News Bits

by Luke Muehlhauser on June 18, 2010 in News

New at the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “The Ethics of Belief,” by Andrew Chignell.

5,000 people and their mothers sent me this story: Lightning strikes giant statue of Jesus and burns it to the ground. Church will rebuild its massive idol despite clearly inviting the wrath of Yahweh by breaking the Second Commandment. :)

What is Islamophobia?

Vridar: 17+ Mantras of Biblical Scholarship.

Some chick frickin’ singsFlight of the Bumblebee.”

This proves it. China will conquer Earth. India will not.

Still one of my favorite essays on any subject: “Lies We Tell Kids” by Paul Graham.

If I still cared about sports, I would be pissed about this.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

noen June 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

TheReligionofPeace dot com is an anti-islamic hate site. You should be ashamed of yourself for linking to a racist website. Truly disgusting.

One dead giveaway is the ad for Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” but the rest is the typical lies and bigotry that I see everyday on far right fascist websites. Will you be linking to Pamela Geller’s website too?

You know, just because some fascist or white supremacist group drops trou and squeezes out a loaf doesn’t mean you should pick it up and play with it. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Do you?

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Justfinethanks June 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm

“Islam is an ideology. It’s not a race.”

-Ibrahim Hooper, Council on American Islamic Relations spokesman.
July 31, 2007, Paula Zahn Now, CNN

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noen June 18, 2010 at 1:04 pm

Justfinethanks
“Islam is an ideology. It’s not a race.”

Ah no… it’s a religion. What most people mean by ideology is a political ideology. Second, today right-wing racists couch their racism in what is called “dog whistle” politics. They have coded words and phrases that have a different meaning to insiders. So when a right wing fascist decries “islamofascism” or complains about liberal “dhiminitude” we know that the real object of his hate is racially charged. Such words are racial slurs.

Another good example would be the anti-immigration rhetoric you see at right wing racist websites. They never actually come out and call illegal immigrants the traditional racial slurs. They use other words and phrases but we know that the origin of their bigotry lies in racial animus.

Besides… “Islam is an ideology” yeah, so is Zionism isn’t it? But if you read an anti-Zionist website you would be quite the fool in believing that the authors are merely concerned about the policies of Israel. If the hate is ramped up to ten you can be pretty sure that it’s really an antisemitic site.

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Justfinethanks June 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Ideology: a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture.

It’s fair to say that Islam is both an ideology and a religion, since religions are necessarily idealogical. And I really don’t quite see what is racist about criticizing ideologies. You, for example, feel comfortable criticizing the ideology of “right wing fascism,” and I would certainly join you in that, and no intelligent person should ever suspect that someone making such criticism is racist against Italians and Germans.

Mainly because, even though Germany and Italy were the breeding grounds for 20th century right wing fascism, there is no real reason other than historical to link the ideology to the race of its primary proponents. Also, the proponents of right wing fascism extend beyond Germans and Italians, so it would be doubly silly to make such an accusation.

Similarly, though the majority of Muslims are of African or Middle Eastern descent, it’s possible to treat it as an ideology separate from the races of its proponents. Also the propenants of Islam extend beyond those of African and Middle Eastern descent, so I don’t quite understand the question (other than sociological) to connect the religion to race.

So when a right wing fascist decries “islamofascism” or complains about liberal “dhiminitude” we know that the real object of his hate is racially charged. Such words are racial slurs.

So, calling anti-Islam rhetoric “racist” makes sense so long we assume we can know what is really going on in the mind of someone who speaks against Islam? How can we possibly read minds in such a manner? What exactly would prevent a reasonable person from using the same logic in thinking that “right wing fascist” is just a code word for “Krauts and Greaseballs”?

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Lorkas June 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Who’s being the intolerant one when noen persists in referring to Islam as a race while Muslim Ibrahim Hooper is asking people to stop referring to it as a race?

We all know that some people are racists toward people of Middle Eastern descent, but a lot of people who would be referred to by some as “Islamophobes” are merely concerned about how some Islamic doctrines (particularly those most strongly espoused by Islamic fundamentalists) will affect our culture as our two cultures interact more over the coming years.

Sure, it’s a mistake to assume that everyone is expressing the latter good-faith concern, but it’s just as big a mistake to assume that all “Islamophobia” boils down to racism, as you’ve suggested in multiple comments on this blog.

You would think someone so “concerned” about tolerance as you are would be more willing to give others the benefit of the doubt.

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lukeprog June 18, 2010 at 4:54 pm

noen,

Did you actually read anything on that site? They specifically explain that they are not against whatever ‘race’ might be associated with Islam, nor against all Muslims. Methinks you just like to call people ‘racist,’ without actually addressing anything they’ve said.

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Zeb June 18, 2010 at 4:57 pm

Noen is right in spirit if not in word. “Racism” is not quite right, but the website linked in the OP and several others lukeprog has promoted do display hateful tribalism, that could perhaps be called nationalism or nativism. The same sort of stuff was being circulated in pamphlet form about Catholics in the US in the 1800s. It’s fine to criticize any religion on it’s teachings, but demonizing the adherents of one as inherently threatening is bad in the same way racism is.

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Justfinethanks June 18, 2010 at 5:09 pm

Methinks you just like to call people ‘racist,’ without actually addressing anything they’ve said.

Methinks that’s an accurate assessment. And since we’ve yet to see noen actually address arguments put forward by anti-Islamicists, besides “not all Muslims are like that,” which virtually everyone who argues against Islam happily concede. Which seems to indicate that he’s relying on “X are racists, therefore X’s arguments are invalid,” a straightforward ad hominem.

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Dan June 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Just in case you didnt know, That shark belongs to a house in a redidential street in Oxford ( near a small “art house” cinema ).

I passed by it many times years ago when i used to go to movies in oxford :).

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drj June 18, 2010 at 6:06 pm

And speaking of Islamophobia: Pakistani lawyer petitions for death of Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook exec) over “Draw Muhammed” day.

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Beelzebub June 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm

“China will conquer the Earth”

Is that a new form of contraception? Talk about the Nutcracker suite.

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tom June 18, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Noen-

One dead giveaway is the ad for Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”
Please explain how “I’m selling this Ayn Rand book” entails “I hate people with darker skin”.

…but the rest is the typical lies and bigotry
I’m not familiar with the site, so I’m open to the possibility that what you’re saying is true, but you really ought to provide at least one clear and substantial example of of lying, and one of bigotry, if you want your assertions to appeared tethered to reality.
I had a hard time finding any examples there after a min or two of checking. Help me out.

Will you be linking to Pamela Geller’s website too?
She is a raving lunatic (and yes, I’ll provide examples on the off chance that anyone here disagrees with that) but if you want this question to be something other than a pathetic cheap shot, you’ll have to substantiate your claim that the site to which Luke linked is comparable.
We all agree that bigotry is a bad thing. If the disagreement is over what amounts to bigotry, it adds nothing to the discussion to mention a bigot like Geller and say “will you link to her next?”

just because some fascist or white supremacist group…
Just to keep track: this is your third time in one post making that assertion. One assertion would do, if you could prove it, a thousand won’t, if you can’t.

Also, it’s not enough just to cast aspersions about the use of “dog whistle” rhetoric. You have to actually establish that the charge applies in the example under discussion.

It’s a shame you need to be told how to argue, since these kind of meta-arguments are so tedious, but there seems to be a fairly solid consensus about that need.

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Zeb June 19, 2010 at 7:40 am

Looking further into the “Islamophobia” site, they do have good statements about Muslims and about race and racism. However they are guilty of distortions that at best will help promote nationalism and racism. First, they take the baffling approach, so common among atheists around here, of arguing vehemently for a radically fundamentalist reading of the religion, and then argue against that. “Even if there is no such thing as moderate Islam, it does not mean that there are no moderate Muslims.” It is not for outsiders to declare what a religion “really” teaches. Islam is not “what the Koran says”[in your opinion]; Muslims believe you have to ask Muslims (and accept the variety you find). The site is building a straw man with turban on it and telling us to fear the straw man. Second, it is minimizes the real evil of Islamophobia and supports the kind of sensational and degrading coding used by full on nationalists and racists. “A non-Muslim who knows more than they are supposed to know about Islam.” supposed to by whom? “Since [beheading] is now impractical outside of the Muslim world” Muslim world? Also, by the way, beheading is illegal in many majority Muslim countries.”Women who don’t want to be draped in black bags.” We all know what a bhurka is, but “black bag” gets the cultural superiority angle right. “Conservatives who believe in preserving the Western heritage…” wait, I thought this was about ideologies, not peoples and their geographic or racial identifiers.

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noen June 19, 2010 at 11:25 am

justfinethanks
It’s fair to say that Islam is both an ideology and a religion, since religions are necessarily idealogical. And I really don’t quite see what is racist about criticizing ideologies.

The Western multicultural society you live in is also an ideology. Culture = religion = ideology for 99% of human history. While it is possible I suppose to criticize someone’s culture without attacking the person in practice it’s next to impossible. Try telling an African American that you hate their clothes, their language, their music and how they raise their children and then tell them they should act more like us white folk see what happens.

So, calling anti-Islam rhetoric “racist” makes sense so long we assume we can know what is really going on in the mind of someone who speaks against Islam? How can we possibly read minds in such a manner?

We can know what other people think by examining their words and deeds. Because we are human and they are human we can have a good idea that someone is being disingenuous when their words do not match their behavior or otherwise correspond with reality.

I know that fears that illegals are committing crimes are racially motivated because I know that crime has in fact gone down in Arizona.

I know that fears that Islam is taking over and out reproducing white Westerners is racially motivated because I know that Islam comprises a tiny minority of the population.

Fascism is fear of outsiders. So whenever you see irrational claims made against an outsider group you can be confident that the motive for that fear is racially based.

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lukeprog
Did you actually read anything on that site? They specifically explain that they are not against whatever ‘race’ might be associated with Islam, nor against all Muslims.

Are you really that gullible? Do you also believe Peter Brimelow when he claims that V-Dare is not a White Nationalist group? Again, very few racists are open about their beliefs. People can lie you know.

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tom
Please explain how “I’m selling this Ayn Rand book” entails “I hate people with darker skin”.

Objectivism is a cult. Nothing they or their members say can be trusted. The presence of ad for Randian books tells me that owners of the site are at least sympathetic with the personality cult of those who follow Ayn Rand. Yes, it means that everything you say is shit just like if I see a swastika on your site I know you are shit.

you really ought to provide at least one clear and substantial example of of lying, and one of bigotry

I don’t have the time and I have other interests. It is impossible for me to know every single false argument. I don’t have to refute everything that Pat Condell spews to know that he is an anti-islamic bigot. I just have to listen to him speak and I can feel the waves of hate coming across the wires.

There may not even be many factual errors on “thereligionofpeace” website but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a hate site.

If you had lived during the time of the Nazi’s you would have had a very hard time refuting the scientific claims they made in defense of their antisemitism. They were quite smooth and sophisticated in their propaganda. All the same, you would have known their true nature by the trail of slime they left behind.

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tom June 19, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Objectivism is a cult. Nothing they or their members say can be trusted.

For a guy who’s worried about bigotry, and judging entire groups by the actions of some members, I’m pretty sure this is worse than anything else that’s been asserted in this thread or anything it links to.

I don’t have to refute everything that Pat Condell spews to know that he is an anti-islamic bigot.

I asked for one example, you complain that you don’t have time to amass all of them.

If you had lived during the time of the Nazi’s you would have had a very hard time refuting the scientific claims they made in defense of their antisemitism. They were quite smooth and sophisticated in their propaganda. All the same, you would have known their true nature by the trail of slime they left behind.

I might have at least tried, if I wanted to convince people of my position. Instead, you’ve removed yourself from the realm of discourse and declared your own opinions not worth the time it takes you to justify them.

By the way, that analogy is cheap. I’m not asking you to refute claims that only an expert would be qualified to deal with. The charge of bigotry is not an esoteric subject understood only by those with PhDs in the subject.

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Tshepang Lekhonkhobe June 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Interesting that you enjoy Paul Graham’s essay, for I consider him the best writer (blogger) on the topic of software development.

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Justfinethanks June 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

While it is possible I suppose to criticize someone’s culture without attacking the person in practice it’s next to impossible.

That seems awfully odd. For example, if a foreigner criticized the American cultural practice of overeating, should I take it as a personal attack? I certainly wouldn’t feel insulted by someone making any kind of criticism of American culture, so long as what they are claiming can be supported. In fact, I would cheerfully join them in their criticism of that part of my culture.

Try telling an African American that you hate their clothes, their language, their music and how they raise their children and then tell them they should act more like us white folk see what happens.

This idea seems to conflict with what you said earlier. It could be argued that pressing for cultural hegemony is a white cultural practice. So, in criticizing this culture, are you simultaneously attacking or insulting white people?

We can know what other people think by examining their words and deeds. Because we are human and they are human we can have a good idea that someone is being disingenuous when their words do not match their behavior or otherwise correspond with reality.

While I suppose I agree that it sometimes is reasonable to make inferences regarding “true motivation” based on words and deeds, I suppose I simply don’t share your confidence in making such an inference regarding critics of Islam. Plus, it is a bit odd to say that prominent Islam critics Ayaan Hirsi Ali or Ibn Warraq are motivated by racism.

So whenever you see irrational claims made against an outsider group you can be confident that the motive for that fear is racially based.

Possibly. But I’m not really interested in “irrational claims.” What if you are making perfectly rational claims about an outsider group? Should we still infer racism is a motivator?

It is impossible for me to know every single false argument

And no one expects you to. However, it would be minimally charitable to provide at least one or two examples of faulty arguments presented by critics of Islam.

I don’t have to refute everything that Pat Condell spews to know that he is an anti-islamic bigot. I just have to listen to him speak and I can feel the waves of hate coming across the wires.

It may be the case that Pat Condell is a bigot. That inevitable question is: so what? Assuming that all of his criticisms of Islam are legitimate, what is the point in calling him a bigot? Are you more interested in knowing who is or is not a bigot than who is or is not making truthful and accurate claims?

And if they aren’t legitimate, it seems more relevant to criticize the arguments than slap labels on the person.

There may not even be many factual errors on “thereligionofpeace” website but that doesn’t change the fact that it is a hate site.

It appears then we may just have different priorities. I don’t really care if claims are hateful, so long as they are factual and well supported. That is, I place the truth value of an argument or claim above whatever motivation the person making that claim might have.

If you disagree with that notion, why exactly is placing the “hateful” label on a factual, well supported claim relevant? How is that not just a meaningless ad hominem, wherein you are placing the character of the argumentor above the soundness of the argument?

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Rhys Wilkins June 19, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Luke,

You have to watch this (d/w, it’s only 3 mins long).

William Lane Craig Is Not a Feminist.

Just came out yesterday. I literally could not believe my fucking ears when I watched this! Just unbelievable. My respect for Craig just literally went down miles.

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Justfinethanks June 19, 2010 at 4:48 pm

My respect for Craig just literally went down miles.

Have you seen his sex advice?

Craig: A man achieves intimacy with the woman he loves through sexual intercourse; but a woman views intimacy as a pre-requisite for sexual intercourse. So if you’re sensing emotional distance from your spouse, what do you do? You seem to be at an impasse. If you find yourselves in this situation, then my advice is that it is the wife who should yield and be open to her husband’s advances. Otherwise what you’re doing is using sex as a weapon: saying in effect, “You first meet my emotional needs or I’m going to withhold sex from you.” That’s manipulative and unloving. Sometime after having sex, you can then raise the issues with him that you feel have created an emotional distance between you and seek to resolve them.

http://www.reasonablefaith.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=7344

So to be clear: a woman who refrains from sex with her husband because she doesn’t feel emotionally intimate is being manipulative, but a man who demands that women put out to their husbands, regardless if they really want to, is not. After you get your man’s rocks off is the time to hash out relationship issues.

Dan Savage this man is not.

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lukeprog June 19, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Rhys,

What’s the problem? The YouTube guy misrepresents Craig. Craig did not say that women are too sentimental to get anything from his book. What he said was that On Guard will especially appeal to men, because it takes a logical approach to things rather than a sentimental one. I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the average woman is more sentimental than the average man, and that the average man is more logic-oriented than the average woman. This is like saying that a religious-themed sports book will more likely appeal to men than women: Duh. Of course there are female hockey fans and there are female mathematicians. That doesn’t change the fact that many generalizations are true as generalizations.

I guess now I’m going to be accused (by noen, probably) of sexism because I acknowledge there are average biological and neurological differences between men and women. But any other view is simply unscientific. In fact, the differences are large enough to have important medical implications, the ignorance of which may cause great suffering.

As for Craig’s sex advice: yeah, not cool. Clearly a double standard.

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Lorkas June 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

“Objectivism is a cult. Nothing they or their members say can be trusted.”

I guess it’s okay to stereotype and demonize followers of some ideologies, but not others.

I’ve known since you responded to Pat Condell’s video about insults by insulting Pat Condell that your irony meter was broken, but now you’re just being ridiculous.

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Rhys Wilkins June 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

I really do think it was a gratuitous comment that he made. It would be like my Calculus professor declaring at the beginning of semester to his audience:

“Oh yeah everyone, this course is great for MEN. This is a real MANs course. This course involves lots of logic, number crunching and analysis-based problem solving. You won’t be getting any fluffy sentimental postmodern disquisitions in this course! Sorry ladies!”

Or if my English Lit high school teacher said “yeah this class is for WOMEN, this is a WOMENs class. This class isn’t for boring rational logical men, this is a class for your creative emotional side to flourish and freely be expressed.”

If I was a female Christian philosophy undergraduate and I heard his comment, I would have told Craig to go screw himself sideways.

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noen June 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Lorkas
I guess it’s okay to stereotype and demonize followers of some ideologies, but not others.

Yes, it is ok when dealing with extremist ideologies. It is ok to demonize Nazi’s because they really are evil. It is ok to demonize the personality cult of Ayn Rand who famously modeled her lead character in Atlas Shrugged after a child rapist and serial killer. Ayn Rand got all wet just thinking about him. If you are a member of the objectivist cult then you believe in a political system that holds the values of a sociopathic serial killer as it’s highest ideal.

I’ve known since you responded to Pat Condell’s video about insults by insulting Pat Condell that your irony meter was broken

There is no moral imperative to tolerate intolerance. I’d say the exact opposite. People should insult, ridicule and harangue racism, fascism and bigotry. It is worthless to try to engage filth in reasoned discourse. I mock them, laugh at them and show them for the filth they are.

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Justfinethanks June 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Yes, it is ok when dealing with extremist ideologies.

It seems to follow, then, that by your moral framework it is perfectly acceptable to demonize fundamentalist Muslims so long as fundamentalist Islam qualifies as an “extremist ideology.” So is it simply your contention that fundamentalist Islam doesn’t qualify as such?

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tom June 19, 2010 at 9:08 pm

Noen argues that since one of Rand’s protagonists is said to have been modeled partly on a child rapist and serial killer, we are all at liberty to demonize those influenced by Rand’s philosophy, despite the fact that her philosophy does not in any way promote or idealize child rape and murder.

But anyone who criticizes a religion actually founded by a serial child rapist and polygamist, well that’s clearly bigotry. Racism, even. Noen knows it when he sees it. How? He just does.

“Ayn Rand got all wet just thinking about him.”

I’m glad to see you say stuff like this, because it bothers me when I feel like I’m failing to establish any common ground or any constructive disagreement with someone who is more or less serious and arguing in good faith.
I don’t worry about how constructively I engage people who merely emote on behalf of their beliefs.

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tom June 19, 2010 at 9:10 pm

(As usual, though, Justfinethanks has the better, more precise response.)

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Lorkas June 19, 2010 at 9:34 pm

The only difference between your own position and the position taken by the so-called Islamophobes is which group you’re choosing to stereotype and express bigotry toward.

In fact, I’ll take your bait and defend the proposition that we shouldn’t even demonize the Nazis (internets explode in 3… 2… 1…):

Obviously we all hate the Nazi movement, but that doesn’t mean that we should hate every individual who happened to be in the German military while the Nazi party was in power. Since the Nazis used conscription to fill its military, there’s no reason to assume that members of the military even supported the war, or the Final Solution. A lot of them were just 18-year old kids just trying to find their way when the government puts a gun in their hands and sends them off to Poland.

So, since there is no good reason to assume that all Nazis supported all the actions taken by the leaders of the Nazi party, there is no good reason to demonize every individual who was a Nazi.

You’re better off just not demonizing any group at all in my opinion. I know it’s harder when you actually have to think about the world instead of putting everything in tidy little labeled boxes, but I think you’ll find yourself to be less of an ass if you get a little more consistency in your outlook.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of the prominence of Holocaust denial in Arab nations? Read just a bit about it and you’ll find that the people you’re defending against “hate speech” have quite a bit of hate speech of their own toward the Jews, just like another group whose name eludes me at the moment (but who I have a feeling you’ve recently claimed it’s okay to demonize).

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lukeprog June 19, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Rhys,

I see what you’re saying. I guess it all depends on how much emphasis you interpret Craig as placing on the point. Consider another example: What if a young woman was looking her college’s course guide with her advisor, and she said:

STUDENT: What about mechanical engineering 101?

ADVISOR: Sure, but it doesn’t fulfill any of your central degree requirements. But it will be mostly men, so I guess it depends on what you’re looking to get out of the semester… [wink wink]

STUDENT: How do you know? Have you looked at the register?

ADVISOR: Well no, but…

STUDENT: [incensed] What are you trying to say? That women are incapable of precise, logical thinking? That women don’t like do that kind of work? That mechanical engineering is for men????

ADVISOR: No, I just meant…

STUDENT: I can’t believe how sexist you are!

:)

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noen June 19, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Justfinethanks
is it simply your contention that fundamentalist Islam doesn’t qualify as such?

I think that Wahhabist Muslims are very bad. I think that Christian Dominionists are very bad. I think that the Jewish Defense League is very bad.

by your moral framework it is perfectly acceptable to demonize fundamentalist Muslims so long as fundamentalist Islam qualifies as an “extremist ideology.”

No, it is not acceptable. The people who are demonizing fundamentalist Islam are right wing bigots like Pat Condel. I mock, ridicule and criticize their racism. Then they cry like a WATB because someone dared to criticize them back. It goes like this:

Wing-nut: “The dirty Moooooslims gonna impose sharia law and steal our wimmins!!”

Liberal: No, they’re not and you really shouldn’t say that.

Wing-nut: “Reverse rascism!! Whaaaaaaaaa! Address mah points libs!”

The criticism and mockery of racists and bigots is not immoral. When I criticize and mock you for your bigoted stereotyping of Christianity I am not myself being prejudiced.

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Tom
Noen argues that since one of Rand’s protagonists is said to have been modeled partly on a child rapist and serial killer, we are all at liberty to demonize those influenced by Rand’s philosophy, despite the fact that her philosophy does not in any way promote or idealize child rape and murder.

Tom has trouble with his reading skills. Here is what I said:

If you are a member of the objectivist cult then you believe in a political system that holds the values of a sociopathic serial killer as it’s highest ideal.

Ayn Rand idolized a child rapist and serial killer. She thought so highly of him that she wanted to bear his children. She also based her lead characters on him and on his sociopathic “values”.

I don’t have to read Mein Kampf to know that Hitler and his “philosophy” was full of shit and the same is true for Ayn Rand.

But anyone who criticizes a religion actually founded by a serial child rapist and polygamist, well that’s clearly bigotry. Racism, even.

And did you know that Jews steal Christian children and drink their blood? IT’S TREWWWWWWWW!!!!

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noen June 19, 2010 at 10:41 pm

Lorkas
Obviously we all hate the Nazi movement, but that doesn’t mean that we should hate every individual who happened to be in the German military while the Nazi party was in power.

Sure we can. You’re being awfully loose with your words. I don’t equate “hate” with “demonize”. I would contend that I have never demonize anyone. But all the same I do despise and detest any and all former or current members of the Nazi Party and all it’s imitators today.

So, since there is no good reason to assume that all Nazis supported all the actions taken by the leaders of the Nazi party, there is no good reason to demonize every individual who was a Nazi.

The leaders of the Nazi party were all tried at Nuremberg and any individual Nazi members who participated in war crimes were brought to justice. Putting people on trial for participation in war crimes is not demonization. Criticizing those who today idolize and seek to emulate the Nazis is not demonization. Mocking and ridiculing those who display their sympathies for white supremacism and racial purity is not demonization. Pointing out the fascist political ideologies of those who demonize Mexican immigrants or stereotype Islamic believers is not demonization.

You’re better off just not demonizing any group at all in my opinion. I know it’s harder when you actually have to think about the world instead of putting everything in tidy little labeled boxes, but I think you’ll find yourself to be less of an ass if you get a little more consistency in your outlook.

I don’t demonize. I am consistent. Categorizing and placing labels on boxes is rational. If you find yourself in the same box as racists, bigots and Nazis you should probably re-think your political position. as a dyed in the wool Liberal I’m pretty comfortable with the company I keep. I think that a mistake many atheists make is they see everything through the lens of their atheist ideology. That means that you feel you have to defend or explain away the ravings of right wing fascist neocons like Christopher Hitchens.

Out of curiosity, what do you think of the prominence of Holocaust denial in Arab nations? Read just a bit about it and you’ll find that the people you’re defending against “hate speech” have quite a bit of hate speech of their own toward the Jews

I think they are despicable, just like I think that Christopher Hitchens coming to the defense of a Holocaust denier was also despicable. But it seems the larger point is apparently too subtle for you to understand. That I defend others against hate speech directed towards them does not imply that I accept any hate speech they may engage in.

I am not racist when I criticize others for their racism nor do I condone the errors of those I defend against bigotry.

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tom June 19, 2010 at 10:48 pm

And did you know that Jews steal Christian children and drink their blood? IT’S TREWWWWWWWW!!!!

And now I believe I’ve been arguing with a 10 year old.
I’m not going to bother revisiting the whole line of argument leading up to your other reply, and parse out how you failed to grasp the point.
I will, however, remark on the bit I quote there. You cite antisemitic conspiracy theory and imply parity with my own claim about Muhummad. But it is a mainstream, widely accepted view that the “prophet” copulated with 9 or 10 year olds, when he was a disgusting old man. Muslims even accept it, many taking it as license to rape little girls themselves. “Jews drink the blood of Christian children” is not analogous on any of these points.

Once again you don’t even bother to argue for your analogy. Yout just assert it, and proceed as if you’ve proven something. This makes you look foolish, not your opponent.

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tom June 19, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Hitchens coming to the defense of a Holocaust denier was also despicable
He only defended the man on free speech grounds. (He has been very clear on this.) You think that’s despicable?

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Rhys Wilkins June 19, 2010 at 11:19 pm

Luke,

I see where your coming from now lol :)

Ill admit the post-modernist brand of feminism (aka the over-the-top stuff) is quite irksome. I remember that some Postmodernist feminist writer published an article a while back stating that some equation about ideal gases (I think it was a Pascal Boyer equation) was sexist. I laughed so hard I got a stomach ache. If militant feminists can label mathematical equations as being sexist then anything is possible.

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lukeprog June 20, 2010 at 12:10 am

I defend Holocaust deniers’ rights to deny the Holocaust. I’ll just condemn them loudly and repeatedly in response.

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lukeprog June 20, 2010 at 12:14 am

Rhys,

Pascal Boyer? Do you mean Robert Boyle?

Holy crap, there’s an entire book called Gender and Boyle’s Law of Gasses.

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Rhys Wilkins June 20, 2010 at 2:34 am

Luke,

Yup!

Blah, novice mistake; shoulda known it was Robert Boyle. Two years of high school chem and one year of uni level chem is rendered superfluous by a hangover and two hours sleep ;) (mind you, excuses are like buttholes, every-body’s got one).

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Justfinethanks June 20, 2010 at 7:31 am

I think that Wahhabist Muslims are very bad. I think that Christian Dominionists are very bad. I think that the Jewish Defense League is very bad.

Ok, then it seems to follow, then, that criticisng Islam isn’t racist so long as you qualify that you are talking about certain strains of Islam, which is a sentiment most Islam critics can certainly get behind.

For example, if someone decried the increasing influence of Islam in the UK, it would tough to call them racist so long as the clarified that they were dealing with extremist groups like Islam4UK.

Or, if they were criticizing the now legally binding Sharia courts in Britian, which have the disdainful effect of doling out rulings that discriminate against women, no one should infer racism. As per this article:

But as well as civil disputes they have also handled six cases of domestic violence.
In all six cases, he said, sharia judges ordered husbands to take anger management classes and mentoring from community elders, but issued no further punishment.
All the women subsequently withdrew their complaints to the police, who halted investigations.

But critics fear Muslim women victims will be pressured into accepting a sharia court settlement, and husbands will escape with lighter punishments than in a mainstream criminal court.
In one recent inheritance dispute in Nuneaton, a Muslim man’s estate was spit was between three daughters and two sons with each son receiving twice as much as each daughter – in keeping with sharia law.
In a mainstream court all siblings would have been treated equally.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1055764/Islamic-sharia-courts-Britain-legally-binding.html

I don’t see how its wrong to say that, even if Islamic teaching gives men more rights than women, that you should not have a legally binding court which favors men and minimizes instances of domestic violence. That seems like a straightforward curtailment of western, secular, liberal values like equality of the sexes under the law.

If you agree that certain kinds of Islam are indeed bad, and if you agree that courts should treat men and women fairly, would you join Islam critics in condemning the way Sharia courts are conducting themselves, assuming these claims are true? Would you furthermore recognize that this sexism is an extension of radical Islamic ideology? And if so, should anyone infer racism from simply believing that courts should treat all citizens fairly?

The criticism and mockery of racists and bigots is not immoral.

It’s tough to disagree with that notion. What of sexists? Is it perfectly moral to heap scorn and mockery upon them?

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Lorkas June 20, 2010 at 9:25 am

noen: “I am consistent.”

noen’s consistency:

noen: “I don’t demonize.”

noen: “It is ok to demonize Nazi’s [sic] because they really are evil. It is ok to demonize the personality cult of Ayn Rand who famously modeled her lead character in Atlas Shrugged after a child rapist and serial killer.”

//Consistency check: “It is ok to demonize [Islam] who famously modeled her lead character [Mohammad] after a child rapist and serial killer.” Still good?//

I’m not calling you out because you’re arguing against demonization. I’m calling you out because you’re an inconsistent douchebag who has a list of groups it’s okay to demonize and groups that it’s not okay to demonize. That list is entirely subjective, but that doesn’t stop you from flaming like a bonfire whenever someone suggests that they might have some concerns about the effects Islamic doctrines may have on our freedoms in the west in the coming years.

I’m contesting that you shouldn’t hate or demonize any people at all–feel free to hate their ideas and speak out against them, but don’t transfer your hate for those ideas onto the people. In the same way, stop being such a dick when others express their hatred of some of the ideas in Islam.

If you can base your hatred for Ayn Rand on her worship of a child rapist, then you have no grounds for rejecting the fact that others hate Islam because of its worship of a child rapist. Again, I’m not saying you should hate Muslims, I’m saying you shouldn’t hate objectivists (even though I’m not one).

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al friedlander June 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

“Obviously we all hate the Nazi movement, but that doesn’t mean that we should hate every individual who happened to be in the German military while the Nazi party was in power.”

You know who came to mind when you were discussing this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rabe

~

“The dirty Moooooslims gonna impose sharia law and steal our wimmins!”

Best.Noen.Quote.Ever.

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Lorkas June 20, 2010 at 6:02 pm

You know who came to mind when you were discussing this?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Rabe

Or the obvious one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_Schindler

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Eneasz June 21, 2010 at 8:06 am

Holy crap, there’s an entire book called Gender and Boyle’s Law of Gasses.

I always get a bit suspicious whenever I hear a claim that seems blatantly ridiculous. Ever since I was proven completely wrong about the McDonalds-Coffee-Spilled-In-Her-Lap Woman I refuse to simply go along with “Wow, that’s completely ridiculous, this person must be retarded” thinking. Looking over the summary at Amazon.com it sounds like this book may actually have something interesting to say. I would at least read about it in more depth before painting it with the “man-hating feminazis accuse physics of being penis-centered” brush.

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Eneasz June 21, 2010 at 8:13 am

STUDENT: What about mechanical engineering 101?
ADVISOR: Sure, but it doesn’t fulfill any of your central degree requirements. But it will be mostly men, so I guess it depends on what you’re looking to get out of the semester… [wink wink]

Wait, what? This strikes me as blatantly sexist. The advisor is saying that he doesn’t feel the student has any legitimate reason to take the class except maybe to pick up men. You don’t see how this would be insulting to anyone with a personal interest in mechanical engineering?

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lukeprog June 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

Eneasz,

Yup. I didn’t mean to imply the book was ridiculous. I don’t know anything about it. I just like the title.

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Eneasz June 21, 2010 at 8:17 am

And didn’t PZ just post something regarding this sort of thing?

Ah, yes, here.
“One of the most cunning tools of the patriarchy is the assignment of woo as a feminine virtue [...] Woo is powerless; you want to make someone powerless, put them in charge of nothing, but give it a happy-sounding title.”

(sorry for the triple-post, I keep remembering things to add after I hit Submit)

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