2006 February 07 Tuesday
West Waking Up To The Clash Of Civilizations

A New York Times article says "West Begining to See Wide Islamic Protests as Sign of Deep Gulf" (and it is good that people are becoming aware of this).

The catalog of Islamic terrorism — from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, to the March 2004 bombings in Madrid and the July 2005 attacks in London — has challenged governments and societies to distinguish between moderates and extremists, like the four British-born Muslims who killed themselves and 52 other people in London.

Ostensibly, said Timothy Garton Ash, an Oxford professor of European history, the clash has pitted two sets of values — freedom of expression and multiculturalism — against each other. Muslim immigrants, initially seen in the 1960's as temporary laborers, have formed permanent and expanding communities.

But beyond that, there is a seething resentment among some Muslims that they are treated as second-class citizens and potential terrorists in lands that deny the importance of their faith, even though the number of Muslims in Europe totals 20 million, and possibly many more.

Note that Ash's formulation puts the conflict in terms of a fight between two Western ideas in Western minds. But to the Middle Eastern Muslims the conflict is between them and those insulting infidels who happen to have much more money and power and who refuse to submit and accept Islam as the moral standard.

The Muslims have lower IQs on average than the white Europeans they live among. Therefore they do worse economically. However, they blame the Europeans rather than their own limits (which are just the product of natural selection) for their failures to compete with the Euros. Both the IQ gap and incompatible beliefs and values are very compelling reasons to keep Muslims out of Europe. But Western elites enforce taboos that prevent the truth from being spoken in mainstream media outlets. They expect us to bow to their bright shining lies rather than believe our own lying eyes. In a way, the corrupt lying elites and the Muslims have something in common: they want us to bow down and submit to their beliefs. The Muslims want our submission to the Koran. The elites want our submission to the secular faith of equality of ability and of multiculturalism.

Some political scoundrels posturing as ethically superior moderate middlemen try to claim that the right wing in Europe is just as unreasonable as the Muslim fundamentalists.

In some assessments, the situation rewards those at the extremes. "Islamic fundamentalists and European right-wingers both enjoy a veritable gift that can be used to ignite fire after fire," said Janne Haaland Matlary, professor of international relations and former deputy foreign minister of Norway.

Australian Janet Albrechtsen says the argument by Western intellectuals that people should not be offended has been translated into incursions on the right to free speech with disastrous results.

It's a bad sign when the cafe set of Europe echoes the Arab street on free speech. A survey by the Khaleej Times in the United Arab Emirates found that most people believed that "freedom of expression is one thing, but it should not be confused with acts of inciting feelings, which is what happened in Denmark".

If inciting feelings has become the new benchmark for free speech, we only have ourselves to blame for that misunderstanding. So many of the incursions on free speech in the West are driven by a well-meaning desire to create a world free of offence. A universal nanny state where all is peace and love, and never a cross word is spoken.

It's an impossible dream. Indeed, it's a nightmare. People invariably differ and it is debate and difference of opinion that drives progress.

We have already gone way too far in restricting free speech in an effort to protect people from offence. Tony Blair's religious hate bill is aimed at protecting Muslim sensibilities. And last week, it was only watered down because the British Prime Minister failed to hang around to vote in the House of Commons. By a single-vote margin, the bill is now free of key clauses that sought to outlaw "abusive and insulting" behaviour inciting religious hatred. But under Blair's bill, these silly cartoons could have been deemed an act of religious hatred.

The Muslims are picking up on Western arguments against free speech and proclaiming how hurt and offended they feel about these cartoons. They are using the position of our intellectual fools against us. I think we should dump the fools from positions of power and reassert our basic rights as non-negotiable.

Claims from Muslims that we should be more sensitive are rich considering the quarters these claims are emanating from. Muslims routinely use cartoons to represent the United States and Israel in extremely insulting terms.

Several of the original Danish cartoons are minted in the same style, beyond lampoon or caricature and well into the realm of pure defamation. Muhammad is seen with a huge knife and a wild thicket of a beard, flanked by two women entirely veiled but for their eyes; worse, and by far the most inflammatory, is one in which his turban holds a ticking bomb. These images confront the highest religious sensitivities of many Muslims with precisely the same style of virulent rage that Islamic countries so carefully, even ritually, cultivate against the two great boogeymen -- the United States and Israel -- of Middle Eastern politics.

But if the right-wingers are just as unreasonable as the Muslims where are all the placards by right wing protest marchers calling for the beheading of all Muslims?

Militants in Iraq have called for the seizure and killing of Danes and the boycott of Danish goods. In London, there were placards demanding the beheading of those who insulted Islam.

Here are pictures of the placard-bearers calling for the death of those who make cartoons of Mohammed. Where are Western right-wingers who are the moral equivalent of those Muslims who want to kill people for exercising their Western right to free speech and free press? Some Westerners are so keen on finding ways to proclaim their moral superiority to other Westerners that even when their interests are threatened by very illiberal non-Westerners the posturing fools can't see beyond the West and notice the importance of the outside other. The fools are parochially intent on claiming the high ground vis a vis other Westerners, insist on treating the problem as being equally the fault of their Western enemies as it is of a foreign hostile religion and ethnic group.

To the extent that the Danish cartoon flap makes more Westerners realize that people in some parts of the world differ importantly in values and in other characteristics the Muslim reaction to the cartoons has important pedagogical value.

What set off this flap? See collections of the cartoons here and here. Also, the Muslim position that it has always been forbidden to draw likenesses of Mohammed is contradicted by the historical record. The Muslims did make paintings and other visual representations of Muhammad/Mohammed/Muhammed in previous centuries. I guess they should go back in a time machine and kill their blasphemous ancestors. Check out more Muslim paintings of Mohammed made in previous centuries.

Update: Lest anyone think that I believe lower average IQ alone is responsible for the state of the Middle Eastern economies and politics see my previous post "Consanguinity prevents Middle Eastern political development". Also see my post "John Tierney On Cousin Marriage As Reform Obstacle In Iraq".

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 February 07 10:37 PM  Civilizations Clash Of

John S Bolton said at February 8, 2006 12:43 AM:

Aggressive, malicious, alien undesirables cry out their threats of mass murder of innocents; while elite depravity pleads for understanding and respect for this. If only you weren't so provincial and bourgeois, you would never doubt that it is inadequacy of welfare checks and lack of official discretion for antidiscrimination powers, which have disturbed the natural brotherhood and equality of all mankind, or such is the attempted intimidation. Don't be a bourgeois dullard, give us more power, or we shall surely become indignant, that our capacity of moral leadership towards the sacrifice of the nation entire, has been responded to with insubordination. Or such is the drift of what those flamboyantly disloyal elites may expect will go over.
No doubt they have many ignorant imitators above and below, who've no idea what they're promoting; but some few at least, must know what they're about. If you want to evoke the most irreconcilable hate, cry love and brotherhood, while you license aggressors to attack or threaten, those subject to the sloppy sermons of equality, tolerance and respect for what no one with values can respect.

Stephen said at February 8, 2006 3:31 AM:

John, is there any group in a position of power that you don't consider to be part of the elite?

Stephen said at February 8, 2006 3:32 AM:

Seriously - not trying to set you up.

allen conner said at February 8, 2006 6:02 AM:

it is the climate of oppression, usurping wealth and authority, and the continued unbridled bloodlust that has brought many in the human family (beyond religion and race) to the point of frustration, where it only takes the slightest excuse for someone to find jusification to lose self-control. then the snowball effect only intensifies the situation because of power of getting caught up in the mob, it is like sheep unknowingly going over the edge of a cliff.

Angry Westerner said at February 8, 2006 9:25 AM:

Muslims should be expelled from Europe and sent back to their "freedom loving" countries of origin. They are contaminating the European culture while threatening and intimidating its original inhabitants. How many Europeans do you see in arab countries protesting arab cultures and burning arab flags? Muslims have grown too comfortable under the umbrella of western ideals, well it is time to reverse the trend: muslim immigration to Europe must be halted, current muslims must be deported, and Islam must not be allowed to propogate in Europe. You cannot counter radical right-wing Islam with soft liberal left-wing ideas; that is like tying your hands behind your back before the fight.

MrJ said at February 8, 2006 10:39 AM:

When the western world is able to accept that Islam is a political system disguised as a religion, it will then be able to deal properly with the horrendous threat to freedom that is posed by this political system.

Bryan said at February 8, 2006 10:46 AM:

Western Christianity (Protestant, Catholic, etc) has had to put up with constant assaults and riducule by all sorts of generally respected writers, from Erasmus to Twain, since the Renaissance. Humanism and its consorts of secularlism and natural evolution have placed the ideas and moral code of western religion under constant attack. However, since the 1600s, Christians as a group have not called for the deaths of newspaper editors or PBS producers who challenge many of their fundamental beliefs on a regular basis. What gives? If the Moslems want to live in a world dominated by the West, they'll have to play with the same rules the rest of us have had to play by, with freedom of speech AND a regular dose of hateful/provacative words from whoever.

atheist Andy said at February 8, 2006 11:29 AM:

Muslims have lower IQs than non-Muslim Europeans? Surely you don't believe that, unless you yourself have a lower IQ than people who possess the minimal mental capacity to reason? And just because people have lower IQs, does it imply that are not worth living in your 'idealised', superior 'Whiteman's burden-laden' Europe (which, by the way, is the continent associated with the killings of millions of Europeans, Jews, Iraqis, north Africans, South Asians, Cambodians, Vietnamese, etc., in the 20th century--and the list can go on)? Then perhaps all the school dropouts and the slum-living poor (of course, I don't genuinely believe they have lower IQs) should pack up and leave Europe right now? And by what standard did you use in concluding that people should not live together because of 'incompatible' beliefs? Who gets to decide what is the 'correct' ideology and what is not compatible with that in your idealised Europe? Stalin, Hitler, neonazist skinheads, Christian fundamentalists, the likes of Ku Klux Klan?

I'm too lazy to respond to all of your Islam-bashing, less-than-enlightening comments, but I hope you will consider revising your outdated notions of social Darwinism.

allen said at February 8, 2006 11:33 AM:

The Afrikan Diaspora

Includes all of humanity
One great big extended family
Sharing a single commonality
To form one global community
Though throughout our collective history
There has been atrocity after atrocity
Committed with hubris and hypocrisy
Sometimes in the name of democracy
Or in the name of a theocracy
Which ignored the Commandment
Of honor thy father and mother
So that your days may longer
Instead they neglected their mama
Because of a deep psychic trauma
That created the Whiteman’s burden
Which was a guilt-ridden conscience
That came from committing injustice
Out of compounded ignorance
Just like the Arabs in the Sudan
Killing fellow Muslims because of black skin
And this is what they’ve historically done
‘Cause to them a slave is an Afrikan

And one just can’t blame the president
Rather blame those that run our government
For it’s no longer for, of, and by the People
And has it ever really lived up to its credo
When big money multi-nationals call all the shots
For the haves and have-mores, but not the have-nots
They purchase legislation and executive orders
To further their control to dominate others
They write foreign policy to benefit themselves
While the World’s poor majorities live in the hells
That the elite have created out of greed and stupidity
And even causes our selves to forget our humanity

And this goes beyond labels like Christianity
For all belief systems when looked at objectively
Is adoration to God from Her creation
And no group or individual can show justification
For attacking or discrediting another’s belief system
As long as it’s equitable and is consistent
With the natural laws the Creator established
To keep us in check and maintain the balance

Geoff said at February 8, 2006 1:23 PM:

Faith is the problem. "Politics" only comes into the equation when people who live by faith get into power. Faith in 2000 year-old texts, in invisible spirits made of... er.. nothing, and in dogmas invented by institutions with horriblly violent histories - Faith is tearing humanity apart.
The enlightenment brought a measure of humanity to Europe then America. The Islamic world never experienced an Enlightenment. They may have the same IQs as Westerners, but (and I know I'm generalising hugely) they have the outlook of a 14th Century Xenophobic tribe. The thought that these faith-driven fanatics may soon have nuclear weapons is too scary to think about. Christian faith is no better - Christians have had to bend under the strength of Enlightenment thinking. If they could, they too would send us back to their Dark Ages. Read Deuteronomy 13 to experience the delightful thoughts of Yahweh towards his "non-chosen" nations. Incidentally, why would a super-omnipotent being need to have a chosen people? Any ethical progress we have made is hijacked by Christians and claimed to be because of their influence. In reality, most Christians were pro-slavery when most of society was. Anti-women's lib when most of society was. These Iron-age creeds are useless for determining right from wrong in virtually any question.
The science of Ethics and the pursuit of Reason is the only answer to Society's and the Individual's problems. Faith, by definition, is only required where there is no reason and no evidence. It is a parasite upon the healthy human intellect and rational thinking.

Susan said at February 8, 2006 1:38 PM:

Geoff, I totally agree with what you wrote.
Faith is the enemy of clear and rational thought. There is not a shred of evidence for any spirit, god, or demon. They are all as likely to exist as Santa Claus. Yet people who are taught these things at their mother's knee feel compelled to believe them into adulthood. They are such deep beliefs by that time, that the person becomes willing to die to protect them. They are part of the person's identity. But they are a kind of virus that's been passed down from parent to child over and over again. Yes, religion carries some good stuff (that's why it survives) but it also carries a load of supernatural garbage with it. Faith is indeed the single most divisive problem facing humanity. And it is a totally unnecessary one. Humanism is the only way for rational people to live, even if they don't actually join a humanist organisation. It espouses love, compassion, caring, but does all this without believing in the invisible, untestable Beings you wrote about. Can we trust Iron age cults? NO!

Rick Darby said at February 8, 2006 2:51 PM:

Geoff and Susan,

Issues of faith and reason have been discussed and debated for centuries, so I don't think we're going to reach any conclusions here. But the "evidence" for a spiritual realm is different in kind from the evidence for a logical or scientific proposition. It consists of an inner experience, which seems unreal, even ridiculous, until your consciousness rises to meet it. Many people — not a large percentage of humanity, but still many — have experienced to one degree or another a world beyond space and time that has qualities that are inadequately described in everyday language as the Good, the True, the Beautiful, Perfection, God … no words do it justice.

Those who are only beginning to realize Spirit or for whom it comes and goes continue the quest because they have "seen" enough to have faith that there is something infinitely greater that can eventually be realized. This is not to be confused with the stupid kind of faith that accepts religious doctrines just because someone in authority insists that you must believe them.

That, however, is a good description of these Muslim nutters whose religion is based on a book more than a thousand years old that is considered completely, literally, and absolutely true, and a politicized system of propagating their religion that allows no questioning and, ultimately, no room in the world for other spiritual paths. They believe that the non-Muslim world is Dar Al-Harb, the World of War: war against everyone who doesn't accept the Quran and The Prophet as the first and last word.

I see no possible way to compromise with such a system without wiping out a thousand years of hard-won progress in freedom of belief and of expression. Maybe I'm a little twisted, but I'm glad to see the photos from London that show as clearly as anyone could want just what these Muslims are all about when they drop the pretense that all they want is a little respect. For God or Allah's enforcers, I have none.

gianluca de duonni said at February 8, 2006 3:42 PM:

If it were the Jews protesting at being discriminated against by WASPS, no one would complain since we all know the deeply seated Anti-Semitism of the West, but God forbid that Arab Muslims be allowed to complain against discrimination by WASPS......this reminds me of the issues surrounding the rodent-like Jewish caricatures that were drawn in the Nazi news magazine Der Stuermer in the 1940's.

Bob Badour said at February 8, 2006 4:01 PM:

Actually, gianluca, when Jews call for censorship, I do complain, and I hold to my values. I have done it before, and I am sure I will have to do it again.

Let's be very clear on something: The problem of the Nazis was not a bunch of cartoons. The problem of the Nazis was they set about exterminating entire peoples and mudering millions.

I don't believe anyone can credibly construe the 12 cartoons as discriminating against muslims. Certainly, none of them called for extermination of anyone. The calls for censorship and the incitement to violence, on the other hand, do discriminate against all non-muslims.

That said, what are your opinions on political or religious speech that calls for beheading or mutilating atheists?

Valgerd said at February 8, 2006 4:09 PM:

There's a very old cliche that is proving itself true once again. The saying is, "Those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it".

It's amazing how many are starting to realize that we've been in a War of Religions and Cultures for quite a while now. This is one war that's not going to have one or two nations going up against others with a formal declaration of war being passed between ministers or secretaries of state. Heck, the Muslims can't even keep from warring amongst their own sects. They can't even manage to keep from warring with others of the same sect of Islam that they were raised in.

The Muslims have been doing their millenia old act of "lame duck" and on the surface, at least, many countries have fallen for it. When conditions are favorable, the "lame duck" becomes a roaring tiger who then turns and attacks where they were "helpless".

All one can hope for is the same results the Muslims had about a century ago when they last pulled the "lame duck" act. When it appeared to the Muslims that they could win over the "crusaders" they were on the receiving end of a major tap dance on their collective head and shoulders group. The Muslims then reverted back to the "lame duck" routine.

There are a few questions that are very crucial. Question A: Since the Islamic terrorist groups are calling for the death of all unbelievers, and are actively seeking to murder nonbelievers, will there be any Muslims left alive in, say, 100 years if the nonbelievers vigorously protect themselves and their loved ones? Question B: Where are all the "moderate" Muslims that should be speaking out in public condemning their coreligionists' terroristic callings of death, bloodshed, etc. Question C: Why on Midgard would anyone in their right mind accept the thundering silence of all the blood-thirsty cries as proof positive that the silence is condemnation of those who allegedly twisted the teachings of a "religion of peace"? Question D: What are the chances of the various Imans, Sheikhs and other Islamic religious and secular leaders taking a good, hard look at their holy writings and comprehending that the cultures in which they find themselves are not as they were back around 700 CE?

Bob Badour said at February 8, 2006 5:33 PM:

You can find some views of moderate muslims in this montage of reactions to the cartoon incident.

According to Mustafa Akyol, only extremists would say: "Yes, we have a right to ridicule God." Rather than extreme, I would hope that recognition of that right is a very mainstream idea. I would expect many Christians to say they have a responsibility not to ridicule God but recognize the rights of others. Likewise, I recognize the rights of others to ridicule my religion, atheism.

I suppose that is not much different than me calling extreme anyone who believes the Arabic Qu'ran is the unadulterated word of Allah in his language of choice. I suspect that is a mainstream view in Islam, which is a problem, because it is incompatible with modernity and anything resembling rational thought.

According to Basma Fakri, "This is not a matter of freedom of speech — it was a matter of insulting others' religion and beliefs."

Actually, it is both. In the west, freedom of speech protects the right to insult religions and beliefs and politicians and leaders and public figures and the generally ridiculous.

According to Farid Ghadry, muslims need to disempower the Sauds by turning control of Mecca and Medina over to someone else -- either the Hashemites or an international body a la the Vatican. His idea seems at least as reasonable as defunding the Sauds by finding alternative energy sources, which strikes me as the same policy through the looking glass.

According to Mansoor Ijaz, "The cartoons were offensive and wrong." But if that is the case, then the Qu'ran is offensive and wrong. I would agree that both the cartoons and the Qu'ran are offensive. The cartoons offend some muslims and the Qu'ran offends some atheists, like me. I probably would not go so far as to call the cartoons wrong, but if Mansoor Ijaz wants to call the Qu'ran wrong too, I guess and I can cede the point.

Also according to Mansoor Ijaz, "Toleration asks us as citizens of an integrated world not to insult one another's religion." Actually, political correctness asks us that. Toleration asks us only to put up with things we would otherwise find offensive.

Joe said at February 8, 2006 5:50 PM:

The fact that these people are killing other human beings over drawings of a 2000 year old dead guy just shows their ignorance. Religion has it's place but when it (a religion) gets to this point it is time to take it down. It's a war...Us vs Them. You are an Us if your not Muslim (to the Muslims) and they will cut your head off given the oppurtunity, peace loving or not so WAKE UP...these people are loons, bent on your distruction!

Randall Parker said at February 8, 2006 7:38 PM:


If you write another post with extra carriage returns after every short line I'll delete it. As it stands I removed most of the carriage returns.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 7:45 PM:

western civilization’s values were built on concepts from the greeks via the muslims. judaism, christianity, islam all follow the abrahamic model. there is no justification in any of the religious texts for killing and destroying property because of a cartoon. the problem is rooted in compounded ignorance, when someone is not aware(ignorant) of their ignorance. how shameful for the outrages when so much oppression is being done to muslims, non-muslims at this moment. yet we see(what the media wants us to see) how people, who call themselves muslim, can get in such an uproar over something they could simply ignore.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 7:47 PM:

oops apologees to all, thanx mr. randall

Randall Parker said at February 8, 2006 7:55 PM:

gianluca de duonni,

The Muslims who are holding up signs calling for the annihilation of Danes are just complaining about discrimination by WASPs?

The Muslims who are demanding restrictions on free speech are just complaining about discrimination?

Susan and Geoff,

Some religions are worse than others. The problem isn't simply religious faith. It is faith in beliefs that pose problems for the rest of us.

People who do not have religious faith often have faith in secular beliefs that are just as debilitating to their ability to think rationally. In fact, Republicans and Democrats both shut down the reasoning parts of their brains when challenged with facts which reflect poorly on a leader of their faction.

The problem is that natural selection didn't select for humans who are perfectly rational. Humans tend toward forming faith in factions and beliefs. Look at some of the biggest killing ideas of the 20th century. The big 20th century killers of hundreds of millions of people were secular religions such as communism.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 8:13 PM:

randall you seem to be rational until it comes to using a racist ideology about iq.

David said at February 8, 2006 8:14 PM:

I am amazed reading the above comments, do you remember where you were on september 11th? Did you not think then that this was the race war and the colliding of civilisations ? But ladies and gentlemen every Rome must fall, and if we look at history Rome crumbled from within, have you been to Rome (US) lately? It is a travesty, shootings, drugs, prostitiution, the breakdown of the family, I am an atheist, I am a canadian, I am a Bush supporter, I am a believer in western ideology, i am a capatilist, i am all of these things and yet I know, I believe our western dominated world is crumbling, we are rotting, we are dying a slow and painful death.

It is not just the granola eating tree, hugging left, it is not just right wing conspiracy theories, we are done, our time has come, i think the new world order will not be middle-eastern that is for sure, there is no way dogma and intolerance will ever gain the upper hand, they are too backwards to ever rule and they couldn't get along long enough to establish world supremecy, while we clash with these civilised (somewhat civilised well they wear clothes and can read and write) warriers our cities and countries economies will continue to be dominated by eastern countries (India, China, Japan)..... can you say General Motors bankruptacy?? It is this turmoil that will continue to ruin american and western economic dominance that has enabled us to live in the beautiful countries with the standard of living we have. We can continue to allow ourselves to be drawn into a useless and senseless war with these backwards cultures, or we can continue to strive towards innovation and econmic domination. So, my solution pull out of Iraq,out of afganastan, develop renewable energy sources and let the bastards die of thirst, because without oil money they would not survive, they would not pose any threat to the western world and their one and only source of income would dry up. We have the knowledge, we have the determination, we have the ability to ease ourselves from oil based economies.

What to do with Israel.......hmmmmmm this is tough, I would say that the days of supporting Israel need to end. It is this support that causes such disfavour, pull support from Israel and open our doors to them......If they want to stay surrounded by enemies then that is their choice, but we do not need to continue to support them in a fight that is so unpopular with anyone, how did we get drawn into this? oh yeah anti-semitism in Europe - europeans would have done anything to get them out of europe so they said hey take palanstine, just leave don't worry we'll help fight your fight.....this is why we are where we are today with the jews and muslims,

so look at that hairy granola eating non shavin lefty (on your left) and the gun totin, cloak waerin' skinhead to your right and say hey lets get along brothers and sisters, cause this race war will kill us all except for the yellow man........

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 8:15 PM:

randall you seem to be rational until it comes to using a racist ideology about iq.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 8:20 PM:

the us consumes one-fourth of the world's energy production yet represents only five percent of the world's population. it is reasonable to conclude that if the american citizenry does not start a "marshall plan" for mass transit (powered by renewables)and go cold turkey from its addiction to petroleum then there is not going to be enough affordable energy to make the transition. 120 billion spent on the iraq war just for last year and what has been achieved?

David said at February 8, 2006 8:24 PM:


120 billion for control of the fourth largets producer of oil, as you said US uses 1/4 of the worlds energy production, iraqi puppet government - its beautiful maybe they will invade us next (Canada that is)

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 8:46 PM:

randall, "The big 20th century killers of hundreds of millions of people were secular religions such as communism,"... and history also shows that the usa is/was the only secular ideology that uses/used atomic/nuclear weapons on the human family.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 8:50 PM:

david, its a sad shame but not hoeless.

Randall Parker said at February 8, 2006 8:54 PM:


Racist ideology? I'm highly empirical. The ideologues are the ones who believe that some magical force stopped natural selection on brain gene 50,000 or so years ago even as natural selection created all the races and made them different in so many ways. It is really an act of faith in a secular ideology to believe that natural selection didn't operate on brain genes as humans spread out across the planet and adapted to local environments.

The evidence for recent powerful natural selection on brain genes is very strong. The arguments against it are just irrational assertions of secular faith in a false belief.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 9:18 PM:

randall, then natural selection in its exactness can hardly be by chance, unless by chance you mean the estabished balance of natural law.

Allen A Conner said at February 8, 2006 9:48 PM:

randall, i'd like to hear from you.

Randall Parker said at February 8, 2006 10:08 PM:


Geez, have a little patience there fella, I was taking a shower!

Natural selection by chance: Well, if the universe is totally deterministic and if we only had a parallel larger universe where we could run a massive computer to model this universe to reliably predict what will happen next then nothing is by chance. I do not know what the ultimate rules are for the universe. I do not know if the term "chance" has ultimate meaning or does it just mean processes far far beyond our ability to measure and model.

However, the I think evolution by natural selection created us and obviously continues to modify us. Whether it is doing so according to a computer program that decided 20 billion years ago on the events that would unfold now or whether there is real unpredictability in the fabric of the universe I just do not know.

Some religious Christians people reject the idea that natural selection caused the creation of humanity. Other more secular and more often than not left-leaning folks reject that natural selection created significant group level average differences between us in our minds. The latter group also tends to reject the idea that our genes give us cognitive and behavioral tendencies that environment can't conquer. They embrace the Standard Social Science Model as a key element of faith in their own secular religion all the while posing as being morally superior and smarter than those believers in old fashioned supernatural religions.

brian the profit said at February 8, 2006 11:16 PM:

Amazing how an ultra right wing syte ends up debating cosmological chaos theory. But lets stay focused here. The issue is trying to make sence of the current unfolding situation.

As it stands, we have a great many interlopers from economically/industrially/educationally/progressivley(?) backward societies wishing to reap the benefits of this society that our forebearers have produced for our benefit. Unfortunatly it is also their desire to turn this society into the one they came from (so that they will feel less foriegn). Any suggestion that said interlopers go and live in any of the 67 countries that match their target utopias, is called racist.

I hope I am not making sence here. If I were, then I would have faild to grasp the problem.

1 Having been braught up as a catholic, I am convinced beyond any doubt what so ever that our society would not have been allowed to progress beyong the 14th centurty. Such people as Newton, Darwin, Fleming, Rutherford, Huxley would have all been condemed and ritualistically murdered by the church/inquisition/state. Gutemberg, Gallielo, Capernicus and Decart came very close to the afore mentioned fate. Yet all of the above played a major part in laying the foundations of the modern world.

2 The fate of every society rests within its own structures: those African societies that refuse to acknowledge the realities if AIDS will dissapear. Those societies that fail to take advantage of contraception will, not surprisingly become over populated. Those societies that rely upon nepotisim for deciding positions of responsability will be constantly hobbled by inept leadership. Those societies that adhere to the words and thoughts of someone with all the accumulated knowledge that the 7th century can provide, will have difficulty moving foreward.

3 The only useful contribution to the modern world made by any member of the muslim world in its entirety has been ALGEBRA.

The western world, for all its failings, represents a dynamisim and diversity that is worth preserving.

Really Annoyed said at February 8, 2006 11:33 PM:

Denmark is a WONDERFUL country. So is most of the EU! Immigration/Integration/Tolerance is an amazing thing. Multi-culturalism helps us understand each other better.

But I firmly believe - if you are so ignorant that you cannot integrate and must live in such a backward way and not try to learn how to live in your adopted country - MOVE BACK TO WHERE YOU CAME FROM.

Remember, after the bombings of New York, Madrid and London - you will discover this very interesting fact. NOT ALL MUSLIMS are terrorists. ALL Terrorists ARE MUSLIMS.

I feel terrible for the muslims that want to live and work with the rest of the world. For whatever reason - economic, cultural limitations or just plain ignorance that some must listen to their misguided imams and declare war on everyone.

ISLAM - from what my Muslim friends tell me states clearly that killing another human is a mortal sin. After all, the Muslims also have the Ten Commandments as a basis for their beliefs.

For whatever reason, the whims of the few can control such a large population. That is terribly sad.

So - for those that do not like living in the EU/US/WHEREVER because of their religon? Go Back home! Go and blow up your own next door neighbor.

Invisible Scientist said at February 8, 2006 11:44 PM:

Brian the Profit:
You are terribly wrong because ALGEBRA was NOT the only important contribution made by the Muslim world...
In addition to ALGEBRA, the ALGORITHM was invented by another brilliant Muslim, namely the famous Persian mathematician
Al Gorfani (hence the word "ALGORITHM" was cointed from the name Al Gorfani).

Without ALGEBRA and ALGORITHMS, we would be in the Middle Ages since even calculus was derived from algebra.

mik said at February 9, 2006 1:16 AM:

Randall Parker writes:

"The Muslims have lower IQs on average than the white Europeans they live among.
Therefore they do worse economically."

I submit that Moslems would do worse in the West - forget about dumpshit of Arabia - even if they
have had higher IQ then Euros. Culture, including religion of course, plays a tremendous role.

Ever so brilliant Winston Churchill said this:
"How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live"
Sir Winston Churchill (The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899).

Mussulman, aided and abetted by the liberal elite, is a mortal danger to the West. What difference does it make what is his IQ? He is smart enough to silence most of opposition already.

mik said at February 9, 2006 1:41 AM:

Invisible Scientist:

"Without ALGEBRA and ALGORITHMS, we would be in the Middle Ages since even calculus was derived from algebra."

You don't really believe that if not for Arabs, algebra would not be developed till now?

Achievements of Mussulman are greatly exagerated for multi-culti propaganda value. Mussulman inherited amazing riches of Greek and Roman civilizations, also Persian and Hindu civilizations. To that Mussulman added just a few things in half-milennia when he was in virtually total control. Look what West accomplished in another half-milennia since taking over from Mussulman.

To be fair, we cannot say that while in control Mussulman slowed down things for the West, the West was in its barbarian phase.

Allen A Conner said at February 9, 2006 7:07 AM:

randall, your honesty is appreciated. would it be correct to say that many of our (humanity's) problems come from our failure to see the same thing in different languages?

Emma said at February 9, 2006 9:07 AM:

You cannot honestly believe that Muslims genetically have lower IQ's? I think that you fail to recognize that a muslim can infact be anybody at all - there are many European muslims....i would also like to state that the continuation to publish these caricatures in the press, after seeing all the destruction it has caused, is completely irresponsible - i am all for freedom of speech, but with it comes a huge responsibility and the people that have continued to produce these cartoons on front page spreads of news papers are completely irresponsible. Its not the protesting muslims we should put the blame on for the riots but those who knowingly printed thousands pictures that are deeply offensive and upsetting to millions of people over the world.

sekhar said at February 9, 2006 9:32 AM:

Man cannot come to it (the realization of truth) through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. If an organization be created for this purpose, it becomes a crutch, a weakness, a bondage, and must cripple the individual, and prevent him from growing, from establishing his uniqueness, which lies in the discovery for himself of that absolute, unconditioned Truth.

Check this link


Bob Badour said at February 9, 2006 1:21 PM:


It would be completely irresponsible for a free western press to submit to censorship for things they themselves did not even cause.

The protests in Syria and Lebanon happened as a direct response to incitement from Syria's state-controlled media.

I urge you to dig a little deeper before pissing away the rights and freedoms our ancestors bled for.

Lemma said at February 9, 2006 1:28 PM:

Emma, the ethnic groups where Islam is most prominent, score lower on IQ tests than European ethnic groups. Simple, no?
Is it the religion making the people dumber, or is it the dumber people taking naturally to that particular religion?

judy mullins said at February 9, 2006 3:01 PM:

I think all muslims need to go home. This group can't get along with their own people. I don't think much of a religion that enslaves women or thinks a public beheading is needed to punish a human being. The only thing I have seen in the muslim world is a lot of hatred. These people have been killing each other since recorded time. The muslim world is spreading out to all western nations. They do have an agenda. Bush would sell his own mother for a bucket of oil. It makes me sick to see that little twerp holding hands with the saudi princes. The Iraqui war is all about oil and bush wants control of it and the natural gas. George Bush is an Oil man first and president of the u.s. last. If the muslims didn't have oil, most of the free world could care less what they do to each other. Muslims are taking our money for oil and buying up most of the free world with it. Just wait until they own the land and water. We will be helpless to do anything then. I am not a nut job but I do see what is happening in this situation. The Crusaders had it right. I will be so happy to get this muslim, ass kissing president out of the white house. An angry, fed up american.

mik said at February 9, 2006 4:05 PM:

judy mullins writes:
"I am not a nut job".

Can you prove that? Your posting leaves one in doubt.
You may start with proving that "The Iraqui war is all about oil".

Why it is necessary to repeat left moronic idiocy to be against Bush and/or Iraq war and/or neo-con grand delusions?
Each of these targets is easy enough to hit without borrowing from Michael Moore and Cindy The Grieving Mother.

Randall Parker said at February 9, 2006 4:12 PM:


A lot of clashes are due to people understanding the truth but wanting different outcomes. The Palestinians and Israelis want the same land. Muslims and non-Muslims want to live by different moral codes and political systems. Criminals know that people own stuff but want that stuff for themselves and without paying for it.

The idea that we can reason our way to mutual acceptance and understanding strikes me as a Panglossian fantasy.

Randall Parker said at February 9, 2006 4:19 PM:


I agree that one can be fully against Bush's foolish and damaging decisions without embracing the various delusions of the left. Though it seems we who take that approach are few in number. The irrational loyalists and irrational opponents seem far more numerous, at least in political debates.

It is harder to rationally criticise Bush if you do not want to go to the effort of studying lots of real evidence. It is harder to come to correct decisions than it is to simply say that if someone is on the other side they must be wrong and if someone is on my side they must be right.

Anyone who is heavily partisan for one side or the other in politics has shut down their reasoning facilities in order to feel loyalty toward their faction.

Randall Parker said at February 9, 2006 4:29 PM:


I believe what I believe about IQ differences between major groups because I'm really into believing whatever the empirical evidence says regardless of whether I like it or not. Using the empirical evidence of science causes the world to make a lot more sense.

Lots of research into IQ levels in different countries has been done. It is summarised nicely in this table. Also read about a book called IQ and the Wealth of Nations from which that table comes. Here is a review of the follow-up by by Richard Lynn.

If you wants to read empirical and unideological treatments of psychometric research into intelligence, IQ, and "g" then a good place to start is Linda Gottfredson's research papers. For example, see her paper Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life (PDF file).

If you care to read the hereditarian arguments on IQ and psychometric research I can offer a number of pointers: Start with The Bell Curve. Also read Intelligence,Race, and Genetics: Conversations with Arthur R. Jensen by Jensen and Frank Miele and The g Factor: The Science of Mental Ability by Arthur Jensen. If you want a free book on IQ then check out the free download of Chris Brand's IQ book g Factor (same title, different book). I haven't read Brand's book.

Here and here (both PDF format) are two recent papers by Jensen and Rushton on the IQ, heredity, and environment. You can also read Linda Gottfredson's paper (again PDF) reacting to the first of those two papers.

If someone wants to criticise my views about group average differences in intelligence but does not want to invest the work needed to study the evidence then you are choosing the beliefs that make you feel good over the evidence.

Allen A Conner said at February 9, 2006 5:38 PM:

Randall, thanx for all the linx about g and iq. now tell me and this might sound juvenile to you, im just a hic from nc, but what about the pyramids, talk about iq.

Angry Westerner said at February 9, 2006 6:08 PM:

Yes, it is so easy to praise open immigration policies, "peaceful" coexistence, and tolerance for religion; moreover, to say that one bad apple (terrorist in this case) doesn't spoil the bunch. However, this "one bad apple" has been rather destructive: The World Trade Centre attacks, The Madrid Train Station disaster, The London Subway and bus disaster ... and do you know what may be just lurking around the corner my liberal friends? Is it so unconceivable to imagine a nuclear-armed Jihadi army of terrorists ready and willing to exploit Western liberal tolerance with an unannounced nuclear detonation in NYC/Madrid/London during an otherwise uneventful day? Surely the prophet Mohammed would reward such a destruction of infidels and their unholy population centres. These people are willing to die for their cause and the number of infidels they take with them is only limited by the power of the explosives they use: truck bombs, fully fueled plane bombs, high explosives ... and do you think that they will have any moral qualms in using nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons once these terrible weapons are in their possession? HELL NO. And Iran would never give away its nuclear secrets or weapons to terrorist groups, never ever! In any event, I'll have my 10,000,000 SPF sunblock at the ready.

Marvin said at February 9, 2006 6:25 PM:

Allen, no one was around to give standardized IQ tests at the time of the pyramid building. I rather doubt that Randall makes any claims about IQ scores during that era. If everybody has IQ around 80, then the persons with IQs between 90 and 100 are relative geniuses. A picture is worth athousand words. Check out this map. It is colorful, easy to read, and backed up by thousands of pages of data.

Invisible Scientist said at February 9, 2006 10:47 PM:

Since we are talking about the "relative" nature of intelligence and other things, I recall having read in an article, that at Harvard University the graduating students were polled and asked a hypothetical question about their career choices. They were told that they have to choose between the following two hypothetical scenarios:
1) When you graduate from Harvard, we will double the highest salary you have received from the best job offer after all your job interviews, but you will have to move to a new city where everybody will be richer than you because this new city is where the job is located.
2) When you graduate from Harvard, we will give you half the salary, but you will move to a new city where everyone will be poorer than you even with that salary, because the job is located at that city...

Now can you guess what those smart Harvard students chose from the two imaginary possibilities above?

Yes, according to that article (in one of the newspapers like New York Times or Wall Street Journal a few years ago, I forgot), these kids chose the second possibility above. It is not surprising that in Milton's book the Devil chose to rule in Hell instead of serving in Heaven...

But what is the moral of the story? It may be a good idea to move to a location where you are not the most stupid person... If you go to Silicon Valley, a lot of engineers come from world class universities like MIT, Stanford, etc... But if you move to a more remote place, you will face less competition... A friend of mine from got his doctorate from a top university in the United States, and he then moved to Brazil to make his fortune (he did not know any word of Portuguese, and he had never been in Brazil before...

Invisible Scientist said at February 9, 2006 11:03 PM:

But since the Angry Westerner is so pessimistic about the possibility that the emerging Islamic powers will circulate their newly built nukes and donate them to freelance warriors, it is possible that after 20 years, there will be 1000 hydrogen bombs that will become secretly assembled in various European cities (which would be technically much easier than building small enough warheads to fit in missiles, finding the precise electronic detonation instruments, etc), and at that precise moment, they can say to Europeans, "surrender or evaporate". Or worse, they can even detonate 500 of these bombs without warning and without even asking for a surrender, in major cities to cripple the European political structure, and then it would be very easy to invade and conquer Europe by sending 100 million people armed with simple rifles... In my opinion, this is what the Europeans were worried about, since they were normally against Bush, but this time they somehow agreed with him... The point is that it is impossible to prevent nuclear proliferation, since this is really a very simple science that is almost a century old, only the technology of it is a little complicated. It appears that the latter scenario is going to become very possible in 20 years. This means that a confrontation is very likely within 20 years. We shall see who will strike first...

Neil said at February 10, 2006 1:19 AM:

if you dont like it go back to the mid-east. we live in the west and we have freedome of speach

LPG said at February 10, 2006 9:12 AM:

I would be the last to proclaim myself a scientist, however I can weigh in on one aspect of the Islam/Muslam natural selection or more accurately un-natural selection question. They seem to have a propensity for close inter-marriage. Cousins, clans etc. These practices alone can't be beneficial to their overall evolution both healthwise as well as psycologically and on that dreaded scale of comparative IQs. Check out the Westminster Dog Show. I think it is coming up. You will see some beautiful dogs with inbread health problems and no inclination to do those tasks that were so valuable to mankind in his march to civilization. One thing they haven't changed as yet...Border Collies and Ausssies are stil the most intelligent but have only recently been allowed to compete in these sanctioned shows. Also Afgan Hounds are beautiful but have a brain the size of a peanut. I wonder if they worship Mohammad more than their human master.

Allen A Conner said at February 10, 2006 10:04 AM:

Randall, this is from Max Planck: " There can never be any real opposition between religion and science; for the one is the compliment of the other. Every serious and reflective person realizes, I think, that the religious element in his nature must be recognized and cultivated if all the powers of the human soul are to act together in perfect balance and harmony. And indeed it was not by any accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were also deeply religious souls, even though they made no public show of their religious feelings." from his book, Where is Science Going?.

Randall Parker said at February 10, 2006 12:57 PM:


Max Planck is wrong. Just ask Galileo. Or ask the Darwinian biologists who find their theories attacked by Christian fundamentalists.

Marvin said at February 10, 2006 2:03 PM:

The current embassy burnings and threats of violence by protesters may be somewhat premature. Much better for the duplicitous mullahs and arab/persian dictators to wait until they possess a better hand. Before long, the absolute numbers of muslims living in Europe will be much more intimidating. In the near future, nuclear weapons will be far more ubiquitous in the hands of muslim dictators, who inevitably have ties to terrorist groups.

Invisible Scientist inadvertently made a high probability prediction: within the next few decades, muslim seeking paradise will almost certainly destroy more than one large western cities with nuclear weapons. It is best to proceed based upon that likelihood. Millions will die at the hands of nuclear Islam. The lucky ones will die instantly, the unfortunate ones will take longer.

Islam is basically violent, and its adherents are generally members of ethnic groups that score fairly low on intelligence tests. The few very intelligent muslims, such as Dr. Khan and Osama bin Laden, have no difficulty finding many followers, since their high intelligence is so much greater than the IQs of the masses of muslims who idolize them.

Allen A Conner said at February 10, 2006 2:52 PM:

marvin, respectfully, the majority of the muslims are ignorant, backwards, narrow-minded... but to say that islam is basically violent, puts you right with the majority of the muslims. without a doubt throughout history many who call themselves muslims have committed all sorts of violent acts, but that doesn't make Islam basically violent.

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2006 4:13 PM:


I have read several translations of the Qu'ran and many histories of Islam. Islam is inherently violent. I strongly urge you to get a couple translations of the Qu'ran and read it for yourself.

Therein you will find such gems as:

An entire chapter of the Qu'ran devoted to dividing up the booty stolen from Islam's murdered victims.

My personal favourite:

Remember thy Lord inspired the angels (with the message): "I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instil terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them." Al-Anfal 12

Another favourite:

The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Messenger, and strive with might and main for mischief through the land is: execution, or crucifixion, or the cutting off of hands and feet from opposite sides, or exile from the land: that is their disgrace in this world, and a heavy punishment is theirs in the Hereafter; Al-Meada 33

You may be surprised to learn the above is what follows immediately after the passage often cited to prove Islam's supreme tolerance and humanity:

On that account: We ordained for the Children of Israel that if any one slew a person - unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land - it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if any one saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. Then although there came to them Our messengers with clear signs, yet, even after that, many of them continued to commit excesses in the land. Al-Meada 32

One cannot do justice to the incredible violence of Islam in a blog comment. The Qu'ran, itself, is full of curses. Constant curses. Mohammed's own record shows him as a pirate, a pedophile, a rapist and a genocidal murderer.

I agree that the majority of muslims are ignorant and backward. In fact, most of them are ignorant about the core of their own religion. A great many muslims are good people but bad muslims. The terrorists are good devout muslims who adhere to the core of their faith, and they are evil violent people.

One of the most pious and learned among modern muslim scholars, the blind sheik, sits in jail for plotting the first WTC bombing. If not the core of his faith, what do you suppose instructs such a learned, pious man to violence?

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2006 4:17 PM:


Please keep in mind the mindset of a faith that says Allah will fortify them so that 20 will defeat 200 and 100 will defeat 1000. At 10% of the population, they would naturally assume they have numerical superiority.

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2006 4:27 PM:


To amplify my earlier comment regarding the blind sheik, consider if the US were forced to jail a Catholic Cardinal, the Dalai Lama or Billy Graham for terrorist plots.

If they claimed their faith instructed them to wage war and if millions of their followers cheered them for it, don't you think prudence might suggest we consider their claim at face value?

Invisible Scientist said at February 10, 2006 5:27 PM:

Marvin wrote:
"Invisible Scientist *inadvertently* made a high probability prediction" but did he imply or insinuate that generally I am a very superficial person who should not be taken seriously, but that for a change, I made a rare prediction which has a high probability of happening in the future??? If this is what he meant, I am very sad now... Snif...

But seriously, it is Marvin who understood only 1 % of what I said... Because given the brutality of the Crusaders when they invaded the Middle East, the Muslims now want revenge, and this time ALL of Europe will be the prize when the Muslims get 1000 hydrogen bombs after 20 years, not just "a few nuked cities" like Marvin wrote. This time it won't be just a "few European cities" like Marvin is saying, because this time it won't be a peacemeal plan, it will be the whole menu, the TOTAL conquest of Europe. Nuking a few cities will not be enough, a systematic brutalization of Europe with 500 nukes (2 megatons each) in all major cities of Europe, plus cutting the Norvegian and British oil supplies, would totally cripple the European political and military system, and then ALL of Europe can be invaded immediately after. Then ALL of Europe will be conquered for revenge. This is what I am predicting. Of course, if the Europeans remember the history of Crusaders, then they will understand what is going to happen to them, because Karma works... given what they did after then invaded Jerusalem... I would not trade places with the Europeans now...

But Bob Badour is exaggerating the Qur'an and the interpretations in Islam. Most Muslims are not into this kind of violence,but there is a danger that the uneducated masses can be brainwashed. It is mostly in the interpretation and application that the problem arises. Nazism and Communism were also religions in their own way, and so far many Christian nations and secular Europeans have committed massive crimes that exceed the total crimes of the Muslims...

The problem is that currently Islam is being misused by a few opportunistic leaders who can use it to brainwash a large number of people to conquer Europe with nukes. This is a futue issue that must be addressed, or else Europe will be conquered.

Allen A Conner said at February 10, 2006 5:36 PM:

Bob, arabic is one of my strong points. the two verses 32 and 33 from suratul maidah refer to those who were with the prophet but plotted in secret against him. the cia trained and funded al-qaeda to fight the former ussr in afghanistan, verse 33 refers to ppl like al-qaeda who wage war on innocent ppl. the descriptions are meant to emphasis the seriousness of oppossing God.

mom in USA said at February 10, 2006 7:05 PM:

First of all, I think we should never consider bending on freedom of expression, speech, etc. If we bend, they win and prove violence works. Sorry Emma you are very wrong. I'm not a scientist, but I have children, and misbehavior does not get rewarded in my home. Muslims have every right to protest, but this violence does not help their cause.

Second, This is an absolute war. Them against us. By them, I mean anyone who wants to kill me for not believing or respecting their beliefs. I believe we have to make one of two choices. 1)We either take an earlier posters wonderful suggestion and invest everything we have in alternative energy (despite what big business wants), and shut off the cash valve to our enemies. We are actually FUNDING our enemies. This has to be a first in history. 2)A much less desirable option: Kill them before they kill us. I know that sounds harsh, but I have two babies I want to grow up the way I did. I'm 30 years old and have lived in a peaceful world until now. When I imagine what the world could be like for my boys, it makes me want to end this now while we are still more powerful. I don't blame them for hating us. I live in a 4000+ sq ft home and they live 10 to a room.

Of course, we could all write our congressmen re: alt energy, purchase hybrid vehicles, put solar panels on our homes, shut all the lights off at night. Every person has the power in their hands to help end this by using and supporting alternative energy. Think of the lives it will save. And I assure you, a lot of people are still to die. Blown up on their way to work or taking their sons to the park. I think of how close I was to taking a position in the World Trade Center after graduating college. I made a lucky decision, but what of those who didn't. Imagine next week/month/year when they bomb Atlanta, GA or Boston, MA and kill your extended family (or your child studying at college) how you will wish you did something. Let's act now. Where are the grassroot movements? Where are the tax credits for using alternative energy? Where can I purchase solar panels? Sign me up. Can you imagine a more powerful message?

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2006 8:02 PM:


Are you denying that those passages are violent? Am I not to believe my lying eyes? Since you are a scholar of these things, I assume you agree the Qur'an is full of curses. Or do my eyes lie again?

If those passages apply to people who plotted against Mohammed, then they naturally apply to anyone the Islamists think plots against them. Does the Qur'an not spell out elsewhere that muslims who fail to fight in Jihad are hypocrites? And are not hypocrites the people who only pretend to side with Mohammed? Would that not make Al Quaeda the true Islam and the peaceful muslims hypocrites?

Given the reactions of literally millions of muslims around the world following the WTC attacks, I doubt they agree with your rather convoluted interpretation to make Al Qaeda the enemy of Islam. I am certainly not going to rely on muslims to engage in such convoluted mental gymnastics when the simple and literal interpretation is clearly so violent and so clearly applies to atheists like myself (among others).

My question regarding what you think motivates the blind sheik was not rhetorical. Or do you simply agree that the Islamic scholarship of such a learned, pious man leads him to violence?

Would you not agree that had Christ been a murderer, robber and rapist, he would have founded a violent religion? Why then do you deny that Mohammed's religion is violent?


What makes you say I have exaggerated the Qur'an? Have you read it? Are you denying that it is extremely violent? Are you suggesting that I misrepresented Al-Anfal 12 or Al-Meada 33 ?

The truth of the matter is only a small minority of Germans were true devout adherents to Nazism just as only a small minority of Muslims are true devout adherents to the actual teachings of Mohammed. I would say the non-violent muslims have already been brainwashed given the mental gymnastics one must go through to deny the inherent violence of the base texts. I suggest to you that rather than being brainwashed, the Al Quaeda operatives were educated, which would explain why so many of them were educated in other ways too.

Beyond that, I find your post self-contradictory. On one hand, muslims are not violent, and on the other hand, they are going to exact an extremely violent revenge for wars that happened six or seven centuries ago.

Mom in USA,

While finding a replacement for petroleum products would defund Wahabbism, simple conservation will not suffice. Our energy demands grow with time. And even if we tightened our belts and stopped buying Saudi oil, China would step up to the plate to buy it. We need to develop energy products that are cheaper than petroleum or more convenient than petroleum or more than likely both.

Invisible Scientist said at February 10, 2006 9:10 PM:

Bob Badour:
What I meant was that although there is violence in the culture of various Muslim countries, this violence is not completely due to religion, but also geographic cultural influences also. In Indonesia, Bosnia, Turkey, the religion was moderate overall. My only objection was the uniform condemnation of all people who were born to Muslim parents, since there are a lot of more modern Muslims. For instance, most American Iranians were the secular people who escaped to the United States after the Shah was overthrown.
But at the same time, the Nazi indoctrination became so successful once Hitler's gang came to power that within one generation, the great majority of the Germans were unconditional followers of the Nazi ideology. There is a book that proves this: "Hitler's Willing Executioners" by Daniel Goldhagen... It is documented in this book that the overwhelming majority of Germans actually helped the organization and implementation of the Holocaust, even by approving the arrest, deporation, shipment of Jews in the most remote parts of the war like Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, etc.. Without the eager cooperation of the German officers and soldiers in extremely large numbers, this would not have happened. This is because the Germans were strongly indoctrinated, and also they were "indoctrinable."
Now returning to the subject of Islam, I would say that Islam perhaps makes it easy to indoctrinate the people because it is an authoritarian system which is also political, and this is why I believe that the war will escalate and will reach apocalyptic proportions. But by itself, Islam is not the main issue, the issue is that the worldwide economic and socio-political situation is ripe for this cataclysm to happen. Otherwise the Turkish Sufi cult that is spiritual and non-violent, is a rather tolerant interpretation of Islam...

Bob Badour said at February 10, 2006 9:41 PM:


I did not condemn anyone. I made factual statements about the base texts of the religion that anyone can confirm for themselves. You said my statements were exaggerations, which I find absurd. The Qur'an is extremely violent and full of curses. I encourage people to verify my statements for themselves.

How much effort does it require for Turkey to keep out the influence of Wahabbism, and how many mental gymnastics do sufis need to go through to avoid the obvious message of the Sira and the Qur'an? Do sufis distance themselves enough from the base texts for liberalism and acceptance and respect for individual rights?

It seems to me that Turkey has recently moved in the political direction of Iran or Arabia and away from Ataturk. Even if ever so slightly. I feel concern for what that portends. I remember both serbs and croats back in the 1980's telling me how enlightened and tolerant Hungary was. I hope you are right about Turkish tolerance, but I have my reservations.

Mom in US said at February 11, 2006 6:38 AM:

I know you guys are enjoying debating the finer points and proving yourself to be the ultimate expert. BUT why isnt the focus finding the solution? Typical academics (which I assume you are or think you are), lots of talk but no practicle solutions. Enough debate over whether or not the IQ of a muslim is higher or lower than a European and whether or not the prophet wears boxer shorts. How are we going to make this problem disappear? How are we going to make our country a safe place to live, our WORLD a safe place to live?

By the way, I wasn't just talking about conservation. I am talking about forcing our government (through large numbers of the people) to give greater support, no total support, to the development of things like fuel cells. Now, what can we do as individuals, 1) we can write our congressmen, 2)we can conserve. We need to, as a civilized world, get on the same page together, have a united plan.

Just imagine if just 15% of the US began to conserve. You don't think that would make a HUGE impact? Think of the message it would send our government and big business. I'll spell it out, it would say consumers CARE about saving energy - they no longer want to finance our enemy. Hence, products, factories, etc that are more fuel efficient or used knew types of fuel would emerge. Large numbers can make things happen. The all-mighty buck rules this world. As far as China goes, if we make the technology that allows for lower cost energy, China will use it too. China still has a lot of growing to do and new factories to build. If you disagree, I'd love to hear your suggestion (for a solution that is).

I guess a solution is of no interest to you guys though...because then what would you debate? Another sunny day? I apologize in advance for my sarcasm (a terrible form of humor), but I am feeling frustrated this continuing debate. I know, I've said my peace and I'll find myself a room that suits my views better.

Enjoy your debate. I'm off to save the world.

Allen A Conner said at February 11, 2006 6:40 AM:

bob, good morning, ppl, even those who refer to themselves as muslim, are violent and its fair to say nature is violent at times. your points are valid and factual. i don't know what makes ppl think they can commit an injustice in the name of justice other than ignorance and intolerance.
yes bob, sufis distant themselves from the base texts, that is why the majority of muslims reflect base ideologies. the sufis are accepting and tolerant, and have been historically persecuted by those who refer to themselves as muslims.

Bob Badour said at February 11, 2006 7:25 AM:

Good morning Allen,

If the sufis do distance themselves sufficiently to promote individual rights like the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press to draw caricatures of Mohammed, then without a doubt other muslims would oppress them as hypocrites.

I wonder whether there are any statistics on how many sufis convert back to more fundamentalist versions of Islam? Any idea where one could find such a statistic?

Good morning Mom in US,

A 15% reduction in petroleum use would put more money into Saudi pockets over a longer period of time. They could just drop production by 7% and increase the price per barrel. Economic growth in the US would swallow the 15% up in three or four years and China's rapid growth would provide an alternate market within a much shorter period.

The only way to defund them is by economic substitution, which means finding a replacement that is cheaper or more convenient or both. In fact, since we are talking about replacing huge amounts of existing capital infrastructure, it will require significant savings and significant convenience benefits to compensate. I suggest you check out Randall's ParaPundit.com category on Energy Economics and his FuturePundit.com category on Energy Technology.

As for the solution regarding Islam, it is not my place as an atheist to re-write the base texts of Islam. To solve the problem, we have to stop and reverse the current demographic trends. While the West remains in denial regarding the nature of the religion, that will not happen. I am working toward a solution by educating people about what the base texts of Islam actually say.

Once people know what is in there, they will be able to respond to these seemingly friendly jihadists who demand we submit to Allah's will and hand over our rights and freedoms. Once people know what is in there, we can counter the current good-cop/bad-cop tactics the faithful use to oppress the masses.

Allen A Conner said at February 11, 2006 7:51 AM:

bob , not to be funny but you refer to yourself as an athiest, correct? now here's another can of worms, when something is being denied, isn't it being affirmed with the denial of it?

Mom in US said at February 11, 2006 9:07 AM:

Islam has been around a long time, but it is NOW that they have the MEANS to act out their desires: kill non-believers. Why do they have the means? Oil.

Who the heck cares about Islam or any other religion. I am a true agnostic. I have no idea if there is or isn't a God. More so, I think EVERYONE should admit that they have no idea either. Have you ever met Him, seen Him, heard His voice? NO, NO, NO. I don't care what people believe or that they want me dead. What I do care about is whether or not they have the MEANS to do it. My only concern is, how can I (me) take that means away from them.

You totally miss my point about fuel conservation. You assume the actions of hundreds of thousands or millions of Americans would go unnoticed. I assure you they would speak LOUDLY. A nation-wide propaganda campaign could do it.
Here are some slogans:
Bring our troops home - support energy conservation
Stop funding civilization's enemies
Your gas money funds suicide bombers
OK, marketing is not my strong point.

Think of the World Wars: Loose lips sink ships, buy war bonds. These slogans worked. The public responded. I think Americas are mostly of the same mind. We just need a leader to show us what to do and how to do it.

How about publiclly ridiculing corporations who are the largest non-conservators. Public opinion can move mountains. Do clothing corporations still use sweat shops? Maybe, but it has definitely been reduced. If big business thinks it will help the bottom line (even improve good will), they just might take action. If the government really got involved and sponsored fuel cell research. Well, now we are moving.

Educating people about Islam is a good idea. I agree. However, what does it really achieve? So, all of the western world knows Islam wants us dead. Now what? Do we burn them all up? I'd really love to hear some ideas on solving the problem.

First lets define the problem. In my mind the problem is this: a group of people want us dead AND they have the means to do it.

What can I change in that statement? 1)Can I change the fact they want me dead? Maybe over a couple of generations and economic improvements, they will become more educated and open-minded. People are less likely to desire death when they have something to live for. That is definitely a possibility. However, who is going to go over there and educate them? A dangerous job to say the least. But I would love to hear someone's ideas on this (or any other potential solution). 2)Can I change the fact they have the means? Where does most of their means come from? Well, you know my views here.

I guess my ending point here is this: I am looking for something I can do. I'm tired of being a victim or feeling helpless: hoping it's not my major city that gets bombed next. There is something I can do. I'm not going over to the Middle East to educate Muslims (and get beheaded), but I can put solar panels on my house, I can write my congressman re: alt energy, I can speak on an open forum such as this, I can shut my computer/lights off at night, I can shun others who I feel are wasteful, I can try and convince other people to feel the same way I do.

Randall Parker said at February 11, 2006 9:36 AM:

Mom in USA,

If you really want to find things to do about energy yourself you ought to read my various energy archives. Over on my FuturePundit blog read Policy Energy and Energy Tech.

For example, consider use of corn stoves and wood pellet stoves with automated corn kernel and pellet feeders in place of oil or natural gas for heating. Near as I can tell corn is the cheapest way to heat in the winter in most parts of the United States.

If you have a limited budget then you need to list all your possible ways to save energy and figure out how much each way costs and how much fossil fuel energy consumption you'll avoid by using that way. There are lots of possible ways to reduce energy consumption: Home insulation, biomass home heating methods, hybrid cars, photovoltaic panel, moving to a home closer to work, changing to a job closer to home, getting a job that allows you to telecommute, the list goes on. I think the cost of solar photovoltaic panels is so high that if you took the same amount of money you could save more energy several other ways.

For example solar space heating and solar water heating have faster payback times than photovoltaics.

Bob Badour said at February 11, 2006 1:08 PM:


Not believing in a god proves that belief in god exists. It does not prove that god exists. I certainly do not claim that nobody believes in god; I am well aware that I am a minority.

Mom in US,

Yeah, what Randall said.

More seriously, Islam does not want us dead, per se. Islam gives us choices: submit to Allah completely, submit to Allah partially, die. Unfortunately, the second option is not open to atheists or agnostics--only to Christians, Jews and some dead sect I forget the name of.

Arguably one of the most educated and pious of all Islamic scholars currently sits in jail convicted of planning the first WTC bombing. The 19 Islamists who seized aircraft and crashed them into buildings with passengers on board were educated. I fail to see the benefit in educating muslims. I suggest your idea merely reflects a politically correct left-wing prejudice that is ubiquitous among what passes for intellectuals these days. Shake it off, I know you can do it.

Regarding the means to harm us, Islam does not have massive arrays of intercontinental ballistic missiles except the bipedal variety, and their most devastating delivery system is the commercial passenger airline. We can easily deprive them of those weapons by not allowing them to come here in the first place. Of course, that won't happen without the political will to make it happen and most people are too lazy to learn enough about Islam to make it happen.

If you want to do something, do as I do and bring that message to people so that they don't have to work as hard to see the truth. So they will know where to look without a lot of effort.

Attacking our commercial enterprises and industries sounds like a singularly bad way to protect ourselves from external enemies.

David Wells said at February 11, 2006 5:42 PM:

I think Mom in the U.S. has her heart in the right place and you've pushed off her ideas a bit too non-chalantly. We do need a consistent effort to cut back on fossil fuels. We do need to reward those that commit to serious R&D in this arena and bring useable, efficient, and profitable products to market. The dollar rules...in most places (and pick your currency here) With all of the politics, religions, believers and non-believers the dollar makes people's mind change. Even in the most communistic society capitalism finds its place. Our immediate solution will be to eliminate the biggest threat to our society first. Find that threat send in your wet teams and eliminate them. Quietly, without uproar. A very early post mentioned history repeating itself (loosely translated) and it will do so. Covert operations associated with the Cold War will be on the rise for decades to thwart these "threats" to Western Civilization.

I've mentioned before on a different listing about learning about what did change in the Japanese culture after they capitulated at the end of WWII. Is that possible in the Middle East? Do we realize to force total surrender to what levels of force we have to exert? Do you have to have such tremendous destruction and loss of life to have a people question their belief, tire of fighting, change their culture? If that's the case you have to be prepared to occupy and retrain, rethink, re-educate in a manner that they are not used to thinking. Any solution seems to cost the "innocents". It's also these very same innocents that sit quietly in the background as their "squeaky wheel" brethren take up AK47's and RPGs, kidnap, behead, etc. It's a daunting task that takes a commitment of more than any 4-year term or party politics. It's a commitment to change the face of the world.

Abdul-Rahman (i.e., the servant of the Almighty Merciful said at February 11, 2006 9:31 PM:

I don't really know what the F big deal...I think that the Muslims in general and those Arabs in particular should really feel honored and respected when their prophit appears in the media of a democratic country like The Denmark !!!
Although quite frankly, I must say, that I don't think that the cartoons did Mohammad any justice... in fairness to reality, I really don't think he was that good looking in real life ... After all, he was an Arab from the Jahelliah who lived in the dessert of what is known now as the Soudi Arabia..Was he not??

Jorge D.C. said at February 13, 2006 2:14 AM:

I've mentioned before on a different listing about learning about what did change in the Japanese culture after they capitulated at the end of WWII. Is that possible in the Middle East?

The rebuilding success stories of Japan/Germany will be hard to reproduce anywhere in the Arab world. J/G were (and still are) extremely conformist societies. They also were NOT cousin-marrying tribal nations. J/G also are just about the highest IQ nations on the planet. They also were not Islamic.

There are other reasons but these are the major obstacles to success in Iraq and tons of other hellholes around the globe that some think require nation-building. The wise leader foregoes the exercise. That's why Bush was against the entire concept in the 2000 campaign. We know now that Bush never accepted that wisdom...but he did get good campaign advice on the issue.

Jorge D.C. said at February 13, 2006 2:32 AM:

MrJ said:

When the western world is able to accept that Islam is a political system disguised as a religion, it will then be able to deal properly with the horrendous threat to freedom that is posed by this political system.

I have not heard it put like this before. What you said is a great distillation of our situation. The phrase Islam is a political system needs to enter the talking points of mainstream debate.

...I googled the phrase and see it is used on danielpipes and freerepublic so I guess that's the beginning of the "respectable" mainstream...

Bob Badour said at February 13, 2006 7:42 AM:


I am surprised you never heard that before. I thought it was widely known that Islam explicitly rejects any separation between politics and religion or legality and morality.

If you learn the early history of Islam and read the Qur'an, you will see it is a political manifesto engineered to control Mohammed's followers more than anything else.

Randall Parker said at February 13, 2006 3:59 PM:

Jorge D.C. says (with my italics added),

The rebuilding success stories of Japan/Germany will be hard to reproduce anywhere in the Arab world.

Jorge D.C.,

Note the "re" in rebuilding. The Germans and Japanese were capable of building up their countries into industrial powers in the first place. They had to the talents skills to build. Therefore they had what they needed to rebuild. Well, the Arabs don't.

Black Man said at February 17, 2006 3:57 PM:

"The Muslims have lower IQs on average than the white Europeans they live among. Therefore they do worse economically. However, they blame the Europeans rather than their own limits (which are just the product of natural selection) for their failures to compete with the Euros."

Wow, interesting. White Americans argued the same about African Americans before the civil rights movement. Thank God people like you are far and few, I hope!

Mom in USA said at February 18, 2006 10:44 AM:

Bob and anyone else listening:

Do we really know that their most devasting delivery system is the commercial airliner? Let me rephrase, pre-Sept 11, did anyone think an airliner would be used in such a way? Maybe, but I'm sure it was a limited group of analysts. Did they stop it? No. Who can guess what they will use next. Shutting our borders? Remember all the talk about sleeper cells. I'll assume there are still some here. By the way, how do you know Russia or North Korea or Iran won't provide them with the technology. They certainly have the money to pay for it. What about China? We are the largest consumers of oil, they are the second. If we control Iraq and a large source of oil, don't you think we may be a source of concern for them? What I'm saying is, can we really trust the outside world to be on our side. Who is really a friend to America?

In any case, I am NOT convinced they do not have the means to do something drastic here or anywhere else. Tell that to the people who were in the London underground or on the Madrid train. Like I said, they have the cash to fund a lot of projects that never come to fruition. They only need one to work.

Re: your comment: "If you want to do something, do as I do and bring that message to people so that they don't have to work as hard to see the truth. So they will know where to look without a lot of effort."

I'll leave this to you. I prefer spending my energy trying to find answers to problems. I found a potential answer right on my milk carton. Silk soymilk purchase wind power credits for the energy it uses.


From their website. "Wind power is affordable. Many utility companies offer you the option to purchase wind-generated electricity for around 2 - 2.5 cents per kilowatt. At that price, the average household could obtain 25 percent of its electricity from wind for just $4 or $5 dollars extra per month."

Please someone chime in with a potential solution. Until then, I'll stick with alternative energy and de-funding the enemy. By the way, I am offended to be called a liberal. I am a registered republican, but stand more liberterian. However, when it comes to finding a SOLUTION to this potentially life-ending danger, I lean toward what has a chance at actually happening. My first choice (simply because of its quickness and definiteness) would be to bring our troops home and drop a bomb. Like I said in my first post, this is a war and it is them or us. However, unless something TERRIBLE happnes here in the US, I don't believe this is a feasible plan.

Bob Badour said at February 18, 2006 3:13 PM:

Mom in USA,

The weapons are the bipeds. The commercial airlines simply deliver them to us. Of course, freight shipping has been known to deliver some, and some are homegrown. But I suspect the vast bulk of them arrive on commercial airlines with fast-track visas.

The solution is to leave them on the other side of the ocean.

crasyhorse said at February 19, 2006 5:49 PM:

As the western world watches the Islamic mobs throughtout the Muslim coutries the myth of a moderate Islamic majority is illustrated as clear amessage as the cartoons. we must look at every one of the millions of Islamic men who are attacking all that the west stands for as being a million guns aimed at us and keep the numbers in our mind. One day we shall have to answer bullet for bullet and bomb for bomb, and it is our greatest mistake that we don't begin right now.

crazyhorse said at February 19, 2006 6:41 PM:

To the Western men who hate this Islamic population as I have grown to, mark well we must change the US Government that is a sheep in wolves clothing. This is bullshit sending our military into a dry hole to spin their wheels and die by the hundreds for little while wasting billions of the war resource dollars of America that are needed to rub out theses Mujhadeen killers who would stand up publically and threaten us to our national face in every Islamic country of the world. Why are their cities, towns, and villages safe while expressing such audacity as to literally spit in our faces, its because they have us by the short hairs of our Bush. The corporations and their Bush dynasty's war on terror is the biggest joke in the Islamic world. The bullshit this president is selling must be overcome before we can deal with this global cabal of the priests of evil once and for all.

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