Friday, July 06, 2012

The Bell Curve, revisited

In a recent comment to an inquiring Jihad Watch civilian, Eric Allen Bell explained his stance of his being "against Islam but not against Muslims" thusly:

If I were against Nazism I would also be against all Nazis.

The same does not hold true with Islam and Muslims. Allow me to explain why...

Most Muslims are the victim of indoctrination. Many do not actually believe this stuff, but the penalty for saying so is too severe to speak up. Some are deeply brainwashed but totally harmless.

So for me, it would be irresponsible, when addressing an audience of 2 million people, to say I am against all Muslims - since in reality we must evaluate each person on an individual basis.

When I meet a Muslim who takes issue with my stance, I ask them if they will condemn the "prophet" Mohammed for having sex with a 9 year old girl, yes or no. I also ask them if they will condemn Hamas and Hezbollah as Islamic terrorist organizations, yes or no.

I'm sure you can imagine how most, but not all, respond to these very direct questions. If they will not immediately renounce these things, I tell them that they are not "moderate" but actually more radical that Nazis. I'm not mean about it. But I do believe in nonviolently and holding them accountable, especially in any public forum.

What I cannot support is saying that I am against an entire group of people - especially when so much of that group is comprised of innocent women and children who are in bondage to Islam. Let us not forget that no one is more victimized by Islam than Muslims.

I typed the following comment:

Bell wouldn't be the first person in the anti-Islam movement (such as it is) who remains laggard behind the bell curve with regard to waking up to the full, unique horror of Islam.

One of the retardant features of remaining unawake in this regard is the retention of the Equivalencist meme, by which all religions are deemed, axiomatically, to be equal to each other in nearly all significant terms of comparison. This is a prejudicial axiom assumed before one looks at the data; then, as more and more data comes to the attention of this kind of person, he tends to continue to fit the data to the pre-conceived model, inductively, and tends to resist the force of rational deduction from the data that would indicate -- more and more persuasively as more and more data is learned -- that Islam is unique, and cannot be compared with other religions, other cultures, other demographics.

One facet of its uniqueness is that most, if not virtually all, Muslims are fundamentalist radicals, and that the ones who don't seem to be that way are either 1) pretending to be moderate in order to deceive, or 2) are schizophrenically assimilating mannerisms that seem to indicate moderation but which don't really significantly actually moderate the fanaticism which their mind's other half (schizophrenically) still holds. A third possibility, of course, is a combination of 1 and 2.

The notion that all the Muslims who seem ostensibly, by superficial criteria, to be moderate are really actually moderate inside would be a reasonable inference were we examining the adherents of any other religion on Earth; but not Muslims. And again, there is a mountain of data and oceans of dots to be connected after which the reasonable person steps out of his box of assuming that "most Muslims" must be moderate -- not because they really are, but because our box of axioms about Religions in General tells us so.

Eric Allen Bell is still in that box on this -- as are many in the anti-Islam movement (such as it is). One hopes that it won't take several 911s to shake them out of this prejudice they have.


I later expanded on my comment above, adverting to the most important facet of the problem (which I have repeated here on this blog innumerable times over the years) -- namely:

...the crucial fact that we cannot tell the difference, with reliability sufficient to our #1 priority to protect our societies, between the putatively harmless Muslims (even if they do exist) and the deadly Muslims.

Such an inability to discern -- forced upon us by the factual circumstances of the matter -- could in certain situations cost us untold lives of men, women and children. And the only people to blame for such a horrible tragedy would be those who kept insisting that "there are moderate Muslims" or "there are Muslims who don't really know their Islam" or "there are Muslims who are victims of their own Islam" -- or any other permutation of essentially the same sweeping generalization which has the effect of exempting innumerable Muslims from our reasonable, and utterly legitimate, duty to -- now be careful folks and cover your children's eyes, for I'm about to type something horribly incorrect: discriminate against all Muslims for the purposes of our own safety.

Bell then responded to me:

I'm not a joining your hate party. Sorry. 

If utilizing abstract thinking is to... abstract for you, I can't help you. I refuse to bundle ALL Muslims together and be against them all.
When you go on the news, you can say whatever you want. If you say you are against all Muslims, that will be one huge step backward for the Counter Jihad effort.
I'm trying to help clean up the mess that radicals such as yourself have created.
I oppose Islam on the basis of human rights, liberty and national defense. But I am not uniformly against all Muslims. And that is where I will keep it.

And my counter-response was:

"I'm not a joining your hate party. Sorry."

Characterizing my position as a "hate party" is both tendentious and insulting.

The rest of your comment also implies that you persist in the straw man that my position entails the certitude that all Muslims are deadly. My position does not entail nor require the proposition that all Muslims are deadly -- only that we cannot tell the difference, with sufficient reliability all the time, between the Muslims who may not be deadly, and the ones who are. Until you can show me some magical key enabling us to tell that difference, I will reasonably assume you, along with everyone else, cannot. This isn't just an academic, abstract problem: it could have horrific consequences in the near future, and the lives of hundreds, even thousands or hundreds of thousands of our men, women and children could be on the line if your position (which is essentially the prevailing PC position throughout the West) continues to be insisted upon. Your position is, in this regard, little different from that of General Casey who, in the immediate aftermath of the Fort Hood massacre, proclaimed that preventing such horrific terror attacks is less important than "preserving diversity".

Aside from ignoring this important facet of the problem, you also seem to exaggerate the numbers of this magically putative group worldwide of Muslims who pose no danger to us. Your stance in this regard seems to remain afloat as valid in your mind by virtue of you apparently continuing to ignore Kinana of Khaybar's persuasive argument indicating that your assessment is, in fact, exaggerated. Kinana has not only presented his persuasive argument to you here in this comments field, but also if memory serves me correctly he did so at least twice before in other comments fields of articles featuring you, and where you similarly weighed in to respond to commenters, showing that you were reading the comments. Yet you have repeatedly ignored Kinana's argument, and in lieu of engaging it, just keep re-asserting your sweeping claim about Muslims.

At the end of the day, both positions cannot escape being generalizations, and being prejudiced (prejudice = inductively pre-judging the meaning of a body of data) -- if only because the data in question involves over a billion people, spread out all over the globe in nearly 100 countries (including increasingly within the West) in a complex diversity of societies and cultures. One either makes the sweeping, and generous, generalization that "most Muslims are harmless"; or one makes the sweeping, and cautious, generalization that "most Muslims are deadly".

Given what we know about Islam and about Muslim attitudes, behaviors and words, and given the danger of increasing, and increasingly horrific, terror attacks in the coming years, it would be prudent to err on the side of the latter generalization -- but reckless, if not outrageously irresponsible, to insist on the former generalization. Add to that the aforementioned fact (which has never been refuted by anyone) that we cannot tell the difference, with sufficient reliability all the time, between the Muslims who may not be deadly, and the ones who are, and our generalization becomes, out of the rational necessity of protecting our societies -- which, pace General Casey, you, and all the other PC MCs out there, is more important than "preserving diversity" and more important than avoiding tendentiously defined "hate parties" -- functionally (not ontologically) universal.


A more recent article by Eric Allen Bell on Jihad Watch has appeared since I first published this a few days ago, in which, of course, Bell repeated his asymptotic position about how Islam is horrible but, strangely enough, most Muslims are peachy keen.  I recommend the interesting comments section -- in which, of course, I weighed in, with Bell repeating his hyperbolic accusation against me (under my nickname there, "LemonLime"):

"You are grasping at straws, looking for reasons to justify hating an entire group of people. That is bigotry and I think you would feel right at home in a hate group."

Further Reading:

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