of the majority.

    But I have serious doubts.

    Hateful propaganda, including the blood libel against Jews, is so commonplace in the media in Muslim countries that it’s a constant background noise. A few cartoons in a Western newspaper or a novel which has “antagonistic” stories cause death threats, even deadly riots. But newspapers in the Middle East routinely carry hateful propaganda which would never be permitted by any newspaper in the US.

    Such influences are dissipated the longer families live in the West, particularly if they are economically successful and assimilate into the culture. But new immigrants and the unemployed poor Muslims fall prey to the propaganda and are most likely to be lured into the radical ideologies.

    Hopefully, in time, the demographic shifts will mean that more and more Muslims will adopt Western Enlightened ethics, making these radical groups as marginalized as the KKK.

    But that hasn’t happened, yet.

  21. #21 |  Elliot | 

    Romancandle (#69):I was referencing the article linked to!

    No fair using a guy’s reference against him!

  22. #22 |  Les | 

    I was referencing the article linked to!

    That number referred to citizens in just four countries, none of which were in what we consider to be “the West.” If around 20% of Muslims in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nigeria support terrorism, it doesn’t follow that the same percentages will be found in Canada or the U.S. or England, etc.

    Also, the same article points out that Americans had higher rates of sympathy for acts of terrorism than the above-mentioned countries.

  23. #23 |  Ken | 

    PZ’s trolling.

    It’s a pattern:

    1. Say something outrageous/obnoxious;
    2. When reactions come in, cherry-pick the 5% that are nasty/incoherent/threatening;
    3. Emphasize that 5% and use it to represent everyone who disagrees with you, and cast yourself as a victim.

    Rinse, repeat. That’s fundamentally what the whole nail-through-the-host thing was — a ploy for attention. It’s unpleasantly needy.

    I enjoy reading him on science, and I agree with him more often than not about the theocratic elements of society, but Jesus, the man has issues.

  24. #24 |  Les | 

    By “stands” you mean you’re repeating your assertion?

    By “stands” I mean, “I provided evidence supporting my assertion. Where is your evidence?”

    Did you bother to look at the numbers provided? They clearly demonstrate that Muslims, like every other religious group, are made up of good people and bad people. And, as I mentioned above, the U.S. has more sympathy for acts of violence against civilians than the most fundamentalist Muslim countries.

    I gave you links to large Muslim organizations condemning violence and surveys clearly revealing that most Muslims reject violence (more than Americans, even). If that’s not enough, if the bad behavior of some Muslims has a greater impact on your perspective on this than the objective facts that are available, then there’s really not much more one can do to change your mind.

  25. #25 |  Greg N. | 

    I haven’t read all of the comments here, but are we sure PZ’s comments assumed Cato was pro war? Couldn’t he think we’re “snakes” because, say, we support Social Security reform?

  26. #26 |  Maggie McNeill | 

    Reading the opinions of many self-styled “liberals” on the subject of libertarianism is a lot like reading the opinions of many self-styled “feminists” on prostitution: not only are they wildly wrong, but the depth of their hatred and the rigidity of their chauvinism tends to call the sincerity of their own professed beliefs into doubt.

  27. #27 |  Duracomm | 

    Symptomatic of that particular species of liberal that is utterly ruthless in demanding adherence and conformity to their tribal precepts.

    Meltdown at Scienceblogs.com – bloggers jumping ship

    What’s happened? Well it all started with the parent company, SEED, allowing the Pepsi Company to start a blog on nutrition. Some bloggers went ballistic, perceiving that SEED caved to the almighty dollar and let some evil corporation into the sacred science temple.

    The Guardian did a story on the Sb blogger anger, and Sb was faced with a mass revolt. The SEED management didn’t handle it well enough or fast enough for some bloggers tastes, even though they removed the Pepsi Food Frontiers blog. The result: 15 Sb bloggers upped and quit in protest. Here’s the content they are protesting.

    As PZ Myers writes at Pharyngula, it is getting worse, more bloggers are leaving, and he’s on strike with a list of demands for the Sb management.

  28. #28 |  Duracomm | 

    Looking at the big picture creationism is not that important of an issue. You can be a die hard believer in creationism and still be (in most disciplines) an excellent scientist or engineer.

    On the other hand economic ignorance is vastly destructive. It has caused far more destruction and human suffering than creationism ever has.

    Why do we have so much economic ignorance? Because far too many liberals refuse to accept the fact that

    Economics is a Science. Really.

    So here is this week’s message for the Left: Economics is a science. Willful ignorance or emotional rejection of the well-known precepts of this science is at least as bad as a fundamentalist Christian’s willful ignorance of evolution science (for which the Left so often criticizes their opposition).

    In fact, economic ignorance is much worse, since most people can come to perfectly valid conclusions about most public policy issues with a flawed knowledge of the origin of the species but no one can with a flawed understanding of economics.

    Postscript: In fact, the more I think about it, the more economics and evolution are very similar. Both are sciences that are trying to describe the operation of very complex, bottom-up, self-organizing systems. And, in both cases, there exist many people who refuse to believe such complex and beautiful systems can really operate without top-down control.

  29. #29 |  RomanCandle | 

    Also, the same article points out that Americans had higher rates of sympathy for acts of terrorism than the above-mentioned countries.

    No, it said “bombing and other attacks aimed at civilians”, not terrorism.

    When I think of bombings aimed at civilians, I conjure up images of WWII-era carpet bombing, and I suspect many of the respondents did as well. The morality of Total Warfare is a discussion for another time, but whatever you think of it, it is objectively not terrorism.

    Ask Americans if they support terrorism, and I think you’ll find the vast majority do not. If they did, where are all the American terrorists? If Americans tolerated butchering civilians, why didn’t the US just nuke every Muslim country on 9/12? It’s certainly within our military capabilities.

    On the contrary, the vast majority of the most violent terrorist attacks have been committed by Islamic extremists. If that doesn’t prove to you that Islam has a unique problem with terrorism, I’m not sure what will.

    Also, some links describing the “violent opposition” to modernity by this “not insignificant minority” would be appreciated.

    Here’s several examples (so much so that I realize I’m into “tl;dr” territory at this point), most from the UK since English is my only language:

    In the UK, there have been 138 convictions for Islamist terrorism over the past ten years. During that same timespan, Muslim terrorists have killed roughly 4,000 Westerners (and countless more Muslims) while white nationalist terrorists have killed 200.

    “Officers in the borough of Tower Hamlets have ignored or downplayed outbreaks of hate crime, and suppressed evidence implicating Muslims in them, because they fear being accused of racism.”

    Multicultralism used to justify anti-Semitism and homophobia.

    British Muslims have “zero tolerance” for homosexuality (this rises to about 20-30% in Western Europe)

    40% support for Sharia Law

    “Supporters of violence remain a minority, but a wide gulf remains over the fundamentals of freedom of speech and democracy.”

    And, of course, both the Madrid train bombings and the London 7/7 bombings were carried out by Muslim immigrants or so-called first-generation “home-grown” terrorists. These attacks killed almost 250 people combined. Failed terrorists like Richard Reid and the “underwear bomber” were also home-grown.

    Anyway, this evidence proves my point about a “not insignificant minority” of Muslims have no interest in assimilating to Western values.

    It also shows, I hope, the dangers of moral relativism and “multiculturalism at all costs” that many liberals seem to believe in, even at the expense of Western values and lives.

  30. #30 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#74):By “stands” I mean, “I provided evidence supporting my assertion….”

    I doubt that asking a man on the street if he supports acts of terrorism that you’ll necessarily get the same answer as what he says in private to his close confidants, or what he feels in his heart.

    …as I mentioned above, the U.S. has more sympathy for acts of violence against civilians than the most fundamentalist Muslim countries.

    The numbers are apples and oranges, different questions.

    Palestinians danced in the streets on 9/11. Show me a comparable act of Americans celebrating the mass murder of innocent civilians.

  31. #31 |  Les | 

    When I think of bombings aimed at civilians, I conjure up images of WWII-era carpet bombing, and I suspect many of the respondents did as well. The morality of Total Warfare is a discussion for another time, but whatever you think of it, it is objectively not terrorism.

    If we use the dictionary definition of “terrorism” (the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion), carpet bombing in WWII was, objectively, terrorism.

    Ask Americans if they support terrorism, and I think you’ll find the vast majority do not. If they did, where are all the American terrorists? If Americans tolerated butchering civilians, why didn’t the US just nuke every Muslim country on 9/12?

    Ask Americans if they support the dictionary definition of terrorism, without using the word “terrorism,” and I think it’s been demonstrated that the majority do. They certainly love Ronald Reagan, whose support of terrorists was as determined as it was documented. And Americans most certainly do tolerate the butchering of civilians, so long as they’re not American. That’s why things like this:

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/rawagallery.php?mghash=a69ba84843a6c778938bd59b65a08f63&mggal=6

    and this:

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2011/03/nine-boys-and-a-war.html

    …happen on a regular basis. If our government even once implemented a policy that resulted in the predictable violent deaths of U.S. civilians, it would be stopped immediately. Overseas, however, it continues unabated.

    In the last 10 years, the U.S. and its western allies have killed thousands of civilians, as well. I know that they weren’t intentional, but they were thoroughly avoidable. If your loved one is killed intentionally or by a repeat drunk driver, it matters little. Dead is dead, and that’s how we should measure the damage done.

    I still don’t quite know what you mean by a “not insignificant minority” of Muslims. Does that mean, “enough to commit an act of terrorism?” Does that mean that in the U.S. such a “not insignificant minority” doesn’t exist? Or does that mean that because a few dull individuals were stopped before they could commit acts of terrorism, that the U.S. is in the same amount of danger as England, Spain, etc.?

    And to me, “moral relativism,” is the idea that Muslim children violently killed by drones on a regular basis are less worthy of outrage and mourning than European children who are violently killed in an isolated incident. “Moral relativism” is, to me, treating the lives of foreign civilians as if they are inherently less valuable than the lives of U.S. soldiers.

    And considering the humanitarian and civil rights violations committed by our government every day, I have no idea what “Western values” are anymore.

  32. #32 |  Les | 

    Elliot, like I said, if the bad behaviors of some members of a group are enough for you to justify feeling suspicious of all members of that group, there’s nothing I can say. Yours is an ancient attitude which, like the philosophy of a socialist, is incapable of seeing individuals, but rather uniform groups. It’s easier, certainly, than weighing the character of individuals, but it’s no less inaccurate or destructive.

  33. #33 |  demize! | 

    Elliott you are a fucknut. I usually dont insult so bluntly but you have to be one of the most staggering misinformed posters I’ve ever read. Everything you say if you replace Muslim with Jew would be a classical Anti-Semitic canard. I’ll end with Irgun, Palmach, Lehi, and Stern Gang.

  34. #34 |  demize! | 

    @Romancandle dude youre not writing s manifesto right now are you. The cognitive dissonance is amazing to me. You just had one of the nost serious acts of terrorism perpetrsted in Europe by a VERY NON MOOSLIM, VERY WHITE DOOD and youre positing that all, most, this type, inspired by, whatever acts of violence are of an Islamic modality or some shit. Its like there was no IRA, UDA, ETA, I mention the Israeli terrorists in my first post. The King David Hotel bombing, The Olaf Palme assasination, The Lavon Affair…

  35. #35 |  demize! | 

    PS. Aldo Moro, Bologna train station bombing. These 2 provided courtesy of your friends via Operation Gladio who I suspect had a hand in this current atrocity.

  36. #36 |  Xenocles | 

    @81

    Under that definition, all armed conflict (and indeed, most diplomacy) counts as terrorism. That makes the term so broad as to be irrelevant. We already have a word for war – it’s “war.” A better definition would be something like “asymmetric total war from the weak position.”

  37. #37 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#82):Elliot, like I said, if the bad behaviors of some members of a group are enough for you to justify feeling suspicious of all members of that group, there’s nothing I can say.

    You’re completely ignoring what I’ve written.

    You said, “most don’t support terrorism.”

    I responded, “I hope it is true, but I’ve seen enough (first-hand and via media) which sadly makes me unsure of that.”

    Where do you get “all members”? The discussion was “most”, i.e., 51% or more. My very reluctant concern is that your “objective fact” is actually arguable. I would be quite surprised if, in their hearts, 51% of Muslims worldwide supported terrorism—but I wouldn’t be astounded to the point of questioning my sanity.

    Yours is an ancient attitude…is incapable of seeing individuals, but rather uniform groups. It’s easier, certainly, than weighing the character of individuals, but it’s no less inaccurate or destructive.

    You know what, you and “demize” can piss off if you’re just going to ignore what I’ve written and accuse me of bigotry.

    I’ve done business with Muslims on a daily basis. In the 90s, my wife managed a store adjacent to a young man from Bangladesh who was very assimilated. He has since expanded and done quite well. My family has had social relationships with Muslims, from dinner parties and birthdays to my daughter going to a slumber party at a Muslim family’s house. Out of all of those people, only two out of dozens have ever given me pause. One for saying things like, “Hitler didn’t go far enough.” Another for having propaganda material to teach to children of Muslim Americans, who did a piss-poor job of concealing his happiness on 9/11.

    I believe in the power of American culture to convert immigrants from third world countries and their descendants to a more enlightened viewpoint. I’d say that the vast majority of Muslims living in the US oppose terrorism, because of that cultural influence. If people living here do approve of Islamic terrorism, they are most likely to be from a few narrow groups: prison converts (Nation of Islam types), disillusioned poor who only see the worst elements of Western society (drugs, prostitution, crime), and student visas who grow up elsewhere.

    Muslims living in Europe have similar influences towards enlightenment, but they have far more radicals for a variety of reasons. And, in Muslim countries, there is a wide range of education, wealth, and sophistication which correlates strongly with how enlightened the average man on the street is.

  38. #38 |  Elliot | 

    demize (#83):Everything you say if you replace Muslim with Jew would be a classical Anti-Semitic canard.

    Bullshit.

    See previous comment.

    You’re being very stupid here.

  39. #39 |  Wesley | 

    I have read PZ Myers for years. He is unswervingly rational when it comes to religion and science, and I enjoy reading his blog.

    That being said, half the time political issues crop up on Pharyngula, I cringe. It is disappointing that such a pro-reason scientists that scrutinizes every religious or anti-science claim fails to use such critical analysis when it comes to politics. In response to criticism of “new atheists,” he readily points out that atheists are not just a group of uniform back-patters, and that there are wide disagreements, and those disagreements can be healthy. Of course, then he does the same thing that he criticizes with libertarians.

    He also universally dismisses all Republicans as “Rethuglicans,” but only denounces Democrats on a case-by-case basis on their own merits. Not that I’m defending Republicans, as the party leadership is a bunch of social conservative nutjobs, but the double-standard is revealing. And no one can argue that Gary Johnson is the same as, say, Michelle Bachmann.

    Oh well. I’ll continue to read PZ and just roll my eyes and try to ignore his emotionally-charged political ravings.

  40. #40 |  VikingMoose | 

    Greg Laden is much worse than PZ.

    but both have dog whistle reactions to “libertarian” – but their “trigger image” does exist and is seen frequently enough both hier and on H&R

    Rune – I’ll bet Information and Politikken were salivating at his political affiliation…

    duracomm – i am (a micro-) an economist. I find equally-appalling ignorance on all sides of the coin. there’s enough ignorance to go around and not enough actual knowledge.

  41. #41 |  Deoxy | 

    And there’s just as good a case for terrorism in the Bible.

    In the old testament, sure – and that case is rather explicitly denounced in the new testament. While certainly Christians are imperfect and commit sin (an important theological point in Christianity), and there are certainly amazing atrocities committed in the name of Christianity in history (the sacking of Jerusalem in the first crusade, the Inquisition, support in some cases for race-based slavery), the vast majority of them were done/supported by the Catholic Church, using non-Biblical justification. Not saying that makes in all better, by any stretch, but I think useful logical groups are about more than simply taking at face-value whatever name people put on themselves.

    So, in Iran, for instance, you’re suggesting that because totalitarian government there supports terrorism (just as the U.S. did throughout the Cold War), that means that most of the citizens of Iran also support terrorism?

    Not at all – go do some digging as to where Islamic terror groups get their funding, and you’ll find big chunks come from certain governments, yes… but also that large chunks come from people, as well. Saudi Arabia is the worst and most obvious in this department, but other countries do so as well (especially regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but more than that as well).

    To call it “objective fact” that “most Muslims reject terrorism” is to become irrelevant to people that actually pay attention to the world.

    There are easy ways to judge these things, you know. (links)

    yay, links! Links that A) don’t include the actual studies they talk about or B) give DEAD links to the studies they discuss. Yay.

    Also, the claims themselves are problematic. For instance “”bombing and other attacks intentionally aimed at civilians” are “never justified,”” – well, in nation-on-nation war, attacks on production facilities are “intentionally aimed at civilians”, and, when given that example, how many people would claim those are “never justified”? Seriously, that’s not a useful question, and it appears not to match the questions asked in the Muslim countries, either (at least, from the article – can’t see the actual study).

    As to what justifies what, the list (given in the very wikipedia link you gave) of Muslim grievances (grievances which justify stuff they might not like in general, just as we justify bombings during war) are fundamental problems at the cultural and moral level. The easiest example is “Unconditional U.S. support to Israel”. While I would hardly call it “unconditional”, it’s certainly very strong… and for the obvious reason that Israel is democratic, western state with values and morals at least largely similar to our own, while all its neighbors are authoritarian (dictator or monarchy) governments, many of which repress their own people and/or intentionally scapegoat Israel and jews in general (taking advantage of another wonderful part of Islam) with state-controlled media. The other listed grievances are mostly similar.

    The surveys, IMO, are worthless unless they go deeper than just asking the obvious. Sure, you think terrorism is bad… how do you feel about the Israeli-Palestinian issue? Is terrorism justified there? Ask that, and watch those “approval of terrorism” numbers change FAST!

    That’s not to say that I doubt their honesty, mind you – only that I believe people tend to answer such questions with ideals, and that most human beings manage to live quite happily in the cognitive dissonance of contradictory ideals. Terrorism is ALWAYS bad! Blowing up Israeli kids is OK! What else justifies what? What other exceptions to “always” exist?

    Even the fast-changing nature of the results themselves is an indicator to me – if the subjects of these surveys can swing their beliefs on this topic 30+ points in less than 10 years, they can swing back just as easily (and farther) – it tells me that at least one of those surveys is wrong. What people really believe and act on often does not match what they WANT to believe and may well claim (even to themselves) to believe.

    And that’s completely discounting “Taqiyya” (which I actually think may not apply in these surveys, if they were conducted competently). Whether you consider Taqiyya or not, I think it best to judge by actions, not surveys.

    And the actions tell me, based on where terrorists come from and how comfortably public they can be with their views, what I said originally: most muslims reject terrorism quietly, at best.

  42. #42 |  Deoxy | 

    To clarify, yes, I could actually believe that most Muslims actually do reject terrorism and simply don’t act on that for a variety of reasons (false consensus, timidity, religious, whatever), but I don’t really care – they generally DON’T act on it, which is the point.

  43. #43 |  David in Balt | 

    @ Deoxy

    You should really brush up on your Christian mythology. Terrorism, murder, rape, etcetera are explicitly endorsed in the new testament. Or in Jesus own words (KJV):
    Luke 19:27
    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.
    (and before you start some b.s. Christian apologetic rant, no serious bible scholar disputes that the story is Jesus telling an allegory for himself. The context of the story makes that clear.)

    Revelation 2:21-23
    23And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
    (Again, no apologetic B.S. This is your god commanding this to happen.)

    These are the first two examples that popped up off the top of my head. If I actually took the time I could turn up dozens of such verses from the new testament. Really thought, that would be pointless. Jesus was a Jew. Christianity is a subset of Judaism. In your post you tried to throw out the old testament, but you can not do that. Without the old testament the new testament is worthless, and as Jesus said:
    Matthew 5:17
    “17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.”

    Finally to your claim that most of the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity were done by the Catholic Church, yes, you are 100% correct. I was raised Catholic, attended Catholic schools, and embraced Catholicism as an adolescent. One of the greatest things about that was the nuns and school faculty who openly laid out to me the atrocities committed by the Church. I assume they thought doing so would inoculate us against future criticism but honestly I have never met more atheists in one place than in a Catholic high school theology class.

    After that bit, though, your basically talking out your ass. First off the Catholic Church used perfectly legitimate biblical justifications for the majority of it’s actions. Like it or not, they did. Name me an atrocity and I can find you a reference to biblical scripture cited as reason for the action (a few notable exceptions excluded such as the pedophiles). Furthermore, the only reason Protestants (as bloody and atrocious as their record is) do not have such a claim to fame is because the outgrowth of Protestantism from the Catholic faith is directly linked to the age of reason. The only reason Protestantism exists is because the Christian mythology was already being shackled by secularism and reason. Protestants could simply not get away with what the Catholic Church had historically because the only reason they existed to begin with (and not killed off as heretics en masse) is because secular reason and authority was beginning to ride roughshod over the Christian religion. The Protestants simply did not have the blind, unquestioning loyalty that the Catholics had had; not that they did not try to match their cruelty (and they gave it a good run).

  44. #44 |  Les | 

    Elliot, I know you’re not suspicious of all Muslims. But you’ve given the impression that you’re suspicious of all Muslims that you haven’t met and don’t know. And that’s over a billion people. I honestly don’t think you’re a bigot, I do believe your thinking is prejudiced.

    You think the Muslims you know have rejected terrorism because of “the power of American culture.” Not because they’re individuals with unfathomably complex perspectives on life and morality, but because they’re here in America. Mind you, this is a culture from where this:

    http://www.rawa.org/temp/runews/rawagallery.php?mghash=a69ba84843a6c778938bd59b65a08f63&mggal=6

    is being done on a regular basis for no reason at all and is accepted because those aren’t American women and children. “American culture” imprisons more of its citizens and at higher rates than any other “culture” on the planet.

    Look, if you were a Muslim praising Muslim culture, I’d be arguing with you, too. I’m happy to live here, happy with certain progress being made in some areas. But cultures are made of individuals making decisions and every individual deserves to be judged (if at all) based on his or her own decisions. The Muslims you’ve never met deserve just as much respect as the Muslims you have, until they do something deserving of less respect. Being suspicious of people you’ve never met and have no knowledge of is not respecting those individuals.

  45. #45 |  Les | 

    Deoxy, you’ve basically written a lot to attempt to justify your belief that Muslims behave differently than the rest of humanity. War mongers are war mongers, no matter their background. Same for authoritarians and xenophobes. They’re everywhere in every culture.

    I’m glad to live here, where there are relatively more freedoms than there are, say, in a country like Pakistan or Iran. But those countries aren’t less free because they’re Muslim. They’re less free because they’re conservative.

    Every culture has its share of people who think someone else’s culture or country has more rotten people in it, and none of it matters. All that matters is how individuals behave, being genuinely curious about individual people and their characters. And painting over a billion people with the same brush is not only demonstrably inaccurate, it’s the opposite of curiosity.

  46. #46 |  Les | 

    And here are some Muslims who have been so affected by American culture that they have transcended it. Or maybe they were this way before they got here.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/18/rais-bhuiyan-pleads-to-spare-mark-stroman_n_902137.html

  47. #47 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#94):Elliot, I know you’re not suspicious of all Muslims. But you’ve given the impression that you’re suspicious of all Muslims that you haven’t met and don’t know.

    If you have that impression, that’s due to poor reading on your part, or faulty assumptions. I can’t help that.

    You think the Muslims you know have rejected terrorism because of “the power of American culture.” Not because they’re individuals with unfathomably complex perspectives on life and morality, but because they’re here in America.

    Many have become enlightened by living in the West. Much of the Muslim world is pre-enlightenment. So, it’s a good thing for people to be exposed to other cultures, particularly if they are born in a place where brutality is accepted and people are discouraged from questioning authority.

    I didn’t say all immigrants are enlightened only because they are here. People in relatively wealthy families tend to have more of a chance in their home country of having more education, and less of a chance to have their freedom squashed so harshly.

    Yes, these things are complex. If you took away from what I wrote that I saw things in simple, black and white distinctions, you’re mistaken.

    I appreciate your comments on war and prison populations. It is precisely because of those civilian casualties that I went from ambivalence to being anti-war. I’ve also been an opponent of vice crimes for even longer. I see these as an abandonment of old American tendencies towards avoiding foreign entanglements and respecting individual freedoms. Or, perhaps, the evils of slavery and segregation, having been eliminated, have been replaced with new evils.

    As for Muslims living overseas, like I said, there’s a wide range of attributes. But in the big picture, the amount of support that radicals get could only be reduced by more enlightened social values.

    I’m not as optimistic as you. The Taliban is resilient in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Muslim Brotherhood is gaining in power in Egypt. Syria and Iran suppress civil unrest with an iron fist, with impunity.

  48. #48 |  albatross | 

    There is one very easy way to check whether a large fraction of Muslims in the US are at all inclined toward terrorism: we have a population of a couple million Muslims here, and yet, we haven’t seen many attacks or attempted attacks. From Muslims here, we’ve seen the Times Square guy and the wacko who shot up Ft Hood. (I’m not clear on whether that would be better classified as a terrorist attack or more like a mass-shooting. If he had espoused any ideology but Islamic fundamentalism, I think he’d be widely considered as just another nut who went postal and shot up his workplace. On the other hand, he’d been in email contact with some pretty nasty characters who appear to have encouraged him to carry out the attack or something like it.).

    There have been a few terrorism arrests of Muslims as well. I think the great majority of the arrests have involved pretty unimpressive would-be terrorists (the FBI provides them the weapons, money, and plot, then arrests them), but there have also been a couple of apparently quite serious attacks headed off by the Feds arresting the would-be terrorists before they managed to do any damage.

    All this is not consistent with a world in which any large fraction of Muslims in the US are actively interested in becoming terrorists.

  49. #49 |  Primateus | 

    The first comment nailed it.

  50. #50 |  Steve Florman | 

    Remember that the University of Minnesota Morris is a small agricultural cow college, not the world-respected research institution University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. If it were, Myers would be an unrepentant Castroite.